Posts in Culture Stories
Ain’t yo mama Black?

Enslaved Black folk in America used to play a game called “The Dozens.” The object of the game was to tease and ridicule each other in order to develop a thick skin and high critical tolerance against the verbal insults of the enslavers. This was very important because if you reacted the wrong way you could get yourself and or your loved ones tortured or killed. This poem, “Ain’t Yo Mama Black,” flips the script and uses the dozens in a positive way!

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Tessie Ester remembrance

On Jan. 10, I did a reading of my novel, “White Knight,” at the Hunters View housing complex in Hunters Point. One of the characters in my novel was based on Tessie Ester (Cali Robinson in the book), a woman I met back in the ‘70s when she enrolled her two boys, Henry and Terrell, in Geneva Towers Children’s Center, where I was a teacher. The novel is about how she and I organized the Towers to keep the center open when the school district tried to close it after Prop. 13 – among other things.

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‘Poverty Scholarship’: Poor people create their own theory, textbook and solutions to poverty and homelessness

Poor, homeless and disabled scholars are releasing a book sharing their truly innovative solutions to homelessness and poverty and launch a national theatre production on poverty, homelessness and criminalization of poor people. This book and curriculum release will be accompanied by a series of theatre and poetry workshops in community centers, schools and jails with other homeless and formerly homeless communities.

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‘Black Panther’ film book author historian Jesse J. Hollard awarded Star of Hope

The Community Foundation of Northwest Mississippi’s 19th annual Crystal Ball awarded its Star of Hope honor to award-winning journalist and novelist Jesse J. Holland. The awards ceremony took place in January at the Arena in Southaven. Previous recipients of the Star of Hope award include Morgan Freeman, Archie and Olivia Manning, Sen. Thad Cochran, Sela Ward, Marty Stuart and others who give hope to their fellow Mississippians.

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Community leader Carolyn Saulson passes

Carolyn Saulson (Feb. 24, 1948 – Jan. 14, 2019) passed away after a long battle with cancer at the age of 70. A resident of Berkeley, California, she was the board president and a founder of Iconoclast Productions, a Bay Area media arts non-profit serving the Black community. Homegoing services will be held at the Chapel of the Chimes, 4499 Piedmont Ave., Oakland, CA 94611 – quiet reflection on Monday, Feb. 4, 3-5 p.m., and funeral service Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2-4 p.m.

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Black genius built the pyramids, not slave labor

Black Genius built the pyramids, not slave labor. Black hands have built pyramids all over the world. In Afraka, Asia, Amerika and, apparently, even ancient Atlantis! I mention this because there are some very schizophrenic people out there who can’t make up their minds whether or not to try and steal the credit from Black people about who built the pyramids or to condemn Black people for using slave labor to build the pyramids.

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Four hundred years, 5859-6259 AAC (1619-2019 JC-PG): ‘James-town,’ the ‘13 colonies,’ ucptsa and Africans’ freedom

In 6259 (2019), WE acknowledge 400 years since the first known kidnapped African prisoners of war were enslaved in what became the “13 European colonies” and what i call the united capitalist prison terrorist states of america (ucptsa). According to several sources, these Africans were brought to and “sold” in what became the colony of “james-town, virginia” in August of 1619, on a European-English en$lavement ship called the “white lion.” Going forward, look for a number of special events, publications and art commemorating this 400-year event in the coming months.

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Culture Stories, NATIONALChanged“60th Year Commemoration of the All-African Peoples Conference/Pan African Fe..., “Cash the Check” events, “Fancy” NANCY WILSON, “More Than 500 Years of African Resistance!!!”, 5th Annual PEOPLE’S MARCH TO RECLAIM Rev- Dr- MARTIN LUTHER KING’s RADICAL LE..., Africa Command, Africom, Allen Michaan, AMICAR CABRAL, Anti-Police Terrorist Project, ARCHIE LEE WINGFIELD, Baba Jahahara Amen-RA Alkebulan-Maat, California Community College Athletic Association’s football title, California Interscholastic Federation state football championship, Cat Brooks, Downtown Oakland Senior Center, Dr- IMARI ABUBAKARI OBADELE, Dr- Luis Heredia Guerra, Dr- Maulana Karenga, Eagles of Oakland’s Laney College, East Bay Permanent Real Estate Cooperative, Eddie Jefferson, Elombe Brath, EMMITT POWELL, Fair Trade for Africa’s majority, FIDEL CASTRO-RUZ, Freedom, HUGO CHAVEZ-FRIAS, Jahahara Alkebulan-Ma’at, Jennifer “Queen” King, KATHLEEN BROOKS, Kwame Nkrumah, Kwame Ture, Mandela Grocery and Food Coop, Marcus Garvey, McClymonds High School, Muammar Gaddafi, National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America, NCOBRA, Oakland’s Grand Lake Theater, Oakland’s Impact Hub, Oscar Grant Plaza, Pan-African unity, People Power Solar Cooperative, Ray Taliaferro, reparations, REPARATIONS NOW, Republic of New Afrika, Rev- Dr- Martin Luther King Jr-, self-determination, Thomas Sankara, UMOJA day, United Afrikan States, United States of Africa, Winnie Mandela, WOODROW “WOODY” MANSFIELD Comment
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?

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Culture Stories, CULTURE, LOCALChanged“How I Learned What I Learned”, “How to Restore Our Rights”, “Rhythm and Blues and the Civil Rights Movement”, “The John Silverstein Collection of African American Social History”, #MeToo Movement, 29th Annual Celebration of African American Poets and Their Poetry, Adama Bilorou Dembele, African Diaspora poets, All of Us or None, Alternativa presents Fresh Festival 2019, Alvon Johnson, Anita Hill, AOUON Senior Organizer Dauras Cyprian, Ashkanez Music and Dance Center, Auction of African-American artifacts, August Wilson, Auset Movement, Bay Area Landless People’s Alliance, Bay Area Landless People’s Alliance and allies, Bill Cosby, Black artist in America, Black girls, Black life, Black life in America, Black Migrations, Black people, Black women, Broadcast interviews with supporters, Candice Elder’s East Oakland Collective, Celebration of Life for Raphael ‘Ray’ Taliaferro at the Commonwealth Club Jan..., Chabot Planetarium, Chef Shelby, Chinua Achebe, Community Ambassadors Program, Community Panel on Voter Rights, Councilmember Desley Brooks, Dance Lesson with Ted Sherrod, Daria Johnson, Dauras Cyprian, Dementia Society of America, Desmond Meade, Dr- Cheryl Finley, Dr- Gloria Duffy, Dwight “Black Cat” Carrier and the Zydeco Ro Doggs, felony disenfranchisement, Florida Rights Restoration Coalition, former KGO radio news anchor Rosie Allen, Free Brown, Free Brown’s Hope Task Force, Fresh Festival, Harvey Weinstein, Hon- Elijah Muhammad, housing crisis, Impact Hub Oakland, In the Name of Love: The 17th Annual Musical Tribute honoring Dr- Martin Luth..., indicted Catholic priests, Initiate Justice, Jeanie Tracy, jury service, Kev Choice, Konda Mason, Living Jazz Children’s Project, Lorraine Hansberry Theatre, Marin Theatre Company, Martin Luther King Jr- Tribute Concert, Ms- Faye Carol, National Association of Black Journalists, Norris Henderson, Oakland Citizen Humanitarian Award, Oakland Scottish Rite Center, Oakland Symphony presents “To Belong Here: Notes from the African Diaspora”, Operation Dignity, Paramount Theatre in Oakland, patriarchy and paternalism, permanent housing, Permanent housing is the solution to the crisis, Phyllis Magee, physical psychological and emotional violence, Pickin on Hate, power and privilege, Remember our girls, restorative justice practices, Rev- Fred Settle, Richmond Art Center, running for political office, sanctioned encampments on city owned land, Scott Thompson, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, Taina Vargas-Edmond, TAOLB Steering Committee, Tarana Burke, TED Women Talk, TERRIE ODABI, The 23rd Art of Living Black at the Richmond Art Center Jan- 15-March 8, The Busy Wife, Tomika Perkins, Trans Lifeline, Tuff Shed solution, Ubuntu Theatre Company, Voice of the Experienced New Orleans, Wanda Sabir, Wanda’s Picks for January 2019, West Oakland Library, West Oakland site on Wood Street, Winter Shelters, Wood Street encampment Comment
Living Jazz Presents its 17th Annual Martin Luther King Tribute in Support of Free Music Education for Oakland Title One Elementary Schools

Over the past 14 years, Living Jazz has provided FREE music education to Oakland public elementary schools serving high percentages of low-income families (Title One) through the Living Jazz Children’s Project (LJCP). Over 4,500 second and third graders have now benefited from LJCP and, as a result, have had the life changing opportunity to perform as the opening act at “In the Name of Love,” Oakland’s only non-denominational musical tribute honoring Dr. King, one of the many programs Living Jazz has produced since 1984.

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In honor of beloved elder Melvin Dickson, 1940-2018, publisher of The Commemorator

Melvin Dickson made the transition to join his ancestors on Oct. 25, 2018, in Berkeley, California. He was 77 years old. Melvin was a long-time and dedicated member of the Black Panther Party, which shaped his thinking and commitment to the interests of all people for the rest of his life. As we honor Melvin’s life and legacy, we hope that you will join us for this very special celebration: All Power to the People! Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018, 2-6 p.m., at Met West High School.

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More than 500 years!

“MORE THAN FIVE HUNDRED YEARS … Of Afrikan Resistance! ... MORE THAN FIVE CENTURIES … Of fighting for our Freedom! ...MORE THAN FIVE HUNDRED YEARS … Of building our revolutionary movements! ... MORE THAN FIVE CENTURIES … Of Self-Determination and Reparations! ... From my latest recording “500 YEARS OF AFRIKAN RESISTANCE!!!” © (P) Hotep Music ** Since Europe first attacked Alkebulan-Afrika more than five centuries ago and kidnapped and enslaved our people in Portugal and Spain, WE have resisted!

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Wanda’s Picks for October 2018

It’s all about the ancestors, believe it or not. The invisible realm controls the outer. Those who believe in magic are in touch with reality – a truth, the initiated, those beings open to a creation story they participate in. Life is a collection of unedited stories; the end of a chapter does not mean the end of the book. With that said, the MAAFA Commemoration is upon us once again, celebrating its 23rd anniversary.

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Culture StoriesChanged‘for colored girls’ at African American Shakes closes, ‘Spirit and Bones’, “American Tap” directed by Mark Wilkinson, “Barbershop Chronicles” by Inua Ellams, “Bound: Africans vs- African Americans”, “Charm City”, “Courage Under Fire: The Story of Elroy”, “If Beale Street Could Talk”, “Jinn”, “Little Woods: Long Time Coming”, “Night Trolley”, “Notebook: The Living Archive”, “Obey”, “Our Stories Our Lives”, “Pay What Makes You Smile”, “Picture Bayview Hunters Point”, “Protection Shields” exhibit, “Queen Sugar”, “The Hate U Give”, “The Routes of Slavery: Memories of Slavery” (1444-1888) by Jordi Savall, “The Town on Notice” featuring Dimensions Dance Theatre directed by Umi Vaugh..., “Too Many Bodies” directed by Reena Dutt choreographed by Nancy Dobbs Owen, “TransAfrica; Building a Foreign Policy Library”, 15th anniversary of San Francisco Trolley Dances, 2015 Maafa Commemoration at Ocean Beach, 24th Annual AfroSolo Arts Festival, 40th Anniversary of Cultural Odyssey, 41st Annual Mill Valley Film Festival, Abby Crain, African American Shakespeare, African Diaspora Americans, AfroSolo Arts Festival Artistic Director Thomas Robert Simpson, Amandla Stenberg, American Dream, Artistic Director Sarah Bush, artistic expression, Ashkenaz Music and Dance Center, Ayodele Nzinga, Ayodele Nzinga Ph-D-, Bayview Hunters Point residents, Bayview Opera House, Berkeley Candidate Forum, Black community, Black humanity, Black Voices Performance Series, Black Voices Performance Series: “Our Day Has Come”, Black Womanhood, Black women and girls, Blackness and Black people, Brava Theater Center, Bruns Memorial Amphitheatre in Orinda, Buriel Clay Theatre in the African American Art and Culture Complex, Cal Shakes, CalArts, celebration of Oakland life, Clarissa Pinkola Estés’ book “Women Who Run with the Wolves”, Cleavant Derricks, Cultivate Empathy for All: Because We Are Interconnected, Dance: Zaccho Dance Theatre and Bayview Opera House present: Picture Bayview ..., deFremery Park, Dimensions Dance Company, Dream, Dynamic Miss Faye Carol Residency, East African music at Red Bay Coffee and Roastery, Elizabeth Carter, Elvia Marta, Emotional Emancipation Healing Circle, Epiphany Dance Theater, Epiphany Dance Theater artistic director Kim Epifano, Eric Ting, Film series at Joyce Gordon Gallery, Filmmaker Magazine, Flight Deck, Gabriel Christian, Gardley’s “Black Odyssey”, Gayle Madyun and Yeye Luisah Teish, Gayle Madyun’s “Protection Shields”, Geary Theatre in San Francisco, Grand Lake Theater, Green Book, Hip Hop, Homer’s “Odyssey”, intergenerational health, J-D- Mollison, Jess Curtis of Gravity presents Beyond Gravity, Joan Lazarus, Joanna Haigood, jose e- abad, Kathryn Seabron, Kendra Kimbrough, LaTonya Tigner, Life is Living Festival, Lil Bobby Hutton Park, Linda Tillery, Lower Bottom Playaz, Lower Bottom Playaz’s ‘Protection Shields’, Lower Bottom Playaz’s “Protection Shields; The Prequel to the Magical Adventu..., Lynn Nottage’s “Sweat”, Maafa Commemoration, MAAFA Commemoration 2018 – Ritual at Ocean Beach, MAAFA Commemoration Committee, Marcus Gardley’s ‘Black Odyssey’ at Cal Shakes through Oct- 14, Marcus Gardley’s “black odyssey”, Margo Hall, Marshal Jearreau, Matatu Film Festival, Medea Project: Theatre for Incarcerated Women, Memliek Walker, MFA Film Directing and Writing Programs degree, Michael Curry, Michael Gene Sullivan, Michael Orange, Mira Kautto, New Faces of Independent Film, Nijla Mu’min, Nina Causey, Ninth San Francisco Dance Film Festival, North Berkeley Senior Center, Ntozake Shange’s “for colored girls who’ve considered suicide when the rainbo..., Oakland Black Cowboy Parade, Oakstop, Oaktown, people of African descent, Peres Owino, pianist Joe Warner, Pre-Show Haptic Access Tour, Priscilla Regalado, Professor Aldo Billingslea, PTSD, Rachael Dichter, Randall Robinson, Rasheed Shabazz, Red Bay Coffee, Rhodessa Jones, Ruthie Price, Safiya Fredericks, San Francisco City College African American Studies Chair Aliyah Dunn-Salahuddin, Santoya Fields, Sarah Bush Dance Project, Satia Orange, Saul Williams, Second Line Dance Class, SF Black Film Festival, SF War Memorial Building, Simone Missick, Sounds of Africa, sounds of Northern Africa’s deserts and beyond with Mamadou Kelly, Sue Li Jue, Taube Atrium Theater in the Wilsey Center for Opera, The Back Room in Berkeley, Theatre: AfroSolo Arts Festival, Thomas Robert Simpson, Toni Carpenter, Velina Brown, Wanda Sabir, Wanda's Picks Radio, Wanda’s Picks for October 2018, West African with Baba Ken and his West African Highlife Band, Women in the Arts and Cultural Odyssey present “When Did Your Hands Become a ..., Zaccho Artistic Director Joanna Haigood, Zaccho Dance Theatre, Zellerbach Hall UC Berkeley, Zimbabwe with Piwai plus Adrian West Band, Zoé Samudzi, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Comments
Elbert ‘Big Man’ Howard’s Black Panther Memorial marks history

Elbert “Big Man” Howard died in Santa Rosa at the age of 80 on July 23. The memorial service was held on Aug. 25. Howard was one of six founding members of the Black Panther Party for Self Defense. He was well known as one of the most instrumental members in many facets of organizing during his time with the party. The memorial was packed with original Panthers who shared candid stories of their time with Howard.

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Standing in revolution: Laure McElroy joined the ancestors BlackAugust 31, 2018

“You were right, Tiny. Interdependence does work for us poor mamas.” My revolutionary poet, fellow welfareQUEEN at POOR Magazine and co-founder of Homefulness and KEXU radio Laure McElroy and I spoke quietly on the phone in the kind of intimacy befitting deep sister comrades like we were and had been for many years of deep struggle and deep resistance. Writing this today is so hard for me between tears and pain. I’m so unsure of how to go on without her love. On Sunday, Sept. 23, we held a multi-nationed tree-planting ceremony in Laure’s honor at Homefulness.

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‘The Global Imagination of 1968: Revolution and Counterrevolution’

Movement people must start reading the great works from the past that give us the first steps of understanding how we can set this oppressive and neo-liberal world on fire. One of the good things about the book “1968” is how it delineates for 21st century revolutionaries the international composition of revolutionary activity in every country on the planet. It shows why this struggle, to be successful, must be international in scope and range. Capitalism-imperialism is a worldwide system. Our political and economic system called the World Proletarian Socialist Revolution must be international in scope and range.

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Wanda’s Picks September 2018

We lost Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin on Aug. 16 (March 25, 1942-Aug. 16, 2018). We also lost Kofi Annan (April 8, 1938, to Aug. 18, 2018), the seventh United Nations Secretary General and the first from Sub-Saharan African to lead the International organization. When we think about Black women and their navigation of public spaces, we remember the recent deaths of Nia Wilson, 18, and Jessica St. Louis, 26, who were not safe when they should have been #safehername.

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Culture StoriesChanged‘9-1-1 What’s Your Emergency?’ world premiere, ‘Hood Destiny Muhammad, ‘The Black Woman is God: Assembly of Gods’, ‘Theory of Games and Statistical Decisions’, “A Mighty World”, “Bay Area Now 8”, “BlacKkKlansman”, “Blindspotting”, “Executive Produced” by Laura Poitras, “Science Fair”, “Sorry to Bother You", “The Black Woman is God” (BWIG), 2018 Black-Eyed Pea Festival, African American Shakespeare Company, African American Sports Hall of Fame, Alice Walker and Desert Rose, Andre Wilson, Aretha Franklin, Arif Khatib, Awon Ohun Omnira, Bay Area Now: YBCA at 25, Bay Area playwright Jovelyn Richards, BBC News, Black female safety in public places, Black politics, Blackwell Hall, Brett “Jailbait” Brandstatt, Colin Kaepernick, Darell W- Fields, David Blackwell Building of Science and Math, Diane Amos, Dimensions Dance Theatre, Dr- Albert H- Bowker, Dr- David Blackwell, Dr- David Blackwell Hall at UC Berkeley, Eric Bibb, Festac Oakland Preservation-Arts-Culture-History Festival in Old Oakland, First Congregational Church of Oakland, Freight and Salvage, Freight and Salvage at 50, Fua Dia Congo, Global Climate Action Summit, Happy 70th Birthday Linda Tillery, Hills to Hollers, Howard University, Hugo Blackwell, Jessica St Louis, Karen Seneferu and Melorra Green, Kofi Annan, Kugelplex, La Pena Cultural Center, Lucien Le Cam, Maafa Awareness Month 2018, Maafa Commemoration San Francisco Bay Area, Mavis Staples, MC- Rhodessa Jones, Miss Faye Carol, MJ’s Brass Boppers, MoAD- Pan African Festival, National Academy of Sciences, NEMESTUDIO, Nia Wilson, Ntozake Shange’s “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rain..., NYPD12, Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin, racial and gender violence, Ruth Davies, SF Green Festival, Stephen Maing, The Jamming Nachos, Theatre: ‘For Colored Girls’, United Nations secretary general, Venezuelan Music Project, violence against Black women, Wanda Sabir, Wanda’s Picks September 2018, Woody D- Othello, World Peace Day with One Life, Yerba Buena Center for the ArtsComment
Cal Shakes’ stunning ‘War of the Roses’ closes Sept. 15

Cal Shakes’ stunning production of “The War of the Roses” by Eric Ting and Philippa Kelly, directed by Eric Ting, continues through Sept. 15. It is an amazing adaptation of William Shakespeare’s Henry VI trilogy and Richard III. I was not intimidated when I learned that the show was about four hours long. However, I did approach my seat cautiously and, at intermission, when I looked at my watch, I could hardly believe two hours had passed. I loved it. The time literally flew by.

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Tribute to Big Man: Action is supreme

Poor is the word without the deeds ... poor the deeds without the WORD – ... During the time of Big Man his words were commitment to action ... his determination exposed the people’s cries we HEARD – ... Where the spectator merely shouts creates noise that static sound without rhythm or RHYME – ... Big Man stood front and center at the eye of the storm in the arena of struggle ... and intoned the poor and oppressed will rise time after time after TIME –

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