Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Marvin X Notes 9/25/18



Gemini twins, Marvin and Sun Ra. How many people are in this picture? Marvin claims ten people travel and live with him. Sun Ra controlled his multiple personalities as band leader, visionary, prophet, philosopher. But it was his creations and productions in his concerts that sealed his imprint on the world, yes, as someone from another world. 


Marvin X and his mentor/associate, BAMh Master Musician/Philosopher, father of Afro-Futurism Sun Ra, one of the most advanced minds produced by North American Africans. Marvin X performed with the Sun Ra Myth-Science Arkestra coast to coast. Sun Ra and Marvin taught together in the Black Studies Department, University of California, Berkeley. See Youtube for Sun Ra's lectures in four parts, audio. Marvin X's archives were acquired by the UC Berkeley, Bancroft Library. Marvin is also acknowledged in the Smithsonian African American Collection. As the Black Arts Movement is the father of Hip Hop, Marvin X was recently featured in the Respect Hip Hop Exhibit at the Oakland Museum of California. On December 15, 2018, Marvin X will read and speak on the Black Arts Movement as a key co-founder, along with Amiri Baraka, Askia Toure, Sonia Sanchez, Nikki Giovanni, Last Poets, Haki Madhubuti, et al. Marvin was also a recruiter for the Black Panther Party, e.g., Bobby Seale, Eldridge Cleaver, Emory Douglas, Samuel Napier, et al., and the Nation of Islam, especially "fishing" Nadar Ali who became Director of Imports. Also, Fahizah Alim who became a writer for Muhammad Speaks. Marvin X served as Foreign Editor of Muhammad Speaks during his exile in Mexico City and Belize, Central America.


 Actor Danny Clover and Marvin X spoke at San Francisco Anti-war Rally.
photo Kamau Amen Ra


Marvin X and Danny Glover, both were students and members of the BSU at SFSU. Danny also performed in Marvin's Black Arts West Theatre, Fillmore District, San Francisco, 1966.
photo Ken Johnson


Marvin X and Nuyorican poet, professor Nancy Mercado at the Harlem NY reception for Marvin X at the home of poet Rashida Ismaili. Marvin X was in town to celebrate the memorial for poets Amiri Baraka and Jayne Cortez at New York University, 2014.


Marvin X conversing with his star student, Dr. Ayodele Nzinga (Laney College Theatre class taught by MX, 1981, as a student, Ayodele directed his poetic/dance drama In the Name of Love and starred in it as well. Years later they came together to co-direct his recovery classic One Day in the Life, a docudrama of Marvin X's recovery from Crack addiction, the longest running play in Northern California Black theatre history, 1996-2002, also performed in New York at the Brecht Forum in Manhattan, Sista's Place in Brooklyn and at Kimako's, Newark NJ.


 BAM co-founders Amiri Baraka and Marvin X enjoyed a 47 year friendship and artistic and revolutionary relationship, although divided by AB's Communism and Marvin's Islamic radicalism. But, "When I came to the Baraka's house, I was at home. Many times I exceeded the limit of propriety from alcohol, yes, even passing the Barakas, but they never put me out. He and his wife Amina were my comrades like no others in my life. We drank, partied, bar hoped and ate out almost every night, especially in AB's last days when Amina was not cooking. Our best meals were at the Spanish restaurant and bar near City Hall and the Portuguese restaurant in their district near the Penn Terminal, and the Soulfood venues where the Barakas were treated royally, alas, as if they were not treated royally wherever we went in Newark.

Was there drama with my loving friends? What do you expect in the house of dramatists? My students and friends will tell you there is drama at my house on the west coast, ask those who've fled from my house when I left reality for outta space in the Sun Ra mode or beyond.Ask my students who endured what they described as "The Wild Crazy Ride of the Marvin X Experience."

But, after spending some weeks with the Barakas, I came to know their dramatic ritual that their neighbors and friends knew well and knew how to ease their way out of the house when the drama began. Even so, I could not ease my way out since I was staying with them, except when I wanted to enjoy debauchery at the old Father Divine's Hotel where I could enjoy the Crack Hotel sisters as a single man.


Marvin X as journalist interviewing Prime Minister Forbes Burnham of Guyana, SA, at his residence, while Marvin X was on a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, 1972. His interview was published in Muhammad Speaks Newspaper, Black World and Black Scholar Magazines, critical journals of the 1960s Black Liberation Movement. PM Burnham had North American Africans in his government and gave us refuge, although PM Burnham was revealed as a CIA agent in the USA's attempt to prevent a Cuban style Communist regime to take power under the opposition leadership of Cheddi Jagan. Terrible things occurred under the Burnham pseudo Black Power regime, i.e., Dr. Walter Rodney, one of the greatest Pan African scholars was assassinated under his watch, not to mention the Jonestown massacre wherein 900 mostly desperate North American Africans escaped the USA for the jungle of Guyana, only to drink poisoned Kool Aid along with their children, in their hopeless and hapless attempt to escape USA oppression for some other world, anywhere but another day in the USA hellhole, yet Rev. Jim Jones was uJltimately overcome by his darkside. Yet he was so skilled he duped the entire leadership of Black San Franciscans (I won't name names unless you request, just know I said leadership). Blacks sold all their property and donated the money to Rev. Jim Jones jungle heaven that quickly turned into hell, no worse than the USA hell they escaped but consider the desperation of our people, alas, anywhere is better than here.

In 2018, it is reported there are 5,000 North American Africans in Accra, Ghana. They are there forever, including one of my daughters. She reports her friends are living the good life, no jungle life. In fact, North American Africans are causing gentrification in Accra. So the choice is yours. Hell in America or perhaps love, peace and happiness somewhere else on this earth. The Qur'an says if we flee in the name of Allah we shall enjoy many places of escape and abundant resources." Don't buy the hype that the USA is the greatest place on earth. We are the owners of planet earth so we can enjoy peace, love and happiness anywhere on the earth. We only need to come with the right spirit and attitude, not with white supremacist notions of exploitation and domination in the imperialist, capitalist mode.

For sure, it would do many of us to leave these United Snakes, but we need to know the Ancestor spirits are calling some of us home, yes, to return through the Door of No Return, and so we shall go because the Ancestor Spirits are calling us and we cannot refuse them. Those called must go. My daughter has passed back through The Door of No Return, and she is satisfied to be home again. I miss her but know as Gibran said, "Our children come through us but they are not us: we are the bow, they are the arrow!" So we must let them fly as the spirit takes them. They have our DNA and know they must extend it in the name of those whose shoulders we stand upon. We did not need to converse with them on this subject, it was in them when they came out of the womb. Even though we may have stood there in wonder as they eased from their mother's womb, it was not our child but the child of the gods and ancestors who shall not be placated until all of us do the right thang, here in the wilderness of North America, our Motherland or elsewhere, no matter where we must stand tall and represent the royal genius of our people.


Marvin X and his mentor/associate Dr. Nathan Hare, father of Black and Ethnic Studies, first Chair of Black and Ethnic Studies at a major American university. The fight to establish Black and Ethnic Studies caused the longest and most violent (well, no one was killed as at Kent State), student strike in American academic history. On the 50th Anniversary of the SFSU Student strike, there have been attempts to downplay the role of Black Students who initiated the strike. Same fake narrative at Columbia University when Black students originated their strike.Fifty years later, whites still want to control the narrative with white supremacy domination. But let's be clear, without white students at SFSU, the strike would not have been successful. But don't promote a revisionist narrative that is was a white thang. It originated from the Negro Students Association that morphed into the Black Student Union. Give credit where credit is due. Did white students suffer sweat, blood and tears on the same level as the Black strike leaders. Did whites go to jail like the BSU strike leaders?

We encourage you to attend the 50th Anniversary of the Black Student/Third World Strike, November 9, 2018. Those strike leaders, especially the Blacks, need to know you appreciate them and love them for the sacrifice they made to upturn White Supremacist academia that has slipped back into a neo-colonial mode as per Black and Ethnic Studies. See Cecil Brown's book Hey, Dude, What Happened to My Black Studies.


BAM Master poet/playwright with his star student, Dr. Ayodele Nzinga, founder of the Lower Bottom Playaz, the only theatre group in the world to produce the entire cycle of plays by August Wilson. As a student in his Laney College Theatre Class, Ayo directed Marvin's In the Name of Love and performed in it as she did many years later for his recovery cult classic One Day in the Life, Recovery Theatre, San Francisco. This pic is from Ayo latest play, written, directed and produced by her at the Flight Deck Theatre, 1540 Broadway, downtown Oakland. Marvin is questioning her on Protection Shields, a drama utilizing Yoruba mythology. See Marvin's review below.

Some erudite socalled Negro informed me that white folks cannot leave us alone because we are their reason for being, their existence or existential reality, is propositional upon their domination of African bodies, space, time and voice. No matter what we originate, contemplate, imagine, invent, Europeans must steal, like Jazz, Blues, spicy foode, philosophy, sociology, mythology,  psychology,
religiosity, sexuality. Do white people (and their multi-cultural sycophants) understand what goes around comes around?

I don't  want to be nowhere close to white people when what goes around comes around. Neither do I want to be around their African and multicultural elite, for the Bible tells those who worship the beast shall be destroyed with the beast, i.e., those neo-colonial elite, addicted to the white supremacy World of Make Believe and Conspicuous Consumption (Frazier, Hare, et al.).

In the current American Drama of Pussy and Dick, complicated by the intersection of sexual improprieties of Western and global civilization, including African, Arab, Asian, Latin, thus a Pandemic of major proportion: for the physical and psychological abuse of men, women and children is full blown, thus severe,  and societies globally are trying their best to deal with the new sexual drama that demands men exercise discipline in their imaginary domination of women that must end. As the father of three strong daughters, I want only the very best for my daughters, and for sure I don't want men to corrupt, disrupt or block their aspirations to be the best they can be with their God-given talents. It is clear I and my children are the continuation of Ancestor Dreams so we shall not stop until victory! Power  to the Ancestors, Power to the People. In the Sankofa myth-ritual, we look back to look forward, never to stay in the past but to go forward faster!

Now to the Main Topic: Who Asks the Negro or Stay Out of White Folks Bizness

Firstly, nobody asks the Negro anything although he has been around since time began, literally, no one argues with this except those in the low information vibration. Let us pray and excuse the low vibration people although the Bible tells us the people were destroyed for lack of knowledge, so there is no excuse for ignorance today when you can Google Becky who will tell you the history of the world, and if you didn't ask her correctly, Becky will say, "Did you mean?" And you don't respect Becky, she will say, "Would you talk to your mother like that?"

But Jimmy Baldwin wrote to us that Whites will ask a Negro things they will never ask a white person, simply or only because they know we tell the truth while their white brother is bound to lie with the movement of his lips. During my hustling days in San Francisco's rich shopping Area, from the Cable Car turnaround to Fisherman's Wharf, there might be a thousand white people lined up for the Cable Car ride, but if Whites wanted direction and information, they were willing to pay a Black hustler for information because they knew it was reliable. Whites knew not to bother their white brothers and sisters because they knew they would lie simply because they are pathological liars.

So all Cable Car hustlers charged white tourists for information, selling  and decoding maps of the city.

But even when you try to stay out of white folk's bizness, they will find a way into yours, if only to see how can you yet laugh after all the terror they deposited on your black asses. They have the bad habit of feeling free to interrupt any conversation between and/or among black people, no matter how many are engaged, because they were overwhelmed from ear-hustling and feel no way to interrupt our conversation,  to insert themselves whether invited or not. Is this not the supreme example of white privilege and white supremacist domination? And well-meaning whites have no knowledge of their low information vibration etiquette exposing their myth-ritual of white supremacist behavior.

They taught us innocent until proven guilty, yet the Me Too Movement proclaims guilty by pronouncement and/or allegation, no facts needed. Imagine if Euro-American culture investigated North American African sexual violence, the jails and prisons would implode (as if the jails and prisons have not already imploded from said sexual and survival necessity) from brothers guilty of sexual improprieties  since sexual assault and violence over claims of ownership of females was a constant cause of personal and communal warfare, sometimes individual and more often gang related when brothers fought over women as if they were property of certain gangs based on territory, although most altercations as per sexual domination were individual, between men claiming ownership of that which was not theirs to own since the woman's body is ultimately owned by her and no one else under the sun, moon and/or stars! See my classic monograph Mythology of Pussy and Dick. Google it for free. Just know when my white agent for the sale of my archives to the University of California, Berkeley, Bancroft Library, Peter Howard (RIP), also owner of Serendipity Book Store in Berkeley, read Mythology of Pussy in one sitting ( and while reading told me to shut the fuck up), after his perusal informed my essay was not for Black people, as if to say it was above the low information vibration of my people. Well, Peter, we need only look at the nightly news to see the Mythology of Pussy (and Dick) is needed by everyone, no matter what class, color, ethnicity, religiosity, political persuasion and/or gender.

What human beings on earth were more sexually violated than North American Africans during 400 years of full blown physical, sexual and mental trauma? Our genocide and mentacide is never placed against the Jewish holocaust of five or six years, compared with 400 years. There is no comparison possible, yet we applaud the Jews for having their own state. Who asks the so-called Negro if  he desires a state for the holocaust he's suffered? To speak of reparations is almost a joke, although the Jews were given some reparations for their holocaust, the Native Americans and the Japanese, but the North American African is derided for suggesting reparations, but we know when a wife and husband cannot live together in peace, the resolution is often divorce, with compensation for abuse and injuries, whether physical, emotional and/or verbal.

Don't you think after a 400 year forced marriage, after it is clear North American Africans and European Americans live on two different planets, it is time to separate? We say we knell for police violence, you flip the narrative to the national anthem, what the fuck? Two worlds, one of the master, the other of the slave, the oppressed, and never shall we see the same world, not now, not in a thousand years. You go your way, I go mine, Arabic: lakum dinu kum waliya din!

BAM Master Sun Ra taught, "You didn't let me enjoy your gladness so I don't want to share your sadness. History is your story, Mystery is my/our story. You so evil the devil don't even want you in hell!"
--Marvin X
9/24/18

SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 23, 2018


Marvin X review of Dr. Ayodele Nizinga's Protective Shields at the Flight Theatre, 1540 Broadway, downtown Oakland

Notes on Dr. Ayodele Nzinga's mytho-magical drama: Protection Shields
by
Marvin X






Dr. Ayodele Nzinga, founder, producer, playwright and director of Oakland's Lower Bottom Playaz opened a new play at the Flight Deck, 1540 Broadway, downtown Oakland. It is a myth-ritual dance drama in the Black Arts Movement Theatre tradition, based on the Yoruba story telling in the best tradition of African didactic narrative, i.e., teaching a moral story based on ancient spirituality and morality, i.e., the myth of Eshu and the moral teaching of do the right thing. 

In the 1960s, Black Arts Movement poets, playwrights, dancers, drummers, painters turned away from Christian mythology and ritual to embrace Islamic, Yoruba, Rasta and Hebrew myth-ritual. It was a conscious denunciation of European White supremacist Christianity that approved the genocide of 100 million, and even today, 2018, North American Africans suffer trauma and unresolved grief so well depicted in Protective Shields. 

The Yoruba priest who probably influenced 1960s Black African culture the most, was Oba Serjiman Olatunji who spread Yoruba culture in Harlem, who single handedly presented Yoruba culture in its most flamboyant and royal manner. As a Harlemite during 1968-69, I recall Oba Serjiman parading through the streets of Harlem with his entourage of wives, priests and devotees in elegant flowing robes and head pieces, chanting Yoruba songs that helped ignite the Black Arts Movement of the 60s, the most radical artistic and literary revolution in American history, alas, it gave birth to the Black Panthers, Black Arts Movement, Black Studies, Ethnic Studies, Gender Studies, et al.

Black Arts Movement co-founders,Amina and Amiri Baraka, were married in a Yoruba ceremony, officiated by Oba Serjiman, who soon departed Harlem to establish his  African Yoruba Village in Sheldon, South Carolina. According  to the new Oba/king, before his father could have peace with the whites in the area, he had to show superior magic in the manner of Moses and Pharaoh's magicians.

Oba Serjiman, obviously influenced the Black Arts Movement, alas, he is perhaps the most critical factor in the BAM/Yoruba intersection. There was Nigerian drummer Oljunji reinstating the drum as spiritual therapy with rhythms for all the orishas, i.e., gods, for Harlemites and North American Africans coast to coast deprived of the healing power of the drum since arriving in the Americas, most especially in the USA, elsewhere the drum created new world beats in the old world manner, for orisha rhythms never change--an eternal tribute to the identity and power of the gods and their  connection with devotees, supplicants, sycophants.....

A Black Mass was Amiri Baraka's interpretation and synchronization of Elijah Muhammad's Myth of Yakub, the mad scientist who created the white man through genetic engineering, but Baraka infused his myth drama with Yoruba and Sufi teachings. We applaud Baraka for utilizing original North American African mythology but extending the myth with African and Islamic myth-rituals. 

BAM theatre folks like the New Lafayette's director Bob Macbeth, Barbara Ann Teer's National Black Theatre, the Last Poets and myself tried to create Black Ritual Theatre, with dramatic energy derived from Yoruba, Islamic and Christian myth-ritual, especially the Holy Ghost church. It had the high level of energy we wanted in the BAM theatre. Further, we wanted to destroy that fourth wall that separated the actors from audience, forcing them into oneness and celebration of the Divine Spirit. My contribution to Ritual Theatre is Resurrection of the Dead, a myth-ritual dance drama by Marvin X, Black Educational Theatre, San Francisco, 1972. In the African tradition of drama, there is no audience, all enjoy the communal experience. When I was told Vudun is a democratic society, I understood in  the Vudun ritual one only comes forward when their orisha's rhythm is beat on the drum. Correct me if I am wrong. 

We cannot leave BAM Master Teacher Sun Ra out of this discussion since he fused Kemit mythology with socalled science fiction, although Sun Ra is considered the father of Afro-futurism, Octavia Butler, the Mother. But Sun Ra took Yoruba, Islamic, Christian and all other isms and schisms, including Jazz, Blues and any other sounds to construct his Myth-Ritual Arkestra, demonstrating the highest level of BAM aesthetics, philosophy, dramaturgy. No BAM artist approached Sun Ra's vision of smashing European art and white supremacy mythology. 

In the grand tradition of African drama that originated in the Osirian drama of Resurrection, modeled on the annual inundation of the Hapi River, aka, Nile, Ayodele reveals to us the necessity of high morals and values as the ultimate Protective Shield. 

If we cut to the chase in Ayo's drama at the crossroads ruled by Eshu, aka Legba, aka Ptah, aka Peter, Protection Schields taught us the only protection is to do the right thang, thus the long monologues by characters fighting within themselves to do the right thing. To borrow a line from Islam, we say, "Ithdina s-sirata al mustaqim, Guide us on the right path." The Christian Bible tells us to put on the armor of God. 

Dr. Ayodele Nzinga forces us to transcend the Christian and Muslim myth-ritual, with repeated calls out to the Yoruba orishas, displaying Yoruba myth ritual of offering fruit to placate the orishas, without which one cannot possibly navigate the crossroads, not without Eshu in the persona of a child, yet wielding spiritual power to present the suffering adults with the Protective Shield, even the suspected murderer of the mother's son is given the Protective Shield but only after he declares the uselessness of murder or "blood for blood" as the narrator repeatedly informed us. 


A mother wants revenge for the murder of her son. Having lost a son, we were beyond understanding of her trauma and unresolved grief. She was presented with a Protection Shield by Eshu represented by a child who adorned all the supplicants who submitted to do the right thing, some for the first time in their lives. Alas, my patron, Abdul Leroy James, used to say, "Most of you people (excluding himself since he was a successful multi-millionaire from real estate but he did make possible my book projects and community events such as the Melvin Black Forum, Oakland Auditorium, 1979, National Black Men's Conference, Oakland Auditorium, 1981, Kings and Queens of Black  Consciousness, San Francisco State University, 2001, Tenderloin Black Radical Book Fair, 2004, San Francisco, One Day in the Life, docudrama of Marvin X's addiction and recovery, the longest running North American African drama in Northern California history, 1996-2002)--Ancestor Abdul Leroy James said, "Most of us ain't done nothing right in our lives.". 

Protection Shield's dominant theme was do the right thang! If you kill, the pain of revenge is inescapable, blood feuds for evermore, honor killings. All the supplicants submitted to do the right thang and were thus blessed to transcend the crossroads with the blessing of Eshu. 

Throughout the drama, all the orishas were called upon to do their thang. Playwright, producer, director, Dr. Ayodole Nzinga consciously employed the Yoruba myth-ritual to rock 2018 Black Christian myth-ritual, although Africans in the Americas long ago figured out how to synchronize African spirituality with European Christian mythology. We fused Haitian  Vudun, Cuban and Puerto Rican Santaria, Barzilian Condomble and other Caribbean spiritual persuasions into a eclecticism of functional religiosity. We can attend a Catholic mass then visit a Vudun ceremony to placate the Orishas without feeling contradictory.

The Yoruba narrative in Ayo's drama resembled Black American Christian ritual, or Christianity in general with its major theme of suffering and death, although the joy of resurrection derived from Kemet, Egypt, Africa's Nile Valley Civilization that extended the 4,000 miles of the Hapi River, aka Nile, source of  basic Christianity, Judaism and Islamic religiosity. See Yusef Ali's translation of the Holy Qur'an and his notes on the steps of Egyptian Religion toward Islam. 


Dramatic Structure

For sure, Dr. Ayodele transcended Western dramaturgy. Protection Shields was completely devoid of dialogue, instead a plethora of monologues was employed, many offstage, but even more pervasive was her use of choreography to advance the narrative. The Yoruba method of utilizing dance to advance narrative is well known, going back thousands of years. We know the dancers employed classic Yoruba choreography to tell the story, for every dance movement is connected with an Orisha,yet as much as we enjoyed the dancers whose choreography advanced the narrative, still, something was missing and sorely needed to make this myth-ritual dramatic. Dramatic film can move to stage and visa versa, but Protection Shields is the mytho-history of the hero Wolfhawk Jaguar, an individual experiencing a rite of passage and his devotees enjoying a healing communal rite of passage as well.

We were not satisfied with the hero sleeping throughout the drama of his myth history. We see him on the second level, primarily asleep in a dream mode, but since he is also the rapper and high priest of this drama, he must be utilized beyond his dream state. After all we hear him and see him in constant movie clips buy why not allow him to take the stage as rapper to explicate his mythology. He would be much appreciated by the dancers whose every move is about him, so get him out of slumber land and let him rap to us from the upper room. This will make his mythology real to us and expand the reality of his time in our midst and the lessons the narrator informs us about continuously throughout this didactic classical drama in the Yoruba tradition.



Earlier today, I wrote about How to Recognize A Real Nigga, Part Two, Notes on the Nigga Debate, during the intermission, Dr. Nzinga and I conversed and I told her I tried to delineate the positive nigga from the negative nigga. Her drama revealed to us that doing the right thing is the best and only thing to do, anything less has negative repercussions since every action has a reaction and Eshu will not allow us beyond the crossroads unless we put on the Protective Shield, i.e., the armor of God. Thankfully, the supplicants submitted to wear the Protective Shield, so the drama ends in the African fashion of Sheikh Anta Diop, who told us in the Cultural Unity of Africa, there is no tragedy, only comedy, for we know what Frankie Beverly sang about joy and pain, sunshine and rain, sometimes they the same.... Yet, to traverse the crossroads, we must be right, so in Islam we pray, "Ithdina s-sirata al mustaqim, Guide us on the right path. Dr. Ayodele Nzinga continues and extends Black Arts Movement theatre into the present era. We applaud her crew of actors, dancers and technicians.

Protection Shields will rock your consciousness, especially if you are a white man dipped in chocolate as a young man described the Black Anglo Saxons (Dr. Hare) of today.
--Marvin X
9/23/18

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Marvin X review of Dr. Ayodele Nizinga's Protective Shields at the Flight Theatre, 1540 Broadway, downtown Oakland

Notes on Dr. Ayodele Nzinga's mytho-magical drama: Protection Shields
by
Marvin X








Dr. Ayodele Nzinga, founder, producer, playwright and director of Oakland's Lower Bottom Playaz opened a new play at the Flight Deck, 1540 Broadway, downtown Oakland. It is a myth-ritual dance drama in the Black Arts Movement Theatre tradition, based on the Yoruba story telling in the best tradition of African didactic narrative, i.e., teaching a moral story based on ancient spirituality and morality, i.e., the myth of Eshu and the moral teaching of do the right thing. 

In the 1960s, Black Arts Movement poets, playwrights, dancers, drummers, painters turned away from Christian mythology and ritual to embrace Islamic, Yoruba, Rasta and Hebrew myth-ritual. It was a conscious denunciation of European White supremacist Christianity that approved the genocide of 100 million, and even today, 2018, North American Africans suffer trauma and unresolved grief so well depicted in Protective Shields. 

The Yoruba priest who probably influenced 1960s Black African culture the most, was Oba Serjiman Olatunji who spread Yoruba culture in Harlem, who single handedly presented Yoruba culture in its most flamboyant and royal manner. As a Harlemite during 1968-69, I recall Oba Serjiman parading through the streets of Harlem with his entourage of wives, priests and devotees in elegant flowing robes and head pieces, chanting Yoruba songs that helped ignite the Black Arts Movement of the 60s, the most radical artistic and literary revolution in American history, alas, it gave birth to the Black Panthers, Black Arts Movement, Black Studies, Ethnic Studies, Gender Studies, et al.

Black Arts Movement co-founders,Amina and Amiri Baraka, were married in a Yoruba ceremony, officiated by Oba Serjiman, who soon departed Harlem to establish his  African Yoruba Village in Sheldon, South Carolina. According  to the new Oba/king, before his father could have peace with the whites in the area, he had to show superior magic in the manner of Moses and Pharaoh's magicians.

Oba Serjiman, obviously influenced the Black Arts Movement, alas, he is perhaps the most critical factor in the BAM/Yoruba intersection. There was Nigerian drummer Oljunji reinstating the drum as spiritual therapy with rhythms for all the orishas, i.e., gods, for Harlemites and North American Africans coast to coast deprived of the healing power of the drum since arriving in the Americas, most especially in the USA, elsewhere the drum created new world beats in the old world manner, for orisha rhythms never change--an eternal tribute to the identity and power of the gods and their  connection with devotees, supplicants, sycophants.....

A Black Mass was Amiri Baraka's interpretation and synchronization of Elijah Muhammad's Myth of Yakub, the mad scientist who created the white man through genetic engineering, but Baraka infused his myth drama with Yoruba and Sufi teachings. We applaud Baraka for utilizing original North American African mythology but extending the myth with African and Islamic myth-rituals. 

BAM theatre folks like the New Lafayette's director Bob Macbeth, Barbara Ann Teer's National Black Theatre, the Last Poets and myself tried to create Black Ritual Theatre, with dramatic energy derived from Yoruba, Islamic and Christian myth-ritual, especially the Holy Ghost church. It had the high level of energy we wanted in the BAM theatre. Further, we wanted to destroy that fourth wall that separated the actors from audience, forcing them into oneness and celebration of the Divine Spirit. My contribution to Ritual Theatre is Resurrection of the Dead, a myth-ritual dance drama by Marvin X, Black Educational Theatre, San Francisco, 1972. In the African tradition of drama, there is no audience, all enjoy the communal experience. When I was told Vudun is a democratic society, I understood in  the Vudun ritual one only comes forward when their orisha's rhythm is beat on the drum. Correct me if I am wrong. 

We cannot leave BAM Master Teacher Sun Ra out of this discussion since he fused Kemit mythology with socalled science fiction, although Sun Ra is considered the father of Afro-futurism, Octavia Butler, the Mother. But Sun Ra took Yoruba, Islamic, Christian and all other isms and schisms, including Jazz, Blues and any other sounds to construct his Myth-Ritual Arkestra, demonstrating the highest level of BAM aesthetics, philosophy, dramaturgy. No BAM artist approached Sun Ra's vision of smashing European art and white supremacy mythology. 

In the grand tradition of African drama that originated in the Osirian drama of Resurrection, modeled on the annual inundation of the Hapi River, aka, Nile, Ayodele reveals to us the necessity of high morals and values as the ultimate Protective Shield. 

If we cut to the chase in Ayo's drama at the crossroads ruled by Eshu, aka Legba, aka Ptah, aka Peter, Protection Schields taught us the only protection is to do the right thang, thus the long monologues by characters fighting within themselves to do the right thing. To borrow a line from Islam, we say, "Ithdina s-sirata al mustaqim, Guide us on the right path." The Christian Bible tells us to put on the armor of God. 

Dr. Ayodele Nzinga forces us to transcend the Christian and Muslim myth-ritual, with repeated calls out to the Yoruba orishas, displaying Yoruba myth ritual of offering fruit to placate the orishas, without which one cannot possibly navigate the crossroads, not without Eshu in the persona of a child, yet wielding spiritual power to present the suffering adults with the Protective Shield, even the suspected murderer of the mother's son is given the Protective Shield but only after he declares the uselessness of murder or "blood for blood" as the narrator repeatedly informed us. 


A mother wants revenge for the murder of her son. Having lost a son, we were beyond understanding of her trauma and unresolved grief. She was presented with a Protection Shield by Eshu represented by a child who adorned all the supplicants who submitted to do the right thing, some for the first time in their lives. Alas, my patron, Abdul Leroy James, used to say, "Most of you people (excluding himself since he was a successful multi-millionaire from real estate but he did make possible my book projects and community events such as the Melvin Black Forum, Oakland Auditorium, 1979, National Black Men's Conference, Oakland Auditorium, 1981, Kings and Queens of Black  Consciousness, San Francisco State University, 2001, Tenderloin Black Radical Book Fair, 2004, San Francisco, One Day in the Life, docudrama of Marvin X's addiction and recovery, the longest running North American African drama in Northern California history, 1996-2002)--Ancestor Abdul Leroy James said, "Most of us ain't done nothing right in our lives.". 

Protection Shield's dominant theme was do the right thang! If you kill, the pain of revenge is inescapable, blood feuds for evermore, honor killings. All the supplicants submitted to do the right thang and were thus blessed to transcend the crossroads with the blessing of Eshu. 

Throughout the drama, all the orishas were called upon to do their thang. Playwright, producer, director, Dr. Ayodole Nzinga consciously employed the Yoruba myth-ritual to rock 2018 Black Christian myth-ritual, although Africans in the Americas long ago figured out how to synchronize African spirituality with European Christian mythology. We fused Haitian  Vudun, Cuban and Puerto Rican Santaria, Barzilian Condomble and other Caribbean spiritual persuasions into a eclecticism of functional religiosity. We can attend a Catholic mass then visit a Vudun ceremony to placate the Orishas without feeling contradictory.

The Yoruba narrative in Ayo's drama resembled Black American Christian ritual, or Christianity in general with its major theme of suffering and death, although the joy of resurrection derived from Kemet, Egypt, Africa's Nile Valley Civilization that extended the 4,000 miles of the Hapi River, aka Nile, source of  basic Christianity, Judaism and Islamic religiosity. See Yusef Ali's translation of the Holy Qur'an and his notes on the steps of Egyptian Religion toward Islam. 


Dramatic Structure

For sure, Dr. Ayodele transcended Western dramaturgy. Protection Shields was completely devoid of dialogue, instead a plethora of monologues was employed, many offstage, but even more pervasive was her use of choreography to advance the narrative. The Yoruba method of utilizing dance to advance narrative is well known, going back thousands of years. We know the dancers employed classic Yoruba choreography to tell the story, for every dance movement is connected with an Orisha,yet as much as we enjoyed the dancers whose choreography advanced the narrative, still, something was missing and sorely needed to make this myth-ritual dramatic. Dramatic film can move to stage and visa versa, but Protection Shields is the mytho-history of the hero Wolfhawk Jaguar, an individual experiencing a rite of passage and his devotees enjoying a healing communal rite of passage as well.

We were not satisfied with the hero sleeping throughout the drama of his myth history. We see him on the second level, primarily asleep in a dream mode, but since he is also the rapper and high priest of this drama, he must be utilized beyond his dream state. After all we hear him and see him in constant movie clips buy why not allow him to take the stage as rapper to explicate his mythology. He would be much appreciated by the dancers whose every move is about him, so get him out of slumber land and let him rap to us from the upper room. This will make his mythology real to us and expand the reality of his time in our midst and the lessons the narrator informs us about continuously throughout this didactic classical drama in the Yoruba tradition.




Earlier today, I wrote about How to Recognize A Real Nigga, Part Two, Notes on the Nigga Debate, during the intermission, Dr. Nzinga and I conversed and I told her I tried to delineate the positive nigga from the negative nigga. Her drama revealed to us that doing the right thing is the best and only thing to do, anything less has negative repercussions since every action has a reaction and Eshu will not allow us beyond the crossroads unless we put on the Protective Shield, i.e., the armor of God. Thankfully, the supplicants submitted to wear the Protective Shield, so the drama ends in the African fashion of Sheikh Anta Diop, who told us in the Cultural Unity of Africa, there is no tragedy, only comedy, for we know what Frankie Beverly sang about joy and pain, sunshine and rain, sometimes they the same.... Yet, to traverse the crossroads, we must be right, so in Islam we pray, "Ithdina s-sirata al mustaqim, Guide us on the right path. Dr. Ayodele Nzinga continues and extends Black Arts Movement theatre into the present era. We applaud her crew of actors, dancers and technicians.

Protection Shields will rock your consciousness, especially if you are a white man dipped in chocolate as a young man described the Black Anglo Saxons (Dr. Hare) of today.
--Marvin X
9/23/18

Monday, September 17, 2018

Ramal Lamar reviews Cold Wind from the North: The Prehistoric Origins of Racism, Explained by Diop's Two Cradle Theory, by Vulindlele Ijiola Wobogo


Cold Wind from the North: The Prehistoric European Origins of Racism Explained by Diop's Two Cradle Theory. By Vulindlela Ijiola Wobogo (Charleston: Books on Demand, 2011. Pp. 554. Contents, Introduction, Bibliography and Index, $29.99)
In light of the 50 year anniversary of the BSU Strike at San Francisco State University that gave birth to Black Studies in American universities, it is an honor to write this review.  I am a proud alumnus of the Pan Afrikan Students Union of San Francisco State University (from 1996 to 1998, when the organization was banned) and was a student enrolled in Wobogo's BLS 213 course "Kemetic Strategies in Physical Science".  In this course, not only did I learn of the Afrikan foundations of modern science, but I was exposed to fundamental techniques of physical science, i.e., natural philosophic inquiry. This was even before Theophile Obenga, (past Department Chair of Black Studies and one of Africa's greatest living scholars) came to SF State to lead the Black Studies Department in the new phase of intellectual warfare in defending what Ptah Mitchell, President of the School of Afrikan Philosophy,  called 'the scholastic sovereignty of Black Studies'. Ironically, it was in this BLS 213 course that I met and studied with a new generation of future African scientists, engineers, philosophers, mathematicians, technologists, scholars and business leaders across the African diaspora.    
As a professor, Wobogo had the ability to explain intricate and complicated scientific theories in such a clear and concise manner that I didn't realize until later, when having to take advanced courses in physics or mathematics; that the conceptual understanding I had of certain natural scientific phenomena was due to Wobogo's teaching. All too often I perplexed some of the non African scientists and professionals and researchers I worked with in graduate school  or industry by articulating an idea (or theory) with such clarity that their response was usually: "I don't know how you know that...." or something along those lines. Thinking of Wobogo's mastery, I am reminded of the late John Henrik Clarke, who mentioned that he lectured and taught so many popular courses that he did not really have enough time and luxury to publish masterpieces of original research. Now that Baba Wobogo has retired and is able to write, I am thankful that he was able to publish this work (along with subsequent others).
Even though "Cold Wind" is an expansion of two of his earlier published works, "Diop's Two Cradle Theory and the Origin of White Racism"(1976), and "Anokwalei Enyo"(1977), this is a fundamental work in the history and philosophy of science for myriad reasons. In the tradition of detecting scientific laws of social nature analog to laws of physical nature, Wobogo synthesizes the ideas of modern African scholarship from the past 90 years to present a complete theory of the origin of racism. We are reminded of the contributions made by various African scholars to this social scientific theory, usually attributed only to Cheikh Anta Diop.   
Wobogo's contention (recognized by Marimba Ani and others) is that "specific conditions of life in the arctic cradle since the beginning of the racial differentiation spawned the development of high levels of individualism-competitiveness, xenophobia, genocentricity and ethnocentricity. Of these qualities, xenophobia can be characterized as proto-white racism, which flowered upon contact of European homo sapien with African homo sapien and Asian homo sapien".    
From this basic premise Wobogo takes us through the history and shows how this European trait evolves into the many forms of racism experienced by African people throughout the continents and nations of the world, since about 20,000 BC. The book is also semi-autobiographical since Wobogo is an observer-participant in what he terms the African American Revolution (1960-1975) that led to the creation of Black Studies. And in a manner consistent with traditional scholarship, Wobogo tells a first person narrative of the certain historical events without centering on self aggrandizement  and personal ego.  work and replaces it with scientific rigor and 'demonstration of authority'.
As an educator and lifelong student, this work is crucial in clarifying, if not solving one of the basic problems facing (African) humanity: racism; even when housed under the auspices of genetic engineering and computer technology. Wobogo paints a picture of what a future would look like with or without the (maatian) balance of African contribution to modern problems of science and society, and how incomplete a picture would be, especially for academics, which refuse to acknowledge Africa in the forefront; whether it is from anthropologists, technologists, or a hybrid of the two.  This is a highly recommended book for future scholars and researchers continuing the "great work".
Ramal Lamar
Historian of Science
School of Afrikan Philosophy

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Please Support the Marvin X Books Project Gofundme Campaign


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Marvin X Book Project

$225 of $50,000


Coming soon from Black Birdg Press
Notes of Artistic Freedom Fighter Marvin X

INTRODUCTION
By Nathan Hare, PhD
Father of Black and Ethnic Studies
San Francisco State University


With the return of “white nationalism” to the international stage and the White House and new threats of nuclear war, the black revolutionary occupies a crucial position in society today. Yet a black revolutionary of historic promise can live among us almost unknown on the radar screen, even when his name is as conspicuous as Marvin X (who may be the last to wear an X in public view since the assassination of Malcolm X).
This semblance of anonymity is due in part to the fact that the black revolutionary is liable to live a part of his or her life incognito, and many become adept at moving in and out of both public and private places sight unseen. For instance, I didn’t know until I read Marvin X’s “Notes of Artistic Freedom Fighter” that when he put on a memorial service for his comrade and Black Panther leader Eldridge Cleaver, 1998, he was unaware that Eldridge’s ex, Kathleen Cleaver, had traveled from the East Coast and slipped into the auditorium of the church with her daughter Joju. As one of the invited speakers I had noticed her curiosity when I remarked that I had been aware of Eldridge before she was (he and I /had had articles in the Negro History Bulletin in the spring of 1962) and had met her before Eldridge did, when I was introduced to her while she was working with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee at Tuskegee institute, but luckily for Eldridge I was happily married to the woman who years later would escort Kathleen around San Francisco in what I recall as a failed search for a black lawyer to take his case when he returned from exile in France.
Like many other persons across this promised land, I also thought I knew Marvin X. I can clearly recall seeing him walk into the offices of The Black Scholar Magazine, then in Sausalito, with a manuscript we published in the early 1970s. However, his reputation had preceded him. For one thing, then California Governor Ronald Reagan had publicly issued a directive to college administrators at UCLA and Fresno State University to get Angela Davis and Marvin X off the campuses and keep them off. The Fresno Bee Newspaper quoted Reagan as he entered the State College Board of Trustees meeting in his capacity as president of the board, "I want Marvin X off campus by any means necessary!"
Over the years I continued to encounter him: when he organized the First National Black Men’s Conference, 1980, Oakland Auditorium, that drew over a thousand black men (without benefit of media coverage) to pay their way into a conference aimed at getting black men to rise again. I was a member of his Board of Directors. I also attended a number of other conferences he organized, such as the Kings and Queens of Black Consciousness, San Francisco State University, 2001, and the San Francisco Black Radical Book Fair, 2004, as well as productions of his successful play, “One Day in the Life,” with a scene of his last meeting with his friend, Black Panther Party co-founder, Dr. Huey P. Newton, in a West Oakland Crack house.
I will never forget the time he recruited me and the seasoned psychiatric social worker, Suzette Celeste, MSW, MPA, to put on weekly nighttime workshops in black consciousness and strategies for “overcoming the addiction to white supremacy.” On many a night I marveled to see him and his aides branch out fearlessly into the gloom of the Tenderloin streets of San Francisco and bring back unwary street people and the homeless to participate in our sessions, along with a sparse coterie of the black bourgeoisie who didn’t turn around or break and run on seeing the dim stairway to the dungeon-like basement of the white Catholic church.
But when I received and read Marvin’s manuscript, I called and told him that he had really paid his dues to the cause of black freedom but regretfully had not yet received his righteous dues.
As if to anticipate my impression, the designer of the book cover has a silhouetted image of Marvin, though you wouldn’t recognize him if you weren’t told, in spite of the flood lights beaming down on him from above like rays directly from high Heaven, as if spotlighting the fact that Marvin ‘s day has come.
You tell me why one of the blackest men to walk this earth, in both complexion and consciousness, is dressed in a white suit and wearing a white hat; but that is as white as it gets, and inside the book is black to the bone, a rare and readable compendium of Marvin’s unsurpassed struggle for black freedom and artistic recognition.
Black revolutionaries wondering what black people should do now can jump into this book and so can the Uncle Tom: the functional toms find new roles for the uncle tom who longs for freedom but prefers to dance to the tune of the piper; the pathological tom, whose malady is epidemic today, as well as the Aunt Tomasinas, can be enlightened and endarkened according to their taste in this literary and readable smorgasbord.
“Notes of Artistic Freedom Fighter Marvin X” is a diary and a compendium, a textbook for revolutionary example and experience, a guide for change makers, a textbook for Black Studies and community action, including city planners who will profit from his proposals and experiences in his collaboration with the mayor and officials of Oakland to commercialize and energize the inner city, with a Black Arts Movement Business District (BAMBD) that could be the greatest black cultural and economic boon since the Harlem Renaissance. No longer just talk and get-tough rhetoric, his current project is cultural economics, Oakland’s Black Arts Movement Business District, an urban model evolving in real time in the heart of downtown Oakland, where people like Governor Jerry Brown once tried their hand before they turned and fled back into the claws of the status quo.

I can’t say everything is in this book, just that it reflects the fact that Marvin, for all he has done on the merry-go-round of black social change, is still in the process of becoming.
Readers from the dope dealer to the dope addict to the progressive elite, the Pan African internationalist, the amateur anthropologist, the blacker than thou, the try to be black, the blacker-than-thous, the try to be white (who go to sleep at night and dream they will wake up white) and other wannabes; in other words from the Nouveau Black to the petit bourgeois noir and bourgie coconuts, “Notes of Artistic Freedom Fighter Marvin X” is a fountainhead of wisdom, with a fistful of freedom nuggets and rare guidance in resisting oppression or/and work to build a new and better day.
Dr. Nathan Hare
3/8/18
Dr. Nathan Hare, PhD and Marvin X

Introduction by Dr Nathan Hare
Black Bird Press, Oakland CA
2018



Other works coming soon

Sweet Tea, Dirty Rice, poems
Mythology of Pussy and Dick, Expanded version, 400 pages
Collected Plays

Books to reprint

Fly to Allah, poems
Land of My Daughters, poems
Love and War, poems
In the Crazy House Called America, essays
Beyond Religion toward Spirituality, essays
Wish I could tell you the Truth, essays
Wisdom of Plato Negro, Parables,Fables
Memoir of Eldridge Cleaver, My Friend the Devil
How to Recover from the Addiction to White Supremacy
Son of Man, proverbs
Woman, Man's Best Friend, proverbs,poems, parables, songs
Somethin' Proper, autobiography


If you would like to support the writing projects of Marvin X, please donate any amount to my campaign, e.g., $1.00, $5.00, $100.00, $1000.00, $10,000. Your contribution can be tax deductible. 

Marvin X has given over a half century of his life to the Black Arts/Black Liberation Movement. He has endured exile, jail, prison, barred from teaching at universities and colleges, hated and despised by black reactionaries and white supremacists, pseudo white liberals and undercover Zionists.  Yet, he remains tenacious, indefatigable and peripatetic.  

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