NYU Black Renaissance Noire NYU Black Renaissance Noire V. 16.1 - Page 79

That’s pretty much it, that and the politics of the time. Angela Davis was going through what she was going through. There were gatherings and meetings and rallies around Angela. There was a lot of social and political stuff that was happening at the University of California at Riverside, at Riverside City College. The Black Panthers were in the area. They were working. Everything was kind of intermeshed. So, here we are in Riverside. We’re organizing and trying to do things on campus to raise black culture. Horace and the Ark are out there. You had poets out there. You had other musicians. We’re trying to do something in the community, something in the colleges there. We’re beginning to get engrossed in the community with the various characters and people. I was there over a year, but it wasn’t like I was really out there, because I was coming back every weekend. I commuted out there. It was about a year and a half, two years, that I had some kind of involvement with Riverside. si: How does it end? Why does it end? kd: I come back to l.a. and I’m not a student out there. si: Does the Workshop go on out there? kd: The Workshop never really came into being. It was unrealistic, when I think about it now. And it wasn’t all that it was cracked up to be. There was no money to rent any facility. There was no budget. I had no administrative skills or anything like that. It was kind of weird, but by me going out there, reading and doing the things that I did, it stimulated the artistic community. It wasn’t anything official, but I was a poet in residence in Riverside. n BLACK RENAISSANCE NOIRE kd: We were involved on the block and with the people on the block. Our main outreach was through Riverside City College, people that were in classes. I was a student at that time. Toby Hopkins and me would organize readings. After we would read, other people would step up who had writings. Had they not had that vehicle, maybe that would not have happened. We were staying at this place upstairs, and this couple was downstairs. They were from New York. The guy’s name was Sam, and I can’t remember what his wife’s name was, but we called her Soft Sam. He wrote poetry and he would be reading. It was really organic. It never got solidified in any kind of strong way, but a community of artists began to surface, and they ended up coming together, based upon the energy that we were putting forth with the Watts Writers Workshop and the Pan Afrikan Peoples Arkestra coming to town. There was another guy who was from Cleveland, and his name was Yusuf Mumin, and he did this record, Al-Fatihah, with his Black Unity Trio, and on it was the cellist Abdul Wadud. Yusuf at the time was an alto player, but then when he got around the Ark, he switched to bass. He moved out to Riverside, and he was staying in this space on Park Avenue. The space was really funky. We may have had some small events there, but it never came off. And Yusuf, he came out of Cleveland, and he was a contemporary of Albert Ayler’s. There was actually a cd that they put out on esp called Burn Baby Burn, which was some stuff that they had recorded back in the day, and they just released it later. He was way, way out there with that Black Unity Trio. But they might play when they had the Last Sunday of the Month concerts. He was really a deep cat. He was out there. Yusuf Mumin. 77 si: What things were you doing to build the Workshop?