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Since the late ‘70s, hip hop culture has been an instrument of empowerment for communities without a voice to fully express themselves via the language of art. Grand Opus’ sophomore album “High Power” contains a perfect blend of thought provoking lyricism and hard hitting beats that make hip hop come alive and communicate a powerful message of empowerment and hope to the Black community.
Do Black lives matter? I challenge everybody on planet earth to retrace their roots; you will find that the more you go back, the more you get Black! Because Mama Af Ra Ka gave birth to humanity. And Africa is the only continent rooted in the earth, that doesn’t float and oscillate. Afrika is the breadbasket of the world. Free Afreeka, for humanity’s sake! Black lives gave birth to civilization, science, mathematics, music, art, poetry and medicine.
On Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 12 and 13, Mbongui Square Festival will be celebrating art and community through dance with over two dozen dancers and choreographers showing off their moves. We caught up with choreographer Byb Bibene of the Kiandanda Dance Theater Company to fill us in on what will be going on at the Mbongui Square Festival, as well as his history with dance and more.
Eritrean born and Oakland raised visual artist Mahader Tesfai has been making a considerable amount of noise around the Town lately, first with his 80 piece installation at the Omi Gallery in downtown Oakland, then by becoming the artistic director of the Matatu Festival of Stories, which is happening next week. Mahader sat down wit’ me exclusively to talk about Black African art in the Tech Era coming out of Oakland.
With the invention of the internet, blogs and YouTube, classic shows and magazines featuring our music, fashion and culture are a thing of the past. Or are they? Benny Franco and Jametria Johnson are the creators of a new video show for independent artists called “The Spot,” based out of Jibril James Fashions in Las Vegas. Although it is music-based, “The Spot” also explores fashion, sports, entrepreneurship and more.
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.
Ayo the Wordslanger is one of the most intense poets that I have ever met in Oakland. She is not just somebody who can rhyme – she can do that. She is somebody with the life experiences to back up her lyrical passion. She doesn’t do cafe poetry; she does street poetry for the masses. There’s nothing Afro-bourgeois about her lyrical content; it’s straight hood. Check her out in her own words.