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The heritage of our fathers

“Our power comes from the fact that we create the wealth. Wealth is power; we have the ability to withhold that power.” – Boots Riley, filmmaker and activist, Juneteenth 2020 ILWU shutdown Port of Oakland

Wanda’s Picks for June 2020

Happy Juneteenth or Black People’s Liberation Day, June 19, 1865! Stay strong folks and be safe. Fists up to the youth who are leaders in this Movement for Racial Justice and their parents who raised them righteous.

Wanda’s Picks for May 2020

I especially want to remember the mothers who are not with their families this year due to physical distancing. I hope you are still able to connect with loved ones via technology. We are going to have a special radio show Friday, May 8, featuring Mrs. Sadie Williams, 96, in conversation with other mothers. Listen in beginning at 8 a.m. by calling 347-237-4610.

De Young Museum: ‘Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age...

“Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power” at the DeYoung museum is an opportunity for America to acknowledge the African presence at the heart of all that is human in this nation. Art articulates a vision; it is a language which negates artifice.

‘Black Is Beautiful: The Photography of Kwame Brathwaite,’ closing March 1

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.”

The 30th annual Celebration of African American Poets and Their Poetry:...

This poem is water It is palm wine to the ancestors Ones with heads up, lips parted Utterance stuck in throat It is fresh water with peppermint It is nommo Words into flesh Blackness Melanin A magic hue Sun kissed by time

Wanda’s Picks for February 2020

Happy Black History Month! We get an extra day and we need it too to get our Black Joy parade gear picked out for Sunday, Feb. 23. It’s an attitude, not an outfit.

The art of David Bruce Graves’ ‘Heaven and Earth’ – Artist...

At a time when ignoring the planet and its species hastens the end of life as we know it, Graves’s work poses options, some involving magical thinking. The artist illustrates across multiple compositions how powerful Black people are.

Lakou Mizik plays an African liberation soundtrack: Catch them New Year’s...

“There would be no New Orleans music without Haiti. It has been one of the most important influences going back 200 years.” – Ben Jeffe, Preservation Hall Jazz Band

The People’s Conservatory presents ‘KOLA: An Afro Diasporic Remix of the...

Crossing bridges made from bones, Nzingah dances through Bahia, is wrapped in literal rainbows as she alights in New York at the African Burial Grounds (Wall Street), dances into Congo Square in New Orleans then heads back to Oakland where the enchantment continues in Oscar Grant Plaza.

Wanda’s Picks for December 2019

Within the craziness, artists like Cherie Hill, Gabriel Christian and Chibueze Crouch have opened with their work windows into spaces where Blackness – just everyday Blackfolkness – is a ticket or key or pass code into rooms others seated behind us out of sight and mind/full/ness cannot enter.

‘Harriet,’ the film – a review

If a viewer is looking to see a story where white people are not cast as saviors and Africans as beasts, then this is not the film for you.

‘Far, Far Better Things’ playing through May 19 at Live Oak...

It is easy to become what you know, so easy. What’s difficult is resisting. Unresolved trauma haunts the gene pool. A son, Josh (actor Yohana Ansari-Thomas) witnesses his mother’s murder or its aftermath – Dad’s bloody shirt and subsequent kidnapping of the children until he is captured. This same boy, now man, still has unresolved memories of that day when his mom was shot and the housekeeper “stood there and did nothing.”

West Coast Premiere of ‘Jazz,’ based on Toni Morrison’s book, Marcus...

“Jazz,” adapted by Nambi E. Kelley from Toni Morrison’s novel, is a tragic composition. Performed across a series of lyrically connected (woven) tapestries: colors, sounds, fractured memories … missing people, guns (bullets) falling tears, treetops, wild woods, sharecropped promises, fire terror, unclaimed bodies … too many bodies to count … love.

A Black Mother’s Day adventure

"There is so much power in stillness. We live in a very fast paced world with Internet and everyone on their phones every five seconds and everyone’s attention span is crumbling. I think it is definitely easier to be busy, to be on the run from your life, to be out there in the wilderness fighting for your life than it is to be actually still and really connect to the people who made you. That’s much more challenging. So yeah."

August Wilson’s ‘How I Learned What I Learned’ closes Sunday

August Wilson, playwright, was very much at home in the SF Bay. I will never forget his workshop production of “Jitney” at Lorraine Hansberry Theatre, where he encouraged a woman who criticized the absence of substantive women characters in his plays to write her own. Wilson said his journey was personal, yet there was room on the stage for multiple voices and perspectives.

What is David Banner’s God Box? Let him tell you May...

“Why would I allow myself to drift when I can direct it? I was born with the instructions. Right and exact, consciousness, inner guidance, knowing, choosing how to act in every situation. I create me. Believe it. Turning thoughts into things. Turning vibrations I feel into thoughts. Impulses I receive …”

‘The Urban Retreat,’ a play by A. Zell Williams directed by...

At its core, “The Urban Retreat,” a play by A. Zell Williams directed by Darryl V. Jones at Lorraine Hansberry Theatre through April 6, is a father’s redemption story; however, it is also the story of a son who strays from his creative roots. Actor Lenard Jackson’s Trench Deep finds himself caught and entangled looking for answers as does his reluctant mentor and teacher, Chaucer Mosley (Adrian Roberts), who is also running from demons.

Wanda’s Picks for March 2019

Wanda's picks of April 2019's most exciting goings on!

Wanda’s Picks for January 2019

I have been thinking a lot recently about restorative justice practices and violence – physical, psychological and emotional violence and the harm to persons, immediate and long term, as well as the harm to their associate families and communities. Not much attention is paid to the survivors of violence unless the violence is by the state, yet every day people are making choices which harm innocent people. Why is the activist community silent when it comes to advocacy for these silenced survivors?