Possibly the only thing that could be worse for Oakland than a loss of a third of its Black population in less than 30 years is that so many of its stars develop their chops, their talents and skills in Oakland and then leave and don’t come back or give back! Our community treasure chest would be much richer if our Oakland All Stars came back home! Most of the great talent that Oakland develops leaves to enrich the coffers and treasure chests of other cities and countries.
“Motown the Musical” is a wonderful story of a man’s ability to take a dream and, with the support of first his family and secondly his community – in this case, artists in Detroit, Michigan – see the vision through to its fruition. Berry Gordy Jr. decided to open his own music company, Motown, a company that put Black music on the map and provided the bridge between mainstream white America and the parallel nation Black people occupied, but not for long.
“Motown the Musical” is the true story of Motown founder Berry Gordy’s journey from featherweight boxer to the heavyweight music mogul who launched the careers of Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Smokey Robinson and many more. Motown shattered barriers, shaped our lives and made us all move to the same beat. Interview with Bayview Hunters Point native Rodney Earl Jackson Jr., who plays David Ruffin.
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.
I am recovering from a huge blow – my computer was taken along with other personal irreplaceable items. We stopped by Loon Point to visit the shore before driving back to the San Francisco Bay Area Jan. 30. It was early, we’d just finished our first session of the Winter Quarter. We left our luggage in view in our cohort’s car. In Oakland, we’d not have done that, but somehow the seashore, mountains and quiet terrain deceptively seduced us.
Gina M. Paige explained that the organization, African Ancestry, started with Dr. Rick Kittles, genetic researcher at Howard University who was interested in isolating the gene that caused prostate cancer, one of the leading causes of death in our community. He found this research methodology applicable in other genetic detective research and so in 2003 African Ancestry was founded with Ms. Paige.
Raise your voice and the voices of our people – the voice of truth. Until we get the big mikes, we gotta hit a lot of little mikes. Bring back the doo woppers on street corners and concerned citizens speaking on footstools like Malcolm and Black New Yorkers used to do in the ‘60s – and even today. Support your local poetry, spoken word and open mike scenes where – at least there – we still have a voice.
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.
There are many great programs for youth in the San Francisco Bay Area – among them, AileyCamp at Cal Performances, Destiny Arts, Oaktown Jazz Workshop, Dimensions Extensions and Oakland Public Conservatory of Music, founded by Angela Wellman.
Happy Mother’s Day to Yuri Kochiyama! I’d like to also wish the women who haven’t seen their children in a long time, some since birth, a special Happy Mother’s Day. Our prayers are with you even if you feel alone at a time when in America prisons systematically separate mothers from their children, often permanently.
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.
On Thursday, June 25, 2009, the world received the shocking news that King of Pop Michael Jackson was on his death bed. By 2:26 that afternoon the much repeated international rumor had become a heartbreaking fact. Musical genius and King of Popular music Michael Joseph Jackson had died at the age of 50 in his Los Angeles home of cardiac arrest, or heart failure, on the eve of his first major tour in 16 years.
Prince Lasha wrote, performed - as saxophonist, flutist and clarinetist - and recorded his music all over the globe. He passed away Dec. 12.