June 25, 2014
This is a story about music, radio and the connection to the human spirit. The date is Jan. 10, 1992, and Troy Williams and his cellmate at Pelican Bay Prison are using wire to make an antenna for a radio. Williams was looking for something on the radio he was familiar with, but as usual he was greeted by a flurry of country music. This particular night however, Williams and his cellmate were fortunate.
April 12, 2014
KPOO Radio is the first station on the dial to play local Hip Hop. DJ X-1 is one of the godfathers of the Bay Area Hip Hop radio movement, and he is famous for breaking local Hip Hop artists like JT the Bigga Figga and, within recent years, Beeda Weeda and J. Stalin. Although he is still on terrestrial radio, he has now turned his attention to owning audio real estate on the internet with his newest creation, Turnd Up Radio.
March 20, 2014
The story of Souls of Mischief and their crew Hieroglyphics is the story of how Oakland became respected for its lyricism in a genre that was dominated by East Coast wordsmiths. It is a story told by Shomari Smith in his new documentary, “’Til Infinity,” which is about the 20th anniversary of the Souls of Mischief classic album. “’Til Infinity” will be premiering at the Oakland International Film Fest on April 6 at 9 p.m. at the Black Rep Theatre.
February 22, 2014
Greg Bridges is one of the Black broadcasting giants on the airwaves of the Bay Area. He was recently named “Announcer of the Year” by KCSM, yet ironically his show, Transitions on Traditions, faces an uncertain future at KPFA and Pacifica Radio, which has been mired in racism and discriminatory towards Black and other broadcasters of color from coast to coast.
February 2, 2014
If you take a little Theolonius Monk, mix it with Yasiin Bey aka Mos Def, with a little twist of some Lauryn Hill and Curtis Mayfield and put it on an Oakland soundscape, you’ll get what bandleader and pianist Kev Choice cooked up on his newly released, soon to be classic album, “Oakland Riviera.” By far this is one of the best sounding, most creative and most political albums to come out of Oakland’s Hip Hop scene in the last few years.
August 31, 2013
With the U.S. economy turning a blind eye to unemployment in the Black community, it is on us to create business and employment opportunities for our community, and Taiwo Kujichagulia-Seitu and her collective of dedicated women, known as the Lyric Dance and Vocal Ensemble, have answered the call by opening the Lyric Performing Arts Academy in downtown Oakland.
July 27, 2013
The two sisters, Helene and Celia Faussart, who make up the hypnotic neo soul group Les Nubians made a major breakthrough when their song “Makeda,” which is sung in French, hit the American pop charts a little less than a decade ago. Not since the reign of Sade in the ‘80s can I remember international music that attracted so much attention on U.S. soil.
June 14, 2013
Since 1979, June has been designated as Black Music Month. The annual celebration was the result of a collaboration between songwriter and producer Kenneth Gamble of Gamble and Huff and broadcasters Ed Wright and Dyana Williams. The Root spoke to Gamble about how Black Music Month was born, what the first celebration at the White House was like and whether the annual observance remains relevant.
March 21, 2013
Rumors are flying around that plans are under way to sell WPFW to corporate media giant Clear Channel. Before we let Pacifica ruin the tiny bit of a voice that Black people have in D.C., we have to ring the alarm so all the lovers of public radio in the nation can rally up and hopefully save the day. This is a revealing Q&A interview that I did with WPFW broadcaster Luke Stewart …
November 9, 2012
In the world of jazz, John Coltrane is viewed as a spiritually driven supremely gifted sax player, one of the greatest horn players to ever live. So when I ran into Gary Golio’s book “Spirit Seeker,” I was interested in seeing if he was trying to exploit our beloved St. John Coltrane or if he was trying to bring another generation into the knowledge of Coltrane’s legacy. He did the latter, masterfully.
July 8, 2012
Storytelling is one of the most ancient forms of entertainment – before radio, television, paper and cinema. Ayodele “Wordslanger” Nzinga is one of the Bay Area’s most talented griots who tells stories of the past through her West Oakland-based theater company, The Lower Bottom Playaz. The legendary August Wilson’s “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” opens July 13.
December 10, 2011
Filled to the rafters with music posters, pictures of musicians, and racks of vinyl, Creative Music has everything you’re looking for. Owners Joe and Elba Lambert are retiring, closing the store Dec. 31. Stop by for great bargains and warm fellowship 11:30 a.m.-7 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday.
June 29, 2011
A number of trees have fallen in the forest this past month and we want to acknowledge the huge spaces their absence brings: Geronimo ji jaga Pratt, Black Panther, decorated veteran of multiple wars …
May 19, 2011
El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz (Malcolm X), born 86 years ago on May 19, 1925, was loved by the oppressed and hated by the oppressors. Our “Black Shining Prince,” in the words of Ossie Davis, aimed to “use whatever means necessary to bring about a society in which the 22 million Afro-Americans are recognized and respected as human beings.” His influence is immeasurable – from music to foreign policy to religion. Today Islam, followed then by very few, is the second largest religion in the United States and Canada.
April 24, 2011
“My latest release, ‘In the Studio with Augusta Collins,’ is produced by Emmy award-winning producer Anita S. Woodley. On this album, I am channeling Leadbelly. I am performing my music with something to say about each song.” – Oakland blues man Augusta Collins
August 10, 2010
Monday nights, 7-10 p.m., on KPFA are a treat for Black listeners and people who like Black programming, but now Walter Turner’s Africa Today and Greg Bridges’ Transitions on Traditions are on the chopping block. Join other defenders of Black radio for the screening of ‘Disappearing Voices: The Decline of Black Voices on the Radio’ on Tuesday, Aug. 17, 6:30 p.m., at the Black Dot Cafe, 1195 Pine St., West Oakland.
July 19, 2009
By far one of the most revolutionary cultural groups to put words to music in the United States is the Last Poets. Many, including myself, trace the roots of rap music to the spoken word, lyrics and speeches of the Last Poets, Gil Scott Heron and the current political prisoner Imam Jamil Al-Amin, otherwise known as H. Rap Brown.
May 9, 2009
D.A.T. is one of those artist that have been bending the sound of what hip hop is in the Bay Area kind of like how Digital Underground, Hieroglyphics and Living Legends did in the ‘80s and ‘90s. D.A.T. is currently one of the most well liked performers and he hosts some of the dopest hip hop/live band parties where people are sure to be dancing, sweating and happy.