Truth will not make you rich, but it will make you free.
--Francis Bacon

Black Bird Press News


Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Marvin X receives 1st Annual Pillar Award at Oakland's Pan African Family Festival, Mosswood Park, Labor Day

Congratulations Marvin X for receiving the 1st Annual Pillar Award for your Eldership and tireless work and pioneering spirit in the Black Arts and Black Power movement, thank you for introducing Eldridge Cleaver to Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale, thank you for sharing your journey and testimonies, thank you for teaching us how to fight institutionalized racism and white supremacy with your strong example of self-determination through Black Bird Press, thank you moving forward to educate the masses through theater and poetry even after you got 'White Listed' from professorship in the UC System because you taught THE TRUTH, thank you for rising from the jaws of Cointelpro like a Phoenix to continue the struggle!!! We Stand Strong on your Legacy. Bless you Baba Marvin X. Ase, 
-Toussaint Haki Stewart with the Elder Zone.

Marvin  X to be honored at Los Angeles Black Book Expo 
September 13, 2014
"Congratulations! Marvin X, you have been nominated to receive the LABBX Spoken Worlds Pavilion Humanitarian Award of the Year, for unlimited service to the community of Poetry and Spoken Word, educating and enlightening seekers of Truth. For your poignant and insightful works benefiting humanity and for your tireless search for Truth, Justice and Clarity of Thought."--Denise Lyles-Cook, Director,
LABBX Spoken Worlds Pavilion

Monday, September 1, 2014

Russia and America at War in Ukraine--Putin dangles Nuclear War threat

Ukraine Crisis: Putin Dangles Nuclear War Threat

US Senators Advise Sending Defensive Weapons

By Esther Tanquintic-Misa | September 1, 2014 11:21 AM EST
US senators have advised sending defensive weapons to Ukraine so the latter can fight off pro-Russian rebels as President Vladimir Putin dangled the threat of nuclear war.
REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) walks past U.S. President Barack Obama (C) during a group photo at the G20 Summit in St. Petersburg September 6, 2013. At top left is British Prime Minister David Cameron.
Robert Menendez, head of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Senator John McCain and Representative Mike Rogers, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, all believe the U.S. must help Ukraine in its sovereignty war against Russia.
Menendez told CNN Ukrainians must be provided with defensive weapons that will make a dent on Russia's ambition to seize the country.

More importantly, give Ukraine the weapons they need so they can fight, McCain told CBS's Face the Nation.
On Friday, Ukraine's volunteer fighters expressed dismay over their seeming non-winning stance against the enemy. They said they can hardly sustain the fight against the better equipped pro-Russian rebels what with the latter's armaments and military tanks compared to their "small arms and a few RPGs (rocket propelled grenade launchers)."
But Mr Putin warned Ukraine's defenders to lay easy on meddling with their affairs, lest Russia be triggered to unleash its most important weapon.
"I want to remind you that Russia is one of the most powerful nuclear nations," the Russian president said. "This is a reality, not just words."
Speaking at a youth forum, Mr Putin said Moscow does not have intentions to go into "large-scale conflicts." But a report by state-run Itar-Tass quoted him telling the same audience that Russia is "strengthening our nuclear deterrence forces and our armed forces" to make them more efficient and modernised.
Thus, "it is better not to come against Russia."
Ukrainian volunteer battalions said the enemy fighters have dug up artillery positions in eastern Ukraine ready to fully seize the region. NATO, based on satellite images, alleged there are over 1,000 Russian soldiers already inside Ukraine. Britain, meantime, said Russia has moved 4,000 to 5,000 military personnel into the sovereign nation.
Latest data released by the United Nations revealed at least 2,593 people have died in war-torn eastern Ukraine since the conflict began in April. An average 36 people die each day.
Meantime, leaders of the European Union threatened Russia with a new round of maximum sanctions if it does not back down on its intentions to invade and seize Ukraine.
The sanctions, however, won't be really a new list but more of tightening the restrictions already imposed in July on Russia's financial, energy, and defence sectors.
"It's totally unacceptable that there are Russian soldiers on Ukrainian soil," British Prime Minister David Cameron said. "If [Russia] carries on in this way, the relationship between Europe and Russia, Britain and Russia, America and Russia will be radically different in the future."
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Marshall Allen and Sun Ra's Arkestra in London


Marshall Allen - portrait by Fabio Lugaro
Photo by Fabio Lugaro
Monday 16 June 2014, 8pm

Tuesday 17 June 2014, 8pm

Wednesday 25 June 2014, 8pm

Thursday 26 June 2014, 8pm

A pleasure as ever to welcome back one of the greatest big bands of all time - The Sun Ra Arkestra. This year marks the centenary of Sun Ra's birth and these four nights promise to be a very special celebration of one of the greats. Operating under the direction of saxophonist Marshall Allen - who himself is celebrating his 90th year, the Arkestra have made Cafe OTO their home in London and this will be their sixth residency here. With such a massive, joyous songbook and the kind of well organised chaos that sees their legendary 3 hour sets move deftly between rolling grooves, sing-along chants and atonal blasts of mischievous brass the Arkestra never disappoint.
"Resplendent in sparkling red robes, Allen commanded the stage from front left, orchestrating, directing, and choosing soloists. He was full of energy at 85 years old, and needed it as the Arkestra presented two typically far reaching sets totaling nearly 165 minutes" - AllAboutJazz

Marshall Allen / director, alto sax, flute
Tara Middleton / vocal
Vincent Chancey / flugelhorn
Cecil Brooks / trumpet 
Knoel Scott / vocal, saxes, dance
Charles Davis / tenor sax
Danny Ray Thompson / baritone sax
Dave Davis / trombone
Farid Barron / piano
Dave Hotep / electr. guitar
Stanley Morgan / congas, perc
Elson Nascimento / perc, surdo
Tyler Mitchell / bass
Wayne Anthony Smith Jr. / drums


Sun Ra was one of the greatest and least known jazz artists of the last four decades, whose influence on diverse musicians is little known to the general public. A pianist and band leader, his style ranged from retro swing to avant free, and often in the same piece. His band could play a swinging Gershwin tune and almost imperceptibly soar into their free cosmic equational tones as if they possessed a single mind. 

Ra was a keyboard improviser of great originality, but his foremost talent was for inspiring and teaching creative musicians to improvise freely but together. This tension between freedom and coherence was something he explored with abundant energy and skill. 

Sun Ra died in 1993. The Arkestra performs today, under the direction of alto saxophonist Marshall Allen. 


Photo above by Fabio Lugaro 

As a young musician, Marshall Belford Allen (b. May 25, 1924) performed with pianist Art Simmons, Don Byas and James Moody before enrolling in the Paris Conservatory of Music. After relocating to Chicago, Allen became a pupil of Sun Ra, subsequently joining the Arkestra in 1958 and leading Sun Ra's formidable reed section for the next 40 years. Marshall, along with John Gilmore, June Tyson and James Jacson, lived, rehearsed, toured and recorded with Sun Ra almost exclusively for much of Sun Ra's musical career. As a member of the Arkestra, Allen pioneered the Free Jazz movement of the early sixties, having remarkable influence on the leading voices in the avant-garde. He is featured on over 200 Sun Ra recordings in addition to collaborations with Phish, Sonic Youth, Digable Planets and Medeski, Martin & Wood. 

Allen assumed the position of Arkestra Musical Director in 1995, following the ascension of Sun Ra in 1993 and John Gilmore in 1995. Marshall continues to be committed to the study, research, and development of Sun Ra's musical precepts and has launched the Sun Ra Arkestra into a dimension beyond that of mere "ghost" band by writing fresh arrangements of Sun Ra's music, as well as composing new music and arrangement for the Arkestra. He works unceasingly to keep the big-band tradition alive. 

Marvin X honored at Oakland's Pan-African Family Reunion

It's that time of year again! Our PAN AFRICAN FAMILY REUNION is right around the corner on LABOR DAY, MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 1, 2014 ( Click Here for Facebook Invitation) and we can't wait to celebrate our beautiful lives together with you. 

Our PAN AFRICAN FAMILY REUNION is a free day of sunshine in the park with a great variety of music, live art, dancing, and games for adults and kids alike. This is an event like no other set to purify our souls and reinvigorate us with the promise of our bright future! We serve free lunch from 12pm-2pm, have arts, crafts and food vendors, performances, and a full day of hanging out with friends and family. 

This year has been more expensive then any past year, mostly because permit and fee costs have gone up for us. We really need your help covering some of these expenses to keep this event successful year after year. PLEASE GIVE WHAT YOU CAN, WHETHER THAT IS $3 OR $100. Every dollar helps. 

We aim to make every year better than the last and look forward to celebrating this year with you!

Your Brothers and Sisters. 
Afrocentric Oakland

P.S. Poet, activist, scholar, essayist, organizer, publisher Marvin X will be among the elders honored at this years festival.

Friday, August 29, 2014

California town running out of drinking water

Residents of East Porterville, 


Running Out of Drinking Water

By Sean Breslin Published: Aug 25, 2014, 2:59 PM EDT
00:02 / 00:58

Entire Town Running Out of Water

Few events in a drought are as frightening and helpless as a town beginning to run out of drinking water.
But as California's severe, long-term drought worsens, that's exactly what's happening in East Porterville, a town north of Bakersfield in Tulare County. According to the Porterville Recorder, 182 of 1,400 or so homes in the area have reported no water or some kind of water issue.
Government officials and community groups told the Associated Press it's because most of these homes have individual wells that supply their drinking water, and those wells are drying up because of the drought. Since then, residents have mostly been relying on a county-supplied, 5,000-gallon water tank for their drinking water, the report adds, but that was only designed to be a temporary fix.
"I grew up here, I've never seen this many people out of water," said Supervisor Mike Ennis in a Fresno Bee report.
Residents whose wells haven't run dry have been asked by authorities to limit water usage for fears there might not be much left, and the Fresno Bee report also said emergency crews have been going door-to-door to make water deliveries, 12 gallons at a time.
This is all occurring in a county named the state's "Welfare Capital" by the Los Angeles Times in 2011. Many of the area's residents are poor, which makes it all but impossible for them to spend upwards of $15,000 to drill a new hole for their wells, Think Progress reports.
The solution is likely to come in the form of federal grants to help residents pay for water purchases, the AP also reported. Because so much of East Porterville is living in poverty, and because water contamination has been a problem in the past, a $1 million grant has been approved to provide free bottled water to children, reports
But it doesn't solve all of East Porterville's water woes, and if California doesn't get much-needed rainfall soon, other towns could be running dry, too.
All of California remains in a drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. As of last week's survey, 58 percent of the state is in exceptional drought, the worst level of drought on the U.S. Drought Monitor's scale.
MORE ON WEATHER.COM: The Effect of California's Drought on Waterways

The Green Bridge passes over full water levels at a section of Lake Oroville near the Bidwell Marina on July 20, 2011, in Oroville, California. (Paul Hames/California Department of Water Resources/Getty Images)

Pan African Theatre: Egypt denies it attacked Libya

Egypt denies role in air attacks in Libya

US says it believes Egypt and UAE attacked rebels in Tripoli, a claim Cairo denies saying it respects the will of Libya.

Last updated: 26 Aug 2014 19:10

Egypt has denied any role in air attacks in Libya, as the US said it believed Cairo worked with the UAE to attack rebels in the capital Tripoli.

The US government on Tuesday said it believed the UAE and Egypt carried out raids in Libya, a day after the New York Times quoted unnamed officials as saying the same.

Egypt's foreign minister Sameh Shoukry said his country was not involved "in any military activity and it does not have any military presence on Libyan territories".

"We respect the Libyan people's will represented by the parliament and all its decisions."
An Emirati official told the AFP news agency on Tuesday that his country had "no reaction" to such reports.

Separately, the US, France, Germany, Italy and the UK gave warning against "outside interference" in Libya, saying it "exacerbates current divisions and undermines Libya's democratic transition".

"France, Germany, Italy, the UK and the US strongly condemn the escalation of fighting and violence in and around Tripoli, Benghazi, and across Libya, ... by both land attacks and air strikes."

Bernardino Leon, the newly appointed UN envoy to Libya, said that he opposed foreign intervention as a strategy to halt the crisis in the country. 

But the Spaniard added that Libya needs international support to back "Libyans who want to fight chaos ... through a political proces".

The air raids in Tripoli may have been a bid to prevent the capture of the Tripoli airport, but fighters later seized control.

Former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi was overthrown in 2011 by rebels backed by US, French and British air power.
Al Jazeera and agencies

2nd US Islamist fighter killed in Syria

Reports: 2nd U.S. Islamist fighter killed in Syria