July 9, 2014
The Glide Memorial Church family worked wonders at the celebration of San Francisco native Maya Angelou’s life that she requested before she died. They juxtaposed carefully chosen visual moments with prerecorded Maya moments, which made her presence so palatable that the sanctuary lights came under the control of Spirit Maya and played with our collective vision – the room almost dark and the lights flickering off and on.
July 1, 2014
The Lower Bottom Playaz, in their 14th season, present “Two Trains Running,” the seventh play in the American Century Cycle by August Wilson, at The Flight Deck. The Lower Bottom Playaz take pride in paying actors and technical crew and need to raise $2,500 by July 31; please contribute all you can to this troupe that is the pride of the Black Bay Area and buy your tickets for performances Aug. 1, 2 and 3.
January 11, 2014
Amiri Baraka was a giant to those who know him. And now that he is physically gone, his legend will only grow. The FBI once identified him as “the person who will probably emerge as the leader of the pan-African movement in the United States.” Even those who critiqued him considered him to be brilliant, even referring to him as the Malcolm X of literature and spoken word. He often said bluntly and yet humbly that “Malcolm X was my leader.” Amiri Baraka put into practice what Malcolm taught him about cultural revolution.
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.
July 2, 2013
Ayodele “Wordslanger” Nzinga is a major thespian and theatrical force in the Bay Area hailing from the Lower Bottoms of West Oakland. She is now involved in producing the works of the great August Wilson and is currently producing “Seven Guitars,” which will run the last weekend in June and the first two weekends in July. Tune in as Ayo gives us some game on our history.
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!
July 8, 2012
Storytelling is one of the most ancient forms of entertainment – before radio, television, paper and cinema. Ayodele “Wordslanger” Nzinga is one of the Bay Area’s most talented griots who tells stories of the past through her West Oakland-based theater company, The Lower Bottom Playaz. The legendary August Wilson’s “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” opens July 13.
September 4, 2011
Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2011, was the opening of August Wilson’s play, “Seven Guitars,” directed by Kent Gash, at the Marin Theatre Company. I hadn’t seen the play in about 15 years. Wilson was alive then and he was work-shopping his latest – play five in the eventual 10-play cycle – at ACT-SF with the Lorraine Hansberry Theatre in a co-production.
April 10, 2011
When Martin Luther King was killed in Memphis, he was about to join the sanitation workers in their protest for a union and more decent wages. The movement for civil rights was taking hold in the North and America didn’t like it – so off with King’s head.
December 14, 2010
Minister of Information JR speaks with actress-storyteller-writer Rie Shontel about her provocative one-woman show “Mama Juggs.” Now you have the opportunity to see this gifted sista, who has performed around the country and in Africa and now includes Blues legend Augusta Collins in the show. “Mama Juggs: Three Generations Healing Negative Body Image” will play Tuesday, Dec. 21, at Twin Space, 2111 Mission St., San Francisco, and on Wednesday and Thursday, Dec. 29 and 30, at the Black Dot Cafe, 1195 Pine St., West Oakland.
November 26, 2010
It’s been 25 years since the film version of Alice Walker’s “The Color Purple” opened to much controversy. Despite the controversy, the story is one that is still read, watched and celebrated in many forms. The San Jose production of the musical is fantastic! This is the final weekend.
October 6, 2010
August Wilson is one of the most if not the most important playwright of the 20th century. His “Pittsburgh Cycle” pens the 20th century North American African experience through gentrification and trauma of the recurrent loss of geographical space.
July 5, 2010
Quentin Easter was certainly a man whom too many of us will miss, miss for his warm compassionate smile, unruffled presence and positive outlook in the face of tremendous stress and obstacles.
October 16, 2009
Can you imagine 45,000 people dying each month and hardly a peep from anyone in the age of the Internet? There is a media blackout about Congo and no worldwide resolution to end the conflict and carnage there. The purpose of the Break the Silence Congo Week is to raise awareness about the devastating situation in the Congo and mobilize support on behalf of the people of the Congo.
September 15, 2009
As the G-20 summit prepares to descend upon Pittsburgh, the city has been thrust into the spotlight and is being highlighted for its “commitment to employing new and green technology to further economic recovery and development.” It has been and is being denoted as the city that got it right, where pollution has been eroded, the rivers cleaned and the jobs in industry thoroughly replaced.
February 14, 2009
Be sure to listen to the archived Wanda’s Picks Radio for Feb. 11, when the guests are Cynthia McKinney in the first hour and Guy Patrice Lumumba and Lisa F. Jackson, director of the film, “The Greatest Silence: Rape in the Congo,” in the second. Extraordinary radio! Superb mix of arts and politics!
December 12, 2008
Langston Hughes will be celebrated in Oakland and San Francisco beginning this week at Allen Temple Baptist Church and Lorraine Hansberry Theatre. The gospel play “Black Nativity” is a Bay Area favorite.
December 3, 2008
Veteran actor and director Delroy Lindo is currently directing the August Wilson play, “Joe Turner’s Come and Gone,” at the Berkeley Repertory Theatre through Dec. 14. Lindo is best known in the Black community for his role in the classic film “Malcolm X,” where he played West Indian Archie.
November 28, 2008
The Luggage Store Gallery presents the Bobby Hutton Memorial Benefit, Nov. 29-Dec. 6. The opening reception is Saturday, Nov. 29, from 8 to 10 p.m. at the gallery, 1007 Market St. in San Francisco. The show features work by 27 artists – among them, Emory Douglas, Rigo 23 and a photo essay by Billy X.
November 1, 2008
Fet Gede, a national holiday in Haiti, is the Haitian celebration of All Souls Day, celebrated Nov. 2. It is a time of both jubilant celebration and a time to fondly remember those who have passed on. For this occasion, please wear purple, black and white, the traditional colors for Gede.