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Gentrifiers, the City and developers all share responsibility for gentrification – the process and system that created the encampments. For years, Oakland leaders wanted to make Oakland a hipster playground. They invested in making Oakland attractive to outsiders – gentrifiers. City planners courted the businesses and high-end condos that catered to them. Making Oakland into a hipster playground meant whitening, or at least “de-blackening,” Oakland. The fact that the “hip” people are mainly white and the people in the encampments mainly Black reminds us that not everyone benefits equally from the “new” Oakland.
Well-known veteran musician and producer Philip Hennen, aka “Phil the Mil(lionaire),” will soon be sharing a different aspect of his immense creativity. On this coming First Friday, May 5, 2017, from 6 to 9 p.m., Philip will showcase his striking “Mood City” photography, at the beautiful Joyce Gordon Gallery in downtown Oakland. Recently, Philip sat down to discuss his artistry with the Bay View’s Jahahara Amen-RA Alkebulan-Ma’at.
BlockReportRadio.com interviews Oakland rap king J Stalin about his coming up in Bay Area Hip Hop. We talk about his relationships with people like Shady Nate, pioneers Dj Daryl and Richie Rich, the Mechanix, the Demolition Men, the Delinquents, PTB, Beeda Weeda, and the Jacka. He also talks about what was going on in his life in between his many albums. Check out BlockReportRadio.com for more.
The air has gotten worse, not better. So these are some of the things that are caused by the dust, the construction and the latent chemicals they have not cleaned up since World War II – plus the current concentration of light industry just outside our neighborhood that all blows into our neighborhood. Yet currently less than 1 percent of African Americans who live in Bayview work in that area and reap the economic benefits. All we get is the pollution and death.
There are concerns cited by the 2015-2016 Grand Jury report about my representation of the community’s concerns with a proposed development adjacent to my home. Prior to my election to office, an out of town investor purchased a historic Victorian house next to my home with the stated intention to rehabilitate it. The neighbors welcomed the promised renovation of the home and volunteered to keep watch over the site.
Ty-Licia Hooker is one of the most dynamic Black women working in Oakland for the good of the Black community and other underserved communities. This former Black Girls Rock awardee is the executive director of Boost! West Oakland, a non-profit dedicated to empowering young people and strengthening their academic performance. They were just awarded the prestigious Partner Organization of the Year Award from the Oakland Unified School District.
The Qilombo Collective reclaimed a plot of land on San Pablo and West Grand that had been neglected for decades and put a community garden on it. Recently, they have been ordered to move the garden, and the people feel like there should be space in the city for people to learn, organize and work free of corporate pressure. So the fight is beginning to take shape, and on May 28, everyone is invited to the Anti-Eviction Block Party at the Afrikatown Garden.
Funktown, which is near Lake Merritt, is rapidly being gentrified. You can still find “Funktown” scribbled on sidewalks here and there when the concrete was fresh. But economic cleansing has taken its toll on the hood. It’s just not the same any more. As the renters of Oakland are being terrorized by skyrocketing rents and greedy landlords evicting them by the thousands, city officials have mostly turned a blind eye to the economic cleansing taking place on their watch.
I was introduced to Augusta Lee Collins at Dave Petrelli’s Twinspace in San Francisco where thespian Anita Woodley performed her “Mama Juggs” one woman play about 5 years ago. Since Anita Woodley worked closest with him, I thought it would be fitting to get her to talk about her colleague, musical comrade and friend, who transitioned after being hit by a car in Oakland. Here is Anita Woodley in her own words.
Eritrean born and Oakland raised visual artist Mahader Tesfai has been making a considerable amount of noise around the Town lately, first with his 80 piece installation at the Omi Gallery in downtown Oakland, then by becoming the artistic director of the Matatu Festival of Stories, which is happening next week. Mahader sat down wit’ me exclusively to talk about Black African art in the Tech Era coming out of Oakland.
Under the block-long "Welcome 2 AfrikaTown" mural painted last year on the Qilombo community center, 2313 San Pablo at West Grant, a dozen garden beds are now bursting with food and people are always there. On March 26, a bulldozer and cops arrived to destroy the garden, but supporters blocked them. On April 3, AfrikaTown won a reprieve to negotiate purchase of the land.
A Black West Oakland family is set to be forcefully thrown out of their home in days by NationStar Bank. Annette Miller and her family have lived in their home for the last 60 years and are among the oldest Black homeowners in a quickly gentrifying West Oakland. “They’ve foreclosed on a lot of people around here.” Neighbors have pledged to fight back to keep this home in the hands of the Miller family.
Khayrishi Wiginton, a youth leadership coordinator at McClymonds High School in West Oakland, is fundraising and organizing a trip to South Africa with her students. Many of us do not know the power that travelling outside of the country has on fertile minds. I hope that Block Report Radio listeners and SF Bay View readers will assist these inner-city students and adults in completing their quest. Here is Khayrishi in her own words.
Hodari is something of a renaissance man. If you have spent time on the cultural scene, you are familiar with some of his work – the annual Life is Living Festival, the Black history oratory and poetry group Young Gifted and Black, Youth Speaks or the statewide initiative fighting Type II Diabetes called The Bigger Picture.
Jason Anderson has been a staunch activist in the Oakland area for about half a decade and has been working very hard on keeping the historic Liberty Hall building, the original Oakland home to Marcus Garvey’s UNIA in West Oakland, in the hands of the Black community. It has been an uphill battle, but this veteran of Occupy Oakland is up for the challenge.
On July 29, the Oakland City Council surprised observers by postponing a final vote on the West Oakland Specific Plan (WOSP) without setting a new date. WOSP is a massive redevelopment scheme spearheaded by some wealthy investors planning to gentrify the old Oakland Army Base and major portions of West Oakland that are cynically being called Opportunity Sites, and at first reading on July 15, the City Council voted 7-0 to approve it, with only Desley Brooks abstaining.
Jason “Shake” Anderson is a real progressive community leader who is running for mayor of Oakland in November, because he, like most of us, is tired of the electoral musical chairs charade that is recorded as Oakland’s local elections. With incumbent Mayor Jean Quan re-running, and her leading contender, Dan Siegel, being the law partner of her campaign treasurer, you can see why the residents of Oakland would be corruption-conscious throughout the electoral process.
This season we have lost two pillars of our San Francisco Bay Area community, Samuel Fredericks and Upesi Mtambuzi. Cedar Walton, pianist, also made his transition this year, along with Donald Duck Bailey, drummer, both men beautiful human beings. Upesi, Samuel, Cedar and Donald all brightened our world. Their unique hues and shapes and sounds will be missed ... that last live jam.
Creating jobs six times faster than the overall job market, the solar industry has become a robust engine of job growth, totaling over 119,000 new jobs as reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics. These numbers help to solidify the argument that the investment in solar energy has considerable long-term payoffs.
When I saw the brothas Gideon and Dionte from the high school-age dance crew Squadron Ace jump in the circle, I noticed that their dance styles, skills and versatility were exceptional, so I wanted to make sure that I put this crew on the Bay’s cultural radar because, believe me, they will be setting the standard for the new age of dance very soon.