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Culture Currents

Culture Currents

Cultural happenings in SF and beyond.

‘Mommy, what is danger?’

“Mommy, what is danger?” The question was posed by my 4-year-old Black son, who’s been lying awake since 3:55 a.m. But, first … let me tell you the set-up of how we got there.

A review of San Francisco Film Fest short film ‘Bit’

“Bit” is a 34-minute short comedy, directed by Morgan Mathews, about a young Black tech entrepreneur, Houston, and his ambition to create a start-up around his trivia game app, “Jambo.” The film, set mostly in downtown Oakland, is on the post-racialism fringes of the ever-growing Silicon Valley.

This year’s SF Black Film Fest presents revealing documentary, ‘70 Years of Blackness: The...

The San Francisco Black Film Festival, starting June 18 and going for a month strictly online, features a documentary, “70 Years of Blackness: The Untangling of Race and Adoption”, by filmmaker Christopher Windfield. Subject Verda Byrd is a Black woman adopted in the ‘50s into a Black family only to find out 70 years later that both of her birth parents were white.

‘Digging for Weldon Irvine’ is a gem of a documentary in the 22nd annual...

As the longtime publicist for the San Francisco Black Film Festival, I have to go on record and say that “Digging for Weldon Irvine” is, out of over 200 films, one of the most informative and well crafted documentaries that has been selected to screen in the 22nd San Francisco Black Film Festival.

The tale of two knees

I was sitting here in my 4-and-a-half-by-10-foot prison cell on San Quentin’s death row when suddenly I saw “breaking news” flash across the TV screen. To my horror, the image that followed was that of a white Minneapolis police officer named Derek Chauvin driving his knee into the back of the neck of a Black man named George Floyd.

‘SOL Affirmations’: Talkin’ wit’ co-author Karega Bailey

Karega is an intelligent and principled brother of extraordinary patience, diplomacy and reasoning ability. He and his wife Felecia have come up with a new book called “SOL Affirmations.” Now that we are in the season of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is absolutely necessary that we become more aware of our mental health and start to learn the tools and techniques that we could use to deal with stress.

Advancing African liberation on the daily!

Sacred prayers to everyone sacrificing and organizing to serve those who have lost their jobs, sources of income and housing. And, to those who have tested positive for the covid-19 virus, suffered from other illnesses, had loved ones become ill or, worse, suffered the ultimate tragedy of death from the corporate-state violence of impoverishment, torturous military-police and white racist terrorism. Asé.

Coronavirus parenting: Protecting your children during the pandemic

Shortly after the flood in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina, local residents risked their lives launching small boats to rescue people stranded on top of their roofs. This ad hoc group, which included many skilled Cajun boat pilots, became known as the Cajun Navy, a volunteer group who have saved thousands of people in other disasters including Hurricanes Florence, Harvey, Irma and Michael.

Wanda’s Picks for June 2020

Happy Juneteenth or Black People’s Liberation Day, June 19, 1865! Stay strong folks and be safe. Fists up to the youth who are leaders in this Movement for Racial Justice and their parents who raised them righteous.

Juneteenth 2020: Let’s adopt the mantra of Black unity and Black love

“If you do not understand white supremacy (racism) – what it is and how it works – everything else that you understand will only confuse you.” – Neely Fuller Jr. (1971)

Writing While Black June 2020: Black literary artists thriving despite global pandemic

The essentials of writing and publishing have not changed under COVID-19, just the promotions aspects such as in-person appearances. Book signings, conventions and readings are postponed, online or done via the mail. Yet the work of writing continues.

The Oakland-based free Sunday hot dinner program

“Ingenuity is the reigning order of the day” would be my choice of words if I had to sum up the COVID-19 pandemic’s quarantine into a sentence for small business owners.

Things don’t get no better

“Y’know things get funnier every day you live. They don’t get no better. Dig? But they sure as hell get funnier.” This week I keep hearing those words in the back of my mind, as spoken by a Black journalist named “Roosevelt,” a character who works for a Black New Orleans newspaper in the 1960s film “WUSA.” Critics trashed WUSA when it came out in 1970 and it bombed at the box office, but Paul Newman thought it was the most important film he ever made.

The San Francisco Black Film Festival engages fans virtually this year

In June, San Francisco Mayor London Breed is expected to lower San Francisco’s alert level to a COVID-19 semi-quarantine status, meaning that some of the shelter-in-place restrictions implemented in mid-March are expected to be lifted, if infection rates continue to decrease. But according to rumors heard in city government circles, big gatherings of dozens of people will not be allowed in the City until 2021 at the earliest. This may include movie theaters.

Film review: ‘All Day and a Night’

Since quarantine has been going on, many of us have been surfing through streaming services trying to find interesting shows and movies. During this time I saw a title that caught my eye: “All Day and a Night.” A young man who ends up getting life in prison reflects on his decisions that got him there. On top of that, it’s a Netflix original that’s based in Oakland, California.

WE are the ‘eight ball’!

May our Divine Mother-Father Creator of and in All – and beloved Ancients and Ancestors from past millennia, yesteryears and, literally, yesterday – find you and (y)our extended Family healthy and staying positive during these extraordinary crises in our story of humane-ity. Sacred prayers to, and supportive actions for, everyone, including: those sacrificing and working hard to serve us; who have lost their job and source of income; and, to all who have tested positive for the covid-19 virus, suffered from other illnesses, had loved ones become ill or, worse, suffered the ultimate tragedy.

Getting ahead of the curve: Resources for parents who are laid off or struggling...

Since my last column, more resources have become available for families who need medical care, including telehealth visits with their doctor or mental health care. In addition, there are more places you can turn to if you need help with education, food, healthcare, housing, loans, rental or mortgage assistance, immigration and other issues during the pandemic. Here’s a short-list of resources to check out:

Black people are so tired

The following words lead off a Washington Post story headlined “Civil rights crusader Fannie Lou Hamer defied men — and presidents — who tried to silence her” by DeNeen L. Brown published Oct. 6, 2017:

As shelter-in-place extensions continue, the literary arts scene moves online

It is unlikely that large gatherings such as conventions will be allowed for quite some time, even if people are allowed to return to eating out and other activities. Gavin Newsom made it clear that ending shelter-in-place will be a gradual process, monitored to see if new freedoms need to be rolled back in order to protect the public health.

From mother to martyr: Remembering Marie Harrison on the anniversary of her ‘very last...

Marie Harrison was a member of the Huntersview Mothers’ Committee on May 15, 2006, when the turbines of the 70-year-old PG&E Hunters Point Power Plant, located at 1000 Evans Ave. at the base of the Hunters Point hilltop, shut down … for good! Ten days after putting into service the Jefferson Martin Transmission Line, Pacific Gas and Electric Co. kept the promise it made in 1998 to shutter the dilapidated natural gas-fired plant after replacing the 400 megawatts of backup power the power plant supplied.