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Possibly the only thing that could be worse for Oakland than a loss of a third of its Black population in less than 30 years is that so many of its stars develop their chops, their talents and skills in Oakland and then leave and don’t come back or give back! Our community treasure chest would be much richer if our Oakland All Stars came back home! Most of the great talent that Oakland develops leaves to enrich the coffers and treasure chests of other cities and countries.
On the 50th anniversary of Dr. King’s assassination, Wednesday, April 4, we need to stop and reflect on the many landmark movements which began 50 years ago … like hip-hop. For the Oakland Museum of California to showcase this culture in an exhibit entitled “RESPECT: Hip Hop Style and Wisdom” now through August 2018 is to elevate this conversation and its creators to a level unprecedented.
The 50th Anniversary of the Black Panther Party Conference, Oct. 20-23, held at the Oakland Museum of California and in Bobby Hutton Grove at deFremery Park, was a huge success. To see the Vanguards of the Revolution saluted in such elegant surroundings at the banquet Saturday evening was certainly a fitting tribute to the legacy their lives concretely represent. Hats off to the committee that organized the conference.
T-Rydah, one third of the Black Panther Fugitives rap group, is gearing up to release a solo album, produced solely by Jamil, another member of the group, this spring called “Hard Times/Good Times.” Today you can find T-Rydah, Jamil and their Red Camera shooting videos, recording vocals or listening to some of Jamil’s beats. Check out T-Rydah speaking for himself.
Alongside the political and class contradictions that you can see in the documentary about how Baltimore police – and police all over the nation – treat Black youth, “The 12 O’Clock Boys” is a very human story about a young Black man trying to survive in an environment not meant for his survival, but for his capture and/or his extermination.
Soul is one of the newer voices from the Oakland music community that will be performing at one of the first music festivals of the year in the Town, the Oakland Music Crawl, which is this Saturday in downtown Oakland, starting at 2 p.m. There will be a number of concerts inside restaurants and galleries as well as outside in the streets. Soul will be performing at Spice Monkey, 1628 Webster St., in downtown from 8-10:30 p.m.
Phesto Dee, a quarter of the membership of Souls of Mischief, is arguably the most vicious and complex lyricist in the whole Hiero camp. Phesto’s respect in the game has recently been documented and highlighted on the new documentary, “’Til Infinity,” which is set to premiere on April 6 at 9 p.m. at the Black Repertory Theatre, as a part of the Oakland International Film Fest.
Word reached The Liberator Magazine that revolutionary Black independent media is about to expand with the impending launch of Block Report Radio Station on the internet. So they sought out its founder, Oakland journalist JR Valrey, to ask him why he devotes his life to independent media and what we can expect from the new Block Report Radio Station.
On Saturday, Aug. 31, Oakland will host a reception concluding Joe Capers Month, named after a rarely heard of but very integral part of the early Bay Area music scene. Naru Kwina, Leroy Moore and others are working on a documentary on this underground legend to make sure that his contributions are remembered. Check out Naru Kwina in his own words ...
The 15th Annual San Francisco Black Film Festival was a huge success with hundreds in attendance. Some of the headlining films included documentaries on Iceberg Slim and Sly from the Family Stone. Tupac Shakur’s 42nd birthday was celebrated in style with a number of revolutionary and reality rap legends in the Fillmore celebrating him 17 years after his assassination in Las Vegas in ‘96.
Money B has been a Hip Hop legend for over 20 years wit’ the funk-heavy rap group Digital Underground. And I wanted to do this interview with him to talk about his friend, comrade and band mate, the late Tupac Shakur. This year, just like most years, the Bay is having a Tupac Shakur Birthday Party. This year it will be at Yoshi’s in San Francisco, on June 16.
The story of the late Joe Capers continues to unfold with help from Naru Kwina, Krip-Hop Nation and Joe’s family. Joe Capers, aka Blind Joe, changed Oakland’s music sound in the ‘80s and early ‘90s with his talents in engineering and playing musical instruments. He came to Oakland by the way of Texas with his family.
A now famous quote from Ernesto Che Guevara says, “At the risk of sounding ridiculous, the true revolutionary is guided by great feelings of love.” The legacy of the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense has proven this repeatedly, even though the city in which the party was born continues to shower those who struggle within her boundaries with the most heinous disrespect.
Tupac Shakur, a very talented rapper and actor who defined the aspirations and frustrations of a generation, was shot on Sept. 7, 1996, and died on Sept. 13. On June 16, Bobby Beats, the father of Digital Underground’s Money B and a former Black Panther, organized one of the biggest, most exciting and most meaningful Tupac birthday parties in history.
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.
Oakland has never had a dominant rapper who’s a woman in its long rap history. Today, the Sobrante Park bred Silence the Violence activist and rapper Queen Deelah is the one who is turning heads from the Town all the way to Austin, Texas. Recently while I was in Austin, I ran into Deelah, the transplant who had taken over the sleepy Texas city in a matter of months.
Happy Mother’s Day to Yuri Kochiyama! I’d like to also wish the women who haven’t seen their children in a long time, some since birth, a special Happy Mother’s Day. Our prayers are with you even if you feel alone at a time when in America prisons systematically separate mothers from their children, often permanently.