Monday, February 27, 2017

Author Prosperity Carter: How to Get Off the Shelf Collecting Dust

Poet/author Prosperity Carter with customer holding her poetry collection Beyond Fame

At the Tampa, Florida Black Expo, poet/author Prosperity Carter dusts off  a customer checking out her forthcoming book How to Get Off the Shelf Collecting Dust. She will be featured in the March issue of The Movement Newspaper, Voice of the Black Arts Movement International, of which she is Associate
Editor. In May, Prosperity will study at the University of Ghana, West Africa. While in Ghana, she will be hosted by The Movement's Pan Africa Editor, Hip Hop diva Muhammida El Muhajir, now residing in Accra. While in Africa she will be on assignment for the Oakland Post News Group. Prosperity is now available for speaking and reading engagements coast to coast and globally. Contact the Black Arts Movement Speakers and Artists Bureau: 510-200-4164;


Saturday, February 25, 2017

Black Women Artists History has Overlooked

Museums Celebrate The Black Women Artists History Has Overlooked

See their work. Know their names. Learn their stories.

National Museum of Women in the Arts, Gift of the artist; c. Lois Jones Mailou
Lois Mailou Jones, “Ode to Kinshasa,” 1972, mixed media on canvas, 48 x 36 in.
On the first day of Black History Month, the good people at Google blessed the internet with a doodle honoring Edmonia Lewis, the first woman of African-American and Native American descent to earn global recognition as a fine arts sculptor.
Lewis, who grew up while slavery was still legal in the United States, became known for her hand-carved, marble sculptures of influential abolitionists and mythological figures. In part because Lewis made all of her sculptures by hand, few originals or duplicates remain intact today. She died in relative obscurity in 1907, and, to this day, remains lesser known than many of her white, male contemporaries.
This well-deserved tribute to Lewis got us thinking about the other black women artists whose contributions to the history of art have been similarly overlooked or undervalued. So we reached out to museums across the country, asking which artists past and present deserve our attention, too. Below are nine of those artists: 

1. Pat Ward Williams (b. 1948)

Whitney Museum of American Art / Purchased with funds from The Audrey Sydney Irmas Charitable Foundation
Pat Ward Williams, “Accused/Blowtorch/Padlock,” 1986, wood, tar paper, gelatin silver prints, film positive, paper, pastel, and metal, overall: 61 13/16 × 108 1/4 × 3 in. (157 × 275 × 7.6 cm)
Pat Ward Williams is a Los Angeles-based contemporary photographer whose work explores the personal and political lives of African-Americans. Initially, the artist set out to disrupt the homogenous way black life was captured on camera. “We always looked so pitiful, like victims,” she told the LA Times. “I knew I was a happy person. There were aspects of the black community that weren’t being shown.”
Attempting to break past photography’s tendency to linger on surfaces, Williams incorporates other media and methodology into her process, yielding mixed media collages that collapse past and present, history and imagination.
Her most famed work, featured above, features a photo of a bound black man chained to a tree, pulled from a 1937 issue of Life magazine. “Who took this picture?” Williams writes in the margins of the photo. “How can this photograph exist?”
Jamillah James, a curator at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, wrote to The Huffington Post: “Pat Ward Williams’ prescient, complex meditations on race, history, and representation, such as her landmark “Accused/Blowtorch/Padlock” (1986), resonate with a particular urgency and relevance in today’s cultural climate. Her combination of photography, found materials, and text engages viewers in a perceptual tug of war between what they see, their own associations, the artist’s voice, and the weight of history.” 
Shared courtesy of the Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles.

2. Loïs Mailou Jones (1905–1998)

Smithsonian American Art Museum
Loïs Mailou Jones, “Initiation, Liberia,” 1983, acrylic on canvas, 35 1/4 x 23 1/4 in. (89.6 x 59.1 cm
Loïs Mailou Jones was a Boston-born painter whose plentiful, 70-year art career spanned North America, Europe and Africa. Her eclectic style shifted over time, taking inspiration from African masks, French impressionist landscapes and bright Haitian patterns. An active member of the Harlem Renaissance, she used vibrant visuals to heighten the urgency of her politically charged works, which addressed the joys and challenges of black life.
Mine is a quiet exploration,” the artist famously said, “a quest for new meanings in color, texture and design. Even though I sometimes portray scenes of poor and struggling people, it is a great joy to paint.”
Throughout her career, Jones experienced discrimination as a black artist. For example, when she first began showing her artwork, she reportedly asked white friends to deliver her works to exhibitions in an effort to hide her black identity. She did so with reason ― according to The New York Times, she’d had an award rescinded when the granter learned she was black.
After teaching at an African-American art school in segregated North Carolina, Jones eventually took a position at Howard University in Washington, D.C., where she taught for 47 years. Upon retiring, she continued to paint and exhibit her work until she died at 93 years old. Despite not being a household name to some, her art lives on in esteemed institutions like the National Museum of American Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Fine Art in Boston.
Shared courtesy of the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the National Museum of Women in the Arts.

3. Alma Thomas (1891–1978)

Smithsonian American Art Museum / Bequest of the artist
Alma Thomas, “Antares,” 1972, acrylic on canvas, 65 3/4 x 56 1/2 in. (167.0 x 143.5 cm)
Alma Thomas, born in Columbus, Georgia, moved to Washington, D.C., with her family as a child to avoid the racial violence in the American South. Interested in art from a young age, Thomas was the first student to graduate from Howard University with a degree in fine art. There, she studied under Loïs Mailou Jones while adopting an aesthetic of her own. 
Thomas’ style pulls elements from Abstract Expressionism and the Washington Color School, drawing from the splendor of nature to create nonrepresentational canvases that sing with soft vitality. Famously, Thomas was most inspired by her garden and would watch with fascination as the scenery changed around her. 
I got some watercolors and some crayons, and I began dabbling,” she said. “Little dabs of color that spread out very free ... that’s how it all began. And every morning since then, the wind has given me new colors through the windowpanes.”
Jones taught at a junior high school for most of her life, making work on the side. She had her first exhibition at 75 years old, later becoming the first woman to have a solo exhibition at The Whitney. 
Shared courtesy of the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

4. Laura Wheeler Waring (1877–1948)

Smithsonian American Art Museum/ Gift of the Harmon Foundation
Laura Wheeler Waring, “Anna Washington Derry,” 1927, oil on canvas, 20 x 16 in. (50.8 x 40.5 cm)
Laura Wheeler Waring, raised by a pastor and teacher in Hartford, Connecticut, was interested in art as a child. In 1914, she travelled to Europe, where she studied the old masters at the Louvre and specifically the works of Claude Monet. When she returned to the United States, due to the encroachment of World War I, Waring went on to teach and lead the departments of art and music at the Cheyney Training School for Teachers. 
Although Waring worked in landscapes and still lifes, she is most celebrated for her paintings, which depicted accomplished black Americans with dignity and strength. Her most well-known series is the 1944 “Portraits of Outstanding American Citizens of Negro Origin,” which featured depictions of individuals including W.E.B. Du Bois, Marian Anderson and James Weldon Johnson.
During the Harlem Renaissance, Waring also contributed pen and ink to the NAACP magazine The Crisis, working alongside activists to address probing political issues. An exhibition of Waring’s work showed a year after her death at the Howard University Gallery of Art.
Shared courtesy of the Brooklyn Museum and Smithsonian American Art Museum.

5. Barbara Chase-Riboud (b. 1939)

The Studio Museum in Harlem / Gift of the Lannan Foundation
Barbara Chase-Riboud, “Le Manteau (The Cape),” 1973, cronze, hemp rope, copper.
Born in Philadelphia, Barbara Chase-Riboud began taking art classes at a young age. As a student at Temple University’s Tyler School of Art, she sold a woodcut to the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. By the time she graduated from Yale with an MFA, she had a sculpture on view at the Carnegie Mellon Institute.
The artist is known for her larger-than-life sculptures made from cast metal and shrouded in skeins of silk and wool, the strange lovechildren of a suit of armor and a ballgown skirt. At once strong and fluid and feminine and mechanical and natural, the stunning works became a symbols for feminine strength, as well as a visual manifestation of transformation and integration. 
I love silk, and it’s one of the strongest materials in the world and lasts as long as the bronze,” the artist said. “It’s not a weak material vs. a strong material [...] the transformation that happens in the steles is not between two unequal things but two equal things that interact and transform each other.”
Chase-Riboud, who currently lives between Paris and Rome, is also an award-winning poet and novelist, known for her 1979 historical novel Sally Hemings, about the non-consensual relationship between former President Thomas Jefferson and his slave Sally Hemings.
Shared courtesy of theThe Studio Museum in Harlem.

6. Nancy Elizabeth Prophet (1890–1960)

Brooklyn Museum Fund for African American Art in honor of Saundra Williams-Cornwell
Nancy Elizabeth Prophet, “Untitled (Head),” ca. 1930, wood, head without base: 12 1/2 x 6 1/2 x 7 in. (31.8 x 16.5 x 17.8 cm).
Nancy Elizabeth Prophet was raised in Rhode Island by an African-American mother and a Narragansett-Pequod father. She attended the prestigious Rhode Island School of Design where she studied painting and drawing, notably portraiture, and worked as a housekeeper to pay tuition. She graduated amidst the burgeoning Harlem Renaissance. 
In 1922, Prophet moved to Paris, in part frustrated by the racism rampant in the American art scene. Despite being broke and exhausted, she was creatively invigorated by the change of scenery and began creating sculptural portraits from materials including wood, marble, bronze, plaster and clay. Of the works, art historian James Porter wrote (quoted in Notable Black American Women): ”The pride of race that this sculptor feels resolves itself into an intimation of noble conflict marking the features of each carved head.”
Despite the fact that her sculptures were exhibited at high-society salons, Prophet herself remained impoverished abroad, eventually forcing her to move back to the States. There she continued to submit her sculptures to galleries and competitions, while also teaching art at both Atlanta University and Spelman College. (She was rumored to bring a live rooster to class for her students to sketch.)
Eventually, Prophet moved back to Rhode Island ― in part, again, to escape segregation ― at which point her career slowed down dramatically. Although few of her sculptures are accounted for today, one is housed in the permanent collection of The Whitney in New York City.
Shared courtesy of the Brooklyn Museum.

7. Maren Hassinger (b. 1947)

Hammer Museum, Los Angeles / Gift of the artist
Maren Hassinger, “A Place for Nature,” 2011, wire rope, dimensions variable
Born and raised in Los Angeles, Maren Hassinger began dancing at the age of 5. She intended to continue studying dance as a student at Bennington College, but ended up switching to sculpture. In 1973, she graduated from UCLA with a master’s degree in fiber art. 
In her work, Hassinger combines elements of sculpture, performance, video and dance to investigate the relationship between the natural and industrial worlds. Her commonly used materials include wire, rope, garbage, leaves, cardboard boxes and old newspapers, often arranged to encourage movement, as if the sculptures themselves are engaged in a dance. 
Hassinger’s work explores personal, political and environmental questions in an abstract language that allows viewers to come to their own conclusions. “All the pieces with boxes are about our gross need to consume, and where it leads us,” she once told BOMB. “Where is the bleeding heart in all of this? I don’t think my work has so much to do with ecology, but focuses on elements, or even problems we all share, and in which we all have a stake.”
Since 1997, Hassinger has served as the director of the Rinehart School of Sculpture at Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore. 
Shared courtesy of the Hammer Museum.

8. Nellie Mae Rowe (1900–1982)

Gift of Judith Alexander / Photo by Gavin Ashworth
Nellie Mae Rowe, “Untitled (Two Figures and Animal,” Vinings, Georgia, 1979–1980, crayon, felt-tip marker, and oil pastel on paper, 15 × 11”
Nellie Mae Rowe was born in rural Georgia, one of nine daughters. Her father, a former slave, worked as a blacksmith and basket weaver; her mother made quilts and clothes. She married at 16 and, when her husband passed away, married another widower at 36. When he died, Rowe was 48 years old and began a new life as an independent woman and an artist. 
Rowe referred to her blossoming interest in art as a chance to re-experience childhood. She began to adorn the exterior of her house, which called the “playhouse,” with stuffed animals, life-sized dolls, animal-shaped hedges and sculptures made of chewing gum. 
Along with her installations, Rowe created vibrant and flat drawings from humble materials like crayon, cardboard and felt-tip markers. Her images normally consisted of humans and animals swallowed by colorful, abstract designs and often referenced personal struggles in her own life. When she was diagnosed with cancer in 1981, Rowe channeled her emotions into her work, grappling with her changing body and attitudes towards death through bold, symbolic imagery. 
I feel great being an artist,” Rowe famously said. “I didn’t even know that I would ever become one. It is just surprising to me.”
Shared courtesy of the American Folk Art Museum.

9. Senga Nengudi (b. 1943)

Hammer Museum / Photo by Robert Wedemeyer
Senga Nengudi “Revery - R,” 2011, nylon mesh, metal springs, sand, 22 1/2 x 15 x 6 in. (57.2 x 38.1 x 15.2 cm) 
Senga Nengudi was born in Chicago, Illinois, and moved to Los Angeles, California, soon after. She studied art and dance at California State University, where she received her BA and MFA. In between degrees, she spent a year studying in Tokyo, where she was inspired by Japanese minimalist tradition as well as the Guttai performance art groups. 
In the 1960s and ‘70s, Nengudi was an elemental force in New York’s and Los Angeles’ radical, avant-garde black art scenes, though her acclaim never quite spread to the mainstream. Along with artists David Hammons and Maren Hassinger, she formed Studio Z, an artist collective that shared a love for abandoned materials and overlooked spaces. The collective often wore costumes and carried instruments to improvise performances at unlikely locales like freeway underpasses or abandoned schools. 
Nengudi’s most iconic sculptural performance project, called “R.S.V.P.,” featured pantyhose as a central material. Exploring the everyday object’s relationship to skin, constriction, elasticity and femininity, Nengudi stretched and warped the sheer undergarments so they resembled sagging body parts and abstract diagrams. She’d often recruit collaborator Hassinger to activate the sculptures by dancing through them, privileging improvisation as the mode of ritual. 
When we were kicked off the boat, improvisation was the survival tool: to act in the moment, to figure something out that hadn’t been done before; to live,” Nengudi told Hyperallergic. “And the tradition goes through Jazz. Jazz is the perfect manifestation of constant improvisation. It has to be in place at all times. Constant adjustment in a hostile environment, you have to figure something out right away.”
Shared courtesy of the Hammer Museum.
CLARIFICATION: This article has been updated to reiterate that the relationship between Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings was non-consensual.

Friday, February 24, 2017

99 Names of Allah

Names of God in Islam

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
(Redirected from 99 Names of God)
The 99 Names of God (Arabic: أسماء الله الحسنى‎, translit: ʾasmāʾu llāhi lḥusnā) also known as The 99 attributes of Allah, according to Islamic tradition, are the names of God revealed by the Creator(God) in the Qur'an.
The 99 Names of God (Allah) according to the tradition of Islam are:
Name-English Name: Arabic
  1. Ar Rahman (الرحمن) The All Merciful
  2. Ar Rahim (الرحيم) The Most Merciful
  3. Al Malik (الملك) The King, The Sovereign
  4. Al Quddus (القدوس) The Most Holy
  5. As Salam (السلام) Peace and Blessing
  6. Al Mu'min (المؤمن) The Guarantor
  7. Al Muhaymin (المهيمن) The Guardian, the Preserver
  8. Al Aziz (العزيز) The Almighty, the Self Sufficient
  9. Al Jabbaar (الجبار) The Powerful, the Irresistible
  10. Al Mutakabbir (المتكبر) The Tremendous
  11. Al Khaaliq (الخالق) The Creator
  12. Al Baari (البارئ) The Maker
  13. Al Musawwir (المصور) The Fashioner of Forms
  14. Al Ghaffaar (الغفار) The Ever Forgiving
  15. Al Qahhaar (القهار) The All Compelling Subduer
  16. Al Wahhaab(الوهاب) The Bestower
  17. Ar Razzaaq (الرزاق) The Ever Providing
  18. Al Fattaah(الفتاح) The Opener, the Victory Giver
  19. Al Alim (العليم) The All Knowing, the Omniscient
  20. Al Qaabid (القابض) The Restrainer, the Straightener
  21. Al Baasit (الباسط) The Expander, the Munificent
  22. Al Khaafid (الخافض) The Abaser
  23. Ar Raafi' (الرافع) The Exalter
  24. Al Mu'izz (المعز) The Giver of Honor
  25. Al Muzil (المذل) The Giver of Dishonor
  26. Al Sami' (السميع) The All Hearing
  27. Al Basir (البصير) The All Seeing
  28. Al Hakam (الحكم) The Judge, the Arbitrator
  29. Al 'Adl (العدل) The Utterly Just
  30. Al Latif (اللطيف) The Subtly Kind
  31. Al Khabir (الخبير) The All Aware
  32. Al Halim (الحليم) The Forbearing, the Indulgent
  33. Al 'Azim (العظيم) The Magnificent, the Infinite
  34. Al Ghafur (الغفور) The All Forgiving
  35. Ash Shakur (الشكور) The Grateful
  36. Al Ali (العلي) The Sublimely Exalted
  37. Al Kabir (الكبير) The Great
  38. Al Hafiz (الحفيظ) The Preserver
  39. Al Muqit (المقيت) The Nourisher
  40. Al Hasib (الحسيب) The Reckoner
  41. Al Jalil (الجليل) The Majestic
  42. Al Karim (الكريم) The Bountiful, the Generous
  43. Ar Raqib (الرقيب) The Watchful
  44. Al Mujib (المجيب) The Responsive, the Answerer
  45. Al Wasi' (الواسع) The Vast, the All Encompassing
  46. Al Hakim (الحكيم) The Wise
  47. Al Wadud (الودود) The Loving, the Kind One
  48. Al Majid (المجيد) The All Glorious
  49. Al Ba'ith (الباعث) The Raiser of the Dead
  50. Ash Shahid (الشهيد) The Witness
  51. Al Haqq (الحق) The Truth, the Real
  52. Al Wakil (الوكيل) The Trustee, the Dependable
  53. Al Qawiyy (القوي) The Strong
  54. Al Matin (المتين) The Firm, the Steadfast
  55. Al Wali (الولي) The Protecting Friend, Patron, and Helper
  56. Al Hamid (الحميد) The All Praiseworthy
  57. Al Muhsi (المحصي) The Accounter, the Numberer of All
  58. Al Mubdi (المبدئ) The Producer, Originator, and Initiator of all
  59. Al Mu'id (المعيد) The Reinstater Who Brings Back All
  60. Al Muhyi (المحيي) The Giver of Life
  61. Al Mumit (المميت) The Bringer of Death, the Destroyer
  62. Al Hayy (الحي) The Ever Living
  63. Al Qayyum (القيوم) The Self Subsisting Sustainer of All
  64. Al Waajid (الواجد) The Perceiver, the Finder, the Unfailing
  65. Al Maajid (الماجد) The Illustrious, the Magnificent
  66. Al Waahid (الواحد) The One, the All Inclusive, the Indivisible
  67. Al Ahad (الاحد) The Unity, The indivisible
  68. As Samad (الصمد) The Long, the Impregnable, the Everlasting
  69. Al Qaadir (القادر) The All Able
  70. Al Muqtadir (المقتدر) The All Determiner, the Dominant
  71. Al Muqaddim (المقدم) The Expediter, He who brings forward
  72. Al Mu'akhkhir (المؤخر) The Delayer, He who puts far away
  73. Al Awwal (الأول) The First
  74. Al Aakhir (الآخر) The Last
  75. Az Zaahir (الظاهر) The Manifest; the All Victorious
  76. Al Baatin (الباطن) The Hidden; the All Encompassing
  77. Al Waali (الوالي) The Patron
  78. Al Muta'al (المتعالي) The Self Exalted
  79. Al Barr (البر) The Most Kind and Righteous
  80. At Tawwaab (التواب) The Ever Returning, Ever Relenting
  81. Al Muntaqim (المنتقم) The Avenger
  82. Al 'Afuww (العفو) The Pardoner, the Effacer of Sins
  83. Ar Ra'uf (الرؤوف) The Compassionate, the All Pitying
  84. Malik al Mulk (مالك الملك) The Owner of All Sovereignty
  85. Dhu al Jalal wa al Ikram (ذو الجلال و الإكرام) The Lord of Majesty and Generosity
  86. Al Muqsit (المقسط) The Equitable, the Requiter
  87. Al Jaami' (الجامع) The Gatherer, the Unifier
  88. Al Ghani (الغني) The All Rich, the Independent
  89. Al Mughni (المغني) The Enricher, the Emancipator
  90. Al Mani' (المانع) The Withholder, the Shielder, the Defender
  91. Ad Dharr (الضآر) The Distresser
  92. An Nafi' (النافع) The Propitious, the Benefactor
  93. An Nur (النور) The Light
  94. Al Hadi (الهادي) The Guide
  95. Al Badi (البديع) Incomparable, the Originator
  96. Al Baaqi (الباقي) The Ever Enduring and Immutable
  97. Al Waarith (الوارث) The Heir, the Inheritor of All
  98. Ar Rashid (الرشيد) The Guide, Infallible Teacher, and Knower
  99. As Sabur (الصبور) The Patient, the Timeless
Allah is the personal name of God and Muslims worship God mostly by this name. The names refer to "characteristics" and "attributes" of God (Allah).
The English translation of names may have a slightly different meaning than the original Arabic word due to the words available in each language.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Wanda Sabir on the transition of Sister Makinya, Queen Mother of Kwanzaa

Honoring Sister Makinya Sibeko-Kouate, Queen Mother of Kwanzaa, who brought Black Studies to the East Bay

February 23, 2017
"When I hit Merritt College in 1962, I encountered many people who determined my destiny as a revolutionary Black nationalist, among  them Richard Thorne, Huey P. Newton, Bobby Seale, Ernie Allen, Isaac Moore, Ann Williams, Ken and Carol Freeman, Ellendar Barnes, Judy Juanita, et al. I also met some elder women steeped in the revolutionary black nationalist tradition, e.g., Mother Ruth Hagwood and Mother Kakinya, later the legendary grand diva of Bay Area politics, Edith Austin, who used to say my name three times, "Marvin, Marvin, Marvin!" But Mother Makinya survived Mother Hagwood and Edith Austin. She spread Kwanzaa consciousness throughout the Bay Area and throughout Africa, the Caribbean and Latin America. 

photo Charles Brown

photo Charles Brown

photo Charles Brown

photo Charles Brown

 photo Charles Brown
It was a joyful celebration of her joining the ancestors at Oakland's  Evergreen Cemetary Chapel today. The African American last rites was officiated by Minister Imhotep Alkebulan. The Black National Anthem was delivered by Darinoso Oyamaseia with the Leon Williams Ensemble, followed with "Breath" by the Stones of Fire. My favorite "preacher lady poet" Tureeda Mikell delivered a poem for our Queen Mother. BlackArts Movement poet Avotcja delivered a love poem in honor of Mother, informing the audience revolution is an act of love and Queen Makinya was the living embodiment of love through persistent service to her people.
Two of my favorite musicians accompanied Avotcja, then performed themselves, Joan Tarika Lewis on violin and Destiny Muhammad on harp. My favorite percussionist Tacuma King performed as well. 

The repast was in the Ruth Beckford Room at Geoffery's Inner Circle. The meal included greens, macaroni and cheese, potato salad, chicken and fish. A larger community memorial is planned."
--Marvin X
Publisher, The Movement, Voice of the Black Arts Movement International

February 22, 2017

Wanda Sabir on Sister Makinya, Queen Mother of Kwanzaa

by Wanda Sabir

Renaissance woman Sister Makinya is responsible for the establishment of Kwanzaa as a seven-day ritual ceremony for African people beginning in December 1967. Here she celebrates her 80th birthday. – Photo: Wanda Sabir

Sister Makinya Sibeko-Kouate (July 1, 1926-Feb. 4, 2017), née Harriett Smith, was born to Turner Smith and Willette Edythe Parker Smith in San Leandro, California, on July 1, 1926, her parents’ only child. She attended kindergarten at Cole School in Oakland, then moved to South Berkeley, where she attended Berkeley Public Schools, among them, Longfellow Elementary School.

Fourth generation of a pioneering African-American family, descendants from Madagascar and Tanzania – her more recent ancestors were freed from Virginian slavery and migrated to California before the Civil War. Her maternal grandfather, Theodore Parker, was a leader in the early African-American labor union movement, her great-grandfather, Edward West Parker Sr., was a member of the National Colored Convention Movement that led the fight for African-American rights in the late 19th century, and her other great-grandfather, Capt. William Henry Galt, was an officer in the Sacramento Zouaves, an African-American militia unit that worked in the successful effort to keep California out of the Confederacy before and during the Civil War years.

Sister Makinya followed proudly in the tradition of her freedom-fighting ancestors.
Her great-grandmother started the Daughters of Coelanth, a companion organization to the Masonic Order founded by her husband, Edward West Parker Sr. She was the first Black woman to enroll and graduate from an all-girls college in Vancouver, British Columbia. This same descendent also founded St. Augustine Church in West Oakland at 27th and West Streets in the late 19th Century. “The founder’s name has been conveniently deleted from church records,” Sister Makinya would always state.

As chairwoman of the YWCA, Western States, Sister Makinya attended the National Convention on its 100th anniversary. She was honored in Berkeley by the U.N. Commission on the Status of Women as a “Global Community Visionary.” Sister Makinya taught piano at age 13 and also performed with a 24 Grand Piano Ensemble for the 1939-1940 World’s Fair at Treasure Island. At 16, having studied aerodynamics, she enlisted in World War II, “bringing airplanes in on a beam.” She was one of the first air traffic controllers, stationed in Alameda.

Geri Abrams, Carol Afua and Wanda Sabir (far right) join Queen of Kwanzaa Sister Makinya (next to Wanda) to celebrate Umoja, the first day of Kwanzaa, at Youth Uprising on Dec. 26, 2008.

In 1946 at 19, she married her first husband, whom she called “the best man in the world.” The two were avid golfers. When he passed, she married again. In the 1950s, under the tutelage of Barney Hillburn, first Black director of HUD, she later became the first woman manager of a 527-unit housing project.
She was a social reporter for California Voice, the oldest Black newspaper in California. In the early 1950s, she completed San Francisco Teachers Normal College, which later became San Francisco State. She graduated with honors and a teaching credential. She also continued to teach piano.
In 1965, she attended Merritt College, where she studied business administration and real estate. As the first Black student body president in the Peralta Community College District, she helped develop the first Black Studies Department in 1966.
It was as president of the student body that she and 10 members went to a Black student conference at UCLA, where Maulana Karenga attended. He gave Sister Makinya a mimeographed sheet of paper with ideas on a new Black holiday called Kwanza (her spelling). When the students returned to Oakland, Sister Makinya hosted one of the first Bay Area Kwanzas in her home.

When she graduated with honors from Merritt College she began taking Kwanza around the world. Sister Makinya traveled to 36 American states and 13 African nations to share her knowledge. She became widely recognized as an individual who was instrumental in spreading traditional community Kwanza celebrations throughout Northern California, the United States, Europe, Africa and Mexico.

Paradise treated Sister Makinya to dinner at the Kingston 11 Jamaican Restaurant, he presented her with the first Black Elders Fund Award, on Feb. 24, 2016.

The educator taught students in every grade from nursery school to post-graduate from 1985-2005. From 1985-1995, the radio show host had an interview program on KPFA, 94.1 FM, called Face the Day.
A lover of the arts, Sister Makinya, from 1998-2016, danced for the ancestors with the International Japanese Buddhist Obon Odari Festivals of Joy in 12 California cities. She also attended the Amachi Ashram in San Ramon. She was an award-winning poet.

Sister Makinya was made Queen Mother of Kwanza in December 2015, and posthumously by Harambee Connection Media Network in February 2017.

Although Sister Makinya was the last survivor in her direct family line and she left no direct descendants, she leaves behind a multitude of friends, acquaintances and extended family who considered her their beloved and treasured sister.

There will be a small ceremony at Evergreen Mortuary in the chapel this Thursday, Feb. 23, 1 p.m. This is also where she will be interned: 6450 Camden St. in Oakland. The repast follows immediately at Geoffrey’s Inner Circle, 410 14th St. There will be a larger community celebration of Sister Makinya’s life at a later date to be announced. It will be posted on Facebook.

Bay View Arts Editor Wanda Sabir can be reached at Visit her website at throughout the month for updates to Wanda’s Picks, her blog, photos and Wanda’s Picks Radio. Her shows are streamed live Wednesdays at 7 a.m. and Fridays at 8 a.m., can be heard by phone at 347-237-4610 and are archived at

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Dr, Boyce Watkins on Black Scholars in Crisis

Dr Boyce Watkins: How the black scholar’s voice is suffocated by racism in academia

by Dr Boyce Watkins

I was thinking the other day about my days teaching at Syracuse University.  I thought about the days when I started off as a naive young scholar, believing that I could change the world behind the walls of the Ivory Tower.  It didn’t take long for me to realize that the same rules of racism and white supremacy not only apply in academia, they are actually magnified.You see, many scholars and academic departments run a little like the United States prison system and the NCAA, two other organizations that exist without much governmental oversight.  In all three venues, racism often runs unchecked, and there isn’t much recourse for those who are consistently marginalized by institutional culture that is inherently built on an undeniable belief in black inferiority.

Rather than being embraced for having new ideas and objectives, young black scholars are treated like uninvited guests into someone else’s home or like intellectual orphans who should be happy to be given a place to live. When I was in the business school at Syracuse University, they hadn’t, at that time, given tenure to one single African American in over 100 years of operating history. The Ku Klux Klan could not have had a worse hiring record.

The problem for us as black folks is that we REALLY NEED our scholars.  We need them solving critical problems in our communities.  We need them speaking out on important issues.  we need them writing about topics that matter, instead of suffocating under the reign of intellectual babysitters who’ve imperialized their agenda.   When our scholars disappear, the black community loses.  The fact is that about 98% of our PhDs are nowhere to be seen when it comes to dealing with things that actually matter to their people.
I made this video to describe my experience with white supremacy in academia with the hope that it helps someone else.  The truth is that the chains of Blackademia won’t disappear unless you cut them off.  Sometimes, you may also have to cut off your own foot in the process.

Muhammida El Muhajir

Muhammida El Muhajir of Philly: Marketing Guru, Filmmaker, and Tech Connoisseur

Known around the world for producing the first historical global documentary on Hip Hop music and culture, Muhammida El Muhajir hails from Philadelphia as a natural born, generational entrepreneur. She sheds light on what for her has so far been a vivacious, illustrious, and multifaceted career.
AC: Afrocipha
M: Muhammida
AC: Muhammida, what does it mean to be raised with the spirit of an entrepreneur without fear of the world?
M:  I was taught to believe if you have an idea it can be manifested. That is hard for a lot of people. I am a fifth generation entrepreneur.  My paternal grandparents had their own newspaper in Fresno, California. My grandfather, a floral shop. My grandmother was one of the only black realtors in Fresno. On my maternal side, my great, great grandfather came to California, to the Bay Area–Pittsburg to be exact.  So my great great grandfather came to the Bay and owned a number of businesses — hotels and bars. Coming from this lineage, this is a part of who I am. You are really trained to be an independent and critical thinker. My mother was an entrepreneur. She never said you should have a business but I knew how to start and sustain a business. I never went to business school. I never took a marketing class in my life.
AC: In 2014 you were chosen to become a marketing and communications fellow in Ghana, at the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology. What have you/did you find most inspirational and most instructional about being a Fellow in Ghana?
M: I was most interested in the Fellowship because I wanted to immerse myself in the tech space and learn as much as I could about the eco-system, change-makers, power players, startups, media, etc. I also wanted to better understand how my consumer brand marketing, branding and communications skills would translate in the tech world. I found that ultimately being a creative marketer has nothing to do with the product itself but the innovation in strategy is what’s most important whether a sneaker, a soda or startup e-commerce company. Working with Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST) gave me the opportunity to work in Africa with some of the continent’s most brilliant minds and entrepreneurs while also being connected to Silicon Valley (where Meltwater corporate is based) and the global tech community. I stay up to date on African tech trends and personalities by editing two blogs, Women in Tech on and the Tech page for
I also felt that incorporating a knowledge and understanding of technology would greatly impact my marketing and communications. Gaining an understanding of how PR can affect SEO and Google analytics has already impacted my media strategies.
AC: As someone finely in tune with Hip Hop culture, both locally and globally, how would you describe the impact and landscape of it in Ghana and West Africa? How does it compare to Philly and the U.S.?
M: I learned many years ago, producing the documentary, Hip Hop: The New World Order, ( the power and impact of Hip Hop. Hip Hop and Hip Life is the leading force in music in Ghana. Artists such as Sarkodie, Shotta Wale and Stone Bwoy (Afro-reggae) and Manifest are at the forefront while legends such as Reggie Rockstone are still making hits and continuing to build musical and cultural bridges with international artists. (Check his recent collaboration Selfie Remix with actor Idris Elba).
The Hip Hop style in terms of fashion and attitude is still very much influenced by US Hip Hop. And the scene is very much up to date on Hip Hop music and trends from the US. In the year I have been in Ghana, I am current on all of the new music and artists including the ratchet music, which is quite popular in the clubs. At hotspots such as Django and Yacht Club there are segments dedicated to Ghanaian music, Hip Life and Hip Hop.
The major difference between the Ghana scene and US scene is that as much as they know about US Hip Hop, in Ghana they also are huge fans of their own home grown talent as well as continental Hip Hop stars from Nigeria and South Africa, whereas in the States we only know about US artists and sometimes only the mainstream artists played in heavy rotation on the radio.
The similarity between Philly and Ghana scene would be that they are both relatively small markets very near to the major market (Philly to New York and Accra to Lagos) but still holding it’s own and keeping it’s own Hip Hop cultural identity.
AC: What were the challenges in connecting with the Hip Hop, Hip Life, and High Life communities in Ghana?
M: Although I have primarily been working in the tech space while in Ghana, I haven’t had any challenges with these communities in Ghana. I have connected with artists such as D Black, Panji Anoff, Wiyaala, artist manager and entrepreneur Zilla Limann, and Jimmy Davis manager for songstress Efya. As a matter of fact I have looked to build bridges and incorporate my relationships within the music industry with the tech industry. I am in the process of finalizing a partnership with Reggie Rockstone and a Ghanaian photo-sharing tech start-up called Suba, ( I have outreach with Nigerian artist/producer elDee who is also very involved in the tech space.
Through my Africa Love Party series, I have been able to really connect with key artists, media and personalities in Accra and will be traveling with the party to other major African cities later this year.

AC: Do the artists you come across make a distinction between Hip Hop and the growing Afrobeats movement? What is the dynamic around this like?
M: I haven’t noticed any major distinctions. As far as I can tell, artists consider themselves Hip Hop even if they perform Hip Life music, which is basically lyrics in Pidgin/Twi (or other traditional dialect) and sometimes High life inspired beats. 
AC: How is technology enabling Hip Hop and Popular Culture in West Africa to flourish?
M: Technology is a major aspect of youth culture, pop culture and Hip Hop culture. Many artists here just as in the west engage their international fan base on social media as well as sharing photos, videos, music, news, and trends. Some of the very popular Nigerian artists have millions of followers on Twitter and millions of views of their videos on Youtube. Mobile phones also play a significant role because many people may not own a personal computer so the phone serves as the major connector. Unfortunately it is still very difficult for even the most popular artists in West Africa to realize revenue from their music sales. There are African versions of iTunes/Spotify but adoption of online payments is still slow especially in a market like Ghana compared to Nigeria.
AC: What roles do you see technology playing in the future of the music industry, and what kind of career opportunities does it create for people like the students and young entrepreneurs you spend a lot of time advising?
M: Solving problems and creating solutions to everyday problems with technology and innovation for Africans as well as the people around the globe is a huge opportunity for young entrepreneurs. The ideas are here but the investment, training and promotion/publicity are finally getting here to support Africa’s contribution to technology. What’s happening with US entertainers using their star power to align themselves and resources to invest in tech ideas, startups and entrepreneurs will fast track some of the more consumer based ideas as well as offer potential revenues for both parties.
I would strongly advise any young person to learn as much as they can about technology and consider a career in tech. There are many opportunities both career wise and entrepreneurial that exists in technology. I work with young entrepreneurs who complete a 1-2 year intensive training program that provide them with the tech and business skills necessary for launching a successful tech company. They are proving on a daily basis that stellar ideas can come from any place on earth. These entrepreneurs inspire me on a daily basis and I am even developing my own tech startup, so stay tuned!
Back in the late 1990’s Muhammida made a brave power move that is now paying off in more ways than one, especially with increased developments in new technology. She had neither a corporate sponsor nor a stack of 401Ks. What she did have was keen intelligence, a love for Hip Hop culture and that fearless and confident Philly style. Muhammida was a Philly Girl in search of the marvelous. She embarked on an international film tour to Brazil, Nigeria, South Africa, France, England, Japan and Germany to document Hip Hop Globally; and it’d be featured in her film, “Hip Hop: The New World Order,” which is now available for video streaming and downloading. Muhammida shared some words on how her Film production came together, and what it was like – before that time – doing entertainment marketing for Nike and the William Morris Agency.

S: Spady
M: Muhammida
S: Did you know any Global Hip Hop cultural beings from Africa or the African Diaspora while a student at Howard University?
M:  I mean, there may have been but none that I had contact with. They listened to what was on the radio. But I didn’t know any international people during the Howard days who were interested in the business side or anything like that.
S: When you saw Japanese Hip Hop Headz in New York clubs did you approach them to learn more about their interest in Hip Hop?
M:  I didn’t approach any of them. I just observed. I knew it was very big over there because I saw so many Japanese in Hip Hop clubs in New York. I also saw Hip Hop artists from here going to Japan. So when I went to New York I was on an exploratory trip.. Most places I went, to be honest with you, had only one or two phone numbers. It was not this researched and planned out kinda thing. In some of these countries where I went in search of Hip Hop, I was there for one day and the person with me would be like, ‘What are you going to find in one day?’ I’m like, ‘just drive me where I need to go and translate.’ [Muhammida laughs knowingly]. Don’t ask me questions because the whole concept just sounds ludicrous. I mean, here I am, I am not traveling with a budget. I got my first camera when I was already in Japan. I got a mini-tv camera. Now, what I shot on Global Hip Hop is so rare!  Honestly, when I was doing my film it felt like I was on a Hip Hop Underground Railroad!
S: Why do you say that?
M: Because when you were on the Underground Railroad you would just know one person and you would look for these signs on the doors or on the coats in the window or whatever it was and that is how it was when I was traveling around the world doing my film on Hip Hop. I’m serious, I would have one or two people who I would approach and I’d be searching for Hip Hop like I’m searching for freedom in the 1800’s. And Hip Hop was every place I went.  It turned into a domino effect.  I would go somewhere and they would say, ‘Oh, she’s here looking for Hip Hop, working on this Hip Hop Film Project.’ And they’d be like, ‘You need to meet this person,’ and I would end up covering the theme, who is who in each country I visited…… When I was in Japan the first time I didn’t get to the radio stations. I’ve been to Japan two or three times. The second time I went there I did another event. And the third time I wasn’t filming at all.
Screen Shot 2015-07-08 at 10.30.30 PM
S: Were you already working at Nike at this time or was that later on?
M: I got hired at Nike when I was in France. I got hired while I was shooting in Europe.
S:  What did you do at Nike?
M:  At Nike I did Entertainment Marketing. So I worked in the music division. I oversaw all of our music relationships and labels; anything that had to do with the music.
S:  Who were the artists you handled while at the William Morris Agency?  Wasn’t that before you joined Nike?
M: Yes, I worked at the William Morris Agency. I worked in the music-booking department. I knew some of the American artists with William Morris even before I began working with them.  But when I embarked on my Global Hip Hop Film Project, it wasn’t like I had this list of contacts. Who would have given it to me? Interest was just starting. Most of it, I would literally land down and try to figure this whole thing out.
S: What is the longest period of time you spent in any single country while doing the film?
M: I was in Japan for two months.  I was in Cuba for three weeks. But there, I was filming as I was figuring out Hip Hop communities. Remember, when I first got to Japan I didn’t even have a camera. I was in South Africa for six days. I was in Brazil for two weeks.
S: In the film you appeared much more passionate about Hip Hop in Cuba than any place else you visited. How did the situation differ?
M: You have to remember I was in Cuba for a longer period of time. I was there for weeks and every day they were like, ‘Come here.’ I spent a longer period of time with people in the Hip Hop community there. It was not like we went where it was fast-paced.  These artists are not ‘signed.’ You know what I mean?  So the access is completely different and it was a different vibe.
To purchase El Muhajir’s Hip Hop: the New World Order Documentary, the first historical documentary film on Global Hip Hop, visit: 
And while you’re at it, check out Suba, the highly acclaimed photo-sharing mobile app. Download it from the iOS or Google Play store.
 Copyright James G. Spady and Akinyemi Bajulaiye 2015

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Hapi B Day, Viola Plummer, The Most Revolutionary Woman in New York--Marvin X

Feb 16 , 2017
George Edward Tait
(For Viola Plummer on the Octogenerian Occasion of Her Eightieth Birthday)
Hewn from the hem of Harriet’s garment
Adorned with the apparel and arsenal of Asantewaa
Girded within the Nubian garrison of Granny Nanny
A weusi woman warrior with a D-12 dossier
Documenting decades of dedication and devotion
Documenting decades of discussion and debate
Documenting decades of discourse and diplomacy
Documenting decades of determination and decisiveness
Documenting decades of dispatch and deployment
Documenting decades of daring and discipline
Definitive dates on the calendar of combat
Doyenne to the twelfth power
Dynamics of a D dominant 12th chord in a Coltrane composition
A December detail with 12 disciples
A diurnal declaration to the 12th of Forever
Building a bustling Brooklyn base into a pan-Afrikan place.
Viva La Viola! – weariness-proof and weather-proof
Armed with the aura of Abubadika
Enveloped within the erudition of Elombe
Motivated by the might of Mugabe and the magnificence of Malcolm -
In the trenches, in the courts; on the tarmacs, at the ports
On the sidewalk, in the street: a movement of melanin fists and marching feet.
Viva La Viola!! – with grassroots grace and global grasp
Asante Sana Afrikan soldier – Freedom ferocity and frontline fearlessness;
Asante Sana Afrikan sage – visceral voice and veracious values.
Viva La Viola!!!  An anointed anthem always sung
An everlasting epic, Eighty Years Young – Happy Birthday!

© 2017 by George Edward Tait