“I Am Still Here” is one of the most disturbing must-see films in the San Francisco Black Film Festival. “I Am Still Here” describes the horrors of child sex trafficking through the eyes of Layla, an American child being trafficked in America. Although it is a work of cinematic fiction, it is based on real events, according to the filmmakers. I interviewed Mischa Marcus and Stephanie Bell about their feature length film, “I am Still Here,” and here is what they had to say.
The Ancestors hold the hearts of their children as the struggle continues to break the chains of bondage in our modern reality of feet on the earth of the past. Calling in the courage and honor of the risen Ancestors to the Slave Rebellion Reenactment seals the bond of love and self-determination in those who will be liberated.
If you only watched the evening news or depended on pop culture, you would probably think that the majority of Black youngsters were only ambitious about sports and music. The face of Black success isn’t limited to those fields. There are a multitude of young Blacks who are achieving at a high level in science, math, classical music, chess and other knowledge-based areas and preparing to change society.
The Black Panther Party newspaper was founded by Huey Newton and Bobby Seale in 1967. It became the No. 1 Black weekly newspaper in the country from 1968-1971, selling over 300,000 copies each week. Every Panther had to read and study the newspaper before selling it.
Prentice Hall Polk (1898-1985) is one of the world’s quintessential photographers because he captured the honesty, pride and nobility of Afrikan people, during a time in history when portraitures of Afrikan people were typically nothing but caricatures indicative of the Jim Crow laws and of white supremacy. Mr. Polk enjoyed his work creating, preserving and documenting an important part of Afrikan history.
The name Beasley has rung true in the streets of Bayview Hunters Point since before the Double Rock housing projects were built in the 1950s. Of all of the Beasleys, there was none who controlled the streets like James Beasley Jr. James tells his amazing story in the soon-to-be-released autobiography and documentary entitled “Deep Rooted.”
Ida B. Wells was a fiery crusader for African American justice at a time when angry white men indulged in lynching as acceptable behavior. Her determination, courage, ambition and refusal to back down helped change the course of history. Her talents as an investigative reporter, successful writer and newspaper owner were unbeatable weapons.
It is with deep pain and distraught heartbreak the San Francisco Black Film Festival announces the death of its Director Kali O’Ray on Friday August 7, 2020, after a short battle with heart disease. The previous announcement that his death was related to COVID-19 was mistaken, and we apologize for the error. Festival organizers ask the public’s forbearance as O’Ray’s wife and co-director, Katera Crossley, and family plan details around observances for his untimely passing.
Black History Month 2019 exploded at the Fillmore Heritage Center with 17 events that celebrated different facets of our very diverse community. There was Fiyah Friday, Fillmore legend LaRon Mayfield’s Aquarius Bash featuring DJ Drama, the weekly Tuesday Bluesday, the Samba Percussion class, a Night of R&Bay featuring DJs DJ 12 and Black Marc, The Global African Experience presentation by the legendary historian Runoko Rashidi, an intimate and epic evening with the Grammy award winning R&B group Tony! Toni! Tone! and the African Diaspora party.
The Grandassa Models were the foot soldiers and ambassadors for the Black Is Beautiful Movement. Initially, they were a group of eight Black women of who wore their hair in its natural state and modeled fashion for the world to see “Black Is Beautiful” in a new way. Eldridge Cleaver wrote from San Quentin adulating Black women with natural hair.
In “High Voltage Women: Breaking Barriers at Seattle City Light,” historian Ellie Belew captures the drama, the events and the personalities of an affirmative action effort that was in the forefront of the national drive toward non-traditional work for women.
Julia was the kind of woman who would stand by her man until he was headed in a better direction and she could get in front of him. I just tried to fill her life with whatever joy I could and always love her all the time. Remembering Julia Celebration Service is Saturday, March 30, 11 a.m., at Third Baptist Church, 1399 McAllister, San Francisco.
I write to you as your Black daughter, one who is three generations rooted in this city, and one who had all but given up on you. Today, however, in the spirit of Juneteenth, I am thinking I can feel the fresh breath of something new in the air. Is it hope? Should I trust it? I want to.
Although he did not study art at a university nor an art school to enhance his innate artistry, it led him to many colleges and universities across this country, and through his art he met and mingled with those of prominence and great stature as well as many everyday people as he journeyed across this country promoting himself through his works of art with wife and daughter in tow. Homegoing is Monday, Feb. 18, 11 a.m., at Third Baptist Church, 1399 McAllister, San Francisco.
The Screening Room, a new local startup TV show, features up-and-coming filmmakers with interviews about their films, the filmmaking journey and future outlook. We were honored to have the lovely Sheila V. Harris as our host in a recent episode of The Screening Room. She interviewed two local filmmakers, Karen Ruiz, a native San Franciscan, and Rock Hemlock, originally from Dallas, Texas.
Akua Njeri (fna Deborah Johnson) is a former member of the Illinois Chapter Black Panther Party. She is a survivor of the Dec. 4, 1969, assassination of Chairman Fred Hampton and Defense Captain Mark Clark. She is the widow of Chairman Fred and the mother of Chairman Fred Jr.
This holiday season, many are wondering what we can possibly do to get involved and create real change in our communities. One way to make a difference at the local level is to become a volunteer in public schools, especially schools that are under-resourced and can really use the support. Anyone who has stepped inside a school knows teachers and principals simply cannot do it alone. It takes a whole team of caring adults to educate a child.
Recently I went to the Marin Veterans’ Memorial Center in San Rafael, where the famed Shaolin Warriors of China were to give a performance in display of their hand-to-hand and weapons martial skills. The performance was designed to be a dazzling display of gung-fu couched in a “theatrical display” of a “sacred and deadly art.”
“It was like he was sent by God to give some love to bring us together because that’s what his lyrics were saying, always. He’s not shy to tell the truth even though it might not look good. He wasn’t scared of anything,” said Nipsey’s Eritrean father, Dawit Asghedom. “[God] sent him to send a message, then said, ‘It looks like your time is up because you have completed what I sent you to do. We all have a plan, but God has his own plan. So he had completed what he needed to be doing and he did it early so [God] probably wanted to take him early too.”