“The artist elects to fight for freedom or slavery.
I have made my choice! I had no alternative!”
All praise is due Allah, Alhamdulillah!
Inna salati wa nusuki wa mahyaya wa mamati lillahi rabbil-alamin
"Verily, my Salat (prayer), my sacrifice, my living, and my dying are for Allah, the Lord of the worlds..” (Qur'an 6:162)
I thank my maternal great grandfather Ephraim Murrill, a pioneer who came to the Central Valley after enjoying the first twenty years of his life as a slave and saw Lincoln, the Great Emancipator, before departing the dirty south. He died in Madera, California at 99, and was given a great obituary in the Fresno Bee Newspaper, 1941. The Fresno Bee said he was honored and respected by Black people and White people.. I am honored to stand on his shoulders and be of his bloodline!
I thank my maternal grandparents, John and Eva Murrill, cotton pickers and grape cutters in the Central Valley. My grandmother was the love of my life. Probably the first black book I read was her raggedy copy of Booker T. Washington’s Up From Slavery. When my parents moved from Fresno to West Oakland and we spent summers in Fresno, I would always search through her trunk to find Up From Slavery. As a child, I read it again and again, I especially loved the passage when Booker T. told how he washed his ragged clothes so he could be clean when he went to school. I often recalled Booker T. when my mother bought my clothes from the thrift store and yet I was voted best dressed and most talented by my senior class. I was shocked and scared the GQ niggas were going to jump me because of jealousy and envy.
All praise is due my mother and father, Marian and Owendell Jackmon , Race Woman and Race Man, who published the Fresno Voice, a black newspaper in the Central Valley during the late 40s and early 50s. I am thankful to come from conscious parents in the Marcus Garvey and Elijah Muhammad tradition of Do for Self! I am so thankful that my childhood friend Paul Cobb informed me my father attended meetings at his grandfather’s house on Garveyism. I suspect the female idol of my childhood, dancer and choreographer Ruth Beckford’s parents also attended those meetings. Ruth Beckford took her Marcus Garvey consciousness into creating the breakfast program of the Black Panther Party, making her dancers prepare breakfast for poor hungry children. We honor Ruth Beckford for carrying on the black nationalist legacy of her parents. Geoffrey’s Inner Circle has honored her with a room and museum at his venue in Oakland’s Black Arts Movement Business District.
I thank my children: Marvin K, Darrel, aka Abdul (RIP), Nefertiti, Muhammida and Amira, for their love and appreciation, even though I was often absent and neglectful as a parent and abusive to their mothers.
I thank the mothers of my children, Pat, Barbara and Nisa, with whom I have a positive relationship these days. At least we can have a civil conversation that was the envy of one of my nephews when he observed me and my former wife, Nisa Ra, having a positive conversation. He asked my daughter, his cousin, Muhammida, how did it feel seeing her parents conversing in a loving manner, in spite of past abuse and trauma? For sure, he’d never seen his estranged parents doing such. But Nisa and I love our daughter above all else and will do all we can to support her and uplift her to the highest. We urge all parents to do the same, even when they are not together for whatever reason. Our children can be inspired by any semblance of parental unity, even the grandchildren want to know why their grandparents are not together as one of my granddaughters asked me recently.
I thank my grandchildren who are the joy of my life: Jasmin, Jordan, James, Jahmeel, Naeemah, Mahadevi. Even though I am exhausted of this world, they make me want to hang around just to see what they’re going to do, especially after my grandson Jahmeel told me at two years old, “Grandfather, you can’t save the world but I can!”
I thank my lifelong patrons, Mr. and Mrs. Leon and Carolyn Teasley. Drs. Julia and Nathan Hare, my adopted aunt and uncle.
Adam Turner, my adopted son, graphic designer and photographer. Dennis Jeffery, my printer and brother. We both were taught by Master printer Bob Watson (RIP).
My in-laws Nina and Ovis Collins, with whom I partied in the Central Valley like it was 1999, in the words of our beloved ancestor Prince. For sure, ain’t no people like country people.
Appreciate you, Nina and Ovis.
Paul Cobb, my childhood friend from West Oakland, who helped me establish The Movement Newspaper. My adviser Rt. Col. Conway Jones, Jr., who told me the arts was the most dangerous game in town and that I must walk alone through the valley of the shadow of death!
And thank you ancestor The Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad for raising me from the dead, deaf, dumb and blind! Thank you Malcolm X, El Hajji Malik El Shabazz, for your Black Nationalism. I am a revolutionary black nationalist for life, i.e., a nigga fa life!
Abdul Leroy James, my patron
Sun Ra, my mentor and associate
Amiri Baraka, my mentor, my comrade, my brother
Ollie Jackmon, my brother
Donna Jackmon, my sister
Huey Newton, my comrade
Eldridge Cleaver, my comrade
Rashidah Muhammad (Dessie X), my partner, my comrade
Marsha Satterfield, my partner
Sherley A. Williams, my childhood and high school friend and partner