California Coalition for Women Prisoners is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year and many of the women I met when I was going in visiting are free now – some released in time to die. However, there are many women who are still inside. Convicted as children, these women are not eligible for the legislation over the past decade that guaranteed juvenile offenders parole dates. Supposedly, there are no juveniles serving life sentences, yet that is not true. Women who are in their 30s now were convicted as children, some as young as 14 or 15.
With more and more conventions shutting their doors, convention organizers are getting creative with online conferences. From March 30 through April 24, Clarion West is offering a series of free online classes and writing workshops. Litquake is offering Litquake on Lockdown, a workshop series utilizing the increasingly popular Zoom video conferencing software.
We’ve never had to deal with a pandemic like COVID-19 that upended our lives overnight, with schools, universities and most businesses shut down, hospitals scrambling to prepare for an onslaught of novel coronavirus victims, and government orders to stay at home indefinitely.
At a recent event that I attended at the African American Art and Culture Complex, I had my first experience with virtual reality. Virtual reality technician Shawn Alston has set up a virtual reality lab, where the participant gets a chance, in the 10-minute presentation, to grow from a seed to a tree.
“Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power” at the DeYoung museum is an opportunity for America to acknowledge the African presence at the heart of all that is human in this nation. Art articulates a vision; it is a language which negates artifice.
More than 163 million cats and dogs currently make their homes in backyards and living rooms across America. That adds up to a lot of dug-up flower beds, vet bills and ruined upholstery. It also adds up to a lot of happiness.
Mainstream fiction genres such as sci-fi, horror and fantasy have visual arts components to them. Conventions and festivals often have a separate arts room displaying fantasy and science-fiction centered painting, digital art and sculpture. Music like horror core is associated with the horror genre, and there are horror centered visual arts movements as well.
There were several interesting and exciting Black History Month and Afrocentric Bay Area events, some of which I personally attended and was involved with last month.
Sunday afternoon, Feb. 23, at the Museum of the African Diaspora in San Francisco was an opportunity to see what Black Joy looks like. While Africans in Oakland were celebrating what makes us a people, in San Francisco, artists, curators and scholars were discussing Kwame Brathwaite’s work in the “Black is Beautiful: The Photography of Kwame Brathwaite” exhibit up through March 1. More than a tangible aesthetic enumerated, Brathwaite’s “Beautiful” is an opportunity to reflect on the many ways through the ages Blackness – while commodified – transgressed and transcended, even morphed into something completely incomprehensible (in that moment) like Charlie Parker’s “Koko“ or Dizzy Gillespie’s “Shaw ‘Nuff” or John Coltrane’s “A Love Supreme.”
If you live in San Francisco, you’ve probably seen her smiling face on billboards, the side of buildings, the back of buses, transit stations, and lining Van Ness and other major thoroughfares. Bayview resident Susie Tyner is one of five seniors who exemplify a new generation of older adults: accepting of the inevitable aging process but making a conscious decision to live full lives.
This poem is water It is palm wine to the ancestors Ones with heads up, lips parted Utterance stuck in throat It is fresh water with peppermint It is nommo Words into flesh Blackness Melanin A magic hue Sun kissed by time
One of the Bay Area’s most entertaining new Black convention offerings is AfroComicCon, which injects a healthy dose of Black culture into the family-friendly comic book convention. Comic book conventions are places where you can go to buy comic books and related gear, but they are not stuffy and academic. They are fun, all-ages enticing, and feature family fun entertainment that makes them especially attractive to teens, the young at heart, and people with young children.
In February, Poor Press will be releasing eight powerful and beautiful books, including “Black Disabled Ancestors” by Leroy Moore, “Unwritten Law” by Dee Allen, “When Mama and Me Lived Outside” by Lisa “Tiny” Gray-Garcia, “Disturbance Within Myself” by Audrey Candycorn, “Chimalli” by Muteado Silencio, “Horse Tuuxi: My Name is Kai!” by Angela Taylor, “Everybody’s Jesus” by Katana Barnes – the most diverse Poor book-making program in the history of Poor Press
During these monumental moments, WE come together to highlight some of the past, present and evolving methods of survival, accomplishments and future developments of our Alkebulan-African and New Afrikan nations and achievers. In February, and throughout the year, WE continue our studies, dialogues and learning of important lessons from our powerful Ancients and Ancestors from yesteryears and yesterday.
The most amazing person I ever met was Dr. Oscar Jackson, an eminent Black San Francisco surgeon, businessman, military officer, world traveler, explorer, philanthropist, fraternity brother, husband, father and remarkable storyteller.
I’m a dancer. My body is my instrument. It is the sacred vessel I am gifted to live this life in. It is my duty to honor and care for it, and to use it to the fullest of its capacity.