Tagged Carla Thomas

Lend A Hand Foundation Brings Gifts

By Carla

Josiah Aguliar, 2 years-old gets a hug from mom Misty after receiving Christmas gifts at Lend A Hand’s 8th Annual Holiday Celebration.

Santa came to town this past weekend to spread a lot of joy amongst children and families residing in transitional housing shelters, led by Oakland’s Lend A Hand Foundation (LAHF) at the Masonic hall.
Two year old, Josiah Aguliar, hugged his mother Misty, after getting his gift bag from Santa Claus.  “This is special, my son is really happy,” said Aguliar.
President of LAHF Andrea Lovett, expressed her excitement about the celebration.  “All the wonderful kids are here, it’s a beautiful day and it’s a lovely party and everybody is just enjoying themselves. It’s just a blessing to have holiday spirit in the holiday season,” said Lovett, in her first year as president. Read more

Mayor Celebrates with Family and Supporters

By Carla Thomas

From left to right: Jean Quan, daughter Lailan Huen and husband Dr Floyd Huen at Mayor Elect Quan’s banquet belebration at King of King Restaurant.

They vowed to take Oakland back block by block, and when the votes were tallied, Jean Quan’s campaign team had  succeeded.

The first Asian / Chinese American woman mayor-elect of Oakland was joined by her biggest fans, daughter Lailan Huen and husband Dr. Floyd Huen, along with hundreds of community leaders and supporters celebrating at Oakland’s King of King Restaurant, at 1139 East 12th St. in Oakland

“This is a celebration of all of you, and you are all leaders,” said Sue Piper, Quan’s spokesperson.

“I’m elated – I think that this city will now respond to Jean because she’s the perfect person for the perfect time,” said Arif Khatib of the Multi Ethnic Sports Hall of Fame .

“We did something very unusual, we’ve elected people with integrity, passion and love for our city,” said Rev. Dr. Valerie Miles-Tribble of Imani Community Church, referring to Quan and Assemblyman Sandré Swanson. “We can trust these people to be accountable….without needing money under the table,” she said. Read more

SF NAACP Gala Features Call to Action

From left to right: Dr Caesar Churchwell, San Francisco NAACP, William Templeton and Fred Jordan.

By Carla Thomas

“One nation, one dream” was the theme of this year’s San Francisco NAACP Freedom Fund Gala.
While an upbeat event with everyone in fine fashion, the evening’s speakers dealt with the somber reality that this is an era when there is a clear call to action. We live at a time when a Black civil servant like Sherrod can be unjustly fired with false evidence and a policeman can receive a two-year sentence for killing a young Black man. Read more

Find Fashion at “Mr. K” in Downtown Oakland

By Carla Thomas

Art Pollard, owner of Mr. K Fine Men’s Clothing Boutique.

Step into Mr. K Fine Men’s Clothing Boutique at 1719 Broadway in the heart of downtown Oakland, and you have entered a miniature kingdom of fashion and business clothing.
The store boasts a variety of Italian wool and wool silk blend suits from Masteloni, Loriano, Raspinni and the new Ferrecci collections.  The variety of accessories includes Verse 9 silk ties in whimsical colors and designs, as well as Invicta Russian diver watches, classic cuff links and Bruno Conte shirts.
Decorated  with leopard  print curtains, large stately chairs, flat screen monitor, royal insignias and gospel music softly playing in the background, the store is staged as a throne and each customer is a king or a queen who is shopping for a king. Read more

New Film, “Ghetto Physics,” Exposes World’s Oldest Professions

By Carla

Filmmaker-Writer-Actor E. Raymond Brown (right) , Movie Goer Timmy Wallace (center with white hat) and Producer - Reginald Simmons. Photo by Carla Collins.

Filmmakers William H. Arntz and E. Raymond Brown pull no punches in their new film, “Ghetto Physics – Will the Real Pimps and Ho’s Please Stand Up!”
While weaving real life footage of world leaders and thinkers, Brown both stars in the film and forcefully narrates his point of view: society looks down on the world of prostitution and pimping, but everyone is a part of an exploit or be exploited game at every level of this society.
In a Spike Lee meets Michael Moore cinema event, this in-your face-documentary depicts modern day society as a system of manipulators and the manipulated.  And in a system of exploiters and exploited, mainstream citizens are no different than the hard core pimps and prostitutes who they look down on in the street where exploitation appears in its rawest and worst form, or so it seems. Read more

Acts Full Gospel Church Promotes Health Awareness

By Carla Thomas

Healthy Temple Director Debra Hutchinson and Ethnic Health Institute Chairperson Dr. Frank E Staggers, Sr., at Acts Full Gospel Church.

The Ethnic Health Institute (EHI) of Alta Bates Summit Medical Center and the US Public Health Service of San Francisco recently unveiled the first health kiosk at Oakland’s Acts Full Gospel Church of God In Christ.
The kiosk is part of a unique pilot program designed to deliver vital health information through community churches. Located in the church lobby, the machine allows users to access information on health prevention, awareness and education.
“For a long time we viewed the church as a gateway to the African American population, and generally we do festivals, concerts and other functions. So we developed a kiosk similar to an ATM machine or an airport boarding pass kiosk,” explained Ethnic Health Institute Chairperson Dr. Frank E. Staggers, Sr..
“It’s a good way for people to be aware of risk factors and recognizing the signs of disease and access the information immediately,” said EHI director Joyce J. Gray.   Read more

San Bruno Neighborhood in Flames

By Carla Thomas

American Red Cross Disaster Response Team Chris Hass, Michael Wagner, Ruby Kamaka, Gregory Smith.

Fire shot through the sky, and the massive explosion was felt for miles.  Some thought it was an earthquake, and others thought it was a major plane crash.  The quiet middle class neighborhood of Crestmoor Canyon was blazing after a gas transmission line explosion that resulted in 4 deaths and 38 homes destroyed.   The pipeline was owned by PG&E.
“We could see the flames from my neighborhood across the Bay,” said Van Pleasants of Oakland’s Maxwell Park.  Some of his neighbors videotaped the fireball across the Bay as they watched in amazement.
By midnight TV vans were moving out of San Bruno after producing over five hours of live news on the scene. The smoke scented air was eerie as people wandered in and out of the area.   Read more

Bobby Brackins Bringing Back Beats to the Bay Area & Beyond

By Carla

Bobby Brackins and proud father Robert Brackins.

He’s hot, hip, and the ladies seem to love him.  He’s Bobby Brackins, the Bay Area’s up-and-coming young hip-hop star.
Brackins’ performance at KMEL’s Summer Jam 2010 had audience members on their feet at the Oracle Arena on Saturday night, opening for acts such as Vallejo’s rapper E-40 and Canadian rapper Drake.  The 21-year-old star let the lyrics flow with mic in hand while he canvassed the stage.
Brackins’ debut single “1-4-3” and music video takes viewers on a young man’s fantasy as he sings and dances with the young ladies while rapping to a catchy bass-filled beat.  Currently on Universal Republic Records label, the new video features actor-artist-reality TV show star Ray J and a dozen bathing suit beauties dancing with the young celebrities in an ivory mansion. Read more

Terri J. Vaughn Gives Wings to Eight Deserving College Students

By Carla

Actress Terri J. Vaughn with her mom Helen K. Vaughn and her grandmother Cleo Champion.

Actress Terri J. Vaughn’s Take Wings Foundation put on a star-studded 7th Annual Angel Awards Benefit Aug. 21 at the San Francisco Marriott Hotel.
With singers Angie Stone and Goapele on the microphone, attendees were not only treated to the best in Bay Area vocalists but honored two community leaders and eight college scholarship winners.  Guests were further entertained by co-hosts Lammar Rucker and Denise Boutte’ of Tyler Perry’s “Meet the Browns,” currently on TBS.
Take Wings is a local nonprofit that provides scholarships to college bound and current students in the Bay Area.  This year, the foundation gave scholarships to eight young women who are accomplished students. Read more

Oh What A Night With Brian McKnight

By Carla Thomas

Carla Thomas and singer Brian McKnight at Yoshis San Francisco.

A sold-out crowd at Yoshi’s San Francisco enjoyed the talented Grammy award winning Brian McKnight and his signature velvety high-pitched voice as he sang, “I want you now, and I can show you that I can be the man that you need.  I need you so.  I can’t let you go. “
Audience members melted to the lyrics of “The Only One for Me,” as he played piano in a start and stop sequence while joking with the audience about his childhood as a self-taught child musician in the Baptist church. Read more

10,000 Backpacks Donated to Oakland School Children

By Carla

Dee Johnson (center, in white tee-shirt) poses with The Iron Souls, who were among the sponsors who collected 10,000 backpacks for for the Lend-A-Hand Foundation.

Executive Director Dee Johnson of Oakland’s Lend-A-Hand Foundation (LAHF) celebrated 10 years and a 10,000-backpack giveaway on Saturday for children in Oakland public schools.
On hand for the Masonic Hall Celebration were representatives of Wells Fargo, Fentons Creamery, Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, The Iron Souls, Oakland Firefighters Random Acts of Kindness, along with Oakland Schools Superintendent Dr. Tony Smith and Superior Court Judge David Matthew Krashna.
“I’m really proud and very grateful for all the support, and I will be gearing up for our Christmas giveaway later this year,” Johnson told the assembled supporters,
“I like the direct support of the kids in a great concrete way,” said Smith.
“Nobody works harder than Dee,” said Judge Krashna’s wife, photographer Gina Krashna. Read more

David Scott, Nordstrom’s All-Star “Happy Feet” Fashionista

By Carla Thomas

For shoe shoppers, a trip to the salon shoe department at Nordstrom San Francisco Centre to be served by top salesman David Scott is a special treat.

David Scott fitting Post reporter Carla Thomas with shoes.

Though Scott’s clientele includes Bay Area VIPs, he gives everyone the five-star treatment and has become a local celebrity himself. By creating happy feet he has been recognized as the store’s customer service all-star for the past nine years.
But Scott is not only a fashionista He is also a freelance journalist and performs as a comedian.  “Chauncey Bailey (the Post’s late editor) inspired me  to realize the power of Black media. While working with him at the now defunct Soul Beat Network in East Oakland, I was the Business Beat Anchor on Tuesdays,” Scott said.
A native San Franciscan, he grew up in Geneva Towers and Diamond Heights. His older sister Rhonda Scott still resides in the city along with his mother, a Muni retiree after 27 years of service. Read more

Friends of Faith Fancher Walk to Raise Breast Cancer Awareness

By Carla Thomas

Friends of Faith Walk - Rita Williams Only One 2 Walk-a-thon Team.

If Faith Fancher could have lived to see how the community has rallied together in the fight against breast cancer, she would be proud.
The energy and sense of camaraderie was in the air to celebrate the life of Bay Area broadcast heroine Faith Fancher and fight the epidemic of breast cancer at the 6th annual Friends of Faith Breast Cancer Challenge Walk-A-Thon at Lake Merritt last Saturday morning. Read more

Orquesta Aragon Brings Havana to the Bay

By Carla

Flautist Eduardo Ramon and Ernesto Bacallar, with the band since 1993.

Berkeley’s Zellerbach Hall was transformed into an oasis of the best in Cuban music with the 70th Anniversary Celebration of Orquesta Aragon. Direct from Havana, these musicians gave fans, friends and the community a feast of charanga, cha-cha-cha and a multitude of musical fusions while guests danced the night away in the orchestra pit.
The Aug. 13 festivities covered over seven decades of Cuban music, and for many the event felt more like a long awaited family reunion, with Orquesta Aragon back in for the first time since 2001.
When KPFA music director and radio host Luis Medina introduced the group, excited fans gave a standing ovation.  “I didn’t think I’d get a chance to see them in my lifetime,” said Alejandro Gonzalez, Transportation Coordinator and Central Protection Officer of Job Corps-Treasure Island.    Read more

Lenny Williams Headlines Art & Soul Festival

By Carla Thomas

It’s so very hard for him to go because he loves you so. Apparently, Oakland based R & B icon Lenny Williams has some “Unfinished Business,” which is the title of his latest CD on LenTom Records.
With a voice that is distinct and addictive, he has established an influence in the world of soul unlike any other artist.  Classic hits “Cause I Love You” and So Very Hard to Go” embody Lenny’s lyrical pain and passion, sharing his heart and soul with his fans with each concert and on countless albums.   Read more

Congresswoman Lee Kicks off Black Business Month at Sheba’s & Rasselas

By Carla

Leaders of the San Francisco African American Chamber of Commerce, NAACP, The African Network, Black Women Organized for Political Action and the African American Democratic Club support Congresswoman Barbara Lee and celebrate National Black Business Month. Photos and graphics by Adam L. Turner.

When Congresswoman Barbara Lee comes to town, people mobilize. And the Bay Area’s Black leadership helped the petite and powerful activist kick off National Black Business Month in style at the sheik Sheba’s Piano Lounge & Rasselas Jazz Club in San Francisco.
During the fundraising event, Lee spoke about the out migration of Black business from San Francisco, the Congressional Black Caucus’ support for Representatives Charles Rangel and Maxine Waters and the importance of supporting Black businesses. Read more

Black Business Month

By Carla

When Congresswoman Barbara Lee comes to town, people mobilize. And the Bay Area’s Black leadership helped the petite and powerful activist kick off National Black Business Month in style at the sheik Sheba’s Piano Lounge & Rasselas Jazz Club in San Francisco.
During the fundraising event, Lee talked about the out migration of Black business from San Francisco, the Congressional Black Caucus’ support for Representatives Charles Rangel and Maxine Waters and the importance of supporting Black businesses. Read more

East Oakland School of the Arts Benefit

By Carla Thomas

Left to right: Joseph Gregorio, Assistant Conductor; Matin Abdel-Qawi, Principal, East Oakland School of the Arts; Arianne Abela, Conductor; Colin Britt, Composer; Debi Wong, Mezzo-Soprano. Photo by Adam Turner.

Nineteen angelic  voices filled St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Berkeley Friday night, as they performed “In Paradism,” by Ernst Krenek, in the opening work of a community benefit concert for the East Oakland School of the Arts.
Accompanied by a 12 piece orchestra conducted by Arianne Abela and led by Mezzo-Soprano Debi Wong, the opening lyrics “May angels lead you into paradise,” ushered in a spirit filled program.
Abela, the Canadian based singer sang Five Whitman Songs, by Joseph Gregorio.
The full house was treated by the talents of the choir of 31 voices that included El Mundo regional editor, Jorge Portugal L.
The music of Wong and the choir flowed flawlessly as they performed the premiere presentation of “The House of Clouds” composed by Colin Britt who was present. Read more

Legendary Pete Escovedo Celebrates 75th

By Carla

Pete Escovedo Family: Sons - Peter Michael & Juan; Daugher, Sheila E.; great-grand daughter, Tamiko 7; Great Neices, Alesse & Alani; middle - wife of 52 years, Juanita Escovedo. Photos and graphic by Adam Turner.

The fiesta of the century was on at Yoshi’s Oakland Supper club where the heart of the Escovedo family, the legendary Mr. Pete Escovedo celebrated his 75th birthday.  With much fan fare, the best of Latin jazz filled the atmosphere as the barrier-breaking percussionist led a 4-day series of live performances.
The power-packed performance included Sheila Escovedo, ( Sheila E.) on drums, sons Peter Michael and Juan.  Escovedo was debonair, in a black tuxedo, accented by a single red scarf.  “It’s a gift to be here,” said the silver-haired musician.  “And this journey has been a blessing.”  Trumpet and guitar solos left guests cheering. “I was born July 13, 1935 before WWII, before Pittsburgh was even Pittsburgh.  It’s not easy being 75.”  “You don’t understand, Pops, it’s not easy being a woman,” joked his beautiful daughter, on the drums. Read more

Hawkins: Going Up Yonder. Oh Happy Day!

Photos of the Bishop Walter Hawkins’ Memorial Concert and Funeral at the Paramount Theatre were taken by Gene Hazzard, Adam L. Turner and Kamau Amen-Ra. Graphic Design by Adam L. Turner

By Carla Thomas

Oh what a happy day it was when God added an abundance of talent to the late, the great Bishop Walter Hawkins.  The musical genius was given the gift of song, as if a channel from heaven was giving us on earth a prelude of what music must be like up above.
At the tender young age of 61, Bishop Hawkins died, July 11, after a battle with pancreatic cancer.
But did he really leave us?
The everlasting sounds of his musical presence have left an imprimatur as lasting as our American flag.
His contemporary gospel sound helped to transform Black religious music forever.
His hit “Oh Happy Day,” became one of the first gospel songs to cross over onto mainstream music charts.  That song which was a civil rights movement staple was also memorialized in Whoopi Goldberg’s “The Sister Act.”  “None of us gospel performers could go to Europe without singing that song,” said Dr. Bobby Jones, Ambassador At Large for the Republic of Dominica.
The Hawkins Family sculpted soundscapes that transcended continental borders. People all over the world boarded the Hawkins’ gospel train. And some of that multitude of gospel greats convened at Oakland’s Paramount Theatre Tuesday, July 20 and Wednesday July 21, to celebrate the life, love and legacy of a man, his mission and music.
Most of the audience said his music was divine.
All races and faiths witnessed two days of praise and performances by gospels greatest accompanied by The Love Center Choir and The Walter Hawkins Community & Praise Choir. Read more

Chauncey Bailey, Jr.’s Murder Remembered

Post Editor Gunned Down August 2, 2007 While Walking to Work in Downtown Oakland Fellow Journalists, Family, Friends and His Priest Gathered at the Site of Killing

By Carla

Chauncey Bailey, Jr.’s brother, Mark Cooley visited the site where the murder occurred in downtown Oakland. Post and El Mundo staff joined in rememberance. Photos by Adam Turner.

There was a feeling of yearning for justice for Chauncey Bailey’s family as his brother Mark Cooley visited Oakland to mark the third year of the tragic loss of his assassinated brother. It was perhaps poetic justice as he bravely read the words of his poem “Faithful Yet Frustrated” before more than 50 Post, El Mundo staff, family and friends who gathered to mark the third year of Bailey’s murder.
Cooley, came to town from Modesto to take part in an impromptu street commemorative observance service at 14th & Alice Streets. This gathering, put together by Chauncey’s publisher and friend, Mr. Paul Cobb, to accommodate Cooley’s trip to Oakland attracted many who stopped to join in the ceremony.
The group gathered at the site Chauncey’s last breath was taken by gunfire. Read more

Nigerian Ambassador Adefuye Visits Oakland

By Carla

From left to right: Nigerian Embassy Minister, Yusuf S. Abdullahi, Dr. Steve Ugba, Ambassador Adebowale Ibidapo Adefuye, and Dapo Odunlani. Photos by Carla Thomas.

The Bay Area’s top Nigerian community and business leaders welcomed their new US Ambassador at Oakland ’s hot new Miliki Restaurant in Laurel Heights, Friday, July 2.
Educators, engineers and activists were excited to meet their new ambassador who took office at the US embassy in Washington, DC, just a few months ago.  Along with his Minister of Administration, Head of Chancery, Yusuf S. Abdullahi and Minister of Consular and Immigration Affairs, Babatunde Balogun, His Excellency greeted his US countrymen while enjoying authentic West African cuisine prepared by chef and co-owner Bunmi Aregbe. Read more