Scorpio Blues will be performing at Yoshi's, 510 Embarcadero West in Oakland, on Tuesday, Nov. 3. The woman who goes by the name of Scorpio Blues and I have known each other for over half our lives, and throughout that time, she has always been very intelligent, driven and never one to hold her tongue. Her artistry is definitely an extension of her persona.
Maafa 2009 was chillier than usual, but our hearts were certainly no less warmed by the ancestors’ tight embrace as supplicants made their way through the Middle Passage to the Wolosodon rhythms, the slave march through the Doors of No Return to the beach where each person held a piece of string – symbolic of a connection … a philosophical connection to the homeland, family and history.
The new short film, “Operation Small Axe,” by Prisoners of Conscience Committee Minister of Information JR Valrey, debuted in October at the Eighth Oakland International Film Festival with screenings at Merritt College, Jack London Cinema and the Uptown. The short has been shown at other venues as close as the Rock Paper Scissors Gallery in Oakland to as far away as Cape Town, South Africa.
A glimpse is a short look, a glance. How do you take a glimpse of an entire neighborhood? It would be hard to take in the whole aspect of a community in a short look. In a glimpse we sometime miss the things that matter. People take glimpses of Bayview and form their own opinion of our community. Without looking at the real Bayview, our community is written off as just another low-income community of color taken over by gang violence and drugs.
Duane Deterville is a dedicated organizer in the Village Bottoms Cultural District in West Oakland and is the host of their Oct. 29 open house. The SF Bay View thinks that this open house is important because the Village Bottoms is a collective of Black business owners and homeowners who are working together to protect their property and institutions and to generate business. Listen to Duane in his own words ...
The thing that most threw me off about this East Oakland native is that she loves opera. She has been singing longer in her life than she hasn’t been, and seems to be able to hit notes that makes glass break. She has recently been cast in a Black opera called “Dark River,” which tells the story of legendary Civil Rights activist Fannie Lou Hamer. It opens at the Oakland Metro Opera House on Nov. 12 and runs until the 22nd.
Kev Choice is one of the the dopest young musicians I know in Oakland. And I would have to say that L-Boogie aka Lauryn Hill agrees with me, since she hired this dude to be her band leader. Kev Choice tickles the keys like Herbie, emcees like Posdonous and is a band leader like Duke Ellington. The Kev Choice Ensemble out at Yoshi’s in Oakland on Monday, Oct. 26, at 8 p.m.
Gil Scott Heron is one of the greatest legends that Black music has breathing in this country. To many, his music is the soundtrack to different eras, the ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s. This piano player, songwriting and composing poet, has set the bar very high when it comes to passionately expressing a wide array of emotions. He is also a beast at getting a political message across through song, right next to people like Fela Kuti, Peter Tosh, Nina Simone and the likes. This is Part 3 of a four-part interview. Here’s Gil Scott Heron in his own words ...
In his new film, “Good Hair,” Chris Rock approaches the subject of Black women’s hair ... like a man. Love 'im or not, you gotta see this film that everybody's talking about. And the Bay View has some free tickets to a special screening Wednesday, Oct. 21, 7 p.m. Each ticket admits two. Call (415) 671-0789
Zin is a hip hop Pacifica Radio legend living in Houston who has a show called S.O.S. Radio in Texas. He also is an up and coming hip hop crooner, kind of like Nate Dogg, but with a Southern twang. He has a new album out called “Mental Graffiti,” which is definitely some conscious mellow music to ride to. I touched down with the man with many faces, so that he could let y’all know a little bit about his personal history as well as his new album.
Can you imagine 45,000 people dying each month and hardly a peep from anyone in the age of the Internet? There is a media blackout about Congo and no worldwide resolution to end the conflict and carnage there. The purpose of the Break the Silence Congo Week is to raise awareness about the devastating situation in the Congo and mobilize support on behalf of the people of the Congo.
Ben Caldwell is a mainstay in Los Angeles’ Black cultural district known as Leimert Park. He has had a part in assisting in the careers of many of LA’s most talented artists over the last 20 years, but most notable would be the influence that he and his venue, the Kaos Network, had on the legendary LA artist collective known as Project Blowed.
Eesuu has been one of my favorite visual artists for the last six years that I have been aware of his work. I like the vibrant colors and the overall vibe that his work transmits. He has recently finished a new sculpture and has founded an annual art festival in West Oakland. It will sound better reading it if you hear it from Eesuu direct.
Amiri Baraka, one of the most fiery political poets and cultural critics in Black Amerikkka, recently celebrated his 75th birthday. He is the father of the Black Arts Movement of the ‘60s and after 2001, New Jersey abolished the poet laureate position because they couldn’t fire him, the incumbent, after he wrote his controversial piece, “Somebody Blew Up America.” On Sunday, Nov. 8, 1 p.m., Amiri will be speaking in the Koret Auditorium of the San Francisco Library, 100 Larkin St., as well as at the Black Dot Cafe, 1195 Pine St. at 6:30 in West Oakland on the same day. Here’s a quick Q & A that I did with Amiri Baraka ...
I had to publish more of this interview with the legendary Gil Scott Heron because a whole lot of readers personally got at me and told me that it was too short. They told me that they wanted to hear more of what he had to say. If y’all want to read interview installments 3 and 4, y’all are goin’ to have to vote and put your bid in, because I literally had to transcribe this interview that was done for radio by hand. Otherwise you can wait until the Oct. 19, when it will premiere on Greg Bridges’ show, Transitions on Traditions, which airs on 94.1FM in Northern Cali (kpfa.org) at 9 p.m. Enough on that.
There are a lot of artists in the Bay that I like for different reasons, but I have to say Mac Mall is one of my favorite all around artists. He was 16 years old when “Illegal Business” was released, his debut on Young Black Brotha Records out of Vallejo, who also brought the Mack, Mac Dre, Ray Luv and Young Lay to the world. Actually, this is the record company that put Vallejo on the Bay Area hip hop map. The lyricism and swagger of the young teenage Mac Mall on songs like “Illegal Business,” “Sic Wid Tis,” “Ghetto Theme” and “My Opinion” made him a legendary rapper out the gate.
We got wit’ Samm Styles to do this interview, because we wanted our readers to be educated and understand the importance of the Oakland International Film Festival to movie-goers, filmmakers and local business, specifically.
Paul Robeson was an extraordinary and versatile individual, world famous during his lifetime, who has been deliberately erased from the dominant myth of U.S. history for speaking the truth about conditions both domestic and abroad – his opposition to racism, fascism and colonialism and his support for civil and human rights, democracy, national liberation, socialism and the day-to-day resistance of working people of all lands to oppression, knowing that his fame would allow these messages to be more widely heard.
David Roach founded the Oakland International Film Festival to "create new opportunities for up and coming filmmakers." It runs Oct. 8-14 at five venues. See www.oiff.org. Catch Minister of Information JR’s new film “Operation Small Axe” on Saturday, Oct. 10, 7 p.m., at Merritt College; Sunday, 7:00, at the Uptown; and Tuesday, 6:30, at Jack London Theater No. 1 – see you there!
This October will mark the 43rd anniversary of the founding of the Black Panther Party. To celebrate this milestone, the It’s About Time Committee and The Commemorator are presenting a two-day Book Fair and Teach-In at the Laney College Student Center on Friday, Oct. 23, 12-3 p.m., and Saturday, Oct. 24, 11 a.m. until 4 p.m., as just one of many scheduled October events.