From NPR, February 27, 2015...
This week, in honor of Black History Month, we went down to NPR's headquarters in Washington, D.C., to screen Sam Greenlee's 1973 film The Spook Who Sat by the Door and host a conversation about its resonance.
In case you're not familiar with the cult classic, the main character is Dan Freeman, who's trained by the CIA to be its first black agent. After he masters the agency's tactics, he goes home to the southside of Chicago on a mission to train street gangs to be "Freedom Fighters." When a young man is shot dead by the police, Freeman's trainees spring into action. What happens in the end is open to interpretation, as you'll hear at the start of this recording of our panel discussion.
The members of our panel are Dr. Greg Carr, Chair of the Department of Afro-American Studies at Howard University, Jamilah Lemieux, Senior Editor at Ebony Magazine, and K. Nyerere Ture, an anthropologist and professor at Morgan State University.
The panel and the audience discussed the film's themes of resistance and intra-racial tension as well as the erasure of the Black Arts movement from mainstream discussion of black history. "The villain of the film," said Dr. Carr, "is the idea of the nation-state."
Malcolm X being interviewed at the University of California at Berkeley about police brutality, the limitations of civil rights legislation (exclusively) in granting "full citizenship" within the U.S. and the importance of maintaining a healthy skepticism of white liberals who are frequently inclined to want to lead and/or otherwise guide the efforts of African American organizations aimed at racial justice and group uplift.
October 11, 1963 (approx. 40 minutes):
In his acceptance speech, Harry Belafonte talks about the responsibility of artists to be truth-tellers about the times during which they live. In doing so he evokes the memory of other artistic and activist exemplars... Paul Robeson, W.E.B. DuBois, Langston Hughes, Maya Angelou, James Baldwin, among others.
Harry Belafonte receives the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award at the 2014 Governors Awards in the Ray Dolby Ballroom at Hollywood & Highland in Hollywood, CA, Saturday, November 8. (Approximately 12 minutes)
Good music from Mali Music -- A short performance at NPR Music...
June 23, 2014 -- On a particularly muggy day this past week, Mali Music arrived at NPR's D.C. headquarters armed with only his enthusiasm (and a teensy entourage). Though the humid haze and some midday I-need-a-coffee-stat office funk hung all around him, he soldiered his way through.
Throughout his new album, Mali Is..., the singer-songwriter and musician showcases his unabashed positivity and the sort of uplifting spirit that can faithfully be found ringing through choirs down South; as a boy, Mali Music was raised in the church in Savannah, Ga. But when compared to his previous albums — The Coming and The 2econd Coming — the new record avoids the direct, at times repentant, language of traditional gospel music. He says he's using his new perspective to serve a higher purpose, to make a difference. That message travels a bit further when it aligns with the sounds and words of the mainstream; these tools are necessary for adjusting to the secular world.
In this session, you'll see Mali Music hop from in front of a microphone, backed by booming production streaming from his DJ's laptop, to an intimate cuddle with an acoustic guitar, and finish in a relaxed position behind a keyboard for a touching performance of the album's lead single, "Beautiful." With every song — and between the tracks, with motivational messages strung throughout — he demonstrates his readiness and capability to take on the industry, as he charges forward with an electrifying message of hope.
February 27, 1965 @ Faith Temple Church of God in Christ
Harlem, New York
“Here – at this final hour, in this quiet place – Harlem has come to bid farewell to one of its brightest hopes - extinguished now, and gone from us forever. For Harlem is where he worked and where he struggled and fought – his home of homes, where his heart was, and where his people are – and it is, therefore, most fitting that we meet once again – in Harlem – to share these last moments with him. For Harlem has ever been gracious to those who have loved her, have fought her, and have defended her honor even to the death.
It is not in the memory of man that this beleaguered, unfortunate, but nonetheless proud community has found a braver, more gallant young champion than this Afro-American who lies before us – unconquered still. I say the word again, as he would want me to : Afro-American – Afro-American Malcolm, who was a master, was most meticulous in his use of words. Nobody knew better than he the power words have over minds of men. Malcolm had stopped being a ‘Negro’ years ago. It had become too small, too puny, too weak a word for him. Malcolm was bigger than that. Malcolm had become an Afro-American and he wanted – so desperately – that we, that all his people, would become Afro-Americans too.
There are those who will consider it their duty, as friends of the Negro people, to tell us to revile him, to flee, even from the presence of his memory, to save ourselves by writing him out of the history of our turbulent times. Many will ask what Harlem finds to honor in this stormy, controversial and bold young captain – and we will smile. Many will say turn away – away from this man, for he is not a man but a demon, a monster, a subverter and an enemy of the black man – and we will smile. They will say that he is of hate – a fanatic, a racist – who can only bring evil to the cause for which you struggle! And we will answer and say to them : Did you ever talk to Brother Malcolm? Did you ever touch him, or have him smile at you? Did you ever really listen to him? Did he ever do a mean thing? Was he ever himself associated with violence or any public disturbance? For if you did you would know him. And if you knew him you would know why we must honor him.
Malcolm was our manhood, our living, black manhood! This was his meaning to his people. And, in honoring him, we honor the best in ourselves. Last year, from Africa, he wrote these words to a friend: ‘My journey’, he says, ‘is almost ended, and I have a much broader scope than when I started out, which I believe will add new life and dimension to our struggle for freedom and honor and dignity in the States. I am writing these things so that you will know for a fact the tremendous sympathy and support we have among the African States for our Human Rights struggle. The main thing is that we keep a United Front wherein our most valuable time and energy will not be wasted fighting each other.’ However we may have differed with him – or with each other about him and his value as a man – let his going from us serve only to bring us together, now.
Consigning these mortal remains to earth, the common mother of all, secure in the knowledge that what we place in the ground is no more now a man – but a seed – which, after the winter of our discontent, will come forth again to meet us. And we will know him then for what he was and is – a Prince – our own black shining Prince! – who didn’t hesitate to die, because he loved us so.”
Celebrating the Life and Example of...
El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz
May 19, 1925 - February 21, 2015
Below is one of the better documentaries on the life and example of Malcolm X. The story is guided by reflections shared by those who knew Malcolm best, including his family, close friends and supporters.
Born on May 19, 1925, in Omaha, Nebraska, Malcolm X was a prominent black Malcolm X nationalist leader who served as a spokesman for the Nation of Islam during the 1950s and '60s. Due largely to his efforts, the Nation of Islam grew from a mere 400 members at the time he was released from prison in 1952 to 40,000 members by 1960. Articulate, passionate and a naturally gifted and inspirational orator, Malcolm X exhorted blacks to cast off the shackles of racism "by any means necessary,"
My children are my inspiration, a window and mirror of sorts, as they remind me of all of the possibility that exists within and among our people, and the universe.
The mission that drives me more and more each day is very simple, and very clear...
I just want every young African (African American) girl and boy to see and know the genius that I - that so many of us - see in them, in you, every time I - every time we - look in your eyes. You are the ones we have been waiting for. Please know this, do the hard work of developing yourself in the midst of this crazy world we live in, and transform this world so that it works the way you and we all know it should.
Many in the world see your genius and are afraid of it. Don't let their fear turn you away.
Many in the world hear the boldness and the fearlessness in your voice. Don't let them silence you.
Many in the world see your connection to a legacy of greatness. Don't let them separate you from you.
Many in the world see the power and vision in your imagination. Don't let them distract you. Your mind is the design laboratory for the world our Ancestors also envision.
Become what you are destined to become.
Be courageous. Be of good character. Be of long vision. Be centered within an African historical and cultural consciousness. Be the light that shines steady and bright. Be of service to your people and your community.
Be a seer. Be a learner. Be a listener. Be an observer. Be a thinker. Be a worker. This is what it means to be a leader.
Be you. Be we.
Be alive... truly alive.
Be... Be... Be...
Last month the Rock Newman Show hosted longtime activist Dick Gregory for a conversation about his life, influences and contributions to the continuing struggle for African American civil and human rights. This was taped and aired in January 2015 on Howard University Television.
The Legend Richard Claxton "Dick" Gregory sits with us at WHUT Studios to talk about his illustrious life! In an interview that would easily span several hours to do any justice, our 1 hour interview with the Living Legend is certain to leave the millions that recognize and honor his contributions wanting more. (January 2015)
Black love is beautiful,
even if a little complicated,
as we continue find our way back to ourselves.
love's spirit always finds its way home.
In celebration of this year's weekend celebrating the timelessness and enduring beauty of Black Love, I pulled together a musical tribute in celebration of the beauty that we are. I hope you enjoy the playlist, and I welcome your comments, and any suggestions of songs that you'd add to the list.
i love our people...
Step into the music: black love music weekend 2015
This year's playlist...
- Mali Music - Beautiful
- India Arie & Musiq Soulchild - Chocolate High
- Al Jarreau - So Good
- Otis Redding - Try a Little Tenderness
- Leela James - Fall for You
- Alicia Keys - If I Ain't Got You
- India Arie - He Is the Truth
- Ledisi - I Blame You
- Gregory Porter - Be Good (Lion's Song)
- Randy Crawford & Joe Sample - One Day I'll Fly Away
- Raheem DeVaughn - Woman
- Esperenza Spalding - Black Gold
- India Arie - Break the Shell
- Whitney Houston - Greatest Love of All
- India Arie & Akon - I Am Not My Hair
- Stevie Wonder - Isn't She Lovely
- Gregory Porter - Liquid Spirit
- The Isley Brothers - Caravan of Love
- The SOS Band - Tell Me You Still Care
- Earth, Wind & Fire - Reasons
- Donald Lawrence & The Tri-City Singers - Be Encouraged