February 10, 2017
Happy Black History Month. Knowledge is power, something Black people from Frederick Douglass to Sojourner Truth, Rosa Parks to Kamala Harris have never taken for granted. If white people would kill a Black person for teaching someone to read, not to mention knowing how to read – enough said! The Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH), Dr. Carter G. Woodson’s organization, has chosen the theme: “Crisis in Education” for 2017.
January 28, 2017
Ayodele Nzinga’s “Mama at Twilight: Death by Love” is a haunting look at a family crippled by circumstances. How does a man prepare for adult responsibilities when his father is nowhere around? When a young Marie-Rose meets Mario Jefferson at 15 doing community service at her father’s church, she knows he is the man she wants to spend her life with. Three grown children later, Mama still loves the man she fell in love with and has no regrets over its costly price or the raised eyebrows and whispers that sought to sanction her.
January 2, 2017
2017 marks the centennial of the nation’s bloodiest race riot in the 20th century in East St. Louis, Illinois. Migrant Black people were hired to work as miners to replace striking white workers at the Aluminum Ore Co. The white workers stormed City Hall demanding redress from the mayor. Shortly thereafter, news of an attempted robbery of a white man by an armed Black man set off the reign of terror in downtown East St. Louis in which unarmed Black men, women and children were pulled from trollies and street cars and beaten and shot down in the street.
December 12, 2016
“Mama at Twilight: Death by Love” is a love story that offers a frank examination of family life in the inner-city as it intersects mass incarceration, poor access to health care, religious taboos and struggles under the burden of imposed tropes of man and womanhood. The Lower Bottom Playaz traditionally offer works that interrogate the experience of being human through the lens of the North American African experience. “Mama at Twilight: Death by Love” follows this tradition.
January 2, 2016
August Wilson is considered one of America’s greatest playwrights, and the work that comprises The American Century Cycle, one of the outstanding achievements of the modern theater, is performed across the globe. But only Oakland’s premiere North American African theater company has performed the entire Cycle in chronological order. The Lower Bottom Playaz close the cycle with the timely production of the only play in the cycle that is told from the lens of developers. Wilson’s Hill District in Pittsburgh, Penn., and Oakland, Calif., 2015 hold a lot of common ground. “Radio Golf” continues through Sunday, Jan. 3, 2016, 2 p.m., at the Flight Deck, 1540 Broadway, Oakland.
April 30, 2015
The Lower Bottom Playaz, Oakland’s premiere North American African theater company, under the direction of Ayodele Nzinga, in collaboration with OYNX, will present staged readings of “Zara’s Faith,” a play by physician-activist Marc Sapir, on June 6 and 7. “Zara’s Faith,” set in a city that could be Oakland or any inner city in America, unfolds around the police shooting of two unarmed brothers on their way to meet friends.
January 1, 2015
Happy New Year! Happy Birthday to my granddaughter Brianna, niece Wilda and friend Fred T. I am still smiling about America’s new relationship with Cuba and the freed Cuban 5. If you are in New Orleans (NOLA), don’t miss “Prospect 3: Notes for Now,” the biennial there being celebrated throughout the city through Jan. 25.
December 4, 2014
August Wilson’s largest message is to remember. He insists we remember our song, that we do our duty to life by remembering we were born free with dignity and everything. He is a Sankofa playwright capable of making the past come to life in the present. His methodology a metaphor for remembering you must look back to move forward successfully; if you drop the ball, you’ve got to go back to get it to be successful in the end zone.
July 1, 2014
The Lower Bottom Playaz, in their 14th season, present “Two Trains Running,” the seventh play in the American Century Cycle by August Wilson, at The Flight Deck. The Lower Bottom Playaz take pride in paying actors and technical crew and need to raise $2,500 by July 31; please contribute all you can to this troupe that is the pride of the Black Bay Area and buy your tickets for performances Aug. 1, 2 and 3.
July 2, 2013
Ayodele “Wordslanger” Nzinga is a major thespian and theatrical force in the Bay Area hailing from the Lower Bottoms of West Oakland. She is now involved in producing the works of the great August Wilson and is currently producing “Seven Guitars,” which will run the last weekend in June and the first two weekends in July. Tune in as Ayo gives us some game on our history.
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.
October 6, 2010
August Wilson is one of the most if not the most important playwright of the 20th century. His “Pittsburgh Cycle” pens the 20th century North American African experience through gentrification and trauma of the recurrent loss of geographical space.