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Culture Stories

Straight no chaser: Ward vs Kovalev 2 is the Battle of the Century

June 16, 2017

The first Ward vs. Kovalev fight, on Nov. 19, 2016, ended with the defeat of the Russian champion and the loss of his WBA, IBF and WBO light heavyweight title belts to Andre Ward, in a unanimous 114-113 decision. Now, 79 years after the 1938 Louis vs. Schmelling rematch, history will record the June 17, 2017, rematch between light heavyweights Andre “SOG” Ward (31-0, 15 KOs) and Sergei “The Krusher” Kovalev (30-1-1, 26 KOs).

Black drug zombie short ‘Saltz’ is favorite at SF Bay Film Fest

June 15, 2017

“Saltz” is hands down one of my favorite films in the San Francisco Black Film Festival, partly because it is half a Black horror film and half a “this can really happen” film. The film is a futuristic look at the coming drug saltz epidemic, in the midst of today’s opioid epidemic. It is also a look at our own attitudes on race where the story is told twice, once with a Black cast and one with a white cast. Check out first time director Dominique McClellan as he discusses his film, “Saltz.”

‘90 Minutes of the Fever’ looks at martial law, computer viruses and family at SF Black Film Fest

June 15, 2017

One of my favorite feature films in the San Francisco Black Film Festival is a futuristic film called “90 Minutes of the Fever.” The film is about a family who has to deal with a major computer virus, martial law and the ramifications that these catastrophes have on personal relationships within a family. It is a funny story about endurance, patience, acceptance, unconditional love and more. I talked to filmmaker Joan Carlson about her career in film as well as her power work of cinema art. Check her out in her own words.

‘Cut My Hair, Barber’ portrays complicated father-son relationship at SF Black Film Festival

June 12, 2017

Patrick Thomas’ short film “Cut My Hair, Barber” is a powerful portrayal of a father and son relationship that is disturbing and extremely dysfunctional, yet familiar. It is a story that many single Black mothers and Black young and old men, especially, could relate to in our communities. I got a chance to interview filmmaker Patrick Thomas about his cinematic creation, “Cut My Hair, Barber.” Check it out.

Opening night of the SF Black Film Fest hosts Danny Glover and his new film ‘93 Days’

June 10, 2017

The opening night film of the San Francisco Black Film Festival this year is “93 Days,” costarring San Francisco legendary actor Danny Glover, about ebola coming to Nigeria. Danny Glover will be in attendance opening night for a Q&A at the old SF Yoshi’s, 1330 Fillmore St., on Thursday, June 15, 6-9 p.m. The film was inspired by the heroic actions of the doctors and nurses who were at the heart of the fight against ebola in Lagos, their bravery and sacrifice and their decision to stay and fight instead of taking flight in the face of danger.

‘The Lucky Specials’ interweaves awareness about tuberculosis into SF Black Film Festival

June 9, 2017

One of the most beautiful stories in the San Francisco Black Film Festival this year is “The Lucky Specials.” The story, set in South Africa, is about a group of musicians who come into contact with the deadly disease tuberculosis, a major killer in Africa and around the developing world. The film is filled with triumph, loss, happiness, disappointment and a whole host of other emotions as well as the viewer gets a glimpse into South Africa’s speech patterns, music, dances and more.

‘A Path to Excellence’ on the history of teaching fencing to inner-city youth chosen for SF Black Film Festival

June 9, 2017

Black fencer Peter Westbrook is not a legend just because of the fact that he has competed and triumphed in the sport at an Olympic level, but because he has trained thousands of mostly Black children in New York in the art and the sport of fencing at the Peter Westbrook Foundation. “A Path to Excellence” is a documentary that speaks to that history.

‘Cocoa Butter,’ a comedy about whites wanting to be Black without headaches, at SF Black Film Fest

June 9, 2017

“Cocoa Butter” is a comedic short film by filmmaker Dominque Gilbert, where the main character, who is white, wants the benefits of being Black in society, but not the headaches, to get the attention of a girl. The main character uses the cream but forgets to read the whole label, which reads, “Once you go Black, you can never go back.” “Why in the world would you wanna be Black?” is the question the white mother asks her endarkened son.

‘Tom Freeman of the North’ short looks at gentrification and identity in post-Obama Trump era

June 9, 2017

“Tom Freeman of the North” is a comedic short filled with political satire that examines identity, upward mobility and gentrification. Tom Freeman, the main character, is a Black man who is socially invested in the gentrification of his community, while his brother Desean fights the power. “Tom Freeman of the North” is one of many great films screening at this year’s San Francisco Black Film Festival that looks at identity. Check out filmmaker Mohammed Rabbani in his own words.

The animated graphic novel ‘Abina and the Important Men’ hits SF Black Film Fest

June 9, 2017

Filmmaker Soumyaa Behrens tells the newly discovered story of Abina Mansah, who in 1874 brought a case of illegal enslavement against her African slavemaster before the British courts in the Gold Coast, in what is now Ghana. “Abina and the Important Men” is an animated graphic depiction of what happened in this historic case. Come watch the story and discuss what you think about the controversial cartoon at the San Francisco Black Film Festival.

SF Black Film Festival highlights human trafficking in ‘When Love Kills: The Falicia Blakely Story’

June 9, 2017

One of the best indie films with a street edge and a message in the 2017 San Francisco Black Film Festival that deals with human trafficking is called “When Love Kills.” It is definitely a must see. I have watched over 100 films made this year and last year, and this is definitely among the cream of the crop. Check out screenwriter Cas Sigers-Beedles as she gives us some of the ins and outs on making this film.

SF Black Film Fest tackles sexual identity with short ‘We Love Moses’

June 8, 2017

Identity is a big topic in the Black community, because we live under white supremacist capitalistic domination here in the U.S. and in the so called Western world. In the dramatic short “We Love Moses,” sexual identity among Black people is what is being discussed in a way that is not often talked about. Check out filmmaker Dianne Edwards as she talks about “We Love Moses,” which was selected to screen this year at the San Francisco Black Film Festival.

Comedy ‘Brazilian Wavy’ deals with Korean domination of Black haircare at SFBFF

June 8, 2017

“Brazilian Wavy” is a comedic short on a political satire tip written by Brooklyn-born filmmaker Kirk Henriques. The subject is the economic relationship between Blacks and Koreans, which has not been very beneficial to the Black community. This is one of my favorite shorts in the San Francisco Black Film Festival this year. Get more info at sfbff.org. Check out filmmaker Kirk Henriques in his own words.

Reality horror film ‘I Am Still Here’ confronts sex trafficking of children at SF Black Film Fest

June 8, 2017

“I Am Still Here” is one of the most disturbing must-see films in the San Francisco Black Film Festival. “I Am Still Here” describes the horrors of child sex trafficking through the eyes of Layla, an American child being trafficked in America. Although it is a work of cinematic fiction, it is based on real events, according to the filmmakers. I interviewed Mischa Marcus and Stephanie Bell about their feature length film, “I am Still Here,” and here is what they had to say.

Teenage brothers make ‘Pseudo,’ a short film inspired by Alton Sterling police murder

June 6, 2017

In “Pseudo,” the Turner brothers, Justen, 15, and Julien, 19, creatively make a political comparison between the police unjustifiably preying on Black people and Blacks in the hood preying on white people. Although I think there has to be a wider discussion about power, white supremacy, capitalism and systematic domination, “Pseudo” is definitely a conversation starter.

Racially polarizing thriller ‘The Red Effect’ will wreak havoc on your mind at SF Black Film Festival

June 6, 2017

One of my favorite movies in the San Francisco Black Film Festival is a racially polarizing thriller named the “The Red Effect.” Although the plot is about a fictitious murder of a Black man by a white supremacist, while watching you can feel the real spirits of Tamir Rice, Trayvon Martin, Mike Brown, Sandra Bland and countless other Black people who made national news because they were murdered by racist vigilantes or police.

SF Black Film Fest looks at Israel through Black students’ eyes in ‘Taking Israel’

June 6, 2017

“Taking Israel” is a film executive produced by Dr. Eric Winston about a study-abroad program that he oversaw at Wilberforce University that exposed Black students to a semester of Israeli culture, society and politics. It has been selected to screen at the San Francisco Black Film Festival mainly because it deals with Black people trekking past U.S. borders for answers to questions as citizens of the world.

The Father Factor: Critical issues to be considered

June 4, 2017

According to the National Fatherhood Initiative, there are 17 critical issues that should be considered by those working with fathers and, at the same time, issues fathers themselves, should take into consideration as well. In this article, I have covered 10 of these issues, but you can find the others by going to the NFI website, http://wwwfatherhood.org/fatherhood/17.

Deecolonize Academy students report on self-determination movements around the world

June 3, 2017

UN-Habitat, the UN’s human settlements program, states that the number of people living in slum conditions is now estimated at 863 million, which was only a couple hundred million less in the 1990s. The Shack Dwellers Movement or Abahlali baseMjondolo (AbM) is a political group dedicated to the betterment of the urban poor’s living. They strive to organize “a society where everyone counts and where capital and the state are subordinate to society.”

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Wanda’s Picks June 2017

June 2, 2017

Saturday, June 10, The Father’s Day Celebration, a free event for Black fathers and Black male father figures and their families, will give space for a joyous Father’s Day event for the whole community. The Father’s Day Celebration will begin with family portraits, activities for the kids (Barbers, Books and Bridges), a live DJ spinning tunes perfect for the occasion and a keynote speaker, Adimu Madyun. Dining will be available.

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