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March 29, 2006

SF Weekly Feature on Adisa Banjoko

Tamara Palmer caught up with Adisa right when he was on his way inside San Quentin, then came along for the fateful day at Stanford (also covered in the East Bay Express, in case you missed it)

Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos
The misunderstood adventures of the Bishop of Hip Hop

...For the release of his latest effort, Lyrical Swords Volume II: Westside Rebellion, though, he's forgoing the pavement to visit a place few big-name authors tend to tread — the California prison system. After speaking with Muslim inmates in Vacaville earlier in the month, today the San Jose resident is working the exercise yard at San Quentin. His goal: to educate the public about the importance of black and Latino unity, an issue especially important in light of tumultuous race tensions behind bars in this state.

"The black man is not the only one with a struggle worth remembering," Banjoko says to men of various ethnicities. He's been invited here by KMEL's Tony Ng and Rudy Corpuz Jr. of the SF-based youth violence-prevention organization United Playaz; they're hosting a day of culturally diverse speakers and live performances that includes San Francisco rap star Messy Marv and East Palo Alto's Hoodstarz. "You have to understand yourself before you understand the value of others," Banjoko continues. His sermon gets mixed reactions — some are listening attentively, others are busy catcalling the females in our entourage. To make matters worse, approximately two minutes after Banjoko and I leave the gates, a fight breaks out in the yard between Norteno prisoners and a rival group of black inmates. Desks are thrown, at least one person is critically stabbed, and nearly half the prison goes on lockdown for the next 48 hours. Danielle Steel never had a book signing like this...

Posted by jsmooth995 at March 29, 2006 1:19 PM

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