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‘I Am Sean Bell: Black Boys Speak’

January 19, 2009

I AM SEAN BELL, black boys speak from Stacey Muhammad on Vimeo.

On Nov. 25, 2006, undercover NYPD officers fired at least 50 rounds of bullets into a car carrying three UNARMED men of African American and Latino descent, killing one, Sean Bell, and seriously wounding the others. Bell, age 23, was scheduled to be married on that fateful day.

Three of the five detectives involved in the shooting went to trial on charges ranging from manslaughter to reckless endangerment. All were found not guilty.

The incident has sparked fierce criticism of the NYPD as the city faces yet another murder of an unarmed African American man at the hands of those expected to protect and serve.

“I Am Sean Bell: Black Boys Speak” is a short form documentary from Wildseed Films that highlights the voices of young Black boys between the ages of 11 and 13 growing up in New York City. They speak openly and honestly about their reaction to the Sean Bell tragedy as well as their fears and hopes as they approach manhood in a city where the lives of young Black men are often cut short, too often and too soon.

Stacey Muhammad is an award winning independent filmmaker and activist committed to using the power of media to educate, enlighten and empower humanity. Her first film, “A Glimpse of Heaven: The Legacy of the Million Man March,” screened at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum in Baltimore in 2005 and received rave reviews.

Since that time, the New Orleans native has relocated to Brooklyn and begun the work of documenting and preserving Hip Hop culture through film and digital media. Her projects include several short form documentaries, including “I Am Sean Bell: Black Boys Speak” as well as “Self Construction: Recording session in honor of a movement.”

Stacey is currently working with other artists, filmmakers and activists whose mission it is to document our history, preserve our culture and tell our own stories.

Oakland residents react to the police execution of Oscar Grant

January 13, 2009

In this video by Channing Kennedy for ColorLines, Oakland residents express their anger both at the failure of authorities to charge or even reprimand the officer who killed Oscar Grant and at the media’s one-sided coverage of the following protests.

BART police execute Oscar Grant

January 11, 2009

This is the clearest view we’ve seen of the BART police execution of 22-year-old unarmed father and peacemaker Oscar Grant at the Fruitvale BART station in Oakland at 2 a.m. New Year’s Day. Community rage at the silence and inaction by authorities who should be enforcing the law erupted Wednesday, Jan. 7, in a rebellion that lit up Oakland.

Listen to an extraordinary interview with Oscar Grant’s cousin by POCC Minister of Information JR in his Block Report broadcast Wednesday, Jan. 7, on Hard Knock Radio, KPFA 94.1FM, beginning 19 minutes into the program, following a live report by Greg Bridges from the protest at the Fruitvale BART station. In JR’s interview, Oscar’s cousin, Donald Wiggins, reveals that the BART police left Oscar to lie on the hard, cold concrete of the platform for 30-40 minutes after he was shot – with no medical attention, no effort to save his life – while they snatched cell phones from witnesses. Look carefully at the end of this video to see the police dragging Oscar along the platform after they shot him.

Wednesday night, Minister of Information JR was the only journalist of the dozens covering the rebellion who was fully at home on the streets of East Oakland. And he was the only journalist arrested and jailed and one of only two protesters charged with a felony. Read all about it on this site at Oakland PD brutally arrests Minister of Information JR at Oscar Grant protest.

Poor News Network TV: Justice for Oscar Grant

January 10, 2009

For six hours on Thursday, Jan. 8, an apologetic BART board of directors listened to people voice their fury over a BART police officer’s execution of Oscar Grant, a 22-year-old father, and authorities’ silence in response. With the usual time limits on testimony discarded, people poured out their hearts in impassioned demands for justice. The last person to testify on this video is Bay View publisher Willie Ratcliff, who exhorted the board to see the big picture of oppression in the Black community – a convergence of police terror and a solid lockout from the economy. Along with justice for Oscar Grant, he said, Blacks are demanding a fair share of BART’s construction work. Less than 1 percent of the $200 million BART has spent on construction in the past three years went to Blacks.

Min. Christopher Muhammad addressing media on BART police execution of Oscar Grant

January 10, 2009

Minister Christopher Muhammad speaks at a press conference after District Attorney Tom Orloff refused to meet with him and other Black clergy on Wednesday, Jan. 7, the day of the funeral of Oscar Grant, the young father executed at 2 a.m. New Year’s Day by BART police, or to bring charges against the BART police officer who murdered him. Enraged by the execution, top authorities’ silence and hostile police in riot gear later that day, demonstrators lit up Oakland and won the world’s attention.

The imperial Congo crisis

January 8, 2009

The corporate press, and the U.S. State Department, are awash in propaganda about the Congo War, also known as the Congo crisis, or, the African holocaust, in which 6 million Congolese have died since 1997. They typically characterize it as an insoluble ethnic conflict, but the Congo War is, most fundamentally, an imperial resource war, in which African proxy armies fight in the interests of foreign imperial powers.

Minister Farrakhan vs. Mike Wallace

December 20, 2008

When Minister Louis Farrakhan was interviewed by Mike Wallace on CBS News’ 60 Minutes on Sept. 29, 2005, this exchange ensued:
Mike Wallace: “You go to Nigeria, which is, if not the most corrupt nation in Africa – and it is – it could be the most corrupt nation in the world, Minister Farrakhan.”
Minister Farrakhan: “Oh, now, Mr. Wallace …”
Mike Wallace: “It is the most corrupt nation I have ever covered. I’ve been there 25 years ago and I’ve been there as recently as last year.”
Minister Farrakhan: “Fine. So what? Thirty-five years old, that’s what that nation is. Now here’s America: 226 years old. You love democracy? But there in Africa you’re trying to force these people into a system of government that you have just accepted. Thirty years ago, Black folk got the right to vote. You’re not in any position to tell anybody how corrupt they are. You should be quiet and let those of us who know our people go over there and help them get out of their condition. But America should keep her mouth shut wherever there is a corrupt regime, as much hell as America has raised on this earth. No! I will not allow America or you, Mr. Wallace, to condemn them as the most corrupt nation on earth when you have spilled the blood of human beings. Has Nigeria dropped an atomic bomb and killed people in Hiroshima or Nagasaki? Have they killed off millions of Native Americans? How dare you put yourself in that position as a moral judge! I think you should keep quiet! Because with that much blood on America’s hands, you have no right to speak. I will speak because I don’t have that blood on my hands. Yes, there’s corruption there. Yes, there’s mismanagement of resources. Yes, there is abuse. There is abuse in every nation on earth, including this one. So let’s not play holy, to moralize on them. Let’s help them.”
Mike Wallace: “I’m not moralizing. I was asking a question and I got an answer.”
Minister Farrakhan: “Why would you put it like that, ‘The most corrupt regime in the world’? That don’t make sense.”
Mike Wallace: “Can you tell me of one more corrupt?”
Minister Farrakhan: “Yeah. I’m livin’ in one. I’m livin’ in one. Yes, you’ve done a hell of a thing on this earth. So you should not be the one to talk. You should be quiet when it comes to moral condemnation.”

Welcome to the Congo

December 10, 2008

Rwanda and Uganda invaded the Congo twice, first in 1996 and again in 1998. These invasions unleashed the mass deaths and suffering that we see in the Congo today. It is estimated that nearly 6 million people have died as a result of the invasions of Congo. In addition, hundreds of thousands of women have been systematically raped as a tool of war to displace entire communities and demoralize the population.

This is Omekongo’s song, “Welcome to the Congo.” Omekongo is a first generation Congolese-American whose parents were exiled for their role in the liberation of the Congo. Omekongo is a tri-lingual (English, French and Swahili) poet, actor, writer, educator and entrepreneur whose work has been praised by Nikki Giovanni and Essence Magazine. He is currently starring in international TV series “Ya Ma’ Afrika” about Africans living in the West. Visit his website and myspace for more.

‘The Price of Silence’: Fulfill the promise of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

December 10, 2008

Introduced by Lawrence Fishburne, this music video brings together 16 of the world’s top musicians — some of whom have fled oppressive regimes — in a rousing musical plea to guarantee human rights for all. The track, donated by Aterciopelados and arranged by fusion music guru Andres Levin, combines the voices of Stephen Marley, Angelique Kidjo, Hugh Masekela, Julieta Venegas, Yungchen Lhamo, Aterciopelados, Yerba Buena, Natacha Atlas, Rachid Taha, Kiran Ahluwalia, Chiwoniso and Emmanual Jal with those of U.S. artists Natalie Merchant, and Chali 2Na of Jurassic 5. Buy the video direct from iTunes to support the work of Amnesty International.

The United Nations unanimously passed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights 60 years ago today, on Dec. 10, 1948, after the horrors of World War II. This powerful declaration says that every human being deserves dignity, freedom and respect. It’s the first blueprint for global rights, establishing fundamental freedoms for every human being. The UDHR set in motion a global movement that literally opened prison doors, shut down torture and execution chambers and caused the downfall of the worst tyrannies. Sixty years later, millions are still denied basic human rights. Many governments still show more interest in abusing power than respecting those they lead. For far too many, injustice, inequality and impunity are still the hallmarks of our world today. We have work to do! May these young people inspire our struggle!

Fred Hampton

December 5, 2008

Meet Fred Hampton, deputy chairman of the Black Panther Party’s Illinois Chapter, who taught Chicago to shout, “I am a revolutionary!” One of the main men J. Edgar Hoover, then FBI director, had in mind when he called the Black Panther Party the “greatest threat to the internal security” of the United States, Chairman Fred, then only 21, was cut down as he slept, 39 years ago, on Dec. 4, 1969, now memorialized as International Revolutionary Day.

Assassination of Chairman Fred Hampton

December 4, 2008

This brief video offers some insight into why the great Fred Hampton, 21-year-old chairman of Chicago’s chapter of the Black Panther Party, was assassinated by the FBI 39 years ago, on Dec. 4, 1969.

Resist Africom!

December 4, 2008

To an African hip hop beat, learn about the struggle by Africans and Americans to stop the U.S. military from occupying Africa – on the excuse of providing “humanitarian assistance” (that’ll be the day!) and protecting oil reserves. Amidst many scenes from the Motherland, brilliant young foreign policy expert Emira Woods gives you the low-down. Learn more at

KPFK breaks the silence on Congo

December 4, 2008

On Nov. 11, KPFK radio host Dedon Kamathi interviewed Kambale Musavuli from the Congo, who is the coordinator of the global student movement Breaking the Silence Congo Week. Maurice Carney of Friends of the Congo joined him for an update on the unfolding diplomatic initiative to bring peace and justice to the Congo. Former Congresswoman and Presidential Candidate Cynthia McKinney also was interviewed to address the recent arrest of those responsible for the genocide in Rwanda. She has testified worldwide on the truth behind the genocide in direct opposition to the U.S. led media campaign highlighted by the film “Hotel Rwanda.” The interrelationship between the European states-sponsored anarchy in the Congo and Rwanda President Paul Kagame, a CIA stooge, will be explored in the program.

Odetta joins the ancestors

December 3, 2008

Odetta, Voice of Civil Rights Movement, Dies at 77” headlines the New York Times story that describes Odetta as “the singer whose deep voice wove together the strongest songs of American folk music and the civil rights movement.” Also enjoy the 20-minute NYT retrospective. When asked once what songs meant the most to her, Rosa Parks replied, “All of the songs Odetta sings.” Revolutionary journalist Kiilu Nyasha writes: “I first saw Odetta at the Village Gate in Greenwich Village, NYC, in the early 1960s. A small nightclub, my date and I had great seats and I fell in love with her then and there. Her voice was soooo powerful, her music so moving and relevant, her warmth and love so apparent. I used to play her on my radio program, Freedom Is a Constant Struggle, and special broadcasts because she had an exhaustive repertoire of freedom songs. We have lost two of our greatest cultural icons within such a short span of time. Miriam Makeba and Odetta have left us an incredible legacy of song; they will both be greatly missed.” A key influence on Harry Belafonte, Odetta inspired Bob Dylan to trade “my electric guitar and amplifier for an acoustical guitar.” From her wheelchair, she performed 60 90-minute concerts in the past two years, the last big one Oct. 4 in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, and had hoped to hang on long enough to sing for President Obama’s inauguration.

Mining for bling

November 22, 2008

Vanguard journalist and Current TV producer Christof Putzel traces gold to its origins in one of Africa’s biggest gold mines in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Originally posted Aug. 6, 2006, this report remains current and so chilling we hope it’ll make you swear off bling this holiday season and forevermore.

One viewer commented, “Watchdog groups are now calling for ‘no dirty gold,’ similar to campaigns for conflict-free [blood] diamonds.” San Francisco writer Ann Garrison added, “The one thing missing was the role of foreign imperial powers in these wars that seem to be between Africans only. That’s not where the gold goes. … I recommend Breaking the Silence: Congo Week organized by Friends of the Congo.”

Chauncey Bailey on ethnic media

November 11, 2008

In this 2001 TV interview with New California Media (now New America Media) host Emil Guillermo, Chauncey Bailey says the Black press “can’t be objective. It was born out of a role of activism. California Voice, founded in 1919, right in here (as he points to the paper) about ‘Blacks charge Alameda cops with abuse.’ You didn’t read that in the major media.” At the time, Chauncey was writing for both a mainstream newspaper, the Oakland Tribune, and the Black newspapers California Voice, Sun Reporter and Metro Reporter. In this clip, he makes a persuasive case that the Black press does a much better job of covering the Black community – one reason: its courage – his courage – in taking on the issue of police wrongdoing.

In loving memory of Mama Africa, Miriam Makeba

November 10, 2008

Miriam Makeba, who rallied the world to end apartheid in South Africa, singing traditional songs in many African languages and American jazz as well, has died at the age of 76. Her great legacy of struggle and achievement is recalled in this Al Jazeera retrospective. A good friend of Harry Belafonte since the 1950s, she was forced into exile in 1960 for 30 years, initially in the U.S., where she called American racism “apartheid by another name.” For marrying Stokely Carmichael – later Kwame Ture – in 1968, she was banned from recording and forced to leave the U.S. The couple settled in Guinea, where Makeba became known as Mama Africa. Goodwill ambassador for the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization since 1999, as recently as March 2008, she visited FAO projects in Congo where survivors of violence and HIV have returned to farming to feed their families and communities. Learn more about her life at BBC.

N’Kosi Sikeleli Africa – with Miriam Makeba

November 10, 2008

This profoundly moving rendition of “N’Kose Sikelei Africa” (“God Bless Africa”), the South African National Anthem, featuring Miriam Makeba, who made her transition Nov. 10, and Ladysmith Black Mombazo, is a clip from Paul Simon’s film “Graceland: The African Concert,” taped in 1987.

All things are possible: Obama’s Victory Speech

November 6, 2008

Late on Election Night, President-Elect Barack Obama delivered the final speech of a presidential campaign that promised change in Washington. Now the work begins to deliver on this promise by planning the agenda and priorities for the Obama administration. Go to the new transition website,, to learn more and get involved.

Hey, Hey, Nancy!

November 4, 2008

“If we want to take this country back, Nancy Pelosi’s got to go. Hey, hey, Nancy, I sure hope Cindy [Sheehan] kicks your ass!” Courtesy of David Swanson of, it’s the Cindy Sheehan for Congress song!

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