Activist Arrested at NAAM Grand Opening

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Photo: From left, Carver Gayton, former F.B.I Agent, and Executive Director of Northwest African American Museum, Wyking calling NAAM out

When the Urban League’s Northwest African American Museum hosted its grand opening on March 15th at the old Colman School in Seattle, it was featured on the front page of the Sunday paper, as well as in most other major and independent press in the city. Most stories gushed acclaim and praise for NAAM and commended the efforts of the Urban League in seeing the project through. Public officials from the governor down were present at the opening ceremony, as well as church leaders, and other prestigious community members. On the surface, it was a celebration. However, for many in the Hip Hop community, the opening of NAAM marked the next step in a legacy of class-struggle passed down to us from the previous generation, a struggle that calls into question the very intention of many established “leaders” speaking for the Black Community in Seattle.

Charlie James, one of several original visionaries and activists who fought for twenty years for the project, wrote a bittersweet article published in the Seattle Times this March on his refusal to participate in opening ceremony. Instead of bowing out, Wyking, of the Seattle Hip Hop Youth Council, took the stage on March 8th, to confront public officials on their support of the gang bill, and address the shortcomings of the Urban League Village NAAM. 

Upon hearing about the arrest of Wyking at the grand opening of the Northwest African American Museum in March, Amanda Diva of Floetry Remix whipped up a tragically hilarious take on the issue for her online show, Diva TV: Episode 9. The Seattle-specific segment starts roughly 4 minutes and 30 seconds into the show, and shows Miss Diva visiting a very disappointing African American Museum in Seattle where the only three Black leaders are Oprah Whinfrey, Bill Cosby, and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. She said, “[Seattle’s Urban League] had the chance and the power to make sure that this community center was done in a proper way and they chose the payout instead. What a let down.”