C-Note's Poetic Source Material

The readily available documentary sources 

...Continued from the Home Page's The Poet

California State University at San Bernardino

In 2018 he received from the California State University at San Bernardino, a Certificate of Completion. It was for their inaugural Performing Poetry class. It was during this class he wrote and performed the epic poem, Can't Black Lives Matter Too??? 


Defy Ventures

In 2018 he was asked to give the Defy Ventures's graduating commencement address. There, he recited his work, Angelic Tempest, in front of venture capitalists, CEOs, educators, prisoner families, and other noteworthy leaders.

Poem "ANGELIC TEMPEST" by Imprisoned Poet, Donald "C-Note" Hooker, Was Delivered at Defy Venture's 2018 Commencement Address

30th Celebration of African American Poets and Their Poetry

C-Note's first partcipation in the Celebration of African American Poets and Their Poetry, was during the 28th Celebration (See link: Wanda's Picks for February 2018 | San Francisco Bay View). His poem, Incarceration Nation, that was recited at the event, derived from the paintoem (painting + poem), of the same title. The painting was created in 2017 for the August, "Millions for Prisoners Human Rights March." A national march in Washington D.C., in cities throughout the U.S., and other cities across the Globe. The red dots, which are more visible in the original work, represents the location of the state sanctioned deaths of: Travon Martin in Florida; Michael Brown in Missouri; Sandra Bland in Texas; Philando Castile in Minnesota; Freddie Gray in Maryland; Ezell Ford, Wakiesha Wilson, Central California Women's Facility (CCWF) & Oscars Grant in California; and Charleen Lyles in Washington State. The poem written later in the year was inspired by the NFL players "Knee Protest." 

" I was looking at other iconic American verbal expressions of patriotism," says C-Note. And My Country, Tis of Thee, also known as America, is probably third on that list. The creative juices to create the poem had nothing to do with the painting; however, together they make an excellent one-two punch, as a political work of art." 

His next opportunity to participate, was during the 29th Celebration. The theme derived from the 2019 theme of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASAALH). ASAALH was founded by Dr. Carter G. Wodson in 1915. The theme, "Black Migration," emphasized the movement of people of African descent to new destinations and subsequently to new social realities. While inclusive of earlier centuries, it focused on the twentieth century through today. This inspired him to create the work, American Negro: A Migrant's Story. The poem begins with listening to the drum beats in West African homelands, to the silence of those drums inside the prison cells of America. Due to a mix-up, it was not recited at the event. His next work created for the event, was for the 30th Anniversary Celebration. This event had two themes, one was the 2020 natioanal theme of the ASLAAH, the other was local, "400 Years of California,
African American History." Upon research, C-Note had discovered that Spanish conquistador, and Governor of Mexico, Hernán Cortés, named California after a Black woman, the Califia to the land of Black women. The poem, Journey to Afrofuturism, brings back the Califia to our current times, as the nursemaid to the Afrofuturism movement. Afrofuturism, according to Jamie Broadnax of Black Girl Nerds, is the reimagining of a future filled with arts, science and technology seen through a black lens. The term was conceived a quarter century ago, by white author Mark Dery in his essay "Black to the Future," which looks at speculative fiction within the African diaspora. C-Note, who is also a visual artist, wanted to tell this poem in paint.

Images: (L) Page 2 of the event program for the 30th Celebration; (c) The paintoem recited at the 28th Celebration; and (r) the painting created for the poem Journey to Afrofuturism

Interchange: 30th Annual Celebration of African American Poets and Their Poetry, Sat., Feb. 1, 2020


Wanda's Picks for February 2018 | San Francisco Bay View

Winter of 2020

Speculative City Magazine Issue 10: Afrofuturism

In December of 2020, Speculative City Magazine released their 10th issue. The theme of the issue was Afrofuturism. It published both C-Note's painting and poem Journey to Afrofuturism.

Afrofuturism is defined as literary works that use the frame of science fiction and fantasy to explore what Black futures could look like and to reimagine past and present experiences of the African dispora. The term was conceived a quarter-century ago by White author Mark Dery in his essay "Black to the Future," which looks at speculative fiction within the African diaspora.

Speculative City is a quarterly magazine featuring literary works that explore themes, characters, and landscapes exclusive to urban environments and that highlight voices often unheard.

Issue 10: Afrofuturism | Speculative City Magazine

Review of Speculative City's Afrofuturism themed Issue by Quick Sip Reviews  (2021)

In January of 2021, Charles Payseur of Quick Sip Reviews, reviewed the six Works in Speculative City magazine's Winter of 2020 issue. It consisted of four short stories and two poems, and was the magazine's 10th issue, with "Afrofuturism" being its theme.

Payseur specializes in the review of Speculative fiction. Speculative is a genre of fiction that encompasses works in which the setting is other than the real world, involving supernatural, futuristic, or other imagined elements. Classic Speculative fiction imagines an extraordinary global occurrence that forces Earth's men and women to exist in parallel dimensions.

Afrofuturism is a movement in literature, music, art, etc., featuring futuristic or science fiction themes which incorporate elements of black history and culture, and has drawn adherents from across the whole spectrum of the arts.

Speculative City is an online magazine that showcases works focused on the city and the complexity of life within these spaces. The magazine features short fiction, poetry, essays, and interviews from a diverse pool of creators from around the world. Each issue focuses on a particular theme.

Payseur's review of C-Note's poem, Journey to Afrofuturism was the first time his work as a writer had been publicly reviewed. Here is that review in its totality.

"Journey to Afrofuturism" by Donald "C-Note" Hooker

This piece speaks to me of tradition, of tracing the ideas and influences of Afrofuturism from Africa and to California, finding there a sort of forgotten, parallel history to draw off of, to complicate, and to reclaim. The piece reveals the bounty of the area, touched by a queen, the verdant and lush landscape, the way the earth seems to be so nourishing there. For me, there's a sense that the piece could almost be saying something about the "true" path of afrofuturism and how it exists in the West, how it's future is in California. But I feel instead that the poem is rather tracing not _the_ path of the movement, of afrofuturism as a whole, but rather showing how it leads not only forward, but also into the past. It's a catalyst, a way of reclaiming a history that has been largely ignored and erased. The poem to me feels like a celebration of scholarship and of art to reach back and make connections, to find afrofuturism waiting in all times, in all places. Like with the last poem, there's a feeling to me of connecting this work to a kind of collective past, one that recognizes Black excellence and endeavor, that shows that the West has never been only white. And for me the piece finds a lot of hope in that, of finding these buried roots that can still find their way to the surface and become new growth. That can connect movements across oceans and continents. Not to claim the center of the movement, of all of afrofuturism, is in California, but rather to show that the same spirit and soul of Afrofuturism existed and exists everywhere, a source of strength and power for those who look for it and who find the stories that have largely been denied to them. So that the future is not pulling out of the whitewashed version of history so many cling to, but from a past reclaimed and made whole. It's a wonderful piece, and connects directly and explicitly with the theme of the issue, and it's just a great way to finish things up. Definitely go check it out!

Quick Sip Reviews: Quick Sips - Speculative City #10


TODAY WE ARE SISTERS Reparations for Women Prisoners (2021)

At the CCWP Headquarters
At the CCWP Headquarters

TODAY WE ARE SISTERS Reparations for Women Prisoners is an excerpt to the February 2021 release of Free Virtual Art Exhibition (1-Artist; 1-Subject; 21-Works). The exhibition is of 21-Works by C-Note. Each work in the exhibition consisted of his Works related to incarceration. The final piece of the exhibition Today We Are Sisters is of the 2018 Paintoem (painting + poem), regarding the forced sterilization of women prisoners and the need for women to unite in the fight for reparations. The original work on paper was donated to the California Coalition for Women Prisoners (CCWP). Since 2018, the CCWP has been lobbying the California legislation to provide these women prisoners reparations who had been forcibly sterilized. Shortly after the release of the 21-Works video in 2021, the California legislation put forth a Bill to give California women prisoners who were forcibly sterilized reparations. A $7.5 million reparations Bill was signed into law in July of 2021. 

Here is the 2018 poem, from the paintoem Today We Are Sisters: 

Today we are sisters
Tomorrow we won't
unless for reparations
together we fight
I am Pro Choice
I am Pro Life
just because she's in prison
She still has rights


Survivors of California's forced sterilizations: 'It's like my life wasn't worth anything' | The Guardian


Free Virtual Art Exhibition (1-Artist; 1-Subject; 21-Works)

Today We Are Sisters | Mprisondpoetz

Afrofuturism Then and Now (2021)

The above image is a summary recreation by author and PhD in Cultural Studies, Dr. Franco Laguna Correa of the October 14th, 2021, University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC), event, Afrofuturism Then and Now, held on Zoom. The event was the inaugural 2021 - 2022 Academic Year Global discussion and performances on what Afrofuturism means and how it manifests in cultural practices. The Zoom call panelists consisted of speakers in diverse locations such as the Congo in Central Africa, Burkina Faso in West Africa, and several cities in the Northern California Bay Area in the United States. The event concluded with Hip Hop artist and Hip Hop Congress Board Chairman Rahman Jamaal exhibiting and reciting C-Note's artwork and poem Journey to Afrofuturism.