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.”
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.
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.
Miguel Gonalez is a Colombian man who teaches youth how to play the traditional African-Indiginous rhythms of our ancestors from all over Africa and the Americas, opening the door for children intellectually trapped in the system’s schools to develop a knowledge of self, with the first steps being through playing the heartbeat, the drums. His organization, New Urban Drum Culture, is unique in its approach in helping to build self-esteem in at-risk inner-city youth.
West Coast Hip Hop is going through a renaissance of new voices with people like Trill Youngins, Anderson Paak, Vince Staples, Nef the Pharoh, Cousin Fik and Oakland’s DB Tha General. I became aware of DB Tha General because the streets was talking, but I heard his music for the first time when my cousin Smock pulled up “Mac Blast” on YouTube and told me that this was one of the coldest battle/diss records ever produced from out of the Bay.
Because of his experiences he encountered people from every background regardless of ethnicity, nationality, economic class, gender, social class, age and mentality. Therefore he was able to attract a crowd, speak to every person’s heart and mind, reach and mobilize people towards what everyone essentially wants and needs; but specifically in the Black Community he was progressing the liberation work of his grandfather.
I have known Iminah, the renaissance woman who works under the brand name “From Ghetto to Goddess,” for a few years, and I continue to be inspired by how she serves the Black community. Since moving back to Oakland from Atlanta where she went to college, Iminah has been involved with speaking to at-risk youth, writing and recording an album, and dancing in everything from plays and dance shows to music videos.
Tribute to the Jacka TODAY, Sunday, Feb. 8, 3-7 p.m., on KPOO 89.5FM or kpoo.com , hosted by The People’s Minister of Information JR. On Monday, Feb. 2, ‘15, one of the Bay Area’s most beloved and well known rappers was killed in East Oakland. In 2009, the Jacka told me in an interview: “They don’t want us here. You just gotta do whatever you gotta do to get that positivity in while you’re on the planet and while you’re breathin’, man, and get it right, because you never know what’s going to happen. They got a plan for us. They tryin’ to take us out.”
Oct. 8 will mark the 30th birthday of Young Malcolm Shabazz. It’s been over a year since his murder in Mexico City. As time goes by, it becomes clearer and clearer, even to the most skeptical of people, that this was a straight up assassination, like what was done to Malcolm’s grandfather and great grandfather. It is a must that we regularly commemorate the people who mean something to us, especially those who have fought for our human rights.
Da Cotton Pickas have emerged from the constant witnessing of the blatant disrespect that is daily being poured into our communities and our households nationwide. The time has come again for rebellious, radical, revolutionary, spiritual and gangsta music to be brought to the forefront with no apologies and no fear of repercussions.
TaLea Monet, aka Ms. Incredible, is an MC based in Frisco’s Hunters Point with skills and a very distinct voice. She recently dropped her debut album titled “Birth of a New Breed,” featuring her two beautiful children on the front cover. I wanted to sit down with this hometown shero and talk about her history and her latest musical offering to the people. Hear’s Ms. Incredible in her own words ...
Chris Zamani, founder of the Hapo Zamani Za Kale clothing line, is a t-shirt designer who is on the pioneering front of trying to politicize the consciousness in the Black community through changing the kinds of people and messages on the t-shirts we are wearing. He started a line of t-shirts which immortalizes and commemorates revolutionary heroes and sheroes from the African continent, people like Nkrumah, Lumumba, Machel, Nehanda, Asantewaa, Mugabe and more.
Kev seemed almost immortal to me. Two weeks before he passed, I went to hang out with him at his house. I could see the sickness visibly eating at him, but when he opened the door, his eyes lit up, and he smiled like in the old days. I believe wholeheartedly that Lateefah’s love kept his immune system intact as long as it was. I had to write this so his family could know the giant that Kevin Weston was to me. Salute to one of the greatest editors that I know. Salute also to Lateefah for giving Kev a love he’d never seen before and for showing that there is still such a thing as Black love.
If you take a little Theolonius Monk, mix it with Yasiin Bey aka Mos Def, with a little twist of some Lauryn Hill and Curtis Mayfield and put it on an Oakland soundscape, you’ll get what bandleader and pianist Kev Choice cooked up on his newly released, soon to be classic album, “Oakland Riviera.” By far this is one of the best sounding, most creative and most political albums to come out of Oakland’s Hip Hop scene in the last few years.
“Emmitt Till” does more than call attention to how Till’s death ignited the U.S. Civil Rights Movement in the ‘50s and ‘60s. It points to the quiet heroism of Mamie Till Mobley in the face of unspeakable horror and unrelieved terrorism. Come see this dynamic and inspirational play by Tavia Percia and the Tavia Percia Theatre Company: Saturday, Feb. 1, 7 and 9 p.m., and Sunday, Feb. 2, 3 and 5 p.m., at the Eastside Arts Alliance, 2277 International Blvd, Oakland.
Ty-Licia Hooker was a recent winner at the Black Girls Rock! awards ceremony, which aired on BET, for her work with the Stockton based non-profit that she co-founded for under-achieving students, called the Summer Success and Leadership Academy. Still in her early 20s, this dynamic young leader is on the rise and getting ready to take her project national.
Money B has been a Hip Hop legend for over 20 years wit’ the funk-heavy rap group Digital Underground. And I wanted to do this interview with him to talk about his friend, comrade and band mate, the late Tupac Shakur. This year, just like most years, the Bay is having a Tupac Shakur Birthday Party. This year it will be at Yoshi’s in San Francisco, on June 16.
In the spirit of young freedom fighters like Lil’ Bobby Hutton, Young Malcolm will live forever in the hearts and minds of oppressed people who want to be free, especially those incarcerated in jail cells and in Amerikkkan ghettos. We love you and we will never forget you. We will make sure that the young people of today and tomorrow use your life as an example to keep up the fight that so many have given their lives for over time. Long live Hajj Malcolm Latif Shabazz! May you rest in peace with the other warriors from our movement.
Six term congresswoman, ‘08 Green Party presidential candidate and international peace activist Cynthia McKinney has been willing to risk her life to represent for Black people, fearlessly investigating such hot issues as Katrina, Haiti, the Congo, Libya and more. Currently she is writing her Ph.D. dissertation on President Hugo Chavez and attended his recent funeral in Caracas. Meet this warm and courageous woman at Bay View fundraisers Wednesday, April 24, at the Laney College Forum, 900 Fallon St., Oakland, at 6:30 p.m., and on Thursday, April 25, at the Arlene Francis Center, 99 Sixth St., Santa Rosa, at 7 p.m.
Terry Collins, co-founder of KPOO 89.5FM, and Willie Ratcliff, publisher of the San Francisco Bay View, blessed the airwaves last Tuesday afternoon with a warm and revealing discussion of life and resistance and the upcoming Black Media Appreciation Night, honoring the champions of independent Black media. Black Media Appreciation Night is this Monday, Nov. 26, 8 p.m., at Yoshi’s, 510 Embarcadero West, Jack London Square, Oakland. For tickets and more information, go to http://www.yoshis.com/oakland/jazzclub/artist/show/3104.
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