Tuesday, July 18, 2017

harrison chastang, news director, kpoo radio, san francisco, interviews marvin x on the black arts movement business district

Harrison Chastang
News Director
San Francisco, CA
415.205.9128 cell/text


Jesse Allen Taylor is trying to improve his fact checking, but we proofread his article and made a few changes, nothing major except the glaring error that Lynette created the BAMBD by herself. Others involved in the concept must include Menuhim Ayele, Paul Cobb, Conway Jones, Jr., Anyka Barber, Joyce Gordon, Aries Jordan, Ayodele Nzinga, Eric Arnold and myself. Lynette also has ghosts she meets with in ghost meeting rooms at City Hall and other ghost locations. I am sure Ayodele Nzinga and Eric Arnold will peruse Jesse's article to correct other errors. --Marvin X

eric arnold on ghost writers

For the record, Allen-Taylor has consistently gotten this story wrong, sometimes insisting on publishing defamatory hearsay without even attempting to confirm the facts. When we brought this to his attention and demanded a retraction, he asked us to list what was false and/or misleading. We counted at least 66 errors in five separate columns. That is inexplicable for anyone who considers themselves to be a professional journalist. When the 66 errors were noted to Allen-Taylor, instead of issuing the retraction, he informed me he had simply deleted the passages--which is unethical, to say the least.

In his latest column, he repeats a mistake he has already been informed of, namely, his assertion that McElhaney created BAMBD all on her own. As many of you know, the naming came out of the Culture Keepers working group--which McElhaney has not convened in almost a year.

There are some other facts Allen-Taylor gets wrong--he misspelled "Oakulture", for one--and I have to wonder about his assertion that a staff member could be hired for the $5000 CAC designation would have brought.

Meanwhile, Ms. Nzinga and myself have negotiated CBAs which represent the only real investment in the district thusfar.  So, it is incorrect to say that there are no ongoing projects -- among the things which are, in fact, ongoing, are an Art Advisory Board, commitments to cultural retail at BMR, a technical assistance program for small businesses, an Anti-Displacement Fund, and even a youth-run art expo. BAMBD CDC has been mentioned by Cultural Arts Manager Roberto Bedoya as being in the best position of any emerging arts district in Oakland, and Ms. Nzinga will be participating  in the Downtown Oakland Specific Plan planning process on behalf of the district --which includes several official meetings over the next few months.

Apparently, Allen-Taylor has concluded that his ignorance as to what is actually going on with BAMBD can be projected onto reality, but this is an erroneous assumption, like much of his recent writings. There's a lot going on, including upcoming Town Hall meetings and non-profit certification, which will help facilitate capacity-building and greater investment in the district. We are also hearing that there is interest in BAMBD from the philanthropic community.

Although the failure to secure CAC designation appears to be a setback on paper, because of the effort, we now have a cultural asset map and inventory of public art. Not only will we not be deterred, but we plan to apply again next year, and to ensure the application is as robust and thorough as it should have been. 

As for Allen-Taylor, we are considering taking legal action against him. I would just like to advise folks not to speak with him on or off the record, until he retracts the many falsehoods and misleading statements he has made.

In community,
Eric Arnold

----- Forwarded Message -----
From: J. Douglas Allen-Taylor (Jesse Allen Taylor)
To: Jesse Douglas Allen-Taylor
Sent: Sunday, July 16, 2017, 3:48:02 PM PDT

A CounterPoints Column by J. Douglas Allen-Taylor

Marvin X  and Councilmember Lynette McElhaney in happier times

Oakland’s official downtown and West Oakland-based Black Arts Movement and Business District (BAMBD) received a blow last week when it failed to make the California Arts Council’s list of “14 districts that will serve as California's inaugural state-designated Cultural Districts.” Oakland’s district will not get the chance to apply for state recognition again until the California Arts Council puts its full local cultural district program in place in 2019.

Among the nearby local cultural districts that were included in the 14 member pilot project were one apiece located in Emeryville and San Rafael and two in San Francisco.

The BAMBD was the creation of Oakland Third District City Councilmember Lynette Gibson McElhaney and was authorized by the Oakland City Council in January of 2016. On paper, it runs in an eight block corridor with Broadway at the center between Chinatown and Uptown, from the western bank of Lake Merritt to the 880 freeway. It was officially set up to “highlight, celebrate, preserve and support the contributions of Oakland’s Black artists and business owners” in that downtown/West Oakland corridor.

Besides the prestige of state recognition, making the Arts Council’s pilot project list would have meant access to state funding and the promise that the California Arts Council would assist BAMBD in receiving grants from private sources. McElhaney’s office, which was listed as the lead agency on the Arts Council application, had tentatively budgeted the small amount of money that would have immediately come with state recognition to hire a dedicated staff member to begin putting a program together to implement the BAMBD, which as yet has no ongoing projects.

But now, with the City of Oakland’s failure to provide any money for the official BAMBD and without the apparent active public support of Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, it is difficult to see where funds to hire a staff for the district or to create any programs for it will come from.

Oakland Black poet/playwright and arts activist Marvin X Jackmon, who McElhaney once credited with helping her develop the BAMBD concept, immediately put the blame for the BAMBD’s failure to get state recognition directly on the Councilmember.

“[I suggest] City Councilwoman Lynette Mcelhaney take an acting class from Dr. Ayodele Nzinga's Lower Bottom Playaz,” Jackmon wrote in an email message to supporters following the Arts Council announcement. “Clearly her fake performance with the Cal Arts Council was not convincing. CAC didn't go for her top down domination of the BAMBD. She has yet acted on Marvin X's long request for banners, specifically, the African red, black and green flag, and Black/African vendors in the streets along the BAMBD corridor, 14th Street. Such a cosmetic appearance might have convinced the CAC to certify our district. Next time around, Lynette, improve your acting and stagecraft. See Dr. Nzinga at the Flight Theatre asap.”

Ayedole Nzinga is the founder and director of the Lower Bottom Playaz independent Black theater group. The group was originally based at the Black Dot Café in West Oakland’s Lower Bottom community, but has since relocated to Broadway’s Flight Deck Theater for its most recent productions. The Movement newspaper, which bills itself as the “Voice Of The Black Arts Movement International” and lists “Marvin X” as its Executive Publisher and Nzinga as its senior writer, also lists Nzinga as BAMBD’s lead planner.

Last summer, Nzinga filed the BAMBD Community Development Corporation of Oakland as a nonprofit corporation with the California Secretary of State’s office. Along with Oakland journalist Eric Arnold, who lists himself as “Co-Director of BAMBD CDC” on his oakculture website, Nzinga has been negotiating for several months under the BAMBD Community Development Corporation name with several developers for community benefits from proposed downtown development projects.


Lynette Gibson McElhaney Marvin, as an elder you well know that name-calling, divisiveness and in-fighting have never benefitted our people. It is sad to see you continue your attempts to create divisions in our community. Others in the District and throughout the city continue to seek out opportunities to work together, to strengthen and not weaken the community's political position and to lift up the incredibly difficult work of sustaining and growing Black artists and Black-owned businesses in the District and throughout the city.

I want to honor the incredible work of the Malonga Arts Collective, SambaFunk, Diamona Coura, Joyce Gordon, Destiny Muhammad, 310 Gallery, Level 13, AAMLO and the hosts of businesses and leaders who came together within a 3 week timeframe to put together a very competitive application. The CAC commissioners expressed a great deal of support for your efforts and have pledged to offer the district leaders technical assistance in anticipation of the 2nd round of approvals in 2019.

I am deeply honored to serve in this time and grateful that over the course of two years we have done a great deal to increase the visibility and viability of black entrepreneurs, artists, professionals, athletes, elected officials and community organizations.

WE must do all that we can to resist the temptation of inflicting self-harm -- even as we advocate, criticize, organize and demand better for our communities. 

In closing, I urge everyone to remember that a house divided cannot stand. 

My team and I are here to continue our efforts to help and support.
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Marvin X Jackmon
Marvin X Jackmon jb said talking loud saying nothing--no, you talk loud but do nothing.

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