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Let me be the first to say that “Miles Ahead,” the film about the legendary trumpet player Miles Davis, is completely and utterly terrible and devoid of historical information. I’ve been a huge fan of Miles Davis’ music and also the acting of the man who plays Miles, Don Cheadle. Cheadle lost major points with me in this disgusting move to defile the legacy of one of the greatest internationally known trumpet players in history.
As a founding member of the Black Panther Party at the age of 28, Howard swiftly became the party’s minister of information, editing the group’s official newspaper, traveling to Japan as a spokesman and initiating a free medical clinic for sickle-cell anemia and a work-study program for parolees at Merritt College. Now, at age 78, Elbert "Big Man" Howard hosts Jazz Connections, a biweekly jazz show on KRCB-FM in Rohnert Park, and Jazz Styles, a monthly show on KOWS-FM in Sebastopol – playing the same music that he and his comrades relaxed and shared ideas to 50 years ago.
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.
Jazz was the opposite of everything Harry Anslinger, the first commissioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, believed in. It is improvised, and relaxed, and free-form. It follows its own rhythm. Anslinger looked out over a scene filled with men like Charlie Parker, Louis Armstrong and Thelonious Monk, and he longed to see them all behind bars. In the end he scaled down his focus until it settled like a laser on a single target – Billie Holiday.
On Sunday, Feb. 1, 1-3 p.m., to kick off Black History Month, she will be giving a lecture called “Racism and All That Jazz” on African American classical music, aka Jazz, in the Koret Auditorium at the San Francisco Main Library, 100 Larkin St. “I’m honored to have the fabulous Yemanya Napue, percussionists Val Serrant and Sosu Ayansolo and visual artist Duane Deterville collaborate with me on this presentation,” she says.
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 a lot of people out there who are concerned about how you spend your money. Embrace this glorious month of February and our incomparably rich history that extends back God knows where and support the future Gabby Douglases and Colin Kaepernicks and George Washington Carvers of the world by buying Black.
There are those who would have you believe that seeing a black cat (like me?) cross your path will bring you bad luck. But the Native Americans had no idea when they first saw that white cat named Christopher Columbus that he would be bringing them and the whole world 500 years bad luck!
October is Maafa Commemoration Month. The term Maafa refers to the Black Holocaust, that period when African people were stolen and traded in the greatest, most widespread cooperative economic venture to date, which resulted in the displacement of human beings as commodities. The Kiswahili term Maafa extends that definition of loss and trauma, that is, PTSD or post-traumatic slave syndrome – the flashbacks, both conscious and unconscious, reoccurring instances of the atrocities 150 years after the end of slavery which have direct association to the brutality of chattel slavery.
I have been rocking wit’ Ms. Be and her Gemstone camp for a couple of years, and I always told them, Ms. Balance from the group Nutritious needs to put out a solo album. She could rap, she’s pretty and she has an elegant, undoubtedly East Oakland swag about herself.
Kev Choice is one of the the dopest young musicians I know in Oakland. And I would have to say that L-Boogie aka Lauryn Hill agrees with me, since she hired this dude to be her band leader. Kev Choice tickles the keys like Herbie, emcees like Posdonous and is a band leader like Duke Ellington. The Kev Choice Ensemble out at Yoshi’s in Oakland on Monday, Oct. 26, at 8 p.m.