July 15, 2016
We lost many loved ones this past month, from photographer extraordinaire Kamau Amen Ra to community organizer, prolific writer and longshoreman Brother Cleophus Williams to my dear Sister Monica Pree, not to mention Muhammad Ali. We reflect on Independence Day, a day marked by the blood of African Ancestors of the Middle Passage – the first to die a Black man, Crispus Attucks, on March 3, 1770, in what became known as the Boston Massacre.
July 13, 2016
I was in Ghana when I received news that Kamau Amen Ra made his transition, and it was at an exhibit at the British Museum in London walking through the chambers of Ausar that I reflected on his well-lived life and thought about the human treasures undiscovered who walk among us, like Kamau. I think he called this place Babylon, a place where treasures remain unearthed or hidden except for those with keen eyes or vision, both of which Kamau possessed.
June 18, 2016
Prosperity Movement, an Oakland-based group of artists and activists, is using its platform to promote peace and prosperity in a changing Oakland landscape. The group’s founder and front man, Adimu Madyun, makes it his mission to use art as a way of educating local youth and adults, who he says are bearing the brunt of gentrification in their native city.
May 15, 2016
Elaine Brown’s “A Taste of Power,” a memoir which chronicles her leadership of the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense when co-founder Huey P. Newton is imprisoned, still resonates with me. The idea that a Black woman is nominated to the leadership position of the most powerful civic organization in the country at that time is still remarkable and speaks to what Kathleen Cleaver calls revolutionary imagination.
April 3, 2016
“Dr. Mutulu Is Welcome Here” is the title of the campaign and the program Malcolm X Grassroots Movement hosted Easter Sunday, Resurrection Day, in Oakland. As we walked into Sole Space, a venue that also sells shoes and art and is a part of the corner building that houses Oakstop, we were invited to pose with a photo of Dr. Shakur. Mama Ayanna, seated at the door, welcomes and greets comrades and friends of friends as other members of MXGM host the program.
March 8, 2016
I really loved my Sister Nida Ali, who flew home to Allah this morning (March 3). I think what I appreciated the most about her was her ability to be a spiritual warrior who walked the planet earth. She really loved Allah and Allah’s servants. She was loyal and forgiving too, and she took care of a lot of people. Sister Nida Ali’s Janaza or funeral is Tuesday, March 8. What a fitting day to celebrate a great woman’s life: International Women’s History Day!
March 7, 2016
Congratulations to Mary and Willie Ratcliff and Muhammad al-Kareem for the People’s Liberation Movement as manifested for 40 years in the San Francisco Bay View newspaper. Congratulations to the collective voices which have graced its pages over this history, especially ancestors such as Kevin Weston, and, to JR Valrey, much respect for envisioning such a wonderful tribute program on Feb. 21.
March 1, 2016
“Race” (2016) is the story of Jesse Owens’ triumphant wins in the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin just before World War II. Nicknamed “The Buckeye Bullet” for his legendary speed, Owens distanced himself from socially constructed hurdles which ran counter to his personal goals. Directed by Stephen Hopkins, the film features rising star, Stephan James (“Selma”) as Jesse Owens.
February 20, 2016
Friday, Feb. 19, Albert “Shaka” Woodfox, the only member of the Angola 3 remaining in prison, was released after nearly 44 years in solitary confinement. Earlier in the month, Ashé Cultural Arts Center had scheduled a screening of the film, “Panther: Vanguard of the Revolution,” directed by Stanley Nelson, at 5:30 p.m. to celebrate Albert Woodfox’s birthday that day, Feb 19. The evening turned into an actual birthday party for Woodfox.
February 4, 2016
Dr. Frances Cress Welsing (“Isis Papers”) made her transition Jan. 2, 2016. She was 80. The psychiatrist who challenged white supremacists on what she called “The Cress Theory of Color Confrontation and Racism (White Supremacy)” to look at their own melanin deficiency for what it is, “envy,” stirred and continues to stir the waters. She always stated theoretically that “Black lives matter,” way before the #blm movement.
January 2, 2016
August Wilson is considered one of America’s greatest playwrights, and the work that comprises The American Century Cycle, one of the outstanding achievements of the modern theater, is performed across the globe. But only Oakland’s premiere North American African theater company has performed the entire Cycle in chronological order. The Lower Bottom Playaz close the cycle with the timely production of the only play in the cycle that is told from the lens of developers. Wilson’s Hill District in Pittsburgh, Penn., and Oakland, Calif., 2015 hold a lot of common ground. “Radio Golf” continues through Sunday, Jan. 3, 2016, 2 p.m., at the Flight Deck, 1540 Broadway, Oakland.
December 11, 2015
You are invited to the opening reception on Saturday, Dec. 12, 2-4 p.m., in the African American Center of the San Francisco Main Library of “I Am San Francisco,” a major exhibit that tells the personal stories of Black San Franciscans at a time when the Black population has been almost entirely forced out and includes a display of historic copies of the San Francisco Bay View, back to 1994, with the headline “We Shall Not Be Moved.”
December 1, 2015
It is amazing how time flies whether one is moving or standing still. One looks up and sees, suddenly it seems, friends celebrating 70 and 75 or 80 or even 90-plus milestones. Wow! What a blessing that is. And while we also see the fullness of time’s passage in the lives of those who have decided to move on, too often we are caught by surprise, our mouths hung open, the words we could have said … deeds left undone.
November 25, 2015
Punctuated by shouts of “Whose ball is it?” “Tahuti’s Ball!” “Whose ball is it?” “Tahuti’s Ball!” in Afrikan call and response tradition, a spiritual, educational, uplifting and formidable global Afrikan community gave thanks, praises and an outpouring of love in tribute to one of its foremost Afrikan suns, the vibrant and illustrious Baba (Elder) Tahuti. Baba Tahuti made his transition on June 18, 2015.
November 8, 2015
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.
November 4, 2015
“Twenty Years of Speaking Truth to Power” is the theme for CCWP’s 20th anniversary gala, on Saturday, Nov. 7, 7 p.m., at the Women’s Building 3543 18th St., San Francisco. For information, call 415-255-7036, ext. 4, and if you’d like to volunteer at the event, visit womenprisoners.org. Featured guests include Patrisse Cullors, co-founder of Black Lives Matter; Jayda Rasberry, organizer with Dignity and Power Now; Thao Nguyen, Thao & The Get Down Stay Down; and the Heiwa Taiko Drummers.
October 26, 2015
Have you heard of the IEP? Well, it’s shorthand for special education. It is a program that is eating Black children, boys and girls at an alarming rate. Though it sounds benign and helpful, if too many of the children are Black, then there is a problem. It is a form of tracking; and any program that targets our children, puts them in a classroom where they are stigmatized by the larger student population (when they find out), is wrong.
August 15, 2015
Ubuntu Theater’s production of Tarell Alvin McCraney’s “The Brothers Size” is simply phenomenal. Let’s start by saying this theater company, which has distinguished itself with a remarkable three-summer tenure, is amazing when you learn that the directors and most of the cast are students or alumni of the University of California, San Diego. Lucky for Bay Area theater lovers, Ubuntu is their practicum for a few months each summer.
August 7, 2015
The Third Annual Hon. Marcus Mosiah Garvey B’Earthday and Community Celebration is Saturday, Aug. 15, 2-5 p.m. Gather at the “Abundant Knowledge” mural at Marcus Books. Please bring your immense wisdom, families, original books by Garvey, red-black-green items and drums. And don’t forget to bring some funds – as each participant will receive a 10 percent discount on every item purchased that afternoon.
July 1, 2015
Libations to Ornette Coleman, musician, composer, March 9, 1930-June 11, 2015. Libations also for Brother Tahuti, a beloved elder who made his transition mid-June. Those of us who commemorate our African Ancestors of the Middle Passage have formed an organization which took me recently to Washington, D.C. At the website guests can learn about commemorations throughout the United States and beyond.