Tag: Ava DuVernay
I have always said that if you want to understand the nature of a thing, you must research its origin. I would venture to say that the iconic freedom fighter and servant of the people Malcolm X was the first “Prison Panther,” although he was not known officially as such. However, when Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale founded the Black Panther Party for Self Defense in 1966 at Merritt College in Oakland, California, the legacy of their hero, OUR HERO, Malcolm X was on their mind.
Our movement is fighting hard to amend the 13th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution to strike its “slavery clause” that forces prisoners to work for free or for pennies in the prisons, in the fields like slaves of old and in sweatshops manufacturing goods. We are calling for your help in raising the public’s awareness of the existence and the urgent need to end prison slavery inside the state of Texas and across the nation. Let’s dedicate Juneteenth 2018 to abolishing slavery once and for all!
On Friday, Nov. 24, the biggest retail shopping day of the year, also known as “Black Friday,” BlackOut for Human Rights will kick off its fourth annual #BlackOutBlackFriday campaign, urging people nationwide to take part in an economic boycott of major retailers and any corporations that violate human rights standards and/or profit off the pain and suffering of others. Launched in 2014, #BlackOutBlackFriday is a call-to-action encouraging individuals to refrain from shopping to protest social and economic injustice in the U.S. and instead engage in cultural activism.
Rep. Maxine Waters delivered a mic-dropping speech at the Black Girls Rock! award show, taped Aug. 5 and broadcast Aug. 22, thanking her supporters and sternly reminding her critics that she is a strong Black woman who will not be intimidated. Waters, who was recognized as the honoree for the show’s social humanitarian award, began her speech by underscoring the importance of safe spaces like Black Girls Rock! and reiterated why representation matters.
In the wake of the white supremacist violence in Charlottesville, the left’s anti-fascist response to defend that community and the death of Heather Heyer, a rally that had been planned and organized over a two-year period by imprisoned people and the grassroots prison advocacy group IAMWE offered a powerful opportunity for those looking to actively confront white supremacy. Their demand is the end of slavery in America – the elimination of the “exception clause” in the 13th Amendment.
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.
The Leimert Park Village Book Fair is held in the well preserved and nationally known Los Angeles Black artistic and cultural neighborhood Leimert Park, home to legendary filmmaker and owner of the Kaos Network Ben Caldwell and the Black bookstore Eso Won Books. Cynthia Exum and her crew have been organizing the Leimert Park Village Book Fair for a decade, which is no small feat. So I sat down with her to discuss this monumental accomplishment.
Tambay Obenson, founder of Shadow and Act, a collective of writers, filmmakers, film critics and film enthusiasts, all interested in discussing primarily film and filmmakers of the African Diaspora, recently announced a plea to save his online film collective, which will be discontinued at the end of the month if it is not saved by other filmmakers and supporters.
Some of the most important Black cultural work coming out of San Francisco is coming from the organizing of Naomi Jelks at the San Francisco Main library. Naomi is one of the few within the City who are bringing us a lot of the local, national and international voices that we need to hear. Check her out as she describes what the library has in store for February and celebrate the SF Bay View’s 40th anniversary at the SF Main Library, 100 Larkin St., on Feb. 21, 1-5 p.m.
Twenty-one years after Ben Caldwell opened the doors of the Kaos Network for the community Hip Hop workshop, Project Blowed, we are celebrating the birth of one of L.A.’s biggest Hip Hop institutions. The 21st anniversary will be celebrated Sunday, Dec. 27, outside in Leimert Park, in the “La.” Check out Dara Caldwell, the daughter of Ben Caldwell, as she tells us about a golden era in Southern Cali Hip Hop.
Students of the Revolutionary Youth Media Education class at Deecolonize Academy haven been learning, writing and living police terror and resistance as children of Black, Brown and poor parents. On Jan. 19, all of the youth skolaz at Deecolonize Academy and adult poverty skolaz at POOR Magazine began the day marching for MLK, for Black lives and for all of us, followed up by a trip to see the movie “Selma” and ended with a die-in outside the movie theatre in SF.
“I Will Follow,” about a day in the life of a woman letting go of her own life and moving on, has a one week engagement at the Metreon in San Francisco and AMC 16 Bay Street Theaters in Emeryville. The film stars Salli Richardson-Whitfield, Blair Underwood, Omari Hardwick and Beverly Todd.