The Stalemate Over The Oakland Black Arts
Tale Of Two Visions: Oakland's Downtown Black
Business And Arts District
A Special District In Downtown Oakland
Highlighting Black Arts, Business, And
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The last couple of times we were all together, we were discussing the possibilities of a special district in the downtown area of Oakland dedicated to promoting and supporting Black arts, business, and entertainment (“Imagine A Special District In Downtown Oakland Highlighting Black Arts, Business, And Entertainment”, as well as the evolution of the efforts to create such a district (“A Tale Of Two Visions: Oakland’s Downtown Black Business And Arts District”).
Where we left off the story, the Oakland Black Arts Movement and Business District (BAMBD) had split into two factions, one under the control of the City of Oakland, and a second one operated by a Black citizens coalition headed by Oakland poet and playwrite Marvin X and Lower Bottom Playaz theater group founding director Ayodele Nzinga, with some assistance in the background by Oakland Post publisher Paul Cobb. Adding to the confusion is that both the city and the Black citizens coalition are using the same name to describe their respective organizations—Black Arts Movement and Business District—and, in addition, the Black citizens coalition BAMBD is now openly feuding with District Three Councilmember Lynette McElhaney, with whom they had originally worked to set up the city-authorized version of BAMBD in the first place.While this seems like one of those difficult Oakland-type knots to undo, actually it’s not, not if one recognizes what two major mistakes were made that led to the current split and impasse in and between the BAMBD(s). [To Complete Column]