Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Wanda's Picks Radio Show, July 30, 2014

We open with an interview with author, Doris I. Mangrum, whose A Soiled Identity: From Triumph to Tragedy and Back Again, tells the story of Darnell Cookson, former Marine and former felon as he rejoins society. However, this is not a typical rehabilitation story. Told in the protagonist's voice as if we were seated in his home one evening getting to know one another, we meet Darnell just as he arrives home from prison to new wife, new child and many relationships he has to restore, like that between he and his two older daughters by a prior marriage, and his kid brother who is making a bit too much money fast. Darnell tries to hold his head up when applications are rejected and interviews have no follow-up calls, but it is hard. Darnell's reentry is a community venture; each chapter ends with what Mangrum calls, "Choice Moments" where her audience gets to imagine a "what if?" In "Live Your Life," the reader is invited to learn from Darnell's experiences while we also gear up to participate in an "Idea Infusion," which per chapter is a way to make the returning veteran or prisoner feel welcome and supported, whether that is throwing a "just because" party for children whose parents aren't home (349) or developing a visitation and writing program for veterans in a VA hospital (171).

Doris I. Mangrum
is a nationally recognized motivational speaker, separation and reunification author, award-winning filmmaker, editorial columnist, family advocate, and television talk show host and producer. She is an authority on matters concerning the pangs of long separation and the reunification process. Her career spans over three decades with twenty-five of those years dedicated to families affected by incarceration, deployment, study abroad or any reason causing prolonged periods apart from loved ones.

Her radio and television broadcasting career includes:
2008 – 2009 – Pivotal Parenting Point with Doris Mangrum – KDYA Gospel 1190 AM – host and producer

2009 – 2013 - Let’s Saidiana – KDYA Gospel 1190 AM – host and producer

2013- present – Stop the Madness: Practical Ways to Influence the Incarceration Crisis – Berkeley Education Television – Comcast Channel 28 airing Wed., Aug. 6, 1 p.m. (PST)

Musicians Damu Sudii Alii and Paul Tillman Smith join us to talk about the music, of course, but also a wonderful music series in two Oakland resturants. The jam sessions are free and open to professional musicians to sit in on and play.

The Village of Peace
(SFJFF 2014) tells the story of the Hebrew Israelites, African Americans who moved from America to establish a home in Israel. Directors and producers join us this morning to close the show: Ben Schuder, Director/Producer and his brother Sam Schuder, Producer.

Ben Schuder, Director/Producer – Born in Oakland, CA. Attended a high school program that inspired a passion for filmmaking. During the summer of 2005, Ben participated in a documentary workshop in Morelia, Mexico, where he helped teach students the art of documentary filmmaking. The experience motivated him to enroll in a film school in Los Angeles, where he graduated with honors. Since graduating, Ben has been working in the industry and gaining valuable experience while deepening his portfolio. In 2013, Ben co-edited the feature-length narrative film LICKS (2013), which premiered at SXSW Film Festival and won Best Picture at Chelsea Film Festival. The Village of Peace is Ben’s directorial debut.

Sam Schuder, Producer – A proud Oakland native, Sam grew up with a passion to create. In his teenage years, he made numerous short films, mostly improv comedies. In 2007, driven by his love for film, he moved to Los Angeles to develop his skills within the industry. He got a job in television production and gained valuable work experience. Sam's vision is to create content that inspires, empowers, and promotes positive social change. When he visited The Village of Peace for the first time, he realized that implementing his work experience to share the powerful story of the African-Hebrew Israelites would be a natural marriage.

Music this show: Ben Vereen: "Defying Gravity;" "With a Song in My Heart"

This weekend there are multiple events honoring the legacy if Mary Yuri Kochiyama who made her transition in May 2014. There will be teach-ins August 1-3, 2014.  We were going to play an interview with directors of a marvelous film about Yuri and Angela Davis, When Mountains Take Wing (first aired June 2010:    The film:

Bios con't.                       

When your father hands you a set of drumsticks at the age of four, chances are you’ll wind up a drummer. Paul Tillman Smith’s father, George Smith (Kansas City Smitty) played drums during the big band era with many well-known bands including Count Basie, Trummer Young and the Harlem Aces. He was also a mentor to singer Pearl Bailey‘s husband drummer Louie Bellson. At age fifteen at the urging of his mother Della, Paul began playing the piano. It was soon after that he began to write simple three chord songs like the ones he would hear on the radio. This love has lasted a lifetime. Paul has published over a hundred songs to date including the Pharaoh Sanders and Phyllis Hyman jazz pop classic  “As You Are”, the Norman Connors and Jean Carne  hit  “Stella” featuring guitarist Lee Ritenour, and the tender love ballad  “ Heavenly”, recorded by pianist Webster Lewis featuring vocalist DJ Rogers, saxophonist Benny Maupin. “Heavenly” also featured  strings by Herbie Hancock and  was performed by the Boston Pop Symphony for nationally syndicated TV.  Paul’s album “Sharing” from his middle seventies Buddha Records recording group Vitamin E., featured the Sly Stone & Frank Zappa vocalist Lady Bianca and saxophonist Jules Broussard’s vocalist David Gardener. The “Sharing” album was produced by Norman Connors  and the single from that album with a special guest appearance by vocal legend Freddie Hughes and composed by Paul, became a number one hit in over twelve cities across the nation. In the ninety’s, the Vitamin E. CD was reissued in Japan as a double CD which also featured vocalist Melba Moore’s biggest selling CD “This is It”. Paul’s CD “Crying for Love” was voted record of the year by Blues and Soul magazines in England in 2001. The CD featured never released demos recorded at Fantasy Studio’s by his early eighty’s Bang CBS recording group “Bridge”. The CD was released by the U.K. record label “First Experience Records” and featured fourteen original songs by Paul with co-arrangements by Ronnie Laws keyboardist Michael “Spiderman” Robinson. Also featured were former Motown recording artists Derrick Hughes and Debra Von Lewis. The European critic’s called the Bridge CD a brilliant rare American discovery. Paul song “Higher Power” recently won  a  national contest sponsored by Tyler Perry, Lions Gate Film’s, BET, and Pastor Marvin Winan’s, for the best  inspirational song and video  of the year as sung by American Idol finalist Donnie Williams. Paul is also the first to record Sheila E., Rosie Gaines and Bonnie Boyer of Prince fame.

Paul considers his biggest contribution to the Bay Area music scene as being the co-founder along with South Berkeley Merchants R.D. Bonds and Sam Dykes  of the Berkeley Juneteenth Festival, the longest running African American Arts and Music festival in Northern California history. Upwards of twenty thousand people attend annually. He was also the first to promote free music concerts in Berkeley’s Provo Park and Oakland’s Mosswood Park in the seventies and eighties when he was a music and concert supervisor for “ACNAP”, the Alameda County Neighborhood Arts Program. Paul’s band “Bridge” is the only band in Bay Area  history to be on the county pay roll other than the Oakland Symphony.  Paul has been the stage manager for the Richmond Juneteenth, the Oakland Port Festival. the Laurel District World Music Festival, and the Vallejo 4th of July Festival. He also put the music program together for the city of Emeryville’s Appreciation Day Festival and helped put the city of Berkeley’s  Artspark Festival and  100th Anniversary Arts and Music Celebration music program together and managed both stages.

Paul also is no stranger to theater and film. He has been musical director for Melvin Van Peeple’s “Ain’t Supposed To Die A Natural Death” directed by Ted Lange of “Love Boat” and Band Director for “America More Or Less”, the Bi-Centennial Play of San Francisco, featuring works by playwrighters Imamu Amiri Baraka (Leroi Jones), Frank Chin and American Indian playwright Leslie Silko. While a senior in the Rhetoric Department at U.C. Berkeley, Paul made the Oakland Tribune’s front-page headlines for songs he and the late Lonnie Hewitt (Cal Tjader’s pianist) wrote for the Off Broadway play  “Dunbar” based on the writings of poet Paul Lawrence Dunbar. “Dunbar” later won Paul the prestigious New York Audelco Theater Award, the highest honor in African American theater putting Paul in an elite club, which includes Denzel Washington and Felicia Rashaad. Paul’s composition “ A Hymn” (Gently Lord and Slow) from  “Dunbar” was performed with full orchestra  in a  salute to Harry Belafonte at the Black Film Makers Hall of Fame Awards the following  year. Paul wrote music for two one act plays by Cal Berkeley Professor and Author Cecil Brown and award

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Wanda's Pick Radio Show Special, Saturday, July 26, 2014 with guests Amikaeyla Gaston & Kristoff St. John

Amikaeyla Gaston
Our first guest, Amikaeyla Gaston is a multiple-award-winning singer, international best-selling recording artist and cultural change catalyst working at the intersection between science and the arts - particularly music. As the Founder and Director of ICAHSI, the International Cultural Arts & Healing Sciences Institute, she travels the world as a cultural ambassador furthering surprising connections in unexpected places through the arts, activism, and advocacy.

Winner of eight Washington Area Music Association Awards for Best Jazz, World and Urban Contemporary Vocalist, Amikaeyla was named DC’s best female composer in 2006 and 2008. She also won the 2005 DC Mayor’s Arts Award for Innovation in the Arts, and was recently honored with first prize for Best World Music Composition from the 2010-2011 Maryland State Arts Council. Proclaimed as one of the “purest contemporary voices” by NPR, powerhouse Amikaeyla is “like listening to velvet waterfalls” (MTV) and her soulful flavor captures the listener with dynamic passion and sincerity. (

Following a tragic near-death experience caused by a hate-crime, Amikaeyla overcame death through music.  After a year and a half in the burn units of Bethesda Naval hospital, Amikaeyla fully recovered and attributes that miraculous recovery to sonic healing. Invited by His Holiness the Dalai Lama to come to India and sing at the commemoration of the Golden Buddha Statue, Amikaeyla realized that her true calling was to heal others through music.  Inspired and called to action by her connection with His Holiness, she subsequently founded the International Cultural Arts & Healing Sciences Institute. Since then she has been traveling the world as a cultural ambassador working with the UN and US State Department helping to alleviate the pain and trauma of war survivors, at-risk populations and refugees. She has appeared internationally on numerous radio and television programs performing and speaking, and recently was featured as a guest lecturer at the training academy for US diplomats at the Foreign Service Institute. There, Amikaeyla was asked to share insights, methods and tools with cultural and public affairs officers for the most effective use of art and artists in sharing the us with the world in ways beyond politics.

Her Music As Medicine - Healing with an Artful Purpose programming - a multi-faceted therapeutic approach through music, movement, & theater modalities - has taken her around the world to Cuba, China, Taiwan, Africa, India to work with women and children, and since last fall, she has been to Israel, Beirut, Amman,Damascus, Palestine, Tajikistan,Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan & Sierra Leone.  This program has gained recognition and has been reviewed on national and international television. She is a featured presenter and trainer for the WorldTrust organization on Conflict Management, Resolution, and Cultural Competency in non-profit and health organizations throughout the nation and her work has been utilized and implemented by the Department of Health & Human Services, The American Psychological Association, US Consulate General’s Cultural Affairs office, Sabreen International, Department of Health & Human Services, National CityDance, and many more.

Our second guest, Kristoff St. John is best known for his role on ‘The Young and the Restless’ but the actor has much more than “soap star” on his resume. The NAACP award winner is releasing a new documentary, “A Man Called God” that took 33 years to film.
Father and Son, Christopher and Kristoff St. John

“A Man Called GOD” is a documentary that was written and produced by “The Young and the Restless” star Kristoff St. John. It explores the St. John family traveling from Los Angeles to India in search of God. The documentary itself took place in 1980, and what the family would soon uncover is that their quest would turn into something more devilish than one would think.

With a fan base of 50 Million people worldwide, Sai Baba performs modern day miracles; Healing the sick and diseased, materializing solid objects out of the air. The St John family, Christopher, Maria and 14 year old Kristoff are slowly swallowed up by Sai Baba and his cult as they participate in the spiritual daily ‘Ashram’ routine, documenting on film their treacherous visit. The cult eventually overwhelms the family, with Sai Baba revealing his demonic thirst for pedophilia and other evils. Short clip from film:

Music from: Amikaelya's Being in Love and Lush, John Santos's Filosofía Caribeña, Vol. 2, Sweet Honey in the Rock's interpretation of the classic: "Motherless Child."

Short link to radio show:

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Wanda's Picks Radio Show Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Professor KC Williams
We open with an excerpt of a conversation with Professor KC Williams about a Hate Crime she experienced at Coastal Carolina Community College in Jacksonville, North Carolina. To support her drive for legal council: 

Gerald Lenoir is the founding Executive Director and currently the Co-director of the Black Alliance for Just Immigration founded in Oakland in 2006 to support fair and just immigration reform and to bring African Americans together with immigrant communities to fight for social and economic justice.   He is a founding steering committee member of the national Black Immigration Network, a co-founder of the Priority Africa Network in Oakland and a board member of the National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights.

For over 35 years, Gerald has been a leader in progressive social movements. He is a board member of the Interfaith Peace Builders and led its first African Heritage Delegation to Israel/Palestine in 2011.  He served on the editorial board for War Times/Tiempo de Guerras, an anti-war national newspaper, from 2002 to 2004.  He is the former Executive Director of the Black Coalition on AIDS in San Francisco and co-founder/former board chair of the HIV Education and Prevention Project of Alameda County. Gerald is a long time leader in the racial justice and anti-apartheid movements in the United States.  In addition, he has served as a strategic planning consultant for social justice, immigrant rights, HIV/AIDS and health-related organizations. 

Sunday, July 27, 2014, 2-5 at Everett and Jones Barbecue in Jack London Square (2nd @ Broadway, Oakland, CA) there will be a program honoring Mr. Lenoir's legacy as he passes it forward to the current BAJI co-chair.

Martha R. Bireda, Ph.D., is the Founder and Executive Director of the Blanchard House Museum of African American History and Culture of Charlotte County (FL). She is Director of the Museum’s Maroon Study Center, and the New Image Project, a project dedicated to positive identity development of youth of color. She is the author of six books including the recent:  Obi: Seminole Maroon Freedom Fighter. Dr. Bireda is also an Alternate Commissioner for the Gullah‐Geechee Historical Corridor. Visit

Show link:

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Wanda's Picks Radio, Wednesday, July 9, 2014: Madagascar Made

TaSin Sabir at Book Release Party
Photo credit: Everett Bass


TaSin Sabir joins us in the studio today to talk about her book, Madagascar Made (2014).

Her artwork can be described as vibrant and full of powerful and emotional messages. Skilled in a range of mediums, (including photography, painting, film, web & print design, and screen printing), TaSin uses this love for art making to express topics that are of an importance to her.

In 2004, TaSin graduated from California College of Arts and Crafts (now CCA), where she received a BFA in Fine Arts Photography.

TaSin signing Madagascar Made. Her father, Bilal Sabir watches.
Photo Credit: Everett Bass
Born and raised in Oakland, California TaSin’s artwork has been exhibited all around the Bay Area and Nation. Such galleries include, The Oakland Museum of California, The African American Historical and Cultural Society Museum, The Richmond Art Center, The Judah Magnes Museum, Pro Arts Gallery, Joyce Gordon Gallery, and the African American Museum in Philadelphia. TaSin has also published another photography book with Dr. Sonia BasSheva Mañjon: 100 Families Oakland: Art & Social Change (2007).

In 2007, TaSin took her passion for art and love of her community and opened a galley in Oakland called The Oakpod. During its time The Oakpod was a vital source for art and entertainment in the San Francisco Bay Area. Since its closure, TaSin has become an independent curator and curated shows for the Joyce Gordon Gallery, Maafa organization and others.

Currently TaSin is a freelance photographer and designer specializing in utilizing all her skill sets to create one of a kind projects for her clients.

TaSin with her mother Wanda Sabir at Madagascar Made
Release Party.
Photographer: Everett Bass.
Synopsis for book Madagascar Made

For a Diaspora Citizen, true freedom lies in choosing where one belongs. Such is the case for TaSin Sabir who fell in love with Madagascar, its people, fauna and flora at eleven years old in a geography class. When she finally made a journey home recently as an adult, the Sakalava people (West Coast) embraced her too. Madagascar Made (2014) illustrates this journey in bold, bright color. When TaSin donned her people's traditional basket hat, even police were surprised when this perceived native daughter spoke fluent English and carried an American passport. His facial expression was priceless. This is the creative genius of a Diaspora citizen, we belong and then, we do not. Hidden in plain sight, Madagascar Made shows in several self-portraits, TaSin here and TaSin there--Madagascar portraits on sight juxtaposed with shots posed similarly on another West Coast. Madagascar Made embraces the multiplicity of the African sojourn then and now and the fact that we are a global presence to be embraced as TaSin Sabir does photographically in this brilliant book.

Music this show: Rossy's One Eye on the Future, One Eye on the Past: "Mandry Ve," "Ramasy," and "Sira Sira." (Shanchie).

Link to the broadcast:

TaSin getting an award for photography at the Black Media Appreciation Night this Saturday 7/12/14 at the African American Art & Culture Complex San Francisco. starts at 7pm

TaSin's photographs from book Madagascar Made in this exhibit: The Capture of Life, Absent from Color. Exhibit runs from July 4 – July 26, 2014 at Joyce Gordon Gallery, Oakland.

Web links (photography and design portfolio) (you can preview the book, promo video and purchase)

Q&A about book on SFBayView site

Friday, July 04, 2014

Wanda’s Picks Radio Friday, July 4, 2014

We opened with a prerecorded interview with Nefertina Abrams, Royal House of Makeda Productions, and Melame Gange, ModeAfrika apparel, (first aired 7/2/2014) re: Ubuntu-Faqir Simunye Pan African Love and Unity Festival on its concluding night, July 4, 2014, 7 p.m. to 1 a.m. at the Humanist Hall on 27th Street, in Oakland. We open with Gange’s “African Suns.”

Melame Gange and Nefertina Abrams, July 3, 2014
Ubuntu-Faqir Simunye Pan African Love and Unity Festival
photo credit: Wanda Sabir
David J. Dennis, Sr., Civil Rights Activist
and Community Organizer
We then play a segment from an interview with Civil Rights Movement architect, Dave Dennis, who is just returning home from a successful 50th Anniversary Conference at Tougaloo College in Mississippi. The goal of the conference was to answer the following questions: What were the lessons learned? How do they apply to today’s challenges? What is the next phrase? How will an appropriate response be developed for the next phase?

While speaking to Mr. Dennis about the conference and current issues on the stove top boiling over presently like Voter’s Rights and Educational Opportunity, especially for black youth as access to higher education is still neither the norm or representative of the majority of black families, Mr. Dennis the first in his family to graduate from high school.  50 years later, I meet students in my classroom who are the first to graduate from high school and college.

Next steps obviously include access to college education and programs in place to address the attrition rate among black men. Ironically, the issues around voter’s rights are expiring as state’s reevaluate residents’ rights and make certain residents ineligible or make voter registration difficult and access to the polls another hurdle in a society where historic memory is a tragedy of youthful ignorance and social apathy.

See and USA Today Freedom Summer

I share a bit from a wonderful article in the AARP newsletter about the two men, Bob Moses and Dave Dennis’s reunite after many years apart concerning another human rights issue, educational opportunity, something that still eludes many black children and Moses and Dennis’s work through The Algebra Project to demystify and bring these kids into the social economic loop

The absence of such access reflects systemic efforts and a national move to keep black people forever on the bottom of the heap; if one limits a people’s access to knowledge, a permanent underclass is normalized. Not anything new, when one looks at the slave codes which forbade educating black people. Privatization of education, increased prison building and development, plus a legal framework which supports these insidious policies, just point to the massacre we are seeing unfolding as the cradle to prison pipeline grabs more and more of our youth, youth who are not able to compete intellectually in the ring and so become casualties. Call it preventable crib death.

The Algebra Project fits these children with gloves and schools them in a winning strategy, that is, how to win the battle which continues to rage 50 years after the strides made 50 years ago. The poison is in the formula, the bottle, the bedding, everything connected politically to our success as a nation up from slavery. We cannot trust anyone, especially a politician, to have our best interests at heart if we forget to hold these same interests dear as well.

"Dave Dennis was a Freedom Rider and Co-Director of the Council of Federated Organizations (COFO) in Mississippi. Dennis was the Mississippi director of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), but he worked with SNCC members and other civil rights activists in Mississippi under the COFO umbrella to avoid intra-organizational conflicts. COFO organized activists for a Mississippi voter registration drive during "Freedom Summer." Dennis spoke at the funeral of James Chaney, and he worked closely with both Bob Moses and Medgar Evers" (Blackside, Inc.).

He writes on his website: Dave Dennis Connections that "he has been fifty years in the making.  As a speaker, Dave will make available to the public his experiences in the Civil Rights Movement from 1960-1965, using those experiences to frame his personal analysis of the impact of the Civil Rights Movement on present society, both positive and negative, and to share his personal experiences and observations on education that are derived from his involvement with the Algebra Project and the impact of that work on the present and future education system(s) in America."

In an interview with Blackside Inc., Nov. 10. 1985, for the seminal series, Eyes on the Prize: The Civil Rights Years 1954-1965 we are privy to transcript which is not included in the series.

In this work Mr. Dennis reflects on the battleground, tragedies of war and lessons he learned which were not necessarily anticipated. One of these that the United States under Johnson especially after JFK was killed, would not protect the Civil Rights volunteers. The FBI observed, yet did nothing to stop the bloodshed. In a preconference workshop, legal interns from throughout the country, with some from outside this nation, were assigned cold cases, that is, murder cases of black people also casualties of the Civil Rights Movement (1954-1965), plus Jim Crow Laws which have yet to be solved. The cases span the years 1910 t0 1979.

This organization founded by Dr. Margaret Burnham out of Northeastern University, the Civil Rights and Restorative Justice Project (CRRJ) takes its lead from the reopening of, prosecution and resolution of the Emmett Till case, his murder said by many to be the start of the Civil Rights Movement. Mrs. Rosa Parks was certainly thinking of the youth when she refused to surrender her seat on the Montgomery bus not long after his murder. The Emmett Till Unsolved Civil Rights Crime Act of 2007 passed unanimously on September 24, 2008, and signed into law by President George W. Bush in October 2008.   See

In many ways the passage of the Civil Rights Act, reflects a compromise which to date, still does not benefit black people who are in many ways worse off regarding economic access to wealth and quality education despite having so many black people in political office. It is a Trojan Horse, Mr. Dennis says of the Act, impressive, yet when one examines its interior--it leaves much to be desired. He says this as he proceeds to share the four buckets trajectory to outline next steps for the ensuing 50 years.

There was a lot of celebration and congratulations, I am certain at the grand reunion two weeks ago, but these elders or veterans of the Civil Rights Movement (CRM), men and women, plus the 700 or so youth were clear that the battle was not won as they rolled up their sleeves and joined hands. Mr. Dennis said it was easier to organize people 50 years ago because then people were more tangibly connected; now it is hard to find this same synergy within the black community. Even the churches are not as cohesive a destination as before, perhaps because many are so huge, parishioners do not have personal relationships with one another.

Nonetheless, people are encouraged to make their voices known to their city council, county supervisors, on up from governor and congress and senators to our president whose name is attached administratively to policies which undermine the gains made 50 years ago June 2014.

Neferina Abrams’s Royal House of Makeda Productions is an edutainment company whose focus is on creating unity within Africa the African Diaspora through the Arts and Entertainment. The Ubuntu-Faqir Simunye Pan African Love and Unity Concert is more than just some music concert, it is a space to network, learn about businesses you can support, put faces to names, build a network, it is a beginning and certainly not the answer to every question. 
Neferina Abrams and her mother, Mrs. Geraldine Abrams?
Opening Night, July 3, 2014
photo credit: Wanda Sabir

Ms. Abrams gives a lecture chronically Pan Africa’s historic unity which includes oral testimony from an Ethiopian elder the honorable Getachew Asrat, was a child who helped our Great Leaders plant trees to symbolize the growth of African Unity during the 1963 conference in Ethiopia.

Abrams says, “Think of my show like those trees, I am trying to grow unity through the practice of culture. I am an Africana History lecturer and a visual anthropologist which is a person who studies culture with a camera and makes documentaries.
Sista Dymah Rodgers (singer)
"Living on the Edge"

Next she is traveling to Barbados to do research on enslavement during the research process. She states: “I found records of an ancestor of mine who had been enslaved on the island.  I will be doing a documentary which I will show upon my return.  I am also getting ready to begin doctoral research in which my thesis will be a feature length documentary on 'Repatriation.’”

Stay tuned.

One of the dancers Opening Night
Melame Gange’s African Suns celebrates our heroes and the spirit of promise inherent in African sons.  We close the show with his single “Dancing Partner.”  He writes: "This new lover’s rock reggae anthem pays homage to the 50’s era, celebrating dance culture and the power it brings to the human spirit. Gange’s soulful vocals are accompanied by an assortment of instruments that complement the retro spirit of the song encouraging listeners to find their dancing partner."

“This is a protest song” says the singer. “I’m protesting the end of the era where people used to dance. We need that. We need music that moves people to dance.”  The song is available on   Also visit

What I like about the song is Gange’s beautiful vocals. The native Virgin Islander is making his mark on the local and international world of Reggae Music one hit single at a time. This soulful, roots reggae singer, is motivated by a deeper understanding of life, history and culture with a sincere desire to help his people find FREEDOM through music. In addition to his mesmerizing stage presence and captivating voice, his raw vocal talent is most often coupled with issues that he is passionate about, creating a conscious level of music that the people can relate to and “support de ting.” Gange has shared the stage with many of reggae’s royalty bringing forth a message of peace.

Melame Gange is the founder and lead designer of ModeAfrika apparel, a conscious clothing brand that merges history, culture and fashion into each of their unique designs. He is also the founder and Executive Director of Beach Fyah, an annual concert that showcases local music, art and fashion, held at deferent beaches throughout the Caribbean. Stay tuned for Beach Fiyah 2014 “Support de Ting”!

For bookings, drops, dubs and other inquiries contact

Music: selections from Meklit and Quinn and Melik Hadero; the Nile Project: Salaam Nubia from Aswan and Tezete; Melame Gange's African Suns and Dancing Partner.

Link to show 7/2/2014 audio:

7/4/2014 show:

Show link  for July 2, 2014

Kali and Maji Opening Night, July 3, 2014
Aunt Geraldlynn, Nefertina and Mama Geri Opening Night, July 3, 2014
Two Poetess, Kelly Spice (R)

1. Rebroadcast of Ms. Bonnie Boswell, niece of Civil Rights Leader, Whitney Young, Executive Producer and Producer of Power Broker: Whitney Young's Fight for Civil Rights, aired Feb. 6, 2013.

2. Nefertina Abrams and Melame Gange join us to talk about the first annual THE 'UBUNTU-FIQIR SIMUNYE' PAN AFRICAN LOVE & UNITY CONCERT, July 3 nd 4, 2014, 7 p.m. to 1 a.m. (both days) at the Humanist Hall in Oakland, CA. Admission is $10 for adults, children are free.

3. We close with part 1 of an interview with Civil Rights Maverick the Hon. Dave Dennis, Freedom Rider and Co-Director of the Council of Federated Organizations (COFO) in Mississippi. Dennis was the Mississippi director of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), but he worked with SNCC members and other civil rights activists in Mississippi under the COFO umbrella to avoid intra-organizational conflicts. COFO organized activists for a Mississippi voter registration drive during "Freedom Summer." Dennis spoke at the funeral of James Chaney, and he worked closely with both Bob Moses and Medgar Evers. Visit; (to watch film on-line)

Vendor at Unity Festival Opening Night

D. Haloka and Sprandore

Gange and Ms. Abrams

Ebun and D. Haloka

W. Sabir, Ebun and musician and
choreographers for the African Dance Troupe

Soul of the Lion Proprietor

Ghanian vendor

All photos from Pan African Love and Unity Festival Opening Night July 3, 2014. Photo credit for all pictures: Wanda Sabir

Pan African Unity Festival in Oakland Day 1

Sister Nefertina, Makeda Productions hosted the first day of a two day celebration of Black Love. From the good food, to the great vibrations, libations to the ancestors and wonderful African dance and drumming--it was a memorable evening--Edutainment or food for the soul.

Don't miss Day 2, July 4, 2014, 7 p.m.-1 a.m. at the Humanist Hall in Oakland on 27th Street, between Telegraph and Broadway.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Wanda's Picks Special Broadcast Saturday, June 28, 2014

Jed Rothstein, Director/Producer, Before the Spring, After the Fall.

Three years before the Arab Spring, a group of young Egyptian rock musicians struggled for freedom amidst the stifling dictatorship of Hosni Mubarak. Two brothers among them, the sons of a dissident political prisoner, would help lead the uprising in Tahrir Square and the struggle for the future of their country.  Airs tonight on ITVS.

Bio: Academy Award-nominated and Emmy-winning filmmaker Jed Rothstein specializes in hard-to-get stories from around the world that help people understand one another better.  Whether seeking out  heavy metal musicians who become Arab-Spring revolutionaries (PBS's Before the Spring After the Fall); pioneering doctors (HBO's Coma and Pandemic); Al Qaeda terrorists (The Oscar-nominated HBO documentary Killing in the Name);  defenders of free speech (The 2009 Sundance film Shouting Fire); journalists on the front lines (Independent Lens' Democracy on Deadline) or fundamentalist Christian college kids training to take over Washington (God's Next Army), Rothstein works with people to help them tell their own stories in their own words. His films have played in film festivals around the world, enjoyed special screenings at the United Nations, and been broadcast on HBO, PBS, the Discovery Channel, IFC, Channel 4, the BBC, and elsewhere. When not loitering in global hotspots, Rothstein has worked as a senior producer on a weekly television show and a consultant and writer for numerous documentaries.  He lives in New York with his wife, the writer Mira Jacob, and their son.

Link to show:

Friday, June 27, 2014

Wanda's Picks June 27, 2014

Guest 1. Ayodele "WordSlanger" Nzinga, Ph.D., joins us to talk about the August Wilson Century Cycle, part 7, Two Trains Running, which is opening this August, 2014.

Ayodele Nzinga is a multi-talented West Coast based art visionary, who in the tradition of the Black Arts Continuum uses performance as a method of inter-intra group communication. In 2000, Nzinga became the writer in residence and the resident dramaturge at The Prescott Joseph Center For Community Enhancement. This has resulted in over a decade of theater seasons, a troupe in residence, and a summer theater camp for youth. The troupe, The Lower Bottom Playaz, founded by Nzinga in 1999, is enjoying growing acclaim, while mounting, and traveling two-three productions per season. A bright and consistent energy on the cutting edge of the East Bay performance scene, Nzinga aka The WordSlanger, is a tour-de-force Spoken Word artist. Her latest published work appears in Black Magnolias and The Pan African Journal of Poetry.

Guest 2. Arielle Julia Brown (Project Director/Founder) speaks about Love Balm for My Spirit Child--- A choreo-play based on testimonies from Bay Area mothers whose children were lost to gun violence, directed by Edris Cooper-Anifowoshe, opens at Brava! For Women in the Arts, Theatre Center in San Francisco, 2781-24th Street at York, July 11-20, 2014 shows Fri-Sat 8 p.m.; Sun 3 p.m. Tickets are: $10-25

Ms. Brown (Project Director/Founder) is a playwright, arts administrator and facilitator currently based in the SF Bay Area.  As a facilitator, Arielle has taught and directed performance workshops for adults and youth of all ages throughout the Bay Area with such organizations as, Intersection for the Arts, Destiny Arts Center, Streetside Stories, Guerilla Performance Group at Eastside Arts Alliance and the Alameda County Juvenile Justice Center.    Arielle is the Artistic Director of The Love Balm Project, a Bay Area theatre workshop series and performance that explores the testimonies of local mothers who have lost children to systemic violence. Workshop and performance iterations of The Love Balm Project have been presented at or in partnership with 7Stages Theatre, Theatre of Yugen, The MilkBar, Eastside Arts Alliance, La Peña Cultural Center, San Francisco Playhouse The Triangle Lab (A joint program of Intersection for the Arts and Cal Shakes) and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. Arielle is a 2013-2014 SF Playground company playwright.  She is a 2014 Artist Investigator in residence at The Triangle Lab.  Arielle is a 2013-2014 SF Emerging Arts Professionals Programming Chair. Arielle’s work has been supported by Theatre Bay Area, The Triangle Lab ( supported in part by The James Irvine Foundation, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and MetLife Foundation and Theatre Communications Group) and CalHumanities. Arielle’s theatre work is rooted in peacemaking on both local and international levels. Arielle began doing international theatre work at 7Stages theatre in Atlanta, Ga. Arielle is a core member of Theatre Without Borders.  Her  international theatre experience includes work in Senegal and East Africa. Arielle received her B.A. from Pomona College where she studied Theatre and Africana Studies.

Actors/Artistic Collaborators
Ayodele Nzinga is an Actor/Artistic Collaborator in the work, so she joins us as well.

Guest 3. American Experience presents: Stanley Nelson's Freedom Summer

Stanley Nelson (Producer/Director/Writer) is an award-winning documentary filmmaker, MacArthur “genius” Fellow and member of the Academy of Motion Picture Art & Sciences. Nelson is the director of 12 documentary features, including Freedom Riders, Jonestown: The Life and Death of People’s Temple and The Murder of Emmett Till. He is also co-founder and executive director of Firelight Media, which provides technical education and professional support to emerging documentarians. With seven of his films having premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and multiple industry awards to his credit, Nelson is acknowledged as one of the premiere documentary filmmakers working today. Nelson is currently in production on a series of three films he will direct, one on the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense and another on the beneficiaries of the Atlantic slave trade, as part of a new multi-platform PBS series entitled America Revisited. The film, along with Nelson's earlier, Freedom Riders is up for viewing on the website:

4. Closing Guests: Michael Gene Sullivan and Velina Brown speak about the San Francisco Mime Troupe’s 2014 premiere, The Ripple Effect— opening July 4th at San Francisco's Dolores Park

Velina Brown (SFMT Collective, Actor, Performance Booker) has been a principal actor for the Mime Troupe in such shows as Social Work, Escape to Cyberia, Coast City Confidential, Soul Suckers from Outer Space, Killing Time, Damaged Care, City for Sale, Eating It, 1600 Transylvania Avenue, Mr. Smith Goes to Obscuristan, and Showdown at Crawford Gulch. She was Veronique in Veronique of the Mounties, she's played Condoleeza Rice three times, and was both an actor and Contributing Lyricist on GodFellas and Making a Killing. Velina's most recent shows with the Troupe include For The Greater Good: Or the Last Election, Red State, Too Big to Fail, and Posibilidad, Or Death of the Worker for which she won Best Principal Actress by the Bay Area Critics Circle. You may have seen Velina earlier this year in Theatre Rhino's lovely A Lady and A Woman. Other credits include A.C.T., Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Denver Center Theatre Company, Word for Word, Lorraine Hansberry Theater, Thick Description, SF Playhouse, Theatreworks as well as film (Bee Season with Richard Gere, A Many Splintered Thing with Chris Evans and Milk with Sean Penn) and television (Party of Five, Nash Bridges,Trauma, Final Witness). Velina also is the founder and owner of the "Business of Show Biz," which offers career planning consultations and workshops for theater artists. She also writes a popular column of the same name for Theater Bay Area Magazine. In 2012 she was honored as one of the magazine's "35 Faces," artists who've made significant contributions to the Bay Area theater community. For more info and to hear samples of Velina's music:

Michael Gene Sullivan (SFMT Collective Actor/Resident Playwright), joined the Troupe as an actor in, has since performed in, written, and/or directed over twenty SFMT productions. As an actor, Sullivan has also appeared in productions at the American Conservatory Theater, Denver Center Theater Company, Magic Theatre, Theatreworks, Lorraine Hansberry Theater, SF Shakespeare Festival, Berkeley Repertory Theater, and San Jose Repertory Theater. Michael has also directed for the Mime Troupe, SF Shakespeare Festival, African American Shakespeare Company, Mystic Bison Theater, and Circus Finelli. In 1992 he became a contributing writer for the SF Mime Troupe, and the Resident Playwright in 2000. His scripts for SFMT include GodFellas, Red State (2008 nominee, Best Original Script, SFBATCC), and Too Big To Fail (2009 nominee, Best Original Script, SFBATCC and Posibilidad, or Death of the Worker. He is also the author of "Did Anyone Ever Tell You - You Look Like Huey P. Newton?", his award-winning one person show, and 1984, his critically acclaimed stage adaptation of George Orwell's dystopic novel. 1984 opened at the Actor's Gang Theater under the Direction of Tim Robbins in 2006, and has since been published in English and Catalan, and has been performed in Europe, Asia, Australia, South America, and has had several tours of the USA.

His script "Recipe" won the Israel Baran Award, and will premiere at Central Works in Berkeley, October, 2014. Michael is also a blogger for the political website, The Huffington Post.

Music: Avery Sharpe’s Ain’t I a Woman “Son of Mine;” Keb’mo’s Someday We’ll All Be Free; clips from S. Nelson’s Freedom Summer

Show link: