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“African Independence,” a film that discusses true African liberation, colonialism and neo-colonialism with many of Africa’s former leaders – colonialists and revolutionaries alike – will be screened at the Oakland International Film Fest on April 6 at 5 p.m. at the San Leandro Performance Arts Theater. Check out filmmaker Tukufu Zuberi in his own words ...
When you talk about Oakland’s homegrown musical talent, you have to talk about people like the Tonies, Ledisi, Sheila E, the Escovedos, Silk E, the Coup and many more. Kev Choice is a chip off of that old block. He is a multi-instrumentalist as well as an MC. Kev Choice will be performing at Oakland Yoshi’s on Thursday, Feb. 28, at 8 p.m. Check out Kev Choice in his own words.
Refa-1 is a revolutionary graffiti artist who made history in the Bay Area about 18 years ago by creating a commissioned Malcolm X mural at San Francisco State with anti-zionist messages. Refa-1 has been making a name for himself curating the Aerosoul shows over the years. Don’t miss the closing reception to AeroSoul3, Friday, Feb. 22, at the African-American Art and Culture Complex.
Tayo Aluko, a Nigerian born thespian from Britain, wrote a play about the great revolutionary thinker, artist and activist Paul Robeson, who "has been almost completely written out of history," called “Call Mr. Robeson: A Life, With Songs,” which he will perform Feb. 24 at the East Bay Center for Performing Arts in Richmond and Feb. 28 and March 1 at the Theatre on San Pedro Square in San Jose.
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 rap group dead prez have by far some of the most radical politics of any artists in American music today. We caught up with M1 to talk music and politics for a minute, right before they come out here this Saturday, Nov. 24, and rap songs from their new album “Information Age” as a part of the Rebel Soul Fest, which is going down at Yoshi’s in San Francisco.
On Nov. 6, a majority of the voters in California voted to amend the Three Strikes Law. In Cali alone, according to the film “Cruel and Unusual,” there are over 4,000 people locked up doing life under Three Strikes for nonviolent offenses. The Documentary Film Fest is featuring “Cruel and Unusual” on Nov. 11, 12 and 15 in San Francisco and Berkeley.
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.
The legendary Sifu Bill Owens has trained 121 black belts in the 40 years since he founded Cascos Martial Arts Academy at 7415 MacArthur Blvd, Oakland. He himself is a world renowned champion as well as a teacher of a range of martial arts from Karate and Wun Hop Kuen Do to Filipino Stick Fighting and Brazilian Capoiera. Right now he needs 60 new students. Stop by or call him at (510) 638-9990.
The boxing world has its eye on Northern Cali, because the area is producing champions in every division, right and left. Later on, I will talk to more of the fighters, but I wanted to write this story first, so that people could see boxing from the eyes of trainers, not just fighters.
Anita Woodley is one of the hidden treasures of Oakland’s drama community. Though she no longer lives in Oakland, Oakland very much lives in her. She has recently jumped onto the international scene with her two popular one woman plays, “Mama Juggs” and “The Men in Me.”
Tupac Shakur, a very talented rapper and actor who defined the aspirations and frustrations of a generation, was shot on Sept. 7, 1996, and died on Sept. 13. On June 16, Bobby Beats, the father of Digital Underground’s Money B and a former Black Panther, organized one of the biggest, most exciting and most meaningful Tupac birthday parties in history.
You may recognize Floyd Mayweather and Andre Ward as two major figures in today’s world of boxing, but very few have heard of Raquel Miller, a female fighter from the streets of Hunters Point. All of that is about to change with this 2011 Golden Gloves winner and rising star taking the Northern Cali boxing world by storm.
Safety First is one third of the super art crew Black Diamonds Shining, which also consists of Dead Eyes and Ras Terms. These brothas are very talented visual artists who seem to be everywhere in the Bay where people are talking about young Black and Brown art by contemporary artists. We have to buy and support local art so that we can keep our local dope artists in business.
Storytelling is one of the most ancient forms of entertainment – before radio, television, paper and cinema. Ayodele “Wordslanger” Nzinga is one of the Bay Area’s most talented griots who tells stories of the past through her West Oakland-based theater company, The Lower Bottom Playaz. The legendary August Wilson’s “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” opens July 13.
On May 11, 2012, Marissa Alexander was sentenced to 20 years in prison, because she fired a warning shot to halt her abusive husband from trying to kill her. In her defense, her lawyers cited the Florida “stand your ground” law, which months earlier made national headlines when it was cited by George Zimmerman’s defense team, after he killed unarmed Black teenager Trayvon Martin.
The first book I read after I decided to consciously educate myself to be a part of the movement was Sanyika Shakur’s “Monster” in the mid-‘90s. I was inspired by the sharpness of his ideas, his vocabulary and his grasp on history. I respected him in the same way I respected Tupac Shakur. I knew that one day I wanted to be able express myself as articulately as the two of them.
Summertime in the Bay Area is nothing without all of the music, food and film festivals. If you missed the Oakland International Film Festival, there is still time for you to catch the Bay’s biggest Black film festival, the San Francisco Black Film Festival, which runs June 15-17 at a number of theaters around San Francisco. This year Leo Sullivan will be in attendance. He is one of the cartoon visionaries who created Fat Albert and Looney Tunes. Digital Underground will also be a part of this year’s festivities, as well as Black Panther Party co-founder and chairman Bobby Seale.
"We’re having a big benefit concert for my son on Feb. 10 at 330 Ritch in San Francisco. And I'll just list a few of the artists who will be there: The Jacka, J-Diggs, Mac Mall, Turf Talk, Beeda Weeda, Cellski, Matt Blaque, Laroo, plus The Doe Gang, Undagod and Fly Benzo. It's hosted by Chuy Gomez, music by DJ JR, The Minister of Information," says Denika Chatman, mother of Kenneth Harding, murdered by SFPD. Come celebrate Kenny's life. For tickets and more information, go to http://justice4kennethhardingjr.eventbrite.com/.
"We need a knowledge of self in order to counter the negative imagery and influences ... People who know their history are in a better position to defend themselves and advance their own interests than people who do not," says historian Runoko Rashidi, who discusses the strong Black influence on Europe.