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During the National Prison Strike, Jailhouse Lawyers Speak (JLS) inspired incarcerated and outside activists across the country. Activists on the outside were inspired by prisoners’ leadership on the inside, their ability to work effectively through limited communication and under the threat of retaliation. After the strike, incarcerated people were even more inspired by the activism that happened across the country on the inside. Prisoners from each corner of the country are realizing the power that they have to influence positive changes in their environments.
Kanye West has never been afraid to speak out even if what he had to say wasn’t in line with popular opinion. Kanye saying slavery was “a choice” offended many people by degrading the lives of the millions of people who suffered for centuries as slaves. Recently, at the White House, Kanye sprinkled some gold gems in with the foolishness, especially his statement about the 13th Amendment, which did not abolish slavery, not in prison. I refuse to reject the help when entertainers like Kanye West join prisoners in advocating for prisoners’ rights.
Word has it that the first 20 enslaved Africans were brought to Jamestown, Virginia, sometime during the month of August in 1619. Wow! That means next year, August 2019 will extend that legacy to exactly 400 years. Look out, Jamestown, here we come to commemorate, commiserate and consummate 400 years of MAAFA! Below is an excerpt from my poem, “The Art of Living Black,” which summarizes those 400 years, opening with an addition of recent local occurrences and indignities that have become a part of the Black Experience.
Dec. 10, 2017, was the 50th anniversary of Redding’s transition. Jay Z and Kanye West introduced the hip-hop generation to Redding in 2011 when they recorded the track, “Otis.” Forty-four years before that, Redding was on top – known as the most popular male vocalist on Planet Earth. Redding was so popular in England that he ended Elvis Presley’s eight-year reign as the “world’s best male vocalist” on Melody Maker’s annual pop poll in 1967. According to Amiri Baraka, Redding said things in Muhammad Speaks “more ‘radical,’ Blacker, than many of the new musicians.”
Finally, a filmmaker has come to the forefront to confront the identity question in the post-Obama Trump era. Filmmaker Mtume Gant beautifully asks pertinent questions about what it means to be Black in today’s times in his 20-minute short, an official SF Black Film Festival selection called “White Face.” This political satire, an artsy, comedic drama, is a must see for all the politically minded readers out there. Check out the genius of filmmaker Mtume Gant in this exclusive Q&A.
Twenty-two years ago, on April 22, 1995, Rwandan President Paul Kagame’s Rwandan Patriotic Army massacred between 4,000 and 8,000 Hutu men, women and children at the Kibeho Camp for internal refugees in southern Rwanda. I spoke to Rene Mugenzi, a Rwandan refugee, British citizen and human rights activist, who continues to seek acknowledgment and indictment for the crimes against humanity and, arguably, genocide committed at Kibeho in 1995.
Join the rally in front of the Warfield Theater, 982 Market St., San Francisco, Saturday, Oct. 10, 10 a.m., to protest racism toward African...
Writer, reporter and Pan Africanist Obi Egbuna, the U.S. correspondent to the Zimbabwean national newspaper The Herald, recently finished, alongside co-executive producer M1 of dead prez, the third volume of the “Battle Cry for Cuba and Zimbabwe” compilation, which is a cultural protest against how the two countries have been unfairly sanctioned by the U.S. government. Check out Obi Egbuna in his own words.
NAAFRA, our family movement, calls for a youth vanguard to provide added strength for immediate results. The need for a youth vanguard is made very clear in Ferguson, Missouri, where the world has been watching our youth confront a militarized police force prepared to fire on unarmed Black citizens. With these courageous youth directly in the line of fire, at that moment we were too close to a line we do not want to cross.
Veronica Blair has one of those superhero sounding names, and when you find out what her and her friends are into, it may be kind of fitting. Veronica is one of few Black circus artists that I know of in the Bay Area who takes it upon herself to organize events and push the knowledge of our people’s history of involvement in the art form.
What a tragic image: A man and his son handcuffed and shackled together, yet musingly delighted about seeing a senior family member whom they are not going inside to visit. Rather, the two are to join in what is widely considered as America’s modern day form of slavery. The inhumanity represented in this artwork should be disturbing to anyone with a conscience – but few are moved.
The latest Hollywood brouhaha over Gwyneth Paltrow’s decision to tweet the caption “ni**as in Paris for real” to accompany a picture of her with friends Jay-Z and Beyoncé while in Paris doesn’t compare to the new evidence of “fraud upon the court” that has emerged in a largely unnoticed civil rights case that very well should be reopened after being unfairly dismissed six years ago.
Renowned artists and athletes meet once a year in Lake Tahoe to play golf and raise money for charities. Michael Jordan, John Elway, Kevin Nealon, Aaron Rodgers, Dennis Haysbert, Jerome Bettis, Jim Harbaugh, A.J. Hawk, Jim McMahon and many other entertainers and sports figures participated in this fun-in-the-sun annual event.
The 64th Cannes International Film Festival kicked into high gear with a galaxy of stars, writers, directors, producers, distributors and folks from all walks of life celebrating the film industry. African and Caribbean cinema industries were well represented.
Growing up with an older brother like Sean was really a very special gift. Seven years of wisdom separated us. When I was still interested in Barbie and Ken, Sean had long been interested in music. Indeed, you could hardly escape him and his body-popping, breakdancing dance moves on the living room space any time there was company around.
Bay Area journalist JR Valrey, the voice behind Block Report Radio on KPFA and associate editor of SF Bay View, known as the Minister of Information, reports vital news about the struggle against oppression. In the 31 interviews in his new book, "Block Reportin'," he shows what he calls the "big gap between what is going on in the world and what is being reported. I want to inspire people to become their own media and to truly speak on behalf of the people." Meet JR at his first book signing Saturday, March 19, 6:30 p.m., at Marcus Books, 3900 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, Oakland.
Kev Choice is one of the the dopest young musicians I know in Oakland. And I would have to say that L-Boogie aka Lauryn Hill agrees with me, since she hired this dude to be her band leader. Kev Choice tickles the keys like Herbie, emcees like Posdonous and is a band leader like Duke Ellington. The Kev Choice Ensemble out at Yoshi’s in Oakland on Monday, Oct. 26, at 8 p.m.
The videotaped police murder of Oscar Grant is still on the minds of many in the Bay Area who watched it on television New Year’s night. Nine months later, a date of Oct. 6 has been set for Johannes Mehserle, the police trigger-man, to plead his case on why his defense team thinks that they need a change of venue for his murder trial. The hearing is at the Alameda County Courthouse, 1225 Fallon St., in Oakland. The press conference starts at 11:30 a.m. and the hearing begins at 1 p.m. We hope to see as many people as possible there.
A lot of people who met Tupac Shakur say he was such a one-of-a-kind person that you walked away knowing that he was going to make history. I never met Pac, but I could say the same about Malik Yusef, the Wordsmith, from the Rollin' Hundreds in Chicago.