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Culture Stories

Donald Trump’s boast may be the best thing that ever happened to Colin Kaepernick

March 24, 2017

Donald Trump is bragging about his ability to keep Colin Kaepernick unemployed. But Trump isn’t hurting Kaepernick. If anything, Trump may have done Kaepernick one hell of a favor. By boasting about his ability to strike fear into the hearts of NFL owners he may have revealed evidence of “collusion” or what is known as “tortious interference,” or “the intentional interference with contractual relations.” Trump could have inadvertently handed Colin Kaepernick a lawsuit on a silver platter – or put tremendous pressure on the NFL to find one owner willing to bring Kaepernick into training camp.

Erica Deeman: Silhouette explores Black female identity

March 22, 2017

When one thinks of Black women photographers, Carrie Mae Weems comes to mind and, regarding silhouettes, Kara Walker. Though certainly a historic revisioning of beauty and portraiture, a form reserved for the aristocracy, Erica Deeman’s first major solo exhibition at Berkeley Art Museum Pacific Film Archive celebrates the form – the Black female form. The large-scale portraits, created over the course of nine months in 2013, is up through June 11, at the BAMPFA, 2120 Oxford St., Berkeley.

‘Without Mercy’ review: What to do when your daughter is murdered?

March 22, 2017

When a person dies, the living find it hard sometimes to carry on. The loss of a loved one is something one never gets over, and when the death is violent and the victim young, the bitterness is that much harder to swallow. In Patricia Milton’s new play, “Without Mercy,” closing this weekend, Thursday-Saturday, March 23 and 25, 8 p.m., at the Off Broadway West Theatre Company, we meet a grieving mother and daughter, Joanna Parks and Bethany Matthews.

Review of ‘Eclipsed,’ which closes on the Vernal Equinox

March 18, 2017

In “Eclipsed,” playwright Danai Gurira holds the politics of rape and war up to the light and finds it is gone, hidden behind a cloud or the orbit of a larger constellation. How are the politics of the Black female body somehow trivialized or ignored when sexual slavery or rape and war fill mouths, the atrocities dripping from chins; however, no one wipes away the stain? Currently up through Sunday, March 19, at the Curran Theatre in San Francisco, the play asks audiences to consider the violence of war and what people do when cornered to survive.

‘Port Chicago 50’ at Black Rep this weekend

March 15, 2017

Chatting with producer and playwright Dennis Rowe, he says that everyone in LA wants to be an actor, but this does not mean that they have talent. Rowe learned that his expertise was in production, not performance, early enough in his career to identify and perfect his knack for writing. Twenty-one years later, Rowe has a number of successful stage productions to brag about – but he doesn’t: This weekend, the successful NAACP Image Award nominee is in town with his “Port Chicago 50” at Black Rep, 3201 Adeline St., Berkeley, Friday, March 17, 8 p.m., Saturday, March 18, 3 p.m. and 8 p.m., and Sunday, March 19, 4 p.m. For information, call 800-838-3006.

Lynne Stewart, people’s lawyer, freedom fighter, presente!

March 10, 2017

Lynne Stewart, after 78 winters in America, has died, after battling for years against breast cancer. But those were just some of her battles and, like most of us, she won some and lost some. But she never stopped fighting! For decades, she and her husband, Ralph Poynter, fought for New York’s political activists and revolutionaries, like Black Panthers and Young Lords, a Puerto Rican socialist collective. But mostly, they fought for the freedom of the poor and dispossessed of New York’s Black and Brown ghettoes. Lynne Stewart was an officer of her clients, a People’s Lawyer, beloved and respected. May she ever be so.

Meet Professor Sonja Williams, biographer of pioneering radio journalist ‘word warrior’ Richard Durham, Saturday in Oakland

March 9, 2017

Though pioneering journalist Richard Durham (1917-1984) made Chicago his home, Professor Sonja D. Williams’s “Word Warrior: Richard Durham, Radio and Freedom” (2015) offers a portrait of a man who was not contained by geography – spatial or otherwise. Williams will be in town this weekend to share the Durham story at the African American Museum and Library, 659 14th St., Oakland, Saturday, March 11, 2-4 p.m.

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Wanda’s Picks for March 2017

March 3, 2017

At the Women’s March on Washington, Sen. Kamala Harris told constituents, she “had our backs,” and since she has been in office Sen. Harris has certainly been a vocal and active participant in standing up for the constitutional rights for her constituents in California against presidential legislation which undermines core human rights and values. Her track record in providing a safety net for the most vulnerable in our community is unparalleled.

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What does menthol have to do with it? Everything! Tobacco and Social Injustice Community Forum

March 2, 2017

The African American Tobacco Control Leadership Council (AATCLC), a nonprofit consortium of organizations dedicated to research, community collaboration and public engagement, is working to stop the preventable deaths of African Americans due to the consumption of menthol-flavored cigarettes engineered by the tobacco companies to addict Black people and others including Asian, Latino and LGBTQ populations.

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Help me find Aunt Barbara and bring her home

March 1, 2017

I am asking for the public’s help in finding my Aunt Barbara Jean Hoskins. My family has been desperately searching for her for many years, last knowing her whereabouts to be in the Oakland area. My aunt has been missing for over 20 years. My family had received word that my aunt was living as a homeless person on the streets of Oakland. She has family that loves and misses her so very much.

On death row, art is a way to win hearts and minds

February 28, 2017

From expressing spirituality and identity to creating a meditative focus, art takes on a heightened value inside prison. In the U.S., art has become a new weapon in the battle for hearts and minds over the justness of the death penalty – an increasingly heated and polarizing issue touching on not just the ethics and morality of state-sponsored killing but prison reform, class and the inequities of the justice system.

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Preston Bradford: Rest up, King

February 27, 2017

Preston Bradford, like many other young African American men whose dismaying tragedy took them from their families too soon, is described in this Igbo proverb: “A bird that flies off the earth and lands on an anthill is still on the ground.” On Feb. 15, 2017, Preston departed from the Aquarius Bash and met his fate at Van Ness and Eddy. He was robbed and gunned down. There is an alleged suspect in custody. Preston will be missed tremendously by the communities he impacted. He will leave behind his family’s great memories.

Ida B. Wells-Barnett, ‘Iola,’ princess of the press and feminist crusader for equality and justice

February 27, 2017

On March 25, 1931, at the age of 69, Ida B. Wells-Barnett joined the ancestors, leaving an incredible legacy of courage, sacrifice, dedication and activism. Given the harsh, dangerous conditions of the post-Civil War context in which she struggled, her accomplishments were truly amazing. She was surely one of the 20th century’s most remarkable women. Long live the spirit of Ida B. Wells-Barnett.

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Debbie Africa invites you to The MOVE Organization Conference May 5-7

February 25, 2017

Everybody thinks they’re an expert on MOVE, but they’re not. So MOVE organized this opportunity for MOVE to tell people who MOVE is. On Friday, May 5, we’ll start with MOVE’s Belief, who John Africa is and why this system wants to exterminate us. On Saturday and Sunday, May 6 and 7, we’ll go into our history in detail, from the emergence of MOVE ‘til the present, covering years of police brutality, the trial of The MOVE 9 and the illegal 900-year sentence of The MOVE 9.

Honoring Sister Makinya Sibeko-Kouate, Queen Mother of Kwanzaa, who brought Black Studies to the East Bay

February 22, 2017

Sister Makinya Sibeko-Kouate (July 1, 1926-Feb. 4, 2017), named Queen Mother of Kwanzaa in 2015, hosted one of the first Bay Area Kwanzaas in her home, then took it across the world to 36 American states and 13 African nations, plus Europe and Mexico. She taught every grade from pre-school to post-graduate, wrote for the California Voice, hosted a show on KPFA for a decade, and performed as a pianist and dancer. A small ceremony will be held Thursday, Feb. 23, 1 p.m., in the Evergreen Mortuary chapel, 6450 Camden St. in Oakland.

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‘Accidental Courtesy’ is the story of a Black bluesman who befriends Klansmen

February 17, 2017

In the film “Accidental Courtesy: Daryl Davis, Race and America,” the activist quietly befriends the philosophical offspring of the white supremacists who made Dr. King’s job so hard from Bombingham to Selma. Daryl Davis, Black man, holds the unique distinction of being an expert on the Ku Klux Klan. We get to travel across the country with Davis as he introduces us to his people – white supremacists and racists. The question he poses, “How can you hate me when you don’t even know me?”

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‘They Call Us Monsters’ review

February 15, 2017

Though the story of incarceration is always hard, it is more sobering when those affected are children. What if those youth convicted had an opportunity to reimagine their lives and interrupt and rewind the script? What would the scenario look like? Who would star in the feature? Ben Lear’s “They Call Us Monsters” 82 mins. (2017) is an invitation into such a story. There we meet Jarad, arrested at 16, Juan, arrested at 16, and Antonio, arrested one month after his 14th birthday. All the young men are facing minimally 90 years to life, Jarad 200 years.

Shola Adisa-Farrar brings her new CD home Feb. 15-16

February 14, 2017

Shola Adisa-Farrar is coming home to debut her new CD, “Lost Myself,” on Wednesday and Thursday, Feb. 15-16, in Oakland and San Francisco. Perhaps you remember her from The Ultimate Hustler reality television show she starred in Oct. 4-Dec. 13, 2005, while she was in New York? Maybe you recall how much fun you had with Shola as guide in the Walking in the Spirit: Black Paris and Beyond tours while there? No?

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Wanda’s Picks for February 2017

February 10, 2017

Happy Black History Month. Knowledge is power, something Black people from Frederick Douglass to Sojourner Truth, Rosa Parks to Kamala Harris have never taken for granted. If white people would kill a Black person for teaching someone to read, not to mention knowing how to read – enough said! The Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH), Dr. Carter G. Woodson’s organization, has chosen the theme: “Crisis in Education” for 2017.

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Saying no to power: Who was Bill Mandel and why should we care?

February 4, 2017

“Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe.” – Frederick Douglass. These words of Frederick Douglass embody the very essence and life’s passion of the late William Marx “Bill” Mandel. The best way to remember and honor Bill Mandel is to emulate him!

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