September 24, 2018
We lost Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin on Aug. 16 (March 25, 1942-Aug. 16, 2018). We also lost Kofi Annan (April 8, 1938, to Aug. 18, 2018), the seventh United Nations Secretary General and the first from Sub-Saharan African to lead the International organization. When we think about Black women and their navigation of public spaces, we remember the recent deaths of Nia Wilson, 18, and Jessica St. Louis, 26, who were not safe when they should have been #safehername.
September 1, 2018
After gracing the planet for 76 years, Aretha Franklin joined the ancestors Thursday, Aug. 16, 2018. President Obama: “Aretha helped define the American experience. In her voice, we could feel our history, all of it and in every shade – our power and our pain, our darkness and our light, our quest for redemption and our hard-won respect. May the Queen of Soul rest in eternal peace.”
January 18, 2018
Edwin Hawkins, the four-time Grammy® Award-winning leader of The Edwin Hawkins Singers’ 1969 million-seller “Oh Happy Day,” died Jan. 15 at his home in the Bay Area, after a bout with pancreatic cancer. He was 74 years old. “It is with deep sadness that we announce the passing of Dr. Edwin Hawkins – a celebrated artist, innovator and music icon. Though he will be greatly missed the world over, the message of love, life and encouragement that he incorporated into his music gives us all the same hope that we’ll join him in heaven and sing ‘Oh Happy Day,’” the Hawkins family said.
May 13, 2014
The undisputed flagship of Black history and literature, Marcus Books, is currently fighting to stay alive in San Francisco, which might now be known as the undisputed pinnacle of wealth-hoarding and displacement. The Johnson family is planning a series of actions to fight this unjust removal, but for now readers can call Royal Cab and tell the Sweis family to sell Marcus Books back to the Johnson family.
December 19, 2013
“Love, Peace, and Soul” by the award-winning writer and WPFW broadcaster Ericka Blount is a documented history of the show that helped to launch and sustain the careers of such musical giants as James Brown, the Jackson 5, Marvin Gaye, Barry White, Ike and Tina, Aretha Franklin and more.
October 31, 2013
Gina M. Paige explained that the organization, African Ancestry, started with Dr. Rick Kittles, genetic researcher at Howard University who was interested in isolating the gene that caused prostate cancer, one of the leading causes of death in our community. He found this research methodology applicable in other genetic detective research and so in 2003 African Ancestry was founded with Ms. Paige.
October 3, 2013
The 18th Annual Maafa Commemoration Ritual is Sunday, Oct. 13, 2013, predawn. We meet at Ocean Beach, Fulton at the Great Highway. The ritual is for people of African Descent (Black people from throughout the globe). There are so many great events this month, but not enough space to list them all.
September 6, 2013
This Sunday Yoshi’s in Oakland will be hosting Richmond songstress Deja Bryson to grace the stage. From the same Bay Area as colleagues Ledisi and Keisha Cole, this niece of the great ‘80s and ‘90s crooner Peabo Bryson is set to make a name for herself without standing in anyone’s shadow. Deja Bryson is sure to bring out a crowd to see this beautiful songbird electrify the stage.
September 2, 2013
On the 20th anniversary of the demise of my father, Fred Ali Batin Sr., the 18th anniversary of the Maafa Commemoration San Francisco Bay Area – the Ritual Sunday is Oct. 13, 2013; see http://maafasfbayarea.com/ – and approximately the 60th day of the hunger strike to end the inhuman conditions in California’s Security Housing Units or SHUs, I just want to pause and reflect.
August 31, 2013
“Vigilante on the Loose” is based on a true story about a community plagued with past injustice. This time they chose to stand their ground. Filmed on location in Miami, Florida, the film was produced by Vision Entertainment Group and directed by Timothy Hodges. The once thriving Black section of Miami known as Overtown is virtually destroyed after so-called urban renewal.
May 9, 2013
Congratulations to my nephew Wilfred Batin, 9 years old, who was one of two honor roll students from Rosa Parks Elementary School honored this year at City Hall. Happy Mother’s Day to all the women who deserve more than a day to honor them. Congratulations to all the college graduates!
April 4, 2012
The Oakland International Film Festival is Friday-Sunday, April 6-8, at the Oakland Museum of California, 10th and Oak Street, Oakland. Visit http://www.oiff.org/2012schedule.pdf. This year’s headliner is one of the most controversial independent films ever made, “The Spook Who Sat by the Door.” Watch it again here.
February 15, 2012
We are the ones who refused to be captured in Afrika without a fight, who staged daring raids on enemy supply lines and brought our nationals back to freedom. We are the ones the enemy calls, “criminals,” “terrorists,” “gangs,” “militants,” “leftists,” “separatists,” “radicals,” “feminists,” “worst of the worst,” “America’s Most Wanted” and enemy combatants.
January 27, 2012
Beyonce performed Etta’s signature song, “At Last” at President Obama’s inauguration in 2009, laying claim to the tune James relied on to make a living. James told an audience shortly after that that Obama “is not my president” and “that woman he had singing for him, singing my song … she’s going to get her ass whipped.”
July 12, 2011
Powwah and his family are some of the people that I check in with when I am in the Memphis area. Besides being one of the most politically educated entrepreneurs that I know, Powwah makes music. His new album, “In tha Wind,” is Southern conscious rap at its finest with precise lyrical content and the type of production that we traditionally think of when we think of bar-b-cues and Southern Comfort.
December 30, 2009
I learned about the Los Angeles based singer Dasha Chadwick from Facebook. The first time I heard her music was a few months ago, after I looked her singing up on YouTube. Before she was Dasha, the woman, I knew her when she was in the first grade when I used to walk her to school.
December 28, 2009
Deja Bryson, the niece of Peabo Bryson, is one of the young up and coming vocal talents to emerge out of Oakland, California, hometown of some of the best to ever do it – like Tony, Toni, Tone and Ledisi. She will be performing at her debut show at Yoshi’s in Oakland on Tuesday, Jan. 5, at 8 p.m.