by Malaika H Kambon
In the words of its organizer, Paradise the Poet, the first annual Tahuti’s Ball, held on Oct. 11, 2015, at La Peña Cultural Center in Berkeley, was “the ball heard bouncing around the world,” and it was a huge success!
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.
Tahuti was an Afrikan ambassador of the highest order, bringing together individuals and groups within the community to form a stronger and more positive whole.
The emotions engendered could only be given and celebrated on this evening as we gave to one another from the mental, physical, spiritual and intellectual realms. This is as he would have preferred – and as people’s testimonials proved – as he would have done: bringing a diverse Afrikan community more in contact with itself!
Baba Tahuti was a great thinker and a great believer in the power of Afrika and her people, communities and knowledge. He showed this in everything he did, from bringing people together to educating and teaching by the example of his daily life.
In keeping with this, Tahuti’s Ball brought together some of the most brilliant Afrikan minds, artists, music and musicians of the northern California Bay Area:
- Straight Out Scribes (SOS), who celebrated their 25th anniversary in July of 2015 as the internationally known mother-daughter poetry duo of Dr. V.S. Chochezi and Staajabu;
- band leader, jazz vocalist, musicologist and music producer Bryant Bolling and the Oakland Itals, with Darrell on guitar, Crockett on bass, and Orlando on congas and drums;
- Val Serrant, world renowned master steel drummer, percussionist, composer, vocalist and instructor from Trinidad and Tobago;
- Kamau Amen-Ra, world renowned master photographer and Afrikan oral traditionalist;
- Adama, Egungun spiritualist;
- Nefertina Abrams, global Afrikan community leader;
- Dr. Ellen Foster Randle, university instructor, performing artist, musician;
- the Odinma Performance Ensemble, featuring recitation and songs by Bisola Marignay;
- Marysa Kenyatta, piano;
- Lionel Tanner, bass;
- the Far I Shields, featuring band members Ramadan Aziz and Lionel Tanner;
- multi-award winning jazz poet, playwright, author, visual and performance artist Charles Curtis Blackwell from Sacramento, who is legally blind and whose work has been shown globally;
- Rudi Wongozi and the Sounds of New World Afrika, who, though he could not make it was with us in spirit;
- Afrometropolita, featuring Paradise the Poet; and
- open mic testimonials from those whose lives Baba Tahuti enhanced, to name but a few.
Tahuti touched us all – from those of us he’d just met to those of us who had the distinct privilege of interacting with him daily.
We are thankful for Ancestor Baba Tahuti, his parents and his ancestors, and are honored that his powerful spirit is still with us.
And we, “Tahuti’s Ballers” rocked the house, as we started something that will continue forward into the future! The ball is still bouncing around the world.
Rest in power, ancestor, knowing that you are beloved.
Malaika H Kambon is a freelance, multi-award winning photojournalist and owner of People’s Eye Photography. She is also an Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) state and national champion in Tae Kwon Do from 2007-2012. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.