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Dr. Belay D. Reddick asked for a show of hands: How many of the Oakdale federal prison inmates had ever heard of spoken word? Close to two-thirds of the 150 prisoners gathered last month in the prison’s chapel raised their hands. He then asked how many of the men had ever attended a spoken word event, a question that alluded to the presentation of his latest re-entry project. Last month’s event featured nationally-acclaimed championship poet Sha’Condria “iCon” Sibley of Alexandria, Louisiana.
I have chosen to use a piece of poetry as my editorial for this month. I had not written poetry in years but was inspired after reading an article written in the Bay View by Chinyere Egu, listening to the music of Grand Opus, and spending the weekend with my daughter and grandchildren. Spoken word, whether it came in the form of old Negro spirituals or old school hip-hop, has always inspired our people to move beyond the limitations of our current situation.
Big Mouth Productions is presenting a cultural event for everyone in the community to come together and have a pleasurable time. A recent First Tuesdays Spoken Word event I attended was filled with an abundance of positive energy and great people. The event takes place this evening and every first Tuesday of the month at 7:30 p.m. at the Radio Africa Kitchen restaurant, located on the corner of Third and Oakdale in the heart of Bayview Hunters Point.
East Oakland bred welterweight pro boxer Bilal Mahasin is shaping up to be one of East Oakland’s most recognizable hometown heroes on the boxing and social front. I caught up with Bilal after his recent fight at the Oracle Arena, where he fought on the undercard of the Andre Ward vs. Alexander Brand fight. We talked about his most recent fight, training while behind enemy lines, his life mission and more.
Sia Love’s debut hip hop album, “For the Record,” was released last month. The production on the album goes from ‘80s pop to the ‘90s sound of Hip Hop to the traditional stringed instruments and drums of Africans from Latin America. Her vocals are rhythmic, strong, soothing, confident and filled with wisdom. Check out this flame on the rise in her own words.
Right out of the musical lineage of Parliament Funkadellic, Georgia Ann Muldrow, Dudley Perkins and the Dungeon Family steps Bay Area bred producer Oji and his crew, the Ascension Team. Oji’s music is on some futuristic other level type of space vibe. He is like an Andre 3000, on a production level conjuring sound chemistries not ever heard before in widely known rap music. Check out Oji as he talks about his craft.
I was recently introduced to the visual artistry of Paul Lewin at this year’s Black Comix Arts Festival that was held at the SF Main Library and at the Yerba Buena. His pictures are very modern but depict scenes from lives lived centuries ago, and they are rich with detail. They are sort of like a time capsule. I want to expose the Bay View readership to this master painter who lives locally. Check him out in his own words.
On Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 12 and 13, Mbongui Square Festival will be celebrating art and community through dance with over two dozen dancers and choreographers showing off their moves. We caught up with choreographer Byb Bibene of the Kiandanda Dance Theater Company to fill us in on what will be going on at the Mbongui Square Festival, as well as his history with dance and more.
The Free Mumia Abu-Jamal Coalition announced her passing on the afternoon of Dec. 17: “It is with deep sadness that we share the news about the transition of Goldii. From a daughter’s perspective, she was a dynamic spokesperson, speaking stirringly of the impact incarceration has on children and families. She was also a staunch advocate on behalf of her father’s innocence."
KPOO Radio is the first station on the dial to play local Hip Hop. DJ X-1 is one of the godfathers of the Bay Area Hip Hop radio movement, and he is famous for breaking local Hip Hop artists like JT the Bigga Figga and, within recent years, Beeda Weeda and J. Stalin. Although he is still on terrestrial radio, he has now turned his attention to owning audio real estate on the internet with his newest creation, Turnd Up Radio.
Greg Bridges is one of the Black broadcasting giants on the airwaves of the Bay Area. He was recently named “Announcer of the Year” by KCSM, yet ironically his show, Transitions on Traditions, faces an uncertain future at KPFA and Pacifica Radio, which has been mired in racism and discriminatory towards Black and other broadcasters of color from coast to coast.
The West East Community Access Network Foundation (WE CAN Foundation) announces the First Annual Allensworth “Scat to Rap” Family Music Festival at Allensworth State Historical Park, 43 Palmer Ave., Delano, CA 93219, in Tulare County on Saturday, Sept. 10, 2011, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Jazz Hudson is one of the new up and coming poets out of the Bay who has been making a name for herself at poetry readings - one of the most loquacious and passionate young sistas to come out of the concrete jungle of Oakland in a long time.
Monday nights, 7-10 p.m., on KPFA are a treat for Black listeners and people who like Black programming, but now Walter Turner’s Africa Today and Greg Bridges’ Transitions on Traditions are on the chopping block. Join other defenders of Black radio for the screening of ‘Disappearing Voices: The Decline of Black Voices on the Radio’ on Tuesday, Aug. 17, 6:30 p.m., at the Black Dot Cafe, 1195 Pine St., West Oakland.
The Scott Sisters received double life sentences each in an alleged armed robbery of $11 in which no one was harmed or injured, and for which they have steadfastly maintained their innocence.
Scorpio Blues will be performing at Yoshi's, 510 Embarcadero West in Oakland, on Tuesday, Nov. 3. The woman who goes by the name of Scorpio Blues and I have known each other for over half our lives, and throughout that time, she has always been very intelligent, driven and never one to hold her tongue. Her artistry is definitely an extension of her persona.
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.