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Culture Currents

‘Kill Team,’ the mind state imperialism breeds

July 28, 2014

“Kill Team” is a very well put together documentary about a number of U.S. soldiers based in Afghanistan who were caught being a part of a kill team that would routinely kill innocent civilians. This documentary is for anybody fascinated by the mentality and psychology promoted in the U.S. military to get their paid mercenary soldiers ready to steal resources and control populations on an international level.

It’s a treat to meet young authors along with the celebrities and literary legends at the Leimert Park Village Book Fair.

8th annual Leimert Park Village Book Fair Aug. 9 in Los Angeles

July 27, 2014

The Leimert Park Village Book Fair, based in South Central Los Angeles, is the main annual literary event for the Black community on the West Coast. A number of authors and screenwriters attend every year to expose the community to their latest work, and thousands of book lovers come to see what all of these writers have cooked up. Check out Leimert Park Village Book Fair founder Cynthia Exum in her own words.

The futbol (soccer) tournament at the Umoja African Festival is the first in the Bay to pit teams from different African nations against each other. Many players were stars back home. – Photo: Pochina Press

Umoja African Festival returns

July 26, 2014

True cultural pan-Africanism has finally crept into the Oakland festival scene with the second annual Umoja African Festival on Aug. 16 at Lowell Park in West Oakland. This festival is a symbol of our self-determination. There will be food, music, vendors and, to top it off, there will be an African soccer tournament for teams from the continent and the diaspora. Check out cofounder of the Umoja African Festival, Effie Tesfahun in her own words.

'House on the Hill Mary Ellen Pleasant Story' poster

Mary Ellen Pleasant, California’s Mother of Civil Rights, and her partner meet again on the corner of Bush and Octavia, where it all began

July 25, 2014

It has been over 100 years since the story of Mary Ellen Pleasant, the Mother of Civil Rights in the state of California and the first African American woman millionaire, has been told on the location where she made most of her wealth. Mary Ellen Pleasant became a famous name in the city of San Francisco, described as “a Rosa Parks, a Martin Luther King and a Malcolm X all rolled into one.”

Virunga National Park Congolese gorilla caretaker Andre Baum carries one of his “family members,” a gorilla held at the rehabilitation center to recover from injuries inflicted by poachers.

‘Virunga’ documents Congo battle pitting gorillas against greed over ocean of oil

July 17, 2014

The documentary “Virunga” tells the story of the rangers at Virunga National Park in eastern Congo who are battling to keep the last remaining 800 mountain gorillas that live in the park alive – a battle against poachers, the M23 rebel forces and the British corporation Soco, which is trying to convince officials inside the park and in government to allow them to exploit the huge ocean of oil that lies under the park.

‘The 12 O’Clock Boys’ screens July 17 in Matatu Film Festival

July 16, 2014

Alongside the political and class contradictions that you can see in the documentary about how Baltimore police – and police all over the nation – treat Black youth, “The 12 O’Clock Boys” is a very human story about a young Black man trying to survive in an environment not meant for his survival, but for his capture and/or his extermination.

Daaimah and Siraj

Poetry returns to Oakland: The Golden Stair

July 15, 2014

After the gentrified death of Oakland’s beloved poetry house, the Air Lounge, a few months ago, the Golden Stair has swiftly moved in to remedy the void. It’s hosted by Siraj Fowler and his wife, Daaimah Waqia, and it happens every Tuesday at 7 p.m. in North Oakland at 608 55th St.

Wanda’s Picks for July 2014

July 9, 2014

The Glide Memorial Church family worked wonders at the celebration of San Francisco native Maya Angelou’s life that she requested before she died. They juxtaposed carefully chosen visual moments with prerecorded Maya moments, which made her presence so palatable that the sanctuary lights came under the control of Spirit Maya and played with our collective vision – the room almost dark and the lights flickering off and on.

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Leroy Stanfield

Comedian Leroy Stanfield talks Stop the Violence and Oakland Comedy Superfest Weekend

July 8, 2014

Leroy Stanfield is a Bay Area comedian on the rise, who some may know from his company, GoBaby Productions, and others may know him from his crew, The Bay Boys of Comedy. He is not just a comedian but a community man, who is doing what he thinks will help to quell all of the street violence in Oakland. At the end of July, he is organizing Oakland’s First Annual Comedy Superfest Weekend.

'Unarmed But Dangerous' by Tawana Williams cover

Meet Tawana Williams, motivational speaker born without arms, author of ‘Unarmed But Dangerous’

July 5, 2014

Nationally known motivational speaker and author Tawana Williams is coming to the Bay Area once again. Tawana’s message of hope and inspiration resonates loud and clear that “All things are possible to them that believe!” Tawana was born without arms and impaired use of her legs due to the drug Thalidomide that was given to her mother. She’s been challenged all of her life to do the impossible.

Uncle Carey gives nephew Marcelo, age 2, some pointers on life.

Early childhood education: Look both ways and watch out for the police

July 3, 2014

The joy of fatherhood can quickly be interrupted by unexpected twists and turns in daily life. We do our best to prepare our children for these occasions – let’s call them “bumps in the road” – that we know they will inevitably face. Over the past 30 years or so, the ever increasing presence of law enforcement in the lives of our children has created new challenges for them as well as for us as parents.

Melanie and Melorra Green – Photo: Russel Yip, SF Chronicle

Frisco’s dynamic duo: an interview wit’ gallery owner, organizer and media-maker Melonie Green

July 2, 2014

If you are involved in some way with the Black Frisco visual arts scene, either as a fan, artist, media-maker or space owner, chances are that you have run across the twins, Melonie and Melorra Green. They’ve created a radio show that comes on 89.5FM KPOO weekly, and, as a major part of the planning for the successful San Francisco Black Film Festival June 12-15, are basking in the after-glow.

Club Long Island

Third Street Stroll …

July 2, 2014

LET’S STROLL! Every time I drive or walk past KENNEDY MARKET and Check Cashing store and CLUB LONG ISLAND, both located on opposite corners of Third and McKinnon Street, my mind recalls the days of the KENNEDYS – EMMIT AND DOROTHY KENNEDY, former owners of both spots who lived up above the store. They were a successful, hardworking couple – PIONEERS of 3-street legacy!

Lower Bottom Playaz present August Wilson’s ‘Two Trains Running’

July 1, 2014

The Lower Bottom Playaz, in their 14th season, present “Two Trains Running,” the seventh play in the American Century Cycle by August Wilson, at The Flight Deck. The Lower Bottom Playaz take pride in paying actors and technical crew and need to raise $2,500 by July 31; please contribute all you can to this troupe that is the pride of the Black Bay Area and buy your tickets for performances Aug. 1, 2 and 3.

Verlie Mae Pickens, cropped

Happy Birthday, Ms. Verlie Mae Pickens!

July 1, 2014

Ms. Verlie Mae Pickens celebrated her 98th birthday with friends and community members in grand fashion on June 11 at the Dr. George Davis Senior Center. Dressed in her favorite lilac colored fashion and hat, and beaming with great joy and pride, Ms. Pickens was honored in a festive birthday celebration. Ms. Pickens, a longtime Bayview resident, was born on June 11, 1916, in Lake Charles, Louisiana, to Thomas Alfred Nisby and Lillian Lumpkin Nisby.

Open arts in Bayview Hunters Point

June 30, 2014

According to a recent report by the San Francisco Budget and Finance Committee, 76 percent of the funding from the City’s Grants for the Arts will go to arts organizations with primarily white audiences. In the fall of 2013 the Bayview Hunters Point Arts Council asked Bayview Hunters Point Community Legal to investigate grants made by the San Francisco Arts Commission that had been earmarked for local artists.

Lillian Shine and Jacob Moody accept the Peacemakers Award on behalf of the Bayview Hunters Point Foundation. – Photo: Jim Norrena

Bayview Foundation wins 2014 SF Peacemaker Award

June 29, 2014

Bayview Hunters Point Foundation for Community Improvement Executive Director Jacob Moody recently accepted this year’s Community Boards Leadership Peacemaker Award on behalf of the over 40-year-old organization, which provides tailored, comprehensive support for at-risk youth in Bayview Hunters Point. The award was presented by Community Boards Executive Director Darlene Weide at the fourth annual Peacemaker Awards luncheon.

Stephanie Woodford with her parents at church – Photo: Lance Burton, Planet Fillmore Communications

Pianist Stephanie Woodford, 18, one of 173 worldwide chosen to attend Grammy Camp

June 28, 2014

Stephanie Woodford is currently a student of piano attending St. Ignatius College Preparatory and is about to graduate. The arc to Stephanie’s educational success continues. One hundred seventy-three high school students have been selected from around the globe to attend Grammy Camp Los Angeles. This is a marvelous and outstanding chance to gain exposure in the professional music industry.

Delores Hearring, web cropped

Saluting Delores Hearring, one of Bayview’s oldest residents, as she turns 100

June 27, 2014

As Delores Hearring celebrates her 100th birthday on July 11, 2014, allow us to share a bit of her history and contribution to the Hunters Point Bayview community. Delores speaks with pride of her days working in the Hunters Point Naval Shipyard as a riveter. Not having had the opportunity to complete her schooling, she did so in California, earning her high school diploma and attending San Francisco City College for two years.

TaSin Sabir – Photo: Wanda Sabir

‘Madagascar Made’: an interview wit’ author and photographer TaSin Sabir

June 25, 2014

TaSin Sabir is one of the best photographers I know. This woman of many talents just added another notch to her belt by becoming an author. Her debut literary work is called “Madagascar Made,” which is a multi-media memoir of her soul-searching 2011 quest for identity on the African island of Madagascar. The book party is on Sunday, June 29, 2 p.m., at the Joyce Gordon Gallery, 406 145th St. in downtown Oakland.

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