by Rochelle Metcalfe
HOW SWEET IT WAS! DR. WILLIE RATCLIFF, our beloved Publisher, a VIRGO MAN, celebrated his 82nd birthday surrounded by his lovely wife MARY RATCLIFF, charming in a blue dress, staff and friends at a reception held in the lobby of the African American Art and Cultural Complex, prior to the BLACK MEDIA APPRECIATION NIGHT affair, sponsored by SF BAY VIEW, to HONOR UNSUNG HEROES who do not get their PROPER due for their outstanding work; this the second year – launched in November 2012 at Yoshi’s in Oakland.
Wonderful start of the evening to see the happy smile on Dr. Ratcliff’s face, singing of happy birthday; blew out two lighted candles on the beautiful decorated carrot cake, baked by AUNTIE APRIL, warm remarks by a few, that included San Francisco Public Defender JEFF ADACHI, who expressed his respect for the MAN! To see Ratcliff, trim in a blue suit, you would not suspect he’s 82 years old, look years younger, always a wide smile, witty, NEVER bites his tongue, outspoken, straight up whether you agree or not. Usually seen wearing a black tam on his clean shaven head!
Happy to chat with many of the guests, some honored, that included AAACC co-curators, twins MELANIE and MELORRA GREEN (LOVE those ladies}; lovely and talented trumpeter/cornet/ percussion and spoken-word PHAVIA KUJICHAGULIA; EMORY DOUGLAS (Black Panther fame); KPOO’S HARRISON CHASTANG and comedian DONALD LACY; Archbishop FRANZO KING and lovely wife; ROBERT CHRISTMAS; videographer KEN JOHNSON (who put me to work); MESHA IRIZARRY and KATHLEEN (KAT) ESPINOSA – both have had their share of heartaches over the tragic loss of their sons.
The Bay View office is located in the HEART of the THIRD STREET corridor, near Palou. The Ratcliffs work hard to put out the monthly newspaper, focusing from a BLACK PERSPECTIVE; passionate about the Bayview community and beyond, covering social issues. The couple moved to the area 27 years ago, taking over the paper in 1991 from previous owner MUHAMMAD AL-KAREEM, now sales manager.
It’s only APPROPRIATE BLACK MEDIA BE RECOGNIZED! WHITE media is NOT going to cover the BLACK community in depth – WE need BLACK writers to tell our story – LIKE FERGUSON!
The Ratcliffs work hard to put out the monthly newspaper, focusing from a BLACK PERSPECTIVE; passionate about the Bayview community and beyond, covering social issues.
PROPS to JR VALREY, Associate Editor, best known as the Peoples’ Minister of Information, who coordinated the wonderful TRIBUTE to UNSUNG HEROES who are out there every day writing and reporting the news! This young man, in his 30s, on the RISE, a man who keeps his ear to the ground, the grass roots , covering the REAL people of the Black community – and injustices! Recently back from FERGUSON, Missouri, where he covered the MICHAEL BROWN shooting, reported in the September issue, shared with me that he plans to return shortly! RIGHT ON, FOR THERE’S STILL NO JUSTICE!!!
It’s said Dr. Ratcliff is a VISIONARY. He sees in EVERY Black community the capacity for self-determination and cooperative economics, born 82 years ago in the little Black nation of EAST LIBERTY, TEXAS, founded by Africans who had freed themselves long before the Civil War and taken ownership of thousands of acres of fertile land, where they ran their own school and have met their own needs for close to 200 years.
Well-respected, Dr. Ratcliff recently spoke at the distinguished San Francisco Commonwealth Club, joined a panel of publishers with San Francisco Neighborhood Newspaper Association who discussed their papers, their labors of love for their communities. SF BAY VIEW is circulated throughout the SF BAY area.
MOVING ON … The NFL season has gotten off to a bad start with TV publicity of several BLACK players accused of DOMESTIC VIOLENCE! EMBARRASSING!!! BLACK women have been catching hell since SLAVERY – White man used us, Black men abused us! SISTUH’S, WAKE UP – DON’T TAKE IT ANY MORE! Domestic violence goes beyond the NFL, BUT The RICE case – he seen dragging his lady, unconscious, out of an elevator, put the issue on the hot seat!
AND, for my two cents, TIME FOR NFL Commissioner ROGER GOODELL to STEP DOWN! His insensitivity showed when he appointed several WHITE women to the special task force to address the NFL domestic violence issue – why didn’t he also APPOINT A BLACK WOMAN??? ENUFF SAID!
Domestic violence goes beyond the NFL, BUT The RICE case – he seen dragging his lady, unconscious, out of an elevator, put the issue on the hot seat!
MOVING ON – HEY, before I forget – an early HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MRS. DOROTHY COOK of San Francisco. A BIRTHDAY MUSICAL will be celebrated at Cornerstone Baptist Church, Third and Paul Avenue, Oct. 18, Saturday afternoon, 3 p.m. Come out and show your love! Mrs. Cook, known for her years of love and dedication, developing young voices, gospel programs, through HERITAGE MUSIC FOUNDATION, which she founded. AND Sunday morning pianist for several churches in the Bayview. Might note her grandson, STEVON COOK, is running for San Francisco School Board.
AH, Miss ANGELA ARMSTRONG and friends, that included singer ALVENSEN MOORE, recently headlined the Monday night Jam in the lounge of Dr. George Davis Senior Center – she was quite the ENTERTAINER, showing off her creative personality in stage presence – kicked off the evening in costume, Viking inspired hat, orange TUTU, rhinestone necklace, black tap dancing shoes and cane, singing Kansas City – Every Day I Have the Blues! Several changes – elegant black dress with sparkling necklace doing Tina Turner. The lady had it going on! I might note, Ms. Armstrong sings with the BAYVIEW COMMUNITY Choir, under the direction of MAESTRO CURTIS.
LANCE BURTON, photographer-videographer, captured her every move. Founder, Planet Fillmore, shared with me he would be MIGRATING OUT of San Francisco (OH, NO!). On the scene enjoying the captivating Ms. Armstrong – MS. BEAULAH SUNDAY, LONNIE AND SHIRLEY HUNTER; HERMAN PHILLIPS and his pretty lady – MS. GLADYS; DAN DANIELS’ MS. BARBARA – his frisky dancing partner!
Musically, keeping up with what went down over at YOSHI’S San Francisco Club, on the scene to catch vocalist NICOLAS BEARDE’S gig and birthday celebration, featured NAT ADDERLY Jr. on piano, flying out from New Jersey to continue their recent recording collaboration – place packed. There was KRON-TV 4 PAM MOORE, BILL AND BELVA DAVIS MOORE, songbird DENISE PERRIER, and CHRISTINE HARRIS, celebrating her birthday!
KEEPING ON IN PARTY FLAVOR – Bay Area fashion ROCK STAR – POPCORN (Thurman Austin,) longtime resident of Bayview Hunters Point with his wife, ANN AUSTIN, family and friends, celebrated his 76th birthday at THUTMOSE Masonic Lodge on Raymond Street, off Old Bayshore. See PHOTO captured with his grandkids visiting from Atlanta, GA.
IN CLOSING – R.I.P. RALPH “BUS” BOOKER, who caught the “A” train, Aug. 26, 2014. He was 82. A San Francisco resident since the late ‘60s, affectionately called BUS, since the years when he worked for MUNI. My condolences to his family, wife Delmar of 54 years, children and host of family members.
HEY, IT’S NICE TO BE NICE AND TO ALL OF YOU OUT THERE … LOOK FOR ME … I’LL BE THERE …
Email Rochelle at email@example.com.