by Wanda Sabir
This Maafa Commemoration Month we continue to lift “A Love Supreme” as we organize a defense against state violence. Congratulations to Professor Aaliyah Dunn-Salahuddin, whose community vigil and program honored the lives of the Bayview Hunters Point revolutionaries killed 50 years ago when the community rose up after SFPD killed Matthew “Peanut” Johnson and more recently when the community turned out after SFPD killed Mario Woods.
The Maafa Commemoration Ritual is Sunday, Oct. 9, 5:30 AM. Visit maafasfbayarea.com or call 510-255-5579. We need monetary donations to defray costs, as well as volunteers for set-up and clean-up. This is a commemoration for African Ancestors of the Middle Passage. Maafa is Kiswahili for great calamity and reoccurring disaster and references the Black Holocaust, which continues as Black life is devalued, desecrated and discarded.
This is an opportunity for people of African descent, a global people of the Black Diaspora to recognize our shared community despite the dispersal, to acknowledge the blood memories we all hold. We are still one people, one nation – as the Hon. Marcus Mosiah Garvey states – and we can accomplish what we will.
Congratulations and welcome to the new president general of the UNIA-ACL, the Hon. Mike Duncan, Queens, New York. Brother Akeem Jamal (L.A. Maafa Commemoration) says that the bones along the ocean floors are an indelible link between Africa and the West, between Black people and their shared Black culture.
California Institute for Women (CIW) Vigil Oct. 1
Join the families of several young women who recently died in custody for a public vigil at CIW on Saturday, Oct. 1, at 2:30 p.m. – 1:30 meet-up nearby. Please RSVP for carpools, directions and prep to email@example.com.
Demand that the state of California, the Corrections Department (CDCR) and CIW be held responsible for the rampant abuse, neglect and deaths in custody. Demand answers about the premature death of so many young women of color in particular.
Speak out against isolation, abuse and state-sanctioned death! Rally with us in support of the survival and release of people currently incarcerated at CIW. Bring our loved ones home, ALIVE!
Julie Dash Tribute for screening of ‘Daughters of the Dust’
Sister Julie Dash, director of “Daughters of the Dust” (US 1991, 112 min., directed by Julie Dash) is being honored at the Mill Valley Film Festival, Oct. 14, 7 p.m., at the Smith Rafael Film Center, San Rafael. Dash’s wonderful film, which highlights the women in Gullah country, St. Helena Island in South Carolina, is poetic and beautiful in its majesty. Enslavement did not rob Black people of their consciousness or humanity – quite the contrary as depicted in this iconic glimpse into the daily lives of these women.
Exquisitely cinematic and profoundly imagined, Julie Dash’s “Daughters of the Dust” is a lyrical story of family migration unlike any other, establishing her as a strikingly original artist in the pantheon of American cinema. This seminal, award-winning work continues to inspire – notably, by Beyoncé’s homage, “Lemonade” – its newly-restored digital print reveals the gorgeous visual palette. Not to be missed.
The MVFF tribute will feature an onstage conversation with Julie Dash, a clip reel of her work, a screening of “Daughters of the Dust” and the presentation of the MVFF Award. Program and party are $50 general admission, $45 CFI members. For the program only, general admission is $25, CFI members $20.
The Matatu Film Festival opens Oct. 5 at 7 p.m. with Damani Baker’s “The House on Coco Road Homecoming!” at the Grand Lake Theatre. An intimate portrait of Fannie Haughton, an activist and teacher who moves her children from Oakland to participate in the Grenada Revolution – only to find her family in harm’s way of a U.S. military invasion. With an original score by Meshell Ndegeocello, filmmaker Damani Baker creates an intimate family portrait of nationalism, freedom and the dream of a more livable world. The evening features Fannie Haughton, Fania Davis and Angela Davis. The festival itself runs Oct. 12-15; visit http://www.matatufestival.org/.
Haiti Rises! Haiti Solidarity Events in Oakland
On Friday, Sept. 30, 4:30 p.m., join the Haiti Action Committee for a demonstration with music and drums at 14th and Broadway, Oakland. On Sunday, Oct. 2, 3 p.m., hear a report, “Inside Haiti’s Election,” from Pierre Labossiere, co-founder of the Haiti Action Committee, at Eastside Arts, 2277 International Blvd, Oakland. Visit www.haitisolidarity.net.
Occupy Oakland 5th Anniversary Film Screening and Fundraiser
This coming Oct. 9 is the eve of the fifth anniversary of the brave decision made by Oakland activists to say enough is enough by taking over the plaza in front of Oakland City Hall in solidarity with the national Occupy Wall Street movement. On Oct. 10, 2011, they renamed the plaza “Oscar Grant Plaza,” and Occupy Oakland was born by calling the world’s attention to the profound link between income equality, racism and police violence.
The movement grew to challenge the status quo by marshaling the traditional progressive forces of the left, including Oakland’s historical movements, by uniting peace, labor and civil rights activists. Oakland’s unique history, including the early struggles of the Black Panthers against police violence in the Black community, was the backdrop to the more contemporaneous movement that sought justice following the murder of Oscar Grant by a BART police officer on Jan. 1, 2009.
Many of the same activists from the Oscar Grant movement took up the banner of the Occupy Wall Street movement, helping to give rise to Occupy Oakland. As a result, Occupy Oakland foreshadowed the Black Lives Matter movement through its unflinching linkage of income equality with police brutality in the Black community, not only in Oakland but in cities across the United States. The documentary “#OO (Occupy Oakland)” represents filmmaker Kevin Pina’s continuing efforts to retell this history in video and to preserve it for generations to come.
Cephus “Uncle Bobby” Johnson, Oscar Grant’s uncle, recently founded the Love Not Blood Campaign to End Police Terrorism, Mass Incarceration and Community Violence. Pina says he “would like to honor his work and the seminal role of the Oscar Grant movement within Occupy Oakland by using this screening to help raise funds for his organization and its important community work.” The fundraiser is Sunday, Oct. 9, 7 p.m., screening Pina’s new film “#OO (Occupy Oakland)” at the Omni, 4799 Shattuck, Oakland. Plus Cephus “Uncle Bobby” Johnson will speak and Pierre Labossiere will provide an updated Haiti election report.
Freedom Archives presents Afro-Cuban filmmaker Gloria Rolando
Gloria Rolando will present her new film, “Dialogue with My Grandmother.” Admission is $10, but no one will be turned away. The event is Saturday, Oct. 1, 7 p.m., at 518 Valencia St. in San Francisco.
‘Urban Storytellers Extravaganza!’
The African American Art and Culture Complex, 762 Fulton St. in San Francisco, is proud to present “The Urban Storytellers Extravaganza!” Featuring, among others, comedian Luna Malbroux, storyteller Tureeda Mikell and performance poet Mack Dennis, this show is a celebration of the legacy of spoken word and live performances. This show is a part of the Praisesinger Project Series, a series of storytelling, poetry, jazz and blues open-mics happening every six weeks over the next few months. The show is 7-10 p.m. Tickets are $15 at the door for discount, or buy tickets here: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/2606017.
The SF Olympians Festival VII: Harvest of Mysteries
The SF Olympians Festival VII: Harvest of Mysteries runs Oct. 5 to 22, Wednesday through Saturday, 8 p.m., at The Exit Theatre, 156 Eddy St., San Francisco, $10 at the door, cash only; $12 online at Brown Paper Tickets, www.sfolympians.com. Jovelyn Richards has written a play about Auset or Isis called “The Cradle.” It runs Week Three, Oct. 19-22.
“Anubis” by David Templeton, directed by Adam Palafox, will be performed Oct. 19. When Anubis, the Egyptian Lord of the Dead, drunkenly crashes the annual camping trip of four middle-aged guys that have the best Tents and Camp Gear they got online, will the result be our creaky band of brothers’ best male bonding weekend ever? Or its last?
The theme for Oct. 20 is The Mother. “Isis” was written and directed by Jovelyn Richards. You’ve likely heard of the idiom, “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.” Well, here’s another for you consider: “Only the spirits of the heavens can offer answers to a woman after her husband is brutally murdered in the hellish fires of Southern racism!”
Also playing Oct. 20 is “Nephys,” written by Veronica Tjioe and directed by Nicole Menez. This play is for those who live with a perennial cloud above their head. It is also good for sisters, klutzes and people who still do laundry at their friend’s house.
The Oct. 21 theme is The Father. In “Osiris,” by Tonya Narvaez, directed by Charles Lewis III, a therapy session reveals suspicious details which make us question each character, their twisted relationships with one another, and the circumstances surrounding Cyrus’s death.
“Set” by Nirmala Nataraj, directed by Adam Odsess-Rubin is the second play that day. Tallulah Beltran is a scientist who has made a career out of studying murderers, rapists and other societal “anomalies.” But never has she confronted the true nature of evil – that is, until meeting a seductive psychopath who calls himself Set.
‘Queen of Katwe’
“Queen of Katwe,” another great film, is currently playing at the Bay Street in Emeryville and the Metreon in San Francisco. It is the colorful true story of a young girl selling corn on the streets of rural Uganda whose world rapidly changes when she is introduced to the game of chess, and, as a result of the support she receives from her family and community, is instilled with the confidence and determination she needs to pursue her dream of becoming an international chess champion. Directed by Mira Nair (“Monsoon Wedding”) from a screenplay by William Wheeler (“The Hoax”) based on the book by Tim Crothers, “Queen of Katwe” is produced by Lydia Dean Pilcher (“The Darjeeling Limited”) and John Carls (“Where the Wild Things Are”) with Will Weiske and Troy Buder serving as executive producers. The film stars Golden Globe nominee David Oyelowo (“Selma”), Oscar winner and Tony Award nominee Lupita Nyong’o (“12 Years a Slave”) and newcomer Madina Nalwanga.
Black Arts Movement conference in New Orleans
The Black Arts Movement, Southern Influences Conference, Sept. 9-11, at Dillard University in New Orleans, was curated by Kim McMillon, Ph.D. candidate, UC Merced. This conference, subtitled “Because the World Needs to Change,” was an opportunity to explore the writing and art, especially poetics and dramatic literature, produced at the inception and height of the Civil Rights and Black Power Movement at Ground Zero.
Among those present were stalwarts of institutions developed during this period like John O’Neal and Doris Derby, co-founders of “Free Southern Theater” (1963), the cultural arm of the Southern Civil Rights Movement; Haki R. Madhubuti, founder and president, Third World Press; Jerry W. Ward Jr., retired English professor, Richard Wright scholar; Eugene Redmond, poet laureate of East St. Louis, retired professor, cultural archivist; Kalaamu ya Salaam, poet, cultural worker, writer, activist; Mona Lisa Saloy, poet, professor, Dillard University; Avotcja; Jerry Varnado, co-founder of the Black Students Union at SFSU; Ishmael Reed, novelist, playwright, SFJAZZ poet laureate.
Nigerian artist Juliana Kasumu’s work on the head wrap was a collaboration with preeminent Tignon scholar, Madame Barbara Trevigne. This fellowship was a part of a partnership between Zella Palmer at the Ray Charles Program in African American Material Culture at Dillard University and Olajú Art Group. The photo is of the artist and an iconic figure in New Orleans, Big Queen of the Guardians of the Flame Mardi Gras Indians, Cherice Harrison-Nelson.
The Tignon is a wrap free women of color, especially Creole women, were by law required to wear to differentiate them from free white women. Kasumu’s work looks at the idea of the head wrap in the African Diaspora. Born in London, she did not go to Nigeria until an adult; however, she noticed how on Sundays her mom would spend hours tying her Moussor.
Not seen as a beautiful form of adornment, Kasumu said in London the assumption is that she wears a wrap because her hair is uncombed.
NAKA Dance Theatre
NAKA Dance Theatre and Eastside Arts Alliance present “Live Art in Resistance,” featuring Amara Tabor Smith’s “House/Full” on Oct. 21 and 22 at 8 p.m. This is a multi-site specific ritual dance theatre that addresses the displacement and sex trafficking of Black women in Oakland. General admission $20-$5-$15 at Eastside Arts Cultural Center, 2277 International Blvd., Oakland.
‘The Brothers Size’ at Theatre Rhinoceros
Theatre Rhinoceros presents “The Brothers Size” by Tarell Alvin McCraney, directed by Darryl V. Jones, Sept. 24-Oct. 15 for a limited engagement at the Eureka Theatre, 215 Jackson St. at Battery Street, San Francisco. Visit www.TheRhino.org.
In ‘The Brothers Size,’ two brothers, the Louisiana bayou, and West African mythology swirl together in this treasured theatrical event that will leave you breathless. A hot-blooded, music-filled drama from one of the country’s most exciting African-American voices.
‘The Last Tiger in Haiti’
There once lived five kids in modern-day Haiti, all entangled in a dark history of servitude. Huddled in a tent on Mister’s land, they’d spin spellbinding folktales, vying for the title of best storyteller – and dreaming of their freedom. When two of them reunite 15 years later, the boundary between reality and fiction vanishes, revealing secrets of their past more haunting than any of the tales they told. In The Last Tiger in Haiti, Jeff Augustin weaves a remarkable and gripping narrative of survival, betrayal and the power of a story.
“The Last Tiger in Haiti” was developed in The Ground Floor: Berkeley Rep’s Center for the Creation and Development of New Work. It runs Oct. 14-Nov. 27 at Berkeley Rep, Peet’s Theatre, 2025 Addison St. at Shattuck, Berkeley.
In celebration of Halloween and Day of the Dead
Dance Bridge presents “The Great Liberation Upon Hearing: A Multi-media Dance Journey” based on the Tibetan Book of the Dead, Friday, Oct. 28, 7 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 29, 7 and 9 p.m., and Sunday, Oct. 30, 6 p.m., at Dance Mission, 3316 24th St., San Francisco.
The 17th Annual Dia de los Muertos at SOMarts, “A Promise Not to Forget,” opens Friday, Oct. 7, and continues through Nov. 5. The Gallery is located at 934 Brannan St., between Eighth and Ninth, in San Francisco.
Oakland Museum of California (OMCA) presents its 22nd Annual Days of the Dead Community Celebration, 1000 Oak St., Oakland, Sunday, Oct. 16, 12–4:30 pm
‘I Am San Francisco: Black Past and Presence’
Congratulations to Jarrel Phillips, whose “I Am San Francisco: Black Past and Presence” had a very successful opening reception Sept. 22 at City College of San Francisco, Ocean Campus. The exhibit continues in the Rosenberg Library, 50 Phelan Ave., third and fourth floors through Nov. 3.
Dance Theatre of San Francisco presents “Unspoken,” a film, Oct. 7-13 at Vogue Theater in San Francisco.
ODC Theatre for the month of October
Sins Invalid presents “Birthing, Dying, Becoming Crip Wisdom,” Friday-Sunday, Oct. 14-16, 8 p.m.
Nicole Claymoon’s “Embodiment Project” plays Friday-Saturday, Oct. 28-30, at 8 p.m., Sunday at 7 p.m.
East Bay Candidate and Voter Education Forum: Organizing for Power
“Organizing for Power” is hosted by the Bayard Rustin LGBT Coalition, Black Elected Officials of the East Bay, Black Women Organized for Political Action, Oakland Berkeley, and Niagara Movement Democratic Club. It’s happening Monday, Oct. 3, 5:30 p.m. until at Geoffrey’s Inner Circle. Members, friends, community, join us for an educational evening to question the 2016 general election candidates on their perspectives to create and implement legislation, policies and resources to positively impact the Black community and other communities of color. Voter education and registration information will be onsite.
The organizers have invited candidates and representatives running for office in the state Senate, Alameda County, special districts, City Council and School Board, state and local measures. The form is free to all. Refreshments will be served. Come ready for networking and voter registration. RSVP to www.organizingforpower.eventbrite.com.
The Black Panther Party at 50
Happy 50th anniversary, Black Panther Party for Self Defense. Happy 80th birthday, Chairman Bobby Seale. Happy birthday, Sister Sheba. Happy birthday, Daddy! Happy birthday, Julie Dash – all born Oct. 22. The BPP conference workshops and gala dinner take place Oct. 20-23 at the Oakland Museum of California, 1000 Oak St. Visit http://www.bpp50th.com/.
Exhibit: ‘All Power to the People: Black Panthers at 50’
“All Power to the People: Black Panthers at 50” opens at the OMCA Oct. 8 and continues through Feb. 12, in the Museum’s Great Hall. Organized by OMCA Senior Curator of Art René de Guzman and Experience Developer Lisa Silberstein, “All Power to the People: Black Panthers at 50” explores the Party’s stories of human achievement and struggle to support the needs of the oppressed. The exhibition will delve into aspects of the Party that are not often told, such as its survival programs, the presence of women and rank and file members, its use of media and art, and its founding Ten Point Program that continues to inform and inspire contemporary movements of change today. A schedule of public programs and events has been planned in support of the exhibition and admission is free to museum ticket-holders unless otherwise noted.
Makers and Tasters: Food Activism
On Friday, Oct. 7, 6-8 p.m., October’s Makers and Tasters series will focus on food activism, inspired by the revolutionary free breakfast programs of the Black Panther Party and by the new exhibition “All Power to the People: Black Panthers at 50,” featuring Rubicon Bakery, Sprouts Cooking Club, City Slicker Farms, and Acta Non Verba, organizations making a difference in the community through food.
Black Panther Party 50th Anniversary Commemoration and Conference
Oct. 20-23, join former members of the Black Panther Party for a conference and celebration marking the 50th anniversary of the Party’s founding. Presented by the Host Committee for the 50th Anniversary Commemoration of the founding of the Black Panther Party, a historically significant organization that has had profound national and local impacts, the gathering takes place at OMCA and Laney College, both located in Oakland, home base of the Party. Review the Black Panther Party legacy and celebrate its historical significance in the Black community and consider the question Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. raised so long ago: “Where do we go from here?” Registration, ticket information, and conference details at bpp50th.com.
All Power to the People Dialogue Program
An innovative new pilot program launching this fall will bring classrooms, businesses and community organizations in small groups into the exhibition for facilitated dialogues on issues of equity, race and social justice. The program will be accessible to organizations with fiscal difficulties, with the intention of offering connection, learning and healing. Dates, details and fee to be announced.
OMCA Family Poster Making
Every Friday in November as part of Friday Nights at OMCA, 5-8 p.m., OMCA will present an art activity called Make and Take social justice posters, inspired by the legacy of the Black Panther Party and the issues that are still plaguing our society.
Perspectives at OMCA: Two Generations of Black Struggle
On Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017, at 2 p.m., the day after the new U.S. president is sworn in, the co-founder of the Black Panther Party, Bobby Seale, will share his stories, his reflections and his strategies concerning the politics of revolution, with Oakland’s poet, educator, playwright and screenwriter Chinaka Hodge. Tickets are $20 (all ages) and $18 for members. Gallery admission purchased separately. Advance tickets will be available at museumca.org.
Other Black Panther exhibitions of note
“The Point is … 2.0: Art Representing the Relevance of the Black Panther Party’s 10 Point Program in the 21st Century” with Emory Douglas and the Oakland Maroons Art Collective is at Joyce Gordon Gallery, 406 14th St., Oakland. The reception is Oct. 7, 6-9 p.m., and the exhibit will be up through Oct. 29.
The Sepia Collective’s “Iconic Black Panther” opens at American Steel Studios, 1960 Mandela Pkwy., Oakland, Oct. 7-Nov. 6. The African American Museum and Library, Oakland, 659 14th St., reception and book signing for Suzun Lucia Lamaina’s long awaited “Revolutionary Grain: Celebrating the Spirit of the Black Panther in Portraits and Stories” is on Saturday, Oct. 22, 3-6 p.m., and the exhibit is up through Feb. 28, 2017.
Other Mill Valley Film Festival picks
“Lamb” (Ethiopia 2016, 94 min., Director Yared Zeleke) screens Saturday, Oct 8, 5:15 p.m., at the Rafael and Tuesday, Oct 11, 3 p.m., at the Rafael. A tender piece of visual poetry from first frame to last, this impressive feature debut was honored as the first Ethiopian film ever named a Cannes Film Festival official selection. “Lamb” captures the devoted connection between a boy and the beloved pet that is his only anchor to home. In Amharic with English subtitles
“California Typewriter” (U.S. 2016, 103 min., Director Doug Nichol) screens Monday, Oct. 10, 8 p.m., at the Rafael. Weaving three stories – of a repair business, a collector and an artist – and including interviews with famous typewriter devotees like Tom Hanks, Sam Shepard and David McCullough, this documentary celebrates the creative virtues and tactile joys of the typewriter. With a click-clack and ping, it’s a love letter to this humble tool.
“Do Not Resist” (US 2016, 72 min., Director Craig Atkinson) screens Sunday, Oct. 9, 3:45 p.m., at the Rafael and Wednesday, Oct. 12, 2:15 p.m., at the Sequoia. Many have been alarmed by the recent spectacle of police in full riot gear and armored vehicles moving through peaceful demonstrations. Sure to spark debate, this disquieting documentary puts the viewer on the streets in the middle of the action and seeks to examine our growing culture of militarization in law enforcement. The screening is preceded by the “Dean Scream” (U.S. 2016, 10 min., Director Bryan Storkel).
“Fire at Sea” (Italy-France 2016, 114 min., Director Gianfranco Rosi) screens Friday, Oct. 14, 8:30 p.m., at the Rafael and Saturday, Oct. 15, 5:15 p.m. at the Larkspur. Rosi’s beautiful and moving neorealist documentary takes the small Sicilian island of Lampedusa as its focal point to address the European refugee crisis. Without emotional grandstanding or partisan politics, the film brilliantly juxtaposes the side-by-side relationship of Lampedusa’s residents with the desperate people trying to reach her shores. In Italian and English with English subtitles
“Loving” (U.S. 2016, 123 min., Director Jeff Nichols) screens Sunday, Oct. 16, 5 p.m., at the Rafael and Sunday, Oct. 16, 5 p.m. and 5:15 p.m., at the Sequoia. Based on real events, Jeff Nichols’ extraordinary film has a lyrical eloquence that honors the heart of the story of Richard and Mildred Loving (played with understated brilliance by Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga), the interracial couple whose quiet courage helped change the face of the law of marriage in the US. This is the closing night’s film. Guests are Joel Edgerton, Ruth Negga and Jeff Nichols.
“Maya Angelou and Still I Rise” (U.S. 2016, 114 min., Directors Bob Hercules, Rita Coburn Whack) screens Tuesday, Oct. 11, 7:30 p.m., at the Larkspur and Thursday, Oct. 13, 12:30 p.m., at the Rafael. This premier documentary unearths rare archival material to illuminate the life of Dr. Maya Angelou, American poet and performer. James Baldwin, Oprah Winfrey, Alfre Woodard, Bill and Hillary Clinton, Cicely Tyson, Angelou’s son Guy Johnson and others offer deep insights into this phenomenal woman and the power of her liberated voice.
“Moonlight” (U.S. 2016, 110 min., Director Barry Jenkins) screens Monday, Oct. 10, 7:45 p.m. at the Sequoia and Thursday, Oct. 13, 11:30 a.m., at the Rafael. Barry Jenkins’ (“Medicine for Melancholy”) gritty yet poignant inner city drama presents a young life in three acts. Coming of age in Reagan-era Miami amidst the crack epidemic, young Chiron endures relentless bullying at school and stinging neglect at home while struggling to understand his own sexuality and the myth and meaning of masculinity.
Bay View Arts Editor Wanda Sabir can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit her website at www.wandaspicks.com throughout the month for updates to Wanda’s Picks, her blog, photos and Wanda’s Picks Radio. Her shows are streamed live Wednesdays at 7 a.m. and Fridays at 8 a.m., can be heard by phone at 347-237-4610 and are archived at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/wandas-picks.