A journal dedicated to truth, freedom of speech and radical spiritual consciousness. Our mission is the liberation of men and women from oppression, violence and abuse of any kind, interpersonal, political, religious, economic, psychosexual. We believe as Fidel Castro said, "The weapon of today is not guns but consciousness."
Co-curated by Karen Seneferu and Melorra Green The Black Woman is God: Divine Revolution is a group visual art exhibition with free admission celebrating the Black female presence as the highest spiritual form. More than 60 intergenerational artists working in sculpture, painting, new media, and photography create new myths to challenge Eurocentric notions of God.
Co-curators Seneferu and Green envision The Black Woman is God not only as an exhibition, but as a movement-building platform that explores the intersections of race and gender, dismantling racist and patriarchal notions that devalue Black women’s contributions to society. Now in its second iteration at SOMArts, The Black Woman is God: Divine Revolutionreveals Black women’s divinity and resilience despite intergenerational trauma and suppressed creativity.
Activated by live performances and a community cyper at the opening reception, The Black Woman is God asserts that subverting our notions of God is a spiritual and revolutionary act. As a statement by participating artists explains, “This exhibition is about Black women taking back their time, their rest, their dreams, and their creativity as a divine critical act, revealing how prayer and the convergences of women’s lives become transcendent through love.”
Opening with a public reception on Thursday, July 20, 6–10pm, The Black Woman is God will be activated by a performance procession of 100 Black women paying tribute to Black people who have worked tirelessly to heal the community through art, culture, and spirituality. The procession titled Opening the Way will include Black elders, youth, and girls who will walk from SOMArts’ parking lot to the gallery to honor their ancestors in an African libation before the performances begin.
The opening reception will also include performances by jazz musician Destiny Muhammad among many other legendary Bay Area performers.
Marissa Arterberry, “Kreation Funkstress,” Acrylic paint, oil pastel, and glitter on canvas, 2014.
Exhibiting artist Marissa Arterberry’s series of paintings titled The Funktresses is inspired by the aesthetics and soul of funk musicians — highlighting Black women’s influence on the musical genre.
A musician herself, Zakiya Harris’s video for the song Abracadabrakafrikareveals the community-building power of asserting the divinity of Black women.
Yasmin Sayyed, “Complicated, lovely Sisters,” Acrylic on canvas. 2016.
Yasmin Sayyed’s painting Breath of Divinity connects to healing through an embrace of cosmologies of the African diaspora — reaching across generations to access ancestral traditions that have been erased by racist and colonial histories.
Fan Lee Warren, “She Forgot Where She Comes From,” Acrylic on paper, 2017.
Fan Lee Warren’s multimedia painting also reaches through history, depicting archetypes of Black women artists, healers, and leaders to reveal the forgotten and erased histories of Black female divinity.
On Friday, August 25 & Saturday, August 26, from 8:00pm-midnight, Night Light: Multimedia & Performance Festival blankets SOMArts in luminous art installations, including audiovisual performances and performative interventions by over 25 artists, and digital and cinematic projections by over 20 artists. Tickets are $12 in advance and $15 at the door, or $20 for guaranteed entry to both nights of the festival. Advance tickets are available online now at: http://nightlightparty2017.eventbrite.com.
Now in its seventh year, Night Light utilizes SOMArts’ entire post-industrial space and grounds, including the garden path, street-side loading bay, theater, Bay Gallery and Main Gallery.
This year Night Light responds to the themes of The Black Woman is Godby presenting visual art installations and performances by artists of many gender identities and cultural backgrounds that reclaims the African cultural narrative of God being a Black woman.
THE BLACK WOMAN IS GOD EXHIBITING ARTISTS 2AM Ajuan Mance Audacious Iam Alise Eastgate Angela Hennessy Anna W. Edwards Ayana Ivery April Martin Chartrand April Luvly Martin Arinthia Jones Ain Bailey Bushmama Africa Cynthia Brannvall Djenne Ba Dynna Batties Dawn Rudd Dalila Dynes Elizabeth Summers Erica Deeman Francis Mead Fan Lee Warren Heru Hilda Robinson Idris Hassan JaeMe Bereal KaliMa Amilak Karen Oyekanmi Karen Seneferu karin turner Kathleen McDonald Kiwii McLaurin Kimberly Johnson Kristina “Namastina” Williams Kristine Mays Ladi Rev Lakiba Pittman Latisha Baker Lili Bernard Lorraine Bonner Marissa Arterberry Mizan Alkebul-Abakah Maya Wamukota Marnika Shelton Nzinga Hatch Nicole Dixon Nye’ Lyn Tho Orlonda Uffre Redwood Hill Rosalind McGray Rosalyn Parhams Sage Stargate Sasha Kelly Shanna Strauss Shylah Hamilton Sonjhai Meggette Taiwo & Kehinde Tania L. Balan-Gaubert Tarika Lewis Toshia Christal Val Kai Virginia Jourdan Valerie Brown-Troutt Venus Morris Vanessa Addison Williams Wawi Amasha Worldly Sistah–Tracy Brown Yetunde Olagbaju Yasmin Sayyed Zakiya Harris Zena Carlota
RELATED EVENTS Exhibition July 20–August 26, 2017 Gallery hours: Tuesday–Friday 12–7pm & Saturday 12–5pm The exhibition is free to visit during gallery hours and during the opening reception. SOMArts Cultural Center is located at 934 Brannan St. (between 8th & 9th Streets), San Francisco, CA, 94103. SOMArts is wheelchair/ADA accessible. More information on accessibility is available here.
Opening Reception Thursday, July 20, 6pm–midnight The opening night celebration kicks off with live music and participatory dance celebration in the Gallery. To learn more, visit www.somarts.org/theblackwomanisgodopening2017.
Wikipedia Edit-a-Thon Saturday, July 22, 1–4pm SOMArts, the California Digital Library and Art Practical present a Wikipedia Edit-a-Thon in conjunction with The Black Woman is God to raise the online visibility of Black women artists and challenge the gaps in art history that erase or minimize Black women’s contributions as artists, activists and social change-makers. To learn more, visit www.somarts.org/theblackwomanisgodwikipedia.
Night Light: Multimedia & Performance Festival Friday, August 25 & Saturday, August 26, 8:00pm–midnight Luminous art installations, including audiovisual performances and performative interventions by over 25 artists, and digital and cinematic projections by over 20 artists. Tickets are $12 in advance online or $15 at the door, or $20 to attend both nights of the Festival. http://nightlightparty2017.eventbrite.com
The City of Oakland is excited to announce a relaunched and expanded process for developing a specific plan for downtown Oakland. The City began the Downtown Oakland Specific Plan process in fall of 2015 to create a vision and guiding policy to shape the downtown. The City then paused the process to hire a consulting team of local specialists in both social equity policy and community engagement to address the community’s concerns about racial disparities and displacement.
This Equity Team will supplement the work of the existing planning team by applying a social and racial equity lens to the process of developing a specific plan for downtown Oakland and deepening meaningful engagement of historically-underserved communities.
The expanded public process will include activities beginning this summer and continuing through the end of 2017, and will re-engage stakeholders and incorporate stakeholders from underrepresented communities. It has started with a series of activities targeted to leaders in communities of color and other communities whose voices are often not included in policy decisions.
Working Groups – Coming Soon! The next phase is a series of working group meetings on four topic areas based on issues the community identified during the first phase of the specific plan process:
Housing, Affordability, Jobs, Training & Economic Opportunity Working Group
Arts & Culture Working Group
Streets, Connectivity & Built Environment Working Group
Sustainability, Health, Safety, Recreation & Open Space Working Group
Community members interested in one of these topics are invited to join a working group. The first round of working group meetings will focus on social equity, the second on technical analysis, and the final round on implementation and prioritization. We encourage participants to commit to attending all three meetings for their working group topic.
If you would like to join one of the four working groups that will be meeting over the next several months, RSVP to the first meeting of that working group here to receive more details. The first round of meetings are the first week of August, from 5:30-8:00pm, at a downtown location near transit (specific location to be confirmed):
Social Equity Working Group Meetings
Monday, July 31: Housing, Affordability, Jobs, Training & Economic Opportunity
Tuesday, August 1: Arts & Culture
Wednesday, August 2: Streets, Connectivity & Built Environment
Thursday, August 3: Sustainability, Health, Safety, Recreation & Open Space
Other Opportunities If these more intensive working groups are not for you, there will be other opportunities to participate in the planning process. There will be a series of neighborhood design meetings in October and public workshops in late 2017/early 2018 to help develop the draft plan. Stay tuned for more information!
More InformationThe new EQTDTO (Equity in Downtown Oakland) outreach website for the Downtown Oakland Specific Plan is now live! Be sure to check it for more updates: https://www.eqtdto.com/
“To move a blade of grass is to change the world…”
Huey P. Newton
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE!
EXILED PANTHER ASSATA SHAKUR WILL BE FETED AT 70!
On Sunday, July 16th, a cross section of activists, artists and humanitarians will come together to salute Assata Shakur, the long exiled Black Panther who resides in Cuba to mark her 70th birthday.
The gathering is called ‘For The Love Of Freedom: Assata Is Always Welcome Here-An Honoring of 70 Years of a Committed Life.’
It will not be the usual maligning of Shakur in connection with the bounty on her head that comes from the NJ State Police, the FBI and the law enforcement community.
Instead, it will be an evening of poetry, dance, song, testimony and more, appreciating the activist’s lifetime commitment to the struggle for human dignity.
Shakur was born on July 16th, 1947 to a proud, independent Black family from Wilmington, North Carolina. At the turn of the 20th century, Wilmington was the site of a vicious ethnic cleansing attack that literally ran legions of African Americans from the town. Shakur’s grandparents dared to be landowning business persons against this violently segregated background. It is from this background that would emerge her own commitment and courage that she would take into the Black Panther Party as a college student.
When the Black Panther Party was faced with the dangerous distinction ofbeing labelled the ‘greatest threat to the internal security’ of the country by the FBI, and when NY chapters of the Party came under particular attack after surviving the NY 21 case,a case where 21 Panthers, officers and rank and file members were put on trial for bogus conspiracy charges to commit terrorist acts, charges that would have landed them in prison for the rest of their lives, Shakurand a number of other Panthers opted to go underground and create the Black Liberation Army to continue their fight.
On May 2, 1973, Shakur was shot and critically injured in an incident on the NJ Turnpike that would capture international attention. It is often referred to as the ‘Turnpike Incident,’ an apparent racial profiling stop by a NJ State Trooper. The incident left Shakur critically wounded, Zayd Shakur, the apparent driver dead and Trooper Werner Foerster dead. At her trial, forensic evidence clearly established that Shakur was shot with her hands up, and that the Trooper who made the stop, James Harper, by his own admission, started the shooting and fled the scene. Yet Shakur and her co-defendant Sundiata Acoli, now 80 and still incarcerated, were each given sentences of life plus thirty years, after being convicted for the murder of Trooper Foerster. On November 2, 1979, Shakur was liberated from what was then the Clinton Correctional Facility in one of the most incredible moments in the history of the Black Liberation Movement after enduring threats on her life while in prison. She was since given exile in Cuba. She currently has a 2 million dollar bounty for her capture and was put on the FBI’s Domestic Terrorist List retroactively several years ago.
Meanwhile, supporters of Shakur, and many others in the human rights community believe that cases like hers should be reopened in a context of a Truth And Reconciliation Commission that takes on how racism drove police violence and repression during that period, a framework comparable to what emerged in South Africa on their road to dismantling Apartheid.
In 1987, Shakur penned a moving memoir of her life story, Assata:An Autobiography. She has lent her voice to other humanitarian efforts and to the support many other of her comrades from the Black Panther Party who are still in prison as a result of the now well-known COINTELPRO Operations that were empanelled to destroy the Party and other important Black leaders. She is the subject of a moving film Eyes Of The Rainbow done by critically acclaimed filmmaker Afro-Cuban filmmaker Gloria Rolando Ocasio. While murderously maligned by mainstream press and racist and opportunist politicians, she is considered a miraculous surviving link to the Underground Railroad legacy of her ancestors.
“Assata was not even an officer or a leader in the Party, and yet there was this obsession with going after her, or rather with going after rank and file members of the Party, as intensely as they were going after its leadership.
“What happened to her is a prime example of the length that the government was willing to go to destroy the Party,” said Zayid Muhammad, a longtime supporter of Shakur and a principal organizer of the gathering.
“The fact that she survived her incredible ordeal and was able to secure some semblance of freedom, albeit exiled, is a testimony to the spiritual will of our people to survive the worse expressions of oppression and to be free,” he finished
Just as this moving gathering will feature poetry, song, dance, testimony from Shakur’s comrades, as indicated above, it will also lay out meaningful support measures to be taken in support of her Party comrades still in prison, appreciation of the Cuban Revolution and its incredible solidarity with the African world and the oppressed, and more.
This moving afternoon will take place at The REFAL Center, 271 So 9th Street, Newark at 4:30pm…
"Hands Off Assata Shakur, Free Sundiata Acoli & Long Live The Panther Spirit Of Zayid Malik Shakur"
* Above: Read Assata's Book & Support The Revolutionary Art Of Captured Comrade Kevin Rashid Johnson
Marvin. And as far as The Black Scholar is concerned, whenever people are talking about something they never have but part of the picture. I used to get couples in who’d broken up years ago but the courts or/and the schools demanded they get treatment re their child in trouble, and sometimes they’d be surprised of things they thought had happened or didn’t know what happened.
Say people would see articles by nationalists or somebody (and by the way, they wanted to reject Marxism that wasn’t acceptable, like Eldridge Cleaver was a no-no, a very creative professor little known in Canada), and they observer wouldn’t know what nationalism had been rejected or how hard I fought to get in something by Haki Madhubuti, or what had been rejected by whomever.
People might communicate with Chrisman as editor, but then when everything is brought to the editorial meeting before each issue he might not be for it. Plus Chrisman was always editing people’s stuff. The very first article I did, on the festival in Algiers in the first issue, he changed the first sentence. Then when we were drinking one night, he said remarked that I was a sociologist who could write like Hemingway (that sentence had been patterned after Hemingway).
I told him Bob he shouldn’t be chopping up these leading authors’ stuff a and don’t toucha sentence of mine. He wanted to be an English teacher and a chiseling poet. He could write short pieces, but not long ones. Poetry he could get together a few words a drink and take his time, but he couldn’t do a long essay very well if at all. He took off once for a month to write on a book we haven’t seen yet. He objected to m y article on Black Ecology. He’d already written one in Scanlon’s (?) short-lived but well promoted white magazine, saying “Ecology is a Racist Shuck.” Then here I come with “Black Ecology” saying we could take it higher but blacks would have to show them the way, because our ecological condition was more social, the solution would have to be more social and thus more human. It went all over the place. He opposed my publisher’s statements, according to Al Ross, particularly the one in the second issue written partly when I was in jail.
Or so Al told me. So I stopped doing them in a huff because I always had some writing assignment in the late 1960s and early 1970s, when the Harvard professor included me among “Thirteen Black Intellectuals” in an Esquire article, just saying, I didn’t need it but Bob Chrisman did because, even today, his name is nothing apart from The Black Scholar. And, though I haven’t seen a copy in many years, I’d wager it’s nothing like it was when I was there, if anybody wants to check it out. We used to do each issue on a special topic. About a very few in, Bob Chrisman announced we’d run out of topics, but I rattled off about five on the spot and we kept on, at least as long as I was there. The Black Scholar kicked off so well because a white guy who usually got a thousand dollars for designing covers (say ten thousand in today’s terms) voluntarily did the cover through Alan Ross, who was co-owner of Graphic Arts of Marin. But he didn’t fund us, though he’d print free at first and let us use an office in the building free at first. But we started the journal by chipping in three hundred dollars apiece, except that it didn’t total nine hundred dollars, just seven hundred and fifty, because Bob Chrisman couldn’t come up with but half of his. That’s why the irony of his willing it to his daughter. Who would have thought of such a thing. I made many mistakes in life, but one was not in leaving with Al Ross as he continued to implore me to do, as we could have put The Black Scholar in the shade.
From: Nathan Hare Sent: Tuesday, July 18, 2017 11:32 AM
Just thinking, for what it’s worth to your friend who missed seeing me at The Black Scholar, you don’t see much of any head people when you go into a place or enterprise, seldom the president of the bank when you go to make a loan let alone to make a deposit or cash a check. Like people who go to church don’t see God there but testify that they saw him somewhere else and want to be saved. Plus when I went back to school, essentially leaving The Black Scholar except for helping them get two grants of $10,l000, in money of that day, like a $100,000l each now. I was on the Board of the San Francisco Local Development Corporation s well as on the Point Foundation in Sausalito. Among others. When Al Ross left in 1973, Robert Allen had come on as associate editor and I agreed with Bob Crhisman to let Robert Allen take Al’s place on the Board, if he’d let my former secretary, Glroia Bevien, who had been assisting Al Ross, be Business Manager. In time, with me gone, returning to school in September 1973, I was only at The Black Scholar for the weekly Friday morning business meeting. In my mind, I was going to leave when I got the degree. Al Ross kept trying to get me to leave with him and would ask me to stop by the Black Scholar Book Club he had taken with him to an office in a church at the edge of Marin City. I could have taken the Black Scholar Lecture Bureau (both entities would fold anyway) and God knows what else we could have done from there.
You didn’t have that kind of black book club in those days or black lecture bureaus who knew that the trick is not getting a list of prominent speakers so much as getting the gigs by courting BSU leaders and Black faculty and while college lecture chiefs. You can always get the speaker or the next best thing if you are presenting them with a gig. Conference planners and the like. One needs a clerk on the phone all day courting such individuals, not the speakers you can get with the drop of a dollar bill. So my office was in the back, the biggest one, usually with the door closed, and in which I even did copyreading and would find umpteen errors after the staff had finished; the office we held the weekly meetings in,. But after 1973, I wasn’t even on the premises other than Friday mornings. I left in late March of 1973, instead of August as I had planned when I returned to school, because I was getting so upset when all three continued to team up against me in my absence, which I guess they resented and Bob had as a good selling point to the unenlightened, so a meeting blew up, and I came home and Julia called Al Ross’s widow, as he had recently died, and she came over with their daughter and the three women urged me to quit then instead of August. I guess they feared something might happen though I was no longer packing, because things had come to a head that morning.
On Wednesday, July 19, 2017, 2:32:40 PM PDT, Marvin X Jackmon wrote:
I just took a notion to try to see what kind of articles The Black Scholar might be doing ideologically these days – to see if it wasn’t more petite bourgeoisie noir or otherwise cloaked in Afrocentrism in the kingdom of Africana -- and this popped up wherein some clowns are saying The Black Scholar was founded by Al Ross and Robert Chrisman, with no mention l’il ol’ me! You can take an egocentric so-an-so out of white studies and polka dot studies and make him afrocentric or ethnocentric or just let him stay eccentric, if you want him to. Either way – as Don King put it recently , he’ll still be “just a nigger” (Disclaimer: Don King’s words, not mine).
marvin x reply to dr hare
doc, you know we call this revisionist negro history, another crisis of the negro intellectual. they often give their narratives of black history that jump from marcus garvey to malcolm x, never mentioning elijah muhammad. in the black arts movement history, they make me a minor player, although i worked in bam coast to coast, wrote in soulbook, black dialogue, journal of black poetry, negro digest/black world, black theatre, black scholar and muhammad speaks; founded black arts west theatre, black house, san francisco and worked at the new lafayette theatre in harlem, taught black studies at fresno state u., san francisco state u, uc berkeley, uc san diego, mills college, laney and merritt; have written 30 books. minor player my motherfuckin ass!
To:Marvin X Jackmon
Jul 19 at 3:31 PM
Subject: Re: black bird press news--dr. nathan hare on the true history of black scholar magazine
Nathan Hare has always seemed to me a man of fascinating, wide-ranging opinions, some (just a few) of which, to me, miss the point. But when it comes to brass tacks, or hard facts, he seems to hit the nail on the head, so this is a sniper of history to take seriously.
Bob Chrisman was one of those unusual people who could speak in a string of bon mots on a variety of topics--music, literature, sports, politics, technology and more -- profound and poetic in conversation, but, as Hare notes, for some reason, except in his poetry, not given to longer prose runs. Yet, being as dogged as he was stubborn, he pulled himself together here in Ann Arbor to write a doctoral dissertation on Robert Hayden.
In the years I knew him, however, whenever I heard him speak of the founding of the Black Scholar, he always mentioned Nathan Hare as present at the creation. Since I knew that anyway, the private statement may not amount to much, and I don't know what he had to say publicly on that question. I could sense there was bad blood of some sort between them arising from the Scholar relationship. He didn't invite questions on the matter and I was not one to probe for gossip, but he didn't disparage you, Nathan. And as you may perhaps agree,
I don't know anything about Ross, but it strikes me, looking back, that it is too bad the Hare-Chrisman-Allen triumvirate couldn't hold, since it was certainly a constellation of mind and talent that could have produce a publication that blazed even more brightly and remarkably than it did in its prime.