Sunday afternoon, Feb. 23, at the Museum of the African Diaspora in San Francisco was an opportunity to see what Black Joy looks like. While Africans in Oakland were celebrating what makes us a people, in San Francisco, artists, curators and scholars were discussing Kwame Brathwaite’s work in the “Black is Beautiful: The Photography of Kwame Brathwaite” exhibit up through March 1. More than a tangible aesthetic enumerated, Brathwaite’s “Beautiful” is an opportunity to reflect on the many ways through the ages Blackness – while commodified – transgressed and transcended, even morphed into something completely incomprehensible (in that moment) like Charlie Parker’s “Koko“ or Dizzy Gillespie’s “Shaw ‘Nuff” or John Coltrane’s “A Love Supreme.”
Happy birthday to the June Geminis and Cancers. Happy Solstice and safe travels to all those Returning to the Motherland this 400 Year Anniversary Celebration and Remembrance.
San Francisco will come alive with 15 Kwanzaa celebrations in seven days Dec. 26 through Jan. 1, presented by the Village Project and many community partners. Striving to unite and strengthen our family, community and nation, each of the seven principles – the Nguzo Saba – will be highlighted with the lighting of a candle, followed by a feast and a myriad of artistic performances. On New Year's Day, the final day of Kwanzaa, join the celebration at 6 p.m. at St. Cyprian’s Episcopal Church, 2097 Turk St., with Bernard Anderson and The Smooth Blues Band. The last candle of the kinara will be lit, and Dr. Dorothy Tsuruta, chair of the Department of Africana Studies, SF State University, will MC.
It is amazing how time flies whether one is moving or standing still. One looks up and sees, suddenly it seems, friends celebrating 70 and 75 or 80 or even 90-plus milestones. Wow! What a blessing that is. And while we also see the fullness of time’s passage in the lives of those who have decided to move on, too often we are caught by surprise, our mouths hung open, the words we could have said … deeds left undone.
Beverly Henry died. I just got the email today. The state of California owes women prisoners their lives back – imagine going into prison healthy and leaving with a terminal illness. This is the case for many of the women there. Beverly Henry told me to tell her story and I plan to begin right now. A warrior to the end, it was her voice that told women to stand up for their rights even perhaps especially behind bars.
The 18th Annual Maafa Commemoration Ritual is Sunday, Oct. 13, 2013, predawn. We meet at Ocean Beach, Fulton at the Great Highway. The ritual is for people of African Descent (Black people from throughout the globe). There are so many great events this month, but not enough space to list them all.
Congratulations to my nephew Wilfred Batin, 9 years old, who was one of two honor roll students from Rosa Parks Elementary School honored this year at City Hall. Happy Mother’s Day to all the women who deserve more than a day to honor them. Congratulations to all the college graduates!
The 23rd African American Celebration through Poetry is Saturday, Feb. 2, 2013, 1-4 p.m. at the West Oakland Branch Library, 1801 Adeline St., in Oakland, (510) 238-7352. All are welcome and if anyone didn’t hear of the event in time to be a part of the featured program, we do have an open mic at the end of the program.
With the storm approaching New Orleans, I spoke to Dwight Henry, co-star in the film, “Beasts of a Southern Wild,” currently in Bay Area theaters. I spoke to three men who are riding the storm out: Parnell Herbert, Angola 3 activist and playwright, Mwalimu Johnson, community organizer and prison abolitionist, and Malik Rahim, former Black Panther.
We give honor to Mother Earth, her birthday celebrated the weekend of April 22 with many great events in the Bay Area, “Love Yo Mama” in East Oakland hosted by Nehanda Imara of Citizens for a Better Environment, one of my favorite community events. My granddaughter and I enjoyed visiting the Tassafaronga Farm.
How well indeed the creator saw fit to have the Muslim population worldwide join the hunger strike started by brothers in the Security Housing Unit (SHU) at Pelican Bay July 1, which continues in other California prisons, including I heard at the Central California Women’s Facility (CCWF).