December 1, 2010
Happy Kwanzaa! I will be traveling in Africa over the holidays. I am covering the World Festival of Black Arts and Culture in Dakar, Senegal, and then on to Festival in the Desert in Timbuktu, Mali. My radio show weekly broadcast may feature a surprise live interview from Senegal or Mali if technology serves me well.
November 26, 2010
It’s been 25 years since the film version of Alice Walker’s “The Color Purple” opened to much controversy. Despite the controversy, the story is one that is still read, watched and celebrated in many forms. The San Jose production of the musical is fantastic! This is the final weekend.
November 26, 2010
Ted Pontiflet is an Oakland icon. He is East Coast swing meets West Coast bop. Classy. The man is too smooth to be close to 80. Ted is around until Dec. 1 and then away he goes.
October 25, 2010
Angry and grieving family members rallied at the Fruitvale BART station to mark the 15th National Day of Protest to Stop Police Brutality, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation. One speaker, Norman Curry, spoke of how his mother was shot point blank by an officer who called her by name, “Anita (Gay).”
October 8, 2010
How does one choreograph loss? One doesn’t. Instead, Ralph Lemon philosophically juxtaposes the lives of three relationships, including that of Walter Carter, 102, and his wife Edna, 80. Four walls certainly don’t contain Walter.
October 3, 2010
October is Maafa Awareness Month, a time to reflect on recovery from the residual impact slavery had on the Black community and how the centuries of free labor benefited everyone else. The ritual this year is Sunday, Oct. 10, 5:30 a.m., at Ocean Beach, Fulton at the Great Highway, in San Francisco. Maafa is Kiswahili for “great calamity, reoccurring disaster,” a term used to describe the Black Holocaust of the European Slave Trade and how the post traumatic stress syndrome shows up in our thoughts and behavior unwittingly.
September 22, 2010
What is so striking about this film is its living history lessons, the love and admiration for each other that Yuri Kochiyama and Angela Y. Davis share, women with big hearts who have endured personal suffering and survived. Yuri is gracious and fiery and so is Angela.
September 3, 2010
There was high unemployment for Haitians, those educated with skills and the unskilled as well, prior to the earthquake. For a government official to tell a BAI representative that withholding food was a way to motivate lazy people looking for a handout to get to work is a gross misread of the problem.
August 3, 2010
I am excited about going back to Haiti, which I visited at the four-month anniversary of the earthquake. It has been six months now and from what we have heard and seen from trusted media, the situation is not any better and for many people it is worse.
July 22, 2010
Kamau Amen Ra’s work in this exhibit, which he curated, ranges from Goapele singing to Damu Sudii Ali, who was there on the same piano that evening. Each photo has a story. The younger artist and the only woman, TaSin Sabir, also has a range of images, each artist described with a poetic quote.
July 9, 2010
At 14th and Broadway, the community was invited to share what was on their hearts. No one was censored and all views were respected. People surrounded the speakers. No one needed to be alone on a day like today. In African traditional healing, the health of an individual is tied to the well-being of community. Oscar Grant’s relatives and friends called for love and respect for life and each other, as they named the enemy: this corrupt judicial system that allows killers to go free. I noticed another rally in front of City Hall. Just a handful of people were there.
July 5, 2010
Quentin Easter was certainly a man whom too many of us will miss, miss for his warm compassionate smile, unruffled presence and positive outlook in the face of tremendous stress and obstacles.
June 9, 2010
The fundraiser at the College of Alameda on May 18 was a great success, thanks to Maria Labossiere, Colette Eloi, Carolyn Brandy, Michelle Jacques and the ASCOA representative. The Social Welfare Club raised $170 for Jean Ristil’s organization in Cite Soliel.
May 18, 2010
Rea Dol and Dodo were at the airport with a sign with my name when I arrived. We then headed to the building site, where a wall is going up around the perimeter. Rea is the principal of SOPUDEP School in Port au Prince, founded as part of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide’s National Literacy Project. She’s building a new school to replace the one that was damaged in the earthquake.
May 15, 2010
We lost the great Lena Horne this month on Mother’s Day, May 9. She was 92, her birthday June 17, 1917 – her funeral Friday, May 14. I found out recently that Ms. Horne was at the March on Washington with sisters Mahalia Jackson and Dorothy Height.
April 23, 2010
It’s your last chance to see Marcus Gardley’s mythical epic “… And Jesus Moonwalks the Mississippi” at Cuttingball Theater in residence at the EXIT Theater, 277 Taylor St., San Francisco, Friday-Saturday, April 23-24, at 8 p.m., and Sunday at 5 p.m.
April 2, 2010
Set on the banks of the Mississippi during the Civil War, “…and Jesus Moonwalks the Mississippi” is a poetic journey of forgiveness and redemption inspired by the myth of Demeter and Persephone. This thought-provoking play combines traditional storytelling, gospel music and a wicked sense of humor to create a rich, imaginative world that allows trees to preach, rivers to waltz and Jesus to moonwalk. The run has been extended through April 25.
March 20, 2010
A two-hour excursion with Sistah Mona literally erased all my bumps, bruises and pain. The brown-skinned sister with a ponytail works like a jazz musician – freestyling, eyes closed – the body on the table talking to her as she skated along terrain avoiding blind spots, walls and other baggage that comes along the road well traveled.
March 17, 2010
The characters’ stories in Chinaka Hodge’s debut as a playwright, “Mirrors in Every Corner,” capture a sense of tragedy lurking near all of us. From Rodney King to Oscar Grant, Loma Pieta to urban removal, one sits on the edge of her seat waiting for the wrecking ball to fall.
March 14, 2010
Harper’s Ferry … freeing slaves … Virginia … hanging … white man – this is the extent of my knowledge of John Brown. I wasn’t aware that it was 150 years ago, on Oct. 14-15, 1859, that this happened, an event which many say forecast the Civil War and the emancipation of enslaved Africans. See the opera Sunday afternoon, March 14, 3 p.m., at the East Side Cultural Center.