July 18, 2012
1995 was a very auspicious year. My “Entering Oakland” poem, which made fun of Oakland’s ominous border signs that actually read “Entering Oakland,” was a catalyst in getting the city’s signs changed to “Welcome to Oakland.” Now I’m attempting my biggest endeavor ever, a Cultural World’s Fair.
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.
June 21, 2012
Davey D, host of KPFA’s Hard Knock Radio and a well known and respected community activist and advocate, will headline the Homeboy Hotline’s first annual fundraiser celebration on Saturday, June 23, 2-4 p.m., at Hibiscus Restaurant, located at 1745 San Pablo Ave., Oakland. Donations raised will fund the work of HBH, a nonprofit organization that provides support, resources and hope to the formerly incarcerated.
June 17, 2012
Meet Ngozi Ogbonna. Ngozi has lived in the Bayview her whole life. Graduating from Immaculate Conception Academy in 2011, she now attends San Francisco State University. Ngozi attributes her appreciation of education and her job success largely to ICA: “ICA teaches girls to be independent while also learning how to make a difference in the world.”
June 9, 2012
Summertime in the Bay Area is nothing without all of the music, food and film festivals. If you missed the Oakland International Film Festival, there is still time for you to catch the Bay’s biggest Black film festival, the San Francisco Black Film Festival, which runs June 15-17 at a number of theaters around San Francisco. This year Leo Sullivan will be in attendance. He is one of the cartoon visionaries who created Fat Albert and Looney Tunes. Digital Underground will also be a part of this year’s festivities, as well as Black Panther Party co-founder and chairman Bobby Seale.
May 5, 2012
We give honor to Mother Earth, her birthday celebrated the weekend of April 22 with many great events in the Bay Area, “Love Yo Mama” in East Oakland hosted by Nehanda Imara of Citizens for a Better Environment, one of my favorite community events. My granddaughter and I enjoyed visiting the Tassafaronga Farm.
May 5, 2012
They call it “Big D” and there is a reason for it. The Dallas International Film Festival with its “Star Awards” closing weekend is just a reminder that “they do it big in Texas.” The Dallas Film Society pulled out all the stops as it honored Laura Linney, Bernie Pollack, Eric Pleskow and Gabourey Sidibe with “Dallas Star Awards,” kicking off the concluding weekend.
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.
March 7, 2012
When the Occupy San Quentin rally ended, San Rafael police followed us to the Richmond Bridge. I don’t know if it was Jabari Shaw’s orange CDCR jumpsuit that kept them wondering – Is he an escapee, one of ours? – or if it was the sheer magnitude of fearlessness represented by women like Kelly, a former prisoner who would not let her traumatic experience silence her. One brother got so full looking at the guards on the other side of the gate watching that he looked like he was going to leap the gate and hurt someone as he recalled the violations of his person over and over again. Members of All of Us or None dropped everything to embrace him when he left the stage.
February 4, 2012
This is the month we wear our Blackness with pride – so walk on, walk on. I want to thank Rhodessa Jones, Shaka Jamal, Pat Jamison, Elaine Lee, Walter Turner, Vera Nobles and Elouise Burrell for your leads and references for South Africa.
December 26, 2011
The international news has been inundated with urgent appeals on the famine in the Horn of Africa. Here in the U.S. not enough attention has been paid to it. While it is critical to support and contribute to famine relief, we believe it is equally important to understand the nature and political reality of the famine and what U.S. militarism and corporate land grab have to do with it.
December 23, 2011
On Sept. 11, 2011, Stanford University announced that Don Griffin, an Oakland native and 1965 honor graduate of Oakland’s Fremont High School, would be one of the 2011 inductees into Stanford’s Athletic Hall of Fame. Don was the third Black to play basketball for Stanford and was twice the season’s leading scorer.
October 4, 2011
October is Maafa Commemoration Month. The term Maafa refers to the Black Holocaust, that period when African people were stolen and traded in the greatest, most widespread cooperative economic venture to date, which resulted in the displacement of human beings as commodities. The Kiswahili term Maafa extends that definition of loss and trauma, that is, PTSD or post-traumatic slave syndrome – the flashbacks, both conscious and unconscious, reoccurring instances of the atrocities 150 years after the end of slavery which have direct association to the brutality of chattel slavery.
October 4, 2011
As the renewed prisoner hunger strike enters its second week, the federal receiver’s office reports that at least 12,000 prisoners were participating during the first week. Family members of striking SHU prisoners reported that their visits this weekend were denied by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, which is threatening participants with disciplinary action and banning two lawyers who represent the strikers. “Historically, prison officials have used extreme measures, including physical violence to break strikes,” says Dorsey Nunn, a member of the mediation team working on behalf of the strikers.
October 4, 2011
It’s become standard procedure for real estate companies and their eviction attorneys to “move quickly to take the homes from these homeowners, harassing and scaring them, using guerrilla tactics like threatening to get the sheriff to remove them in four hours. But if we all stay together,” Delia Aguilar, an organizer with the Bay Area Moratorium (BAM), said, “we can defeat them and keep our homes.”
September 2, 2011
With the current wave of uprisings across England … and the insurgence of flash mobs across the United States … it is appropriate to call on the history of rebellions by our people. As Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once stated, riot is the language of the unheard; and so it comes as no surprise that the language of our underclass is of the same dialect that it has been for decades and even centuries …
August 24, 2011
In justification of BART’s shutdown of mobile phone service on Aug. 11, the agency began to disingenuously claim that demonstrations against BART’s police brutality were a threat to passenger safety, even though no one has ever been hurt during a BART protest.
August 18, 2011
In the aftermath of Oscar Grant’s murder in 2009, directors of the Bay Area Rapid Transit district announced they would turn over the agency’s internal affairs probe to what they called an “independent, third-party law firm.”
August 18, 2011
Glen Cove was a large village and ceremonial grounds that was used by many different tribes throughout the Bay Area. This area has been deemed, declared and even federally recognized as sacred to indigenous peoples. Many Natives alive today have ties to ancestors buried there.
July 29, 2011
Generally, what happened to Harding happens in colonized spaces to colonized subjects, from Hunters Point to Baghdad. The victims are people of color. Five centuries of colonially-constructed rationales have served the purpose of minimizing the value of racialized subjects.