And for an activist success story, read this book excerpt by Lawerence Hamm and Annette Alston, courtesy of Jared Ball’s imixwhatilike.org.
I’m listening to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo now as I type, telling me how long COVID can stick on surfaces and hang in the air. He’s become my daily obsession. The Mumia Abu-Jamal event I’m waiting for is a little less than four hours ahead.
Still meditating on what happened just a couple of hours ago. I opened the front door, unmasked, waiting for my Whole Foods delivery, and immediately saw a sanitation worker–Friday is Garbage Day in our ward–in distress. Something powderish (?) had spilled on his face while working on our block, and he was less than panicked but more than disturbed.
He asked for warm water and soap and, thanks to me and the homeowner, Annette Alston, we quickly compiled.
Coming back out, I hear a voice to my right yell, “Amazon!” Delivery Dude is peeping the happenin’, so he quickly drops my bags at the foot of the stairs (social distancing, rigghht) and does a great imitation of Ricochet Rabbit. Annette hands me my mask to wear–after all, I’m now in close proximity to two people–and for the first time since the Apocolopyse, I wear it. I’ve been inside the house for weeks, writing my Mumia bio–only leaving the house to take out the garbage–so I hadn’t fully accepted this reality until I finally yielded to Paul Lawrence Dunbar.
Cuomo is talking now about an “economic tsunami” and is daring Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky) to allow states to declare bankruptcy legally. “I dare you to do that!”
I really felt for the Sanitation Brother, an Essential Worker. This is not the time to be dealing with unknown substances. What was on his face? Oh, man…..
A neighbor from across the street is checking from her window, asking about his welfare. (Newark is a small town that, paradoxically and correctly, looks like a Big Ghetto from the outside.)
“What did we learn?” Cuomo is asking.
As a “lifelong student of Black media” (a quote from my bio), it’s fascinating how fast we have Zoomed along. We were well along the road to becoming our own Black public-affairs shows via Facebook Live before the drip-blip, but it’ll be interesting to see how much of Black America will just junk prepared broadcast packages altogether for the live and interactive, the digital harambee. (Meanwhile, The Afro-American newspaper is trying to hold on, having laid off 25 percent of its staff.) I like to approach the study and teaching of media history from many perspectives, and one is from the changing of habits. Are we, slowly and eventually, the “B-SPAN” (Black C-SPAN) I’ve/we’ve been looking for?
Cuomo reads a letter from a Kansas farmer who has sent a mask for a New York health worker. “God Bless America,” Cuomo declared, who is not, he keeps saying, running for president. 🙂
Now he’s talking about taking versus giving. I’m glad Annette and I were able to help the brother. In this time of fear and uncertainty, our community is standing steady. He thanked me as, of course, we are all thanking them.
1) Now everyone will see Newark the way I see it: as a small town. Treating it as a “small town with deadly secrets” was amusing. It is a place where, if you ride a bus or sit somewhere and be quiet, you will hear Old Heads talk about their time with The Nation. Now I finally understand why, in a city where historically you can get killed for looking at someone wrong, Bradley was able to walk around untouched. You also now know that we, as a group, care more about collective, community advancement than ideology and argument: the comment by Newark Mayor Ras Baraka that he learned from his father to “leave that alone because that won’t advance our cause” is classic Newark. Congrats to my brother, Baba Zayid Muhammad, for his honesty in this documentary. He educated me a lot about what this Black Power city is still like. I absolutely believe that Newark “got there first” in Black Power zealotry.
2) Continuing with Newark: why would Bradley be in Booker’s Newark mayor campaign commercial? Why would New Jersey Lt. Gov. Shelia Oliver be at Bradley’s funeral when she knew?!? Point-blank, Newark is a community service city, and all the community servants know each other. If you do “change your life around” and “do something positive,” particularly for our youth, we wipe your slate clean. That how we be. If Bradley had killed, say, Rahim Johnson, it wouldn’t even be brought up.
3) Last Newark note: I love the irony of Bradley’s high school being eventually being renamed after Malcolm. 🙂
4) It was extremely annoying that Peter Goldman, who wrote 85 percent of this documentary’s content back in the 1970s (!!!!!), was almost invisible, blotted out. The only thing more annoying is that Baba Zak Kondo was “second historical bananna” to David Garrow–this documentary’s Obi-Wan Kenobi. Kondo should have been the main voice here, and his wrap-up almost redeems this time-waster.
5) The big winner here was WABC-TV, who clearly sold a lot of footage. (Why did the documentarians keep misdating that Talmadge Hayer interview as 1970? That was very annoying and needs to be fixed!) See how great “Like It Is” was, folks outside of New York? Today I am very proud to have a doctoral dissertation that has a small part devoted to it. I will appreciate this Nextflix series forever if it leads to the show finally getting archived.
6) The “search” for Bradley was ridiculous stagecraft. And where were articles like these, since Bradley was so difficult to find? LOL! This program could have easily been cut by three hours. The phony drama should have been replaced with more on the Ali-Malcolm schism. That deserves its own doc or movie.
7) And speaking of future MX media products, my vote for the next movie or documentary needs to be solely based on his extraordinary travel diary. The fact that Malcolm tried to unify the African-Muslim world–and that he chose to return to America when he had choices to possibly stay alive longer–is a story that desperately needs to be told.
8) Um, where was this part? Did I miss it when I was in the bathroom? Did I miss any mention of the Minister? What’s going on? And if Goldman and Kondo were read so carefully, why didn’t Obi-Wan tell Luke that the FBI reported that Louis X was at the Newark mosque on the day of the assassination?!?
9) This could have been a lot worse, seeing that Henry Louis “Skip” Gates was the exec producer and Manning Marable’s wife a consultant. At least this is better than Spike’s treatment. This puts Spike’s movie in the fiction category the way Marable’s disastrous bio, at its best, put The Autobiography in that same category.
……can be found here.
Bashir Akinyele is one of those veteran revolutionaries that Newark is proud to consistently produce. He is a grassroots activist, a committed public high school history teacher, and a serious thinker.
He sent the following out this afternoon. It’s about why he thinks Newarkers should re-elect Ras Baraka as mayor.
The Meaning of Mayor Ras J. Baraka
On May 8, 2018, Black people, Brown people, and Newarkers of all races will go to the polls for the Mayoral election in Newark, NJ.
The two candidates are Central Ward Councilwoman Gayle Chaneyfield Jenkins and incumbent Mayor Ras J. Baraka.
Hands down, Mayor Ras J. Baraka is the most progressive candidate of the two. In fact, he is the most progressive elected official in the state of New Jersey.
Although many of my progressive, revolutionary, pan-Afrikanist, Afrocentric, Black nationalist, and liberal brothers and sister have not come forward on a mass level to give our people a proper analysis of what Mayor Ras J. Baraka’s campaign for re-election in Newark, N.J. means to Black people, oppressed people and for Newarkers, I am not like them, family.
I have been taught and trained better than that in this struggle for self-determination, liberation and power. I understand what a Black leader and a Black elected official is and is not, and the science of electoral politics are in this world.
If you are a progressive, revolutionary, pan-Afrikanist, Afrocentric, Black nationalist, and liberal brother and sister, you still understand that liberation will not come from an elected official or electoral politics! Liberation only comes organically from the masses of the oppressed!
When we have real Black leaders, they lead in the battle to help Black people and oppressed people struggle independently for power. Real Black leaders continuously keep Black elected officials and the system of electoral politics accountable to the people. However, like Malcolm X taught us, we only use Black elected officials and the science of electoral politics as a tool to protect Black and oppressed people’s interests period (e.g., controlling the school board, controlling the police department, controlling city hall, controlling the fire department, etc.)! But Malcolm X also taught us that if we do not have a mass movement to force a Black elected official and the electoral system to support us, then the Black elect official and the electoral system will sell us out whole sale!!! And for the record, many Black officials and the electoral political system have sold Black people and oppressed people out. But Newark Mayor Ras J. Baraka has not sold Black and oppressed people out, family!!!!
You see, you must understand something about brother Bashir Muhammad Akinyele: I am a well studied Blackman and Muslim. I have been a community activist for over 30 years. I know that Newark was home to the following: two Black Power conventions, the Black and Puerto Rican Convention, the Congress of Afrikan People, the Committee for a Unified Newark, Black Nia F.O.R.C.E, and the Hip Hop Political Convention. Many of these movements were organized by the Barakas (Daddy, Momma, and sons).
I also know that Mayor Ras J. Baraka has said over and over again, ” Please hold me accountable.” And some people in Newark have done just that, family. But others have gone overboard with their criticisms of the mayor. Why? Because they do not care about the masses. They are not connected to a movement! These people only care about themselves, family! At the same time, I know that some of these people, who are overly critical people, are very misinformed about the issues. On the other hand, others are straight-up informants and government agents!!!
In conclusion, I have met some of the greatest Black and Muslim leaders in the world! I know a sellout from a stand up Blackman or Blackwoman.
Let’s be clear: Mayor Ras J. Baraka is not a Black leader any more, fam. He is an elected official now. However, his ideology and elected office are rooted in helping to provide resources, support, and the protection of our Black and Brown, and Newark’s interests!
Therefore, based on his track record thus far, he has demonstrated that he is not a sellout. He is good for Muslims, Christians, Jews, Black people, Latino people, poor people, gay and lesbian people, poor Whites, working class people, union members, and all Newarkers.
Black Power! All Power to the People! Free the Land! Uhuru! Habari Gani! Hotep! As Salaamu Alaykum!
Bashir Muhammad Akinyele
Educator, Community Activist
I just got this today from the author, a former colleague of mine:
The Encyclopedia of Newark Jazz, set for release in late May, is Barbara Kukla’s sixth book about the people of Newark and its rich history. Her previous books include Swing City: Newark Nightlife, 1925-50, and America’s Music: Jazz in Newark.
Kukla’s latest work includes more than 300 capsule biographies of Newark jazz musicians and singers, most with photos. There are more than 400 photographs in all, many of which are historic, and a wealth of flyers, including one for an appearance by John Coltrane at a city club in 1950.
Newark’s own, Sarah Vaughan, one of the world’s most legendary jazz singers, is featured on the cover with James Moody, whose career is celebrated each November at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, and the blues and jazz singer Miss Rhapsody (1902-84) to whom the book is dedicated.
“Most jazz books tend to be repetitive, so I try to dig up new stuff about artists like Sarah, Moody, Wayne Shorter and Woody Shaw,” Kukla says. “This time I interviewed Sarah’s sister and Moody’s widow; former Newark Mayor Ken Gibson, who played in a band with Wayne Shorter in his youth, and Clem Moorman, who still performs professionally at age 101. He’s the father of singer Melba Moore .
Kukla worked at The Star-Ledger for 38 years, most of that time as editor of the popular “Newark This Week” section. For information about the book or to schedule a talk, contact the author at email@example.com or (973) 325-370. The book is $29.99 per copy.