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After gracing the planet for 76 years, Aretha Franklin joined the ancestors Thursday, Aug. 16, 2018. President Obama: “Aretha helped define the American experience. In her voice, we could feel our history, all of it and in every shade – our power and our pain, our darkness and our light, our quest for redemption and our hard-won respect. May the Queen of Soul rest in eternal peace.”
Once upon a time … in a reality far, far away … Amy D.C. Brownell, PE, a licensed professional engineer with the Environmental Division of the San Francisco Department of Public Health (DPH), accepted the mandate to protect human health and the environment as a permanent regulator seated on the Restoration Advisory Board (RAB) of the Hunters Point Shipyard, a federal Superfund site. RABs are democratically elected bodies created by Congress to empower community stakeholders with the opportunity to direct the cleanup and reuse of former military installations.
“Black Panther” follows T’Challa/Black Panther’s journey, in the aftermath of his father’s death, to lead his technologically advanced nation, Wakanda, which the world believes is impoverished. Featuring Black actors from the United States, England and various parts of Africa, “Black Panther” is the first Marvel film set in a Black-ruled nation. As such, the film challenges the negative stereotypes in which the world typically views African nations.
By ourselves, we disenfranchised Haitians took down the fake elections and U.S. puppet president, Michel Martelly. He left on Superbowl 50, Feb. 7 – the day Beyoncé set off a politically charged “Formation,” unapologetically Black. America’s most powerful artist dressed her dancers in Afros and Black Panther leather outfits and got in (Malcolm) X formation, Black fists raised up. Banm sèt kout kouto – bring it! she said.
Mr. Jose LaCrosby, a nationally-recognized African-American hairdresser in San Francisco, passed away on Jan. 29, 2016, in hospice care at the San Francisco VA Hospital. He was 89 years old. He is survived by his son and daughter, seven grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. Mr. LaCrosby lived in the Fillmore-Western Addition for 58 years. Black Homes Matter Memorial Rally to honor Mr. Jose La Crosby’s legacy Wednesday, Feb. 10, 4-5 p.m., at Mercy Housing
Aisha Fukushima is one of the most internationally traveled artists now on the scene in the Bay behind the legendary Hip Hop independent gurus Hiero. Her blend of Hip Hop, Soul, Jazz, Spoken Word and international sounds is a deviation from the assembly line Hip Hop that is trending right now in Cali and across the country. More importantly, she is a raptivist, an activist who uses rhyming to get her message out.
Congratulations to Gerald Lenoir for carrying the torch and blazing the way for so many social justice issues from HIV/AIDS awareness in the Black community to his recent work in just migration for Pan Africans. Much success on your new work! Farewell to Alona Clifton and much success in Atlanta. Congratulations also to Almaz Negash, founder and director of African Diaspora Network in Silicon Valley for her national recognition and award at the Continental African Leaders Summit in Washington, D.C.
Rickey Vincent’s new book, “Party Music,” about the Black Panther Party singing group The Lumpen is a great read. The revolutionary singing group was all about the ideology of the Black Panther Party in song and music. The Lumpen had a powerful show. They mixed the contemporary music of James Brown, Curtis Mayfield and Motown and changed the lyrics to provide a positive message in their music.
“Love, Peace, and Soul” by the award-winning writer and WPFW broadcaster Ericka Blount is a documented history of the show that helped to launch and sustain the careers of such musical giants as James Brown, the Jackson 5, Marvin Gaye, Barry White, Ike and Tina, Aretha Franklin and more.
Martin King said as long as there is economic inequality, there will be racial inequality.The lack of economic empowerment in our community comes from economic dysfunction that is a result of – let’s be real – racism as it relates to how this country has been structured so that the classes, in a real sense, exploit the masses, and especially people of color and, without a doubt, African Americans.
“Vigilante on the Loose” is based on a true story about a community plagued with past injustice. This time they chose to stand their ground. Filmed on location in Miami, Florida, the film was produced by Vision Entertainment Group and directed by Timothy Hodges. The once thriving Black section of Miami known as Overtown is virtually destroyed after so-called urban renewal.
Sly and the Family Stone are some of the architects of Bay Area-based funk music and, for that matter, Bay Area hip hop, which has borrowed more than just a little bit from the funk. “Coming Back for More” is an excellent documentary that looks at the life and musical rise of the legendary Sly, who started his musical career as a radio personality on the KSOL.
There are a lot of people out there who are concerned about how you spend your money. Embrace this glorious month of February and our incomparably rich history that extends back God knows where and support the future Gabby Douglases and Colin Kaepernicks and George Washington Carvers of the world by buying Black.
We’ve been “white maled!” Thank God for the ‘60s and ‘70s Black Power and Pride movements and for artists like James Brown who exorcized centuries of shame from our race with one song, “Say It Loud, I’m Black and I’m Proud.” Be Black, buy Black, think Black and support the future Gabby Douglases of the world by voting every day with your dollars. Buy Black Wednesdays business of the month is True Vibe Records.
The day is Buy Black Wednesday. I am setting foot in the Pan Afrikan Market Place called Little Nubia, modeled after Harlem in its “hey day,” old Timbuktu and Black Wall Street. So there are over 600 Black businesses in a 10-square-block area. Red, black and green is everywhere. Flags from every Afrikan nation flutter in the summer breeze.
When the Occupy San Quentin rally ended, San Rafael police followed us to the Richmond Bridge. I don’t know if it was Jabari Shaw’s orange CDCR jumpsuit that kept them wondering – Is he an escapee, one of ours? – or if it was the sheer magnitude of fearlessness represented by women like Kelly, a former prisoner who would not let her traumatic experience silence her. One brother got so full looking at the guards on the other side of the gate watching that he looked like he was going to leap the gate and hurt someone as he recalled the violations of his person over and over again. Members of All of Us or None dropped everything to embrace him when he left the stage.
Beyonce performed Etta’s signature song, “At Last” at President Obama’s inauguration in 2009, laying claim to the tune James relied on to make a living. James told an audience shortly after that that Obama “is not my president” and “that woman he had singing for him, singing my song … she’s going to get her ass whipped.”
There are those who would have you believe that seeing a black cat (like me?) cross your path will bring you bad luck. But the Native Americans had no idea when they first saw that white cat named Christopher Columbus that he would be bringing them and the whole world 500 years bad luck!
Individuals in North Africa, Europe and West Asia are rewriting the history of their countries as “people power” takes center stage. This “people power” has always existed within us; history is written by those who recognize the power of the human dream of freedom and who set about making that dream a reality, against all odds.
Malcolm spoke of U.S. imperialism in Africa when most of us were hoodwinked into believing the U.S. were the good guys. Not only did Malcolm disabuse us of those foolish and faulty notions, he railed against U.S. racism and its racist foreign policies. He envisioned dire consequences of U.S. thuggery around the world but particularly in Africa.
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