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In the same way that Black dollars matter, our story also matters and we are responsible for holding and sharing our stories and the stories of our ancestors. Often in public education the stories of our ancestors are left out of the curriculum with the more popularized figures crammed into the shortest month of the year. In an attempt to assist with centralizing our story on our collective consciousness I’ve worked with Sincere in Michigan’s Department of Corrections to create OurStory Calendar.
On the second weekend of June this year, the San Francisco Black Film Festival will be celebrating its 19th year by screening over 100 independent Black films in this annual four-day cinema marathon. San Francisco Black Film Festival director Kali O’Ray, son of founder Ave Montague, sits down to discuss how it feels for the festival to celebrate its 19th birthday, the importance of indie films, remaining in a city that was once a lot more chocolate but has been gentrified to 3 percent Black – and more.
Sunday, Oct. 16, was the 48th anniversary of that indelible moment in 1968 when John Carlos and Tommie Smith put their heads down and fists up on the Olympic medal stand as the anthem played, their friend the Australian silver-medalist Peter Norman standing in solidarity with their protest. Forty-eight years later to the day, in Buffalo, New York, Colin Kaepernick made his first start of the 2016 season as his 49ers took on the Bills.
I talked to a future repatriate, my comrade Dr. Chris Zamani, about his recent trip to South Africa in search of a homeland and a place for him to stick his flag. I talked to him about some of the factors that he has to consider in order to prepare to make that move. He has a very interesting outlook on history and life that is driving his decision to want to leave the U.S., and I wanted to share this ongoing conversation that we have been having with each other for the last few years. Check out Dr. Zamani in his own words ...
The same mindset that allows a police officer to summarily execute an innocent, unarmed Black person in the street is the same mindset that allows an officer to plant evidence and lie on the witness stand. It allows a judge to appoint a knowingly incompetent defense attorney, and it allows a prosecutor to withhold evidence, use false evidence, to overcharge and to discriminate with impunity.
When discussing the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr., especially his “I Have a Dream Speech,” what is often missed is his concern for global justice, particularly in Africa. While Dr. King’s outspokenness about the Vietnam War toward the end of his life has been well documented and discussed, his views about the need to support anti-colonialism and anti-Apartheid in Africa is less so.
Just in time for Easter Sunday, television news stations are reporting that the “Gang of Eight” has reached a deal on immigration reform. This Gang of Eight, of course, is comprised of Republican and Democratic senators. The idea is to be a bipartisan committee that works together to solve America’s immigration issues.
“The 16th Strike,” a documentary in progress, is directed and produced by T Alika Hickman with videographer Danny Russo. Hickman, the young survivor of a stroke and two brain aneurysms, is a Hip Hop artist with Krip Hop Nation – artists with disabilities – as well as a mother, activist, author and poet. She is raising funds to complete the film.
On the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., it comes to mind that from day one our society and culture have been heavily influenced by film. The recent slavery-related films, “Lincoln,” directed by Steven Spielberg, and “Django Unchained,” directed by Quentin Tarantino, will have a social, economic and psychological impact.
In the midst of the Dallas Film Society’s International Film Festival in April, Southern Methodist University hosted the 38th African Literature Association Conference that feted celebrated international film director Jean Pierre Bekolo. Inspired by Spike Lee, Bekolo says Lee “gave me the vision that I could do this thing, that I could film from the perspective of Africa.”