Category Archives: black panther party

Sister SOS (Inspired by Kathleen Cleaver)

She’s heard more eulogies than poetry so I wrote this for her.

Amidst the sips of licorice tea, I asked her
“what would she do differently.”

She replied she’d “love as fearlessly as she fought
take more time,
soak the greens instead of rinse ’em”
research his heart as she did antiquity.

She truly believed that for years she had a melody
but never a song
no vibration
no balance
“conquer your souls duality” she told me
the world is depending on you to love
surrender, Sister.

kathleencleaver

Nikki Skies, ©2007 Published in anthology of “His Rib: Stories Poems & Essays by HER” by Penmanship Publishing Group

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panther

How black can a panther get?
How high is serious set?
Know melanin and let
Evolve / I then bet
Set the panther inside loose
then serious you’ve met.

panther

When We Arrived presents: When I Grow Up by Nikki Skies (video poetry post)

 

the cd is available for autograph and purchase.
contact:
nikkiskies@gmail.com

the Greatest Threat

 

black panther party

“The Black Panther Party is the greatest threat to the internal security of the country.  Schooled in the Marxist-Leninist ideology, leaders travel extensively all over the United States preaching not only to ghetto residents, but to students in colleges, universities and high schools as well.” – September 8, 1968, FBI Chief J. Edgar Hoover

This was stated during the murder trial of Black Panther cofounder Huey Newton.  The communities were at a battle for public consciousness and the saying, “Free Huey!” were on t-shirts, pens, posters and cars.  To protect and defend and demanding we feel human was a threat?… mind blowing to me.

freehuey

Now the plan to disguise our struggles as gain is polluted everywhere.  What a clever plan of attack to make the most popular songs about, “I got mine, get yours”, “I’m free”, “Do you and I do me”.  Clever plans of attack huh?  The old divide and conquer tactic!  To think just 46 years ago, our unity was ‘the greatest threat’ to the United States.  Now, we are each other’s greatest threat?…

(takes a seat, sighs and picks up her pen and pad. it’s not over…)

 

 

One Person’s Art and the Interpretation

I recently sat down to watch Lee Daniels’ The Butler. I had mixed feelings about going to see it at the movie theatre because it was close to the holidays and people were calling it the “male version” of the movie, The Help. (which I didn’t see either)  Well, I fixed a light lunch and sat down to watch this movie and it wasn’t about him being butler at all!  At least not from my interpretation.

thebutler

I found the movie to be rich in storytelling about spiritual and political growth. It showed the development of one expressing the political and humanitarian side of fighing for freedom.  The movie also displayed parents who allowed their children to actualize themselves.  There was a development of friends into family relationships and I truly appreciated the love stories.  With all of the fully developed story lines and superb acting, I didn’t see the focus being about his occupation as a butler at all.  Perhaps it’s just my poetic eye, but being a butler was only the analogy to set a location.

This is also close to my perception of the movie, “12 Years a Slave.  People cried, “not another slave movie!” But it wasn’t about him being a slave. It was about family, perservance, courage and reciprocity.  Another fully developed story with superb acting that should be seen.

If you are a writer, The Butler is a wonderful example of story crafting.  Check it out! (or watch it again with a new perspective)

some days i feel like, elaine brown

elainebrown

some days I feel like elaine brown. I feel like I have the courage to love what feels right. I feel like I can stand in front of whomever/whatever and move past the criticism of my past with a smile. like elaine brown, some days I feel like I can change the world and by doing that sometimes you have to start over.

elaine brown is particularly known for her involvement in the black panther party in Oakland, Ca. while many haven’t had interest enough to read what her contributions and positions were in the party, they seem satisfied with knowing and saying, “she’s an ex-panther.” I had the privilege of meeting her twice and opening for her during a lecture in los angeles a few years ago. she was very emphatic with her intent to tell her side of the story. to make sure we left her with more to say.

she wanted us to know she believed in the black panther party with her entire being. she helped the panthers set up its first Free Breakfast for Children program in Los Angeles in addition to the panthers Free Busing to Prisons Program and the Free Legal Aid Program. she had a progressive intent for her people and herself as a woman/spiritual being. in her book, A Taste of Power, she made mention that she eventually left the panther party because she could no longer tolerate the patriarchy and sexism.

and I remember her speaking of love. I remember her sharing personal photos of her and Huey P. Newton and talking about how much she was in love with him. as I was holding one of the photos, she pointed to him and said, “he was fine wasn’t he?” her entire face smiled.

some days I feel like elaine brown in wanting to be whole. wanting to be accepted as an intelligent and critical thinker as well as a lover. and for all of who I am to be safe enough to share as part of the human experience.