"Socratic questioning is disciplined questioning that can be used to pursue thought in many directions and for many purposes, including: to explore complex ideas, to get to the truth of things, to open up issues and problems, to uncover assumptions, to analyze concepts, to distinguish what we know from what we don't know, to follow out logical implications of thought or to control the discussion.” wikipedia
On the side of police patrol vehicles reads the slogan, “Protect and Serve”. This slogan signifies the purpose of the police in the communities they patrol. This slogan, however, seems to represent a different time period of police interactions in the communities they serve. If a foreigner, --non U.S. citizen -- were to observe the actions of the police and compare those actions to their defined purpose, there is a high possibility that there will be a baffling contradiction. The American police force, in general, no longer acts as peace keepers or conflict resolvers. They act more as a well-regulated militia, an armed force of soldiers, and the streets they patrol represent their battlefield. If a soldier is on a battlefield, then they must have a threat; an enemy. And if this is what has come of the numerous American police forces, then what does this make of her citizens? - Excerpt from A. S. Turner’s Thesis of Lethal Prejudices in the U.S. Justice System , Black Man Eyes, The Collective - Is There a War in America?
“I hope and pray for the unity of the people/ hands clasped initial glance reveals/ I may have the world in my hands/ but this, man is just a man,/ but didn't God put power in my hands?/ a black man from a land where my ancestors backs and hands/ have been deconstructed into the soil and the oceans and the USA mansions and wall streets and territorial expansions and/ the sand.” Marvin Mills, Editor and Curator of Black Man Eyes, The Collective - Is There a War in America?
I have known Marvin L. Mills II for nearly 10 years now, since he was a standout student at Loyola Marymount and a prodigy of social commentator and professor Dr. Michael Datcher. He found me on LinkedIN and we bonded over a love of words, arts and all things African. We co-founded a movement, the Global International African Arts Movement (or the Global I Aam). He has honed his craft as a writer and social lens, refined and tested his beliefs with world travels, enlarged his expanse. He has re-imagined himself, stronger. He has increased his expanse, polished his powers. In the coming months, he will release his album “Black Man Eyes: Pasttime." As of this writing, he has lived, worked and traveled in 17 countries, from South Korea to Ethiopia, from Ghana to Vietnam. Herein, a kaleidoscope view into the world that is Marvin L. Mills II.
BLACK MAN EYES: The Collective
1.) Talk a little bit about Black Man Eyes: the Collective. Vol. 1 came out hit last year. That joint was subtitled, “Is There a War in America” – How aprospos and visionary given that it pre-dated the current divisions and schisms deep and pronounced within the American soul. It did well and was received on the underground scene with academics, hip hop heads, bloggers- kind of like those old school hip hop mixtapes. Talk a little about what you were trying to accomplish with the cult classic? Can you talk about the reception to that work?
The goal was to collect together these diverse, black male perspectives I was coming across as I connected with other brothas around the world, perspective I felt needed to be heard and published as authentically as possible. I don’t think the in-depth, wrestling and intimate black male perspective is heard enough. The collection was downloaded both in the USA and abroad, probably natural considering the contributors. It also made some feel uneasy, and that’s cool, too.
"I think there's a fight for the soul and the identity of a country, and both sides understand that much more clearly now, and both sides understand that much more clearly than, I think, any time since the Civil War." Right Wing Commentator, Michael Voris
War is when two sides don't agree with each other's ideologies/ War is when the line has been crossed and there's no room for apologies/ War is tanks, artillery and soldiers on the front line/ So, is it war to put a black man in the back of a van and break his damn spine?/ War is airplanes unless it's a drone in the hood/ War is army fatigue unless you protest for good/ The police, only officers I know are my sis and my pastor/ I thought the police couldn't touch me when I first obtained my masters /Police, police our cities supposedly to stop all of the bad /A young man went to the store for iced tea and skittles, now someone's dad is hella sad, hell... I'd be mad - War, Police, Black Man By: L.A. Durrah, Black Man Eyes, The Collective - Is There a War in America?
2.) Jicho.co also came out in 2015. I remember you teaching me about that Swahili term meaning “black man eyes” – nice concept talking about how we see the world and how it is different from the mass distortion that is mass media and Hollywood. How is Jicho.co coming along? What have been some of the high points of the e-zine? Some of the challenges?
Actually, as of this March the JiCHO.co site will be taken down. JiCHO has provided me with many lessons and insights, especially with respect to what can happen behind the scenes when bringing a vision to reality and with what the needs and desires are for the global African community. Although the initial intention was for JiCHO to be an e-zine, in practice it really hasn’t been. Although we have published some great work, there has been no business model. Nevertheless, empowering critical work and ideas of black folk from around the world, on purpose, has been the highest point. The biggest challenge honestly has been the mission, which has been to present the diverse and critical perspective of Africa and its diaspora in one place.
JiCHO has been one of my ways of responding to the teachings of ancestors like Dr. John Henrik Clarke who stressed the need for the global African family to come together and I will continue to do my best to heed his message. I’m also excited to take what I’ve learned with JiCHO.co and apply it to future endeavors. It’s been one hell of a testing ground -- on numerous levels -- and I’ve got the data.
I want to thank all of the authors who contributed work and everyone apart of our small team of folks who grinded it out in the spirit of the mission.
“The secret of life is to have no fear; it's the only way to function.”, 1960’s political and social activist/ global pan africanist, Stokely Carmichael a.k.a. Kwame Ture
“In recent years, it seems that the American people...no...the world over, have been inundated with continuing reports of citizens embroiled in conflict with police, only to wind up dead. There are similar amounts of reports of people being abused by the police force and met with brutality, violation of their rights and unnecessary measures used against them that include both legal and illegal practices. It makes one wonder if there is some unspoken war against the people of America, and/or more importantly, people of color...specifically Black People in America.” by W.A. Clarke, Black Man Eyes, The Collective - Is There a War in America?
MARVINLEEMILLS.com and FORTHCOMING BOOKS AND ALBUMS
3.) MarvinLeeMills.com (Explorer and Creator) is but another brand in your MLM conglomerate. It is subtitled “From L.A. to Spain, from Seoul to Ghana, the music and writings of Marvin Lee explore self and world. Hip Hop inspired, jazz infused and globally cultivated. Get the perspective. It’s pasttime.” First of all, congratulations on your global and inner travel. You are a wealthy man. That’s a lot of tracks on the spiritual, professional and emotional planes – congratulations brother. What do you have coming down the pipeline for 2017?
I’m finally coming out of my creative shell. I’ve got a music project entitled Black Man Eyes: Pasttime that will be available via my website March 4th, which is actually my birthday. Everyone can go there right now and sign up to be one of the first to get access to the full project download when it drops. Folks can also listen to a couple tracks from the project over on Soundcloud.
Pasttime offers insight into my journey as a man seeking Truth and knowledge of self while exploring around the world, and I’m excited to share it with people. A couple other things in the works that I won’t share just yet.
What I can say is that my mission is to help people pursue and realize a global and abundant life, no matter the setbacks or circumstances.
“Our fathers fought bravely. But do you know the biggest weapon unleashed by the enemy against them? It was not the Maxim gun. It was division among them. Why? Because a people united in faith are stronger than the bomb” Kenyan Writer Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o
“Check for Marvin Mills dropping spiritual knowledge and expanding the subject matter terrain for hip hop heads. “ New York Times Best Selling Author Michael Datcher, co-editor of TOUGH LOVE: The Life and Death of Tupac Shakur, on Marvin L. Mills forthcoming album, Black Man Eyes: pasttime.
4.) Your travels to Africa- including Ethiopia, Ghana and South Africa, coincided with Henry Louis “Skip” Gates forthcoming National Geographic Series – Africa’s Great Civilizations. You two met there, right? Both on trips of discovery of self and larger discovery and exploration for one’s peoples? Talk a little about that meeting and what it meant.
It was great meeting big brotha Skip over in Lalibela, Ethiopia. Often times when watching discovery or travel shows the destinations can seem so far away but exploring the rock hewn churches of Lalibela and meeting Skip Gates was like my 10 year old self sitting on a couch at home in Los Angeles, watching one of Skip’s shows and suddenly being sucked into the TV screen right where he is. It was cool. He is cool.
I see meeting Skip Gates as an omen in line with those young Santiago came across in The Alchemist, like a whisper in my ear or a signpost that said ‘keep goin’.
“Terms such as “racial conflict” fail to describe the challenge Obama faced, or the resentment that has powered Trump’s rise.” 2016 the Atlantic article Racism by Any Other Name
5.) Finally, Marvin, can you talk a little about the Global International African Arts Movement or Global I Aam.
Back in 2012 you and I Patrick, we were discussing what we saw happening online and around the world -- this emergence of melanated artists, intellects, travelers, painters, singers, musicians, entrepreneurs and more -- and that these individual examples of African excellence existed but that it wasn’t as clearly evident because everything was so spread out, and that is how Global I Aam was born, out of our interest in there being some curation of what we were seeing.
Global I Aam is that spirit in us folk of Afrikan descent that we manifest as we create, travel, endeavor, struggle, endure, provide, resist and imbue the world with our being.
Thanks Marvin for your time and insights. They don’t come cheap nor easy. They come with a singular dedication and agape for one’s people – a deep abiding passion greater than any current divisions in our community. Your spirit comes by way of the ancestors and numerous mentors who have seen the light shine bright in your entrepreneurial aspirational soul. Keep me updated on your work and continued milestones - I want to make sure your work, love and hallmarks reach the broadest possible audience. Maaaan, it’s not even Kwanza but I’ll say it anyhow – Ujoma! Sankofa! Hotep!
a person who fights or argues for a cause or on behalf of someone else."a champion of women's rights"synonyms:advocate, proponent, promoter, supporter, defender, upholder, backer, exponent