Champion Karim Mayfield and director Robert Townsend bring knockout power and star power to San Francisco Black Film Festival

by Jackie Wright

San Francisco – San Francisco Bayview’s own, the undefeated Welterweight Champion of the World, Karim “Hard Hitta” Mayfield (16-0-1), brings his knockout power to the San Francisco Black Film Festival. Did you see Karim cream the previously undefeated Ray Serrano 47 seconds into the fifth round on ESPN TV2, May 18? Now you know why they call him “Hard Hitta”: That was the 10th knockout of his career. “Wow, Hard Hitta!”

Karim will put down his boxing gloves long enough to give back to the community as he joins Dr. Joseph Bryant Jr. at Calvary Hill Community Church for Focus on Fathers Family Day, a free event celebrating Juneteenth, and one of several special events surrounding the San Francisco Black Film Festival, June 15-17. Karim, who is a devoted father, will participate in the panel, “Get in the Game: A Call to Fatherhood in the Hood,” hosted by Dr. Bryant, senior pastor of Calvary Hill and San Francisco Bay Area Rainbow P.U.S.H. director.

“We are pleased that Karim is taking the time to come out to inspire young people, to encourage fathers and enjoy the people of the community where he grew up,” said Dr. Bryant.

Focus on the Fathers Family Day, a free event from 12 noon to 6 p.m., Saturday, June 16, kicks off with healthy cooking recipes from Oakland Museum’s Chef Robert Dorsey and his son (, followed by the screenings of Kevin Epp’s “FAM BAM” about the resilience of the Black family and Jacquie Taliaferro’s “10 10 Gotta Win Gotta Win” about the importance of voting, with cameo appearances by U.S. Rep. Barbara Lee, Rev. Jesse Jackson, San Francisco Police Chief Greg Suhr, community leaders Espanola Jackson and Sharon Hewitt, former San Francisco Supervisors Willie B. Kennedy, Doris Ward and Dr. Amos Brown; and candidates in the 2010 race for District 10 Supervisor, including Supervisor Malia Cohen, winner of the race.

“The innovative day will give businesses an opportunity for direct marketing, the screening of films, a music concert, healthy cooking demonstrations, and a call to action panel discussion, ‘Get in the Game: A Call to Fatherhood in the Hood,’ featuring athletes and community leaders. We invite San Francisco and the Bay Area to join us for the day of fun and enlightenment,” said Dr. Bryant.

Music minister and gospel artist Marcus Dorsey, in recognition of June also being “Black Music Month,” will host a gospel concert as the finale for the day with Bay Area renowned artists ready to lift up a song and give praise!

Of course, the air will be filled with music and with the savory smell of barbeque and other culinary delights. Activities for the kids include face painting, bounce houses and games. There still are a few vendor opportunities available for businesses ($125) and nonprofits ($50); contact the church at (415) 547-5300 for availability.

Lorraine Hansberry Theatre hosts Opening Night, featuring Robert Townsend and his film ‘In the Hive’

Opening Night at the San Francisco Black Film Festival will kick off at the historic Lorraine Hansberry Theatre, 450 Post St., Union Square, Friday, June 15, with a 6 p.m. VIP Red Carpet Reception, 7 p.m. screening of Robert Townsend’s “In The Hive,” starring Loretta Devine, Michael Clarke Duncan, Vivica A. Fox and featuring newcomer Jonathan McDaniel, “a young Denzel,” along with a panel discussion and VIP Red Carpet Afterparty.

“In the Hive” director Robert Townsend is coming a day early, on Thursday, to promote his film, which opens the festival. Based on a true story, its universal theme is one person making a difference in the lives of many. Michael Clarke Duncan, Loretta Devine, Vivica A. Fox and newcomer Jonathan McDaniel headline the film that tells the story of how a cook in rural North Carolina changed the hopeless lives of young men discarded by society.

“We’re pleased to have Robert Townsend’s film that was produced in collaboration with One Economy as part of the our 14th festival,” said festival director Kali Oray. “It is a signature piece that leads what I am seeing as a redemptive theme, considering films like the international ‘Fambul Tok’ of Sierra Leone, which demonstrates forgiveness in its highest form, and Kevin Epps’ ‘FAM BAM,’ JR Valrey’s ‘Block Reportin’ 101’ and Jacquie Taliaferro’s ‘10-10 Gotta Win’ and other films. The San Francisco Black Film Festival, in alignment with our mission, provides a platform for established and emerging filmmakers,” added Oray.

“The San Francisco Black Film Festival organizers and volunteers see the festival as more than just entertainment,” said Rey Ramsey, co-founder and chairman of the board for One Economy, which has brought broadband access to over 300,000 low income Americans and is located on four continents. “We’re beginning a relationship that will launch on-going educational opportunities that include screenings and panel discussions beyond opening night. Most important is the message of the movie: ‘In the Hive’ is about real people and represents what’s happening every day around the country. Stay tuned for the additional educational programs in the upcoming months.”

SFBFF films

Some festival highlights include “In The Hive,” directed by Robert Townsend, a universal story of the triumph of the underdog when just one person decides there is a better way and that the weakest among us is noble and has great worth. Former De Young Museum Fellow Kevin Epps’ “FAM BAM” examines the Black family structure and its resilience. Jacquie Taliaferro’s “10-10 Gotta Win” showcases the importance of voting, and JR Valrey’s “Block Reportin’ 101” gives the 411 on the Block Report brand of journalism and how it serves people and communities that are often denied outlets elsewhere.

“Fambul Tok” (“Family Talk”) chronicles Sierra Leoneans drawing on ancient traditions of addressing issues within the safety of the family circle to make their communities whole again. “Elza” by Marriette Monpierre is the dramatic tale of a young Parisian woman of Caribbean descent who returns to her native island of Guadeloupe looking for the father she has never known.

For a list of other films and workshops on animation for youth 12-17 with special guest Leo Sullivan, Bill Cosby’s legendary cartoonist, visit

Celebrity sightings

The list of celebrities grows as the festival nears. Jonathan McDaniel of “In the Hive,” Bill Cosby’s legendary cartoonist Leo Sullivan, who created “Fat Albert and the Kids,” Morrie Turner, creator of syndicated comic strip “Wee Pals,” James Weston II, seen most recently in “Red Tails and Transformers,” Welterweight Champion of the World Karim “Hard Hitta” Mayfield, Romancing the Bass’ Tony Saunders, playing at the Hansberry June 22, Larry Batiste, pre-Grammy Awards music director, KMEL’s Lady Ray, Charleston Pierce, who’s lighting up the airwaves for Cadillac, Samm Styles, Warner Bros. director for “Black August,” Y’Anad Burrell, founder and creative director of “Fashion on the Square,” author Alonzo Tucker, Dr. Maxine Hickman, president of the San Francisco National Coalition of 100 Black Women are among those attending the Red Carpet VIP Reception and other events.

Invited guests include Robert Townsend, Loretta Devine, Vivica A. Fox, Michael Clarke Duncan, Danny Glover, Carl Lumbly, Delroy Lindo, Jordin Sparks, Mike Epps, Shabaka Henley, Ted Lange, Michael Lange, Jerri Lange, Belva Davis, Barbara Rodgers, Clifford Brown Jr., Nikki Thomas, Steven Anthony Jones, Brenda Payton, San Francisco Mayor Edwin Lee and the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.

The San Francisco Black Film Festival is a platform for established and emerging artists that was founded by the late arts impresario Ave Montague. SFBFF continues since her death in 2009 under the leadership of her son, Kali Oray, and his wife, Katerra Crossley, with a team of volunteers and well-wishers who understand the arts are more than entertainment.

What about the San Francisco Black Film Festival?

We thank you for catching the vision to support the growing brand of the San Francisco Black Film Festival that is about more than entertainment. It’s about providing a cultural platform for exchange of ideas. It’s about commerce as people come into San Francisco for dinner before or after a film, use cabs, BART, Muni and stay in hotels.

It’s about creating synergy for volunteerism, job training and job development around the film industry and tangential industries. It’s about building on the legacy of founder Ave Montague for future generations. It’s about collaboration, as the San Francisco Black Film Festival partners with the Lorraine Hansberry Theatre, Calvary Community Church, Wells Fargo Bank, PG&E, California Tobacco Free Project, Recology, Urban Game Suite, Rainbow Grocery Co-op, San Francisco Bay View newspaper, the Jazz Heritage Center, KPFA, KPOO, LaHitz Media, Bay Area Black Journalists Association, African American Arts and Culture Complex, Academy of Art University, One Economy Corp. and more. It’s about multiculturalism and it’s about you!

For more information, visit and listen to JR Valrey of interview SFBFF co-director Kali Oray:

Other related San Francisco Black Film Festival news

Executive Director Dion Roberts of Mary Elizabeth Inn salutes the San Francisco Black Film Festival, Thursday, June 14, 6-9 p.m., at their “Happy Hour to End Homelessness” at Infusion Lounge 124 Ellis St., San Francisco. No cover charge.

The Jazz Heritage Center will host a premier screening and reception with live music with Hanif and Friends and complimentary hors d’oeuvres to launch the 2012 San Francisco Black Film Festival, June 14 at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $25. Purchase here or call (415) 255-7745 to reserve your ticket.

Rainbow P.U.S.H. calls clergy to gather for Stop the Violence Prayer Vigil in remembrance of Trayvon Martin over Fathers’ Day weekend

In answer to a charge from Rev. Jesse Jackson, national president of Rainbow P.U.S.H., Dr. Joseph Bryant Jr., senior pastor of Calvary Hill Community Church and Bay Area director of Rainbow P.U.S.H., calls clergy of all faiths to join him for a prayer vigil. It will be held 12 noon Saturday, June 16, at Calvary Hill Community Church. Remembering Trayvon Martin and victims of senseless violence in our local community, clergy is asked to cry out to God to stop the spirit of violence.

Consider this notice as an invitation for all clergy to attend. Clergy are requested to gather in the parking lot of Calvary, 141 Industrial St., off Bayshore, at the corner of Industrial and Revere Avenue at 12 noon. As the clergy prays on one side of the church parking lot, the previously planned Focus on Fathers Family Day, organized with the San Francisco Black Film Festival, will be underway. Click here for details.

“We received the request from Rev. Jackson to call clergy together to lead the way to stop the violence by holding a prayer vigil over the Father’s Day weekend,” said Dr. Joseph Bryant Jr. “As we are remembering Trayvon Martin and the many victims of senseless violence in our own community, we must pray God’s power to help us be accountable in our neighborhoods to take action to stop the violence.”

For more information, contact Rev. Dr. Joseph Bryant Jr. at (415) 647-5300.

Jackie Wright is the president of Wright Enterprises, a full service public relations firm serving the corporate, non-profit and government sectors. A seasoned media and public relations professional, Wright has 20 years of media experience, including more than a decade of award-winning journalism experience in radio, television and print communications, and holds degrees in both journalism and drama from the University of Georgia. She can be reached at or