San Francisco, Aug. 7, 2020 – It is with deep pain and distraught heartbreak the San Francisco Black Film Festival announces the death of its Director Kali O’Ray on Friday August 7, 2020, after a short battle with heart disease. The previous announcement that his death was related to COVID-19 was mistaken, and we apologize for the error. Festival organizers ask the public’s forbearance as O’Ray’s wife and co-director, Katera Crossley, and family plan details around observances for his untimely passing.
May our Divine Mother-Father Creator of and in All – and beloved Ancients and Ancestors from past millennia, yesteryears and, literally, yesterday – find you and (y)our extended Family healthy and staying spirited during this dangerous worldwide pandemic, global imperialist monopoly capitalist economic devastation, and ongoing European and american “white” state and vigilante terrorism. WE offer our sacred-most thoughts for the healing of our dear editor, Elder Mary Ratcliff. Get well, Mama Mary! Asé.
We are losing so many loved ones this year. Beloved heroes like Rep. John Lewis and his friend and mentor Rev. C.T. Vivian and Rev. Joseph Lowery, dean of the Civil Rights Movement. Here in Oakland, we lost Wonder Woman Denise Adele Gums (Oct. 26, 1953-July 22, 2020).
I was startled momentarily while driving down International and 87th Ave as I noticed a mural being drawn on the opposite side of the block from the East Bay Dragons Motorcycle Clubhouse. The faces of Marcus Garvey, Huey P. Newton, Malcolm X and others were being painted back to life.
Open Letter to: Killer Mike, Cardi B, Kanye, Jay-Z, P-Diddy, Ludacris, 50 Cent and others: Greetings and solidarity to each of you. In recognition of your individual voice, influence and cultural following among current generations of Black people – Africans in the Diaspora and on the continent – we salute you.
If you missed the June 28 Afrosurrealist Writers event with guest moderator Brent Lambert of FIYAH Literary Magazine, have no fear. The entire Zoom event was recorded via a YouTube Live Feed and can be viewed online.
To deny with a lie. To not take responsibility. To want to be chosen and resentful when we are not. We as a people today must ask ourselves whether we want to be like Cain, i.e. whether we are willing to let our brother suffer and die because we believe in that moment that we would benefit.
Even after California’s shelter-in-place is lifted, it will still be some time before musicians can once again get full-time work. It’s a fact that musicians are mostly hired to play for large gatherings, and because they don’t know how long social distancing will last, they are most likely to be last on the list in terms of resuming their normal workload.
“The Council,” by Ryda for Life Films, tells a story of civil social unrest in the Black community today. Set in South Central Los Angeles, it begins with the typical gangsta movie energy, but beneath the surface is a radical politicized element.
Rebellions, protests and racial tension have consumed the COVID-19 summer of 2020 following the police executions of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd. The San Francisco Black Film Festival (SFBFF.org) film selection “American Dream” presents a relevant 19-minute short by French born filmmakers Nicolas Polixene and Sylvain Loubet dit Gajol.
“No Lye: An American Beauty Story” is one of the best documentaries on Black history this year. It gives a definitive history of the Black hair care industry and how it paralleled Black political movements. It presents historical accounts of early Black entrepreneurs who were pioneers in the Black cosmetics trade, the Black press and who created a lobbying group in Washington.
The stories of veterans do not get told often despite all the things they did for this country. I am an advocate for human life, so I am against wars of aggression. It is still important to recognize these veterans because the country would be different without them.
TreeMoon Cannabis Fashion is busy rebounding after having its production line interrupted by the COVID-19 quarantine. It's estimated that up to 60 percent of Black-owned businesses will not survive the extended COVID quarantine and national rebellions of 2020. Our Black community must step up our support for Black business at this critical juncture in history.
Periodically I will be conducting interviews and conversations with change makers, influencers, activists, celebrities, sports stars and bona fide servants of the people. This first interview is with my sister in struggle, Tia “Mz. Konnoisseur” Hamilton, the CEO of State vs. Us Magazine.
I write to you as your Black daughter, one who is three generations rooted in this city, and one who had all but given up on you. Today, however, in the spirit of Juneteenth, I am thinking I can feel the fresh breath of something new in the air. Is it hope? Should I trust it? I want to.
“Bit” is a 34-minute short comedy, directed by Morgan Mathews, about a young Black tech entrepreneur, Houston, and his ambition to create a start-up around his trivia game app, “Jambo.” The film, set mostly in downtown Oakland, is on the post-racialism fringes of the ever-growing Silicon Valley.
The San Francisco Black Film Festival, starting June 18 and going for a month strictly online, features a documentary, “70 Years of Blackness: The Untangling of Race and Adoption”, by filmmaker Christopher Windfield. Subject Verda Byrd is a Black woman adopted in the ‘50s into a Black family only to find out 70 years later that both of her birth parents were white.
As the longtime publicist for the San Francisco Black Film Festival, I have to go on record and say that “Digging for Weldon Irvine” is, out of over 200 films, one of the most informative and well crafted documentaries that has been selected to screen in the 22nd San Francisco Black Film Festival.
I was sitting here in my 4-and-a-half-by-10-foot prison cell on San Quentin’s death row when suddenly I saw “breaking news” flash across the TV screen. To my horror, the image that followed was that of a white Minneapolis police officer named Derek Chauvin driving his knee into the back of the neck of a Black man named George Floyd.