by Wanda Sabir
Dr. C. Diane Howell, editor and publisher of the Black Business Listings and founder of the Black Expo, died suddenly on Wednesday, Dec. 24, from complications of pneumonia. Her life and work was often the topic of student research in my classes at the College of Alameda, when looking at social entrepreneurship. Dr. Howell, who has a degree in psychology and was a clinician, decided to look at developing opportunities for Black wealth and economic sovereignty, often the reason for much dysfunction in our communities.
At the yearly fundraiser and gala program, a part of the Black Expo, she gave scholarships to Black youth to encourage them in their higher education pursuits. I always thought her focus, the organization’s focus on youth whose grades might not be in the A-B range but passing, a great incentive to the youth who might be passed over for such recognition in traditional honorary circles.
She and I never had the talk about the link between economics and the systemic Maafa or Black Holocaust that cripples the Black community located in the Western cultural paradigm in urban enclaves like East Oakland, South Berkeley, and North Richmond, Bayview Hunters Point and Sunnydale. She was the emcee at the Unity Day hosted by House of Unity at Merritt College in September, in honor of the 100th anniversary of Allensworth, the Black town in Tulare County, California.
The Dr. C. Diane Howell Memorial Fund, Account No. 1800102992, has been established at Alta Alliance Bank, 1951 Webster St., Oakland, CA 94612, (510) 899-7500. Donations are requested in lieu of cards and flowers. Visit Harambee News for more information.
Our sister will be missed.
Eartha Kitt is another wonderful woman who made her transition on Christmas Day, Dec. 25. She was 81 – born Jan. 17, 1927. I recall the wonderful concert I attended last year at SFJAZZ and the photo with her back stage and my interview with her from the Bay View, “Eartha Kitt: Phenomenal woman,” posted on her website. I was so excited to speak to her. For a good article on her life, see Wikipedia.
I think the nerves and excitement were the same or similar to what I experienced when I spoke to Lou Rawls before his passing and Isaac Hayes. A friend of mine said that life seems to get shorter after one reaches a certain age. Life doesn’t necessarily speed by, but it certainly doesn’t seem to last forever – or the myth that it will last forever is denied with each passing memory clothed in flesh, like our sister C. Diane Howell and Mama Miriam Makeba and Eartha Kitt. Every time I see the Bernie Mack Show, I think about this man’s life and his work and how earlier this year he was being called to task for his remarks at a fundraiser for President-elect Obama. Now he is gone.
First Annual Cheikh Anta Diop Golden Spirit Award Charity Gala
It is so important to give our loved ones and people we admire their flowers while they can smell them, which is a reason why one should support the Eddie Hart All in One Foundation and his work with youth. He and others are throwing the First Annual Cheikh Anta Diop Golden Spirit Award Charity Gala, Tuesday, Dec. 30, at the African American Museum and Library, 659 14th St., in Oakland, from 6 to 10 p.m. Dinner is served at 8 p.m. The event is semi-formal and tax deductible donations for tickets are $50, $100, $200, $500 and $1,000. For information, call (650) 630-7248 or (510) 637-0200 (AAMLO).
It is the 85th anniversary of the birth of Senegalese scholar Dr. Cheikh Anta Diop, and what better way to honor his contributions to African history and science rooted in the sub-Saharan origins of ancient Egypt, the land of the pharaohs, than with an event which recognizes the connection between the humanities and arts and activism and the importance of education as a precursor to leadership.
All the people honored that evening, speaking or performing, such as Danny Glover, featured speaker, Olympians John Carlos and Tommie Smith, Florence LaRue of Fifth Dimension, Lenny Williams, Tower of Power – all are examples of persons with Nia or Purpose, the Kwanzaa principle celebrated and principle of reflection that day.
Earlier that morning, Dec. 30, 1968 Olympians Tommie Smith and John Carlos will speak to the youth of Oakland and the East Bay at the First Unitarian Building, next door to AAMLO, 685 14th St., from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Space is limited so, for information and reservations, call the Eddie Hart All in One Foundation at (925) 518-8104, email email@example.com or visit www.eddiehartaiof.org.
Paul Mooney back at the Black Rep
“Black Man in the White House” is the theme of the current tour kicking off his annual sojourn at the Black Repertory Group Theatre, 3201 Adeline St. in Berkeley. The theatre has been remodeled to look like the Oval Office when patrons walk in. This is a dress rehearsal for inaugural day, Jan. 20.
Show times vary, so call (510) 652-2120 or (925) 812-2787 for reservations. It is one of my favorite ways to jump the broom into the New Year, from Kwanzaa principle “Nia” into “Imani,” “Purpose” into “Faith,” the substance of things hoped for whose time has come.
The SF 8 and Freedom Archive Benefit at Black Rep with Paul Mooney
The Paul Mooney shows Sunday, Dec. 28, at the Black Rep, 3201 Adeline St., near the Ashby BART, in Berkeley, at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. are a fundraiser for the San Francisco 8 and for Freedom Archives. Representatives from both organizations will be present. Davey D of KPFA’s Hard Knock Radio will MC. Visit http://www.blackrepertorygroup.com/ or call (510) 652-2120 or (925) 812-2787. For information about the organizations benefiting from the fundraiser, visit http://www.freethesf8.org/ and http://www.freedomarchives.org/.
2009: Cash your check
The shift in consciousness between 2008 and 2009 is something palpable, almost the same type of anticipation that greeted the move between centuries, 20th into 21st, 1999-2000.
People are planning to be on the Great Mall, standing along the Reflection Pool in Washington, D.C., in front of the Lincoln Memorial, just to say they were there. Even if they can’t see Obama in the flesh, they will feel Obama in the persons of all assembled.
Many people have said that Jan. 20, 2009, is an opportunity to start all over again. Nine is the end of the cycle and perhaps the Obama legacy will be one marked by participatory democracy and real change for all Americans, especially Black Americans who have been carrying around checks stamped insufficient funds drawn on the bank of democracy and opportunity for too long.
Perhaps the Obama legacy will be one marked by participatory democracy and real change for all Americans, especially Black Americans, who have been carrying around checks stamped insufficient funds drawn on the bank of democracy and opportunity for too long.
If what Martin King said is correct, then Obama is the bank manager okaying our collective opportunity to redeposit that check and start spending the funds with compounded interest. And the check will clear because the promise is this Obama administration. This new infrastructure that is inclusive, almost to a fault, will honor the promises made by prior administrations and thus far not kept.
Bay Area Kwanzaa Celebrations
Habari Gani? What’s the news? Umoja! For the next seven days this is the question asked, and the response mirrors one of the seven principles that day. Friday, today, the answer is UNITY, something Black people can’t get enough of. Perhaps this is why this day is one of my favorite meditations. It is certainly the most important, which is why in the kinara or candle holder, it is the Black candle in the center of the other six, three green and three red.
Without unity, Umoja, there is no self-determination, or Kujichagulia. The African self is not individual, rather collective: I am who I am because of the community that raised me. The same is true of the sacrifice and blood represented by the red candle. I have to remember the toil of my ancestors; otherwise I cannot appreciate the fruit, the blessings and the many opportunities. Things one fails to appreciate often get lost, given away or stolen.
If we reflect on the importance of these principles, which are the cornerstone of life, then the Kwanzaa celebration of first fruits can give substance or food to our souls during the rest of the year, especially if we incorporate the seven principles into our daily lives for the rest of the 364 days following the Jan. 1 celebration of Imani or Faith.
I remember our ancestors on Imani, a day they called the Jubilee, a day they celebrated freedom from enslavement, a day we often sleep through. Our ancestors stayed up all night praying in the churches or cabins, “watching for daybreak” Dec. 31, 1862. Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation was to become law Jan. 1, 1863, if the Confederate government didn’t lay down its arms and join the Union government in a United States of America.
So on Jan. 1, 1863, Black people enslaved in the South were free. There was nothing in place to guarantee our liberation, but many of our ancestors slipped away Jan. 1, 1863, and joined the Union Army to fight for our liberty. One such general was Mama Harriet Tubman.
Imani is a day to recall our fight for justice and liberty. We were not born slaves, and every day our ancestors awakened alive was another opportunity to break the chains that kept them physically hostage. This is our legacy and this is why we are free today.
Obama’s presidency is not the time to sit back and relax. No, it is a time for us to dust off our revolutionary armor, start training again, look at the strategies that worked and what didn’t, reestablishing ties to others and reaching out to like-minded individuals and organizations so that alliances can be developed to strengthen the movement which has been reinvigorated by this man’s personality and leadership – but he can’t, as he says, do any of this rebuilding America on his own, and if you look at some of his appointees, you don’t want to let him do anything alone.
Every day our ancestors awakened alive was another opportunity to break the chains that kept them physically hostage. This is our legacy and this is why we are free today.
Participate. Let the seven principles guide your footsteps this year, beginning with Umoja. The greeting for 2009 should be “Habari Gani?” “What’s the news?” The response: “Umoja,” “Kujichagulia,” “Ujima,” “Ujamaa,” “Nia,” “Kuumba” and “Imani.”
Tonight the Bay Area Kwanzaa Committee is hosting Umoja at Youth Uprising, hosted by Wo’se Community House of Amen Ra, Friday Dec. 26, 7 p.m., at Youth Uprising, 8711 MacArthur, Oakland, located next to Castlemont High School. For information, call (510) 750-8479, (510) 632-8230 or (510) 654-2620.
Bay Area Discovery Museum in Sausalito
Admission is free and so are the performances! Celebrate Kwanzaa throughout the Bay Area Discovery Museum on Dec. 26, 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., with art projects inspired by the African continent and a Kwanzaa altar in the Museum’s Entry Pavilion. Renowned jazz drummer E.W. Wainwright and his ensemble, The African Roots of Jazz, take us on a musical journey that traces African-American musical forms from their earliest beginnings in African cultures to today. The program features instrumental music, songs, theater and audience participation. Visit http://baykidsmuseum.org/holidays/.
Umoja is celebrated in San Francisco daily, Dec. 26-Jan. 1
The San Francisco Kwanzaa kickoff is at City Hall, One Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place, at 12 noon to 1 p.m. This evening, celebrate Umoja at Bethel AME Church, 916 Laguna St., San Francisco, 7 to 9 p.m.
Kujichagulia or Self-Determination is hosted by the Nairobi Kwanzaa Committee
Saturday, Dec. 27, 7 p.m., Kujichagulia or Self-Determination is hosted by the Nairobi Kwanzaa Committee at the Tulip Jones Women’s Club, 1310 Bay Road, East Palo Alto, CA 94303. For information call (650) 325-5532 or (650) 799-4828.
In Oakland, Kujichagulia is hosted by East Bay Church of Religious Science, Saturday, Dec. 27, 7 p.m., at East Bay Church of Religious Science, 4130 Telegraph Ave., Oakland. For information, call (510) 420-1003.
Ujamaa or Cooperative Economics
Ujamaa or Cooperative Economics is hosted by the Pivotal Point Youth Services, Monday, Dec. 29, 5:30-8:30, Lake Merritt Sail Boat House, 568 Bellevue Ave., Oakland. For information, call (510) 536-6604, ext. 201.
Nia or Purpose
Nia or Purpose is hosted by the Pan African Peoples Organization (PAPO) on Tuesday, Dec. 30, 7 p.m., at 959 33rd St., Oakland, (510) 465-2886 or (510) 917-5878.
Bay Area Kwanzaa Committee
The Bay Area Kwanzaa Committee is an organization representing various Houses of Kwanzaa that have been celebrating Kwanzaa for over 20 years. The committee operates on a philosophy based on an understanding of Kwanzaa’s deep significance to the African community. The committee treats Kwanzaa as a non-commercial, spiritual, political, and cultural holiday in affinity with our African Ancestral heritage and celebration of First Fruits.
In keeping with the tradition of Kwanzaa, everyone is encouraged to bring something to share – no pork please. Kwanzaa is an African American holiday based on the African agricultural celebrations and collective principles which contribute to the unity and development of the African Community. It was created by Maulana Karenga in 1966. Kwanzaa is a seven-day holiday and observed from Dec. 26 through Jan. 1.
Kwanzaa here and elsewhere
Check these sources for Kwanzaa celebrations around the country; then tell your loved ones who live there about it:
An article about San Francisco Bay Area events can be found at http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/12/11/BAKV14I5GL.DTL&type=printable.
Eddie Palmieri in the East Bay Dec. 26-28; Roy Hargrove and Pharoah Sanders
Legendary pianist and Afro-Latin composer, Eddie Palmieri and La Perfecta II is swinging at Yoshi’s in San Francisco Friday, Dec. 26, through Wednesday, Dec. 31-Jan. 1, 2009, 1330 Fillmore St. In Oakland, at 510 Embarcadero West, the Roy Hargrove Big Band swings into the SF Bay tonight also, Friday, Dec. 26, through Wednesday, Dec. 31-Jan. 1, 2009. Visit www.yoshis.com for the New Year’s Eve party information and showtimes. Pharoah Sanders is in Oakland, Friday, Jan. 2-Sunday, Jan. 4. What a treat! I’ll be in New Orleans, so you’ll have to tell me about it.
Winners of the 28th Annual American Book Awards, Sunday, Dec. 28
The Before Columbus Foundation announces the winners of the 28th Annual American Book Awards this Sunday, Dec. 28, at Anna’s Jazz Island, 2120 Allston Way in Berkeley, CA. The awards will take place from 4 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. This is a free event.
Authors attending will read selections from their works and sign copies of their award-winning books. A reception and book signing will take place following the ceremony. For more information, call (510) 681-5652.
California Poet Laureate Al Young will host the event. Al Young was appointed by Gov. Schwarzenegger, who has said of Mr. Young, “Al Young is a poet, an educator and a man with a passion for the arts. His remarkable talent and sense of mission to bring poetry into the lives of Californians is an inspiration.”
The American Book Awards were created to provide recognition for outstanding literary achievement from the entire spectrum of America’s diverse literary community. The purpose of the awards is to recognize literary excellence without limitations or restrictions. There are no categories, no nominees and therefore no losers. The award winners range from well-known and established writers to under-recognized authors and first works. There are no quotas for diversity; the winners’ list simply reflects it as a natural process.
The Before Columbus Foundation views American culture as inclusive and has always considered the term “multicultural” to be not a description of various categories, groups or “special interests,” but rather as the definition of all of American literature. The awards are not bestowed by an industry organization, but rather are a writer’s award given by other writers.
The 2008 American Book Award winners:
• Moustafa Bayoumi, “How Does It Feel to Be a Problem? Being Young and Arab in America” (The Penguin Press)
• Douglas A. Blackmon, “Slavery by Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II” (Doubleday)
• Jonathan Curiel, “Al’ America: Travels Through America’s Arab and Islamic Roots” (The New Press)
• Nora Marks Dauenhauer, Richard Dauenhauer and Lydia T. Black, “Anooshi Lingit Aani Ka/Russians in Tlingit America: The Battles of Sitka, 1802 And 1804” (University of Washington Press)
• Maria Mazziotti Gillian, “All That Lies Between Us” (Guernica Editions Inc.)
• Nikki Giovanni, “The Collected Poetry of Nikki Giovanni: 1968-1998” (HarperCollins)
• C.S. Giscombe, “Prairie Style” (Dalkey Archive Press)
• Angela Jackson, “Where I Must Go: A Novel” (TriQuarterly)
• L. Luis Lopez, “Each Month I Sing” (Farolito Press)
• Tom Lutz, “Doing Nothing: A History of Loafers, Loungers, Slackers, and Bums in America” (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
• Fae Myenne Ng, “Steer Toward Rock” (Hyperion)
• Yuko Taniguchi, “The Ocean in the Closet” (Coffee House Press)
• Lorenzo Thomas, Aldon Lynn Nielsen, editor, “Don’t Deny My Name: Words and Music and the Black Intellectual Tradition” (University of Michigan Press)
• Frank B. Wilderson III, “Incognegro: A Memoir of Exile and Apartheid” (South End Press)
The Lifetime Achievement Award goes to J.J. Phillips, author of “Mojo Hand: An Orphic Tale.”
Wanda’s Picks Radio Show
Today we had a great show. It was kind of iffy at a few junctures – calls to guests who were expecting me to call them. I’d play a song, put my microphone on mute and call them on my cell phone, rush back into the studio, and then shoot the breeze until they arrived. Okay, so guests called in late or ran over, plus I also filled each segment with too much.
An example of this was having two winners of the American Book Awards on at the same time: Douglas A. Blackmon, author of “Slavery by Another Name,” and Dr. Frank B. Wilderson III’s “Incognegro: A Memoir of Exile and Apartheid.” I’ll have to have them on again separately. Douglas’ book is coming out in paperback next month. Frank and I were colleagues at the College of Alameda. To listen, visit http://www.blogtalkradio.com/Wandas-Picks/2008/12/26/Wandas-Picks.
8:00 a.m.: Kwanzaa is the topic of the first half-hour. Our guests are Dr. Oba T’Shaka, Pan African People’s Organization and a professor at San Francisco State, Destiny Muhammad, Harpist from the Hood, and Pam Hurley.
8:30 a.m.: The topic is the Cheikh Anta Diop Golden Awards Charity Gala Dec. 30 at AAMLO with Eddie Hart of the Eddie Hart All In One Foundation. Visit http://www.eddiehartaiof.org/.
9:00 a.m.: The American Book Awards ceremony is Dec. 28, 4-6:30 p.m., at Anna’s Jazz Island: My interview is with award winners Douglas A. Blackmon, author of “Slavery by Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to WW II,” and Frank B. Wilderson, III, author of “Incognegro.”
9:40 a.m.: Richard Brown of the San Francisco 8, Claude Marks of Freedom Archives, Sean Vaughn Scott of the Black Rep’s Music in the Community and Paul Mooney, comedian, whose new show, “Black Man in the White House,” kicks off its national tour this week, Dec. 26-Dec. 31. Sunday, Dec. 28, 6 and 8 p.m., at the Black Rep is a fundraiser for the SF 8.