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Culture Stories

Grandfatherhood: Part 3

March 29, 2015

The most important thing you can give any child is your time. This month I will share some activities and outings you can enjoy while sharing time with your children, grandchildren or the children of friends you are fortunate enough to have in your life. Here are a few suggestions of positive ways to spend some moments that will create memories to last long beyond when you and I are gone.

Sharecroppers

Robert ‘Fleetwood’ Bowden’s ‘Da Cotton Pickas’ to be featured in Oakland International Film Festival

March 28, 2015

Robert “Fleetwood” Bowden’s “Da Cotton Pickas” is a must see documentary about how slavery did not stop with the Emancipation Proclamation. In fact, some people who were sharecropping slaves are still alive today, like Bishop Henry Williams, the subject of this monumental documentary. He worked for over 18 years and was never paid for picking cotton. Fleetwood tells a story of a historical reality with this documentary that most have never heard.

Emmitt Thrower

Does the disability community need a documentary on police brutality from a retired disabled Black cop?

March 27, 2015

The community of people with disabilities has a different experience of brutality than the ablebodied community. There are of course many similarities. But disability adds another level of difficulty to it all. And being poor, homeless or Black or Brown with a disability makes many of us vulnerable from many additional angles. Disability is glazed over or not recorded in the official police reports.

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Dr. Ben

An appreciation: Dr. Ben, legendary Egypt scholar, dean of Harlem Street University

March 25, 2015

Yosef Alfredo Antonio ben-Jochannan, known to the African world as “Dr. Ben,” believed that education belonged to any member of his race who wanted it. Perhaps it was because he believed that if his people knew their collective root, their ancient greatness, they would fight for their freedom and achieve it. Dr. Ben, one of the founding scholars and lecturers in what is now known as Africana Studies, died last week after a long illness. He was 96.

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Mike Dream’s brother Lil John with a TDK mural

Filmmaker Pendarvis Harshaw talks about graf legend Mike Dream in ‘Dream Kontinues’ doc

March 23, 2015

Mike “Dream” Francisco is one of the first internationally known muralists from Oakland. He was one of the founding members of TDK; a group that started off as some high school trouble makers and grew into a posse that still paints to this day – now they paint legal, commissioned murals. They started off as Those Damn Kids; now they represent the dream kontinuing.

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Performing Arts Workshop’s Beats of the Bayview coming Friday at 3rd on Third

March 16, 2015

This Friday, March 20, 5-7 p.m., our students will grace the main stage at 3rd on Third – the Bayview’s free arts and culture celebration at Mendell Plaza, Third and Palou. For our students, it’s an honor – and a very big deal – to perform in front of their families, friends and neighbors. Will you join the cheer squad?

PK and the Jacka at the release of “Tear Gas” on June 16, 2009. – Photo: D-Ray, Ozone Magazine

Manager PK remembers the Jacka

March 7, 2015

PK is known around the Bay as the hardest working manager there is to have in Northern Cali Hip Hop. He manages many of the Mob Figaz and their affiliates in the music industry, but he is most famous for his work behind the scenes with the career of the Jacka, whose loss has hit people in much the same way as the assassination of Tupac.

Satima (Toulou Kiki), her husband, Kidane (Ibrahim Ahmed aka Pino), and child, Toya (Layla Walet Mohamed), in “Timbuktu”

Wanda’s Picks for March 2015

March 5, 2015

It’s International Women’s History Month and in director Abderrahmane Sissako’s film “Timbuktu” (2014) we meet fierce African women who stand their ground when faced with lashings, stonings and bullets. The setting is Timbuktu, Africa’s Mecca, a sacred historic seat of knowledge and wisdom, which has been ravaged recently by warfare and plunder. Peoples’ lives, antiquities, books, Quranic texts, landmarks and buildings have been destroyed.

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Grandfatherhood: Part 2

March 4, 2015

With all the miles traveled, lessons learned (hopefully) and general knowledge under our belts, we become incredible sources of joy and wonder for the children in our lives. Here are some of the roles we can play in supporting and enriching the lives of the children around us. Remember that we each bring unique talents and abilities to this life and so do our children.

Keynoter Rochelle Metcalfe holds a historic copy of the Sun Reporter turned to her “I Heard That,” a must-read in the Black community for 32 years, as she chats with San Francisco African American Historical and Cultural Society President Al Williams at the Society’s popular annual Black History Month reception, held this year on Feb. 20.

Third Street Stroll …

March 3, 2015

The evening of Friday, Feb. 20, honored to be the keynote speaker at the San Francisco African American Historical and Cultural Society’s Black History Exhibit Opening and Reception. 2015 celebrates the Society’s 60th anniversary, that embraced the theme, “A Century of Black Life, History and Culture: 1915-2015.” BILL HOSKINS, Executive Director and Curator, AL WILLIAMS, President and Chair, Black History Committee.

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'Melvin and Jean An American Story' graphic

13th Annual Oakland International Film Festival April 2-5

March 2, 2015

The Oakland International Film Fest is one of the premiere events annually in the Bay Area. The 2015 showcase of films highlights a plethora of genres from all over the world. This year, some of the headlining films are: “Melvin and Jean: An American Story,” “M Cream” and “The Shop.” To introduce this year’s activities we reached out to the co-founder and director of the Oakland International Film Fest, the one and only David Roach, for a Q&A.

T-Rydah, cropped

‘Hard Times/Good Times’: an interview wit’ rapper T-Rydah

February 28, 2015

T-Rydah, one third of the Black Panther Fugitives rap group, is gearing up to release a solo album, produced solely by Jamil, another member of the group, this spring called “Hard Times/Good Times.” Today you can find T-Rydah, Jamil and their Red Camera shooting videos, recording vocals or listening to some of Jamil’s beats. Check out T-Rydah speaking for himself.

Swanson Youth Foundation hosts 1st scholarship gala

February 27, 2015

The Sandré R. Swanson Youth Foundation held its First Annual Black and White 2015 Scholarship Gala Saturday, Feb. 21. The event celebrated Swanson’s 50 years of community service and raised funds for scholarships to benefit underserved youth. Event highlights included a jazz reception and silent auction followed by a dinner and awards presentation with live performances from Bay Area recording artist Lenny Williams.

'the Jacka Mob Figaz' cover

The Jacka remembered: an interview wit’ his producer, Rob Lo

February 25, 2015

On Feb. 2, 2015, underground Bay Area rap king the Jacka was murdered on 94th and MacArthur in East Oakland, in the prime of his career. At 37 years old, Jack had been rhyming for over 20 years. In rememberance of my potna, my comrade, and my brotha, I wanted to interview producer Rob Lo, the Mob Figaz’ and the Jacka’s main producer, about the man and his music behind the glamour and glitz. Check Rob Lo out in his own words.

“We Demand” was taken at the Aug. 28, 1963, March on Washington – Photo: David Johnson

David Johnson: Modern day griot

February 23, 2015

Now 88, Mr. Johnson is not only a Bay Area resident, living in Marin County, and a documentarian of six decades of Afrikan life, he is a very important classic photojournalist whose 30-piece collection documenting the San Francisco Fillmore District during the 1940s to 1960s was exhibited at the Harvey Milk Photography Center in San Francisco in October 2014. San Francisco’s vibrant Afrikan Fillmore community became his signature tableau.

Singer-musician-songwriter Blackberri performs at the Jan. 25 tribute to Pat Parker. All the photos were taken at that event. – Photo: Malaika Kambon

Jambalaya in my soul: A tribute to Pat Parker

February 22, 2015

Annually, one of the greatest human beings on the planet, Avotcja Jiltonilro, organizes and/or participates in a tribute to the legendary warrior poet, Pat Parker. Pat Parker confronted the world in the precarious position of being non-white, non-male, non-heterosexual in a racist, misogynist, homophobic, imperial oxymoronically named melting pot of culture. And she blew the lid off the mess with truth.

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Malcolm X, El Hajj Malik El-Shabazz, visited Queens Court in 1964. – Photo: Herman Hiller, World Telegram

‘The Diary of Malcolm X’: Champion of Pan-African liberation in his own words

February 21, 2015

To mark the 50th anniversary of the assassination of our “Black shining prince,” as Ossie Davis described Malcolm X in his eulogy, we highlight the 2013 book, “The Diary of Malcolm X,” by award-winning journalist Herb Boyd and Malcolm’s daughter, human rights activist and author Ilyasah Shabazz. The diary entries were compiled over two trips Malcolm made to Africa and the Middle East in 1964. He did not miss a single day. “It’s really beautiful that we get to see Malcolm in his own voice – without scholars, historians or observers saying what he was thinking or what he was doing or what he meant,” observed Ilyasah. “We get to read his personal diary.”

A scene from Episode 1 of the BET series “The Book of Negroes”

‘The Book of Negroes’: Role of British imperialism in the Atlantic slave trade highlighted in TV series opening Feb. 16

February 16, 2015

One often hidden historical fact brought out in the novel and TV series is that more Africans fought alongside the British during the colonial war than with the future rulers of the United States. The British promised emancipation to those slaves who joined their ranks after 1776. But unless you were in The Book of Negroes, you couldn’t escape to Canada.

A fierce young John Brown posed for this daguerreotype by Augustus Washington in 1846 or 1847.

Daguerreotypist Augustus Washington and John Brown’s body

February 14, 2015

The daguerreotype was an early type of photograph. Augustus Washington was an Afrikan daguerreotypist, abolitionist and educator, as well as “one of the most talented and successful photographers in mid-1800s Connecticut.” One of his most famous photos was a quarter plate daguerreotype, thought to be the first ever of abolitionist John Brown, who had from childhood sworn “an eternal war with slavery.”

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Leola King

Legendary ‘Queen of Fillmore’ Leola King leaves proud legacy of struggle against Redevelopment

February 12, 2015

Leola King brought memorable class and dignity to every business she operated during a 50-year career in San Francisco. Most of the Black people here now know nothing positive of what it was like to walk and live amongst the greatness we had created there on Fillmore Street. Redevelopment viciously undermined and ripped Mrs. King’s fortune away. Her funeral is Friday, Feb. 13, 11 a.m., at Third Baptist Church, 1399 McAllister, the repast 4-7 p.m. at West Bay Conference Center, 1290 Fillmore St., San Francisco.

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