Six years in the federal prison system and 18 years in the most notoriously violent prisons in the California prison system, this August saw the release of Min. King, William E. Brown a k a Pyeface. For those who do not know this extraordinary human being, PyeFace, as he was most known by his fellow prisoners, was America’s principal Peacemaker behind the wall. Nor did it go unnoticed amongst the prisoner population that his release from captivity coincided with the month-long Black August commemorations.
At first glance, there is no way a child born in Oakland, California, in the mid-70s, came of age during the crack era, and did hard time in California’s now defunct youth prison system, the California Youth Authority, could grow into America’s principal Peacemaker from behind the wall. At the start of the Millennium, after seeing the mid and late 90s as a registered rapper with Highside Records, doing time in the feds, he birthed into existence K.A.G.E., Kings Against Genocidal Environments, now known as Kings and Queens Against Genocidal Environments, or United K.A.G.E. Brothers and Sisters International Union. Probably the most unconscionable part of Pyeface’s California prison stint, was the deep-seeded hatred amongst the administrators within the California Department of Correction of his universal love for humanity and his message of peace. Prisons, are not the place for the promotion of peace; especially in their maximum security and solitary confinement housing units. Scarcity, as everything is seen as a security threat, such as dental floss, table salt, and a toothbrush, breeds an overly hyper response for such commodities, now known as contraband. This extreme depravity breeds monsters, takers, and abusers, until such time one is able to exercise the passions for life’s simple things from the prison experience. Another great fear in prison administration is prisoner unity. With prison guards outnumbered a hundred to one, they could ill afford prisoners getting along. It’s the frustration with the conditions of prisons being the driving force for prisoner on prisoner violence.
Prisons weren’t designed for the release valve to these conditions being something other than taking this frustration out on each other; because what if, they stop fighting each other and start fighting with those that administered that system? It would make the price of imprisonment too costly. And anytime someone is at war with the public’s perception of prison inmates, that person is at war with the men and women whose very livelihood is dependent upon a fully housed prison. So to make friends, by crossing gang, ethnic, and racial boundaries, is to make an enemy out of every man, woman, and child, dependent on the system of mass incarceration. This upside-downwardness as seen in the Superman comics, known as Bizarro world, is the only place where you are punished for being a peacemaker by being placed in the now-defunct or rarely used solitary confinement.
In the March-April, 2017edition, of the prison news publication, Under Lock and Key, it published an announcement to prisoners in California:
United Kings Against Genocidal Environments is having their section 1983 lawsuit heard in U.S. District Court, Northern District of California. The case is to challenge the shutting down of their P.E.A.C.E. program at Pelican Bay State Prison PBSP by Chaplin Alex Valnisky and Robert Losacco, even though KAGE was recognized as a “religious activity group” there. Litigational support, declarations, and other documentary evidence are needed regarding the convicts who were and are still housed on PBSP A and B yards subjected to this sort of implicit bias. You can send any documents or signed statements in support of these comrades to MIM(Prisons) at our address on page one make sure your documents are clearly marked for this purpose!☆
In Bizarro world, or in the context of a prison setting, even the prison chaplain is against you for promoting peace, as you are a threat to their livelihood.
Pyeface has always been influential behind the wall; especially when it comes to the arts. A prolific writer of raps, plays, and in the performance arts, such as Spokenword and theater. To go into detail on his artistic influence would be too long for a single article. In 2018, he was a principal writer in the No Joke Theater’s production of Lost and Found. His revolutionary spirit comes through in “We Must Find Our Wings.” A play he wrote about a local Hip-Hop Radio Station, and one of it’s Disk Jockeys, Radio DJ, and his interactions with listeners during the call-in segment of his radio show. Pyeface hit the ground running on another one of his plays, where he wrote and also starred, “Playing My Strike.” A work so powerful, the men at California State Prison Los Angeles County where it was performed are still talking about this piece a year later, and influenced prisoners at this prison to participate in the 2019 nationwide prisoner strike.
Upon his release, he immediately hit the ground running, becoming a part of the staff at the Oakland chapter of All of Us or None, a grassroots organization dedicated to social change, Legal Services for Prisoners with Children, and is active in four basic, often overlapping, arenas, Public Policy, Legal Advocacy, Grassroots Organizing, and Public Education. In each of these areas, All of Us or None strives to realize its core belief, that incarcerated and formerly incarcerated people have the right and the responsibility to speak and be heard in their own voices, transform their lives and communities, and fully participate in all aspects of society. Less than two weeks after his release, he participated in the TRUTH BE TOLD: The Darkside of Gentrification’s Fundraiser event. In September, less than 30-days from being released, K.A.G.E. and All of Us or None, cohosted a fundraising event, for the San Francisco Bayview. The San Francisco Bay View is a part of the Black National Press. Founded in 1976, it is a communications network for the Black community. Its website, http://www.sfbayview.com, is the most visited Black newspaper on the web, second only to the Final Call. Its free print edition, is distributed throughout the Bay Area and mailed to subscribers, including thousands of prisoners all over the country.