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Black heaven: a review of Marcus Gardley’s ‘black odyssey’ at Cal Shakes through Sept. 3

August 23, 2017

Marcus Gardley’s “black odyssey,” currently on stage at Cal Shakes in Orinda, translates the Black Holocaust into modern language. Gardley takes an oral history, Homer’s Grecian hero’s tale, then ruptures and reinterprets it so the folks submerged in the waters of confusion gain clarity. Those ancestors at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean are resurrected in “Ulysses Lincoln” – a hero and a warrior.

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‘We Charge Genocide’

August 21, 2017

“The responsibility of being the first in history to charge the government of the United States of America with the crime of genocide is not one the petitioners take lightly,” according to the primary document in the new edition of the book “We Charge Genocide,” published by New York City-based International Publishers. Released in February, the book’s title comes from the petition “We Charge Genocide: The Crime of the U.S. Government against the Negro People.”

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Protests supporting Colin Kaepernick planned for NFL’s first week

August 16, 2017

Little doubt remains that former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick is being blackballed by the National Football League for kneeling during the national anthem to protest police violence against Black people and other people of color. Many quarterbacks with less impressive records have been signed, but Kaepernick still doesn’t have a job. KPFA’s Ann Garrison filed this report.

Wanda’s Picks for August 2017

August 10, 2017

Don’t forget the legacy of the Hon. Marcus Mosiah Garvey (Aug. 17, 1887-June 10, 1940) this Black August. There is an annual program at Marcus Books in Oakland, Sunday, Aug. 20, 12:30-3:30 p.m. Happy Birthday to Karla Brundage (8/29), Cousin Jeffery Lewis (8/29), Gene Howell Jr. and to all the ancestors lost in the Great Storm – Katrina (8/29/2005), and to those still swimming home on rafts and other flotilla. Follow the light.

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Johnny Manziel: The NFL owners’ ‘good boy’

August 8, 2017

When NFL owners look at out-of-work quarterback Johnny Manziel, they see themselves. Or at least they see their ne’er-do-well son or nephew: the one who was raised in cushy wealth, partied too hard, maybe got in a few legal misunderstandings with the girls, but deep down is a “good boy” and always worthy of a second chance. Playing ability isn’t even part of the conversation. They want him in their club. When NFL owners look at out-of-work NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, they see a threat.

Assata Shakur: She who struggles

July 30, 2017

Meet a sista, comrade, soldier, warrior, guerrilla who exemplifies the meaning of revolution through the life that she lives, transforming from the day of her birth to this present day. Born with the slave name JoAnne Deborah Byron, after her emancipation from the shackles of capitalism she took on the name we’re most familiar with, Sista Assata Olugbala Shakur – Assata meaning “she who struggles,” Olugbala meaning “love for the people,” Shakur meaning “the thankful.”

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Inner-view with ‘white-balled’ NBA star Mahmoud Abdul Rauf

July 29, 2017

Decades before our friend and former SF NFL star quarterback Colin Kaepernick found himself “unhireable” – for the “crime” of taking a knee to protest the rockets-red-glare-bombs-bursting-in-air “Star Spangled Banner,” theme song of continuing European white supremacist terrorism and racist murders – another gifted pro athlete was “white-balled” out of the NBA. Mahmoud Abdul Rauf was a nearly “unguardable” sweet shooting point guard for the NBA’s Denver Nuggets in the 1990s.

A warrior bends her knee in prayer

July 28, 2017

I am at Lighthouse Mosque for El Hajjah Dhameera Ahmad’s Janazah or prayer service Wednesday afternoon, July 26. I will miss her. Dameera Ahmad (née Carlotta Basseau Simon) was a huge presence in a world that is shrinking. I am happy our paths were one at some point and shared many subsequent intersections. Her burial was on Oya’s day – Oya, guardian of the cemetery, spirit of the winds or transformation and change.

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‘13th’ and the culture of surplus punishment

July 13, 2017

Ava DuVernay undertook the documentary “13th” in order to explore and bring attention to the Prison Industrial Complex. The film’s title refers to the 1865 amendment to the U.S. Constitution, in which slavery was abolished “except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted.” The story told by “13th” thus goes back to the early chain-gangs of Black prisoners – men arrested for petty offenses under the post-Civil War Black Codes who were then contracted out to perform labor that they had previously performed as privately-owned slaves.

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In memory of Gregory Matthew Hug

July 12, 2017

Gregory Matthew Hug, 31, of San Francisco, California, died May 26, 2017. Born March 28, 1986, in St. Charles, Missouri, he was adopted by Dianne and Leonard Hug when he was 6 years old. His birth name was Gregory Farlane. He graduated from Hermann High in the Class of 2004 and attended City College of San Francisco 2008-2009. Greg loved cats and was known as an animal lover. He was a proud member of the Juggalo community, the Gothic community and the Church of Bast.

SF Mime Troupe’s 2017 production ‘Walls’ decries immigrant criminalization

July 9, 2017

What makes San Francisco Mime Troupe the award-winning theatre it is is its amazing work, which is always topical and timely. Its current production, July 1-Sept. 10, “Walls” is no different. Playwright and SF Mime veteran Michael Gene Sullivan’s new work looks at federal immigration policy from George W. Bush and William Jefferson Clinton to Barack Obama and Donald Trump. The quartet has much in common, each president responsible for policies which criminalize its immigrant population.

Wanda’s Picks for July 2017

July 7, 2017

Each year, it is important to revisit this historic classic speech by the powerful orator, Frederick Douglass, delivered in 1852, stating, “This Fourth of July is yours, not mine. … You may rejoice, I must mourn.” Listen to James Earl Jones reading the speech. In the San Francisco Bay Area, Michael Lange and James Brooks with Angela Wellman’s Oakland Public Conservatory would perform the work with jazz artists.

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TKO! Dismantling the racist machine: Ward crushes Kovalev to retain the unified light heavyweight boxing title

June 29, 2017

Andre Ward knocked out Sergey Kovalev via TKO 129 seconds into the eighth round of their legendary rematch. It was June 17, 2017, in the Mandalay Bay Event Center in Las Vegas, Nevada, before 10,592 fans and distributed live by HBO. Andre Ward is a two-division world champion. He is the reigning unified WBA, WBO, IBF and RING Magazine Light Heavyweight World Champion, the 2004 Olympic Gold Medalist and the best pound for pound fighter in the world. His fans love him.

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The San Francisco Black Film Festival strikes gold again

June 28, 2017

The San Francisco Black Film Festival has once again proven itself to be one of the most anticipated Black events in the Bay Area. From June 15 to 18, Black independent films were the talk of San Francisco. San Francisco acting legend Danny Glover did a Q&A for the film “93 Days.” “Abina and the Important Men” was one of the highest grossing films in the festival. We sat down with Kali O’Ray, the director of the San Francisco Black Film Festival, to discuss what happened at this phenomenal festival.

Jeff Adachi: Malik Wade’s ‘Pressure’ is a testament to the community building formerly incarcerated people can do

June 27, 2017

You may think you know this story. A man lives the high life of a drug dealer, becomes a fugitive, goes to prison for a long time and eventually redeems himself. But you would be wrong. Malik Wade’s story is much, much more. While “Pressure” is a story about a man existing in Dante’s Inferno who transformed himself into an educated and enlightened person, it will also take you on Malik’s sometimes painful but never boring journey that has led him to who he is today.

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After 47 years as an Alabama political prisoner and 3 years free, Sekou Kambui makes his transition

June 24, 2017

Our dear brother and Black Panther comrade Sekou Kambui made his transition May 9, 2017. The struggle for freedom defined him in so many ways. After 47 years as a political prisoner in Alabama prisons, and his release in 2014, he can now rest in peace. Farewell, my dear friend. – Audri Scott Williams — We will never forget you, Sekou Kambui. Thank you for being an inspiring part of our lives and your relentless commitment to struggle. We miss you deeply. #RestInPower – Denver ABC

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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.

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