Portraits & Poems
Part I

presented by Fountainhead® Tanz Theatre

 

See Portraits & Poems Part II
HOLOCAUST

 

Please consult
People, Places, Neighbors and Things

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

 

Love from My Father
by Carole Gregory Clemmons

Poetry - Black Youth Program -For Superstars -Forever Under
by Oscar Brown Jr.

DOUBLEDUTCH - Concerning The Swing of Things
by Oscar Brown Jr.

DOUBLEDUTCH - Vom Schwung der Dinge
von Oscar Brown Jr.

Reflections on Malcolm X in 1992
by Dr. Abdul Alkalimat

Elegy for the Seventh Son
by Robert Earl Price

For Malcolm X
by Margaret Walker

How Poets Make Money
by Martin Newell

Interview - DANCE - Past, Present, Future - Mr. Robertjohn Lange

Conversation - YOUNG VOICES - Marcus Sonnemann

Mottoes

 

Paul Robeson and W.E.B. DuBois

Prof. Gayle McKinney GriffithArthur Mitchell

John W. Griffith

Love from My Father

Left like water in glasses overnight
in a cold house,
iced children are fierce.
They see fathers slobbering, staggering
into the living room chair
and race through his pockets for nickels and quarters.
The cold gives the children pneumonia and sends
red balloons tied to hospital beds, and
a caseworker to turn the heat on.
There are many gifts,
other drunks sleep in thrown paper
and green wine bottles behind billboards
but my father brings fresh glazed donuts in a white bag.

Carole Gregory Clemmons (1945- )

 

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Oscar Brown Jr.

BLACK YOUTH PROGRAM

by Oscar Brown Jr.

Permanent Black Underclass
In an unsuccessful mass
Prejudice will not let pass
Without kicking in the ass

You see how the system runs
Realize there are few funds
Allocated for your buns
Except to provide more guns

Weapons with which you get shot
By each other, like as not
Or by the police who plot
To see you stay on the spot

So you can be held by force
Sentenced by contemptuous courts
Jailed in barred, barbed wire resorts
Measures governments endorse

Governments that make you pay
Without having too much to say
In the policies that they
Formulate from day to day

Underclass can afford
No political reward
So, of course, you are ignored
By the great white overlord

Being permanently down
You remain where you are found
On the shabby side of town
Deep in squalor, tightly bound

Not included in the pot
Not about to have a shot
At what other folks have got
Sentenced to be a "have not”

Born to be a welfare case
To stay in your "proper place”
While the system defecates
On a populace it wastes

You are destined to remain
Hooked on booze and crack cocaine
Narcotics to kill the pain
As your life goes down the drain

But how does your being black
Justify racist attack?
And why must black people lack
Coins white people get to stack?

Why should you be satisfied
With always being denied
Anything that might provide
Great prosperity and pride?

What more do you have to lose
By resisting such abuse
For which there is no excuse
And no talk of any truce?

The United States must know
That given no chance to grow
You who are restricted so
Have only one way to go

If your state is "permanent”
It is evidently meant
Your entire life will be spent
In perpetual descent

It must be, undoubtedly
United States policy
To oppose you solidly
Should you seek equality

So the system must beware
And in every way prepare
To resist if you should dare
Try to gain a greater share

In a capitalist state
Where it always was your fate
To be subject to race hate
How much longer can you wait?

To what party can you turn
From what teacher will you learn
To gain goals for which you yearn
But are not allowed to earn?

from left: James Baldwin, Mikell, Oscar Brown Jr., Barbara Harris

Little do you have at hand
To gain goals you may have planned
If you do not start to stand
Under your own strong command

As a class you must unite
To confront your funky plight
So that through your combined might
You can undertake a fight

Using weapons you can wield
That will force your foes to yield
And go flying from the field
With their weaknesses revealed

First you have to recognize
Blackness is itself a prize
Full of prowess none denies
Upon which to capitalize

That's why Africans were sought
By white slavers, hunted, caught
Shackled and in bondage brought
To where you're still sold and bought

In your African physique
Lies the power that you seek
You have talents quite unique
An overwhelming mystique

Talents in which you display
Excellence from day to day
Entertaining fan so they
Look upon you in dismay

You have always had a trait
You uniquely demonstrate
An excitement to create
Others recognize as great

When it all is said and done
Measured by its force for fun
What black champions have done
Must be rated number one

It's you on whom all depend
To come up with a hip trend
Or cause fashions to extend
Out toward their stylish end

But you still don't have control
Over body mind and soul
You do not collect the toll
In the entrepreneur's role

You cannot become the boss
On coins other people toss
Always subject to great loss
And the dirty double cross

Only when you find you can
Be your own woman or man
And with others make a plan
Beneficial to your clan

Learn to exercise the force
With which you can open doors
And receive for all you chores
That which rightfully is yours

That is when you will begin
To wage battles you can win
To control the fight you're in
Change the way its always been

Oscar Brown Jr.

One difficulty you face
Is to organize you race
Against the black self it hates
Overcome its slavish traits

Study history's evidence
Of African excellence
Learn of its accomplishments
Pay your forebears compliments

Build up a morale that's strong
Celebrate yourselves in song
Sing your praises loud and long
And sic righteousness on wrong

Look into your soul's design
Realize you are divine
And then let your virtue shine
As your words and deeds combine

There's no devil you defeat
When you lie and steal and cheat
Misuse, abuse or mistreat
Other people you may meet

Noble words and righteous deeds
Are what everybody needs
A creative force that leads
Races, nations, colors, creeds

Young black people you, of course
Must provide that righteous force
Realizing you're the source
Of what every fan adores

Not because you shoot to kill
But for beauty you instill
Your ability to thrill
Through your entertaining skill

That is your leverage with those
Millions who enjoy your shows
You have talent to expose
That is where your power grows

You will find great riches there
Growing in the spotlight's glare
Attack permanent despair
By increasing market share

With wealth your talent creates
And your genius cultivates
You can build a power base
With which to rescue your race

If you but increase your smarts
Purify your minds and hearts
Demonstrate your skills and arts
You will play the leading parts

High officials will get pissed
The government will resist
Threaten you with the iron fist
Gun you down if you insist

If you fall into their trap
Violent minds are going to snap
Ready to bomb, blast and zap
With their most destructive crap

Those by whom you'd be so harmed
Therefore, have to be disarmed
Kept confined and "funny farmed”
As you keep their children charmed

Charmed by that with which you're blessed
Rhythm you always possessed
That you've naturally expressed
By which they're always impressed

Your insisting on revenge
And on taking great offense
Only insures violence
As a brutal consequence

Players of the dirty trick
Bearing guilt that's made them sick
Fearing phantoms that predict
Punishments you might inflict

They pray somehow to be saved
From the violent, depraved
Manner in which they behaved
As they kidnapped and enslaved

Get them stepping to your beat
So they'll follow where you lead
Not to violence and greed
But toward harmony we need

There is little we can gain
But more poverty and pain
If our enemies remain
Sociologically insane

With their prejudice and hate
Every day they demonstrate
That we all face an ill fate
From conditions they create

Conditions we can't endure
Will blow us all up for sure
Unless we can work a cure
Based on motives that are pure

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Donald Muldrow McKinney Griffith II Khadija Tarjan McKinney Griffith

 

FOR SUPERSTARS

 

Do you think you would be living life on the fast track

Could you have the talents that you show me

If you did not have the benefit of being black

And of being challenged by your homey?

 

Do you feel if you had been raised somewhere in the 'burbs

In surroundings white and antiseptic

You'd have got the practice your ability deserves

So your aptitude could be perfected?

 

Do you think had you not had the blood of Africa

Pulsing its perfection's through your veins

You would be among the richest in America

Making fabulous financial gains?

 

Does it not occur that you must definitely owe

Some of your successes to your race

And that you have homeys that you ought to help to grow

And not leave to simply rot in place?

 

There are other energies in which you ought invest

Like those with which Africa blessed you

They should share the benefits with which you have been blessed

It's to them that your success is due

 

There are enterprises you might help to put in place

From the capital that you now earn

To provide your people a strong economic base

Opportunities for which they yearn

 

From the prominence upon which you now proudly perch

You could help sisters and brothers soar

Develop foundations for deep study and research

And from what is learned develop more

 

It is Mother Africa who gave your legs their spring

Mother Africa who made you strong

It is Mother Africa who taught you how to sing

And it is she who composed your song

 

It is her extended family that you are in

Your ancestors were got from her flanks

It's through them that you gained your ability to win

Therefore, to her you owe profound thanks

 

Gross ingratitude would be a monumental sin

Ultimately you could self destruct

You are obligated to help rescue your own kin

With the wealth up on which you have lucked

 

Do you think you would be living life in the fast lane

Would you have the bankroll that you show me

Were it not for Mother Africa and all her pain

And the chance to practice with your homey?

 

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The Future

 

FOREVER UNDER

 

Finding yourself born to be among

Members of a great impoverished mass

(African American and young)

Called "the permanent black underclass"

 

How would you then react if you saw

Out of poverty no legal way

Found (within the confined of the law)

Down was where you were assigned to stay/

 

Learning that your number was quite vast

Would it then be valuable to know

How long "permanent" is apt to last

And how far down "under" has to go?

 

Would it help you if you understood

Just exactly where it is you stand

That the future bodes so little good

That you are the lowest in the land?

 

If you found out those who educate

Have no real instructions they can give

To remove you from your sorry state

Or improve the way you have to live?

 

If you could not learn in public schools

How to put your life in better shape

If such education taught no rules

By which you might manage your escape?

 

Once you were confronted with the fact

That for you the country holds no hope

How do you suppose you would react

Why would you not turn to dealing dope?

 

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"DOUBLEDUTCH"

by Oscar Brown Jr.

Concerning the swing of things

CHAPTER ONE

Three little girls are playing jump rope. Two at either end are turning while one in the middle jumps. The jumper´s concentration is, of course, on occupying the space created by the rotation of the rope, so as to jump it each time it nears her feet. Soon the three girls become bored, and decide, therefore, to jump "doubledutch". To the first rope, another of equal length is added, and the girls at the ends begin rhythmically turning the two in counter rotation Doubledutch is obviously more fun than jumping just one rope, because doubledutch is far more complicated. Instead of the rotation of a single strand, the jumper must concern herself with the combined circumferences of two rotating ropes. She has to put herself in a space that belongs neither to one rope, or the other, but is a combination of both rotations. To accomplish this, all three girls must be conscious of what is called "duple" rhythm. "Duple" simply means, "double", and so doubledutch jumping is by definition a duple rhythmic activity. Those who can´t deal with its duplicity can´t play this enjoyable game. For that reason, the chances are about 99 out of a hundred that this trio of girls is black. A few girls of other races have learned to accomplish the feat, but doubledutch is by no means the natural occurence in their neighborhoods that it is in virtually all black communities. Why? Because apparently people of African origin have a sense of balance and grace that is exceptional. The removal of color bars from popular sports has resulted in a virtual take over of certain activities by black athletes. The National Basketball Association comes quickly to mind, but boxing, and certain so called "skill positions" in football also belong almost exclusively to black players, and it is they who brought back most of the track medals won at the 2000 Olympics in Australia. Why?

In his book, "Taboo", Jon Entine deals seriously with the question of black dominance in sports that has occured thoughout the years. As interesting as the book is, however, it still does not answer the "controversial" question it raises. All manner of studies are cited, but none has been conclusive. Many have been ludicrous. Racism has made some nasty remarks in pushing its white supremacist agenda. A lot of blacks are still scared to discuss the subject. It seems they are afraid that if their physical superiority were to be acknowledged, intellectual inferiority would automatically be inferred. Black Americans tend to feel so miserably about themselves and each other that even obvious achievements, are subject to denigration and discount. Concentration on basketball, football, boxing and track is low-rated, by the Euro-centric intelligentsia. Before long, some lugubrious intellectuals will probably lament the "disservice" Tiger Woods and the Williams sisters have done by turning their young sisters and brothers on to golf and tennis. There is, we are told, excessive emphasis placed on sports by young blacks, while few bemoan the fact that there is a great plethora of preachers. Careers in law, medicine, dentistry, business, together with teaching and politics are vaunted. Computer services are extolled, but we are led to believe athletes are jocks, whose heroics do not reflect what the race needs most. Brains. Singing and dancing are reviled as an affliction by those who would rather we sold stocks and bonds, than words and music.

Brains, of course, are useful only if you have some clue as to what to think about. Most people today are denied sufficient information to adequately use their brainpower. For the descendants of African slaves in particular, there appear no sensible suggestions for solving the serious problems associated with race. A media blitz has bombarded the American masses with combinations of Little Black Sambo, O.J. Simpson and trashy sex. Violence is, of course, as always, a grisly game for children of all ages. It is difficult to find leadership emerging from any of the institutions that ought to be providing it. There are no new political ideas or tactics advanced. "Marches" follow "summits" between "conferences" of minimal consequences. Doublespeak appeals for "reparations" acompany our income tax returns. The intellectual direction provided by Malcolm X and Martin Luther King has been reduced to slogans. Current black leadership apparently lacks focus, therefore we fail to see that we are the record holders and trendsetters. Or seeing it, we almost totally discount our solid influence against the fractionalized fictions of Wall Street.

"The white man has the money and the guns," we moan to ourselves.
"We are helpless against his power."

But "White Men Can´t Jump," and do not deny it. That means simply that the European individual´s relationship to the universal force of gravity is admittedly limited compared to the African´s. One has only to think of the overwhelming, ongoing influence of gravity at every instant of all our lives, to imagine what tremendous advantage there is in the African´s talents for balance. Here is a heritage on which to center attention. The agility, the quickness, the style and the grace inherent in persons of African descent, is a gift of cosmic proportions. It is worthy of our closest scrutiny for it relates, not only to mundane appeals, but to spiritual supplications, as well. The many uses to which rhythm has historically been put in Africa, involved not only accomplishment of work, celebration of events, or paying homage to tradition. Appeals were made to the gods, and replies of such great significance were received, that the spiritual practices continued until their overthrow by slavery and colonialism. Even so, the access lines remain open. The spirits to whom Africans have traditionally appealed remain in place. Their presence is still available to those who apply to them. The doctrinaire of all faiths will decry references to competing deities, however ancestral. But if it is not to the gods of our ancestors we owe worship, then to whose?

Every sort of being has a clearly defined relationship to the force of gravity. For fish in the water that relationship is far different than it is for fowl in the air. Gravity´s grip on an insect is not what it is on you, your pet cat, or the average duck. Bugs have wings on which to dart about; the cat enjoys a better lift than you; and the duck can do it all, fly, swim and walk. However, for one and all, it is their sense of balance that determines how they go about getting a daily living. This is genetically determined. The African genealogy that characterized so many of the leading sports figures and top entertainers over the last half century is not an accident of birth. It is a consequence of birth to parents of African blood. African blood carries in it a relationship to the force of gravity that is more balanced than that of other races of humanity. It is their proclivity to rhythm that provides the spring in the swing of black athletes and musicians. Swing is the harmonic motion by which all energy moves in waves through the universe. Making time swing, enabled the African slaves to "get over" during their centuries of captivity. It is our relationship to harmonic motion that has given our energetic efforts a superiority that is evidenced in the records of major sports and entertainment figures during the last half dozen decades. Society is "hooked" on us. Grudgingly, perhaps, but "hooked" non-the-less. Our performances have provided such pleasure and excitement for so many, for so long, that there would be no way for basketball to go back to pre-Julius Irving or Michael Jordan standards, or for boxing to revert to its complexion before Joe Louis, or Muhammad Ali. Baseball before Jackie Robinson or Willie Mays is practically unthinkable. It is clear that once the color bars came down, attendance shot up, as did revenues at the box office and from television rights. Curt Flood´s heroic challenge of baseball´s "reserve clause" has even got players in on the big bucks.

Still we fail, somehow, to notice the leadership we provide and the reliance of world youth on black American youngsters for style and direction. We appear not to see what we are doing in setting standards for physical prowess. We don´t realize what an enormous wealth is to be poured into our purses if we but market and distribute our own gifts and abilities. We have been "slave bred" to believe we lack the intelligence and drive to make decisions on our own. We still feel beholden to "Mr. Charlie", which is tragic because, apparently, poor Charlie is mad. He seems to grow more fascist in his outlook every day, determined to seize military industrial control of a world that he constantly stands on its head. For example, chess play is considered "brilliant" while, basketball play is not, but no one can describe and intellectual difference between the two. Obviously, the team sport poses communication problems that are not involved in chess, but otherwise, the objectives and tactics in both games are remarkably alike. The fact that basketball requires athleticism does not make it any less an intellectual undertaking. For Julius "Dr. J" Irving to perform the basketball feats he did, he had first to conceive of them. Or for Irvin "Magic" Johnson to work his bewildering sleight of hand, it had first to be conceptualized. The fact that these intellectual wonders are performed at computer speed takes nothing away from the intelligence they demand. There is nothing more innate about a "double dribble", a "foul line", or a "zone defense", than there is about "squares on a chessboard". The game has to be learned, absorbed, and executed, to be dominated, as basketball is by black youth. It requires more than muscle mass, rapid speed or great height. Our failure to give our youth all due respect for their overwhelming achievements is a crushing blow to the race´s already severely bruised collective ego.

Of course we see we are extremely good. Our championship has become quite apparent, yet we still see white people as superior. It is a ruse the whites themselves perpetrate with indefatigable zeal. Since the days when Joe Louis was introduced as "credit to his race", his race has taken far more "credit" than can conceivably be calculated. But whatever the incalculable amount, it has not been sufficient to offset the black self hatred that results in drug addiction, gang war and the hopelessness of a "permanent underclass" trapped in a system by which it has politically, socially and economically been written off. For the descendants of African slaves in the Americas this condition is altogether unacceptable. We have been downgraded and discounted for far too long. There is a desperate need for re-evaluation. An upgrade based on a genuine appreciation of our African heritage must be developed to lift our dispirited people. I do not recommend simply a louder re-iteration of the old "we come from kings and queens" assertions that characterized our Afrocentricity of a generation ago. It is the combination of intellect and athleticism that makes us winners. The kings and queens from whence we come had generations of loyal subjects. It is in that noble African mass that our evident superiority has its root. The 2000 Olympics have again confirmed a superiority to which we seem all but ashamed to publicly admit. Ashamed, or afraid because of a possible violent backlash from well armed, rich Europeans and European Americans. But as Franklin D. Roosevelt once advised the American people, "we have nothing to fear but fear itself". The heritage to which we of African descent can naturally lay claim is not a force to easily be dismissed. It is in our natural African relationship to the laws of gravity that we discover our greatest legacy. The key is balance. Our sense of rhythm, and exquisite timing. There is only one time. It is limitless, but measurable, and subject to account from the sweep of the stars, to the ticking of clocks, the stroke of a drum, or the beat of our feet and our hearts.

 

Sadly, a hybrid race called "African American", today marches thoughtlessly to the beat of an alien drum. Black children are being simplistically hypnotized. The Almighty dollar is the slave chain to which they now have become attached. But our battle is not for the dollar, nor to amass materials the European manufactures and admires. Rather, our struggle must be for control of ourselves and our energies, indivudually and collectively. We can no longer be bought, unless we sell out. We will cease to sell ourselves out, once we realize our value. We are in control of time, and can make it swing. We are in harmony with the universe, and maintain superior equilibrium on earth. These are not idle boasts, but evident facts. It is a fact that we have created every musical style and dance form that has become popular in the United States of America since the end of chattel slavery, which tells us exactly where the nation´s cultural leadership is coming from. The building of enormous new sports arenas, stadiums, ballparks and fields in cities coast to coast, testifies eloquently to the popularity of black athletic prowess. Our leadership and our abilities, however, are subject to corrupting by the descendants of our captors, a current generation I call, "The Mastersons". Instead of playing the leadership roles to which our natural gifts entitle us, we habitually subordinate ourselves to the weapons and wishes of "The Mastersons". But to be free, we must begin to see ourselves as free people. We will have to exhibit the basic equilibrium to which Africa has entitled us, and take control of the beats to which we move. Commanding our own rhythms automatically will create both physical and spiritual harmonies to unify and glorify us. We will trust each other and, therefore, begin to turn our affairs over to one another in our own best interest. As we establish our equilibrium, the awkwardness of "The Mastersons" will become evident and ugly. There will be threats, but they will be idle. "We have nothing to fear..."

 

CHAPTER TWO

While the rhythmic superiority of black people to white is obvious, the significance of this superiority is not. Little is made of it by those who, for one reason or another, are reluctant to acknowledge any advantage black people may enjoy over others. No wonder. Rhythm relates to balance. It is in their balance that rhythmic people reveal their talents: agility, quickness,grace, physical fluency, timely sophistication, and spring. Balance relates basically only to one thing: The force of gravity. Three generations have scientifically investigated gravity, and while discovering much of what the force does, have not been able to discern just what the force of gravity is. I believe gravity to be the by-product of centripetal forces created when equilibrium is established between counter orbiting astral bodies. Let me explain:

All massenergy is moving in spacetime, and to avoid constant collisions each one has to keep to itself. All massenergy must, therefore, turn away from all other massenergy, and as a result, confine itself to an orbit. Within its own orbit, each massenergy conserves itself by becoming centripetal, that is by internalizing all of its energy, instead of flinging it out with centrifugal force. Gravity is created by the centripetal pull of counter-orbiting massenergies moving through cosmic agreements. Or put another way:

MATTER OF GRAVITY

I found the 411

On just how gravity has run

The earth, the moon, the sun

As ´round each other they are spun

Rotating in their reels

Great cosmic wheels in wheels

This orbiting reveals

They are involved in astral deals.

Deals all the stars accept

At which the planets prove adept

So distances are kept

No mass´s energy is swept

Into another shere

Where it might disappear

To remain free and clear

To itself a mass must adhere

The planet earth, of course

Has a strong centripetal force

So energy like ours

And mine, is secured to its source

Pulling us actively

Acting attractively

A force that has to be

The one that we call "gravity"

Gravity must be dealt

With or an injury is felt

In its grip all is held

And nothing ever is repelled

When any body tries

Lifting from where it lies

It will be found a rise

Always requires exercise

Gravity causes strain

And gravity produces pain

You battle it in vain

Unless good balance you maintain

Find equilibrium

Otherwise you become

A victim of the sum

Of heights that you have fallen from

Balance: gravity´s friend

Is in a spot to recommend

What energy you spend

As gravity lets you extend

Above the solid ground

To which every mass is bound

You pay for every pound

Therefore, good balance must be found

No savior has been sent

With divine orders to prevent

A plummeting descent

Or catch you in any event

Whether you live and learn

Is none of gravity´s concern

For energy you burn

All you receive is what you earn

Even though lives are claimed

People fall, get killed and maimed

Among the culprits named

Gravity never has been blamed

Lament a balance lost

But you never feel double crossed

At paying the full cost

Of any fall down you get tossed

By forcing us to fall

Gravity has preserved us all

For whether large or small

Dumb mass is at its beck and call

At gravity´s command

You must have balance just to stand

Misplace your balance and

You learn how you are bound to land

You are brought down to earth

From the first moment of your birth

Which will,for what it´s worth

Afford you little cause for mirth

Caught in earth´s orbit, tight

You´re spun around with all its might

Orbiting day and night

During a universal flight

Though gravity, as such

Consists of nothing you can touch

It influences much

Clasping all tightly in its clutch

A force too firm to fight

Of which nobody catches sight

Gravity will decide

Any disputes concerning height

Gravity´s like a debt

That you ignore to your regret

For gravity won´t let

A payment to go by unmet

Gravity´s on your backs

And its collections don´t relax

You pay its basic tax

Or rapidly gravity acts

There can be no delay

In paying what you have to pay

Gravity will not stay

Its sentences in any way

But you can see that so

You pay however much you owe

That much you have to know

Or down you will be bound to go

Damages from a fall

Depend on circumstances and all

Whether a drop is small

Or from a story that is tall

No matter how you feel

Gravity stays on even keel

It has a strong appeal

In any deal that you may seal

I got the 411

On how the deal is being done

And so I have begun

To have myself a bit of fun

As I enjoy my share

While knowing how I must take care

Displaying how I dare

To play by rules I feel are fair

The sun, the earth and moon

With one another are in tune

They balance out or soon

With debris heaven would be strewn

Therefore, I realize

That you and I can only see clear skies

Long as things harmonize

And equilibrium applies

Whether or not the forgoing is understandable, we can all agree that gravity exerts a constant pressure in our lives. Every move we make involves our overcoming it to some degree. Simply standing erect requires a gravitational agreement. Agreements with gravity must be equitable. Gravitational equity is called equilibrium, or balance. Only through the medium of balance can we deal with gravity. Balance, therefore, is essential to our every operation and activity in life.

Because blacks have superior balance, they excel in activities requiring immediate challenges to gravity. This is evident, particularly with regard to music and sport. Every popular form of music and dance since emancipation has been the creation of the descendants of the African slaves, not only in the Americas, but the islands of the Caribbean, as well. In the creation of music, balance relates more to vibrations than to gravity. Harmonies in the heavens must be accessed in creating music. It is their African sense of balance that enhances the talents of black people in making music in general, and improvised music, in particular. All peoples hear sounds that are music to their ears, but the creations of black people has been music to ears, worldwide. The secret to its success can only be in the rhythm; the balance; the dances it does with gravity. The history of popular entertainment in America testifies to the overwhelming influence of rhythmic black talent, despite white racist resistance. Today, hip hop, like ragtime, jazz, and be bop before it, is targeted for attack. Advocates of white supremacy are aghast. They fear loss of their power to the vibrations of those they have for so long robbed. The fractious flailing of European dance was never a match for the smooth moves of Harlem, New Orleans, Kingston, Havana, or Rio. The racists know this, therefore, they seek always to divert our attention with first one gun battle then another. This is their only hope, which means they are hopeless. Our concentration on the incalculable legacy represented by our superior rhythm, is all that is required to offset the assaults of the naturally clumsy. The time for that is now.

As our championship continues to grow, generation after generation, it has not only benefited blacks, but whites, too. However, black youth in particular currently has access to riches as never before. Dynamic role models are being created in virtually every sport. These are young black people, accustomed to pressure, to wealth, to life lived large, whose aspirations and inspiration can set them and their peers off in powerful, positive new directions. A comparable influence is exerted by exceptional black entertainers, in various media, where creative talents are being combined with an entrepreneurial interest taken in their industries. This produces both cash and credit, not only in domestic, but also in global markets. Internationally, we are, indeed, the "dream team". If only we knew what that meant. It indicates a global idea; a level of achievement beyond reality. The play of a great array of black athletes in several sports exhibits an aspect of the absolutely unbelievable. It keeps each season, each big game, each major bout, fan filled and fresh. Despite racism, we win. We have but to process our victory into spiritual, economic and political triumphs. To accomplish this we must first accept the enormity of the gift we enjoy, and appreciate it.

Gravity is God, not because we worship it spiritually, but as it regulates and controls our very presence in the universe. The better our balance, the more profound is our relationship to gravity. Gravity is representative of equilibrium in the astral relations of the heavens. To be balanced is to appreciate something of infinite worth throughout our cosmic community. With a balanced approach we can overcome mundane madness and vibrate with harmonious health. Heaven hums with health. Hell has none. The achievement of equilibrium ought to be our imperative as it is heaven´s. This does not call for frantic, fanatic, drastic moves, but for definite wise ones. Our objective is not to dominate, but to destroy domination by those who rule by violent force.

This is a different approach. It does not see democracy as necessarily the political ideal to be sought by humanity. The rule of the majority is by definition imbalance. It may suppress unrest, but rarely achieves equity. Indeed, equity is hardly democracy´s aim. However equity is the basis of our planet´s fundamental relations to its solar system, its galaxy, and the universe. And so a different approach appears in order, a balanced, universal approach that reflects order in all aspects of our lives. Gravity is the chief enforcer of this order on earth, and balance is its govenor. As the species of humanity blessed with the world´s finest balance, the chief responsibility of blacks in Africa and in the Americas is to govern. It would seem the world is in great trouble if we fail. Fortunately, a balanced approach to life can be made by anybody with a sense of equilibrium. The approach can be initiated personally, and extend to any area of human activity and organization.

A problem that plagues great social movements, religions, political parties, and social societies, of course, is their reliance on leaders and/or a collective agreement. Establishment of equilibrium eliminates this dependency, because the responsibility for action rests solely with each individual, individually. To be sure, cooperation with the efforts of others, can be beneficial but it is not crucial. Only personal commitment is crucial. Therefore:

No permission beyond a personal commitment is required.

The commitment is to actively maintain good balance.

Drastic moves are counter productive.

Equilibrium comes in increments that are carefully weighed.

Progress is gradual.

There is no leadership other than your own on which to depend.

No genuine effort is wasted.

Unnecessary delay is unacceptable.

Constancy is a great virtue.

Emulation the harmonious examples of nature is vital.

Excesses and extremes are to be eliminated.

Change and readjustment are to be expected.

Mistakes will be made, but so will corrections.

 

CHAPTER THREE

Considering the accomplishments of those who descend from the African slaves, it is clear that, far beyond surviving the hideous madness of their captivity, they have surpassed their captors in fields of human endeavor that produce the greatest joy and highest sense of physical and joyful excitement and moral achievement in contemporary society. Black championship is denigrated as the instinctive achievement of mindless brutes, but this is merely to mask the fact that descendants of Africa receive little or no competition from descendants of Europe, when it comes to popular athletic events. Ever since Joe Louis, the ranks of boxing champions have been overwhelmingly black. Since Jesse Owens´ performance, black participation in Olympic track and field events has all but eliminated whites from dashes, runs, hurdles and jumps. Basketball teams at the college and professional levels exhibit the overwhelming dominance of black players in that widely enjoyed sport. Records from the old "Negroe Leagues", have documented the high standard of black baseball play that long preceded Jackie Robinson´s historic career. Lately, of course the take over of golf by Tiger Woods, and the great tennis triumphs of Venus and Serena Williams, have extended black championship into corners of country clubs, where such youngsters used to be caddies and ball girls, if that.

It is pretended that the reason for these spectacular success is not known when in fact it is altogether apparent. The rhythmic performance of black players has been documented and admired for generations. Despite the absurd assertions of white supremacists, tangible evidence in the form of box office receipts, television and radio revenues, performance records, and hours of enjoyable recreation make it quite obvious. The superior level of performance that is repeatedly demonstrated by black people is accomplished precisely because they are black people. To attribute this to "instinct" without superb "intellect" insults the intelligence of everyone involved in such events, fans, officials and players alike. It is a reactionary, propagandistic distortion of reality aimed at befuddling people so they do not comprehend the heroism happening right before their eyes.

Given the horrendous conditions, under which black contenders traditionally entered competition in any major sport, our victories in every major sport are phenomenal. The odds against which we struggled would seem to have guaranteed our failure, and yet we have succeeded nobly. Our successes result from some indomitable African quality that evidently is in harmony with the energy of the universe through which we swing. It is evident in the language of our bodies, and in the sounds of our music. If creative interests are subordinated to force of inferior talent, only an inferior result is to be expected. On the other hand, if those gifted with privileged access to harmonic motions of the universe, are allowed to exercise their natural endowments, the result will be cheered in privileged performances. The privilege that is constantly revealed in the style and grace that blacks naturally exhibit, is the consequence of an extraordinary African relationship to the omnipresent force of gravity. There is buoyancy in the being of most Africans that is born of this balance. Whether the rhythm was begot by the drum, or the drum begot the rhythm is a "chicken vs. egg" type of inquiry that I find pointless to make. The resulting performance as it translates into today´s tongues is what demands attention. Our victorious attainments are here to behold. The value of these victories should accrue equitably to us, as a means of relieving the rampant suffering currently to be found in our communities, worldwide. Our charities need, obviously, to begin at home. Why should we, rich in talent, not be comfortable in the natural, and political environments in which our talents are expressed? Why must the gifted be downtrodden? Why must the greedy be exalted? What is aggravated by the employment of violence, other than more violence? Why ought the gifted not peacefully market their gifts on their own behalf?

The reference here is not only sport. Consider music.

There has been no popular form of music and dance in the post-Civil War era that was not originated and initiated by the "black bottom" of American society. From the "Cakewalk" through the "Charleston", "Boogie-woogie", "Jutterbug" and its myriad variations on to the breakthrough of the "Breakdance", and "Hip-Hop", we have created the tunes and turnes through which this nation traditionally has "Twisted". The style of music pioneered by Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Charlie Parker, Berry Gordy, Kool and the Gang and all the generations of their peers have creatively directed the culture of the entire country. For decades now, the last have been first in determining the popular recreation of the American people. To be sure, whites in their media declare themselves "kings" of every thing in sight, but it is only the "black bottom" that determines what comes next. Of course, white people seem to be in charge, and when it comes to those things that money can buy, and lie about, often they are. However, in music cash is no substitute for creativity, and so the white owned and operated music industry today finds itself being driven sporadically by forces it cannot control. The "bosses" have no choice but to be "lackeys". Which they will readily do, provided the price is right, but then their situation becomes what Thomas Jefferson descibed when he wrote:

"We have a wolf by the ear. We can neither

Hold it, nor safely let it go!"

Efforts to maintain a grip on the creative forces of black talent is made even more futile by technological explosions in the communications field. These explosions, which seem to occur with "machine gun" rapidity, tremendously facilitate the creation and distribution of music. Satellite, internet, cable, dvd, dat, fax, phone, radio and television expand and sophisticate, and make possible the dissemination of entertainment to greater audiences every day. But as promising as is the technological revolution we witness, it is puny compared to the legacy of which black people are soon to become aware. It relates to the latest fashions and fads, but to fundamental forces of existence in the lives of every individual. We dwell here on a planet that is in harmony with the cosmos. We are subject to the rigors of a solar system ruled by a balanced sun, in an orderly galaxy, and a perfect universe. Our spacetime on earth is limited. It is governed by powers of which we have limited knowledge, and little control. Religious, political, economic and social interpretations are vigorously offered and violently defended. Might is allowed to make right without question. Conflicts deliberately developed, advance whatever views are being promulgated. Tyrants dictate. Power corrupts. Revolutions overthrow. Wars rage. Sex seduces. Money talks. Hypocrites lie. Tomorrow comes. And we go. Meanwhile, many influences are exerted, in many ways, but none as magical as music and movement.

To be the most musical and powerfully athletic people on the planet is both a blessing and a curse. It is a blessing for the joyful beauty it exposes, and a curse for the hateful envy it attracts. It puts us in the unenviable position of welcoming lovers, while warding off assailants. Ours has not always been a balanced approach. The appeal of our oppressors is strong. They are rich and well armed. They appear set in their will to dominate by whatever means, however cruel. In confronting such a beast, sudden moves are an invitation to disaster. The beast is prepared for unending deadly conflict. It must be tamed. Soothed. And subjected to better balance. Its nature has it terrified of retaliatory attack. It is defensive, yet, at the same time predatory. Calming these deadly inclinations will require every bit of finesse available from any source. Finesse is not something money easily can buy. Finesse is an inherent quality that shows up as a subtle dance movement, a way of walking, a spirit that sings and creates styles as easily as it smiles. There is no mold, nor rule of thumb by which that which is Sanctifism is manifest. There will be no particle of it that white people, characteristically can dissect and reduce to nothing much. Finesse is a feeling, like cool. It is an inbred behavior, or one assimilated with outstanding fidelity by most who are born black. This is not to deny this, or any other talent to any other people. Let us all go for what we know. But in so doing, let those of finesse remain cool in order to win peace, rather than wage war. There is no positive point to engaging a gun manufacturer in a gun battle. There is no advantage in a balanced person´s losing equilibrium, when contending with a clumsy one. By maintaining balance, and behaving with cool finesse we cannot lose, no matter what our foes may attempt. If by birth we are endowed with talents for balance, we need to examine the endowment for all it´s worth.

All massenergy moves in harmonic motion, swinging through spacetime in equitable orbits. Every body is for itself, and therefore has to respect every other body, and give it space. Examination of the heavens told the ancients some truths about cosmic order. Spacetime had to accommodate energetic mass, and this was best accomplished rhythmically. So the heavens are alive with agreeable bodies, minding their own business. And on one planet we would do well to copy the cosmos. If any people on the planet can accomplish this, it has to be the ones who do all the challenging of gravity with balance. The black ones with an African endowment. How mechanics will endeavor to measure this quality, I shudder to imagine. How we might exploit it, I eagerly imagine. What is so exciting is the fact that this endowment seems immeasurable. The buoyance of a balanced body has no material being. It is a presence that activates and enhances relations with gravity, and appears as speed in running, elevation in jumping, and creativity in music. These are activities in which the better balanced prove to have a distinct advantage. For the clumsy to win would be a calamity requiring quick correction. For the championship to blow their cool would be total disaster.

Therefore, there can be no serious consideration given to anything but realizing the enormous potential we have, and working with it. In the ensuing struggle we will be equipped, not with the means of destruction, but with the capacity to create and inspire. If we put our minds to it, we can mediate with beastly forces, and subdue them. "Putting our minds to it" speaks once more to a personal commitment to maintaining equilibrium. It can be made now, or any time from now on.

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BELOVED
BELOVED - Prof. Gayle McKinney Griffith & Roman Brooks
Prof. Gayle McKinney Griffith & Roman Brooks

 

"DOUBLEDUTCH"

von Oscar Brown Jr.

Vom Schwung der Dinge

KAPITEL EINS

Drei kleine Mädchen springen Seil. Zwei, mit jeweils einem an jedem Ende, drehen das Seil, während eins in der Mitte springt. Die Springende konzentriert sich natürlich darauf, den Raum einzunehmen, den die Drehungen des Sprungseils schaffen, damit sie es überspringen kann, immer wenn es sich ihren Füßen nähert. Bald schon langweilen sich die drei Mädchen und entschließen sich daher "Doubledutch" zu springen. Zu dem ersten Seil wird ein zweites von gleicher Länge hinzugefügt und die Mädchen an jedem Ende fangen an, die zwei Seile rhythmisch in einer Gegendrehung zu bewegen. "Doubledutch" macht offensichtlich mehr Spaß als das Springen mit nur einem Seil, weil es viel komplizierter ist. Statt sich auf die Drehung eines einzigen Seils zu konzentrieren, muss die Springerin sich jetzt mit den kombinierten Drehungen zweier Seile beschäftigen. Sie muss den Raum einnehmen, der weder zu dem einen noch zu dem anderen Seil gehört, sondern aus der Kombination beider Drehungen entsteht. Um dies schaffen zu können, müssen sich die drei Mädchen des sogenannten "Duple"-Rhythmus bewusst sein. "Duple" heißt einfach "Doppel" und demzufolge ist "Doubledutch" Seilspringen per Definition eine "doppel-rhythmische" Aktivität. Wer nicht mit der "Duplizität" dieses Spiels klarkommt, kann bei diesem unterhaltsamen Spiel nicht mitmachen. Aus diesem Grund kann mit etwa 99%iger Sicherheit festgestellt werden, dass diese drei Mädchen schwarz sind. Einige Mädchen anderer Rassen haben gelernt, diese Leistung zu schaffen, aber "Doubledutch" ist keineswegs eine gewöhnliche Erscheinung in iher Nachbarschaft, wie das in fast allen schwarzen Umgebungen der Fall ist. Wieso? Weil Menschen afrikanischer Herkunft angeblich ein Gefühl für Gleichgewicht und Eleganz haben, das außergewöhnlich ist. Das Entfernen der Rassenschranken aus den Volkssportarten hat dazu geführt, dass schwarze Athleten bestimmte Sportarten praktisch übernommen haben. Schnell denkt man hier an die "National Basketball Association", aber Boxen und auch die sogenannten "Schlüsselpositionen" im Fußballspiel werden fast ausschließlich von schwarzen Spielern beherrscht. Und sie sind es im Jahre 2000 gewesen, die die meisten gewonnenen Medaillen in den Laufsportarten der Olympischen Spiele aus Australien mitbrachten. Wieso?

In seinem Buch, "Taboo" ("Tabu"), bespricht Jon Entine ernsthaft die Frage der schwarzen Herrschaft im Sport, die im Laufe der letzten Zeit in Erscheinung trat. So interessant das Buch ist, beantwortet es dennoch nicht die "strittige" Frage, die es hervorruft. Alle möglichen Studien werden erwähnt, jedoch hat keine sich als schlüssig erwiesen. Viele waren lächerlich. Der Rassismus kommt mit einigen gemeinen Äußerungen zum Vorschein, während er die Ordnung einer weißen Überlegenheit vorantreibt. Viele Schwarze fürchten sich immer noch davor, dieses Thema zu diskutieren. Augenscheinlich haben sie Angst davor, dass, falls ihre physische Überlegenheit erkannt wird, man daraus bei ihnen automatisch auf intellektuelle Unterlegenheit schließen würde. Schwarze Amerikaner neigen so sehr dazu, über sich selbst und ihresgleichen negativ zu denken, dass sogar eindeutige Erfolge verunglimpft und geschmälert werden. Sich auf Basketball, Fußball, Boxen und Laufsportarten zu konzentrieren, wird als niedrig eingestuft - von der eurozentrischen Intelligenz. Es wird wahrscheinlich nicht lange dauern, ehe irgendwelche kummervollen Intellektuellen sich über den "schlechten Dienst" von Tiger Woods und den Williams Schwestern beklagen werden, den diese erwiesen haben, indem sie ihre jüngeren Geschwister zum Golf- und Tennisspiel brachten. Uns wird erzählt, dass eine übertriebene Betonung auf Sport von schwarzen Jugendlichen existiert, während es wenige gibt, die die Tatsache beklagen, dass es eine Unmenge an Predigern gibt. Karrieren in Jura, Medizin, Zahnheilkunde, Business und zusätzlich auch im Lehrwesen und Politik, werden gelobt. Computerservices werden gepriesen, aber man wird dazu verleitet zu glauben, dass Athleten beschränkt sind und ihre heldenhaften Taten nicht das widerspiegeln, was die Rasse am meisten braucht: Verstand. Die Sanges- und Tanzkünste werden als eine Bedrängnis geschmäht von denjenigen, die lieber hätten, dass wir Aktien und Anleihen verkauften, statt Worte und Musik.

Verstand ist natürlich nur insofern nützlich, als dass man irgendeine Ahnung hat, worüber man nachdenken sollte. Den meisten Menschen heutzutage werden hinreichende Informationen, um ihre geistige Leistungsfähigkeit angemessen einsetzen zu können, verweigert. Für die Nachkommen der afrikanischen Sklaven insbesondere lassen sich keine vernünftigen Vorschläge erkennen für die Lösung der ernsthaften Probleme bezüglich dem Umgang mit Rasse. Ein Medienangriff hat die amerikanischen Massen mit einer Mischung von Little Black Sambo, O.J. Simpson und geschmacklosem Sex bombardiert. Gewalt ist natürlich wie immer ein grausiges Spiel für Kinder jeden Alters. Es ist schwierig, Leitlinien zu finden, die aus denjenigen Institutionen hervorgehen, die eine solche Führung eigentlich bereitstellen sollten. Sie bringen keine neuen politischen Ideen oder Taktiken hervor. "Märsche" folgen "Gipfeln" zwischen den "Konferenzen" mit minimalen Konsequenzen. Doppeldeutige Berufungen auf "Rückzahlungen" begleiten unsere Einkommenssteuererklärungen. Die intellektuelle Führung, die Malcolm X und Martin Luther King gegeben haben, ist auf Slogans reduziert worden. Der heutigen schwarzen Führung fehlt es anscheinend an Fokussierung, daher gelingt es uns nicht zu erkennen, dass wir die Rekordhalter und Trendsetter der Gesellschaft sind. Oder falls wir es doch erkennen, schmälern wir unseren starken Einfluss, überwältigt von den brüchigen Lügen der Wall Street.

"Die Weißen haben das Geld und die Waffen", jammern wir unter uns.
"Gegen ihre Macht sind wir hilflos."

 

Aber "Weiße können nicht springen" und das verleugnen sie nicht. Das heißt, einfach gesagt, dass die Beziehung des europäischen Individuums zu der universalen Schwerkraft zugegebenermaßen begrenzt ist im Vergleich zu der des Afrikaners. Man braucht nur an den überwältigenden, immerwährenden Einfluss der Schwerkraft auf jeden Moment unseres Lebens zu denken, um sich vorstellen zu können, welch immenser Vorteil im Talent des Afrikaners für Balance liegt. Hier hat man ein Erbe, auf das man seine Aufmerksamkeit richten sollte. Die Behändigkeit, die Geschwindigkeit, der Stil und die Grazie, die Menschen afrikanischer Herkunft vererbt wurden, sind eine Gabe kosmischen Ausmaßes. Sie verdient unsere konzentrierteste Betrachtung, weil sie nicht nur zu weltlichen Reizen in Beziehung steht, sondern auch zu spiritueller Hingabe. Die vielen Gelegenheiten, zu denen man Rhythmus der Geschichte nach in Afrika eingesetzt hat, waren nicht nur die zur Ausführung der Arbeit, zur Feier von Ereignissen oder Traditionshuldigung. Man hat die Götter angerufen und Antworten von solch großer Bedeutung erhalten, dass die spirituellen Bräuche weiter gepflegt wurden bis zu deren Untergang durch Sklaverei und Kolonialismus. Trotzdem bestehen die Annäherungswege weiterhin. Die Geister, an die sich die Afrikaner traditionell gewandt haben, bleiben an ihrem Platz. Ihr Wesen ist noch vorhanden für die, die sich an sie wenden. Die Lehren aller Glaubensrichtungen werden jegliche Anwesenheit von konkurrierenden Gottheiten verwerfen, so traditionell sie auch sein mögen. Aber, wenn es nicht die Götter unserer Vorväter sind, denen wir Huldigung schulden, wem dann?

Jede Art von Wesen hat eine deutlich definierte Beziehung zur Schwerkraft. Für die Fische im Wasser unterscheidet sich diese Beziehung sehr von der der Vögel in der Luft. Der Halt, den die Schwerkraft auf ein Insekt ausübt, ist nicht der gleiche wie auf dich, deine Katze oder auf eine gewöhnliche Ente. Wanzen haben Flügel, mit denen sie wie Pfeile durch die Luft schnellen können; einer Katze fällt es leichter hochzuspringen als dir; und die Ente kann alles, fliegen, schwimmen und laufen. Wie auch immer, für alle ist das Gefühl für die Balance ausschlaggebend dafür, wie sie ihr tägliches Leben meistern. Dieses ist genetisch bestimmt. Die afrikanische Genealogie, die so viele der führenden Sportfiguren und bekanntesten Entertainer der letzten fünf Jahrzehnte kennzeichnet, ist kein Zufall der Geburt. Es folgt aus der Abstammung von Eltern afrikanischen Blutes. Afrikanisches Blut trägt eine Beziehung zur Schwerkraft in sich, die ausgeglichener ist als die jeder anderen menschlichen Rasse. Diese Neigung zum Rhythmus ist es, die diesen Sprung in den Schwung schwarzer Athleten und Musiker ausmacht. Das Schwingen ist die harmonische Bewegung, nach der sich alle Energie in Wellen durch das Universum bewegt. Die Zeit schwingen zu lassen, hat den afrikanischen Sklaven dazu verholfen, ihre Jahrhunderte in Gefangenschaft "zu überstehen". Es ist unsere Beziehung zu harmonischer Bewegung, die unseren energischen Anstrengungen eine Überlegenheit gegeben hat, was durch die Leistungen der wichtigsten Sportler und Entertainer der letzten sechs Jahrzehnte bewiesen ist. Die Gesellschaft ist von uns "abhängig". Widerwillig vielleicht, aber trotzdem "abhängig". Unsere Leistungen haben so lange für so viele große Unterhaltung und Anregung bedeutet, dass Basketball unmöglich auf ein Niveau vor Julius Irving oder vor Michael Jordan zurückfallen dürfte, oder das Boxen auf ein Niveau vor Joe Louis oder Mohammed Ali. Ein Baseballspiel wie zu Zeiten vor Jackie Robinson oder Willie Mays ist praktisch undenkbar. Eins ist klar, als die Schranken der Hautfarbe fielen, sind die Besucherzahlen in die Höhe geschossen, so wie auch die Einnahmen an der Kino- und Theaterkasse und die über den Verkauf von Fernsehrechten. Curt Floods heldenhafte Herausforderung der "Reserveklausel" im Baseball hat selbst dazu geführt, dass viele Spieler ebenfalls am großen Geld teilhaben können.

 

Und trotzdem gelingt es uns irgendwie nicht, uns der Führungsrolle, die wir bekleiden, und der Abhängigkeit der Jugend der Welt von schwarzen amerikanischen Jugendlichen, was Mode und kulturelle Richtlinien betrifft, bewusst zu werden. Wir scheinen nicht zu bemerken, was wir tun, wenn wir Maßstäbe für physische Leistungsfähigkeiten setzen. Wir erkennen nicht, was für einen enormen Reichtum wir für uns erwerben könnten, wenn wir nur unsere eigenen Begabungen und eigenes Können vermarkten und verteilen würden. Wir sind "zu Sklaven erzogen", um zu glauben, dass uns die Intelligenz und Tatkraft fehlen, unsere eigenen Entscheidungen treffen zu können. Wir fühlen uns immer noch "Herrn Charlie" verpflichtet, was tragisch ist, weil der arme Charlie augenscheinlich verrückt ist. Seine Einstellung scheint jeden Tag faschistischer zu werden, indem er immer mehr entschlossen ist, die militärindustrielle Kontrolle über die Welt zu ergreifen, die er dauernd auf den Kopf stellt. Das Schachspiel wird zum Beispiel für "genial" gehalten, im Gegensatz zum Basketballspiel, obwohl niemand einen intellektuellen Unterschied zwischen den beiden beschreiben kann. Der Teamsport wirft offensichtlich Kommunikationsprobleme auf, die man beim Schachspiel nicht hat, aber ansonsten ähneln sich die beiden Spiele recht bemerkenswert in Hinsicht auf Ziele und Taktik. Die Tatsache, dass Basketball athletische Fähigkeiten erfordert, macht es nicht weniger intellektuell herausfordernd. Damit Julius "Dr. J" Irving die Meisterleistungen im Basketball ausführen konnte, musste er sie erst überdenken. Oder ehe Irvin "Magic" Johnson seine verblüffende Fingerfertigkeit einsetzen konnte, musste er sie zuerst konzipieren. Die Tatsache, dass diese geistigen Wunder in der Geschwindigkeit eines Rechners ausgeführt werden, schmälert um nichts die Intelligenz, die sie erfordern. Ein "double dribble", eine "foul line" oder ein "zone defense" sind genauso wenig angeboren wie die "Quadrate auf einem Schachbrett". Das Spiel muss man erlernen, in sich aufnehmen und ausführen, ehe man es beherrschen kann, wie die schwarzen Jugendlichen dies beim Basketball tun. Es erfordert mehr als Muskelkraft, hohe Geschwindigkeit oder Größe. Unser Versagen, unserer Jugend allen Respekt zu geben für ihre überwältigenden Leistungen, ist ein zerquetschender Schlag auf das schon sehr beschädigte kollektive Ego unserer Rasse.

 

Natürlich sehen wir ein, dass wir äußerst begabt sind. Unsere Meisterschaft ist offenbar geworden, dennoch halten wir Weiße immer noch für überlegen. Es ist eine List, welche die Weißen selbst mit unermüdlichem Eifer anwenden. Seit der Zeit, als Joe Louis als eine "Ehre für seine Rasse" gehuldigt wurde, hat seine Rasse viel mehr "Ehre" erworben, als womöglich fassbar ist. Aber wie unfassbar groß diese Ehre auch ist, sie reicht noch immer nicht aus, um gegen den Selbsthass der Schwarzen zu bestehen, der in Drogensucht, Bandenkrieg und die Hoffnungslosigkeit einer "endgültigen Unterklasse" resultiert, die in einem System gefangen ist, das sie in politischer, sozialer und ökonomischer Hinsicht abgeschrieben hat. Für die Nachkommen der afrikanischen Sklaven in Amerika ist diese Lage vollkommen untragbar. Wir sind viel zu lange niedriger eingestuft und geschmälert worden. Es ist dringend erforderlich, eine Neubewertung zu veranlassen. Eine Aufwertung, die sich auf die ernsthafte Anerkennung unseres afrikanischen Erbes gründet, muss entwickelt werden, um unserem entmutigten Volk Auftrieb zu geben. Ich empfehle nicht einfach eine aufdringlichere Wiederholung der alten "wir stammen von Königen und Königinnen"-Behauptungen, die unsere Afrozentrizität der letzten Generation kennzeichneten. Die Kombination von Intelligenz und athletischen Fähigkeiten ist es, die uns zu Gewinnern macht. Die Könige und Königinnen, von denen wir abstammen, hatten Generationen von treuen Untertanen. In dieser noblen afrikanischen Masse hat unsere ersichtliche Überlegenheit ihre Wurzeln. Die Olympischen Spiele im Jahre 2000 haben erneut diese Überlegenheit bestätigt, für die wir uns fast schämen, sie öffentlich anzuerkennen. Wir schämen uns oder wir haben Angst vor einem möglichen Rückschlag gut bewaffneter, reicher Europäer und europäischer Amerikaner. Aber wie Franklin D. Roosevelt einst dem amerikanischen Volk riet: "Wir haben nichts zu fürchten, außer die Furcht selbst." Das Erbe, auf das wir von Natur aus Anspruch erheben können, ist eine Kraft, die wir nicht so einfach verwerfen können. In unserer natürlichen afrikanischen Beziehung zu den Gesetzen der Schwerkraft, entdecken wir unsere größte Erbschaft. Der Schlüssel ist das Gleichgewicht. Unser Gefühl für Rhythmus und unser vorzügliches Timing. Es gibt nur eine Zeit. Sie ist grenzenlos, aber messbar, und ist als Mittel der Betrachtung der Bewegung der Sterne, dem Ticken einer Uhr, dem Schlagen einer Trommel, den Beats unserer Füße oder unseres Herzens vorbehalten.

 

Leider marschiert die Mischrasse, genannt "afrikanischer Amerikaner", heute gedankenlos nach dem Schlagen einer fremden Trommel. Schwarze Kinder werden schlichtweg hypnotisiert. Der allmächtige Dollar ist die Sklavenkette, an die sie jetzt gehängt wurden. Aber unser Kampf geht nicht um den Dollar, noch darum, Material anzuhäufen, das der Europäer herstellt und bewundert. Unser Kampf sollte vielmehr um die Kontrolle über uns selbst und unsere Energien, in individueller wie auch gemeinschaftlicher Hinsicht, gehen.

Wir können nicht mehr gekauft werden, außer wenn wir uns selbst verkaufen. Wir werden erst damit aufhören, uns selbst zu verkaufen, wenn wir unseren Wert erkennen. Wir haben die Kontrolle über die Zeit, und können sie schwingen lassen. Wir stehen im Einklang mit dem Universum und bewahren das überlegene Gleichgewicht auf Erden. Dies ist keine leere Prahlerei, sondern eine bewiesene Tatsache. Es ist Tatsache, dass wir jeden Musikstil und jede Tanzform, die jemals seit dem Ende der Sklaverei in den Vereinigten Staaten populär geworden ist, geschaffen haben. Und das zeigt uns genau, woher die kulturelle Führung dieses Landes kommt. Das Bauen von riesigen neuen Sportarenen, Stadien und Spielfeldern in den Städten von Küste zu Küste, zeugt ausdrucksvoll von der Popularität schwarzer athletischer Meisterschaft. Unsere Führung und unsere Fähigkeiten sind jedoch der Korrumpierungen durch die Nachkommen derjenigen ausgesetzt, die uns gefangen hielten - eine heutige Generation, die ich "The Mastersons" ("Die Mastersöhne") nenne. Statt die Führungsfunktionen zu erfüllen, zu denen unsere natürlichen Begabungen uns berechtigen, stellen wir uns aus Gewohnheit ständig unter die Waffen und Wünsche der "Mastersons". Um aber frei sein zu können, müssen wir damit anfangen, uns selbst als ein freies Volk zu sehen. Wir werden das grundlegende Gleichgewicht offenbaren müssen, zu dem Afrika uns berechtigt hat, und die Kontrolle übernehmen über die Beats, nach denen wir uns bewegen. Indem wir unsere eigenen Rhythmen beherrschen, werden wir automatisch sowohl physische als auch spirituelle Harmonien schaffen, die uns vereinen und erstrahlen lassen werden. Wir werden einander vertrauen und somit beginnen, unsere Angelegenheiten einander anzuvertrauen in unserem eigenen Interesse. Während wir unser Gleichgewicht festigen, wird die Unbeholfenheit der "Mastersons" deutlich und unangenehm werden. Es wird Drohungen geben, die aber leer sein werden. "Wir haben nichts zu fürchten..."

KAPITEL ZWEI

Während die rhythmische Überlegenheit der Schwarzen über die Weißen offensichtlich ist, ist es die Bedeutsamkeit dieser Überlegenheit nicht. Sie wird heruntergespielt von denjenigen, die sich aus irgendeinem Grund davor scheuen, jeglichen Vorteil, den Schwarze über andere genießen könnten, anzuerkennen. Kein Wunder. Rhythmus hängt mit Gleichgewicht zusammen. In ihrem Gleichgewichtsgefühl offenbaren rhythmische Menschen ihre Begabungen: Behändigkeit, Schnelligkeit, Eleganz, physische und zeitliche Gewandtheit und Schwung. Gleichgewicht bezieht sich eigentlich nur auf eines: die Schwerkraft. Drei Generationen haben die Schwerkraft wissenschaftlich untersucht und während sie viel entdeckt haben von dem, was die Kraft bewirkt, haben sie noch nicht herausfinden können, was die Schwerkraft genau darstellt. Ich glaube, dass die Schwerkraft ein Nebenprodukt der Zentripetalkraft ist, die entsteht, wenn sich Gleichgewicht zwischen den sich gegenläufig bewegenden Umlaufbahnen von Astralkörpern einstellt. Ich werde es so erklären:

Alle Massenenergie bewegt sich in der Zeit des Raumes und, um ständige Zusammenstöße zu vermeiden, muss sich jede Energie zusammenhalten. Alle Massenenergie muss sich deshalb von allen anderen Massenenergien abwenden und infolgedessen alle Bewegungen auf seine eigene Umlaufbahn begrenzen. Innerhalb der eigenen Umlaufbahn erhält sich jede Massenenergie dadurch, dass sie zentripetal wird, d.h. alle Energie nach innen richtet, statt sie mit der Fliehkraft hinauszuschleudern. Die Schwerkraft entsteht durch die zentripetale Zugkraft der entgegengesetzt kreisenden Massenenergien, die sich nach universalen Vereinbarungen fortbewegen. Oder man könnte es so sagen:

(Gedicht - siehe englische Version)

Mag das Obenstehende verständlich sein oder nicht, wir können uns alle darauf einigen, dass die Schwerkraft einen ständigen Druck in unserem Leben ausübt. Jede Bewegung, die wir machen, verlangt von uns eine gewisse Überwindung der Schwerkraft. Selbst das einfache Aufrechtstehen fordert eine Vereinbarung mit der Schwerkraft. Vereinbarungen mit der Schwerkraft müssen ausgeglichen sein. Gravitationsgleichheit heißt Gleichgewicht oder Balance. Nur durch die Mittel der Balance können wir mit der Schwerkraft umgehen. Die Balance ist deshalb unentbehrlich bei jeder Tätigkeit oder Aktivität im Leben.

 

Weil Schwarze ein überlegenes Gleichgewichtsgefühl haben, zeichnen sie sich in Aktivitäten aus, die unmittelbare Herausforderungen an die Schwerkraft darstellen. Dies wird vor allem deutlich in bezug auf Musik und Sport. Jede populäre Form von Musik und Tanz seit der Sklavenbefreiung ist eine Schöpfung der Nachkommen der afrikanischen Sklaven gewesen, nicht nur in Amerika sondern auch auf den karibischen Inseln. Zur Schöpfung von Musik gehört ein Gleichgewicht, das mehr in Beziehung zu Vibrationen steht als zur Schwerkraft. Der Zugang zu himmlischen Harmonien muss vorhanden sein, um Musik zu schaffen. Es liegt in ihrem afrikanischen Gefühl für Gleichgewicht, dass schwarze Menschen eine verstärkte Begabung für das Schöpfen von Musik im allgemeinen und für improvisierte Musik im besonderen haben. Alle Völker können Klänge hören, die für sie Musik in ihren Ohren sind, aber die Schöpfungen der Schwarzen werden für alle Menschen weltweit wie Musik wahrgenommen. Das Geheimnis ihres Erfolgs kann nur im Rhythmus liegen, im Gleichgewicht, in den Tänzen, die sie mit der Schwerkraft führt. Die Geschichte der populären Unterhaltung in Amerika zeugt von dem überwältigenden Einfluss der rhythmischen Begabung der Schwarzen, trotz des weißen, rassistischen Widerstands. Heute ist Hiphop, wie früher Ragtime, Jazz und Be Bop, Zielscheibe für Angriffe. Die Vertreter der weißen Überheblichkeit sind fassungslos. Sie haben Angst davor, ihre Macht zu verlieren gegen die Vibrationen derjenigen, die sie so lange beraubt haben. Das störrische Herumfuchteln des europäischen Tanzes hat es nie aufnehmen können mit den weichen Bewegungen von Harlem, New Orleans, Kingston, Havanna oder Rio. Die Rassisten wissen das und versuchen uns darum ständig abzulenken mit dem einen und anderen Kampf der Waffen. Das ist ihre einzige Hoffnung, was bedeutet, dass sie hoffnungslos sind. Wir brauchen nur unsere Konzentration auf unsere unfassbare Erbschaft zu richten, die sich in unserem überlegenen Rhythmus niederschlägt, um die Anschläge der von Natur aus Unbeholfenen aufzuwiegen. Die Zeit dafür ist jetzt gekommen.

 

So wie unsere Meisterschaft ständig wächst, Generation für Generation, ist sie nicht nur von Vorteil für Schwarze gewesen, sondern auch für Weiße. Wie dem auch sei, besonders schwarze Jugendliche haben heutzutage bessere Möglichkeiten, Wohlstand zu erlangen, als je zuvor. Dynamische Vorbilder entwickeln sich in praktisch jeder Sportart. Es sind junge Schwarze, die den Druck aushalten und an Reichtum und daran, das Leben in vollen Zügen zu genießen, gewöhnt sind, deren Streben und Inspiration sie und Gleichaltrige in machtvolle, positive neue Richtungen führen. Einen vergleichbaren Einfluss üben die außergewöhnlichen schwarzen Entertainer in den verschiedenen Medien aus, wo die kreativen Begabungen mit einem unternehmerischen Interesse an deren Aktivitäten zusammengefügt werden. Das produziert sowohl Bargeld als auch Anerkennung, nicht nur auf dem heimischen sondern auch auf dem weltweiten Markt. In internationaler Hinsicht sind wir tatsächlich das "dream team". Wenn wir nur wüßten, was das heißt. Der Begriff deutet ein globales Ideal an, ein Leistungsniveau jenseits der Realität. Das Spiel einer stattlichen Reihe schwarzer Athleten in verschiedenen Sportarten offenbart einen Aspekt des völlig Unglaublichen. Es sorgt dafür, dass jede Saison, jedes große Spiel, jeder wichtige Wettkampf kein Mangel an Fans hat und immer frisch bleibt. Trotz des Rassismus gewinnen wir. Wir brauchen nur unseren Sieg in spirituelle, ökonomische und politische Triumphe umzuwandeln. Um das zu erreichen, müssen wir zunächst das Ausmaß des Geschenks, das wir genießen dürfen, annehmen und es zu würdigen wissen.

Die Schwerkraft ist Gott, nicht weil wir ihr auf spiritueller Weise huldigen, sondern weil sie unsere Existenz im Universum reguliert und kontrolliert. Je besser unser Gleichgewicht, desto tiefer ist unsere Beziehung zur Schwerkraft. Die Schwerkraft ist der Repräsentant für das Equilibrium in den astralen Beziehungen im Universum. Ausgewogen zu sein heißt, etwas, was von endloser Bedeutung für unsere ganze kosmische Gemeinschaft ist, begreifen zu können. Mit einer ausgewogenen Einstellung können wir den weltlichen Wahnsinn besiegen und mit harmonischer Gesundheit vibrieren. Der Himmel summt von Gesundheit. Die Hölle hat keine. Das Gleichgewicht zu erreichen, sollte unsere Pflicht sein, so wie es die des Himmels ist. Das erfordert keine hektischen, fanatischen und drastischen, sondern eindeutige, vernünftige Schritte. Unser Ziel ist nicht zu beherrschen, sondern die Herrschaft derer, die mit gewaltsamer Macht regieren, zu zerstören.

 

Das ist eine andere Herangehensweise. Sie versteht Demokratie nicht unbedingt als das politische Ideal, nach dem die Menschheit streben sollte. Das Gesetz der Mehrheit ist per Definition unausgeglichen. Es mag zwar Unruhen unterdrücken, aber sehr selten erreicht es Gleichheit. Die Gleichheit ist in der Tat kein Ziel der Demokratie. Aber die Gleichheit ist trotzdem die Basis der grundlegenden Beziehungen unseres Planeten zu seinem Sonnensystem, zur Galaxie und zum Universum. So scheint eine neue Einstellung die Order zu sein, eine ausgewogene, universelle Einstellung, die die Ordnung in allen Bereichen unseres Lebens widerspiegelt. Die Schwerkraft ist der Oberbefehlshaber dieser Ordnung in der Welt und das Gleichgewicht ihr Gouverneur. Als die menschliche Spezies, die mit dem besten Gleichgewichtsgefühl der Welt gesegnet ist, liegt die Hauptverantwortung der Schwarzen in Afrika und in Amerika darin, zu leiten. Es scheint, die Welt würde sich in großen Schwierigkeiten befinden, würden wir versagen. Glücklicherweise kann jeder mit Sinn für das Gleichgewicht eine ausgewogene Einstellung zum Leben erreichen. Die Einstellung kann persönlich entwickelt werden und sich auf jeden Bereich menschlicher Tätigkeiten und Organisationen übertragen.

Ein Problem, das die großen sozialen Bewegungen, die Religionen, politische Parteien und soziale Vereine quält, ist natürlich ihre Abhängigkeit von Führern und/oder von der kollektiven Vereinbarung. Das Schaffen eines Equilibriums beseitigt diese Abhängigkeit, weil die Verantwortung für Aktionen einzig bei jedem Individuum persönlich liegt. Natürlich kann die Kooperation mit den Anstrengungen anderer von Vorteil sein, aber es ist keine Bedingung. Nur die persönliche Verpflichtung ist entscheidend. Deshalb:

Keine Erlaubnis außer einer persönlichen Verpflichtung ist erforderlich.

Die Verpflichtung ist, sich intensiv damit zu beschäftigen, ein gutes Gleichgewicht zu erhalten.

Drastische Bewegungen bewirken das Gegenteil des Gewünschten.

Gleichgewicht entsteht durch Zuwächse, die vorsichtig abgewogen werden.

Fortschritt ist etwas Allmähliches.

Man braucht sich auf keine Führung zu verlassen, außer auf die eigene.

Keine aufrichtige Anstrengung ist Verschwendung.

Unnötige Verzögerung ist unannehmbar.

Beständigkeit ist eine Tugend.

Den harmonischen Beispielen der Natur nachzueifern ist lebenswichtig.

Übermaß und Extreme müssen beseitigt werden.

Änderung und Neuorientierung werden erwartet.

Es werden Fehler gemacht werden, aber auch Korrekturen.

 

KAPITEL DREI

Wenn wir die Leistungen derer berücksichtigen, die von den afrikanischen Sklaven abstammen, wird uns deutlich, dass sie mehr als bloß den entsetzlichen Wahnsinn ihrer Gefangenschaft überlebt zu haben, vielmehr ihre Eroberer in Bereichen menschlicher Bemühungen übertroffen haben, die in der heutigen Gesellschaft die größte Freude und das höchste Gefühl für physische und freudige Begeisterung und moralische Werte hervorrufen. Die Meisterschaft der Schwarzen wird als die instinktive Leistung hirnloser Rohlinge verunglimpft, was aber nur dazu dient, die Tatsache zu verschleiern, dass die Nachkommen Afrikas, wenn es um populäre athletische Veranstaltungen geht, wenig oder sogar keine Konkurrenz in den Nachkommen Europas haben. Seit Joe Louis ist die Liste der Boxchampions in überwältigendem Ausmaß mit Schwarzen besetzt. Seit Jesse Owens Auftritt hat die Teilnahme Schwarzer in olympischen Leichtathletikwettkämpfen die Weißen aus dem Sprint, den Läufen, dem Hürdenlauf und dem Hochspringen fast vollkommen ausgeschlossen. Basketballmannschaften an den Colleges und auf professionellem Niveau zeigen die überwältigende Dominanz schwarzer Spieler in dieser weltweit populären Sportart. Dokumente der alten "Negroe Leagues" belegen das hohe Niveau des Baseballspiels der Schwarzen schon längst vor Jackie Robinsons historischer Karriere. In der letzten Zeit haben natürlich die Ablöse im Golfsport durch Tiger Woods und die großartigen Tennistriumphe der Venus und Serena Williams schwarze Meisterschaft in die Ecken der Country Clubs hineingetragen, in denen solche Jugendlichen früher nur Caddies oder Ballmädchen sein durften, wenn überhaupt.

 

Es wird vorgegeben, der Grund dieser hervorragenden Erfolge sei nicht bekannt, aber eigentlich ist er vollkommen offensichtlich. Die rhythmischen Leistungen schwarzer Spieler werden seit Generationen schon dokumentiert und bewundert. Trotz der absurden Behauptungen der weißen Herrscher machen es die belegbaren Beweise aus Einnahmen durch Kartenverkäufe, Fernseh- und Radioeinkünfte, Aufzeichnungen von Aufführungen und der stundenlangen schönen Unterhaltung unumstritten. Das überlegene Leistungsniveau, das wiederholt von Schwarzen demonstiert wurde, erreichen sie genau deshalb, weil sie Schwarze sind. Dieses nur dem "Instinkt" und nicht dem ausgezeichneten "Intellekt" zuzuschreiben, ist eine Beleidigung der Intelligenz aller, die an solchen Ereignissen teilnehmen, Fans, Funktionäre und Spieler gleichermaßen. Es ist eine reaktionäre, propagandistische Verdrehung der Realität, die darauf abzielt, die Leute so zu verwirren, dass sie das Heldenhafte, was sich direkt vor ihren Augen abspielt, nicht erkennen können.

 

Wenn man bedenkt, unter welch schrecklichen Umstände schwarze Bewerber traditionell in die Wettkämpfe jeder wichtigen Sportart gingen, erweisen sich unsere Siege in jenen Sportarten als phänomenal. Die schlechten Aussichten, gegen die wir gekämpft haben, schienen unser Scheitern eigentlich zu garantieren, aber wir haben es trotzdem würdevoll geschafft. Unsere Erfolge resultieren aus irgendeiner unbeugsamen afrikanischen Eigenschaft, die offensichtlich mit der Energie des Universums harmoniert, durch die wir schwingen. Sie lässt sich in unserer Körpersprache und durch die Klänge unserer Musik erkennen. Wenn kreative Interessen den Kräften minderwertiger Begabung entsprängen, könnte man nur ein minderwertiges Ergebnis erwarten. Andererseits, wenn denjenigen, begnadet mit einem privilegierten Zugang zu den harmonischen Bewegungen des Universums, gestattet wäre, ihre natürlichen Begabungen auszuüben, würde das Ergebnis bei besonderen Auftritten bejubelt werden. Das Privileg, das sich ständig im Stil und in der Anmut, die Schwarze von Natur aus zeigen, offenbart, ist die Folge einer außergewöhnlichen afrikanischen Beziehung zu der allgegenwärtigen Schwerkraft. Es liegt ein Schwung im Wesen der meisten Afrikaner, der aus dieser Beziehung hervorgeht. Ob der Rhythmus von der Trommel abstammt, oder die Trommel vom Rhythmus ist eine "Huhn oder Ei"-Frage, die ich für zwecklos halte. Die daraus folgenden Leistungen, wie sie heutzutage umgesetzt werden, verdienen unsere Aufmerksamheit. Unsere siegreichen Errungenschaften sind es, die festgehalten werden müssen. Der Nutzen dieser Siege sollte uns gleichermaßen zukommen als Mittel, um das wachsende Leiden, das gegenwärtig in unseren Gemeinschaften weltweit vorkommt, zu lindern. Mit unseren Wohltätigkeiten sollten wir offenkundig zu Hause anfangen. Warum sollten wir, reich an Begabung, uns nicht in den natürlichen und politischen Umgebungen, in denen wir unsere Begabungen zum Ausdruck bringen, wohl fühlen? Wieso müssen die Begabten unterdrückt werden? Wieso sollten die Gierigen alles überragen? Was bewirkt die Anwendung von Gewalt, außer noch mehr Gewalt? Warum sollten die Begabten nicht in Frieden ihre Begabungen für sich selbst vermarkten dürfen?

Hier verweise ich nicht nur auf Sport. Betrachten wir auch die Musik.

Es hat noch keine populäre Form der Musik und des Tanzes seit dem Bürgerkrieg gegeben, die nicht von dem "black bottom" ("schwarzen Boden") der amerikanischen Gesellschaft geschaffen und eingeführt wurde. Vom "Cakewalk" zum "Charleston", "Boogie-Woogie", "Jitterbug" und den zahlreichen Variationen darauf, bis zum Durchbruch des "Breakdance" und "Hip-Hop", haben wir die Melodien und Drehungen kreiert, zu denen dieses Land traditionell "twistet". Die bahnbrechenden Musikstile von Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Charlie Parker, Berry Gordy, Kool and The Gang und allen Generationen ihresgleichen haben kreativ die Kultur dieses ganzen Landes geführt. Schon seit Jahrzehnten sind die Letzten die Ersten gewesen, indem sie die populäre Unterhaltung des amerikanischen Volkes bestimmt haben. Natürlich ernennen sich die Weißen in den Medien zu "Königen" von allem, was sie erblicken können, aber nur die "black bottom" bestimmen, was daraus folgt. Natürlich scheinen die Weißen die Führung zu haben, und wenn es um die Sachen geht, die man mit Geld kaufen und über die man lügen kann, ist es auch meistens der Fall. Dennoch, im Musikwesen kann Geld kein Ersatz für Kreativität sein, und darum wird die im Besitz der Weißen befindliche Musikindustrie heutzutage hin und wieder von Kräften getrieben, über die sie keine Kontrolle hat. Die "Bosse" haben keine andere Wahl außer "Lackaien" zu sein. Welche Rolle sie gerne übernehmen, vorausgesetzt der Preis gefällt, aber dann befinden sie sich in einer Lage, die Thomas Jefferson wie folgt beschrieb:

"Wir haben den Wolf an den Ohren.
Wir können ihn weder festhalten noch ohne Gefahr loslassen!"

Bemühungen, den Griff auf die kreativen Kräfte schwarzer Begabung zu halten, werden durch die technologischen Explosionen im Kommunikationsbereich noch sinnloser. Diese Explosionen, die sich mit der Geschwindigkeit eines Maschinengewehrs auszubreiten scheinen, vereinfachen gewaltig das Kreieren und Verbreiten der Musik. Satellit, Internet, Kabel, DVD, Dat, Fax Telefon, Radio und Fernsehen erweitern, kultivieren und ermöglichen die Verbreitung der Unterhaltung unter einem jeden Tag größer werdenden Publikum. Aber so verheißungsvoll die technologische Revolution, die wir erleben, auch sein mag, sie ist winzig im Vergleich zur Erbschaft, deren sich Schwarze bald bewusst werden. Sie bezieht sich nicht auf die neuesten Moden und Marotten sondern auf die elementaren Kräfte der Existenz im Leben jedes Einzelnen. Wir bewohnen hier einen Planeten, der mit dem Kosmos im Einklang steht. Wir sind den Unbilden eines Sonnensystems, von einer sich im Gleichgewicht haltenden Sonne reguliert, in einer geordneten Galaxie und einem perfekten Universum ausgesetzt. Unsere Zeit-Raum-Welt hier auf Erden ist begrenzt. Sie wird von Kräften beherrscht, von denen wir begrenzte Kenntnisse und über die wir wenig Kontrolle haben. Religiöse, politische, ökonomische und soziale Interpretationen werden energisch vertreten und gewaltsam bekämpft. Macht hat die Erlaubnis, Recht zu haben ohne Anzweifelung. Konflikte, mit Absicht entwickelt, dienen dazu, wie auch immer geartete Sichtweisen zu verbreiten. Tyrannen diktieren. Macht korrumpiert. Revolutionen stürzen. Kriege wüten. Sex verführt. Das Geld macht's. Scheinheilige lügen. Der Morgen kommt. Und wir gehen. Unterdessen werden verschiedene Einflüsse auf verschiedene Weise ausgeübt, aber keiner ist so zauberhaft wie die Musik und die Bewegung.

 

Das musikalischste und kraftvoll athletischste Volk dieses Planeten zu sein, ist sowohl ein Segen als auch ein Fluch. Es ist ein Segen wegen der erfreulichen Schönheit, die es offenbart, und ein Fluch wegen des hässlichen Neids, den es auf sich zieht. Es bringt uns in die nicht beneidenswerte Lage Liebhaber willkommen zu heißen, während wir uns vor Angreifern schützen müssen. Eine ausgeglichene Einstellung ist nicht immer unsere Sache gewesen. Die Wirkung unserer Unterdrücker ist stark. Sie sind reich und gut bewaffnet. Sie scheinen unerbitterlich entschlossen herrschen zu wollen, mit allen Mitteln, so grausam sie auch seien. Wenn man so einer Bestie gegenübersteht, können plötzliche Bewegungen eine Katastrophe herbeiführen. Die Bestie ist auf einen endlosen tödlichen Konflikt vorbereitet. Sie muss gezähmt werden. Beruhigt werden. Und mit einem besseren Gleichgewicht konfrontiert werden. Ihrer Natur nach, ist sie voller Angst vor Vergeltungsschlägen. Sie ist defensiv, aber zugleich räuberisch. Diese tödlichen Neigungen zu beruhigen wird jede Finesse, aus jeglichen Quellen entspringend, erfordern. Finesse kann nicht einfach mit Geld gekauft werden. Finesse ist eine vererbte Eigenschaft, die sich in Form einer feinen Tanzbewegung darstellt, als eine Art zu Gehen, eine Seele, die so einfach singt und Stile kreiert, wie sie lächelt. Es gibt keine Form, keine Faustregel, nach der sich das, was als "geheiligt" bezeichnet wird, offenbart. Kein einziges Stück davon werden die Weißen zerlegen können, wie es charakteristisch für sie ist. Finesse ist ein Gefühl, ähnlich wie "cool" zu sein. Es ist ein angeborenes Verhalten oder eines, das die meisten Schwarzen in herausragender Genauigkeit annehmen. Damit will ich anderen diese oder jene andere Begabung nicht absprechen. Lasst uns alle das nutzen, was wir wissen. Aber indem wir das tun, lasst diejenigen, denen die Finesse eigen ist, ihre Gelassenheit, um Frieden zu erlangen und keinen Krieg zu führen. Es gibt nichts Positives daran, einen Waffenproduzenten für einen Waffenkrieg einzustellen. Es gibt keinen Vorteil daran, wenn ein ausgeglichener Mensch im Kampf gegen einen unbeholfenen Menschen sein Gleichgewicht verliert. Wenn wir unser Gleichgewicht erhalten und uns mit kühler Finesse verhalten, können wir nicht verlieren, egal was unsere Feinde versuchen mögen. Wenn wir von Geburt mit einem Gefühl für Gleichgewicht begabt sind, müssen wir diese Begabung möglichst genau studieren.

 

Alle Massenenergie bewegt sich in harmonischen Bewegung, schwingt durch den Weltraum in gleichartigen Umlaufbahnen. Jeder Körper existiert für sich und muss deswegen jeden anderen Körper respektieren und ihm Raum geben. Bei ihren Untersuchungen des Himmels lernten die Menschen der Antike einige Wahrheiten der kosmischen Ordnung. Der Weltraum musste den Massenenergien Platz bieten und das konnte er am besten in rhythmischer Form. Infolgedessen wimmelt der Himmel von mit sich in Einklang stehenden Körpern, die sich nur um ihre eigenen Angelegenheiten kümmern. Und auf einem Planeten täten wir gut daran den Kosmos nachzuahmen. Wenn irgendwelche Menschen auf dem Planeten das erreichen können, dann sind es diejenigen, die die Schwerkraft mit ihrem Gleichgewicht herausfordern können. Die Schwarzen mit ihrer afrikanischen Begabung. Ich schaudere davor mir vorzustellen, wie Ingenieure diese Eigenschaft messen könnten. Wie wir sie nutzen könnten, stelle ich mir unbedingt vor. Das Spannende daran ist genau die Tatsache, dass diese Begabung unmessbar scheint. Der Schwung eines Körpers im Gleichgewicht hat keine materielle Existenz. Es ist ein Wesen, das die Beziehungen zur Schwerkraft in Gang setzt und verstärkt, und es offenbart sich als Geschwindigkeit während des Laufens, als Höhe eines Sprungs und als Kreativität in der Musik. In solchen Aktivitäten beweisen diejenigen mit dem besseren Gleichgewicht ihren deutlichen Vorteil. Würden die Unbeholfenen gewinnen, wäre das ein Unglück, das möglichst schnell korrigiert werden müsste. Würden die Meister ihre Ruhe verlieren, wäre das eine unsägliche Katastrophe.

Daher kann keiner wichtigeren Sache mehr Bedeutung beigemessen werden als der, unser enormes Potential zu realisieren und mit ihm zu arbeiten. Im bevorstehenden Kampf werden wir nicht mit den Mitteln der Zerstörung ausgestattet sein sondern mit der Kapazität, zu gestalten und zu inspirieren. Wenn wir uns darauf besinnen, können wir es mit bestialischen Kräften aufnehmen und sie besiegen. "Sich darauf zu konzentrieren" verlangt wieder eine persönliche Verpflichtung dazu, das Gleichgewicht zu erhalten. Dies kann jetzt geschehen oder zu jeder Zeit von jetzt an.

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An Agenda for Peace

To pre-empt and prevent war,
we must deal with the deepest
causes of conflict:

economic despair,
social injustice and
political oppression.

Dr. Boutros Boutros Ghali
former
U.N. Secretary General

 

 

Reflections on Malcolm X in 1992

by Dr. Abdul Alkalimat

 

 

Perhaps even more than most people, Malcolm X was a man in motion. He experienced life so fully and so intensely that in his brief 40 years one has to say, he led several lives. Anytime someone attempts to define Malcolm X without regard to his full development, they run the risk of distortion. And worse, this is often done as a cover for sectarianism, claiming Malcolm belongs to one's own political tendency. The responsible answer to this question requires examining his entire life and not one part of it.

With the collaboration of Alex Haley, Malcolm X wrote a classic autobiography in the great tradition of the slave narratives of Gustavus Vassa, Frederick Douglass, along with the autobiographical texts of Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. DuBois. This is our greatest single source about Malcolm X.

 

Malcolm Little (1925 - 1941)

 

Malcolm was born May 19, 1925 in Omaha, Nebraska to Earl and Louise Little. Earl Little was a Georgia born baptist preacher and organizer for Marcus Garvey in the Universal Negro Improvement Association. Louise Little was a Grenadian born outspoken activist in the UNIA as well. He had nine brothers and sisters.

When Malcolm was 6, his father was brutally killed after suffering years of racist persecution. Six years later his mother succumbed to the pressure of the welfare system after trying to care for her children in poverty. She was committed to a mental hospital where she stayed from 1937 to 1963.

Malcolm Little was a Black youth alienated from his family through racist violence, and forced into the street to search for his manhood.

 

Detroit Red (19411 - 1952)

 

After spending three years in a foster home and detention school, and still not escaping institutional racism and individual prejudices, he moved to Boston with his eldest paternal half-sister, Ella Collins. In Boston he turned away from what he considered the hypocritical imitative lifestyle of Black middle class, taking to the cultural dynamics of the streets, the nocturnal fast lane of pop culture.

First in Boston, then in New York, Malcolm explored the full range of illegal alternatives. He did everything that still haunts the Black community today: drugs, prostitution, robbery, and violence in many forms. He formed a gang of robbers in Boston, that quickly led to a prison term in 1946. By his 21st year, he was a school drop out, a drug addict, and a jail-bird! He put it this way in his autobiography.

"Looking back, I think I really was at least slightly out of my mind. I viewed narcotics as most people regard food. I wore my guns as today I wear my neckties. Deep down, I actually believed...one should die violently."

 

Malcolm X (1952 - 1963)

 

While he was incarcerated, Malcolm came to understand how he had been isolated and rendered powerless, other than as a source of vulgar, naked violence. In this depth he experienced one of the great reversals of the 20th century, the rehabilitation and conversion of a hardened criminal. He met Bimbi, a prison intellectual, who taught him to respect language, books, and reasoning. Malcolm was introduced by his brothers and sisters to Elijah Muhammad, the leader of the Nation of Islam. These two men guided him to self-emancipation, reading and writing his way to intellectual growth, and a reversal of habits which reinforced a new lifestyle and moral code.

He went into prison a degenerate criminal, after seven years he had become a model of commitment, dedication, and discipline upon his release in 1952. Malcolm was now a man. He was moving in the path of his father, as a Black nationalist organizer attempting to save Black people from the destruction of a white racist society.

For the next 12 years Malcolm became the main leader for the Nation of Islam and the driving force in their growth, increasing membership from 400 to 40,000, with Temples organized in virtually every major city in the United States. After being in Detroit, he went to live and study with Elijah Muhammad in Chicago. He was then assigned to organize key cities. He became Minister of the New York Temple and became the National Spokesperson and leader for his organization He married and had 6 daughters.

 

Omowale (1964 - 1965)

 

Malcolm acted as one of the many sons of Elijah Muhammad, and was an extremely dedicated follower. However, strains developed on a personal and political level. The strain turned into conflict and led to separation. Allegedly, Mr. Muhammad had fathered several children out of wedlock with two very young assistants. In Malcolm's eyes, this was a devastating transgression, only to be exceeded by the cover-up hoax to validate his behavior through biblical reference. Malcolm violated Muhammad'd mandate to remain silent after Kennedy's assassination, with his famous statement, "the chickens were coming home to roost." He was simply saying, "those who live by the sword die by the sword." However, in Muhammad's eyes this was an intolerable act of insubordination. Malcolm was silenced December 3, 1963. He formally announced his independence from the Nation of Islam on March 8, 1964.

Over the next year, Malcolm spent nearly 6 months abroad after announcing the formation of two organizations, the Muslim Mosque Inc. And the Organization of Afro-American Unity. In his last year, Malcolm lectured in and visited over a dozen countries and established himself as a theoretical leader of the Black liberation movement. He became even more dangerous outside the sectarian Nation Of Islam. People from all areas of the Black community, and the world were searching him out, seriously considering his ideological and political leadership. However, having lived less than 40 years, Malcolm was assassinated February 21, 1961 in New York City at the Audubon Ballroom while lecturing to his followers. After becoming a man advocating world brotherhood, he was brutally murdered.

 

Published by Fountainhead® Tanz Theatre in the

XII. Black International Cinema Anthology 1993-1997

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Elegy for the Seventh Son

Robert Earl Price

I.

Even after he had fallen

He hung over the hall

Like smoke hung over Watts

and his sacred blood stained

the fabric of our minds

For once again we mourned

Became acolytes

in an American rite

agents in a morality play

We were adders and asps

Frogs and snakes

all come to the ballroom

the icy Audubon ballroom

to witness him hang like

smoke over Capetown

And we are frozen in February

An eternal Audubon audience

repeated witness

as all shades or red are shattered

and scattered about the stage

like shards of scarlet glass

Where have we been

and what have we done

since our bright and flaming star

lay like liquid glass

red in all hues

scattered about the stage

St. Malcolm fallen and risen

and none of us with courage enough

to canonize the people's prophet

O the mourners wept like crocodiles

Neo Africans swore revenge

but no one claimed the shoes

of our martyred saint

No one wants the shoes

of a martyred man

 

II.

All hues of man missing

The loss crammed our ears

and clogged our minds

He took his last breath

and flecked the air with seeds

tiny red stars

sparks for the fire

and we are left to smolder

with no one to warn us

when the chickens come home to roost

O the sky was pallid

a planet with no sun

on that holy day when Malcolm fell

fell in all hues of red

was shattered and scattered

about the Audubon stage

like shards of scarlet glass

Pieces of Detroit Red, Dirty Red, Dago Red

each horrified by another Good Friday

An instant of agony from Angola Red

to Zulu Red

each cut by liquid glass

Shards from our bravest mirror

red in al hues

silent on the stage

electric in the air

O the mourners wept like crocodiles

the Mystics organized a cult

'cause its easy to worship a cold dead man

It's easy to worship a martyred man

 

III. FLASHBACK

Mrs. Little could see the future

and the future was red

First it was them night riders

tiny night riders

in the corner of her eye

gnats in the middle of her day

omens to bring her husband back

from across the bloody tracks

And little Malcolm Little

born fiery red

She slept among the harpies

night riders that buzzed like gnats

the bloody rails bearing a bleeding reverend

And little Malcolm Little fiery red

red jelly on his mouth

red sun in this eyes

His playground blood dripping

on white kitchen tile

The reds bothered her

until she made up her mind

to make her mind

a pane of coral tinted glass

She trapped all her demons

in the thin red mirror of her person

and then like a man swinging a hammer

she deliberately smashed the pane

and scattered her royal mind

like dust from an exploded ruby

O her neighbors wept like crocodiles

and sought an orphanage for her children

but we must not forget

that a crazy woman gave birth to a mighty man

A crazy woman gave birth to a martyred man

 

IV.

So mama went crazy and papa dead in hell

little wonder that little Malcolm grew

into a bright red devil

with a mind as caustic as conked hair

A plague from Detroit to Boston

Little red rider turned big red robber

A big fiery demon

a lava flow of rage

a molten wolfman

locked down in chain gang hell

He found a scarlet seed in a red bound book

He chewed every page like it was a bar on his cell

and then he sat waiting....

Waiting until little bitty Elijah Poole

part Garvey and part Daddy Grace

took red clay wisdom and remade himself

into the Honorable Elijah Mohammed

to whom all praise is due

all praise is due

because he reached down into hell

where a dangerous red devil was devouring

books

And using Georgia mother wit

Elijah delivered the people's flaming saint

Malcolm Little was a devil

Malcolm X was a phoenix aflame

He rose like a splinter

from flint and steel

and where Malcolm reasoned

we followed like sparks on a comet's tail

Minister Malcolm spoke and we heard

about devils and due

about cleaning up and rising up

Brother Malcolm began to raise the dead

and when he was his brightest

he was shattered and scattered about the

ballroom

like shards of glass

red in all hues

O the mourners wept like crocodiles

pretenders said that they knew him well

'cause it is easy to forget the truth about a

martyred man

It's easy to forget the truth about a martyred man

 

V.

The X could not contain the great fox

Separating eagles from chickens

Minister Malcolm gave devils names

He placed hell on the map

and taught us how spades were dealt

all in the name of Allah and Elijah

his prophet to whom all praise is due

The X could not name him

when he spoke

liars blushed

He delivered the messenger's message

Clean up, rise up, remember the past

so that we may act in the present

to shape the future

Clean up, rise up, remember the past

so that we may act in the present

to shape the future

His tongue was red pepper challenge

"If a man raises his hand to you

let him be prepared to lay down his life"

O he was ours in all his brightness

a red arrow tracking the racist heart

ballots for bullets

giving reason to rhyme

Malcolm, we didn't know your worth

until your were shattered and scattered

shards of deep red glass

splashing on the Audubon stage

O the mourners wept like crocodiles

Claimed his courage for their own

Remember it is easy to befriend a martyred man

It is so easy to befriend a martyred man

 

VI.

El Hadj Malik El Shabazz

a humble muslim

traveled from Mecca to Accra

tasting the coca and cola of Nkrumah's liberty

Over there in the once shameful jungle

he found genetic links with griots and gris-gris

He sat on a stool

as healers and sages

came and laid hands upon him

Each took a piece of him

until the chips of himself

were scattered about the room

like sunbeams along the veldt

When the sun had set

spirits came and gathered him up

and spoke to him in voices full of snakes

They asked, "Are you little red Malcolm Little,

Minister Malcolm X, El Hadj Malik El Shabazz?"

And our red self answered, "I am yours in all my

names."

Then beautiful and curious women

marveled at his color and asked,

"Were you born in hell?"

And our brave self answered,

"I am the color of flame

and yours in all my names

and yours in all my faces."

He rose like a rouge eagle

and all his fear and doubt was scattered

like shards of red stained glass

spangling a ballroom stage

O the mourners wept like crocodiles

glib men claim his as a son

'cause Malcolm was among us

Malcolm is with us

Malcolm will endure

for he is legend and longer

the wafer for our sins

Though he sits in the company

of Che, Geronimo and Lumumba

still he is here flecking the air

with dust from crushed jewels

He is the crimson in the baby's skin

the red eye of our sorrow

the glowing coal of our anger

We are a relentless river

he is the under tow

Our bond is seamless

He lives in our every righteous act

although he was shattered and scattered

slivers of red in all hues

he is ours and our bond is seamless

a song we have not sung

he is the color red

and ours

from first tint of daybreak

to the last flame of sunset

El Hadj Malik El Shabazz

your enemies were ours

El Hadj Malik El Shabazz

our enemies are yours

El Hadj Malik El Shabazz

our bond is seamless

for your are ours in all your names

and all your faces

'cause they will never destroy

the legacy of this martyred man

(Say it with me)

They will never destroy

the legacy of this martyred man....

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For Malcolm X

 

All you violated ones with gentle hearts;

You violent dreamers whose cries shout heartbreak;

Whose voices echo clamors of our cool capers,

And whose black faces have hollowed pits for eyes.

All you gambling sons and hooked children and bowery bums

Hating white devils and black bourgeoisie,

thumbing your noses at your burning red suns,

Gather round this coffin and mourn your dying swan.

Snow-white moslem head-dress around a dead black face!

Beautiful were your sand-papering words against our skins!

Our blood and water pour from your flowing wounds,

You have cut open our breasts and dug scalpels in our brains.

When and where will another come to take your holy place?

Old man mumbling in his dotage, or crying child,

unborn?

 

Margaret Walker

(1915 - )

 

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POETIC LICENCE

By Martin Newell

In an interview with the literary magazine Mslexia, the poet Laureate explains that he makes only about 5,000 pounds a year from his poetry. The magazine also says that other well-known writers are often unable to survive on the income from their books

 

 

How Poets

Make Money

While grave-digging, after rainy weather

Always keep a long hollow pipe next to you.

Another poet told me never to forget this.

It will help you to breathe until you're dug out.

When working split-shifts as a kitchen porter

If the waitresses or the chefs put knives

Or wine glasses in your washing-up water

Shout at them. Get stitches and a tetanus jab.

Don't write for academics or other writers

Write for people who don't much like poems.

If they want entertainment, entertain them.

Later, much later, they may buy you lager.

Forget bursaries, prizes or writers' refuges

You need a shed with a bucket, next to a pub

When your mind is empty and the bucket is full

Down tools, borrow money and go to the pub.

While loop-brained or vacant in the public bar

Eyes bloodshot like central London road maps

Never tell people that you have been working

In the real world; writin' pomes int proper work.

Many publishers are sympathetic to poets.

No, I'm sorry. I don't know why I wrote that.

If you want more than 7 to 10 per cent,

Turn over a petrol station and publish yourself.

A number of organisations exist to help poets.

Their administrators are paid more than you.

Among many ways in which to approach them,

"Where's me dinner, slut?" is as good as any.

Public readings, schools-work and commissions,

Can all help to boost your income. And so can

Upholstering sedan chairs or sewing epaulettes.

And melancholy is a dog that rounds up melons.

Don't be proud. Take every job that comes in.

Ballads and rhymes are cages to be brilliant in.

The poet who never sold out never got asked.

Ever tried feeding your kids on critical respect?

THE THURSDAY REVIEW

The Independent 11 November 1999

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DANCE

Marcia Heintzberger

Past, Present, Future

Interview with Robertjohn Lange

We wish to introduce you to Mr. Robertjohn Lange, now in his fifth season as Ballet Master for the Heidelberger Tanztheater, formerly Ballet Director in St. Poelten, Austria and Chairman of the Dept. of Classical Ballet at the Helsinki Institute of Dance in Finland, where he taught and trained young dancers for the world competitions in Moscow, Varna and Lausanne.

 

    What is your family's socio-economic background?

     

    As is typical of many performers and/or artists in the United States, I come from a small industrial town outside of Cleveland, Ohio, of lower middle class parentage. And from where I received my artistic spleen, can only be described as Karma. That town and those surroundings, were not conducive to nurture artistic potential.

     

    What are the factors that influenced your professional undertakings?

     

    As a small child, possibly of eight years, I saw the Holiday On Ice shows and wanted to become a skater. Then in rapid succession, I discovered the movies. For my time in the early 50's, Donald O'Conner represented what I wanted to become...then Gene Kelly. I found Fred Astaire old and ugly. And stupid me, needed many years to finally recognize the master. So it was SHOW BIZ or entertainment that was appealing to me. Shortly afterwards I saw my first ballet... Les Ballets Russes de Monte Carlo with SWAN LAKE act II and NUTCRACKER, DIVERTISSEMENTS and GRADUATION BALL. I think I went to the theater alone. But the big event was the Royal Ballet with Margot Fonteyn in SLEEPING BEAUTY. Before I could make the decision to become a dancer, I became seriously ill and the doctors thought, I would never be able to participate in an activity that demanded so much physical exertion.

     

    Where did you study, with whom and what were the techniques and personalities' influence, upon your development?

     

    My next station was Chicago and there I met you, (Donald Muldrow Griffith and Robertjohn Lange met and studied Ballet simultaneously) at Edward Parish, a brilliant teacher. Then after studying in Chicago, I went to the Pennsylvania Ballet as an apprentice and was enormously influenced by Edward Caton, one of the great teachers, and John White, who began to awaken my pedagogical instincts.

     

    Nana Shineflug, Chicago Moving Company

     

    My era of studying and career was during such a great time that I pity the now-generation's lack of great personalities. As a child, I saw the original MY FAIR LADY and WEST SIDE STORY on Broadway, that was my introduction to musicals. I love this art form. The regular visits to American Ballet Theater, with Carla Fracci, Cynthia Gregory and Erik Bruhn, New York City Ballet with Edward Villella, Patricia McBride, Suzanne Farrell, Helgi Tomasson, Jacques D'Ambois, Melissa Hayden, Violette Verdi and a young Gelsey Kirkland. Gelsey and I used to train daily with Natalia Makarova and other stars at Maggie Black's studio. Another colleague in class was William Forsythe, and look where he is now!

     

    Then there was the Joffrey Ballet, Harkness Ballet with my idols Lawrence Rhodes and Brunhilde Ruiz, the great Bolshoi Ballet with Maya Plisetskaya, Maris Liepa, Michail Lavrovsky, Ekaterina Maximova and Vladimir Vasiliev, Les Grands Ballets Canadiens, Royal Winnipeg, Alvin Ailey with Judith Jamison, the new Stuttgart Ballet under John Cranko and of course, Margot Fonteyn and Rudolf Nureyev with the Royal Ballet, who gave us a glimpse of Valhalla. But let's not forget Paul Taylor, the newly organized, 1973 Martha Graham Company - what a revelation! - and Paul Sanasardo. All of these events are seared into my soul. I have been a WITNESS to this greatness and I give thanks...and this thanks is hopefully visible in my work as a teacher and coach. These experiences are my sources of inspiration.

     

    I find the now-generation very difficult to inspire, or in which to initiate enthusiasm. They are so SELF conscious, "Do your own thing and PREFERABLY alone!" It is the sociological malheur of the times. What we fought for, through the 60's with civil rights, women's Liberation, gay rights, Jewish awareness, Vietnam, JFK, Martin Luther King Jr. and Pope John XXIII. Too much now, is simply taken for granted, without or with very little humility and appreciation. I was in the United States after the fall of the Berlin Wall and was quite shocked by the general public's disinterest in this event and other similar developments. Nobody was happier than I, at the rejoining of the former East and West Germany or the fall of Nikolai Ceaucescu in Romania or Nelson Mandela's release from prison.

     

    As an optimist, I believe the pendulum will 'swing' again, as possibly the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, was a tragic beginning which brought about, the development of a feeling of togetherness; the barriers of age, nationality, religion, race, sexuality and social status were for a very short period of time, dissolved.

     

    Angela Kramer

    "INSANITY
    A confrontation with alcoholism"

    A theatre production
    directed and choreographed
    by Fountainhead Tanz Théâtre
    Actress: Angela Kramer

    Angela Kramer

     

    How would you define the current state of "serious art" vs. "popular culture" in the U.S.A. and Europe?

     

    Is there really a difference between the two? Can they coincide peacefully or are they two different entities? Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers were creating and performing popular culture or entertainment, that is now considered art. Mozart wrote many pieces of music, as Bach before him, and neither had any idea that these pieces would be played after their commissioned function. It was simply the way of things. I cannot believe that any "serious" artist thinks that he or she is creating art. One simply does one's best and hopes for good results. In capitalistic societies, the emphasis is upon the highest possible monetary or material reward. Spiritual and other values are deemed of secondary importance. I believe the artist has a responsibility to him- or herself, society and God, to place a higher premium upon the artistic, intellectual and spiritual contributions he or she can possibly contribute.

     

    Katherine Dunham

     

    Although I have enjoyed the benefits of subventioned theater in Europe for twenty five years, there is still much to be said for commercial theater. The German theater is basically progressive, very strongly Brechtian influenced, but rather without a heart or soul. In the past years, I feel theater directors have forgotten the public and more or less, the performer. For me, theater must make you feel and then think...theater and music are visceral. You can intellectualize as much as you want, but no matter how long you engage in this activity, it still won't replace strong emotions. I think emotions are the binding tie of minds, the phenomenon that overcomes intellectual, age, racial, religious and gender barriers, i.e. MADAME BUTTERFLY, PORGY AND BESS, PHILADELPHIA, LILIES OF THE FIELDS, THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANK.

     

    How would you define the aesthetic of ballet? What is the influence of this definition upon the paucity of Black ballet dancers in the U.S.A. and Europe?

     

    The aesthetic of ballet varies, and is mainly a feeling of style. A beautiful well-trained body is a beginning, but not every dancer can execute George Balanchine, Auguste Bournonville, Frederick Ashton, Antony Tudor, Marius Petipa, Jerome Robbins and Jiri Kylian or for that matter, in Modern Dance, Martha Graham, Jose Limon, Merce Cunningham or Paul Taylor. There are situations where one simply feels "at home", even when it means, just one work of a certain choreographer. But it is wonderful to try and even to fail; a luxurious advantage of subventioned theater.

     

    There is a paucity of black ballet dancers, but then sports is also disproportionate. Sport simply has better publicity (how many pages of the newspapers are devoted to sports?) and the big money.

     

    Can we really speak about healthy role models as an influence? It is wonderful with the passage of time, that we have LIVING gay celebrities, that ALL races are visible in all art forms. But a true calling to the arts is from within, Karma. Just think of the Brontes, James Baldwin, Josephine Baker! I tip my hat to those who find their way, even if they don't or didn't become as famous as the above mentioned individuals.

     

     

    What is the relationship between the aforementioned issue and the development and reception in the U.S.A. and Europe of the Dance Theatre of Harlem and the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre?

     

    Dance Theatre of Harlem, 1971

     

    The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre has enormous popularity in Germany and for that matter, in all Europe. It is the American ambassador of dance based upon two basic principles of Mr. Ailey: dedication and truth through JOY. Plus they are beautiful people and beautifully trained.

     

    Hard on the heels of this company is the Chicago Hubbard Street Dance Company - I have seen them in Germany and in Chicago with identical audience reactions - sensational entertainment at the highest professional level.

     

    I have my problems with the Dance Theatre of Harlem as does the normal public. Their identity was badly needed thirty years ago, but in the meantime, there are black ballet dancers everywhere and Dance Theatre of Harlem's repertoire varies little from other classical companies. We all know that black people can dance ballet. I find it scandalous that they have existence problems. Where are the black stars to offer a helping hand? Madonna, Liza Minelli, Woody Allen and Gregory Peck have all financially aided the Martha Graham Company in their effort to survive. Steven Spielberg has a ballet studio at New York City Ballet named after him in appreciation for his contributions. It is one of the scandals of the U.S.A. to not have such institutions subventioned. Dance Theatre of Harlem needs a face lifting, but should not suffer defeat.

     

    How would you contrast the economies of the U.S.A. and Europe? What have these economic influences been upon the 20th century artistic and cultural output of the U.S.A. and Europe?

     

    The disasters of the century starting with WW I, the Russian Revolution and WW II. helped us immeasurably to establish a ballet culture through the offshoots of Serge de Diaghilev's Ballets Russes, Lincoln Kirsten's successful wooing of George Balanchine, not to mention music, theater and film's appropriation of such people as Max Reinhardt, Fritz Lang, Billy Wilder, Ernst Lubitsch, William Wyler, Fred Zinnemann, Marlene Dietrich, Lilli Palmer, Peter Lorre, Kurt Weill, F.W. Murnau, Rudolf Bing and the list goes on and on. One of the reasons for the excellence of American orchestras and conservatories is Jewish immigration. And as this episode in history strengthened the arts in America, it weakened the arts in Germany. The ramifications are reflected to this day!

     

    Since America has almost no art subvention, where would the orchestras, museums, theaters, ballet companies be without the Jewish patrons.

     

    Daughters of Zumbi

    An Aspect Of History

     

    What role, if any, has Art/Culture to play developing an intercultural society?

     

    More than ever before!

    Especially in music, dance, video/film/photo work and since our medium of dance does not utilize the spoken word, it is easier for these forms, I think. As you know, the dance world in Germany is comprised of 80% foreigners. I have Polish, Russian, Japanese, Italian, Austrian, Filipino and five German dancers at the moment. Since I have been in Heidelberg, we have had African, Afro-American, English, American, Brazilian, Malaysian, Afro-English and Canadian dancers. As a dancer or musician, it is easier to combat prejudices. And I must say, I have rarely encountered prejudices in these two spheres. When I have, they are people filled with prejudices on all levels, and probably self-hatred in addition. They are very difficult personalities to work with.

     

    Does homosexuality, in any way, influence the artistic contributions of individuals?

     

    Strangely enough, a great many choreographers have been or are gay, such as: Vaslav Nijinsky, Serge Lifar, Leonide Massine, Anton Dolin, Antony Tudor, Frederick Ashton, John Cranko, Alvin Ailey, Hans van Manen, Rudi van Danzig, Maurice Bejart and Rudolf Nureyev. There is a long list of contemporaries, but I don't know who is "OUT" and I don't care to "OUT" anyone. The list is as long in modern dance, where lesbians also have a strong footing. Since AIDS, we have more heterosexuality in the scene, partially due to the necessity for role models and partially because so many gay competitors have died. Male Broadway dancing is not at the level it was twenty years ago, when it was almost exclusively a gay world. The ballet companies are also not as gay dominated as before.

     

    In the October 1997 issue of Ballett International, Norbert Servos, in a critique of Ismael Ivo and Johann Kresnik, states: (pg. 61, last paragraph) "...When Ismael Ivo puts his trust in his own physical, choreographic materials his ensemble also carves out a sharply-defined stage presence and immediacy. What they are doing must, however, be read differently; Ivo's dance theatre is not nourished by European theatre conventions but is a descendent of Afro-American ritual seeking the magical in the fusion of different cultures - and in this he comes fairly close to the revolutionary flights of Artaud's thought."

    What is the relevance of the distinction Mr. Servos is making?

     

    After reading the original text in German and the English translation, I still don't know what Mr. Servos is trying to say. First of all, Ismael Ivo is not Afro-American, but a Black Brazilian. His influences of mysticism (voodoo) are neither African nor of American descent.

     

    Marion Kramer

     

    What is the future relationship between economic globalization and art/popular culture?

     

    This is a big topic and a scary one at that. We have just had some shakings of the stock markets in America, Japan and Korea. But this is really not my line, to discuss economics, because I am less than a dilettante on such matters.

     

    Artistic globalization on the other hand, I will risk to say, is a disaster for the arts. In the dance world we are already seeing the loss of identities of the major companies. Stuttgart, Hamburg, Munich and the Royal Ballet of England all look quite alike. This has nothing to do with foreigners joining the companies and at the same time, it has everything to do with foreigners. Each foreigner brings another stylistic schooling based upon cultural heritage, physical differences and aesthetics. There are very few dancers with the gifts of Rudolf Nureyev, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Natalia Makarova or Gelsey Kirkland to allow continual learning and adept adaptation. The Danish men seem very prone to excel at New York City Ballet, the Danish women on the other hand do not. Almost no one can dance well, the work of Frederick Ashton anymore. I am all for integrated companies, but not for the loss of identity. Nederland Dans Theater is possibly the strongest company in not having lost its identity, despite the fact that many nationalities are now represented. The same can be said about the Alvin Ailey Company. It all boils down to, possibly, style and spirit or aura.

     

    The same can be said of the orchestra; they are all beginning to sound alike and it is a pity. Twenty to thirty years ago there was a very marked difference.

     

    What are your more recent and future undertakings?

     

    This past season, I choreographed the opera SALOME and the operetta ZAREWITSCH and presented a matinee in which I spoke about 20th Century music and the development of classical ballet in this century. As Ballet Master this season, I have had to produce six versions of our new ballet DAS LIED VON DER ERDE due to injuries, sickness and the sudden departure of one dancer's return to Brazil. I am the teacher for the company and am responsible for every production that has dance within and the quality of the evening's performance.

     

    As for next season, I don't know which productions are being considered. I personally hope for a musical.

     

    Unemployed

     

    Robertjohn Lange was interviewed by Prof. Donald Muldrow Griffith and Prof. Gayle McKinney Griffith, co-founders, directors and producers of the Fountainhead Tanz Theatre, XV. Black International Cinema Berlin/Cottbus/Düsseldorf/Potsdam-Studio Babelsberg, Germany & U.S.A. 2000, The Collegium - Forum & Television Program in association with Cultural Zephyr e.V..

     

    Additional research and editing by Prof. Donald Muldrow Griffith, Prof. Gayle McKinney Griffith and Marion Kramer.

     

    Dear Ed,

    We appreciate the years of patience, information, instruction and support
    bestowed upon us with your gifts of humor, critical awareness and friendship,
    which prepared and enabled us to undertake our professional artistic careers
    and to mature as human beings.

    In appreciation and respect

    Prof. Donald Muldrow Griffith & Robertjohn Lange

    Don & Bob

    Stephen & Marvin Rockford, Penny Holabaugh, Nana Shineflug,
    Carolyn Hanson, Stellie & Nettie Majestic, LeVon Campbell,
    Benji Carif, Nancy, John, Linda & Timothy Grensback, Linda Bass,
    Barry Van Cura, D´Artagnan Petty, Tom Fredricks, Linda Reif-Snyder,
    Steve, Ruby Avers, Fred Ivey, Sidney and many others...

     

    A friend
    Mr. Eldon Day "Ed" Parish
    Mentor, Friend, Raconteur,
    Dancer, Parent & Instructor of Ballet

    Eldon Day "Ed" Parish, a longtime Illinois
    dance teacher and professional dancer,
    died November 23, 2003,
    from a heart ailment. He was 77.
    Parish was born December 30, 1924, near
    Emmersburg, Iowa, and studied dance in Iowa,
    New York, and Hollywood. After World War II,
    he studied with Bronislava Nijinska and
    danced professionally until an injury cut
    short his promising career. Parish settled
    in Chicago, where he taught Russian technique.
    His teaching style continually challenged
    dancers technically and musically, and he
    encouraged students to work together.
    His cheerful demeanor made dancers smile
    and enjoy the moment. The emotional
    shading of his choreography was remarkable.
    He taught in Chicago's North Side neighborhoods
    for twenty years. Parish continued teaching
    while living on a farm near Rockford, Illinois,
    where he set up a dance studio and foster
    home for teens and pre-teens. He taught
    steadily until 2001, despite his ill health.
    Edward Parish is survived by his sister, Dawn.
    -Benjamin "Benji" Caref Dance Magazine, April, 2003

     

    Eldon D. Parish

     


     

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    YOUNG VOICES

     

    Marcus Sonnemann

     

    A conversation with Marcus Sonnemann and
    Profs. Donald Muldrow Griffith and Gayle McKinney Griffith

     

    Profs. Griffith: How old are you and what is your socio-economic and educational background?

    Marcus Sonnemann: I am 18 years old and the son of a middle-class family. As the only child, I was the center of attention and didn't really have to make the effort to get something. Which doesn't mean that I got everything just because of snapping my fingers, but for instance, I didn't have to fight for the television program or the best seat in the car.

    I am currently attending the 13th grade of the Friedensburg-Oberschule and preparing myself for the Abitur.

     

    Profs. Griffith: What are your parents socio-economic backgrounds?

    Marcus Sonnemann: Before he died very early, my father had been independent. If he had been able to deal with money in a better manner, I would not necessarily live in Kreuzberg today. My mother, on the other side, is the mathematician in the family and can handle the money very well.

    In regards to their education and thinking, I would say they are more non-descript people with a middle school education and they don't think differently than ordinary people.

     

    Boys at play

     

    Profs. Griffith: What types of activities are you engaged in, besides your school work?

    Marcus Sonnemann: Naturally going to school, is something that I am at the moment mainly engaged in. Besides that, I meet with friends, work at some jobs and in the media. I spend a lot of time at a radio station which is stationed in a children's and youth center and whose goal is to introduce children and young people to the world of media. And then I am also working with THE COLLEGIUM, a television program whose emphasis is on the co-operation and togetherness of people and cultures.

     

    Our Children

     

    Profs. Griffith: What is your opinion of the average person of your age group?

    Marcus Sonnemann: Many young people, I think, are not conscious of their responsibility in being a part of society. When I see kids "hanging around" all day long, smoking or doing something "creative", I think it is rather sad. Many of them just don't like to go to school anymore because they are missing a future perspective. Unemployment already leaves its negative impressions in school.

     

    Profs. Griffith: What would you suggest as to the methods that might be undertaken to influence young people in constructive directions? How would you define constructive?

    Marcus Sonnemann: Offering leisure-time activities to young people in order to get them off the street, bringing a sense of responsibility and consciousness of duty closer to them, I consider good ideas, but there are just not enough offerings. Just accidentally and through a friend, I came in contact with television and radio. There are a lot of interesting activities accompanying it of which the public unfortunately doesn't get to hear about.

    Constructive to me means that one can bring something about, and that you can change something (positively).

    It is the way towards a better world. A world that would be appropriate after 2000 years of our time.

     

    Young lady in repose

     

    Profs. Griffith: How prepared, in your opinion, are young people for the socio-political and economic changes Germany is undergoing?

    Marcus Sonnemann: The preparations are mainly in theory, but in practice, everything almost always looks completely different. In fact, the school undertakes something to make us more conscious about responsibility for our future, but mostly we are much to young to understand what it means to be unemployed. Now more than ever in today's job situation, young people should take more initiative in school because right after school the competition begins.

     

    Profs. Griffith: Will you vote in the September elections? What are your political options in the September elections?

    Marcus Sonnemann: For sure I will vote in September. One can only change something if one votes. But I have to admit that I also lost faith in politics. I am still pretty disoriented, but for me, only a party politically in the middle will be a possibility.

     

    Profs. Griffith: What are your future aspirations?

    Marcus Sonnemann: Human kind is pretty much developed in the field of science and technique. My wish is that they will also accordingly improve in other fields and not behave like primitive people and put their arguments into clubs which they carry around.

    We are one people and are living on one planet. We should learn to look beyond our immediate interests in order to work together for a better future.

     

     

    Two Boys

     

    Translation German/English: Angela Kramer; Editing: Donald Muldrow Griffith,
    Angela Kramer, Marion Kramer

     

    Back to top

     

    Jackie Robinson and Son

     


    Mottoes:

      "I may not make it if I try, but I damn sure won't if I don't..." - Oscar Brown Jr.

    "Mankind will either find a way or make one." - C.P. Snow

    "Whatever you do..., be cool!" - Joseph Louis Turner

    "Yes, I can...!" - Sammy Davis Jr.

    "Yes, we can...!" - Barack Obama


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    27 Years of Black International Cinema Berlin Film Awards
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    [Marion Kramer, Anthony Phillips, Donald Muldrow Griffith].
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    Revised: August 1, 2017