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.
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 email@example.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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or (510) 255–5579
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.
I don’t claim no sect
We don’t do that round here
My wife and God the only things I fear.
My shoes; nigga you couldn’t take two steps,
Check a ghetto near you, they know my rep.
Been in a lot of major cities, done did a lot of time
Charge it to the game, I lived a life of crime.
Never been a rat I’m a stand up guy.
As for that other nigga he was dropping them dimes.
Took my shyt on the chin cause I’m truly a soldier
No regrets, I’m a man; thug it out til it’s over.
Three hots and a cot thats the sum of my existence
Nothing to it but to do it;
Ain’t no need in bitching.
They say you only do two days
Your first and your last,
Well you can tell whoever said that they can kiss my ass.
I did errday, a nigga wasn’t cut no slack,
Prosecuted and penalized when I went on the attack.
Didn’t ask for no breaks cause wasn’t none being given,
Only goal I had was to continue living.
Surrounded by dope fiends, crazy folks and even a few killers,
Chomo’s & homo’s and of course the squealers.
Year after year this was my fate,
Engulfed in a world misery and hate.
You ask does crime pay and I say hell yeah!
The niggaz playing the game is all you have to fear.
This is a poem to which I lost the Poetess contact information. I even lost the title to the poem. But nevertheless, it’s a piece, with such rawness, it had to be published.
Who got those concrete balls?
The kind that aint scared to let em hang…
Not the ones thats tuckd n they ass.
Im talkn bout courage… ‘ lion balls’.
Where r the brave, secured, strong men at.
Do yo balls hang low?
Can they wobble to the floor?
Can u tie em n a knot?
Can u tie em n a bow?
Can u throw em over yo shoulder like a continental soldier?
Do yo balls hang low?
Where they at?
Where the kings of the jungle at?
Ima strong cat…Lion tamer lol but where r the real strong kings at?
Not these ol water down… sugar n the corner of they tanks ass cats . Assumin only they know bout the sweet water n them.
I like the pure… no additives no perservatives.
One mo time where the cats at that balls hang real low?
who aint scared to b my king of things.
So where oh where?
by Author Unknown but looking for her (contact us)
This is a step away from the norm,
Not just your everyday poem.
This is the tale of one guy
Who really was “about that life!”
Im talking cash & cars
Drugs, guns, & broads!
Anything & everybody had a price tag,
The money came in by the garbage bag!
But what about the other side of the game?
The part where niggaz is dropping your name!
Telling the cops where your moms live & shyt,
Giving up the spot where you hiding them bricks!
Got caught up in a little
Couldn’t hold his own like a man.
Now, he solemnly swearing on the stand!
Suprise, suprise! Its your best friend!
Now,you headed up state to hug that cot,
Even Johnny Cochran would’ve told you to take that cop!
25 muthafuckin years go figure!
That’s what I got for being the realest nigga!
Do we poison
Our blue skies
Do we put toxins
In the seas that wash
In with the tides
Do we cut down
The trees that without
We can’t breath
All in the name of
Money and greed
There must be
Another way I sigh
There must be
A way to save
Because if the
Our lands will
And our seas
Will be spent.
Because in this
Day and age
I find it hard
That we can’t fix
In such scientific times
Not one answer
Or one solution
I don’t understand
There is so much confusion
Are we blind
To see the wool
Pulled over our eyes
Are walking towards
Our own end like
No one to defend
The same old trends
I will take the first step
Back to reality I just
Wish the whole word
Would follow me
Because then we
All would be free
And the world we live in
Will come alive and
For future generations
They will go on and thrive.
by Keely Bryant