Tag Archives: African American Poetry

Minster King X’s “Peace of Pye,” featuring American Prisoner Artist C-Note

On March 10th of 2020, Minster King X released on YouTube, the six minute music video Peace of Pye. It was produced by Kim Pollak, Editor-in-chief of the California Prison Focus, with commentary by American prisoner artist C-Note. All three are doing work as delegates for the Principal Thinkers of the 2011 and 2013 California Prison Hunger Strikes. These strikes, along with the Principal Thinkers’, Agreement to End All Hostilities throughout the California prison system and jails, is what ended the California Department of Corrections & Rehabilitation’s (CDCR), more-than-a-century use of long-term solitary confinement.

Peace of Pye as the working title, is a play on the work Minister King X was doing behind the prison walls. King in the mid-90s was an Oakland-based rapper known as Pyeface, and was registered with Highside Records. However, his rap career abruptly came to an end when he was sentenced to do time in the Feds and in California. He spent a total of 24 years behind bars, six years in Federal prisons, and 18 in California maximum security prisons. His principal conflict with California prison officials was his peaceful organizing around prison conditions. Pyeface, as he was predominantly known throughout the prison systems, was also affectionately nicknamed The George Jackson of Rapp. Peace of Pye is a provocative work of contemporary Hip Hop that has been seeping out from behind the prison walls. It is a mix of still life photos and video. In the first half, King narrates us through his journey in the prison system and the psychological warfare tactics the system uses; to the returning citizen who takes the lessons learned inside, and uses them to bring positive change to his community and to society writ large; all the while, never forgetting to honor the dignified individuals he meet inside. The second half concludes with a musical track and lyrics that will have listeners up on their feet, shaking their hips, screaming, “Vote’em Out! Vote’em Out!…..Vote’em Out! Vote’em Out!” It is a part of his strategy of using voter restoration and the power of art as a means to bring the death nails to mass incarceration.

[Editor’s Note]: Min. King X recently returned home after 18 years in California Maximum Security Prisons. He is a Hip Hop artist, writer, actor, director, founder of prison-based Anti-Hostility Group K.A.G.E. Universal and Co-Director of California Prison Focus, seeking support to grow a movement through education, culture and arts.

He is seeking support for his K.A.G.E. to the Stage programs including the production of a revolutionary theater production. To support his efforts, send tax deductible donations designated to K.A.G.E. Theater Productions to California Prison Focus, 4408 Market St., Ste. A, Oakland, CA 94608 or on-line at prisons.org.

For more information on Min. King X or K.A.G.E. Universal, visit http://www.prisons.org/speakers/37 or follow Min. King X on Facebook or Instragram: @minkingwilliam]

For more on Donald “C-Note” Hooker visit: https://darealprisonart.wordpress.com/2016/12/01/featured-artist-donald-c-note-hooker/amp/

To follow what’s happening in California prisons directly from those who are most impacted, subscribe to Prison Focus newspaper at prisons.org or follow California Prison Focus. Instagram: @caprisonfocus Facebook: @californiaprisonfocus Twitter: @CAprisonfocus Video Produced by Kim Pollak of California Prison Focus.

Oakland’s Free Poetry Fest

February is Black History Month, and the 29th Celebration of African American Poets and Their Poetry at the Oakland Public Library’s West Oakland Branch.

This year’s theme, “Black Migration,” coincides with the 2019 theme of Dr. Carter G. Woodson’s Association for the Study of African American Life and History (Established in 1915). ASLAH’s 2019 theme “Black Migration,” emphasizes the movement of people of African descent to new destinations and subsequently to new social realities. While inclusive of earlier centuries, this theme focuses especially on the twentieth century through today. Beginning in the early decades of the twentieth century, African American migration patterns included relocation from southern farms to southern cities; from the South to the Northeast, Midwest, and West; from the Caribbean to U.S. cities, as well as to migrant labor farms; and the emigration of noted African Americans to Africa, and cities in Europe, such as Paris and London after the end of World War I and II. Such migrations resulted in a more diverse and stratified interracial and intra-racial urban population, amidst a changing social milieu, such as the rise of the Garvey movement in New York, Detroit, and New Orleans; the emergence of both Black industrial workers and Black entrepreneurs; the growing number and variety of urban churches and new religions; new music forms like ragtime, blues, and jazz, white backlash as in the Red Summer of 1919; the blossoming of visual and literary arts, as in New York, Washington DC, Chicago, and Paris in the 1910s and 1920s. The theme “Black Migration” equally lends itself to the exploration of the century’s later decades from spatial and social perspectives, with attention to “new” African Americans because of the burgeoning African and Caribbean population in the US; Northern African Americans returning to the South; racial suburbanization; inner-city hyperghettoization; health and environment; civil rights and protest activism; electoral politics; mass incarceration; and dynamic cultural production.

The event is free to all, and while featured presenters were selected in mid-January, there will be an open mic for those interested in participating. Artwork displayed by local artists always adds an important, interesting and colorful element to the celebration.

In the 29-years since the events inception, many poets have graced it’s stage. Participants have ranged in ages from 8 to 80, some now adults and in college, others, now parents with children. Music, dance, and costumes have enhanced past performances as each participant shares her or his unique style, including poets performing in ensemble. Published writers, award-winning authors, and brand new poets reading their work in public for the first time have graced the stage. Oftentimes, the most moving recitals, were from poets who had never recited their work in public

before. If anyone has photos or footage from the past 29-years, please contact event founder Ms. Wanda Sabir at info@wandaspicks.com or leave a message for Ms. Sabir at (510) 255–5579. She would love to have the opportunity to make copies of your material.

The event, Saturday, February 2nd, 2019, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Oakland Public Library, West Oakland Branch’s Multi-Purpose Room is free to all and includes refreshments donated by many local vendors. Besides poetry, event planners would love to incorporate anyone who wants to volunteer, such as help with refreshments, the setting up of chairs, and any other pre or post behind-the-scenes work. If someone from the community knows a TV station that would be interested in broadcasting the event, event planners would be most interested in making this a reality. Also YouTubers, and other social media influencers, are most welcomed to share this event on their platform.

Event: 29th Celebration of African American Poets and Their Poetry

Date: Saturday, February 2, 2019

Time: 1pm-4pm

Location: Oakland Public Library, West Oakland Branch, Multi-Purpose Room

Contact: Oakland Public Library, West Oakland Branch; 1801 Adeline Street, Oakland, CA 94607 (510) 238–7352; Ms. Wanda Sabir info@wandaspicks.com or (510) 255–5579

[Editor’s Note]:

The Celebration of African American Poets and Their Poetry is the brainchild of Bay Area community activist, Wanda Ali Batin Sabir. Ms. Wanda Sabir holds a BA in Humanistic Studies from Holy Names College, and a MA in Writing from the University of San Francisco. Professor Sabir has taught English at various Bay Area colleges and has developed college-level English curriculum for multi-tiered Educational Systems both public and private throughout the Bay Area. She has been the art editor at the San Francisco Bay View for over 20 years, and a freelance journalist for theatre, music, dance, visual arts, as well as giving literary reviews both local and national. She can be heard on her radio show Wanda’s Picks http://wandaspicks.com/radio/ and her awards and activism are far too lengthy to be communicated in a single article.