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.