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Just weeks after the artist and musician Common held a free concert outside the State Capitol for 25,000 people and met with legislators to push for common sense justice reform, the California Legislature approved two long-overdue juvenile justice bills. Senate Bills 394 and 395 are part of the #EquityAndJustice package of bills jointly authored by Sens. Ricardo Lara, D-Bell Gardens, and Holly Mitchell, D-Los Angeles, to promote prevention and rehabilitation and maintain family cohesion.
It is very important that you all clearly understand the depth of human torture to which I was subjected for 30-plus years by CDCr and CCPOA.* The torture was directed at me and similarly situated women and men prisoners held in California’s solitary confinement locations throughout CDCr, with the approval and sanctioning of California governors, CDCr secretaries and directors, attorneys general, along with the California Legislature for the past 40 years.
One of the fathers of political Hip Hop on the West Coast is still at ‘em and getting ready to strike again with the Sept. 11 Guerrilla Funk release of “Pistol Politics.” The rapper Paris’ career has survived through three generations of political Hip Hop. Paris has been and still remains at the front line of revolutionary culture that actually makes it to average everyday people in the streets.
I’ve finally seen “Selma” and can report it is a proper civil rights movie. By that I mean it takes few chances either thematically or aesthetically. The icons remain intact and the movement free from revisionist recriminations. This cautious strategy is understandable in a risk-averse Hollywood. Although boxed in by those kinds of commercial expectations, “Selma” delivers even more than it should.
"Selma" gives a window into the turbulent three-month voting rights campaign, a series of pivotal protest marches in 1965 that culminated with President Johnson signing the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The movie offers a lens into King and imperiled activists’ attempts to travel a 54-mile highway from Selma to the Alabama state capital, Montgomery, in the face of blatant racism, brutality and de facto segregation.
Happy New Year! Happy Birthday to my granddaughter Brianna, niece Wilda and friend Fred T. I am still smiling about America’s new relationship with Cuba and the freed Cuban 5. If you are in New Orleans (NOLA), don’t miss “Prospect 3: Notes for Now,” the biennial there being celebrated throughout the city through Jan. 25.
I don’t know if it is a will of iron, Ogun or foolishness, but I caught something viral, which I refused to keep, on the plane Monday, Dec. 23, when I flew to San Salvador, El Salvador, by mistake – yes, the booking agent booked me for San Salvador when I clearly said Salvador, BAHIA, Brazil (smile). I kept seeing San Salvador and thought, well, perhaps this is another way of referencing Salvador, Bahia.
They call it “Big D” and there is a reason for it. The Dallas International Film Festival with its “Star Awards” closing weekend is just a reminder that “they do it big in Texas.” The Dallas Film Society pulled out all the stops as it honored Laura Linney, Bernie Pollack, Eric Pleskow and Gabourey Sidibe with “Dallas Star Awards,” kicking off the concluding weekend.
In a Hollywood Reporter article, Spike Lee is quoted: “In 1989, ‘Do the Right Thing’ was not even nominated [for best picture],” said Lee, with some mock outrage. “What film won best picture in 1989? ‘Driving Miss Mother F-ing Daisy!’ That’s why [Oscars] don’t matter,” said Lee. “Because 20 years later, who’s watching ‘Driving Miss Daisy?’”
Amoeblog invited author, journalist, broadcaster and activist JR Valrey, aka the People’s Minister of Information, to be a guest contributor. The Oakland-based Valrey, who was interviewed and profiled on the Amoeblog last month, is known for his work on KPFA radio, the San Francisco Bay View newspaper, and his book “Block Reportin’.” The book will soon be available for sale in Amoeba Hollywood’s book section.
The Poor Righteous Teachers appealed to young people trying to find themselves and their Blackness, like me. It was an honor for me to interview Wise Intelligent because of how much I gained from his conscious lyrics.
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
DJ Fresh is a legend in the arena of DJing around the world but he is also known for his contributions of putting out lesser known artists right here in the Bay Area. DJ Fresh is a dude who you may catch hanging out with Bicasso of Living Legends fame one day, and the next day he might be in the studio wit’ young hood mascots like Yung Moses, DLO or Sleepy. You can’t put Fresh in the box of being backpacker or gangsta; he’s just hip hop.
This past Sunday over 1,200 people showed up at Salem Methodist Church in Harlem to listen and weigh in on a discussion that has been raging on in our communities but is oftentimes swept under the rug.
A lot of people who met Tupac Shakur say he was such a one-of-a-kind person that you walked away knowing that he was going to make history. I never met Pac, but I could say the same about Malik Yusef, the Wordsmith, from the Rollin' Hundreds in Chicago.