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By now, many of you may have had the opportunity to view the brilliant screenwriter-director Ryan Coogler’s film, “Black Panther,” which was produced and distributed by the for-profit European-American owned and operated Marvel and Walt Disney corporations. For the past few weeks, people of differing ages and nationalities have been flashing the cross-armed “‘Wakanda’ Forever” sign. i will not at this time debate the neo-colonialist and imperialistic politics of this technically-stunning visual work.
Those of us in the San Francisco Bay Area reflect on the legacy and work that illustrated the life of Queen Mother Makinya Kouate. After Maulana Karenga gave the students from Merritt College a mimeographed sheet with notes about a harvest festival called Kwanzaa, the Oakland-Berkeley team started hosting community Kwanzaas in their homes. Later Sister Makinya would travel to Africa and learn more about harvest festivals
The 50th Anniversary of the Black Panther Party Conference, Oct. 20-23, held at the Oakland Museum of California and in Bobby Hutton Grove at deFremery Park, was a huge success. To see the Vanguards of the Revolution saluted in such elegant surroundings at the banquet Saturday evening was certainly a fitting tribute to the legacy their lives concretely represent. Hats off to the committee that organized the conference.
When you talk about Oakland’s homegrown musical talent, you have to talk about people like the Tonies, Ledisi, Sheila E, the Escovedos, Silk E, the Coup and many more. Kev Choice is a chip off of that old block. He is a multi-instrumentalist as well as an MC. Kev Choice will be performing at Oakland Yoshi’s on Thursday, Feb. 28, at 8 p.m. Check out Kev Choice in his own words.
There are many great programs for youth in the San Francisco Bay Area – among them, AileyCamp at Cal Performances, Destiny Arts, Oaktown Jazz Workshop, Dimensions Extensions and Oakland Public Conservatory of Music, founded by Angela Wellman.
Required reading for Americans pre-fireworks and festivities should be an important speech given by abolitionist and former slave Frederick Douglass, who, in “What to the American Slave is Your Fourth of July?” questions this holiday which took place while citizens were denied their right to justice, freedom and equality. At the Oakland Public Conservatory, Michael Lange and youth wordsmiths Ayinde Webb, the drummer in the Frederick Douglass Youth Ensemble, and Jamani Williams will read excerpts.