March 22, 2017
When one thinks of Black women photographers, Carrie Mae Weems comes to mind and, regarding silhouettes, Kara Walker. Though certainly a historic revisioning of beauty and portraiture, a form reserved for the aristocracy, Erica Deeman’s first major solo exhibition at Berkeley Art Museum Pacific Film Archive celebrates the form – the Black female form. The large-scale portraits, created over the course of nine months in 2013, is up through June 11, at the BAMPFA, 2120 Oxford St., Berkeley.
February 29, 2016
Speaking at the funeral for Freddie Gray last April the family’s attorney said, “Many of us are here not because we knew Freddie Gray personally, but because we know hundreds of Freddie Grays.” The Freddie Gray effect and the cry that Black Lives Matter is about more than improved police-community relations. It is the fight and the need in countless Black neighborhoods for income equality, access to quality education, environmental justice and criminal justice reform.
October 30, 2015
Beneath the banner “Justice or Else,” this march appeared different from the Oct. 20, 1995, event. Minister Louis Farrakhan called for an end to police violence against African Americans and demanded a halt to Black-on-Black crime, which kills more inner-city men than all other causes combined. The Nation of Islam leader used the occasion of the 20th anniversary commemoration of the Million Man March at the steps of the U.S. Capitol to condemn the loss of life of Blacks.
August 11, 2015
Do they think that we are stupid? We were there. We have the pictures. We have the video. We heard what they said. We saw what they did. Yet, publications blatantly misrepresent the truth, posing serious harm to Black lives. These misrepresentations actively push forth a narrative that absolves law enforcement of the brutality and racism they inflict and, ultimately, blame victims for their own repression. We are not here for it.
July 29, 2015
The New York Times sent Gary Rivlin to Baton Rouge and New Orleans, days after the storm, to cover Katrina as an outsider. Rivlin’s instincts had him looking forward “to the mess ahead. Eventually the flood waters would recede. How would New Orleans go about the complicated task of rebuilding?” This carefully researched, beautifully written book describes that process from then until now.
July 9, 2015
I caught up with Aaron Patterson’s lawyer, attorney Demitrus Evans, to get the story firsthand. This will be the first in a series of stories that I am working on to expose the cases of current day Black political prisoners in this country, because it is very important that our people know the truth about how this government deals with the people who truly do work on behalf of our empowerment.
June 1, 2015
In front of a packed chamber May 6, the Chicago City Council unanimously approved a reparations ordinance allocating $5.5 million for many of those tortured and framed by police commander Jon Burge and his notorious “Midnight Crew” from 1972 to 1991. Burge and his “crew” extracted false confessions to win convictions of at least 120 people, mostly Black men, using electric shocks, mock executions, suffocation and beatings.
April 28, 2015
The uprising in Baltimore has delivered an unmistakable and powerful message that the time is over when people will tolerate the unending and outrageous murder and brutality carried out by police. The torture and murder of Freddie Gray for nothing – and the ongoing, infuriating lies and coverup – is only the latest in a long line of such horrors in not only Baltimore but all over the U.S., from North Charleston, S.C., to Ferguson, Missouri, from Pasco, Washington, to New York City and beyond – THIS MUST STOP!
March 30, 2015
Inspired by President Barack Obama’s “My Brothers Keeper” initiative, AfroSolo will launch Project Empowerment: The Audacity to Succeed II. An anthology entitled “Lighting up the Future: Letters From Black Men to Young Black Men and Boys,” will be a collection of letters from Black men designed to celebrate, uplift and motivate young Black men and boys to successfully transcend youth to adulthood. We cordially invite your participation.
March 12, 2015
Who were those men who served this country with great pride and dignity? They were Black men who served their enlistment term at Port Chicago Naval Base, in Contra Costa County. These men were enlisted in the service from 1943 to 1946. These men are just now being properly recognized for the historical part they played in making America what it is today.
December 26, 2014
How can a group have over 3 million people with college degrees yet be so underdeveloped economically? How can a people have over 10,000 elected officials yet have so little economic power? Why do African Americans spend only 3 percent of their income with each other? Could that explain why only 9 out of every one thousand African Americans start a business, while other groups are above 100?
October 13, 2014
Pennsylvania legislators are trying to stop prisoners from speaking about their ideas and experiences. Pennsylvania Rep. Mike Vereb introduced a bill, HB2533, called the “Revictimization Relief Act,” which would allow victims, district attorneys and the attorney general to sue people who have been convicted of “personal injury” crimes for speaking out publicly if it causes the victim of the crime “mental anguish.” The bill was written in response to political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal’s commencement speech at Goddard College and is a clear attempt to silence Mumia and other prisoners and formerly incarcerated people.
October 1, 2014
On Sept. 4, a white South Carolina highway patrolman, Sean Groubert, shot a Black motorist in Columbia, South Carolina. LeVar Jones, the shooting victim, survived a bullet in the hip. Richland County’s chief prosecutor had Groubert arrested and charged with felony assault and battery. KPFA’s Ann Garrison spoke to Kevin Alexander Gray, a South Carolina native and co-editor of “Killing Trayvons: An Anthology of American Violence.”
May 20, 2013
The Re-Examining the Lucasville Uprising Conference, held April 19-21 in Columbus, Ohio, to mark the 20th anniversary of the Lucasville Uprising, was a resounding success by all reports. “A strong and vibrant coalition has come together to advocate for innocence of those convicted in the aftermath of the uprising,” reports Noelle Hanrahan of Prison Radio, one of the organizers.
May 20, 2013
I met Ajuan Mance at a function at the San Francisco Main Library, where she had a table displaying her sketches of the many faces of Black men. She was protesting the objectification of the Black male image in the media, while at the same time capturing the natural wild beauty of the Black man. Ajuan’s elegant pen work is second to none. Check this interesting local artist out in her own words …
January 12, 2013
California Department of Public Health director and state health officer Dr. Ron Chapman has unveiled new ethnic-market advertisements that will continue to educate Californians on the harmful effects of tobacco use. The advertisements, which include radio and print ads for the African American market, will start airing in early January and can be viewed at TobaccoFreeCA.com.
December 31, 2012
To our Black youth and men of essence who call themselves men with character and integrity, I am calling you out to take a stand, to stand for something. What will your “something” be? Whatever it may be, allow yourself to empower, enhance and impact someone’s life for the better. You can start with your own children.
September 6, 2012
I didn’t know what to expect and was pleasantly surprised when Esperanza Spalding, the singer-musician, treated her audiences to a socially conscious tour of America with stops at the doors of the prison industrial complex and Mother Nature. The evening moved fluidly from a fireside chat on relationships and love to the concluding number, which spoke to Spalding’s philosophy.
August 29, 2012
There are 123,934 fewer people in New Orleans now than in 2000. How does New Orleans rank today, in comparison to other U.S. cities and the world, seven years after Katrina?
September 30, 2009
The law of unintended consequence works in our favor some of the time. A few weeks ago the Congress of the United States fell all over itself trying to sanction ACORN. As you remember, ACORN is a community-based organization that helps the poor throughout the country. It also registers voters. The reason for the sanction was that some members of the organization were accused of giving some illegal advice. It turns out that such a company specific sanction is unconstitutional. This law must apply to any government contractor, not just ACORN.