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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.

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.

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