February 26, 2014
Rickey Vincent’s new book, “Party Music,” about the Black Panther Party singing group The Lumpen is a great read. The revolutionary singing group was all about the ideology of the Black Panther Party in song and music. The Lumpen had a powerful show. They mixed the contemporary music of James Brown, Curtis Mayfield and Motown and changed the lyrics to provide a positive message in their music.
December 19, 2013
“Love, Peace, and Soul” by the award-winning writer and WPFW broadcaster Ericka Blount is a documented history of the show that helped to launch and sustain the careers of such musical giants as James Brown, the Jackson 5, Marvin Gaye, Barry White, Ike and Tina, Aretha Franklin and more.
September 1, 2013
Martin King said as long as there is economic inequality, there will be racial inequality.The lack of economic empowerment in our community comes from economic dysfunction that is a result of – let’s be real – racism as it relates to how this country has been structured so that the classes, in a real sense, exploit the masses, and especially people of color and, without a doubt, African Americans.
August 31, 2013
“Vigilante on the Loose” is based on a true story about a community plagued with past injustice. This time they chose to stand their ground. Filmed on location in Miami, Florida, the film was produced by Vision Entertainment Group and directed by Timothy Hodges. The once thriving Black section of Miami known as Overtown is virtually destroyed after so-called urban renewal.
May 30, 2013
Sly and the Family Stone are some of the architects of Bay Area-based funk music and, for that matter, Bay Area hip hop, which has borrowed more than just a little bit from the funk. “Coming Back for More” is an excellent documentary that looks at the life and musical rise of the legendary Sly, who started his musical career as a radio personality on the KSOL.
February 1, 2013
There are a lot of people out there who are concerned about how you spend your money. Embrace this glorious month of February and our incomparably rich history that extends back God knows where and support the future Gabby Douglases and Colin Kaepernicks and George Washington Carvers of the world by buying Black.
October 2, 2012
We’ve been “white maled!” Thank God for the ‘60s and ‘70s Black Power and Pride movements and for artists like James Brown who exorcized centuries of shame from our race with one song, “Say It Loud, I’m Black and I’m Proud.” Be Black, buy Black, think Black and support the future Gabby Douglases of the world by voting every day with your dollars. Buy Black Wednesdays business of the month is True Vibe Records.
September 11, 2012
The day is Buy Black Wednesday. I am setting foot in the Pan Afrikan Market Place called Little Nubia, modeled after Harlem in its “hey day,” old Timbuktu and Black Wall Street. So there are over 600 Black businesses in a 10-square-block area. Red, black and green is everywhere. Flags from every Afrikan nation flutter in the summer breeze.
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.
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.”
October 17, 2011
There are those who would have you believe that seeing a black cat (like me?) cross your path will bring you bad luck. But the Native Americans had no idea when they first saw that white cat named Christopher Columbus that he would be bringing them and the whole world 500 years bad luck!
February 5, 2011
Individuals in North Africa, Europe and West Asia are rewriting the history of their countries as “people power” takes center stage. This “people power” has always existed within us; history is written by those who recognize the power of the human dream of freedom and who set about making that dream a reality, against all odds.
May 19, 2010
Malcolm spoke of U.S. imperialism in Africa when most of us were hoodwinked into believing the U.S. were the good guys. Not only did Malcolm disabuse us of those foolish and faulty notions, he railed against U.S. racism and its racist foreign policies. He envisioned dire consequences of U.S. thuggery around the world but particularly in Africa.
December 30, 2009
I learned about the Los Angeles based singer Dasha Chadwick from Facebook. The first time I heard her music was a few months ago, after I looked her singing up on YouTube. Before she was Dasha, the woman, I knew her when she was in the first grade when I used to walk her to school.
July 7, 2009
For those who feel his music was mere bubblegum pop, and thus devoid of serious social commentary, check out one of his post “Thriller” songs, “They Don’t Care About Us.” Filmed in what appears to be a Brazilian favela, surrounded by thousands of dark skinned boys and girls, many drumming to the beat, the song is an anthem of how the rich world treats the poor of the world.
July 3, 2009
On Thursday, June 25, 2009, the world received the shocking news that King of Pop Michael Jackson was on his death bed. By 2:26 that afternoon the much repeated international rumor had become a heartbreaking fact. Musical genius and King of Popular music Michael Joseph Jackson had died at the age of 50 in his Los Angeles home of cardiac arrest, or heart failure, on the eve of his first major tour in 16 years.
April 17, 2009
“Love on Both Sides of the Wall: A Two Way Struggle” plays at the Lesher Center for the Arts in Walnut Creek April 17-18, 6:45 p.m. The production is topnotch, the story of the forgotten Children of the Movement.