Friday, November 28, 2008

Rebecca's Books Music of the Word, Musica Palabra with Avotcja and Eric; College of Alameda Big Band featuring Nicolas Bearde

So I run between the Jazz School and Anna's Jazz Island. I park on Allston Way, walk through the garage over to Addison where the school is and then stay where I am and walk up to the club. When I left at intermission it was filling up and I heard from one of my English composition students that the second half ended with Ellington's Jungle Music, a really explosive piece. I found it ironic that Marcus Shelby's class on Harriet Tubman and Jazz also included an Ellington composition, I think it was called a Day in Harlem.

I don't know how I am going to attend Shelby's class next week, the same date and time as the Association for the Study of African Classical Civilizations at ASA Academy. This weekend I'm cool: tonight Nas and Goapele, tomorrow the Bobby Hutton Art Exhibit Reception in San Francisco at the Luggage Store Gallery then over to Berkeley for Glen Washington. There is another concert Abdi Rashidi told me about at the Red Poppy, which also sounds good, maybe I'll leave the gallery early and go check the band out there and then head for the East Bay. Sunday, let's see, oh, Mahea Uchiyama at Ashkenaz at 8 PM. I guess that means I can't go to the American Play. I guess I'll have to check that out this coming week, maybe Saturday?

Joyce Gordon's having an art sale today. I'm still thinking about Africa, how I'd like to go, so I need to hold onto my cash.

I've mixed it up here a bit. Last Sunday, Nov. 23, I attended three events in a row: Marcus Shelby's Harriet Tubman and Jazz workshop at the Jazz School, the College of Alameda Big Band concert, under the direction of my colleague, Glen Pearson, and the poetry reading at Rebecca's Books. I was really tired at 5 p.m. and as I tried to decide it I really wanted to go to a concert to see the Broun Felinis in San Francisco, I went over anyway. I needed to pick up my computer from my brother's. So I go to Yoshi's and I'm a day too early, so I stay for the last two-three songs for Bela Fleck and the Flecktones. I'd seen Bela Fleck and Victor Wooten the day before at the West Coast Live event, but I'd never seen the group. I really like the guy they called Future Man, however, the soprano saxophonist added a nice element to the overall compositions which on their latest album, are clever rearrangements of Christmas carols.


Linda Tillery and the Cultural Heritage Ensemble and Toni Morrison and Bela Fleck and Victor Wooten on West Coast Live

I decided to give each event its own presentation, so keep down the visual clutter :-) Enjoy!

Robert H. King @ Babylon Falling, 11/20, Toni Morrison on West Coast Live in Oakland, 11/22, and Poetry at Rebecca's Books 11/23

Last weekend was as busy as usual. This weekend is going to be even busier, not to mention first Fridays in December with all the holiday shopping. Don't buy anything today though. As a matter of fact, everyone should hold onto their cash, it's probably going to get a lot worse before it gets better.

The book reading at Babylon Books in San Francisco last Friday evening was a lot of fun. I didn't realize Toni Morrison was being feted not far away at the Fairmount Hotel. I would have popped by for that intimate gathering, but I saw the email invitation too late. Just as well, she was fabulous the next morning at the West Coast Live Broadcast in Oakland. The show included Linda Tillery and the Cultural Heritage Ensemble, Bela Fleck and Victor Wooten, and an author. It was a great show, especially the addition of the choir, which was a musical score for Morrison's story, The Mercy, a pre-slavery tale--her process reminds me of the late August Wilson, whose 100 year sage, was not written chronologically. Morrison tackles these epochs in the African American sojourn via her characters and themes, similarly out of sequence. But just like Wilson was inspired by Romare Bearden and the jazz musicians of his time, Morrison is similarly inspired by the culture of the eras she explores, her goal like Wilson, to tell our stories.

Photo's by Wanda Sabir, All Rights Reserved.

Wanda's Picks Radio Nov. 26 and 28, 2008

Today's show was pretty phenomenal, the themes crisscrossing throughout as one guest touched on a theme resonating with previous guests such as place and home, what it means to be indigenous and why black people have to hold up their traditions and honor their heroes and each other via our culture: words, music, art and activism.

In the studio we spoke to Joyce Hutton, niece of the late Bobby Hutton, the third person to join the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense, and its youngest member at that time, Emory Douglas, former Min. of Culture for the BPP, Alan Laird and Terry Cotton, both members of the BPP and friends of Lil' Bobby Hutton, murdered by Oakland police just two days after the murder of Martin King, April 4, 1968 (Hutton shot and killed 4/6/1968).

Also joining them is Damon Eaves, which has organized the Bobby Hutton Memorial Benefit, opening Nov. 29, 7-10 PM at the Luggage Store Gallery, 1007 Market Street, in San Francisco, (415) 255-5971. Next we spoke to Afro-Polynesian singer, choreographer Mahealani Uchiyama, who will appear, Sunday, Nov. 30, 8 PM, $10, at Ashkenaz Music and Dance Center, 1317 San Pablo Ave., in Berkeley. Visit

Barry Shabaka Henley "Seth Holly," and Brent Jennings "Bynum Walker," cast in Berkeley Rep's staging of August Wilson's "Joe Turner Come and Gone," through Dec. 14, were up next. Visit

We closed the show with a conversation with lyricist Jahi, who is opening for Wu Tang Clan, Dec. 3, 8 PM (doors open/show at 9 PM) at the Regency Ballroom in San Francisco on Van Ness Ave. The show is all ages, as are all the events listed here this week. Jahi will also perform at the Association for the Study of Classical African Civilizations Conference Friday, Dec. 5, 2008, 7-10 PM at ASA Academy in Oakland and 12/6. Visit And for all the happenings in town: Tune in Wednesday, Dec. 3, for Wanda's Picks Radio, 6-7 AM, PST. We are trying to get Wu Tang on the air. We shall see.

On 11/26, we had Karla Brundage, Rafael Jesus Gonzalez and Robert Hillary King, in the studio.

The day before what some call Thanksgiving and others call "a Great Day of Mourning and Commemoration," we had as guests: Rafael Jesus Gonzalez and Karla Brundage, sharing poetry of the indigenous community in the Americas. Rafael, scholar and visual artist began the show with reflections on what it means to grow up in a society where one's cultural heritage: language, music, art, dress, are systematically erased.

Joined later on by Karla, high school teacher, world traveler and phenomenal writer in her own right, she shares work of 4 Native American poets, among them Joy Harjo.

We end the program early to speak to Robert H. King, activist and author, who has good news regarding Albert Woodfox's case. Federal Court Judge Brady has ruled in favor of Woodfox, granting him bail provided housing is approved, this despite the prosecution's deliberate attempts to poison the publics' perceptions of Woodfox and slander his good name with false accusations, accusations without evidence or proof, evidence found unsuitable or recanted by state's witnesses in the prior 2 trials for the same murder convictions friends and supporters are trying to get the federal court to overturn. Woodfox and Wallace were in solitary confinement for 36 consecutive years up to March 26, 2008, when after a visit by Congressman John Conyers, the men were finally moved to a hastily built dorm for 20 men. Since the trial the men are once again separated and in the dungeon. King is the only free member of A3 and after Woodfox is released, Herman Wallace remains the only member left behind bars, his case currently under review.

Visit,,, and

Photos are from a recent poetry reading at Rebecca's Books in Berkeley hosted by Avotcja and Eric, Sunday, Nov. 23 and Robert King at Babylon Falling Bookstore in San Francisco, Friday, Nov. 21. Copyright Wanda Sabir, All rights reserved.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Albert Woodfox granted bail

Cream Corn and Sausage
By Wanda Sabir

I suppose it’s the little things one misses most when deprived of human touch, human interaction, when one is surrounded by persons he can’t trust…little things like a child’s laughter, a mother’s smile, a brother’s hug hello…these are what one misses.

I recall listening to a recording of Albert Woodfox describing how it felt after 15 years or something crazy long like that to finally get a contact visit from his mom and feel her hug and I can almost imagine how it might have felt when I recall seeing my daddy behind a glass panel –a phone between us.

I don’t remember picking up the phone and I don’t remember what we talked about, yet I’m glad my guardian took me and my brother to see him. I don’t think we ever visited him there again. And soon he was home.

Daddy was no stranger to prisons. It seemed that whenever he asserted his manhood there was some rule in place to –a trap he stepped into a couple of times until he was tamed. When I was born, my dad was stationed at Angola State prison in Louisiana. I don’t know for how long, maybe three years—whatever it was, when he got out he left the state and then sent for us to follow. We never returned.

The warrior instincts my dad exhibited stayed with him in California, these instincts, ones that told him he had the right to protect his family, proved wrong legally which is why the police arrested him for running someone off our yard with an ax or hatchet. I didn’t think he did anything wrong—our dogs didn’t seem to stop the intruder who kept coming even when told to stop. I can see daddy chasing him now swinging. I wonder if he got him.

I don’t know what it was like for my father to grow up in a place where it was against the law to be a man. Where one was always a child and if he forgot his place there was hell to pay. Daddy was born in 1933, it wasn’t much better for Albert Woodfox, Herman Wallace or Robert H. King, born 10-14 years later. Jim Crow still presided over the South and opportunities for young black men were little to none. One didn’t have to do anything except stay black and visible to become the target of law enforcement, and this is what happened to Robert King over and over again as a child, a teenager and as an adult. The same was probably true for other members of the infamous Angola 3: Herman Wallace and Albert Woodfox, certainly for my dad who had lots of dreams unfulfilled.

Michael Mable spoke of his big brother, Albert, fondly. He told me about never missing his weekly visit to Angola State Prison—the drive, six hours one way from Houston, Texas. For 30 years he has made the pilgrimage. Before Katrina he was a lot closer, in New Orleans, the prison just outside Baton Rouge, but he doesn’t miss a week, unless he is working. Now, after 36 years in solitary confinement Woodfox could be released on bail.

Hold the hallelujahs until it happens skeptics say, and not without good reason. Woodfox has been here before—two other times, to be exact, tried for a crime he didn’t commit. The federal hearing was a month ago, and between September and October, the prosecution has slandered Woodfox’s name and reputation so much so that the community where his niece lives in Slidell, asked her to find other housing for her uncle; he was not welcome there. Unaware of what the state was up to while he deliberated, U.S. District Court Judge James Brady wasn’t pleased with the smear campaign the prosecution launched to build public support for their position, which is to deny Woodfox’s bail and keep him behind bars another 36 years.

Right now, he and Wallace or “Hook” are in the hole. Michael said his brother, Albert told him prison officials were probably angry over the excessive positive publicity calling for their release what with visits and inquires from United States Congressman John Conyers and his staff.

The time the three men have spent behind bars is directly tied to their political beliefs and their activism, activism behind bars in solitary confinement for better treatment and better living conditions, a reasonable request given the circumstances they and many others find themselves in behind bars where their foreparents were formerly enslaved.

The warden, Burl Cain stated in a deposition that Woodfox posed a threat to the prison population and was a danger to the community at large because he was still a Black Panther, what Cain called philosophically, “Pantherism.” He said that if Woodfox were released he would share his beliefs with other in similar straights.

Gwen Filosa, reporter for the Times Picayune writes, “Angola Prison Warden Burl Cain testified this year that Woodfox is a danger to the community ‘because he is not a rehabilitated prisoner. He will be a predator when the opportunity comes his way.’"

The federal justice, Brady, while reviewing the case, disagreed and said he “ found no evidence that Woodfox was a danger to society.”

Despite this, Cain and his cronies: the current and past state attorney generals, James D. “Buddy” Caldwell and John Santherfield, believe this man, Albert Woodfox, who has only improved the quality of life for those around him, as did Herman Wallace and Robert King, while at Angola, “said that Woodfox belongs in maximum confinement while in prison to keep him from disrupting Angola “ (Filosa).

The warden continued his diatribe according to the Tuesday, Nov. 25, news article. He said, "I still know that he is still trying to practice Black Pantherism, and I still would not want him walking around my prison because he would organize the young new inmates.”

Wow, what a tragedy, a prison full of freethinkers, enlightened men, men who were suddenly aware of the system they were formerly trapped in and now were able to escape, if not physically, certainly mentally and spiritually. The enslaver always worries about what happens when the enslaved person learns he cannot be owned or possessed by another person.

Michael said when he visited his brother last week, he was in the hole which means Albert cannot make phone calls or have contact visits, so he and his brother spoke through a partition, I guess on a phone. Albert’s spirits were up, I heard, and he was thinking about Obama and the potential of working with the new president to educate the youth about making better choices so they don’t end up where he has spent so much of his life— he and Herman and King and so many other men and women and now more and more children. It’s a trap that closes like the jaws of death—there is often no shaking loose.

It could have been worse. In the past Michael told me, those inmates held in the hole were stripped of their clothing and hosed down with cold water, given a mat to lie on at times, and during other times given nothing to sleep on, nude, the men would shiver in the cold all night. These were some of the conditions A3’s activism changed—the residual effects of standing for what is right and just and fair. Some prison officials believe that when a person is behind bars they lose all their human and civil rights.

During slavery there was no due process, but now technically that slavery is over, the Burl Cains and James Caldwells cannot continue to get away with murder if they know there are people watching, taking notes and not letting any slight, no matter how small, go unchallenged.

Albert spoke about writing his memoir and dedicating his life to service, speaking engagements, and generally sharing the lessons he’s learned over the time he’s had to reflect, with others.

As soon as Albert’s living situation is secure he will be out surrounded by family and friends, dining on cream corn and sausage, a meal his brother the chef says is something his family would eat as kids—it’s a meal Albert has a taste for, a meal his brother will gladly prepare for him.


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

I.O.U.S.A. ITVS Community Screening tonight!

ITVS San Francisco Community Cinema Presents an Exclusive Screening of "I.O.U.S.A.", at 6:00 p.m., Tuesday, November 25, 2008 ast the San Francisco Public Library, 100 Larkin Street @ Civic Center Plaza, 1 block from the Civic Center BART stop)

At 7:00 p.m. Cyrus Musiker of KQED radio will moderate a panel discussion featuring:
BRAD DELONG, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Treasury

JACOB HACKER, author of "The Great Risk Shift: The New Economic Insecurity and the
Decline of the American Dream"

STEVEN HILL, Political Reform Director, New America Foundation

JOHN SHOVEN, Economics Professor at Stanford University and Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institute

To attend, please RSVP before noon on November 25th to


Wake up, America! We're on the brink of a financial meltdown!
Veteran filmmaker Patrick Creadon (WORDPLAY) boldly examines the rapidly growing national debt and its alarming consequences. As the Baby Boomer generation prepares to retire, will there be any Social Security benefits left to collect? Burdened with an ever-expanding government and military, overextended entitlement programs and debts to foreign countries, the film contends that America must mend its ways or face an economic disaster of epic proportions. How will our elected officials respond? What can the average citizen do?

Throughout history, the American government has found it nearly impossible to spend only what has been raised through taxes. Wielding candid interviews with both average American taxpayers and government officials, Sundance veteran Patrick Creadon (Wordplay) helps demystify the nation's financial practices and policies. The film follows former U.S. Comptroller General David Walker as he crisscrosses the country explaining America's unsustainable fiscal policies to its citizens.

Creadon uses candid interviews and his featured subjects include Warren Buffett, Alan Greenspan, Paul O'Neill, Robert Rubin, and Paul Volcker, along with the Peter G. Peterson Foundation's own David Walker and Bob Bixby of the Concord Coalition, a Foundation grantee.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Wanda's Picks Radio Nov. 21, 2008

Today, thank goodness was not a repeat of last week, even though I ran out of time speaking to Marcus Shelby, a fine musician, composer and educator. Oh, I figured out the MP3 thing I was having trouble with last week. It was technical. I did the same procedure this week to upload files and it worked--go figure.

Recap from website:

Today we continue our conversation about the case of Albert Woodfox, Herman Wallace and Robert King, collectively known as The Angola 3. Presently, Albert Woodfox's case is up for review and dismissal, yet he has not been released. This morning we addressed Woodfox's legal teams' procedural direction and Woodfox's safety at the institution as his release looms near. We are joined by: Robert King and Gail Shaw, who share portions of letters and conversations with Woodfox.

Other concerned comrades and friends besides, King, the only exonerated member of A3 and recently published author,,,; and again, Dr. Shaw, co-founder of, an organization which preserves and promotes through exhibits and educational conferences, the legacy of the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense; along with Geronimo ji jaga, former political prisoner, humanitarian, and co-founder of the; and Malik Rahim, Louisiana State Congressional candidate for the Green Party, co-founder of Common Ground Relief.

In the next segment we spoke to Prof. Glen Pearson and composer, singer, songwriter, Nicolas Bearde re: the College of Alameda Jazz Big Band concert, Sun., Nov. 23, 2-5 PM at Anna's Jazz Island, 2120 Allston Way, in Berkeley, CA.

Next we were joined by Felicia Benefield, currently on stage at Cutting Ball Theatre's staging of Eugene Ionesco's Victim's of Duty Fri., Nov. 21-22 8 PM, and Sun., Nov. 23, 5 PM, in SF, CA,

We closed with a conversation with Marcus Shelby, composer, educator and musician about his Harriet Tubman & Jazz concert tonight, 8 PM, at the Jazz School in Berkeley and the workshop series beginning, Sun., Nov. 23, 11:45-1:45. We went over time, and I couldn't play a song from the 2-CD work, but patrons will have an opportunity to hear it this evening at the Jazz School, 2087 Addison Street, near Berkeley BART station.

Quality of Life: the prisons we occupy

At ACT-SF through this weekend, Jane Anderson's play, "Quality of Life," looks at love and loss and how much courage is involved when one choose life rather than death when this great love is gone. The play, extended though Sunday, Nov. 23 at the Geary Theatre is a metaphor for so much. I had a conversation Wednesday, Nov. 19, with Albert Woodfox's brother, Michael Mable, who has been visiting his brother held at Angola State Prison for over 30 years. Woodfox spent 36 years behind bars and after fighting for his release for even longer, the ruling over a month ago was "the man is innocent, release him," yet his case is still undecided after a recent hearing in New Orleans where the judge is still deliberating.

The Quality of Life.

What or how does one measure his or her quality of life? Is good quality a life where there is no sorrow or pain? Is the opportunity to suffer best avoided? Is one's ablity to take a life or give life to another justification to compromise its quality?

These philosophical questions are addressed in the play as two couples meet in the woods where one couple having just lost their home and everything in it to a huge fire caused by negligence, the fire nothing when they consider Neil's impending death, his wife of 30 years, Jeanette's choices, and their cousins' Dinah and Bill's inability to recover from the murder of their daughter.

Dinah and Bill stay together, yet to what do they owe its quality and should two people stay together when all they do is exacerbate each other's suffering? They have a choice, yet, the dying man and their daughter do/did not.

There is something to be said about freedom here and what we take for granted especially when all is reduced to charred wood and mangled possessions, skulls and bones licked clean by savaging animals. What is control and how much is our surrender to the process, called life or the soul's journey connected to this

Does the quality of life need qualification or is their an unspoken consensus? The couples, who haven't been very close share this question, share these thoughts with one another as Neil dies and Jeannette wants to die with him, so that she doesn't end up like her cousins' Bill and Dinah.

I wonder about these prisons, imagined and real we inhabit where the rules are already posted, most of us compliant, even when the quality of our lives and those affected by our lives is negatively impacted.

Neil in his final lecture to his students at the university where he is an anthropology professor address the choices we are faced with and how is all boils down to the quality of the life we chose to live and the multiple obstacles many of us face as we tread the road to its fulfillment. These barriers could be financial or they could be seated in policies which kept one perpetually incapable of achieving what one envisions.

How can those who erect such barriers have a good quality of life? What are the consequences for such persons whose life's work seems devoted to erasing hope and barring access of many to what we are all --just because we are present in the world, living organisms entitled too?

I loved the play. I loved the questions raised. And I loved the challenge posed to live despite the ugliness in the world, despite the unanswered questions one faces on this often lonely journey.

Thursday night, Nov. 20, I was left with hope that I am capable, that though my quality of life might fluctuate, I possess what I need to be happy most of the time and fulfilled all the time and as Kwame Ture said, always ready for revolution, ready to fight for our brothers and sisters behind bars, like Albert Woodfox and Herman Wallace, like my cousins and classmates, like my sisters and their children.

My quality of life is connected the values of freedom and liberty and justice. The American Association of Anthropology Conference is this weekend in San Francisco. I thought to myself, how fortuitous.


Friday, November 14, 2008

Mama Africa makes her transition

As I was going through old mail in a document search for Miriam Makeba, I ran across mail sent this summer, a compilation of great sayings. One of them was a "Makeba." She said: "I look at a stream and I see myself: a native South African, flowing irresistibly over hard obstacles until they become smooth and, one day, disappear -- flowing from an origin that has been forgotten toward an end that will never be."

I remember seeing Miriam Makeba shortly before the first democratic election in South Africa at a club in San Francisco, then later at UC Berkeley's Zellerbach Hall. The first concert was well attended and she spoke of being 60 or so and looking forward to returning home after many years in exile to exercise her constitutional right. The next time I saw her was in concert at UC Berkeley's Zellerbach Hall. The event was poorly attended and there were no CDs to purchase. She invited the folks in the balcony to move down to fill in the orchestra section-the sparse numbers didn't deter from the enthusiasm in the audience or her performance. The last time I saw her was at Stern Grove in San Francisco when she was on a world tour, with a new CD, the first in many years. I stood in line to get an autograph and noticed how weary she seemed to be off stage, contrasted with her enormous energy on stage. The band was tight and from many places in Southern Africa. I think she had a couple of grand kids in the band too. It was certainly a moment to treasure. I recall going to bookstores looking for her autobiography, one of the first ones I'd ever read by a South African woman. Mama spoke of her first husband, who was a police officer and how he was physically abusive to her. She also wrote of her musical career, his jealousy and her eventual escape.

I found her sojourn inspiring. Hers was a life where obstacles were certainly seen as stepping stones. I also enjoyed Hugh Masekela's accounts of his marriage to Mama Africa in "Still Grazing," one where she used her creativity to organize support for the end to Aparthied and the only time I ever saw them on stage together, which was at the San Francisco event, where they both spoke about voting for the first time. My dad is the reason why I know South African music and by extension, South African history. She collapsed during a concert in Italy. It was a benefit concert. When I heard this, I thought to myself: she died doing what she loved for audiences who loved and appreciated her for her enormous sacrifice. Willie Mandela's autobiography, "Part of My Soul Went with Him," was the second book I read about life and politics in South Africa.

Born March 4, 1932, one could say Miriam Makeba popularized South African music, the first to win a Grammy Award. She gained popularity and her career soared in Sophiatown, an area just outside Johannesburg where Africans of all nationalities lived peacefully together. So well did they get along, the Boer government in enforcing its segregationist policies bulldozed the town and forced everyone to leave. This city and it legacy is documented well in the film, "Amandla: A Revolution in 4-Part Harmony (2002)," the story of South African Freedom Movement. (Visit

When Hugh Masekela speaks of her in his autobiography, it is with awe. He is her babysitter and eventually her husband--she sounds like the quentessential liberated woman. She took care of her countrymen and women, shared her resources with them: advice, money, etc.

Sporting a close-cropped Afro long before it became fashionable, Mama Makeba never compromised her principles. One always knew where he alligence lay. As President Nelson Mandela said in an article commemorating her life this week,"'Her haunting melodies gave voice to the pain of exile and dislocation which she felt for 31 long years. At the same time, her music inspired a powerful sense of hope in all of us.'

"He said it was 'fitting' that her last moments were spent on stage -- singing at a concert in solidarity with six immigrants from Ghana who were shot to death in September in the (Southern Italian town). Makeba collapsed after singing one of her most famous hits 'Pata Pata,'" her family said (Associated Press).

The article states that "in her dazzling career, Makeba performed with musical legends from around the world -- jazz maestros Nina Simone and Dizzy Gillespie, Harry Belafonte, Paul Simon -- and sang for world leaders such as John F. Kennedy and Nelson Mandela. Her distinctive style, which combined jazz, folk and South African township rhythms, managed to get her banned from South Africa for more than 30 years."

She was a remarkable woman who was proceeded in death by her only child, Bongi Makeba. I believe she leaves behind grandchildren, great grandchildren and many friends.


Wanda's Picks Radio Nov. 14, 2008

This is a busy weekend in the San Francisco Bay Area: Conference on Race: Nov. 14-16 at the Marriott Convention Center in Oakland;the Green Festival in San Francisco in the Fashion Center in the South of Market District, 7th-8th and Brannan Street, 11/14-16; the 35th Anniversary of Dimensions Dance Theatre concert 11/15; the 22nd Anniversary of Vukani Mawethu Choir, and the group’s Gala dinner and first Community Awards Ceremony, also 11/15.

We’ll start with a continuation of our discussion with Robert King, author, activist and the only exonerated member of Angola 3. Other guests this segment are: Ron Chisom, People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond, Mwalimu Johnson, Advocate, Capital Post-Conviction Center in New Orleans, and Jackie Sumell, Artist, The House that Herman Built. They will be updating us on the case of A3 members: Albert Woodfox whose case had its final hearing Wednesday, Nov. 12. Visit This discussion will be followed by an interview with artist, Amana Bremby Johnson, whose latest sculpture will be unveiled Tuesday, Nov. 18, at the Joseph P. Lee Recreation Center, 1395 Mendell Street, on Tuesday, November 18, 2008 from 3:00 to 4:30 p.m. Jill, a representative from the San Francisco Art Commission will also be in the studio to talk about the work and how Amana was chosen, as well as, San Francisco county’s commitment, even in the lean times, to supporting community art projects like these. Art is not optional— it is integral to community life and its sustainability. Visit

The plan was to speak to Dr. Mona Vaughn Scott and her son, Sean Vaughn Scott about a community awards gala they are also hosting, along with Faye Carol who will be performing with her quartet, but Faye is not well and is saving her voice, and Dr. Scott called in too late and we were into the next segment of the show. The monies raised at Black Rep gala’s tonight will go to support the Music in the Community program along with a Breast Cancer Awareness Program. I was supposed to speak with Deborah Vaughn, founder and artistic director of Dimensions Dance Theatre, but she is also ill. I hope she feels better by tomorrow evening in time for the event-thus the freestyle between 9-9:30 a.m.

Considering the improvisational nature of the program today, I think it went well. We opened strong and closed even stronger as we reflected, Alex and Harriet Bagwell, along with Attieno Davis, all members of Vukani Mawethu on the legacy of Paul Robeson, James Madhlope Phillips and Mama Africa, Miriam Makeba, and how they used their voices to motivate communities –worldwide communities to action. Visit

Friday, November 07, 2008

Wanda's Picks Radio Nov. 7, 2008

Today we were joined by Robert H. King,, author of a recent autobiography: "From the Bottom of the Heap;" Parnell Herbert, Deputy Min. of Justice, Millions More Movement/Houston:, Coalition for Justice (210) 732-8957; and Geronimo ji jaga, former political prisoner, international human rights activist, Kuji Foundation They will be speaking about the case of Albert Woodfox, recently found innocent of all charges leveled at him over 30 years ago by the Louisiana judiciary October 8, yet he has not been released. For up to date information about Albert Woodfox's case call (504) 301-9292.

The international connection between revolutionary movements and subjugation, silencing and murder of African people worldwide in prisons is made by world-traveler, scholar and historian, Dr. Runoko Rashidi, who joins us briefly as he gets ready to journey to Rio de Janeiro for a conference next week.

The next guest is Sean San Jose, theatre director at Intersection for the Arts, the oldest alternative arts space in San Francisco, which is now staging, Dan Wolf's adaptation of Adam Mansbach novel by the same title, Angry Black White Boy. It's up Thursday-Sundays, through Nov. 16. Visit

The show concludes with a conversation with friends and family about Obama 2008. We are joined by Mrs. Dolores Dixon a.k.a Mama Kyaé, her daughter Karen Oyekanmi; granddaughter, Sara Marie Prada,; arts activism and womanist, Sia Amma of Global Women Intact, who is hosting an African drum and dance conference which began Wednesday, Nov. 5, and continues through Sunday, Nov. 9. Artist, “Boundless Gratitude,” closes out the show with performance of a lovely song he wrote in October. It's kind of hard to hear so listeners are encouraged to visit for a free download.

Wednesday, Nov. 12, we'll continue our conversation on Albert Woodfox's case and then Friday, Nov. 14, we'll hear what the result of the 11/12 hearing. Send letters to newspapers like the Baton Rouge Advocate: and the Times Picayune: rejecting the judicial malaise in this brother's case and that of Herman Wallace also. It is time they were released. It's urgent. The state has no case! You can also write letters of encouragement and support to Albert and Herman at this time when judicial malaise and attention to procedural guidelines are slowing the process and continuing the torture these men have been subject to collectively. If we add Robert King's time incarcerated, 31 years, 29 years in solitary confinement, to Woodfox and Wallace's 31 in solitary, 32-3-plus years—it is over 100 years collectively—this is cruel and not unusual punishment, if one asks any black man in America. However the fact that it is typical, is definite cause for its abolishment.