September 1, 2018
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.”
July 8, 2018
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.
May 23, 2018
“Sorry to Bother You,” written and directed by Oakland’s resident revolutionary MC, Boots, the front man of the political rap group The Coup, is a hilarious cult classic in the making, set to hit theaters in New York, Los Angeles, and the Bay Area in July. This political comedy is based in the streets of Oakland, but it is refreshingly not a cliché hood story. I loved “Sorry to Bother You” most because although it is a protest film, it’s a comedy.
July 3, 2016
The Leimert Park Village Book Fair is held in the well preserved and nationally known Los Angeles Black artistic and cultural neighborhood Leimert Park, home to legendary filmmaker and owner of the Kaos Network Ben Caldwell and the Black bookstore Eso Won Books. Cynthia Exum and her crew have been organizing the Leimert Park Village Book Fair for a decade, which is no small feat. So I sat down with her to discuss this monumental accomplishment.
February 15, 2016
I am writing this from the Bay Area, where tent cities are now slowly re-forming under bridges, and where there is still a palpable buzz about Beyoncé’s performance in the Super Bowl halftime show (sorry, Coldplay). In fact, it’s a topic with far more currency here than the actual dud of a game, and for good reason. This is the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Black Panther Party for Self Defense in the Bay Area.
December 24, 2015
Twenty-one years after Ben Caldwell opened the doors of the Kaos Network for the community Hip Hop workshop, Project Blowed, we are celebrating the birth of one of L.A.’s biggest Hip Hop institutions. The 21st anniversary will be celebrated Sunday, Dec. 27, outside in Leimert Park, in the “La.” Check out Dara Caldwell, the daughter of Ben Caldwell, as she tells us about a golden era in Southern Cali Hip Hop.
October 24, 2014
On Sept. 13, 2014, the most progressive of the Bay Area’s Black and pro-Black journalists came together to celebrate one another and to give awards to a well deserving few. It was also a salute to the real legacy of Black journalism in the United States that was born out of the fight for human rights and self-determination. The night was dedicated to the memory of the recently transitioned journalist and editor Kevin Weston.
September 20, 2014
Thespian, comedian, humanitarian, radio broadcaster and father would all be words to describe this Bay Area renaissance man who has been putting his stamp on Oakland and the Bay Area’s culture for decades. Donald Lacy will be performing his world renowned play, “Color Struck,” on Friday and Saturday, Oct. 3 and 4, at Laney College, 900 Fallon St., at 8 p.m. Check out this Oakland legend as he speaks to us about his history and thoughts.
June 6, 2014
Stand-up comedian Rain Pryor is the daughter of undeniably the most famous comedian in American history, Richard Pryor. And nine years after he passed away, she is the one on stage telling jokes. She is the star of the new documentary, “That Daughter’s Crazy,” which is about her life and being the biracial daughter of Richard Pryor. It will be screening at the San Francisco Black Film Festival on Friday, June 13, 4 p.m., at the Jazz Heritage Center.
March 20, 2014
The story of Souls of Mischief and their crew Hieroglyphics is the story of how Oakland became respected for its lyricism in a genre that was dominated by East Coast wordsmiths. It is a story told by Shomari Smith in his new documentary, “’Til Infinity,” which is about the 20th anniversary of the Souls of Mischief classic album. “’Til Infinity” will be premiering at the Oakland International Film Fest on April 6 at 9 p.m. at the Black Rep Theatre.
January 10, 2014
Leroy Stansfield’s Go Baby Productions has been organizing some of the biggest local comedy shows in the Bay Area over the last few years. I met this local entrepreneur while I was doing the Block Report on KPFA. I sat down to talk to the head comedian in charge, Mr. Leroy Stansfield himself, about his history as a comedian, the history of his company, and his thoughts on the Bay Area comedy scene. Check him out in his own words.
June 12, 2013
Richard Pryor is perhaps the most celebrated comedian in the history of the United States, yet few people know about the time period that took him from Bill Cosby-type comic to the real Richard Pryor who taught us so much about the world and ourselves. Cecil Brown’s much anticipated “Pryor Lives: How Richard Pryor Became Richard Pryor: Kiss My Rich Happy Black Ass” will fill that void.
November 21, 2012
The fiery writing of JR Valrey began appearing in the Bay View a dozen years ago. JR made our original vision for the Bay View reality: to inspire Black youth to build a powerful Black community. As the Bay View’s associate editor and one of KPFA’s most popular programmers with his provocative Block Report Radio shows, JR and the youth who grew up on his empowering words and pictures are growing in influence, making a difference every day – and they’re just getting started.
February 29, 2012
Amoeblog invited author, journalist, broadcaster and activist JR Valrey, aka the People’s Minister of Information, to be a guest contributor. The Oakland-based Valrey, who was interviewed and profiled on the Amoeblog last month, is known for his work on KPFA radio, the San Francisco Bay View newspaper, and his book “Block Reportin’.” The book will soon be available for sale in Amoeba Hollywood’s book section.
June 4, 2011
Ever since I became aware of your music and revolutionary message, your work has moved me. Spiritually, you had the gift to make us experience what you were experiencing. It was like you could put the movie you were singing about on the projectors of our minds.
December 24, 2010
Paul Mooney is one of Black comedy’s biggest breathing legends, long time partner with Richard Pryor. Two of his upcoming performances at the great Black Rep are benefits for SF Bay View – on Tuesday, Dec. 28, at both 7 and 9 p.m. What a great gift for Christmas or Kwanzaa! Be sure to say you’re supporting the Bay View when you reserve your tickets.
December 31, 2009
Bay Area native Paul Mooney is one of the most legendary comedians in this country to touch a mic, not just because he can make his audience laugh, but because intertwined in his jokes there is a certain amount of political commentary and social criticism. Just like his buddy, the late great Richard Pryor, his pro-Black perspective and wittiness can never be deemed irrelevant.
December 28, 2009
This year, as in many years past, Godfather of Comedy Paul Mooney has returned to his roots at the Black Repertory Group Theater in Berkeley for performances every night Dec. 26-31, with three shows on New Year’s Eve. Tickets are selling fast, so call right away: (510) 652-2120 or the hot line, (925) 812-2787. Listen to two hilarious Block Report interviews by Minister of Information JR with Paul Mooney.
December 19, 2008
Prince Lasha wrote, performed – as saxophonist, flutist and clarinetist – and recorded his music all over the globe. He passed away Dec. 12.