Sunday, October 2, 2016

Kite Line: October 21, 2016 – The Bomani Episode

Kite Line Logo

The Bomani Episode
This week, we focus on a topic that is close to many of us on the outside: the story and struggle of political prisoner and Ohio death row inmate Bomani Shakur (known to the state as Keith Lamar). We begin our episode with an update on Marius Mason, news from the Kinross Correctional Facility, Holman Prison, and give call in information for some Indiana prisoners asking for outside support. For more information on Bomani’s case, visit the Kite Line website or

Ohio Muslim Prisoner Threatened With Punishment For NPR Interview On Prison Strike


Ohio prisoner Imam Siddique Abdullah Hasan says he was recently threatened with disciplinary action by an investigator at the Ohio State Penitentiary for speaking on the National Public Radio program, “On Point,” about the September 9 national prison strike.

Hasan, who is a Muslim spiritual leader on death row for his alleged role in the 1993 Lucasville Uprising, said he was informed he would be written up for unauthorized use of the phone and could have his phone and email privileges restricted, despite an understanding with prison officials that he could use his phone and email time to communicate with media as he has done for the past decade.

Hasan Threatened with Conduct Report After Live Interview with NPR's On Point

Last Wednesday Siddique Abdullah Hasan called in to On Point with Tom Ashbrook using the prison phone line. He participated in a conversation about the national prisoner work stoppage and protest. 
The following day a prison official told him that he will be facing disciplinary action for exercising his first amendment rights to free speech and freedom of the press. This is the second time in two months that prison authorities have targeted Hasan in relation to his participation in the Free Ohio Movement and his support for nation-wide prisoner struggles.

The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections (ODRC) is also facing an civil liberties lawsuit on the grounds of the 14th amendment's equal protection clause from Hasan, other survivors of the Lucasville Uprising, and various reporters who have been unconstitutionally denied official access to interviews over the years. 

Read a letter from Hasan describing the conversation about the impending disciplinary action against him. Also, audio of Hasan reading the letter is here.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Greg Curry (of the '93 Lucasville uprising) the #PrisonStrike

Greg Curry
Airs on WSFM-LP 103.3 in Asheville / streaming at AshevilleFM from 3am EST on September 19th, 2016, through September 25th, then podcasting at Also airing this week on KOWA-LPFM in Olympia, WA, KWTF in Bodega Bay, CA, and WCRS-LP Columbus Community Radio 98.3 and 102.1 FM. Past episodes can be found at TheFinalStrawRadio.NoBlogs.Org and you can now subscribe to us via iTunes! You can email us at and you can send us mail at:
The Final Straw
c/o AshevilleFM
864 Haywood rd
Asheville, NC 28806

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Conversations from Death Row: Keith LaMar Talks with Paul Gordiejew

Topic: Race and Place

Facebook event:

Audio file

On Tuesday September 13th, at 5:30 p.m., folks across the country are invited to listen in on an interactive phone call with Ohio death row inmate Keith LaMar and the "Race and Place in Youngstown" graduate-level students of cultural anthropologist Paul Gordiejew at Youngstown State University. Their talk will focus on how segregated communities are created and maintained by intensional economic and legal decisions, and how isolation from resources and opportunities intensifies the suffering for those most impacted (poor people of color).

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Temporary Restraining order denied.

Hasan's Attorney, Rick Kerger filed a lawsuit and temporary restraining order to restore phone access on account of the conduct report against Hasan being patently absurd.

The court held a hearing on the request, but denied relief and in fact dismissed the case until Hasan exhausts all administrative remedies. Kerger argued against the validity of the restrictions on several different levels, but the judge refused to part from the ODRC's position.

Before the decision, Hasan sent this message to supporters:

8 September 2016

            ...OSP is only interested in cutting off my direct communications with the national media prior to tomorrow, September 9th. Believe it or not, I had already anticipated that OSP would excommunicate me as we got closer to labor strike and work stoppage; however, I did not anticipate they would fabricate terroristic charge to accomplish their diabolical objective. My situation has taught me a valuable lesson or two: (1) Never underestimate your adversary, and (2) Always remember that a formidable adversary will do anything and everything to silence your voice and movement. In short, said adversary does not play fair; instead, it plays to win by any means necessary. And since the gloves are now off, we must learn to fight with fire while staying the course. So come what may and let the wind blow wherever, for we are the ones who stand on the right side of history in our peaceful fight to end prison slavery and mass incarceration. Finally, if we truly believe in the righteousness of our fight, then we must prepare ourselves for the unexpected twists and turns. What they have done to me is only a small sample of what these wicked people will do to maintain the status quo – that is, wealth power and control.
            In conclusion, let us be fearless but vigilant, peaceful but ready to strike back whenever attacked, but most of all let us be organized and put up some stiff resistance against this formidable adversary.

            With Revolutionary and Salute!

Siddique Abdullah Hasan

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Muslim Prisoner Accuses Ohio Supermax Prison Of Retaliation For Involvement In Planned Strike


“It has become the norm for prison officials to resist and retaliate against any protest I am either involved in or they think I am the organizing force behind,” says Imam Siddique Abdullah Hasan.
Hasan is a prisoner and spiritual leader at the supermax prison in Youngstown, Ohio. Living in isolation on death row for a conviction related to the 1993 Lucasville Uprising, he has maintained his innocence and resisted the conditions of his confinement for three decades.
He is a vocal supporter and organizer of the national prison labor strike planned for September 9—the forty-fifth anniversary of the Attica rebellion. Now, he says he is facing retaliation from prison officials, who are making false claims that he asked a staff imam to wear a bomb into the prison.
Hasan believes the false report was written as a pretext to restrict his phone and email privileges for thirty days so he could not communicate to media and supporters about the strike. Other Muslim prisoners, who were present when Hasan supposedly spoke to the imam, insist no such request was ever made.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Hunger strike at OSP Suspended

After a meeting with deputy warden of special services, Siddique Abdullah Hasan and the other muslims who were refusing food to protest the conduct report that framed Hasan to block his phone access resumed eating.

Hasan's attorney, Rick Kerger has filed a civil lawsuit, including a temporary restraining order which may resume Hasan's phone access before the 30 day restriction is up later next week.

OSP Hunger strike reaches third week

Monday August 29 marks the 15th day of the hunger strike against islamophobia and retaliation at Ohio State Penitentiary. OSP staff used a dishonest staff Imam to manufacture a pretext for cutting off Hasan's communication with The Free Ohio Movement and the national Sep 9 protest. Read more about this absurd accusation.

Please contact OSP and ODRC central office to support Hasan and the other Muslims on hunger strike. 

CALL Ohio State Penitentiary at (330) 743-0700 (no warden listed) or email and 
CALL Ohio DRC director Gary Mohr 614-752-1150

Ask to speak to or leave a message for Gary Mohr. “I am calling in support of Siddique Adbullah Hasan and other Muslim prisoners at OSP. Please drop the bogus conduct report against Hasan (R130-559) and fire Imam Said Ismail, replace him with a real Muslim faith leader who prisoners at Ohio State Penitentiary can trust. ”

Detailed Update from Imam Siddique Abdullah Hasan and other hunger strikers.


The conduct report described below is here. 

They have given me thirty (30) days restrictions. It was a deliberate plan to cut off my direct communications with the outside world prior to the national event/action, notwithstanding their own policy only permits them to suspend my privileges for a period of up to two hundred eighty-eight hours (See paragraph (C) of rule 5120:1-10-12 of the Administrative Code or disciplinary isolation.) This restriction policy became effective 2/16/2016.
I agree that prison officials are "so used to being invisible and hiding its corruption and abuses from the public"; however, we must reveal what happened in my recent situation. Thus continue to work with the media and attorneys to expose the problems in my case. (I plan on filing my appeal to the Warden on Monday.)
There are three of us--Keith Dewitt Jr., David Martin and myself--still on hunger strike. We are all Muslims and are dissatisfied with the contract Imam's work performance, treatment of Muslims, and using his position to remove Muslims from their services merely because they disagree with some of his teachings. The others that were on the hunger strike were showing their solidarity about me being wrongfully put in the hole. They were demanding that I be released from isolation. When that materialized, they ended their strike.
Hereunder are some of the problems in my case:
1. The incident allegedly took place on July 22nd; however, an incident report was not written until August 1st. The charge is very, very serious and no one would wait for 10 days before writing an incident report if it was true.
2. They then waited 8 more days before placing me in the hole (on August 9th) with a conduct report for a Rule 59 violation: Any act not otherwise set forth herein, knowingly done which constitutes a threat to the security of the institution, its staff, other inmates, or to the acting inmate.

Siddique Hasan on Hunger Strike Against Retaliation

hasan prayer
Youngstown, OH- On Thursday August 18, 2016 the Ohio State Penitentiary (OSP) Rules Infraction Board (RIB) restricted Imam Siddique Hasan, of the Free Ohio Movement, from phone and email kiosk access. In response, Hasan and other Muslim prisoners have begun a hunger strike.
The RIB found Hasan guilty of violating Rule 59 of the OAC (Ohio Administrative Code) Section 5120-9-06 Inmate Rules of Conduct, which reads, (59) Any act not otherwise set forth herein, knowingly done which constitutes a threat to the security of the institution, its staff, other inmates, or to the acting inmate. ( )
According to the RIB conduct report, S. Ishmael, a freelance Imam who leads prayers and religious study classes at OSP and nearby Trumbul Correctional, accused Siddique Hasan of making threats against the institution. On August 1, 2016, Ishmael told OSP staff that Hasan had asked him to wear a suicide vest in to the institution. This conversation was supposed to have taken place during religious study on July 22. Hasan and other Muslims attending the class deny Imam Ishmael's allegation.
“The staff Imam's story is an absurd and offensive stereotype.” OSP prisoner David Martin told supporters over the phone. “If Hasan was supposed to have made this threat on July 22, why did it take nine days before the man told staff about it? What was he doing for those nine days?”

Hasan and his supporters believe that OSP administration pushed Imam S. Ishmael to lie against Hasan in order to have a pretext to deny the prisoner leader phone access. Hasan has been using the phones to speak about the struggles of prisoners, the Free Ohio Movement and particularly about the September 9 nationally coordinated prisoner work stoppage and protest.
On Tuesday August 2, Officer Mike Royko of the Ohio State Highway Patrol visited Hasan and asked him about the plans for September 9. According to Hasan, Royko described the ninth as a plot to blow up buildings and harm people during this interview. Hasan said he told Officer Royko that “Somebody must be sending you on a wild goose chase, because there’s no such thing that’s actually happened.”

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Greg Curry on Block Report Radio

Audio at

Lucasville Rebellion Survivor Greg Curry speaks on the September 9th National Prison Strike, his comrade Saddique Hasan being placed in the hole by the prison to disrupt his part in organizing the national prison strike, and the personal plight of Greg Curry. Tune in for more at Free'Em All!

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

ALERT! Call to defend Hasan now!

Siddique Abdullah Hasan, of the Free Ohio Movement has been transferred to the hole and denied access to communication and property.
Please call OSP immediately and daily 330-743-0700 until they release him.
Ask to speak to the warden and demand that Hasan be allowed back into his regular cell and regain access to his property. The person they connect you to may pretend they only know Hasan by the name Carlos Sanders, even though his name was legally changed to Siddique Abdullah Hasan decades ago. His prison number is R130-559.

Hasan is one of the few public spokespeople for the national protest that will start on September 9 of this year. Last week he was visited by law enforcement who inaccurately described Sep 9 as a plot to harm people and blow up buildings.
It is important that we stand up to repression and terror-baiting as soon as it rears it's head. Please call the prison and share this alert as widely as possible.
Thank you.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Conversations from Death Row: Keith LaMar Talks with childhood friend Sherman Whaley

[Update: Audio of this conversation is online here. The next Conversations from Death Row will be on Tuesday, Sep 13 from 5:30-6:30 EST. Keith will be calling in to Dr Paul Gordiejew's anthropology master's class. They will be talking about race and place.] 

Topic: Who did we become? Reconnecting after 30 long years...

On Tuesday August 9th, at 8:00 Eastern, folks across the country are invited to listen in on an interactive phone call with Ohio death row inmate Keith LaMar. His childhood best friend, Sherman Whaley, with whom he recently reconnected after 30 years of lost contact, will be on the call with Keith. Their talk will focus on how deep connections with other people, particularly those from our formative years, can impact a person's sense of self and ultimately shape who he becomes. The two will share what it has meant finding eachother back after a long search, as well as what they find valuable and important in their lives today and the communities from which they came.

Listeners are invited to join the conversation as a telephone audience for the hour-long call and also to send in live questions. Here's how:

Friday, July 8, 2016

Conversation from Death Row: Keith LaMar speaks with Jack Schuler

Listen to the recording here.

Topic: What's it like to write about the world when your world is the size of a closet?

On Tuesday July 12th, 8:00 Eastern, folks across the country are invited to listen in on an interactive phone call with Ohio death row inmate Keith LaMar. Author Jack Shuler, American literature and narrative nonfiction writing professor at Denison University in Ohio, will be on the call with Keith. Their talk will focus on writing about the natural world while being completely cut off from it, as well as the significance of meditation in the memory process, particularly as it relates to recaling traumatic experiences.

Listeners are invited to join the conversation as a telephone audience for the hour-long call and also to send in live questions. Here's how:

• Listen in on your own via streaming audio online at-

• If you can't get online, use this call-in number: 641-715-3580, access code: 583063. The number of callers at once is limited. You will be muted during the call.

• During the call, questions can be communicated to Keith by sending them via email to: or to the page "Justice for Keith LaMar" on Facebook.

• You can also follow and participate in the conversation via Twitter through @FreeKeithLaMar.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Hasan speaks on The Final Straw

Siddiue Abdullah Hasan was interviewed this week on The Final Straw radio out of Asheville North Carolina.

Listen here:

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

CANCELLED: une Conversation from Death Row with Keith Lamar

For reasons beyond our control we will not be able to do the Conversations from Death Row in June. We will be back in early July for a conversation between Keith and Journalist Jack Schuler.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Audio of May Conversations From Death Row with Keith LaMar

On May 10th, Keith LaMar spoke on an interactive phone conversation with his long time friend and author Denis O'Hearn.

Listen to the audio here.

Denis  is the author of Nothing But an Unfinished Song: Bobby Sands, the Irish Hunger Striker Who Ignited a Generation, as well as many other books. He has known Keith for many years, has done outside support and advocacy for prisoners on hunger strike in the US, Ireland, and Turkey.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

US Supreme Court Reject's Keith LaMar's Case

Today the Supreme Court of the United States of America rejected the Writ of Certiori for Keith LaMar's case. The USSC hears less than 1% of such cases, so we are not surprised or deterred by this rejection.

It does mean that the State of Ohio is now authorized to set an execution date for Keith. It also means that his court-appointed lawyers, Kate McGarry and David Doughton, who he has not been satisfied with are released from the case.

Unless something extraordinary happens, it will take The State of Ohio at least a few more years to execute Keith. We expect them to give him a death date in he next few weeks or months, but for that date to fall at the end of a long list of people they intend to murder. As soon as they release the date, we will let everyone know.

In the interim, we now have the opportunity to get Keith the legal representation he deserves. We are in negotiations with lawyers who may represent Keith in one or more of the following ways:

Conversaions from Death Row with Keith LaMar, May 10th

Mark your calendar for the next national call-in with Keith LaMar!
When: Tuesday May 10th, at 8 PM (EST)
Moderator: Denis O'Hearn, author of Nothing But an Unfinished Song, the biography of Bobby Sands and professor at Binghamton University.
Topic: what makes a good read and what makes for good writing

Invite your friends on Facebook:

There will be opportunities for listeners to join the conversation, ask questions, and get involved in overcoming both the physical and social death that the State of Ohio has unjustly condemned Keith to.

Listen in via streaming audio online at-

If you can't get online, use this call-in number: 641-715-3580, access code: 583063. Number of callers at once is limited. You will be muted during the call.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

IWOC interview with Siddique Abdullah Hasan (Brooklyn, NY - April 17, 2016)

Siddique Abdullah Hasan recently called in to an event in Brooklyn, New York and gave this inspiring talk.

On prisoner strikers in Georgia who were beaten with hammers and put in solitary confinement since the strike in 2010: " is a sad commentary on our part, meaning both those people behind enemy lines and on the outside who are activists. When people step up to the plate and fight in a righteous cause,  I think that we should not leave those people for dead."

Anyone who can help transcribe this, is encouraged to please contact Thank you.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Audio of April 11 Conversation with Keith LaMar

You can listen to a recording of tonight's conversation between Keith LaMar and Dr Nandi Crosby through the following link:

Full transcript coming soon.

Injustice continues 23 years after the Lucasville prison uprising – April 11-22nd, 1993 – interview with Greg Curry about the Aftermath

From Greg Curry, interviewed by Kunta Kenyatta 
Introduction by Annabelle Parker:
This week we commemorate the 23rd year passing after the Lucasville prison uprising / riot / disturbance (April 11-22nd, 1993). Nine prisoners and one officer were killed during the 11-day uprising, which ended in a 21-point agreement, brokered by a few prisoners who showed great responsibility in keeping control and order. They would later be indicted and charged and convicted, to receive death penalties. Many innocent prisoners were indicted because they refused to be used as informants for the state.
This tragedy is still making victims, by still keeping at least 9 people locked up who have always proclaimed their innocence. Five of these are on death row: Keith Lamar, Siddique Abdullah Hasan, Jason Robb, George Skatzes and Namir Mateen (James Were).
In the words of Greg, Derek, Eric, Rasheed of
We encourage you to lend your hearts and ears to the true account of how lies and corruption lead to the conviction of innocent men during the 1993 Lucasville riot. The men were singled out and used as scapegoats because they would not lie and take part in the department of rehabilitation and corrections (DRC) broader political scheme to bilk the Ohio tax payers out of money and persuade the state to use this money for a supermax prison.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Conversations from Death Row with Keith LaMar April

Mark your calendar for the next national call-in with Keith LaMar!
When: Monday April 11th at 8 PM (EST)-- the 23rd anniversary of the Lucasville Prison Uprising
Moderator: Dr. Nandi Crosby, sociology professor at Chico State University
Topic: The Economics of Incarceration (costs both inside facilities and to society)

Invite your friends on Facebook:
Dr. Nandi Crosby is a transformative teacher, both at the university level and also inside prison walls. She devotes her life to stirring up dialogue about racial, poverty, gender and sexuality oppression, and is a committed supporter of Keith's. Dr. Nandi does the important work of taking students inside prisons, and has published several books, including, Whispers Over the Wall: Prisoners and Students Correspond in Search of AnswersThis Side of My Struggle: Prisoners on Suffering, Surrendering, and Breaking Free (a book of prisoner writings); and her beautiful memoir, If My Soul Be Lost: a Self-Portrait. (

People are invited to use this call-in number: 641-715-3580, access code: 583063 to listen, though they will be muted to allow Dr. Nandi to guide the discussion. During the call (and even before April 11th), questions can be communicated to Keith by sending them via email to: People can also follow and participate in the conversation via twitter through @FreeKeithLaMar.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

In Conversation with Keith LaMar March 10th, 2016

Tonight we hosted an interactive phone conversation with Keith LaMar, people gathered across the country to listen and participate in the conversation between Keith and his friend, Mars Zaineb Goetia (former member of the band Blackbird Raum). They discussed connection with humanity in the age of capitalism, dehumanization of prison, and resistance struggles. Mars is also a single mom, living on the central coast of California and working on radical conflict support within social movements and struggles.

The audio of this conversation is available here.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Keith LaMar Writ of Cert to the US Supreme Court

Keith's lawyers have filed the petition for Writ of Certiorari to the US Supreme Court. If granted, Writ of Cert means the US Supreme Court will hear and consider the case. They grant less than 1% of Writs received. It is not much more than a formality.

You can read the writ here:

We expect the US Supreme Court to decide on this matter by March 23rd. After that the State of Ohio will be authorized to set an execution date for Keith. We expect them to add him to the end of the list of people they plan to murder, which is currently a few years long.

During those intervening years we will have the opportunity to file a successor habeus and inadequate assistance of counsel. The former is a last ditch effort to reverse the court's decisions. The latter will replace the court appointed attorneys, who lied to Keith and inexplicably refused to proceed according to his wishes with new counsel, if we can find them. We are looking to build a team of dedicated lawyers who will fight for Keith, and also to raise awareness and pressure on the corrupt judicial system to not allow them to simply railroad Keith again.

Keith's life matters. Exposing and dismantling corruption and hopelessness of what masquerades as a "criminal justice system" in the United States matters.

You can contribute to this fundraiser to help us secure those lawyers, and build that movement.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Recording from Conversation with Keith LaMar

On Thursday February 4th, 8:00 Eastern, supporters across the country hosted a conversation with Ohio death row inmate Keith LaMar.

Here is an audio file of the conversation. [UPDATE: full text transcription below]

We will be repeating this type of event on March 10th, and the 2nd thursday of every month after that. If you would like to host an event, or participate in the call, or in supporting Keith LaMar please either sign up to the email list (left column of this website) or visit and sign up there (lower left) or see the "What can I Do?" section (top right).

There were Public gatherings in the following places:

In Conversation with Keith LaMar

Tonight will be the first call-in with Keith LaMar, here's how to listen and join the conversation:

Best method: listen via streaming audio online at-

During the call, questions can be communicated to Keith a few different ways:

1. by posting them in the chat box on the streaming site (you must log in with any email address to do so).
2. by sending them via email to:
3. by posting them to the facebook wall of the event here:
4. by tweeting them at @FreeKeithLaMar

If you can't get online, use the call-in number: 641-715-3580, access code: 583063. Number of callers at once is limited. You will be muted during the call.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Back From the Brink - Mask Magazine discusses music with Keith LaMar

Repost from Mask Magazine.

“Listen to Flamenco Sketches and you’ll immediately understand why I was willing to starve myself in order to hold on to this record. This one song has brought me back from the brink countless times over the years...”
Late last year, Ohio death row inmate and prison rebel Keith LaMar (aka Bomani Shakur) went on a long hunger strike to prevent the prison administration from taking away his music, among other “privileges.” So when Keith and his fellow hunger strike Jason Rob won after eight days, they not only forced the warden to move them to a better pod and grant them access to email, they defended their ability to keep books and music in their cells.
During the strike Keith released a long list of the music that sustains him, ranging from Nina Simone to Eric Clapton to Kendrick’s Butterfly. But in the wake of his victory, we asked him to go in depth about the music that’s meant the most to him. To celebrate, we’re sharing his response – including reflections on jazz, Ferguson, and survival – accompanied by tracks and background.

Track list

  1. Nina Simone – Break down and Let It All Out
  2. Grover Washington Jr. – Strawberry moon
  3. Bob James & David Sanborn – Maputo
  4. Miles Davis – Flamenco Sketches
  5. John Coltrane – A Love Supreme, Pt. 4
  6. Keith Jarrett – The Ballad of the Sad Young Men
  7. Dexter Gordon – Don’t Explain
  8. Marvin Gaye – What’s Going On
  9. Kendrick Lamar – Alright
Here’s Keith’s full list of his 150 favorite albums.

Reflections from Keith Lamar

I’ve been listening to music my whole life, since I was a kid. When I was sixteen years old, my brother turned me on to jazz. I fell in love with it almost immediately. The first jazz musician I ever listened to was Grover Washington; his album Strawberry Moon really captivated and inspired me to delve deeper into the genre.
The second most influential album I listened to was David Sanborn’s Double Vision, and that really got me going. Even as my life was spiraling out of control, my grasp kept getting stronger. When I came to prison in 1989, I lost everything: clothes, care, money, and nearly all of my so-called friends. But the one things that stayed with me was the music.
I was nineteen years old when I first encountered Miles Davis’s Kind of Blue and it literally changed my life. I had never heard anything quite like it up until that time, and the poignancy and elegance of this one particular album helped heal my broken heart – it really did. It was from this one album that I was introduced to some of the greatest jazz musicians of all time: John Coltrane, Bills Evans, Paul Chambers, “Cannonball” Adderlay. All giants, man!
Listen to Flamenco Sketches and you’ll immediately understand why I was willing to starve myself in order to hold on to this record. This one song has brought me back from the brink countless times over the years – I mean, you can’t listen to this level of musicality without reaffirming your humanity. There’s no way.
And the same goes for A Love Supreme (John Coltrane). This was the second major recording I got my hands on. I was 20 years old. Without knowing anything about John Coltrane and his struggles, there was instant recognition in his tone and approach. “Oh, I know this pain, this agony...” I later learned that he had been hooked on Heron and underwent a spiritual transformation. Well, I had been hooked on cocaine and, after being baptized twice (once when I was 13, and again when I was 18), I finally succumbed to disillusionment and was totally outside of myself. I read about John Coltrane going up into his attic to play and study music. He would become so engrossed, so separated from everyday life, that he would forget to eat; and it just occurred to me that this is the level of pursuance that one has to attend to in life. You have to really reach for it.
If you listen to part 4 of A Love Supreme, there’s actually words (rendered instrumentally) that accompany the movement, which begins with, “I will do all I can to be worthy of thee O lord...” So, you see, without sounding overly religious, I believe that we have to strive to make ourselves worthy of our struggles. And then there’s Keith Jarrett’s Ballad of the Sad Young Men. I love this piece. It starts off rather slow, suggesting peace and tranquility, and then the bass breaks away for an extended solo, representing the stumbling steps of someone who has lost his way (even as the piano and drums play very softly in the background). A marvelous piece.
You know, the thing that perplexes me about jazz is that it’s the only truly original art form of the the United States – and created by black people – and it isn’t really given its due. I mean, it isn’t really lauded by mainstream society and, therefore isn’t fully appreciated by black people at all, which is a shame (in my opinion). There’s so much meaning in it, so much love and endurance. I’m sitting here listening to Dexter Gordon’s Don’t Explain, the piece made famous by Billie Holiday (who I also highly recommend), and it’s telling me that there’s just some things in this world that defy explanation: slavery, poverty (in the richest country in the world!), Mike Brown, so on and so forth. Billie Holiday is singing about love and betrayal; “I don’t even want to hear it.” This is how I feel about the decades I’ve spent in solitary confinement for something I didn’t do; I don’t want to hear it, man! I’m not trying to understand, so don’t explain. You see?
Another one of my favorite pieces is Marvin Gaye’s *What’s Going On. *I listen to it once or twice a week. It’s a timely piece, and could easily be applied to “what’s going on” today: war is hell, when will it end, when will people start getting back together again? That’s still the question, and it might be that we, as a civilization, are running out of time, running out of excuses to explain the abuses that we, in our ignorance, have heaped on humanity. So, yeah, when the warden said I had to reduce my music down to 15 CDs, my whole being revolted! Music is the only thing that hasn’t forsaken me, the one and only friend that hasn’t let me down, and I would really rather be dead than give it up. And that’s the truth, man!
Keith LaMar (Bomani Shakur)

For more background on Keith and Jason’s hunger strike, as well as the Lucasville Uprising for which they’re on death row, check out this article on,, and

Monday, February 1, 2016

Hunger Strike Update

There have been a number of changes at OSP resulting from the hunger strike that ended Tuesday November 17th. The "long timers" have not only been allowed to keep their property, they have also been moved to a better situation within the prison. After the hunger strike the warden promised they would be placed in a separate cell block, away from the constant noise and disruption of unstable prisoners constantly churning through OSP for 6-18 month punitive stays, and that they would have access to the JPay email system, so that gaurds could no longer "lose" or delay their correspondence with outsiders.

Months later, these changes have taken place. The JPay kiosk is in their unit, but it has not yet been fully installed or functional. 

After the jump, a statement from Keith LaMar, about the victory:

Saturday, January 30, 2016

SIgnOtHeTiMeS Two Part Interview with Siddique Abdullah Hasan

This week, SIgnOtHeTiMeS Blogtalk Radio did a two part interview with Siddique Hasan and other prison rebels. 

Listen to Tuesday's show here:

And Friday's here:

TONIGHT FRIDAY JANUARY 29, 2016 SIgnOtHeTiMeS Blogtalk w BROTHERS OF THE SUN, FAM3 & LUC5 SADDIQUE HASAN speaking on the need to build unity both inside and outside of enemy lines.

The time is now and you are a very important part of the solution. Please watch the documentaries Dark Little Secret Parts 1 & 2. Let's all get free! The number to call in is 917-889-8059, please press 1 to be a part of the dialogue.See you then and don't forget to press 1 to come into cue, so you may ask a ? or make a comment. Please support us by making your 10.00 monthly donation via PayPal and our email address SIgnOtHeTiMeS also check us out on Facebook groups, sIgnOtHeTiMeS, Nu Power Radio Network, the UAC United African Coalition for Justice and Human Rights, Nu Black Code, the People's Platform for Equality and Justice, the People's Political Party, Peace in the Streets, We Charge Genocide, the Blackout Boycott of American Imperialism, the BLACKBOARD, Queen Tahiyrah and UAC Black Think Tank. Feel free to SHARE, POST & COMMENT on subject matter that pertains to the Melanated CommUNITY. You also may reach us by phone at 513-365-4764, anytime! PEACE& LOVE

Monday, January 25, 2016

Bomani Shakur (Keith LaMar), innocent on death row

The San Fransisco Bay View published the recent Block Report interview with Keith LaMar.

Bomani Shakur (Keith LaMar), innocent on death row

January 23, 2016
by The People’s Minister of Information JR Valrey
Today our guest on Block Report Radio is Bomani, formally known as Keith LaMar. He is an Ohio death row political prisoner and survivor of the Lucasville Rebellion 23 years ago. He will talk to us about the history of that rebellion, his recent hunger strike, the state of Ohio planning to set his execution date and more.
M.O.I. JR: It’s on honor to have you on, my brother. Can you tell the people about the Lucasville Rebellion?