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Aretha Franklin, the radical Queen of Soul

After gracing the planet for 76 years, Aretha Franklin joined the ancestors Thursday, Aug. 16, 2018. President Obama: “Aretha helped define the American experience. In her voice, we could feel our history, all of it and in every shade – our power and our pain, our darkness and our light, our quest for redemption and our hard-won respect. May the Queen of Soul rest in eternal peace.”

Arrest the president! Sue the government! Our Nia, our purpose will...

Let me be the first to say it: Nia Wilson would be alive today if somebody else had been elected president in 2016! The man arrested for Nia’s murder was not alone. He had an accomplice. The president was not there in person Sunday night, July 22, at the MacArthur BART subway station when Nia Wilson was brutally stabbed to death and her sister viciously attacked, but his spirit was.

Thank you, Brother Ron

He was our local Frederick Douglass. Even looked a bit like him: dashingly handsome, tall, strong, fierce, dedicated, educated, elegant and eloquent. And deeply rooted in the community. The former civil rights activist, mayor of Oakland and congressman, who put programs for the people ahead of war and weapons of mass destruction, the honorable and distinguished elder Ron Dellums joined the ancestors July 30, after making his presence felt on this planet for 82 years.

Oakland All Stars, come home, subscribe to the Bay View!

Possibly the only thing that could be worse for Oakland than a loss of a third of its Black population in less than 30 years is that so many of its stars develop their chops, their talents and skills in Oakland and then leave and don’t come back or give back! Our community treasure chest would be much richer if our Oakland All Stars came back home! Most of the great talent that Oakland develops leaves to enrich the coffers and treasure chests of other cities and countries.

‘WE are the Bay View’: Kevin Jones-Bey and Sundiata Acoli salute...

I am not a world-renowned freedom fighter. In fact, I contributed to the destruction of lives and communities. In spite of this ugly truth, Willie and Mary Ratcliff and the Bay View family have given me opportunities when no one else would. I am not unique. The Bay View is THE voice of countless Sisters and Brothers. Indeed, WE are the Bay View, and if we are not for ourselves, who will be for us? Twenty-four dollars is a paltry sum. The San Francisco Bay View is priceless.

Wanda’s Picks for March 2018

I don’t know how Avotcja does it all: host two radio shows, perform with her band Modupue and curate such a phenomenal series of poetry and storytelling events. Yet she does and has for more years than we have fingers and toes. This is why, though I appreciated and loved “Beloved Oakland,” I think two culture workers were left out: Avotcja and Paradise. I would not have excluded any of the awardees; however, to omit Avotcja is like forgetting to bow to the Queen (as in Califa, not Victoria).

Wanda’s Picks for February 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.

Colin Kaepernick, Rosa Parks, Muhammad Ali and Curt Flood

Colin Kaepernick just became an instant national hero in the Black community, risking his career like Muhammad Ali, taking a stand or a seat like Rosa Parks, and shocking the sports world by doing what the vast majority of modern day athletes wouldn’t dare even think about doing and jeopardize their million dollar contracts by speak out against injustice. So WE GOT YOUR BACK, CAP!

Black Elders Fund

The purpose of the Black Elders Fund of Oakland is to serve local elders in need and or purely on the basis of merit, to support them and the work they’re doing, help them with present day needs, provide services for them, rides and financial aid, do errands, check up on them and collect and archive their stories, recipes and wisdom for the community and the diaspora.

Maafa 2015: We remember the ancestors

The 20th anniversary of the San Francisco Bay Area’s Maafa Commemoration, Sunday, Oct. 11, was really lovely. The day was slightly overcast, and when I arrived there was a drumming circle, with Afrikans dancing and singing. The lit walkway leading to the Doors of No Return and the shrine before the ocean was inviting, yet no one seemed anxious to make that journey – we knew where that path lay and were not looking forward to the turmoil – so the children of the children of the children of that time long ago stayed on the shores and watched the sea. We are looking for 20th anniversary reflections to publish on maafasfbayarea.com.

Paradise’s Theory of Relativity (to End Racism)

So this poem is for everybody on planet earth, even though I start it out by saying: When I was younger ... I used to wonder ... why my elders would be talking holes in my clothes about Blackness? I just thought it was to make me feel better about my situation: being a Black man in America. But a funny thing happened to me while I was searching for my blackness: I found God!

Jambalaya in my soul: A tribute to Pat Parker

Annually, one of the greatest human beings on the planet, Avotcja Jiltonilro, organizes and/or participates in a tribute to the legendary warrior poet, Pat Parker. Pat Parker confronted the world in the precarious position of being non-white, non-male, non-heterosexual in a racist, misogynist, homophobic, imperial oxymoronically named melting pot of culture. And she blew the lid off the mess with truth.

Good hair and fair skin vs. Gabby Douglas, Michelle Obama and...

We’ve been “white maled!” Thank God for the ‘60s and ‘70s Black Power and Pride movements and for artists like James Brown who exorcized centuries of shame from our race with one song, “Say It Loud, I’m Black and I’m Proud.” Be Black, buy Black, think Black and support the future Gabby Douglases of the world by voting every day with your dollars. Buy Black Wednesdays business of the month is True Vibe Records.

Letest News

Shamann Walton hearing on Jeff Adachi’s complaint of abuse in SF...

Following a spike in allegations of abuse at the hands of sheriff deputies in San Francisco county jails, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors’ Government Audit and Oversight Committee held a hearing during its meeting on Thursday to examine how these allegations are investigated, and why investigations are conducted within the Sheriff’s Department rather than through an independent oversight body.

Hip hop and culture: ‘High Power’ by Grand Opus

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.

Gov. Newsom’s executive order halts death penalty. Now let’s drop LWOP!

Our hope is that Gov. Newsom will extend the equity and justice informed lens that brought him to stop the death penalty as he moves forward examining other forms of extreme sentencing in California, including Life Without the Possibility of Parole.

‘We stand with Ilhan’ against Zionism and anti-Semitism

Omar, a Somali immigrant representing her Minnesota community, and Tlaib, a member of Michigan’s Palestinian community, are the first Muslim women elected to Congress. They back the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign opposing Israeli oppression of the Palestinian people.

San Francisco Peer-Run Warm Line – here to support the community!

Everyone in the Bay Area is welcome to call and discuss whatever life brings – anxiety, discrimination, housing issues, money concerns, depression, interpersonal conflicts, grief or loss, hearing voices, loneliness, substance use problems or just needing someone to talk to – Warm Line counselors are available via phone and live online chat.