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Posts Tagged with "Billie Holiday"

‘Miles Ahead’

April 1, 2016

Let me be the first to say that “Miles Ahead,” the film about the legendary trumpet player Miles Davis, is completely and utterly terrible and devoid of historical information. I’ve been a huge fan of Miles Davis’ music and also the acting of the man who plays Miles, Don Cheadle. Cheadle lost major points with me in this disgusting move to defile the legacy of one of the greatest internationally known trumpet players in history.

Wanda’s Picks for February 2016

February 4, 2016

Dr. Frances Cress Welsing (“Isis Papers”) made her transition Jan. 2, 2016. She was 80. The psychiatrist who challenged white supremacists on what she called “The Cress Theory of Color Confrontation and Racism (White Supremacy)” to look at their own melanin deficiency for what it is, “envy,” stirred and continues to stir the waters. She always stated theoretically that “Black lives matter,” way before the #blm movement.

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The spirit of Oakland Blues legend Augusta Lee Collins lives on …

October 9, 2015

I was introduced to Augusta Lee Collins at Dave Petrelli’s Twinspace in San Francisco where thespian Anita Woodley performed her “Mama Juggs” one woman play about 5 years ago. Since Anita Woodley worked closest with him, I thought it would be fitting to get her to talk about her colleague, musical comrade and friend, who transitioned after being hit by a car in Oakland. Here is Anita Woodley in her own words.

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Doc on Ethopian singer Asknaketch Worku screens in Oakland at Matatu Fest

September 13, 2015

“Asni,” a documentary about the legendary, controversial and provocative Ethiopian musician and actress who was at her height in the ‘50s-‘60s in Addis Abba, Asnaketch Worku, will be screening on Friday, Sept. 25, 8-10 p.m., Starline Social Club, located at 645 W. Grand Ave. in Oakland. Check out filmmaker Rachel Samuels as she speaks on her majestic cinematic portrait of the great Ethiopian musician and thespian Asknaketch Worku.

Tribute to civil rights activist Margaret Block

June 29, 2015

Margaret Stroud Block, long time civil rights activist, passed away June 20 in Cleveland, Mississippi, where she was born and raised. She lectured at universities and organizations throughout the U.S., particularly in the eastern part of the country, on civil rights and current education policies. Margaret was a dear friend. We met each other in the mid-‘80s when Proposition J was proposed.

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The war on Billie Holiday: The Bureau of Narcotics’ strange obsession

February 3, 2015

Jazz was the opposite of everything Harry Anslinger, the first commissioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, believed in. It is improvised, and relaxed, and free-form. It follows its own rhythm. Anslinger looked out over a scene filled with men like Charlie Parker, Louis Armstrong and Thelonious Monk, and he longed to see them all behind bars. In the end he scaled down his focus until it settled like a laser on a single target – Billie Holiday.

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Wanda’s Picks for September 2014

September 5, 2014

Congratulations to William Rhodes on a successful trip to South Africa, where he took a quilt created by his students at Dr. Charles Drew Elementary School in San Francisco to honor the legacy of an international hero, President Nelson Mandela, and returned with art panels from workshops conducted with youth in various townships and regions from Cape Town to Johannesburg.

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African Americans and the Gypsies: a cultural relationship formed through hardships

September 26, 2013

It is the slavery issue that begins the African American-Roma association and molds many of the cultural similarities that follow. It starts with the propaganda around the plantation labeling the slaves as “soulless” “talking animals,” helping to justify the lucrative trade against an increasing religious and political conscience declaring “all men are created equal.”

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How and why I started the California poetry gold rush, leading up to this summer’s World’s Fair

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.

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Etta James: Two tributes

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.”

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Nov. 8: The control and power of your vote

November 5, 2011

Though we have witnessed our leaders and family members being killed, tortured and brutalized as they fought for their civil liberties, we cannot give up the fight by not voting. People have died so you could do so. Of the 16 running mates for mayor, only Public Defender Jeff Adachi has placed his money where his mouth is.

A letter to the late great Gil Scott Heron

June 4, 2011

Ever since I became aware of your music and revolutionary message, your work has moved me. Spiritually, you had the gift to make us experience what you were experiencing. It was like you could put the movie you were singing about on the projectors of our minds.

Black unemployment sparks chorus of discontent

March 2, 2011

What would happen if 34.5 percent of White men did not have jobs? According to new U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics, joblessness for 16-to-24-year-old Black men has reached Great Depression proportions – more than three times the rate for the general U.S. population. Some African Americans are asking: “Will it take a revolution to spark economic change in Black America?” “All eyes are on the uprisings playing out in Egypt and Tunisia, yet America systematically turns a blind eye to the oppression in its own backyard.”

Queen of queens

November 14, 2010

Queen Nyoka is an up and coming reggae artist out of the Bay who makes her words count when it comes to chanting down Babylon.

‘Harlem Godfather: The rap on my husband Ellsworth Bumpy Johnson’

October 24, 2010

We often hear about the Harlem Renaissance, but we rarely hear about Harlem’s ghetto heroes and sheroes and the lives they lived. Maybe after such Black biographical books as this one and Lil’ D’s “Weight,” our young people will stop trying to emulate white thugs and come to see that no matter where we as Black people come from or what we strive for, we always have to fight this corrupt system as our main adversary.

Jada’s on the Radio: an interview wit’ Berkeley Liberation Radio dj Jada Simone of Pandora’s BoomBox

April 18, 2010

by Minister of Information JR In 2010, it is important for us to realize how vital it is for us to make our own media. We should all know by now that Fox News, KMEL or KPFA isn’t going to tell our stories correctly so we have to expand – and sometimes go outside the […]

The mind of Gil Scott Heron: an interview wit’ the legendary musician, Part 3

October 21, 2009

Gil Scott Heron is one of the greatest legends that Black music has breathing in this country. To many, his music is the soundtrack to different eras, the ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s. This piano player, songwriting and composing poet, has set the bar very high when it comes to passionately expressing a wide array of emotions. He is also a beast at getting a political message across through song, right next to people like Fela Kuti, Peter Tosh, Nina Simone and the likes. This is Part 3 of a four-part interview. Here’s Gil Scott Heron in his own words …

Legendary writer, poet and cultural critic: an interview wit’ Amiri Baraka

October 13, 2009

Amiri Baraka, one of the most fiery political poets and cultural critics in Black Amerikkka, recently celebrated his 75th birthday. He is the father of the Black Arts Movement of the ‘60s and after 2001, New Jersey abolished the poet laureate position because they couldn’t fire him, the incumbent, after he wrote his controversial piece, “Somebody Blew Up America.” On Sunday, Nov. 8, 1 p.m., Amiri will be speaking in the Koret Auditorium of the San Francisco Library, 100 Larkin St., as well as at the Black Dot Cafe, 1195 Pine St. at 6:30 in West Oakland on the same day. Here’s a quick Q & A that I did with Amiri Baraka …

Marcus Garvey Way in the works

July 30, 2008

In an effort to help reverse the decline of San Francisco’s African-American population by recognizing its unique cultural and artistic identity, the Board of Supervisors has approved a resolution urging the Department of Public Works to rename Eddy Street between Laguna and Divisadero to Marcus Garvey Way as well as proclaim Aug. 17 Marcus Garvey Day in San Francisco. The resolution was unanimously approved on Nov. 26, 2007.

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