HB: When did you start working in media?
KN: Because of my years of secretarial work, I had typing skills. At the time of Bobby Seale and Ericka Huggins’ trial in New Haven, on behalf of the Panther Defense Committee, we printed a tabloid and I co-wrote and typeset an article covering the story. I also wrote articles for the national BPP paper, and eventually learned how to put a newspaper together. After moving to San Francisco, I was working for a local Black newspaper called The Sun Reporter, but left in anger after they chopped up an article that I wrote about the uprising at NY State Prison in Attica that resulted in the massacre of some 39 prisoners and guards. Afterwards, in late 1971, a bunch of us had political education classes that met at my pad in the Fillmore, and we put together a tabloid called "By Any Means Necessary." In '72, I wrote and published another tabloid titled, "Niggahs of the World Unite."
Later, I lived in the Hunters Point neighborhood, and while practicing a very strenuous form of martial arts, my muscles started deteriorating. I wound up in the medical system for many years--a long, hairy story. Suffice it to say, I walked into the system in 1975 and rolled out in 1980, and have been in Chinatown ever since, living in a 12 story Housing Authority building that they said was the only place they could find that was wheelchair accessible.
HB: How does the mainstream media today compare to 40 years ago?
KN: It’s much worse! I used to see BPP leaders Kathleen Cleaver and David Hilliard on TV. The movement used to get media attention. Now you can't get any media attention on prisoners. We can have a demonstration with 10,000 people, and they still don't cover it. You don't even have good journalists anymore.
HB: Why do you think that is?
KN: Look at all the journalists who’ve been fired for telling the truth. Not to mention all the journalists who have been murdered these past few years, particularly by the US in Iraq. It intimidates people and they need real courage to tell the truth today.
HB: How has the alternative media changed?