Marvin X, "the USA's Rumi" (Bob Holman), "Plato teaching on the streets of Oakland" (Ishmael Reed), was discovered today by the Lakeshore District's crowd. In truth, the peripatetic, indefatigable poet, playwright, essayist, philosopher, activist and co-founder of the Black Arts Movement and Oakland's recently declared Black Arts Movement Business District, often sets up his Academy of da Corner on Lakeshore, especially as an adjunct space to his "official" space in the BAMBD at 14th and Broadway, downtown Oakland, and at the Berkeley Flea Market.
Today he was discovered by a Peet's Coffee bar tender, Haley, after she overheard his three hour interview with Mills College graduate student, Jasmeen doing her thesis on the Black Arts Movement, the most radical literary and artistic movement in American history. At the end of his interview, he told the grad student he knew people were "ear hustling" their conversation, but he didn't know the bar tender was observing his every move and those he interacted with, including Black Panther member Erica Huggins and later in the afternoon, novelist Cecil Brown, with whom Marvin X invited outside to his stand. Filled with curiosity, on her break, the bar tender came up to the poet's "Academy of da Corner, Lakeshore" and told him, "You must be a very important person, I observed your interview with the Mills College graduate student. I saw Erika Huggins come over to you and I watched you interact with Cecil Brown. I want to know who you are because I know you are somebody important, " said the curious, young white woman. The poet let her check out his book of parables and fables. He directed her to his parable Woman in the Box, then Parable of the Heart. Haley was impressed and excited to obtain her autographed book by the living legend, whose comrades have included, Danny Glover, Ed Bullins, Hurriyah Asar, Amiri Baraka, Eldridge Cleaver, Angela Davis, Sonia Sanchez, Nikki Giovanni, Sun Ra, Askia Toure, Huey Newton Bobby Seale, et al.
Cecil Brown informed the poet that he will assign his Stanford University students to interview the poet ASAP.
Marvin X at his Academy of da Corner, BAMBD, 14th and Broadway, downtown Oakland
photo Adam Turner