May 26, 2014
The SF Black Film Festival is one of the film festivals that I most look forward to in the Bay Area every year. This year it is from June 12-15 at various theaters in San Francisco. It was founded by the late Ave’ Montague, and now it’s under the direction of her son, Kali O’Ray. Every year I’ve seen great films that don’t have the promotional budgets to reach a wider audience without the help of a festival like SFBFF.
March 13, 2014
The prestigious Oakland International Film Festival brings hard-to-find films from around the world to the big screens of Oakland and surrounding areas. This year one of the headliners is “Toussaint L’Ouverture,” the movie starring Jimmy Jean-Louis, about one of the fathers of the Haitian Revolution. David Roach is one of the founders and the director of the Oakland International Film Fest. Check him out in his own words about this year’s festival.
December 19, 2013
“Love, Peace, and Soul” by the award-winning writer and WPFW broadcaster Ericka Blount is a documented history of the show that helped to launch and sustain the careers of such musical giants as James Brown, the Jackson 5, Marvin Gaye, Barry White, Ike and Tina, Aretha Franklin and more.
September 30, 2013
The 29th birthday of the late El Hajj Malcolm Latif Shabazz, the grandson of the late great El Hajj Malik El Shabazz aka Malcolm X and Betty Shabazz, will be commemorated on Oct. 8, 2013. This is the first birthday since he was brutally murdered in Mexico City on May 9, 2013. Shaykh Hashim Alauddeen was Malcolm’s Imam, and the one who presided over Malcolm’s funeral in Oakland.
June 25, 2013
Sam Pollard is one of the unsung heroes of Black films in Amerikkka. He has been in the cinema industry for over 40 years and is one of the editors of some of Spike Lee’s greatest work, including “Malcolm X,” “Bamboozled,” “4 Little Girls” and “When the Levees Broke.” He will be coming to the Bay Area to do a series of talks on his work at the Pacific Film Archives in Berkeley on June 27 and 29.
June 1, 2013
“Fruitvale,” the award-winning movie about the last 24 hours in the life of Oscar Grant, is set to debut in mid-June in Los Angeles. I caught up with the Bay Area’s own Ryan Coogler to talk about the film. I had some questions about why this film did not include the life and death of Lovelle Mixon and would it be able to be used as a weapon against police terrorism. Read Ryan Coogler’s answers in his own words.
April 30, 2013
There are two film festivals in the Bay Area that are famous for presenting excellent work by Black filmmakers: the Oakland International Film Festival and the San Francisco Black Film Festival. In a few weeks, thousands of people will be trailing into theaters all over San Francisco to check out what the SF Black Film Fest has deemed some of the best Black indie films of the year.
February 8, 2013
One of the best events that is held annually in Oakland is the Oakland International Film Festival (OIFF). Since 2002, thousands continue to attend the OIFF each year. Oakland filmmakers and filmmakers from around the world continue to benefit from contacts made during the OIFF. Who will be there this year? Time will tell. Until then, read the words of the founding director of the OIFF David Roach …
January 28, 2013
Movie-goers across the country are embroiled in heavy social media discussions or water cooler arguments about Quentin Tarantino’s use and Spike Lee’s criticism of use of the infamous N-word in the blockbuster hit “Django Unchained.” During the last couple of decades there has been an interesting ongoing dialogue concerning the use, misuse and exploitation of the so-called N-word.
January 5, 2013
This year, on the 150 anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, we all need to heed the words of Sister Jayne Cortez: “And if we don’t fight / if we don’t resist / if we don’t organize and unify and / get the power to control our own lives / Then we will wear / the exaggerated look of captivity …” And don’t miss Wanda’s excellent, no holds barred reviews of “Django Unchained,” “Lincoln and “Red Hook Summer,” plus Dr. King birthday events listing and much more
June 13, 2012
The latest Hollywood brouhaha over Gwyneth Paltrow’s decision to tweet the caption “ni**as in Paris for real” to accompany a picture of her with friends Jay-Z and Beyoncé while in Paris doesn’t compare to the new evidence of “fraud upon the court” that has emerged in a largely unnoticed civil rights case that very well should be reopened after being unfairly dismissed six years ago.
May 28, 2012
In the midst of the Dallas Film Society’s International Film Festival in April, Southern Methodist University hosted the 38th African Literature Association Conference that feted celebrated international film director Jean Pierre Bekolo. Inspired by Spike Lee, Bekolo says Lee “gave me the vision that I could do this thing, that I could film from the perspective of Africa.”
March 27, 2012
Reminiscent of Tupac in his heyday, Valrey speaks expressively, exercising his freedom of speech and bringing prominence to real Black issues that we face on a day-to-day basis. When he speaks, people listen. He educates the masses on police terrorism, a cause that he is well informed and passionate about.
March 16, 2012
In a Hollywood Reporter article, Spike Lee is quoted: “In 1989, ‘Do the Right Thing’ was not even nominated [for best picture],” said Lee, with some mock outrage. “What film won best picture in 1989? ‘Driving Miss Mother F-ing Daisy!’ That’s why [Oscars] don’t matter,” said Lee. “Because 20 years later, who’s watching ‘Driving Miss Daisy?’”
February 21, 2012
Malcolm was our manhood, our living, Black manhood! This was his meaning to his people. Consigning these mortal remains to earth, the common mother of all, secure in the knowledge that what we place in the ground is no more now a man but a seed which, after the winter of our discontent, will come forth again to meet us. And we will know him then for what he was and is. A prince. Our own Black shining prince who didn’t hesitate to die because he loved us so.
February 13, 2012
“Slavery by Another Name” tells how even as chattel slavery came to an end in the South in 1865, thousands of African Americans were pulled back into forced labor with shocking force and brutality. An official selection of the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, it premieres on PBS Monday, Feb. 13, at 10 p.m. PT on KQED Channel 9
December 28, 2011
Arriving at Atlanta Hartsfield International Airport from cities throughout America, aspiring college students were excited. The tour would visit Spelman College, Morehouse College and Clark-Atlanta University in Atlanta, also Alabama State University and Tuskegee University in Alabama.
May 19, 2011
El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz (Malcolm X), born 86 years ago on May 19, 1925, was loved by the oppressed and hated by the oppressors. Our “Black Shining Prince,” in the words of Ossie Davis, aimed to “use whatever means necessary to bring about a society in which the 22 million Afro-Americans are recognized and respected as human beings.” His influence is immeasurable – from music to foreign policy to religion. Today Islam, followed then by very few, is the second largest religion in the United States and Canada.
February 18, 2011
On the afternoon of Feb. 21, 1965, I went to the Audubon Ballroom to hear Malcolm X speak. It was the saddest day of my life. An update has been added to this story, originally published in 2009.
August 10, 2010
Two things we know for sure: Hollywood and hip hop get media attention. And for Haiti, that translates into big media hype for actor Sean Penn and rapper-turned-presidential candidate, Wyclef Jean. How may we use this media glare to help the 2 million Haitians made homeless by the earthquake?