Under the Influence of X

Photo Credit (C) Diana Ragland

Dramatizing the Revolutionary Politics and Poetry of Malcolm X

In November 2019, poet, playwright, prison activist and Emmy award winner Bryonn Bain will be traveling to the UK for a residency with the University of Cambridge and Whitemoor Prison in collaboration with the Learning Together Program.  Named by Time Magazine one of the most important texts of the 20th century, 15 men incarcerated at the prison recently read The Autobiography of Malcolm X in a workshop with Cambridge sociologist Dr. Jeff Miley.  

Bain, a professor of African American Studies and in the School of the Arts at UCLA, will be using Theater of the Oppressed to work with the group to dramatize the scenes from The Autobiography that resonate with them most, and to write poetry inspired by their experiences of (in)justice, oppression and power.  This workshop session in Whitemoor Prison is scheduled for November 28th.

Following the session, on the evening of November 30th, Bain will perform his own award-winning spoken word poetry on the Cambridge campus, share the writings of men at Whitemoor prison, and be joined afterwards for a Town Hall-style “Talkback Dialogue” with Dr. Miley and a group of Cambridge students.

Our goal in the creative process of this dynamic workshop is to engage in dialogue with the UK’s incarcerated intellectuals and artists, overwhelmingly of African descent, about the life and meaning of Malcolm X on a international scale, and to critically engage the implications of his influential work on contemporary understandings of race, gender, class, colonization, self-determination, oppression,  freedom and human rights.  

If you are interested in being involved in this project, and/or would like to attend the workshop session (28 Nov) or poetry night (30 Nov) please contact Dr. Jeff Miley (thomas.j.miley@gmail.com). 

Watch a show reel of Bryonn Bain’s “artistic activism” work around prison reform


“Slavery wasn’t abolished – it just got polished”

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