Current Picks
Wanda's Picks November 2014
Written by Wanda Sabir   
Saturday, 01 November 2014
Vote, Vote, Vote. . . . Even if the system is rigged, participate. We vote because to not do so is to dishonor our ancestors. To not do so is to abrogate your rights as a citizen. Everyone cannot participate—2 million black men and boys and woman and girls on slave plantations—behind enemy walls, in minimum and maximum custody, cannot participate. We participate for them too. We serve on juries too, because to do so is to unmask an intentionally blind system of injustice.
We remember the Freeman Brothers, Ronald "Elder" Freeman and Roland Freeman, founding members of the LA Black Panther Party, who made their transitions within a week of one another last month. The Northern CA Memorial Services for The Freeman Brothers will be held on Sunday, November 23rd, 2014 from 12-4pm at the Oakland Masonic Center, 3903 Broadway, Oakland, CA 94611. Visit:

MAAFA 2014

The waves were as tall as mountains or perhaps redwood trees –their gigantic footprints in the sand left many pilgrims flat on their backs wet from head to toe. In 19 years, I’d never seen waves as tall as those that Sunday morning. Many thanks to all who came and made the commemoration a huge success. It was great to have co-founder, Minister Donald Paul Miller back in the circle. Robert Henry Johnson’s presence also made the morning special, especially when he took a grieving mother’s hand and ran with her around the circle. Big thanks to Zochi too, whose movement meditation practice “mu-i” was such a gift. He teaches “mu-i” at Lake Merritt on M/W/F 8-9:30 at 12th and Lake Merritt Blvd.

At the 19th Annual Convocation Howard Thurman Award ceremony Sunday, Oct. 19, honoring Jacqueline Hairston on the 70th Anniversary of his multiracial The Church for the Fellowship of All Peoples, I bought a few books, one the autobiography of Dr. Thurman. In it, I learned that his hometown is Daytona Beach, Florida, which I was going to be traveling to that week. I had to stop by and make my "ashays."  I also stopped his neighbor’s shrine, Dr. Mary McCleod Bethune at Bethune-Cookman University.  I was traveling north from Orlando, my destination Florida A&M University in Tallahassee for the African/Black Psychology Conference honoring the work of Dr. Frances Cress-Welsing.

Spirits were certainly rising up this 19th MAAFA Commemoration. . . Africans are under attack from police violence to genetically manufactured contagions –Ebola taking off where HIV-AIDS left off.  We need fortification against what Dr. Welsing calls White Supremacist Racial Dominance (WSRD). It is a state of emergency for black people—Dr. Cress Welsing called for revolutionary black sex to create warriors for the battle – the call went out 23 years ago and not many heard, so it was reiterated recently at the National Conference on African/Black Psychology at Florida A&M University in Tallahassee.

The National Conference on African/Black Psychology at Florida A&M University

I just got back from the National Conference October 24-25. This year FAMU honored Dr. Frances Cress-Welsing’s pioneering work on the disease of white supremacy. In the five years FAMU has honored scholars on their contributions to African/Black scholarship, Dr. Cress Welsing is the first woman so named. Known for her collection of essays and lectures, “The Isis Papers: The Keys to the Colors,” it was so wonderful listening to clinicians, students and colleagues present profound readings of Dr. Cress-Welsing’s work and its impact on their scholarship whether that was the dynamic work of Dr. Monifa Seawell, Forensic Psychiatric, Georgia Regional Hospital; Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, Morehouse School of Medicine or Arthur Whaley, Ph.D., Professor and Chair of Psychology, Texas Southern University, Maruetta Williams, Ph.D. and her team’s work in Atlanta at A Healing Paradigm Wellness Center.  

Dr. Williams, Terrance Jordan, Doctoral candidate and Dr. Idetayo Ojelade, Ph.D., Psychologist and Clinical Director, A Healing Paradigm, Wellness Center presented a well-choreographed Closer Look at African-Centered Approaches for Assessing Trauma. All black people whose ancestors faced the European slave trade have systemic violence connected to this history. Dr. Seawell’s “Hop-Hopganda: How Hip Hop Serves as Propaganda to Pacify Black Resistance to the Mass Incarceration of Black Men” adeptly outlined how through skillful manipulation, the public castration of black male reputation made the incarceration of two million black men— a population size of several countries—somehow justified. It engaged the youthful audience in a provocative conversation afterward, as though she prefaced her talk with “some hip hop music” did not promote such mores, what we hear on commercial media does promote black extermination.

The “A Healing Paradigm Wellness Center” team out of Atlanta looked at the misdiagnosis of black people in the dominate psychological protocol or model(s) which ignores “trauma,” a historic and current phenomena in black lives. The three clinicians asked the audience to define traumatic harm and then through composite case studies showed how ignoring the prevailing symptomatic behavior leads to overmedication and mistreatment of black people especially sexually abused black boys and black men. In an interactive workshop the audience, arranged in groups, then read three composite histories and were asked to identify the illness(es) and propose treatment. Many times within the prescription groups looked at African-centered healing, some obvious, yet powerful “tender loving care” in cases of extreme loss—children of parents.

Dr. Lennell Dade, Ph.D., in her “The Destruction of Sanctuary & The Color Confrontation Theory,” looked at the target of churches as a place of intimate black violation. She looked at the 16th Avenue Church bombing 51 years ago in Birmingham, Alabama as case in point. The point is the legal sanction of black violation. To attack a church with children as the target is evil and its sanction legally given the slow move of the judicial system supports the permeation of the white supremacist virus (racism) within American society.

Dr. Marimba Ani and DJ Jordan’s “Economic and Afrikan Mental Health: Some Imperatives of Dr. Cress Welsing’s Analysis was another high point of the first afternoon—yes, the entire weekend was a high point I plan to float the rest of my life. All of the presenters work just further proved that the scholarship is certainly present to remedy the ills of black consciousness if applied adequately, beginning with self.

The question of black mental health was revisited over and over again from retired FAMU faculty member Dr. Kobi Kambon’s stellar introduction to Dr. Frances Cress Welsing’s scholarship, this first section moderated by Dr. Kevin Mwata Washington (Howard University) to Awo Ron “Facundo” Harris’s look at indigenous “African Spirituality as the Missing Tool to Address Personal and Societal Dysfunction.”  What is a healthy black mind and how is this achieved in a society where black life is constantly under attack? was a question interrogated again and again. Dr. Cress-Welsing, Queen Warrior, Psychiatrist, Author and Scholar, commented periodically between presentations and each afternoon formally reflected on the day. Visit

Day one she spoke on the importance of black self-love (as she had us hug ourselves), the next day she concluded her comments with her “A Liberating Black People’s Prayer,” published in the 2004 republication of the 1991 classic, “The Isis Papers,” distributed by

Maafa San Francisco Bay Area organization “Maroon Consciousness” Reading list for 2014-2015 includes:

“Obi: Seminole Maroon Freedom Fighter” by Martha R. Bireda, Ph.D.; “Sugaree Rising” by J. Douglass Allen-Taylor; “From the Bottom of the Heap: The Autobiography of Black Panther Robert Hillary King” (2012) by Robert H. King; “Sugar of the Crop: My Journey to Find the Children of Slaves” (2009) by Sana Butler; “An Unlikely Warrior: Herman Ferguson” by Iyaluua Ferguson with Herman Ferguson (June 2011); “Maroon The Implacable: the Collected Writings of Russell Maroon Shoatz,” ed. Fred Ho and Quincy Saul with forward by Chuck D (2013); “The Isis Papers: The Keys to the Colors” (1991, 2004) by Dr. Frances Cress Welsing; “Yurugu: An African-centered Critique of European Cultural Thought and Behavior” (1994) by Marimba Ani, Ph.D., “Under the Color of Law” (2011, 2013) by A. Dwight Pettit, JD; Philosophy and Opinions of Marcus Garvey” (1923-1925), ed. Amy Jacques Garvey with an introduction by Robert A. Hill (1992); “Marcus Garvey and the Vision for Africa” (1974, 2011), ed. and with Introduction and commentaries by John Henrik Clarke with the assistance of Amy Jacques Garvey; “Marcus Garvey: Message to the People, The Course of African Philosophy,” ed. Tony Martin (1986). Garvey and Garveyism (Black Classics Press ed. 2014) by Amy Jacques Garvey with John Henrik Clarke (1915-1998) and Julius Garvey, MD.

If you have books to recommend send your titles and critique to This email address is being protected from spam bots, you need Javascript enabled to view it Look at for directions to the interactive “Maroon Consciousness” Book discussions. We are starting the conversation with “The Isis Papers: The Keys to the Colors” by Dr. Cress Wesling.

Mills College Event: On These I Stand: An Exhibit of Rare Black Books & Collectibles Opening Event, November 2, 2014, 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm

The conversation and Q&A in the Heller Rare Book Room, F.W. Olin Library at Mills College, 5000 MacArthur Blvd., Oakland, CA 94613 features Ajuan Mance, Mills College Professor of English, and Daphne Muse, writer, social commentator, and collector. Sponsored by the Mills College Center for the Book. Free and open to the public. Sponsored by the Mills College Center for the Book.  For information call: Janice Braun, This email address is being protected from spam bots, you need Javascript enabled to view it ,
(510) 430-2047.

REEMBARQUE: A documentary & visit renowned filmmaker Gloria Rolando, Friday, Nov. 7

Havana-based Afro-Cuban filmmaker Gloria Rolando will present her newest documentary REEMBARQUE during her November Bay Area visit. The peoples of African ancestry in Cuba have a complex history. During the early part of the 20th century and before the Cuban Revolution, Haitian migrant agricultural workers faced hardships and discrimination while toiling in Cuba. Many were forcibly deported when they were no longer needed. However they left behind their rich spiritual practices, dynamic music and dance, as well as their history of resistance. The voices of prominent historians join the memories of Haitians and their descendants in Cuba to understand a forgotten chapter in Caribbean history.

The event takes place at EastSide Cultural Center, 2277 International Blvd, Oakland , $5-15 sliding scale admission. Refreshments will be served by A Taste of Africa. For more information,

On the Fly:

The Festival of the Bones, Saturday November 8, 2014, 6:30-8:30 p.m., Oakland Center for Spiritual Living, 5000 Clarewood Drive in Oakland; Oaktown Jazz Workshop 20th Anniversary Benefit concert at Yoshi’s in Oakland, Monday, Nov. 10, 8 p.m. $20 at the door; Muisi-kongo Malonga’s Kimpa Vita! at CounterPulse’s Performing Diaspora 2014, Nov. 7-16, Fri.-Sat. 8 p.m. and Sun. at 7 p.m. Kheven Lee LeGrone’s  “The Morrie Movement: The Influence of ‘Wee Pals’ Cartoonist Morrie Turner” is up at the African American Center of the San Francisco Main Library, 100 Larkin Street, (3rd Floor) Nov. 8, 2014 to Jan. 29, 2015. The exhibit opening/panel discussion is Nov. 16 from 1-3 p.m. in the Koret Auditorium.  39th Annual American Indian Film Festival is Nov. 1-9, at the AMC Metreon, 135 Fourth Street, in San Francisco, with its American Indian Motion Pictures Awards Show, Nov. 9 at the Palace of Fine Arts, 3301 Lyon Street in San Francisco. Visit  This month there are several plays to recommend, not because I have reviewed them yet, because I have not, but because the topic or presentation is provocative and thought provoking: The San Francisco African American Shakespeare’s production of The Tempest Saturday (8 p.m.)-Sunday (3 p.m.), through Nov. 9 For an interview with the director and cast member plus AA Shakes about this 20th Anniversary season visit: muertos  UNIVERSES’s “Party People” at Berkeley Rep through Nov. 23; L. Peter Callender as President Mugabe in “Breakfast with . . .”  at the Aurora Theatre in Berkeley Nov. 7-Dec. 7; Michael Gene Sullivan’s play “Recipe,” is up through Nov. 23 at the Berkeley City Club, 2315 Durant Avenue, Berkeley, Thursday, Friday and Saturday 8 pm, and Sunday at 5 pm (with Post-show talk-back Nov. 9). Call 510.558.1381 or visit; Naomi Wallace's “And I And Silence,” opens Oct. 29-Nov. 23 at The Magic Theatre Closing of The 15th Annual Day of the Dead exhibition, Visions at Twilight: Día de los Muertos 2014  at SOMarts Cultural Center through Nov. 8 “Think on These Things: Destiny Muhammad’s Birthday Concert,” 6-8 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 14, at the Malonga Casquelourd Center for the Arts, 1428 Alice Street in Oakland. Visit   Attitudinal Healing Center’s 25 Years of Loving Our Community Gala Awards is Nov. 15, 6-10 p.m. at Scott's Seafood Pavilion, 2 Broadway, Oakland, CA with Special Super Hero Awards to:  Belva Davis, Paul Cobb, Dr. Tom Pinkson & Steve A. Jones.

Traveling While Black, a review

Edris Cooper Anifowoshe’s Traveling While Black is epic. It is a story that has audiences laughing while at the same time catching their breath as Cooper Anifowoshe takes us with her into situations only a well-written narrative can then retrieve you from unscathed.

The journey is fraught with peril. And for those who thought only black men had it rough, Cooper-Anifowoshe quickly erases that illusion as she transports us from a MUNI bus ride in San Francisco to a slave ship off the coast of West Africa without a blink of an eye. Seamless transport—the shocks keep us comfortable, so comfortable we don’t miss or feel the millions lost on the journey with us as TWB takes us through the massacre of the Indigenous populations here to the separation of black people abroad—via countries of origin. All of a sudden TWB with an American passport removes the racial stigma and one is just an “American” traveling.

Cooper-Anifowoshe uses her experiences as a child growing up in Tennessee and Arkansas with a nuclear physicist dad who liked to get in the car with his children and take them on road trips, to share her early experiences TWB in America.  Those who know the playwright’s trajectory know this is the condensed version of the story—she leaves out a lot, but what we see is her navigation of a racially articulated paradigm that keeps beeping when she gets too close to a border or treaty or international agreement. This border or margin is also complicated by gender and national origin.

Using a color-coordinated fleet: boat, an airplane and a suitcase, Cooper-Anifowoshe sails from Spain to Morocco then takes a plane to Nigeria, Abidjan where finally she’s home. The story of her welcome there is one all people of the Diaspora need to feel.

All along the journey we hear Cooper-Anifowoshe’s mother and father. In fact, TWB shows that one cannot leave oneself behind when one changes landscape; however, it is good to check the baggage or lock it away before one boards the plane. TWB shows how having the right attitude and being able to think quickly on one’s feet can save a person’s life as TWB is not for the faint of heart. No, it takes a lot of heart to TWB, especially when traveling with ignorant companions--white Americans with the wrong attitude. She saves her companion's life more than once and then decides it isn't worth the risk, so she "veils up" and leaves him in a pool of blood.

Anifowoshe-Cooper talks about a cultural orientation, that has white American students from Iowa University, think it strange that there are no white people (or few) in Africa, nor do they find it easy to adjust to the fact that black people are in charge.

She realizes her white traveling companions are a risk, yet as their teacher she cannot leave them at the airport (smile).  The multiple narratives are funny as the actress parades through many masks, one a Sister-friend who doesn't greet fake camaraderie well when white Americans (those same students) want to be friends in Africa when in Iowa they could barely speak to her.

TWB shifts for Cooper-Anifowoshe when with dual citizenship once she marries a Yoruba man means she can choose to show her green African passport or blue American passport. Cooper-Anifowoshe speaks about how sad she and her newly minted African American students felt when they saw how disrespectfully people they’d come to respect and love were treated by American immigration officers. The newlywed had to leave her husband behind.

After the show, a friend of mine tells me the story of her husband who was caught in Egypt when the Americans were held by Iran and the airports were shutting down. Marty held up his blue passport, and he was able to board one of the last planes leaving North Africa.

With Cooper-Anfowoshe, we visit former southern plantations, slave ships, the Shrine (in Lagos) while Fela lay ill behind the curtain, sacred places along the Oshun river . . . run for our lives with Edris as boys chase her and others in Spain with ill intent, bricks sailing by her head; get pulled over in a SF Mime Troupe truck by Southern cops who take the driver and passengers in for questioning after finding contraband in the vehicle—black and white people.

It is a wonderful jaunt. Cooper-Anifowoshe wearing an earring with the outline of Africa jauntily swinging from one ear as she talks plenty smack during the never a dull moment sojourn at home and abroad. TWB is lively, the pacing up temple, the text sharp and witty—it is as if we dropped by the playwright's house for the evening to catch up on the latest news. Considering this is a long overdue visit—literally hundreds of years between conversations, time travel and continent hopping . . . Cooper-Anifowoshe ends where she started--San Francisco on the 14 bus.

Standing on the crowded bus the lights fade.

(I believe the 14 bus has one of the longest routes in San Francisco, at least it goes through more neighborhoods with a changing demographic than any other (I saw a film about this at the MVFF or SFIFF many years ago—Rhodessa Jones, founder, Medea Project, is in it. The bus goes through Noe Valley, her neighborhood).  

TWB set in the intimate annex space at Brava Theater Center was well-received by the San Francisco Bay Area theatre community. Part two of a trilogy, look for part episode three.
For information about Brava visit

Recent articles about TWB: and and

Funny, none of these stories are from a black American male perspective.

Appreciative Inquiry on Diaspora Citizenship Launch (Nov. 2014-June 2015).

I have gotten many letters from incarcerated men about the query, so I am going to list the questions here so anyone can respond and send the answers to the questions. An Appreciative Inquiry (different from Critical Inquiry) for those unfamiliar with the term is an assessment tool used in organizations to figure out what the individuals bring to the institutions. It focuses on what’s working well, rather than on deficits or what is not. In the organizational context, it recognizes people as key value factors in maximizing profit and institutional growth. So, investing in the people makes good economic sense.

Those invited to participate are black people who have lived outside continental Africa (Pan African Diaspora) is 300-600 years. We are speaking ancestral lineage now, of course. The goal of the conversation is to generate stories we can share to cross landscapes to redevelop a shared African peoplehood cosmology. My hypothesis is that Diaspora Africans are more closely connected than they know and that this global conversation can be a way to assist one another in establishing long overdue civil rights where we are. Secondly, as immigrants, though the majority unwillingly, we have a right to return to continental Africa (as Diaspora citizens). UNIA President General Senghor Jawara Baye, said there are certain rights as expatriates we can exercise as Diaspora Citizens.  

In each question, please tell us a least one story (you can tell as many as you like).

1. What does the term Diaspora mean to you? How would you define citizenship? Now put the terms together. What do you come up with?

2. What strengths do you draw from this multiplicity of consciousness?

3. Where are you a citizen? (This can be a multiple location terrain). What rights do you exercise where you are a citizen?

4. You have identified as a Diaspora Citizen, think of a few stories you can share that speak to the power you weld as such a person even if up to this moment, you never really considered the term before.

5. Where do you belong? Describe the place that contains or holds your brilliant legacy and history. If such a place doesn’t exist, imagine it for us. Now where will you build it?

6. Who are your people? Do they claim you as well? Tell a few stories about such community. Did you choose it or were you born into it?

7. How does membership in the Diaspora community and its legacy shape your thinking?

8. Marcus Garvey, Pan African visionary leader (Universal Negro Improvement Association-African Communities League) said, “Up You Mighty Nation, You can Accomplish What You Will.” He also said, “One God, One Aim, One Destiny.”

How do you see either of these aphorisms reflected in your moral code? Tell us a story of a recent action that speaks to this actualization of this idea?

9. What strengths do you draw from this multiplicity of consciousness?

10. What do you want to see for your people in the Diaspora? Be concrete and definitive.

11. What are first steps towards this actualization?

12. What would you like to see as an outcome for this query? Put the outcome on a timeline. What would need to be in place to make it happen? What can you offer to make this a reality?

13. If you could travel anywhere on the planet tomorrow, where in the Diaspora would you like to go? Who would you like to meet?

14. What question(s) would you like to add?

Please also include a brief note giving me permission to use your words in my research on Diaspora Citizenship. You will still possess the intellectual rights to your work.

Send to P.O. Box 30756, Oakland, CA 94604 or email to This email address is being protected from spam bots, you need Javascript enabled to view it

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 05 November 2014 )
Wanda's Picks October 2014
Written by Wanda Sabir   
Thursday, 02 October 2014
Blood Moon

On October 8, between 1:17 a.m. and 5:30 a.m. view the eclipse of the moon. Called the blood moon because of its red hue, it should be pretty spectacular and weather permitting, you can see it all from Oakland:   There will be a partial solar eclipse October 23 also visible from Oakland.

Maafa Commemoration 2014

This is just a reminder that Sunday, October 12, 2014 marks our 19th Annual Maafa Commemoration. This is a time when we gather to remember our African ancestors, especially those who endured the transatlantic slave trade or the Middle Passage, the Black Holocaust. It is a time for Pan Africans to gather and celebrate life and recommit ourselves to the work of liberation: spiritual, psychological, economic and political.

We have our 501 (c) 3 now, so if anyone wants to make an endowment or give us property like a building or car or van, you can write it off (smile). The ritual is as always here in the Bay at Ocean Beach, Fulton at the Great Highway. It starts before sunrise, about 5:30 or so. Wear white, dress warmly (so if your warm clothes are not white—wear them (smile), bring your kids, instruments, breakfast items to share, flowers for the ancestors (white and red for the Ritual of Forgiveness), blankets to sit on or chairs. We can always use more chairs and tables for the food. If you’d like to carpool, especially if you can pick up people who are traveling from as far away as Vallejo, Sacramento, maybe Los Angeles, Oakland, Hayward, Alameda. . . let us know. We can use donations to pay Urban Shield (security) and to rent the port-a-potty.  A few people are carrying all the costs. If you’d like to help, especially with 2015, drop me a line: This email address is being protected from spam bots, you need Javascript enabled to view it We still need a rehearsal space for the Ritual. Visit or call (641) 715-3900 ext. 36800# 

Health and Wellness

The "Be Still Retreat,” a place for black people specifically to learn about self-care and stress reduction, is Saturday, October 4, 2014, 10-4 (at 9 a.m. there is a mindfulness walk).  Sponsored by Black Women's Media Project, its in a new location: Mills College in the Graduate School of Business (GSB) building. 5000 MacArthur Blvd. Oakland. 94613. To attend call 510-834-5990. It is a free event.

Day of Prayer for Mental Health

Alameda County Mental Health Awareness Annual Day of Prayer is Tuesday, October 7, 8-9 a.m. at 1221 Oak Street. There will be representation by diverse faiths, Observance of Japanese Crane, a Proclamation by the Board of Supervisors, and Refreshments. The goal will be to lift up those in need of mental wellness support, prayer and love, especially African American males.  

The Spirituality Factor Conference

The following week is the Spirituality Factor Conference: Weaving Spirituality & Behavior Health Using Evidence on October 9th and 10th in Oakland at Allen Temple Family Life Center, 8501 International Blvd. Go to to learn more and get registered to attend.

The title of my presentation is: Where Is Home for the Pan African as Exemplified through the Baseball Metaphor Jackie Robinson and Home Plate


Color Struck 2014-2015: Conversations N Color Tour,
written and performed by Donal Lacy Jr.
Friday-Saturday, Oct. 3-4 at Laney College

Join Donald Lacy Jr. for an evening of thought-provoking conversation about race relations in America. Audiences will find themselves both laughing and then pinching themselves once the tears stop rolling down their cheeks--That really wasn't funny, was it? Will be the operative thought that night as the interrogation looks at deep wounds and scars in the American psyche --wounds which are not just contagious, they are deadly.

For tickets call 510 One Love or online at Portions of the ticket proceeds benefit LoveLife Foundation's Art & Media Training Academy.

Traveling while Black?

After a rockin' debut in in March of 2013, Edris Cooper-Anifowoshe's “Traveling While Black” returns to the Brava Studio, 2781 24th Street, San Francisco, for a full run, Oct. 3-26.  With direction and design by Jose Maria Francos, TWB is part travelogue, part history lesson, part stand-up comedy and based on a lifetime of travel as a touring artist. Based on treks through Europe, the Americas and Africa, “TWB” is part travelogue and part history lesson and seeks to exploit the tensions between tourism and colonialism as it interrogates boundaries and reveals cultural connects and disconnects. Inspired by Langston Hughes’s “I Wonder As I Wander,” “TWB” examines the post-slavery condition of Black travel, both fanciful and forced. TWB is part of a trilogy of plays by Edris Cooper-Anifowoshe. The first production of the trilogy, “Adventures Of A Black Girl In Search of Academic Clarity and Inclusion” has been published in the anthology, solo/black/woman by Northwestern University Press.  For information visit or call (415) 641-7657.

Edris Cooper-Anifowoshe (Actor/Writer) is an award-winning director, actor and writer and has performed at many regional and independent theaters and for more than a decade was a lead artist for Rhodessa Jones’ The Medea Project; Theatre for Incarcerated Women. Edris’ original solo performances have been seen at Northwestern University, the University of Illinois and the University of Florida in Gainesville; and in San Francisco at AfroSolo Festival, Intersection for the Arts and other small independent venues, including her own former Sugar Shack Performance Gallery and Cultural Center in the Lower Haight. Internationally, Edris has performed in Ibadan, Nigeria and Berlin, Germany and presented scholarship on performance in Mexico, the UK and the Netherlands.

The 37th Mill Valley Film Festival is October 2-12 / Films of African Diaspora Interest include: Timbuktu, dir. Abderrahmane Sissako (“Bamako”). This new film takes place during the Jihadist take over in 2012. Recounting events influenced by a public stoning of an unmarried couple. Selected to compete for the Palm d ’Or in the main competition section at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival. At Cannes it won the Prize of the Ecumenical Jury and the Francois Chalais Prize. Screens Sunday, October 5 at 1:45PM at Smith Rafael Film Center; Monday, October 6 at 3PM at Sequoia.

The Aftermath of the Inauguration of the Public Toilet at Kilometer 375, dir. Omar el Zohairy. This short film from Egypt follows the aftermath of a single sneeze which takes on Kafkaesque proportions for a government official. Screens as part of 5@5 Round and Round on Monday, October 6 at 1:30PM at Sequoia; Wednesday, October 8 at 9:15PM at Smith Rafael Film Center;

Black and White, dir. Mike Binder. After the deaths of his wife and daughter, an attorney (Kevin Costner) becomes entangled in a custody battle with his biracial granddaughter’s paternal grandmother (Octavia Spencer). This hopeful ! lm explores a volatile discussion in American life and aims straight for the heart. Screens Wednesday, October 8 at 7:30PM at Smith Rafael Film Center;

Finding The Gold Within, dir. Karina Epperlein. Bay Area filmmaker Karina Epperlein follows six African American college freshmen, alumni of the unique Ohio mentoring program Alchemy, Inc., and well-equipped with self-confidence and critical-thinking skills, as they leave home for the first time. Cast: Kwame Scruggs, Jerry Kwame Williams, Darius Simpson, Brandyn Costa, Stacee Starr, Shawntrail Smith. Screens Friday, October 3 at 8PM at Lark theater; Saturday, October 4 at 8PM at Smith Rafael Film Center;

F R E E, dirs. Suzanne LaFetra and David Collier. A feature length documentary following five teens through a year in an Oakland dance program. Their journey in the Destiny Arts Youth Performance Company reveals how collaborative art can be a foundation for personal discovery, turning the courage, determination, and stamina demanded of their lives into a contagious joy. Screens Saturday, October 11 at 7:30PM at 142 Throckmorton; Sunday, October 12 at 2:30PM at Smith Rafael Film Center;

Gardeners of Eden, dir. Austin Peck. Even in Kenya’s Tsavo East National Park, elephants aren’t safe from poachers. The surging price of ivory has given rise to organized gangs that hunt and kill these majestic creatures for their tusks, usually leaving orphans in their wake. Continuously on the lookout and always ready to come to the rescue, the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust has a well-established protocol for transporting and caring for the traumatized baby elephants and, just as crucially, a remarkable record of successfully reintroducing them to the wild. Screens Saturday, October 4 at 2PM at Sequoia; Sunday, October 5 at 4:45PM at Smith Rafael Film Center; Tuesday, October 7 at 11:45AM at Smith Rafael Film Center;

How I Got Over, dir. Nicole Boxer’s documentary follows a group of women all residents of Washington, DC, recovery community N Street Village as they prepare to turn their harrowing life stories into a theater piece that will be performed at the Kennedy Center. Screens Sunday, October 5 at 7:45PM at Sequoia; Thursday, October 9 at 2:45PM at Smith Rafael Film Center; Saturday, October 11 at 8:30PM at Smith Rafael Film Center;

Imperial Dreams, dir. Malik Vitthal. In the electrifying debut, Imperial Dreams (winner of The Best of Next award at Sundance), aspiring novelist Bambi returns to his Watts neighborhood after two years in prison to extricate himself and his young son from their criminally compromised family. Screens Saturday, October 4 at 5:30PM at Lark theater; Sunday, October 5 at 2PM at Smith Rafael Film Center; Wednesday, October 8 11:30AM Smith Rafael Film Center; Sooleils, dir. Oliver Delahaye. Part road trip through time, part heroine’s journey through memory,

Soleils is a beautifully rendered meditation on the wisdom of Africa, as a young woman is initiated into the roots and legacy of her heritage. Screens Saturday, October 11 at 5PM at Sequoia; Sunday, October 12 at 5:15PM at Smith Rafael Film Center.

Visions at Twilight: Día de los Muertos 2014 group exhibition, Saturday, October 11–Saturday, November 8, 2014. Opening Event is Friday, October 10, 6–9pm, $12–15 sliding scale admission. Exhibition unveiling features live music by Rupa, interactive installations and Día de los Muertos inspired artist market. Gallery Hours: Tuesday–Friday, 12–7pm, Saturday 11am–5pm, Sunday, 11am–3pm. Cost: Free admission during gallery hours
Information: https:///  To listen to an interview with artist Candi Farlice about her piece this year which looks at the politics of the black male body:

Art con’t.

“Candi Farlice: Musings from an Artist's Life” currently at the San Francisco Main Library, 100 Larkin, San Francisco, African American Center (3rd Floor) through Oct. 16. Visit


African American Shakespeare Company presents: The Tempest

The time is 2020, the place is a trash island in the middle of the ocean, Prospero, the former CEO of SYCORAX, a multi-product industrial conglomerate based in Milan, charged with polluting the environment lands here when his ships capsizes. Directed by Nancy Carlin and starring Michael Gene Sullivan as Prospero, The Tempest inaugurates the 20th Anniversary Season (2014/15) of the award-winning African American Shakespeare Company. The last time we saw The Tempest was in 2001, a full 13 years ago.

With his daughter Miranda in tow, along with the single inhabitant of the island, Caliban, and an application/personal assistant called Ariel, he builds from reclaimed circuitry and other detritus, Prospero begins his campaign of holographic manifestations and manipulation of weather patterns to help settle the score.

The staging of the play also touches on topical environmental themes. "We set this production set on an island of garbage in the middle of the ocean," says Callender, "because there is such a place, several of them actually, these massive structures floating in our oceans. What if they are creating their own life forms? Could a Caliban be a result? We were interested in stretching our imaginations and the imaginations of our audiences, young and old."

The play runs October 18-November 9, Saturday at 8pm; Sunday Matinee at 3 p.m. at the Buriel Clay Theatre, African-American Art & Culture Complex, 762 Fulton Street, San Francisco. Tickets are $15-$34.00:

To listen to an interview with Mr. Callender, the director Nancy Carlin, and actress Ponder Goddard who portrays Ariel,   (final guests).

Michael Gene Sullivan’s play, “Recipe” opens at Central Works Oct. 16–Nov 23

Michael Gene Sullivan serves up the laughs in this delicious take on a circle of sweet old grandmotherly bakers, who just happens to be dedicated to the armed overthrow of the United States government.  But baking pies and cakes isn’t enough to satisfy these four intrepid refugees from the sixties, and their burning desire to “Up the Revolution!”  It’s one thing to say “The government is probably listening to my calls,” but what do you do when you find out it’s true? If it seems that the government that you call “a fascist, surveillance state” has specifically targeted you, is specifically watching YOU (it’s not paranoia if they really are after you!), then what?  How do you live your life knowing that all your fears may, actually, be true?

Performances are at the historic Berkeley City Club, 2315 Durant Avenue, Berkeley,  Thursday, Friday and Saturday 8 pm, and Sunday at 5 pm (with Post-show talk-backs on Oct. 19 and Nov. 9). Ticket prices: $28 online at, $28–$15 sliding scale at the door. Pay-what-you-can: Previews and every Thursday, at the door as available. For reservations and information:  510.558.1381 or


THE MORRIE MOVEMENT:  The Influence of “Wee Pals” Cartoonist Morrie Turner

November 8, 2014 – January 29, 2015
“The Morrie Movement: The Influence of ‘Wee Pals’ Cartoonist Morrie Turner” will follow Candi Farlice’s solo show this month at the African American Center of the San Francisco Main Library’s from November 8, 2014 to January 29, 2015 at 100 Larkin Street in San Francisco.  The exhibit opening/panel discussion will take place on November 16, 2014, from 1-3 pm in the Koret Auditorium.  The exhibit is created and curated by Kheven LaGrone.

The Egungun

Many trees have fallen in the forest this year, more recently Elder Herman Ferguson (Dec. 31, 1920-Sept. 25, 2014), whose comrade and age-mate, Yuri Kochiyama passed a bit before, followed by the much younger, yet fierce revolutionary composer, musician, designer and host of the Scientific Soul Sessions, Fred Ho (Aug. 10, 1957-Apr. 12, 2014).

Both Iya Yuri and Brother Ferguson were 93. Baba Ferguson’s memoir “An Unlikely Warrior Herman Ferguson: Evolution of a Black Nationalist Revolutionary” written with his wife Iyaluua Ferguson, a woman with over a half century of activism in the struggle for human rights and the liberation of Black people under her own belt, gives context to the marvelous history Baba Ferguson has lived beginning with his early years in the then rural southern town, Fayetteville, North Carolina, reared by a mother and father who valued education and more importantly taught their children to stand tall for their rights.

In between Mrs. Ferguson’s narration we have the voice of Elder Ferguson speaking about seeing Malcolm X the first time. Brother Malcolm was walking to a dais where he was to speak. Ferguson had heard him before, but never seen him live. The two men he says, nodded to each other. Later Ferguson would head the education wing of the Organization of Afro-American Unity, this after much community organizing and work as Assistant Principal at PS 40 in Jamaica Queens, New York. The educator speaks about a leadership training the OAAU hosted which graduated ten students in its first class, Yuri Kochiyama one of those who received a certificate signed by Brother Malcolm who was killed before the OAAU could host its next session. In the book, which is a quick yet satisfying read, we learn of the formation of the Republic of New Africa, what it means to stand trial when not only are your peers absent from the stand, so are your people. Truly prisoners of war, Unlikely Warrior speaks to this inconsistency.

Brother Herman says of this time when he decides after 19 years to return to New York from Guyana, “[he and his co-defendant, Arthur Harris] had been convicted in Queens of a 1967 plot to assassinate then NAACP head Roy Wilkins and Urban League Chairman Whitney Young, among other things. [They] were also accused in court on the morning after Senator Robert F. Kennedy was gunned down in Los Angeles of having a hit list that included his name! [Ferguson asks rhetorically], What can I say? It was a no-win situation before an all white, all male jury. Lynch law was in full effect” (230).

After a retiring from his work as “architect of the Guyanese education system, founder of the country’s youth training service (the Guyana National Service, equivalent to the U.S. Job Corps), Lt. Colonel in the Guyana Defense Force (GDF),” he says, “There was no one to sit around with and talk about old times. There was no life for [him]” (234-235).  At 68, he was in good shape, a fact the FBI agents who arrested him once his plane landed in New York, commented. At his arraigning the day after his arrival and arrest, the courtroom was filled with comrades fists raised, among them Yuri Kochiyama, two of his sons and others.

Brother Herman also says of his return that “when you believe in something, you stand and fight for it.” This is something Brother Malcolm told him when Ferguson asked him why he returned and kept returning when he knew it wasn’t safe.

“I had no illusions,” the activist, founder of Black Brotherhood Improvement Association (BBIA), an organization ideologically linked to Marcus Garvey and Malcolm X’s work of black liberation, stated on his return. He knew “what was going to happen to me and what I would be able to accomplish if I came back. I was not going to be the Black knight on the black horse returning to save the day. But I would run no longer (236).

Herman Ferguson says he was fighting for economic justice and human rights. This was the call when he organized the Jamaica Rifle and Pistol Club Inc. so that the BBIA could protect itself from police violence. This was the motivation earlier when he successfully organized the Rochdale community around a development project that did not offer jobs to residents nor plan to allow any of them to live there either.

I could just imagine seeing the shock on the faces of construction foremen arriving at work September 5, 1963 to the sight of four men and a woman chained to cranes dangling precariously high above ground.  If the workers started the machines the protestors could have fallen to their death (112-113).  If the FBI didn’t know the Assistant Principal’s name, they certainly knew if now (smile).

The men were arrested and when they went to court, Judge Bernard Dubin called them “’patriots’ for their bold action and dismissed the charges” (112). The ancestors guided Brother Ferguson’s feet and he listened. There were so many times he writes, where had he been present, let’s say in Attica, when the police shot all the leaders point blank, he would have been in that number. Even the way comrades escorted him back to this country, allowing media to put a hidden microphone on him so that they could monitor what happened to him if they were separated, all contributed to his safety.   

The last time I saw Brother Herman was at the annual Dinner Tribute to the families of Political Prisoners in Harlem, the same day Brother Baraka was laid to rest in Newark.  The salute to the wonderful couple was quite moving. Lynn Stewart was there with her husband. It was her first public appearance after her release. Pam Africa and her husband were also in attendance as were Russell Maroon Shoat’s daughters and son. Robert H. King was there and so many others, like the couple’s great granddaughter who spoke about her Great Grandmother and being raised in the Black Liberation Movement and what that meant and how normal it was to know what she knew about nationhood and the state’s injunction against her people, and her right to self-defense.

Among his other legacies, Baba Ferguson formed the Malcolm X Commemoration Committee; was the Administrator of the New Afrika Liberation Front; founding member along with Safiyah Bukari and Jalil Muntaqim of the National Jericho Movement, publisher of “NATION TIME,” and served as Co-chair of the Queens chapter of National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America (NCOBRA). He is the father of four, step-father of two, grandfather of ten, and great-grandfather of fourteen. great-great grandfather of two. Ashay.

Mr. Herman B. Ferguson’s Memorial Service is 1:30 p.m., Saturday, October 4, 2014 at the Funeral Home, 1515 New Bern Avenue, Raleigh, NC. Moments of visitation with the family, 1-1:30, prior to the Service:

Brother Syed Malik Al Khatib

I’m thankin’
I’m thankin’ each droplet of uninterrupted water
Washing, cleansing purifying me
Each ray of sun choosing me as the one
Beating upon my pores
Healin’ all my sores
I’m thanking revelations conversations
With you on my side
Blessin’ this holy ride
Fillin’ illusions optical conclusions
Leavin’ me alone with you again
I’m thankin’ the sin
The scrapes and the falls
Allowin’ me to hear your calls
Givin’ me your holy name
Usin’ me the same way you usin’ creation
Humblin’ elevation
Dancing to the rhythm of your song
My life, our life, his life— a prayer in your palm

--by Koren Clark

When I learned of Brother Syed Al Khatib's transition I was surprised. There is never time to prepare for such, especially when one is not close to the recently departed. So I hadn't known of his illness over the past year(s), otherwise I would have certainly visited him. Alas, another ancestor whom I get to know more intimately once I have opportunity to read an obituary—I think about the conversations we could have had, that we will now have from alternative dimensions. As African people, he is not gone and nothing is lost (smile). His family and friends who remain will serve as conduits to a wonderful man whose work in black psychology, theology and philosophy is unparalleled. When one thinks about the scholarship that institutionalized black psychology as a discipline, perhaps Dr. Al Khatib's name does not ring a bell, but it should. He is the father of the discipline, his theoretical children--Dr. Wade Nobles one of the more popular or visible, yet Baba Wade certainly had company as the young black scholars met then Dr. Cedric Clark at Stanford University where his work looked at corporate media and its construction of black image(s).

Dr. Al Khatib’s journey was long, but perhaps not long enough for daughter Koren and his three grandchildren, ex-wives, brothers, sister and friends, yet, as a scholar his work is well documented, all that needs to happen is to perhaps pull the essays together into a Syed Al Khatib Reader. Perhaps a graduate student at his alma mater, Michigan State University or where his work touched so many lives— Stanford University, San Francisco State University, Princeton, etc., will take his voluminous work on as a graduate thesis? We'd all be more than grateful. After he left Stanford, he spent the same number of years at San Francisco State, and the same again at Marist College in Poughkeepsie, New York.

Dr. Khatib challenged Dr. William Shockley, Stanford University, Noble Prize winning physicist, on his theory of black genetic inferiority and the money he offered often poor black people to voluntarily sterilize themselves. Dr. Frances Cress Welsing, MD (in Ebony Magazine July 1974) says that Shockley admitted he had no medical background to base any of these claims. He also stated that environment had nothing to do with cognitive development, which we know is false.

Dr. Al Khatib’s scholarship also looked at the notion of the “exceptional” black in popular TV roles. These black attorneys and teachers, property owners and police detectives, did not mirror the reality on American streets. It just confused black America who sought this fiction in reality yet kept running into nooses and auction blocks where opportunity said slavery and discrimination were over?!

After driving around for quite a bit I found parking and headed over to Juma Prayer and the Janaaza Funeral service for Dr. Al Khatib, Friday, Sept. 12. I'd never been to this particular masjid before. Built from the ground up, the Oakland Islamic Center (just down from Summit Medical Center) was enclosed in glass –lots of windows, so I could see the brothers inside. As I walked thought the parking lot, I was able to see the entrance for the women, and where they sat, which was up a steep flight of stairs.  The very full room reminded me of a similar tight-space in Dar es Salaam last summer.

I removed my shoes, walked up the stairs, checked out the scene and then retreated to the cooler space at the entrance until I hear the Iqamah or call to prayer and went back upstairs to participate. The khutbah or sermon was in Arabic, which I do not understand, so I was surprised when the funeral prayer was preceded by a few instructions in English. The first part of the prayer is a series of Allahu Akbar (God is Great) followed by Al Fatihah (The Opening chapter of the Qur'an) recited silently. In between the silent utterances one is to pray for the deceased person’s soul and ask that his sins be forgiven and that his ascension is swift.  The body, which we could not see upstairs, was downstairs in a closed cardboard box. After the short prayer, when I came downstairs and put my shoes on and went outside I saw Dr. Al Khatib's body carried in a box on the shoulders of about six men and put into a hearse. The family was outside by then. I knew his daughter Koren Fatimah Clark, and met visiting elder brother, Peyton Clark and younger brother, David Clark, grandchildren and former-wife and friends, Wade and Vera Nobles and members of their family (whom I also knew) were there as well.

I took photos of the group and asked if I could hitch a ride to the cemetery for the burial. I rode with Dr. Syed’s former wife Carolyn Martin Shaw, her friend, Nubra Elaine Floyd with her life partner at the wheel. Dr. Carolyn’s granddaughter Amasha Lyons-Clark kindly took the middle seat in the back between Nubra and me. I'd been given a short obits to read at the masjid and told that Sunday at the Nobles’s home there would be even more shared about Brother Khatib's scholarship and life.

The drive to Livermore to 5 Pillars Farm Cemetery where Brother Khatib's remains were laid to rest was without incident. We arrived after the prayer, but before his remains were covered. I'd been worried. The family took turns shoveling dirt into the grave. . . the physicality of this gesture one of both closure and embodiment. There is something about death that feels final to the human being. I don't know how other living beings experience this, but for this woman, when I see the hole opened up, filled then closed, there seems to be something irretrievable about this moment that feels like a loss, a missed opportunity, finality . . . even when I know intellectually that the person's spirit or true essence is not in the hole. The carcass or the garment is and I know I will miss seeing the person walking about in such finery.

Heaven or the idea of a here-after is distant and more philosophical than real at that point, so the idea that such a moment could be rushed by people who do not understand "the African way," is sacrilegious. Grief cannot be rushed and the internment is important to those left behind perhaps more than to those who have moved on. In African villages among the Dagara people in Burkina Faso where traditional healer and scholar Malidoma Patrice Somé (Ph.D.) hails, there are wailing choirs (smile) whose job is to stir the heart, while other villagers’ jobs are to take care of the family who might want to go with the departed love one. Granted, the deceased is present physically, seated in a chair dressed in his or her best clothes. Gifts are given to the family by close friends and relatives. The ceremony sounds so wonderful. It is said that if there is no ceremony, the deceased does not ascend. If there is no noise, no tears, no signs of grief . . . the deceased paces the earth, haunts the family and village, so to properly mourn is an important skillset modern society has lost. 

Though not present physically, the ritual at the Nobles’s compound in Oakland was the true funeral or home going celebration of Dr. Syed Malik al Khatib. On more than one occasion people attested to his presence, whether that was his daughter Koren's testimony regarding what she wore and what of her father's work she brought to share or Baba Wade's recollection of his first time in Africa with his wife Vera, Dr. Cedric and Carolyn and his encounter with an elephant.

Present were colleagues who'd known him for a long time and those who knew of his work, like the Dean of Ethnic Studies from SFSU, who arrived at Stanford just after Dr. Al Khatib left. His treating physician was there, as was his nurse, grandchildren, former wife, daughter, siblings and extended community. When I arrived I heard a conch shell call from behind the house; however, when I got to the back, the assembly was moving indoors.

There was poetry and great lifting of spirits as loved ones shared sacred moments with the beloved Dr. Al Khatib, called brother or dad or grandfather or comrade or even Dr. Cedric X.

I'd know Dr. Cedric as a youth when he was director of Muhammad University of Islam No. 26 in San Francisco on Fillmore and Geary. Having graduated at 15 from the same institution, I was a young student teacher when he came on board. What I remember of Brother Khatib (Dr. Cedric is what we called him then), is how impressed I was to meet a black man with a doctorate. He had swag and brought to the school other smart lettered black men, who talked to us, encouraged us and pushed us to excel.

He didn't wear suits, yet his authority was present in his poise and carriage. Well maybe he did, I just remember his white shirts and the rolled sleeves. I can still see his smiling face and sparkling eyes. He was really happy and always greeted me with a smile. I remember when Dr. Na’im Akbar was getting a tour of the school and I was introduced.  Brother Sunni Ali Shabazz was the Assistant Director then and I remember the talk swirling around me about attending UC Berkeley, where Brother Sunni went.

Then he was gone.

I never forgot Dr. Cedric and don't know why his tenure as director of MUI was the brief whirlwind it was, yet when I saw him years later and learned he'd retired from Stanford, that he was that close all this time, I wished that we'd stayed in touch. It would have been nice to talk to him about higher education. It has been tough being the only one again and again.

He made being intelligent cool, not just for me, a young woman who didn't know any black people with undergraduate degrees, let alone doctorate degrees, but for all of us on Fillmore and Geary. Youth from families that were living just above the poverty line.  I knew Dr. Cedric would not lie to me, so if he believed in me, I should believe in me too. I knew that I could achieve the same level of acumen I admired in him and his peers. I always felt capable in his eyes. I always felt I could do whatever I set my mind on, even if I had to work a bit harder than my peers. And I have, Al Hamdulilah (praise God).

Dr. Cedric was a true role model, subtle yet highly effective. He told me a maybe a couple years ago that he was proud of me and what I had achieved. He was so tickled about an article I wrote about a statewide black mental health initiative (published in the SFBV) that he sent me an email (smile).

What else could one ask for— praise from one's role model? That he noticed was beyond phenomenal. I valued his opinion, a rock star, he not only gave me an autograph, he called my name (smile). Dr. Cedric or Syed Al Khatib (translated means: “Mister Teacher/Clerk/Scribe.” What a name!) Dr. C knew my trajectory . . . 40 years ago to now, may Allah bless this great man with immediate access to the highest levels of Jannah or paradise.
Professor in Psychology and Communications, Executive Editor at Ebonic Editing, his academic work at Michigan State University, where he graduated with Doctor of Philosophy in Communications and Media Studies (Linkedin), he certainly has earned the preferential treatment.

After the salutes people shared in a repast and read Dr. Khatib's scrapbook which included clips of news articles and record of debates, scholastic achievement and other publications. We then gathered on the patio next to the pool as the sun retreated on the horizon to participate in a Kikongo ceremony, where we put wishes and requests on tiny sheets of paper for the newly inducted ancestor and burned them in a roaring fire on the patio.
The Egun or ancestors need to be kept busy I’ve heard on more than one occasion; they've nothing but time (smile).

Dr. Cedric has a good head start. Ashay! (And so it is.)

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 14 October 2014 )


Finding info on was ....
© 2014 Home of
web design: