From June 2008

John George Artists, Essayists

Johngeorgecollage.jpg

Top, left: Drawing by 8-year-old Ketwan Raynor (inset) . Bottom, left: Front, from left to right – Ramona Wilkerson, Kayly’s teacher at Layfette School, Dolores Hernandez, mother, Melissa Hernandez and Kayly Hernandez. Back row – Jumoke Hinton-Hodge and Carlos Hernandez. Top, right: From left to right – Front row – Mona Mohamed, Aisha Mohamed, essay winner, Suad Mohamed, mother, Mohamed Mohamed. Back row – Alona Clifton. Bottom, right: Drawing by Kayly Hernandez with inset of John George, former Alameda County Supervisor, founder Muleskinners’ Democratic Club, co-founder Oakland Black Caucus. Photos by Gene Hazzard and graphics by Alapi Bhatt.

AlonaCarltonfile.jpgBy Alona Clifton

A group of West Oakland students represented a snapshot of the diversity of America as they gathered at the West Oakland Library last Saturday to receive their art or essay award, presented by the John George Democratic Club (Club) and co-sponsored by and hosted at the library annually. Each recipient received a U.S. savings bond and a gift certificate for Old Navy.
Ketwan Raynor, an 8 year-old student from Cole Elementary and Kayly Hernandez a 7 year-old from Lafayette Elementary, both second graders, shared the first place prize for their creative and original art work on the theme, “Draw a picture showing how, if you were President, you would change the way your neighborhood looks.”
Ketwan was asked what he wanted to be when he grew-up; he said “I don’t know.” Jack Lucero Fleck, who works as San Francisco’s City Traffic Engineer, suggested that Ketwan would be a great city planner. “Your drawing is a perfect example of transportation engineering/city planning.” The drawing showed bike lanes, handicapped parking, playgrounds, and schools.” Kayly also drew a wonderful neighborhood with a school, library, churches, and a park; she added signs reading “No Guns, No Killing, No Smoking, and Do Not Trash.” Kayly also wants to be the first woman and Latina president of the U.S. Read more

Should Oakland Change Its Name to Forest City?

Brown’s 12% guarantee of a profit to developers outFOXes taxpayers

If project had been financed with private money it would be in bankruptcy. Now Brown’s bonds are a ticking financial time bomb because no-bid contract costs have ballooned from $28 to $100 million.

JoeDebrofile.jpgBy Joe Debro

When Jerry Brown was first elected Mayor Oakland he promised to convert downtown into a model of sustainability and an example of a “green economy” built on peopling the center city. Now his dream threatens to become a nightmare for Mayor Dellums with “brownfields scattered everywhere.”
The Jerry Brown Condo mania which sought to bring 10K new residents to downtown has turned out to be not okay for Oakland. These condos are littering the landscape like the biblical ?dry bones in the valley?.
Jerry Brown made his bones in Oakland.
Jerry Brown’s cronies made their fortunes in Oakland.
The Oakland taxpayers are now stuck with the obligations to pay for the excesses of his administration. The 10,000 people that Jerry brought downtown can’t pay their mortgages. The developers who were given the concessions can’t finish their projects and those who can finish them can’t sell them. This is only the bad news. The very bad news is yet to come.
I have some bad news and some very bad news. The bad news is that many people who bought condos downtown can no longer afford them. The unsold and the unfinished condos will remain unsold and unfinished because they were built based on an income and expense model that no longer exists. Read more

Catch the Reading Bug

By Kathleen Hirooka
Community Relations Coordinator
Oakland Public Library
Reading-bug.jpgOakland Public Library is encouraging both children and adults to “Catch the Reading Bug” this summer and be eligible to win valuable prizes and tickets to some of the Bay Area’s hottest attractions. Children, ages 13 and under, can sign up for the library’s annual Summer Reading Program, which started June 7 and ends August 9, 2008 by buzzing on in to any branch, the main library, or the bookmobile. Kids are encouraged to read anything they want for the program, so that they can develop their own interests and love of reading.
This year’s theme, “Catch the Reading Bug,” means that little bookworms will have a variety of free programs they can attend featuring live animals and a number of creepy-crawly insects. In addition, they can enjoy magicians, puppet shows, craft activities, and more throughout the summer months to chase away the doldrums. Read more

Parents Celebrate Success of After-School Readers

Hitz: “Vocabulary World’s” a Hit!

Love for Books Helps Prevent Truancy

Oakland Parents Together (OPT) celebrated the end of the school year with an Gala Recognition Award Dinner that highlighted its successful after-school reading program.
Over 120 parents, students, and teachers crowded into the Mosswood Park Recreation Center on June 3 for the celebration. They were entertained by students from OPT Intensive Support Tutoring Programs at Sankofa Academy and Hoover Elementary School, who put on skits called “Vocabulary World,” showcasing what they had learned in the programs.
OPT’s reading program could serve as a model for the Oakland Unified School District to follow, said OPT Executive Director Henry Hitz, speaking at the celebration. If implemented throughout the district, the Third-Grade Intensive Support Tutoring (3GIST) Program has the potential of eliminating the education gap in Oakland within 10 years at a cost of less than one percent of OUSD’s budget, he said. Read more

Gas Prices Hurting Tithes and Offerings

Those 55 or older are most likely to give, are now least able to continue.

Nearly half of the Christian adults in America have reduced their charitable giving because of the economic downturn, according to a recent Wilson Research Strategies survey commissioned by Dunham+Company.
“This study shows that the sharp rise in fuel costs has already begun to impact giving by Christians who are the backbone of philanthropy in America,” said Rick Dunham, president and CEO of Dunham+Company, which specializes in fundraising for Christian ministries Forty-six percent of the Christian adults surveyed – representing 62.5 million Americans – indicated that they have reduced their giving to charity. People older than 55, the segment of the population most supportive of nonprofit organizations, were most affected (53 percent) by the faltering economy.
However, the study found that those who attend church frequently are less likely to have the economy affect their giving, and those who rarely attend church are more likely to decrease their giving. Those attending non-denominational churches overwhelmingly say the economy has not impacted their giving (62 percent).
The skyrocketing price of gasoline is cited as the primary reason for the decrease in charitable giving by a large number of the respondents (49 percent), while nearly one in four (22 percent) cited the increase in food prices as being the driving force.
According to the poll, just 6 percent of Christian donors referenced the volatility of the stock market as having an impact on their giving.
The areas of the country that can expect to be most affected include the East Coast states and the East North Central (Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Ohio).
For more information on charitable giving during recessionary times, you can visit www.dunhamandcompany.com/economy.

McClymonds High School Class of 1963 Reunion

Reunion.jpg

7:00 p.m.-1:00a.m Saturday, August 2,2008
Hiram Hall Banquet Facility
8105 Capwell Drive, Oakland
$63.00 per person–Checks payable to:
Donald Adams, P.O. Box 24602, Oakland, 94623
For information call 510-698-4632.

Mack 63′ Reunion Committee members pictured are:left to right Edna Scott, Buck Presley, Alberta Woods, back row: Donald Adams and George Pearson.

Rising Stars Graduate from Edward Shands Adult School

RaynishaSpencermug.jpgRaynisha Spencer was a brilliant high school student who needed a second chance. She found it at Edward Shands Adult School in Oakland.
When University Prep charter school closed down last summer, she had to find a new school. She also discovered she was missing courses she needed to graduate. At Edward Shands, she found the home-away-from-home where she could finish her studies and grow academically.
“It’s a school where they treat everybody with respect,” she said. “They don’t mind giving you the help you need. It’s like a family.
Last week, Raynisha was one of more than 80 adult students who earned a diploma from Edward Shands, located at 2455 Church St. She graduated with a 3.8 grade-point average and was one of two students to win a scholarship granted in memory of Dr. John Dennis, the Edward Shands teacher who died earlier this year.
Raynisha fondly remembered her English class with Dr. Dennis.  “He didn’t play,” she said. “He took his job very seriously and made you want to take your job seriously.” Read more

Bey Said He Was Protected by Sgt. Longmire

By Thomas Peele, Bob Butler, Mary Fricker and Josh Richman
The Chauncey Bailey Project

(Editor’s Note: To read the transcript of Yusef Bey’s conversation and watch the video click here.)

Your Black Muslim Bakery Leader Yusuf Bey IV kept the gun used to kill journalist Chauncey Bailey in his closet after the attack and later bragged of playing “hella dumb” when investigators asked him about the shooting, Bey IV said in a secretly recorded police video.
He describes Bailey’s shooting in detail on the video in detail, then laughingly denies he was there, and boasts that his friendship with the case’s lead detective protected him from charges.
Bey IV has not been arrested in Bailey’s Aug. 2 death; Devaughndre Broussard, a then 19-year-old bakery handyman, has been charged with the murder. In an interview last week at the Alameda County Jail in Dublin where he is being held on unrelated kidnapping and torture charges, Bey IV, 22 denied any role in the killing.
The video and scores of other documents and police recordings obtained by the Chauncey Bailey Project raise questions about Bey IV’s possible role in a conspiracy to kill Bailey, who was working on a story about the financially troubled bakery.
Peter Keane, a veteran criminal lawyer and dean emeritus of Golden Gate University reviewed the videotape and documents for the project and said they incriminate Bey IV.
“All of those things together make it a very powerful, compelling set of facts that Yusuf Bey was involved and that Yusuf Bey should be charged, at a minimum, as an accessory to murder,” said Keane, also a former member of the San Francisco Police Commission. Read more

They Rode Back To The Crime Scene To Watch

Tapes Reveal Them Laughing About Shooting Bailey’s Face Off

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aTQYOgxa8ZM[/youtube]

SLPD VIDEO TRANSCRIPT REVISED 06/18/08
On August 2, 2007, journalist Chauncey Bailey was gunned down in Oakland, CA.
Bailey was investigating Your Black Muslim Bakery, a once prominent Oakland African-American organization. [Chauncey photo]
Bakery leader Yusuf Bey IV was arrested August 3 during a raid for a separate kidnapping case.
Police placed Bey and two associates involved in the case, his brother Joshua Bey and Tamon Halfin, in a San Leandro police department room, where they were secretly videotaped.
CLIP 1
Bey IV has repeatedly told police he knew nothing about Bailey’s death.
But, on the tape, he demonstrates what happened when Bailey was shot by a masked gunman.
10:14:42: Fourth: That fool said, “Pow, pow! Poof!” [Fourth throws his head back as if demonstrating what happened to Bailey when he was shot] He a soldier for that shit! Read more

FILM REVIEW: I'm Through with White Girls (The Inevitable Undoing of Jay Brooks)

Brother Cured of Jungle Fever Decides to Settle Down with a Sister

By Kam Williams

Although he himself is African-American, Jay Brooks (Anthony Montgomery) doesn’t date black girls, basically because every one he’s met has been more interested in the athletic, alpha-male, Talented Tenth type of guy.

And this thirty-something, nerdy underachiever not only wears glasses, but can’t dance, chain smokes through a cigarette holder and isn’t exactly good in bed.

Worse, his pay as an illustrator of graphic novels isn’t enough for him to own a car, which makes it almost impossible to wine and dine women in a city like Los Angeles.

Still, these failings haven’t prevented the roaming Romeo from finding one white girl after another eager to sleep with him. The only problem is that none of those serially monogamous liaisons ever lasts because Jay always sabotages them at the first sign that a partner wants to get serious.

He’s recently dumped his latest conquest in his usual fashion, namely, by leaving behind a note as he went out the door, because the Rubenesque redhead (Jennifer Hogan) said he reminded her of the actor Gary Coleman. Reflecting upon his series of failed relationships with Caucasians, Jay decides it’s time to try to see if he can find a suitable match from among his own people afterall. So, he puts into motion Operation Brown Sugar, running a personal ad seeking a sister. Read more

Anthony David's Millenium Soul

By Kwan Booth

Anthony David is a modern day romantic troubadour. When the Savannah, GA born singer/songwriter straps on his guitar, he combines mellow observations of everyday life with nimble strings and laid back R&B. He calls the style “Millennium Blues” because of the way it “all goes back to the blues. The lyrics, the music, my using everything from acoustic to hip-hop, the story telling…all of it connects through the blues like a bridge.”

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SHc_fQZkIUY[/youtube]

David is touring to support his major label debut “Acey Deucy” and to introduce the world to Soulbird Music, a new venture by multi-Grammy winning artist and longtime friend and collaborator India.Arie. When he plays this Friday night at Q’s Lounge in Oakland, expect the blues to be right on stage next to him. Read more

Equinox: The Movement

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=elVfgnaiS58[/youtube]

Set in Oakland, CA, Equinox is the story of a boy’s tumultuous journey toward manhood. 18-year-old Malachi Cross embarks upon this journey as he joins a powerful ‘rites of passage’ program to teach him the lessons of true strength, courage, and power that his dysfunctional family and emasculated father can’t give him. The story is complicated as his high school peers plan to take over the local radio station “for the people,” his girlfriend hates the new Malachi, and things at home take a turn for the worse, putting him to the test. Baayan Bakari talks to the Post about the film.

1. How did you get interested in filmmaking?

I got interested in film when I realized the extraordinary power of the medium to move me. They say a picture is worth a thousand words. That’s not true. It’s worth a million.

2. What was your role in the film making process and what kind of production team do you work with?

I was the director, cinematographer, producer and editor. I was responsible for the creative side. But I have been blessed with a team of people that have stepped up to support the effort.

3. Describe the inspiration for your film?

I went down to Los Angeles with a script entitled Summer Reign a drama. I was told that black dramas don’t sell! I was determined to continue to make my own films, from my own spirit. This film is about the work that I’ve been doing within the community for years. I been apart rites of passage programs, I’ve taught young men in schools etc… Yet I had never scene my work depicted honestly on the screen. So I decided to create those images.

4. In what ways has Oakland influenced your filmmaking and artistic aesthetic?

Oakland is full of these types of programs. Oakland is the land of consciousness and grassroots organizations. It’s the home of the Black Panther Party.

5. How would you describe the indie film scene in Oakland/the Bay in general?

With the introduction of EQUINOX: The Movement on the cinematic landscape, I believe that the indie film scene is burgeoning. Specifically for Black Filmmakers? I hope that many more indie black filmmakers pick up their cameras and tell the honest stories about our community that are often never told.

6. Would you move towards major distribution and studio support or are you focused on indie work?

If a studio or major wants to support what I’m doing that’s great. But I’ve made a commitment to have the world see this film. So I don’t intend on it vanishing on some video store shelf.

7. Where can people see more of your work?

At www.equinoxmovie.com

8. What’s next?

I’m trying to produce a film about the hip hop fashion model industry.

Equinox: The Movement screens Saturday, June 14 at 4:45. For more information go to www.sfbg.com

Faces Around The Bay: Louis Davis, Jr

LouisDavisJ5.jpgLouis Davis, Jr., son of Karen Davis, Realtor, & bay area painting contractor, Louis Davis, Sr., graduated from Berkeley High School, Community Partnerships Academy, Class of 2008, on Friday evening, June 13, 2008 at UC Berkeley’s Greek Theater. Louis, who has a cumulative GPA of 3.0, was Berkeley High School’s Varsity Men’s Lacrosse 2008 defensive MVP, and was also voted by league coaches to 1st Team All League Men’s Lacrosse for 2008.
A member of First AME Church of Oakland, Louis will work during this summer as a Youth Energy Specialist through Berkeley’s Rising Sun Energy Center, and in the fall will begin his freshman year at Sonoma State University where he will major in Business Administration, and play with Sonoma State’s renowned men’s lacrosse club. His goal is to eventually earn his MBA, and to use his knowledge to mentor young people toward a better business mindset in his church community.

Hip Hop Tried 2 Kill Me Arthur Talks Publishing and Community

These days everyone who picks up a microphone is a hustler, a pusher, or has a gang of stories about how real they are and what they’ve done on the streets. Most of this talk is just that-talk. Told for maximum effect for the highest dollar.
With the release of his new book “Hip Hop Tried 2 Kill Me,” writer, rapper, producer, videographer and community activist, Robert “Fleetwood” Bowden tells the story of chasing his dream and trying to make a name for himself in the music industry, at all costs. The book follows Fleet, a former hustler, from the streets of San Francisco’s Tenderloin to North Carolina, New York and around the country as he builds his reputation, has run ins with the law, learns the game and withstands countless pitfalls in pursuit of his goals.
The book doesn’t glorify the game or the music business but offers a candid insider’s look from someone who’s just about seen it all.
Throughout his 20 year journey, Fleetwood has achieved many milestones. As a rapper he’s performed alongside some of today’s biggest stars including E-40, Notorious B.I.G., Bone Thugs N Harmony. As an on air personality he’s interviewed everyone from Scarface to Master P, Noriega to Ludacris for a weekly TV audience of over 100,000. And behind the boards he’s produced and written hooks for some of the most classic hood anthems in recent memory.
Fleetwood is also community activist and 2 years ago he created he Homeboy Hotline, a phone in service that provides information on jobs, housing and basic services for people recently released from prison. He sponsors an annual toy drive for children whose parents are incarcerated. He talked to the Post recently about the book, his inspiration and what else he has going on. Read more

Transcript of Clinton's Endorsement Speech

Below is the transcript of Hilary Clinton’s endorsement speech, delivered at the National Building Museum in Washington DC on June 7.

Thank you so much. Thank you all.
Well, this isn’t exactly the party I’d planned, but I sure like the company.
I want to start today by saying how grateful I am to all of you – to everyone who poured your hearts and your hopes into this campaign, who drove for miles and lined the streets waving homemade signs, who scrimped and saved to raise money, who knocked on doors and made calls, who talked and sometimes argued with your friends and neighbors, who emailed and contributed online, who invested so much in our common enterprise, to the moms and dads who came to our events, who lifted their little girls and little boys on their shoulders and whispered in their ears, “See, you can be anything you want to be.”
To the young people like 13 year-old Ann Riddle from Mayfield, Ohio who had been saving for two years to go to Disney World, and decided to use her savings instead to travel to Pennsylvania with her Mom and volunteer there as well. To the veterans and the childhood friends, to New Yorkers and Arkansans who traveled across the country and telling anyone who would listen why you supported me.
To all those women in their 80s and their 90s born before women could vote who cast their votes for our campaign. I’ve told you before about Florence Steen of South Dakota, who was 88 years old, and insisted that her daughter bring an absentee ballot to her hospice bedside. Her daughter and a friend put an American flag behind her bed and helped her fill out the ballot. She passed away soon after, and under state law, her ballot didn’t count. But her daughter later told a reporter, “My dad’s an ornery old cowboy, and he didn’t like it when he heard mom’s vote wouldn’t be counted. I don’t think he had voted in 20 years. But he voted in place of my mom.” Read more

Fillmo

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k7G0DQ6O6-M[/youtube]

‘Fillmo’ takes a look at the current processes of gentrification and redevelopment within the once thriving area of the Western Addition in San Francisco. Nilja Mumin talks to the Post about the film.

1. How did you get interested in filmmaking?

Mumin: My late grandmother Geneva. She used to bake sweet potato pies when I was a child. As I got older, I would think back to my experiences with her, and with her pies. It was as if these experiences held so much of who I was, and who I am. I used these past images as my foundation, and during my junior year at UC Berkeley, I became increasingly interested in the intricacies of everyday life, moments, and experiences that translated beautifully to the big screen. I began to see life as a series of photographs, or images, strung together by stories; words. This eventually led to my first film.

2. What hats did you play in the filming process and what kind of production team do you work with?

I am an emerging screenwriter and director, with skills in editing and an eye for composition. I started out strictly guerrilla, due to my lack of equipment and thirst to create. I can remember shooting in North Oakland at 3am on a street corner, with a mini dv camera in my hand, as I directed my actors. That’s how I used to get down. As I gained more knowledge about filmmaking, I began working with other filmmakers, directed and writing my own projects and seeking others to contribute their camera expertise or editing skills. I just recently began graduate film school at Howard University, so I work with a full crew of talented student filmmakers, a script, and a cast. I fulfill all stages of the filmmaking process, from pre-visualization to post production.

3. Describe the inspiration for your film?

My last film, entitled LYE, was inspired by my experiences as a young black girl and the Eurocentric beauty standards that were continually aimed at me. LYE focused on a young girl, Tasha, who is obsessed with black hair magazines, and a “Pretty-n-Silky” image that she so badly wants to attain. The movie, shot on 16mm film, is a visual exercise in delusion, imagination, and childhood innocence.

4. In what ways has Oakland influenced your filmmaking and artistic aesthetic?

My first film was entitled Oakland, Ca. Oakland continues to be my artistic muse. The conception for my first film came from my fascination with the late night street corner activities of black men who stood on the block right outside of my window in North Oakland. I wondered: what are they talking about, who are they, and how can I bring their stories to life? And so, I did. I wrote and directed a short film focused in this North Oakland enclave. More than that, Oakland intertwines a natural urban realism with a gritty mysticism.

5. How would you describe the indie film scene in Oakland/the bay in general? Specifically for Black Filmmakers?

I cannot speak fully on the scene because I don’t consider myself fully enmeshed in it. I’ve always been a bit of a floater, and I go from place to place participating in events from San Francisco to Berkeley. The portion of the scene that I’ve experienced has been fruitful and full of potential and possibility. I especially appreciate the organic, and innovative visions of Oakland filmmakers; the indie film scene is but a manifestation of this.

6. Would you move towards major distribution and studio support or are you focused on indie work?

I am focused on whatever route allows me to share intimate, honest stories with people across the world. I am an independent artist, and believe that major distribution would enable the proliferation of my work.

7. Where can people see more of your work? What’s next?

My website: web.mac.com/Nijla. The website features my photography, video and film projects, and writing. What’s next: I am currently working on three documentaries (see my website for more information.) I am working on the development of a short film series chronicling the experiences of young black girls in their pursuit of becoming black women in America. Stay tuned!

Fillmo screens Sunday June 8 at 2pm. Go to www.sfbff.org for more information.

Black August

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GKlWELvdU2E[/youtube]

Political Prisoner George Lester Jackson’s (Gary Dourdan, CSI) short life became a flashpoint for revolution, igniting the bloodiest riot in San Quentin’s history. In a story ripped from history’s headlines, Black August traces Jackson’s spiritual journey and violent fate, from being sent up on a one-year-to-life sentence for robbing a gas station of $71 to galvanizing the Black Guerrilla Family with his incendiary book of letters, Soledad Brother, to the fierce August day when his younger brother Jonathan shocked the world by taking a California courtroom hostage to protest Jackson’s upcoming trial. Tcinque Sampson talks to The Post about the film.
1. How did you get interested in filmmaking?

Sampson: We live in a media-crazed era in this period of our struggle. My need to transmute the deep rage of black/underclassed people in this nation into something constructive and creative, moved me to expressing myself on film.

2. What was your role in the film making process and what kind of production team do you work with?

I am writer, executive producer, and co-director of the film Black August. We worked with a full production crew. I made it a point to bring in as many local crew members, as possible from the bay Area to be a part of this historical effort to bring to film this controversial subject matter, which is an indigenous part of the Bay Area/national history of our struggle. This story stars Gary Dourdan (CSI’s Warrick Brown), as prison activist, revolutionary, and new York Times best selling author George Jackson. we shot on 35mm film, and albeit we started out indie, were subsequently picked up by Warner Brothers Pictures.

3. Describe the inspiration for your film?

I am one of the many beneficiaries of the legacy of George Lester Jackson. This is an important part of our national history, whose story and legacy has been recorded in multiple languages around the world, i.e., “Soledad Brother, (Prison Letters of George Jackson)”, “Blood in My Eye”, a posthumous release, following the death of George Jackson, killed by California Department of Corrections, prison guards at San Quentin on August 21, 1971.

This story is still news today, it is a period/shelf piece whose human story is a source of inspiration and positive force of motivation, still today, and appeals to the entire spectrum of our struggle, from academics to the most hard-core of our youth.

4. In what ways has Oakland influenced your filmmaking and artistic aesthetic?

Oakland is but a small part of my historical experience upon which I call upon to inspire the framing my work. I juxtapose the my experiences in the City of Oakland from which I sprang with the two decades I spent in captivity inside various units of the United States Industrial Prison Complex.

5. How would you describe the indie film scene in Oakland/the bay in general? Specifically for Black Filmmakers?

I was treated with much respect by many professionals on the Oakland Film scene. In particular, i give a solidarity shout out to Amy Zinns, of the Oakland Film Office, whose tireless efforts and guidance helped to get me through the growing pains of meeting constant opposition to the principle subject matter of Black August, and thus with her direction I found the course to make Black August a reality.

To the contrary, there are those on the Oakland film scene whom still carry the altruistic traits of their ex-slave masters, and whose soul purpose is to put out content for money, damn the effect. I personally commit to only doing works that move us to a new community order, a New Afrikan way of defining ourselves.

6. Would you move towards major distribution and studio support or are you focused on indie work?

I will always move in ways to exploit my work at the broadest range, and highest levels of exposure.

7. Where can people see more of your work? What’s next?

I am currently working to bring to the big screen, “From Superman to Man”, based on a novel by progressive writer/historian, J.A. Rogers.

I am an invader in this industry. Black August is my first work. Many say, I am “lucky”, to have been picked up by a major on my first time out on the dance floor. I intend to prove to “those of little faith”, how wrong they are on the luck theory. History will be the judge, as to whether I am truly a film-maker/story-teller with vision, or simply another il-legitimate capitalist, using Black suffering to bank on. we all need to eat, but we all have props to pay to those who made our struggle the more clear.

Black August Screening Friday, June 13, 6pm. Go to www.sfbff.com for information.

Black Directors Celebrate Film Diversity

By Kwan Booth

The San Francisco Black Film Festival kicked off it’s latest installment on Wednesday June 4. The festival, now in it’s 10th year, has become one of the preeminent destinations for Black filmmakers around the country, showcasing over 100 films from the United States and around the world over a 10 day period. This year’s festival, which runs June 5-8 and 11-15 includes documentaries, features and short films that explore the various attitudes and aesthetics of the African Diaspora. The Post talked to 4 directors about their work and inspiration. Click the links below to read the interviews and watch footage from each film.

.

.

“Fillmo’”, Nilja Mumin, Director, Screening Sunday June 8, 2pm

‘Fillmo’ takes a look at the current processes of gentrification and redevelopment within the once thriving area of the Western Addition in San Francisco.

.

.

“Black August”, Tcinque Sampson, Director, Screening Friday, June 13, 6pm

Political Prisoner George Lester Jackson’s (Gary Dourdan, CSI) short life became a flashpoint for revolution, igniting the bloodiest riot in San Quentin’s history. In a story ripped from history’s headlines, Black August traces Jackson’s spiritual journey and violent fate, from being sent up on a one-year-to-life sentence for robbing a gas station of $71 to galvanizing the Black Guerrilla Family with his incendiary book of letters, Soledad Brother, to the fierce August day when his younger brother Jonathan shocked the world by taking a California courtroom hostage to protest Jackson’s upcoming trial.

“Equinox: The Movement”, Baayan Bakari, Director, Screening Saturday, June 14, 4:45

Set in Oakland, CA, Equinox is the story of a boy’s tumultuous journey toward manhood. 18-year-old Malachi Cross embarks upon this journey as he joins a powerful ‘rites of passage’ program to teach him the lessons of true strength, courage, and power that his dysfunctional family and emasculated father can’t give him. The story is complicated as his high school peers plan to take over the local radio station “for the people,” his girlfriend hates the new Malachi, and things at home take a turn for the worse, putting him to the test.

“The Revolution”,Trevor Parham, Producer/Writer, Screening, Friday June 6, 7:30

A music video for the Napalm Clique, highlighting the social and educational value of hip hop.

Revolution

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9nWg9TECn5w[/youtube]

A music video for the Napalm Clique, highlighting the social and educational value of hip hop. Trevor Parham talks to the Post about the video.

1. How did you get interested in film making?

trevor.pngParham: I started making short films and stop-motion animations with my siblings when I was nine years old. My parents had just bought a Hi-8 camera, so we took every chance we
could to get our hands on it.

2. What was your role in the film making process and what kind of production team do you work with?

I was the Writer/Producer/Editor of Revolution. Forming our production team was actually pretty organic… After writing the treatment and sharing it with the Napalm Clique, I brought in the other arm of Eklectyk Creative Media, Aled Ordu, to develop a narrative and direct the film. From there, I just pulled together a team of close friends to form our crew: Our co-director and camera operator was a neighbor in my apartment building. Our Director of Photography was an old friend from high school, who was working as a commercial photo assistant, and had never worked in video before. Our Assistant Director was also a close friend from high school who produces music (and had also never worked in video), and our hair/makeup artist was brought in by our DP.

All of our cast, crew, and extras were just friends of ours. We sent out a mass text message a day or two before the shoot and had about 60 people show up for an all-day Sunday shoot. Some of the people I hadn’t even invited, because I hadn’t seen them in years… they just showed up because they heard it was the place to be.

3. Describe the inspiration for your film

The lyrics inspired me to choose this song for a video. It seemed like each MC was trying to educate the listener… it wasn’t just one of those, “ooh, I’m so great!” tracks, but instead, sounded more like, “hey listen to what I’ve got to tell you, it’s important”. They each had a different perspective, which made me feel like they were each teaching different subjects in school. In particular, the Fred Hampton Jr. interview I had shot a while back made me think that we could make the second MC a History teacher, showing a film to his class. From there, I just tried to elucidate Fred Hampton Jr.’s interview as much as possible by incorporating clips of the historical revolutionaries he described.

4. In what ways has Oakland influenced your filmmaking and artistic aesthetic?

To quote Davey D, “Oakland is the land of the hustle”. Oakland hip hop artists like Too Short and Mystik Journeymen have been known worldwide for their independent hustle, selling CDs hand to hand on the street in every neighborhood they could travel to. Most of my friends make music, and hustle their work in the same way, so when I first started making videos, I would just go out on the street with them and sell my DVDs along with their CDs.

As for my artistic aesthetic, I’ve just always seen Oakland hip hop artists as innovators, always taking the state of the art in different directions. Groups like Digital Underground and Souls of Mischief had really clever styles and always seemed to have fun with their art, but most importantly, something about what they did would always make me think. For me, that’s what I strive to do with my art– break the mold, while having fun, and making people think.

5. How would you describe the indie film scene in Oakland/the bay in general? Specifically for Black Filmmakers?

The indie film scene in Oakland is different than other cities like New York and LA. There’s not a big industry presence, but the arts really thrive here, so most of the work is really rich and vivid. If there were more of an industry presence here, then the Bay Area indie film scene would really be a force to be reckoned with. Look how well we do with Technology and Music! People in the Bay just have a progressive mindset, period. If you exposed more of those creative and innovative minds to filmmaking it would totally change the game, just like we have with every other industry.

I actually don’t see much from the Oakland indie film scene too often, but whenever I do, it’s got that Bay flavor to it. As for Black Filmmakers in Oakland, I find that a good amount of film is either about music or social change.

6. Would you move towards major distribution and studio support or are you focused on indie work?

I’m definitely open to studio support and major distribution, but that will never motivate my work or my creativity. I’ll keep doing what I do the way I like to do it, and if it gets picked up, it gets picked up. If not, I’ll still make sure it gets seen. I’ve just always walked to my own beat.

7. Where can people see more of your work? What’s next?

People can see current work from Eklectyk Creative Media on our YouTube channel: youtube.com/eklectyk. You can also see other work on the video’s website, www.revolutionthevideo.com, or on our company website: www.eklectyk.com

We’re currently working on some more Bay Area music videos and other short projects that address education and social change.

The Revolution screens, Friday June 6 at 7:30. Go to www.sfbg.com

Faces Around the Bay: Tamiko Packwood

tamikopackwood.jpg

Tamiko Packwood was born and raised in San Francisco, attended International School Academy and City College, receiving a BA in General Education. She received a message Degree from National Holistic Institute in Berkeley – a three year program. She presently works at the Nob Hill Salon, next to the Huntington Hotel.

Her avocation is modeling. She’s been featured in several magazines including Silk Magazine and As Is. “I hope to go south and work for celebrities, where there is more money,” says Packwood. She loves to travel and works out regularly.

Photo and text by Barbara Fluhrer.