When I was younger, my dad took me to see ‘Panther,’ because I was one of the kids who gravitated towards what Malcolm X was saying, as opposed to what Martin Luther King was preaching. Assuming that you know the differences between the two very different philosophies, that is. From my interest in Malcolm Little at a relatively young age, I’ve always been enamored by the Black Panther movement, & all it’s gore & glory. [Sidenote: Not that I'm putting Malcolm in with the BPP, but he was my gateway political activist, so to speak.] Nonetheless, the Black Panther Party is a subject I’ll lump in with religion & politics. Meaning, I don’t know enough on the subject to even bullshit you well, much less have a genuine conversation.
What I have learned, as of late via the homie Soulrise, is that an asian dude from West Oakland, California named Richard Aoki was just as pivotal to the movement as Huey Newton or Eldridge Cleaver. & In fact, I’m going to go back & re-watch ‘Panther’ to see if there’s a representation of Aoki’s likeness.
Soulrise & his partner, Ben Wang, have put together a real documentary about Richard, recorded during the last 5 years of the activist’s life, chronicling the struggles & achievements of the self-proclaimed “baddest Asian in West Oakland.” To show you how OG he is, Richard referred to himself as “oriental” several times throughout the film. & if I may be so blunt: Richard Aoki’s done more for Black people than all the niggas you know rolled into 1. No shots, just saying.
I’m trying to do 3 things here:
1) Attempt to educate y’all to Richard Aoki, because he was awesome, & deserves the same recognition as the Black Panther Party’s more monumental spokespersons.
2) Support & salute Mike Cheng & Ben Wang for giving Richard Aoki the proper send-off, & sharing his story with the people.
3) Tell you to go to Aokifilm.com & watch the trailer.
This isn’t an advertisement, but a nod to the work Mike & Ben (who just got back from a Q&A session in NY for the film) are putting in for the community as a whole, kind of how Richard Aoki did. You might even fuck around & learn something.