Tag: Black life
“Sorry to Bother You,” written and directed by Oakland’s resident revolutionary MC, Boots, the front man of the political rap group The Coup, is a hilarious cult classic in the making, set to hit theaters in New York, Los Angeles, and the Bay Area in July. This political comedy is based in the streets of Oakland, but it is refreshingly not a cliché hood story. I loved “Sorry to Bother You” most because although it is a protest film, it’s a comedy.
What I loved this year was all the celebratory dancing from just before our ancestors crossed into the unknown territory to landing on these shores and celebrating life and the possibility of freedom, which remained physically just beyond reach for centuries. In small steps as we regained agency over ourselves, even if our bodies then and now continue to be exploited, liberation was a bit sweeter.
The video is riveting. A woman is rapt with rage, her voice slow and controlled, as a cop points his gun at her, as her lover bleeds his life away beside her, and her baby daughter looks on in what can only be called wonder. Philando Castile is dying as a discussion goes on, but it isn’t with him, it’s about him. The cop’s gun quivers and quakes, pointed at this woman, as the cop’s voice also quivers and quakes, fear thick in every breath. The cop, Jeronimo Yanez, has just killed Philando.
Finally, a filmmaker has come to the forefront to confront the identity question in the post-Obama Trump era. Filmmaker Mtume Gant beautifully asks pertinent questions about what it means to be Black in today’s times in his 20-minute short, an official SF Black Film Festival selection called “White Face.” This political satire, an artsy, comedic drama, is a must see for all the politically minded readers out there. Check out the genius of filmmaker Mtume Gant in this exclusive Q&A.
Coming of age in the ‘60s was a trying time for young African American men whose taste of power made it hard to relinquish their dreams of equality and true democracy shortly thereafter in the ‘70s during the Reagan years with the war on Black people, disguised as a war on drugs. Nonetheless Glen Upshaw did not let fear mitigate or guide his behavior. A peacemaker or violence interrupter, his job is to de-escalate situations before they happen or restore peace and safety in situations where violence has taken place.
Gordon Roger Alexander Buchanan Parks (1912 – 2006), pre-eminent photographer, musician, activist, filmmaker and writer, would have been 103 years old this year. This is not as outlandish a figure as it might seem, given that there have recently been a flood of centenarians living well into the turn of the next century. But did you know that he was born dead? Watch the wonderful documentary, “Half Past Autumn: The Life and work of Gordon Parks,” to find out more!
Today, like far too many days, another unarmed Black male was killed by a white police officer who felt threatened by and most likely didn’t see the value in a Black life. It makes no difference that this child or man may have broken the law because that hasn’t been proven. It does matter that this so-called “peace officer” decided that that Black male was guilty when he saw he was Black.
When we were growing up, we understood that most of these white, Black and Brown police officers were predators. They came to our communities pumped up, looking for action. And there are several profiles of them: cocky, scared, fearless, racist, prejudiced, biased, anxious, gangsters etc. We was warned as young boys to have NO engagement with police, under NO circumstances.
They’re like, “Fuck it. I can die out here for nothing going at these cats from the other side or I could die for justice tonight with these police.” They’re fearless – they’re ready to be a martyr. Now all of this money that it must cost to bring all these cops in, ... all y’all had to do was put one man in jail. That’s it! A thousand police officers are going to be here in St. Louis and for what? To go out and kill another unarmed Black kid in the streets and then leave him there for four hours? I think that the ripple effect of this is going to rock the whole nation. It could be the tipping point for race relations in America when it comes to policing.
Menhuam Ayele is a city planner, author, gardener, father, philosopher and many other things in the city that he hails from, Oakland, California. One of the most important and interesting ideas that he is working on is the concept of Africa Towns centered around the needs of the Black community. He also hosts Black Family Day in the Garden in West Oakland, where he encourages Black families to come together to plant and harvest food.
“The Black Arts Movement and Its Influences” conference will be going down with a host of legendary Black artists who have contributed to the liberation of our minds over the last 50 years. People like Askia Toure, Umar Bin Hasan of the Last Poets, Emory Douglas, the Minister of Culture of the Black Panther Party, Avotcja, Ayodele Nzinga, Ras Baraka and Ishmael Reed, to name a few, will be participating.
HELLO! Good to be back on the scene talking about MY FOLKS! For decades, traveled San Francisco’s famed Fillmore and Divisadero Streets, writing about street action and Black life! So, here I am checking out the happenings on THIRD STREET, the heart and soul of the Bayview Hunters Point community – the LAST BASTION for African Americans in this town!
How did the world get here? Did you hear what they said: Another young brother is dead. Meanwhile Zimmerman is set free; how the fuck can this be? A man with a gun killed Sybrina and Tracy’s son. Yet he received an acquittal while Trayvon was only armed with a bag of skittles, showing once again how little America values Black life.