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“The Sun-Reporter is an example of the significance of the Black press in America,” Harris said. “There are issues that are unique to the Black community, and until we have true diversity in the press, we must rely on papers like the Sun-Reporter.”
In an era where the Koreans own the multi-billion-dollar Black haircare industry in the U.S., we need to know about and learn from Black business pioneers like Madame Sara Spencer Washington. Atlantic City’s Madame was a multi-millionaire in the 20’s, running a business empire called Apex Hair and News Co. Her grandson, filmmaker Royston Scott, sat down with me to discuss his documentary called “The Sara Spencer Washington Story,” which will be screening at the SF Black Film Festival.
The 50th Anniversary of the Black Panther Party Conference, Oct. 20-23, held at the Oakland Museum of California and in Bobby Hutton Grove at deFremery Park, was a huge success. To see the Vanguards of the Revolution saluted in such elegant surroundings at the banquet Saturday evening was certainly a fitting tribute to the legacy their lives concretely represent. Hats off to the committee that organized the conference.
With police terrorism hitting the screens of televisions around the world on a weekly and sometimes daily basis due to cellphone cameras, it is obvious why a strong Black media is needed to counteract the nationwide police psychological operation, aka public relations campaign, now being employed to make the police likable and to justify police-imposed torture and genocide on the Black community.
The Black Urban Growers Conference takes place this weekend. Some of the presenters will be local author and urban gardener Menhuam Ayele, local healthy food and social justice advocate Paula Beal, and organic gardener, educator, broadcaster and Hip Hop artist DJ Cavem, hailing from Colorado. I caught up with organizer Kelly Carlisle, who also runs the Oakland non-profit Acta Non Verba Urban Farm, to fill us in.
On Sept. 13, 2014, the most progressive of the Bay Area’s Black and pro-Black journalists came together to celebrate one another and to give awards to a well deserving few. It was also a salute to the real legacy of Black journalism in the United States that was born out of the fight for human rights and self-determination. The night was dedicated to the memory of the recently transitioned journalist and editor Kevin Weston.
“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.
Dr. Willie Ratcliff is publisher of the San Francisco Bay View, one of the leading Black newspapers in the U.S. and a treasured source of left news in the Bay Area. In an interview with Michael Chase and Ragina Johnson, Ratcliff, a longtime resident of the city, reflected on the Hunters Point Naval Shipyard and its closure, environmental racism and the changes in the Fillmore neighborhood, a historically Black area known as “Harlem West.”
There are two film festivals in the Bay Area that are famous for presenting excellent work by Black filmmakers: the Oakland International Film Festival and the San Francisco Black Film Festival. In a few weeks, thousands of people will be trailing into theaters all over San Francisco to check out what the SF Black Film Fest has deemed some of the best Black indie films of the year.
“The 16th Strike,” a documentary in progress, is directed and produced by T Alika Hickman with videographer Danny Russo. Hickman, the young survivor of a stroke and two brain aneurysms, is a Hip Hop artist with Krip Hop Nation – artists with disabilities – as well as a mother, activist, author and poet. She is raising funds to complete the film.
From the powerful voice of Mumia Abu-Jamal opening the event to jazz rapper Do D.A.T.'s video-illuminated revelations on life in the hood, from beloved journalist Kevin Weston's story of his escape from death's door to renowned filmmaker Kevin Epps' telling about his first job delivering the Bay View, Black Media Appreciation Night at Yoshi's Nov. 26 saw stars like Panthers Big Man and Emory Douglas, Phavia Kujichagulia, Walter Turner, Donald Lacy, Wanda Sabir, Greg Bridges, JR Valrey and Dr. Willie Ratcliff place Black media on the front lines of the struggle for justice.
The fiery writing of JR Valrey began appearing in the Bay View a dozen years ago. JR made our original vision for the Bay View reality: to inspire Black youth to build a powerful Black community. As the Bay View’s associate editor and one of KPFA’s most popular programmers with his provocative Block Report Radio shows, JR and the youth who grew up on his empowering words and pictures are growing in influence, making a difference every day – and they’re just getting started.
On Monday, Nov. 26, at Yoshi’s in Oakland, we will be honoring Kevin Weston and a number of other Black media-makers who represent for the Black community in Northern California. Everyone is invited. The night will be a celebration of life and resistance in the home of the Black Panther Party and independent rap music. Until then, here is Kevin in his own words.
New Orleans has become a national laboratory for government reforms. But the process through which those experiments have been carried out rarely has been transparent or democratic. The results have been divisive, pitting new residents against those who grew up here, rich against poor, and white against Black.
The Tuskegee Airmen William “Bill” Campbell San Francisco Bay Area Chapter was honored with the San Francisco NAACP Presidential Medal of Freedom Award at the San Francisco NAACP Freedom Fund Gala. “Red Tails,” the George Lucas film on the Airmen is coming out Jan. 20, 2012.
Very little if any advertising has been done in Black newspapers or with Black radio stations in an attempt to reach Black voters via the Black media. The Black press connects Blacks around the world. Their power and influence is unmatched, unchallenged and unquestioned.
These short but moving statements of solidarity with the family of Oscar Grant come from parents whose children were also murdered by police. Let's spread the word to every mayor, city council and police department in the country that the days when police could murder young Black men - or anyone - with impunity are over!
Recently, the Bay View newspaper won the SF Bay Guardian’s 2009 Best of the Bay Award for best local newspaper because we are a “fight-back” publication. While at the party, I ran into my media-making buddies from Distortion 2 Static, a local Hip Hop TV show, who had also won a 2009 Best of the Bay Award, theirs for best local TV show, and I thought about the fact that I had never written anything to expose our readers to what they do.
WBOK has come back strong from the severe damage inflicted on its studio, offices, transmitter site and broadcast tower by the flooding in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Now broadcasting over a powerful signal, the station adopted a Black talk format - "Real Talk for Real Times" - on Nov. 1, 2007, after it was purchased and upgraded by Danny Bakewell Sr. on behalf of the Bakewell family.