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Wanda's Picks December 2014
Written by Wanda Sabir   
Sunday, 30 November 2014
Wake Up! Rub the phlegm from your eyes . . .

As we move into the next solar return there is much to look forward to despite the stasis that seems to infect this nation with the disease of white supremacy or racial domination.  Okay okay, perhaps the silver lining is a bit too buried to find Oṣumare’s twinkle beyond any pots of gold you’ve stumbled upon recently, especially with a House and Senate dominated by Republicans and a domestic police force that is killing black boys with impunity, one could perhaps just roll over and play dead. After all, where is the hope? The knowledge that no matter how it looks, the Creator is in charge and the bad guys just look like they are always winning is what sustains us.

As we move into the next solar return or opportunity for grip a nation renewal there is much to look forward to despite the stasis that seems to infected with the disease of white supremacy or racial domination. With a House and Senate dominated by Republicans and a domestic police force that is killing black boys with impunity, one could perhaps just roll over and play dead. After all, where is the hope? The knowledge that no matter how it looks, the Creator is in charge and the bad guys just look like they are always winning is what sustains us.

The Maafa is certainly real, but then so is the reality that black Peoplehood has always been contingent in this western paradigm on the presence of African deities who not only jumped across oceans to accompany us into this caldron, they stuck around. I don’t have the answer, but perhaps when black people begin to value their own lives and cease to be duped by the propaganda that undermines all our ancestors suffered— the physical incarceration of their bodies but not their souls, then the war within will cease along with the distractions thrown our way by the enemy. We are in crisis here and abroad. Africa is being stolen right before our eyes if we’d just look. As the wars rage in central and western, southern and northern and eastern Africa, countries like China are buying African land and resources for a song. Look at the film Plot for Peace, dir. by Carlos Agulló. At the end, you will see how Jean-Yves Ollivier, alias “Monsieur Jacques,” installed Nelson Mandela in office so that whites could maintain their sovereignty. A young Mr. Jacques never forgot getting kicked out of Algeria when its native people won the war and sent the colonizers packing. Back home, he learned of France’s role in Africa and after a stint in prison for political activism, he began to fine tune his role as the mediator and strategist. Though pictured as a benevolent guy, whose role was one of peace, the fact that he still has his hands in the economies of continental Africa and elsewhere—moving goods and people as a middleman nations still travel through, make his altruism suspect.

Ollivier says in the film, he didn’t want what happened in Algeria to the white tribe there to happen in South Africa— it didn’t. Mandela was a pawn in a cleverly structured game of Solitaire. In fact, Mandela didn’t even know the man responsible for his release until told much later. Similar to the way Carl Rowe was the silent hand behind George W. Bush, while he was in office, Ollivier was the silent hand behind the end of the wars in South Africa, the settlement with the movers and shakers –many ANC alumni officials paid off while the masses were then left to struggle. The South African majority are still struggling with poverty and unresolved internalized trauma and tribalism, major distractions while they are being robbed blind.

The protagonist says post-Algerian independence that the white tribe in South Africa would not survive if it did not give black Southern Africans something in exchange for an opportunity to stay put.  As stated, the Namibian peace agreement was the gesture that brought the major players including Cuban President Castro, who agreed to work toward peace. FW de Klerk negotiated Mandela’s release once Botha was out of the picture. The strategy worked and the white tribe was not evicted, but the disease of white supremacy, let’s call it an economic smallpox blanket has bled cross borders.

Ebola is not accidental. Where imprisonment doesn’t work, we see pestilence and disease introduced. Violence and drugs are also a pestilence available in the black communities in America and elsewhere.  

The Mark Lomax Trio with Edwin Bayard and Dean Hulett’s “Isis and Osiris”

Perhaps 2015 will be the Year of Ausar and Auset, perhaps one of the greatest love stories of all times. Auset/Isis never lost her head or heart when her beloved brother/husband Ausar/Osirius was tricked by a jealous brother /Set twice. The first time he was trapped in a box and drowned him in the Nile; the second time he was cut into over 70 pieces and scattered. She collected all but one, his phallus or staff. She made this part herself and bears their son— Pretty miraculous stuff, this heroine’s journey where like the Brave African Huntress in an Amos Tutuola’s saga, a female character saves the day. Ausar has no time for bitterness or revenge—her perfect example inspires the couple’s son, who challenges his uncle’s assent to the throne.  The elders give both a test, then decide that the people could do better than a murderer as a leader. Ausar was known for his wisdom, benevolence and mercy, Auset for her all abiding love and the length she went to “put the pieces back together.” The son proved a worthy heir and continued his father’s legacy.

The Mark Lomax Trio with Edwin Bayard and Dean Hulett’s “Isis and Osiris” is a beautifully crafted expression of this ancient resurrection story. The suite, which has six movements, with four interludes, features the three musicians, Lomax (drums), Bayard (tenor saxophone), Hulett (bass) takes the listener on a journey that traverses time and place as within one section we can travel to multiple places within the African Diaspora.

As a Diaspora Citizen and a member of a nation that is connected yet disconnected from its ancestral land, I certainly hope the metaphor of a spirituality inherent in a people will see us whole once again. Calling the names of ancestors keeps them alive— Remembering  is what holds us together when all is falling apart. Not forgetting is the antidote to dismemberment.
Reparations should be seen both literally and metaphysically. The idea that we have been dismembered and tossed yonder, the idea that for Diaspora black people we seem to fit nowhere, yet we see evidence of our presence everywhere, certainly makes one wonder how many pieces have yet to be retrieved before we look whole once more.

Flash of the Spirit

While in New Orleans over the holidays I was pleasantly surprised to be visiting once again during an international art festival. I enjoyed several exhibits for “Prospect 3:Notes for Now,” up Oct. 25, 2014 to Jan. 25, 2015. The contemporary art biennial has among its 58 artists selected by Artistic Director Franklin Sirmans in 18 venues, the work of Jean-Michel Basquiat. There is also a free symposium, Dec. 11-12 at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art celebrating the 30th Anniversary of Robert Farris Thompson’s “Flash of the Spirit: African and Afro-American Art and Philosophy,” which Basquiat had in his art studio.  Dr. Farris Thompson will speak at the closing, and featured among the panelists and presenters are Dr. Marta Moreno Vega, New York University and Caribbean Cultural Center and Duane Deterville, Sankofa Cultural Center, re: the international impact of Flash . . . with a focus on the geographic areas discussed in the text, for example, Brazil, Haiti, Cuba, Mali, Nigeria, etc. Dr. Adebisi introduced me to Flash when I visited his Bookmart in Sproul Plaza in Berkeley near UC Berkeley. I was taking a cosmology class and needed to map my own worldview as a Diaspora Citizen. He told me to read “Flash” and “Muntu.” Those two books still serve as cornerstones in my philosophical development. Visit

Movement Trails Within and Beyond Diaspora: A Global South Tale

 In an exhibit, Place/Displaced curated by Melorra Green at SOMarts through Dec. 13, artists look at the idea of what it means to belong, where one fits in, what happens when this security if upended or one is unsettled. Visit: On Friday, Dec. 5, 5:30-8:30 p.m. at the gallery, 934 Brannan Street (between 8th and 9th) there is a free event, Wake up the Walls. RSVP requested  

In a work conceptualized by Wanda Sabir and created by TaSin Sabir, Movement Trails Within and Beyond Diaspora: A Global South Tale, we look at mapping one’s ancestry to visualize where one belongs. Where is home? We ask our audience. Opening night Nov. 20, we were quite the hit. We had 100 tacks and used 99, with threads crossing oceans traversing geographic plains multiple times as people thought about identity and ancestral wishful thinking as their journeys were part uncertainty part hopefulness with equal parts adventure. A map using a dot matrix with the global south highlighted, the water filled with images from Maafa 2014. The idea of the movement of spirit across the waters linked the Diaspora. There were also images of children, two with their backs to us . . . representing what is ahead. The red string represented the blood often spilled in such journeys to other lands, especially when this travel is under duress—for the black people dispersed, not one asked us if we wanted to go.
“Incantations and Rites” features Daughters of Yam, Opal Palmer Adisa and devorah major with the “Harpist from the Hood” Destiny Muhammad looking at the killing of our young through police brutality, as well as by each others' hands through their own misdirected rage. We look, we cry, we scream out in outrage and then we seek ways to build again, this time giving our young the protection they need and deserve. We sing, we chant we give praise and we heal in preparation for the work ahead.  Love, a celebration of life, and joining together as community are also a part of this performance which is crafted to make us all remember or discover our own power and then direct it in ways which create lasting and positive change. Please come and enjoy the show and then stay for an after show Q&A and discussion.

Saturday December 6, 8 p.m., Eastside Arts Center   2277 International Blvd, Oakland, California. Admission is $10.00 but sliding sale for those who really cannot pay full price.


Explosión Cubana: Una Noche Tropical, December 5-6,  at Dance Mission Theatre, 3316 24th Street, San Francisco, CA   (415) 826-4441. $60 in advance/$65 at door (includes full meal); $25 youth 12 yrs. and younger, both dates

The smoking hot music and sultry moves of Havana's famed Tropicana nightclub come north, complete with a dance spectacular, live band and a dinner featuring Cuban favorites. CubaCaribe and Dance Mission Theater have put together this sizzling spectacular, a trip through the island's entertainment history, all the way from traditional folk to the modern moves of today's top performers. Ramon Ramos' Alayo Dance Company stars, with guests including dancers from Cuba's Danza del Caribe.

Dimensions Dance Theater’s Rites of Passage Celebrates 20 Years

Dimensions Dance Theater, the Bay Area’s preeminent African-American dance company for more than four decades, has a holiday showcase of student performances in celebration of its 20th anniversary of its youth (8-18) program, Rites of Passage, under the direction of Deborah Vaughan and Latanya d. Tigner.  The program serves 850 youth each year.

The event is Sunday, December 7, 3 p.m. at the Phillip Reeder Auditorium at Castlemont High Schoo, 8601 MacArthur Blvd.  The company will honor the achievements of Rites of Passage students, faculty and alumni with a program of performances titled It Takes A Village, celebrating the Bay Area’s diversity. Performers will include not only current participants in Rites of Passage but the Dimensions Extensions Performance Ensemble and alumni, and members of Dimensions Dance Theater, as well. The dancers in Dimensions Extensions range from 12 to 18, and are selected by audition only. The ensemble has toured to Los Angeles, Washington D.C., New York and Guinea, West Africa.

Additional youth groups at the concert include Chhandam Youth Dance Company, the pre-professional training and performance troupe of Chitresh Das Dance Company, and Oaktown Jazz Workshops, an Oakland-based group dedicated to passing on the tradition of jazz music to young people through music instruction and educational presentation. Tickets are $15 - $25. To purchase tickets online visit or call 800-838-3006. Group discounts are available,

We remember the Freeman Brothers

While at the cemetery on Black Friday in Mississippi; I saw the name Freeman on a tombstone. Were my Freeman ancestors related to Elder’s Freeman’s? That would be nice (smile). The homecoming at the Masonic Hall in Oakland was fitting for two beloved men who certainly gave their lives for the people and suffered for it. It is their example, as well as the example of their brotherly love which I am sure sustains their families and close comrades now that they are making their ascension probably arm and arm. Dr. Tolbert Smalls sang of the Dead Black Spartans who “dazzle the world in [their] brief moment/ Exploding with vigor, sharp and jubilant/ Sledging the ramparts with fiery revolution” . . .  those stalwart poets who risked all for the Republic, while Buffalo shared insights only the philosophically attuned could decipher— Arthur League shared his friend’s last stand which he heard him calling for help while on the phone with Bruce Richards in New York—“Put the phone down and help me up,” Elder cried. He still had work to do. He was in New York to attend Yuri Kochiyama’s Memorial because he’d missed it in Oakland; he also had plans to attend the Black Panther Party Film Festival.

Arthur smiled as he recalled these final words. Elder couldn’t get up, his body was weak, but mentally he went out upright. Gordon Bradley spoke of Elder’s courage. Elder said to him, “I will walk out of this life, rather than on my back.” Steve Jacobson spoke of visiting Elder in the hospital when he was in a coma, 10-15 tubes in his body. He’d suffered two heart attacks, his former chess buddy said.

Arthur, also a member of the Los Angeles Black Panther Party said after he was arrested, he saw Elder again while at San Quentin, “They got you too.” He said to him in recognition. It was only a matter of time before most of the comrades were either dead or serving time. Later on those at the memorial saw many of these same men and women’s names on a list of political prisoners and prisoners of war printed in Black Panther Party newspapers. Many are out, some have died, and some like Romaine “Chip” Fitzgerald are still behind bars. See

The fact that Albert Woodfox has been found suitable for release by the three judge panel who agree with the former court’s decision what 2-3-4 years ago, was a bright ray of sunlight. I learned at the Freeman Brothers’ memorial that Sundiata Tate was also going to be released the coming week. We have good news and then we hear about Mumia Abu Jamal and Russell Maroon Shoats who are in jeopardy once again in danger. See the “Silence Mumia Law “ ( which targets the most articulate and outspoken political prisoners – is, for us, a call for increased action and unity. (See also

Archbishop Franzo W. King of Saint John Will-I-Am Coltrane Orthodox Church, opened with prayer and gave the keynote address while we had a lovely repass. Even those who could not stay like Tiyesha Meroe and Ericka Huggins stopped by the commemoration to pay their respects. Supervisor Keith Carson, on behalf of the Alameda County Board of Supervisors issues a proclamation honoring Elder for his work in the community, past and present. This was shared by Dorsey Nunn and a young assistant who read the proclamation.

Archbishop King said that Elder Freeman was a liberator, as was his brother Deacon-elect Roland. Both filled the gulf between the church and the revolutionary movement of Marcus Garvey’s and the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense.

Emory Douglas was the master of ceremonies and his daughter Meres-Sia Gabriel recited a really lovely poem about girls who are exploited because they don’t realize their value. I am sure the Freeman brothers who have appreciated it, as they both have daughters and honor and respect women. Carmelita Taylor, Elder’s wife, shared moments, like the way they met—Elder was selling incense. I remember reading somewhere that smell is the last sense to leave when one is dying . . . so he lingers on the air.

Gordon Bradley, Sundiata Tate, Linda Evans, Steve Jacobson, and Jitu Sadiki all shared reflections. Jalil Muntaqim sent a letter which Manuel La Fontaine read. I was at a table with lumniaries: Dr. Small, Sister Sheba, Sis. Majeedah and others whom were joking with each other as they shared Panther Alumni stories over the meal.

Arthur said if there was one regret, it was that Elder didn’t get to Cuba. It was sobering as he reflected on how before Roland’s untimely departure following his brother, he’d never believed in broken hearts. Roland’s wife Beverly sent greetings from Los Angeles and there were other prayers by Babaloa and George Galvis, First Nation. The Freemans were also Cherokee. It was just a beautiful yet sad opportunity to reflect on two wonderful men and raise the stick higher so that we can stretch into our full potential.

It was great seeing Kiilu and Marina and BJ and Nayati and Zigi and Raymond and Richard Brown, Aaliyah, Hamdiyah and Hafsa and Iman Al Amin. The children are growing up, Tarika Lewis’s grandson João is such a handsome child (smile). His grandmother and Val Serrant performed excellently. Derethia grandson is also a big boy now. He has such a nice smile. I admit I got a bit distracted towards the end of the well-organized program, and didn’t listen with undivided attention to the lovely soloist. There was a fabulous Black Panther Party Poster and Newspaper exhibit. There was a collection for Elder’s grandson, Michael, whose grandmother, Carmelita, is raising. If you want to further Elder’s work, support the organization he helped found, All of Us or None and the Timers.

More than one person spoke of Elder’s refusal to allow the treatment for the cancer to kill him and said no. Arthur said Elder wasn’t eligible for hospice because he was supposed to sit still and die, not take charge of his life and decide to travel to Detroit and Los Angeles and New York (more than once). This is not prescribed (smile), but then Elder sang his own song.

“Ever onward, black warrior, ever onward/ Heed not death knocking at your door/ Tis but an echo of tomorrow’s journey/ Spur thy great steed onward/ Across the dregs and over the mires/ Singing out in the shrillest sounds/ Venceremous Patria o Muerte” [“Homeland or Death, We shall prevail”] (©2000 Tolbert J. Small).

A Love Supreme Global Peace Mass

The 50th Anniversary of “A Love Supreme a Mass for Global Peace, Monday, December 8, 2014 at Grace Cathedral, 1100 California St, San Francisco. Doors open 6:00 p.m. and  the Mass begins at 7:00 p.m. The event is free of charge, bring a friend all are welcome. For more information call 415.763.7144 or go to the Saint John Coltrane website

Superheroes at Cuttingball

Cutting Ball Theater opens its 16th season with the World Premiere of SUPERHEROES, written and directed by Sean San José. Featuring Myers Clark, Juan Amador, Donald E. Lacy, Jr., Britney Frazier, Ricky Saenz, and Delina Patrice Brooks. SUPERHEROES plays November 21 through December 21 (Press opening: December 2) at the Cutting Ball Theater in residence at EXIT on Taylor (277 Taylor Street) in San Francisco. For tickets  ($10-50) and more information, the public may visit or call 415-525-1205.

Defiant, passionate, and bursting with poetic energy, SUPERHEROES tells the story of a journalist working to separate fact from fiction as she investigates the sordid history of the crack-cocaine epidemic. Partially inspired by Bay Area reporter Gary Webb’s groundbreaking investigative journalism into the relationship between the CIA and Nicaraguan émigré-drug traffickers, this incendiary new play traces a lyrical labyrinth through churches, courthouses, and street corners in pursuit of a shocking truth.

Brian Copeland’s The Jewelry Box

Just in time for Christmas, Brian Copeland, (Not a Genuine Black Man, The Waiting Period, The Scion) opens the season Thursdays and Fridays, 8 p.m. and Saturdays at 5 p.m., Nov. 28-Dec. 27, with a new, holiday play for the entire family, The Jewelry Box at The Marsh San Francisco, 1062 Valencia Street.  For tickets ($30-$100) the public may visit or call 415-282-3055 between 1:00 pm and 4:00 pm, Monday through Friday. To listen to a recent interview:

In this hilariously heartwarming story, a prequel to Copeland’s hit solo show Not a Genuine Black Man, a young Brian heads to the “mean streets” of Oakland to buy his mom a Christmas present.  When he finds the perfect gift – a jewelry box in the White Front store – six-year-old Brian sets out to earn the required $11.97 by Christmas Eve.  Rife with references to 1970s Oakland, the play follows Brian’s adventures as he scours the “help wanted” ads, applies for jobs, and collects bottles, inching his way toward the perfect Christmas gift. There is also a release of the novella during the run as well, a great holiday stocking stuffer (smile).

Carl Allen, drummer, at City College Diego Rivera Theater

The City College of San Francisco Music Department and Concert and Lecture Series present "The Fall Jazz Concert featuring the Advanced Jazz Band And The Jazz/Rock Improvisational Workshop directed by David Hardiman, Jr., Master of Ceremonies, David Hardiman Sr. with special guest artist on drums from New York, Carl Allen, Tuesday, Dec. 9, 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. in the Diego Rivera Theater, 50 Phelan Avenue, San Francisco. The concert is free.  There will also be a free Carl Allen Drum Clinic, in the Arts Building, A-133, from 2 to 3 p.m. earlier. Tuesday, Dec. 9.

Last Updated ( Sunday, 30 November 2014 )
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 )


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