early sun ra

But back to Oakland, early ’70s. Sun Ra moved there briefly at the invitation of Bobby Seale. Ra and the Arkestra lived in a house owned by the Black Panthers, whose military uniforms reclaimed symbols in a way that paralleled Sun Ra’s mythic dress, both offering their own version of Black Power: the Panthers in their black berets and leather jackets, Sun Ra in his moon boots.
“How do you know I’m real?” he addresses the youth center with a shattering peace that resonates loudly. “I’m not real. I’m just like you. You don’t exist in this society. If you were, your people wouldn’t be seeking equal rights. If you were, you’d have some status among the nations of the world. I come to you as a myth… I come to you from a dream the black man dreamed long ago. I’m actually a present sent to you by your ancestors.” The luster of his brilliant cape illuminates the glow in the room, beaming the light right back at them.