Monday, July 27, 2009

Haiti Event Tonight

Friends of Haiti are invited to attend a meeting with Haitian grassroots leader and community activist, Rea Dol. Rea is the founder and director of SOPUDEP, a school in Petion-ville, Haiti, dedicated to the community's poorest residents with an enrollment of 480 students.

The meeting will be held on Monday, July 27 at 7 pm at the following location: Redstone Building, 2940 – 16th St., Suite #216 (Between South Van Ness and Mission Sts.), San Francisco

Please join Haiti Action Committee to welcome Rea back to the Bay Area and hear from her about the latest developments in Haiti's grassroots movement.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Feather River Camp with Bri

I went up to Oakland Feather River Camp last week, July 18-24, with my granddaughter who is six, Brianna Amaya. We rode up with boys who were participating in Camp Kidd (all boys camp). Bri and I were a part of the Family Camp--our week's theme, "Folk Dancing."

Each afternoon found us at the swimming hole where Bri floated on her inner tube chaise lounge, played ball with her friends, watched kids hunt for crayfish, made castles with moats or practiced swimming. At degrees easily slipping into the triple digits, the swimming hole complete with lovely lifeguards was the place to be.

With a big grin on her pretty brown face, Bri would say, "the water is fine!"

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

San Leandro Marina with Hamdiyah Sunday, July 12

Saturday found me in Hayward hanging out with the cowboys and girls, Sunday I was hanging with the birds along the shoreline. My good friend Hamdiyah was feeling like a ride and after scratching up her bumper tying to get her bike in her truck, to a quick jaunt to the store (2) to buy a bike rack, then a drive to Oakland from San Leandro so I could help her put it on the car, a drive back to San Leandro to get her bike, then back to Oakland to meet me at the 66th and Zone entrance to the Bay Trail, only to ride back to San Leandro, one has to commend her for the heroic effort.

It's too bad we can't repeat it this weekend, as I fell off my bike last night and can't use my right hand easily at this time. In fact, I need to stop typing.

Wanda's Picks Radio July 15, 2009

Happy Birthday President Aristide!

Today we will be speaking to Pierre LaBoissiere, co-founder of Haiti Action Network, about Haiti. I hadn't realized it was President Aristide's birthday. Stay tuned for results of the massive protests which began while we were on the air at 6 AM. Visit

We will also have on the show Kofi Taharka, Houston Black United Front, and Charles "Boko" Freeman, Houston native and one of the founders of the BPP chapter there. The two men will speak about a commemorative program honoring Carl Bernard Hampton, whom Boko says, was "one of Black America's most articulate, courageous and heroic, young leaders was ruthlessly slain by the Houston Police Department's Central Intelligence Division (CID), July 26, 1970. At the age of 21, Carl was a tireless organizer who worked day and night to establish People's Party II[1], a Black revolutionary group modeled after the Black Panther Party (BPP). On Sunday, July 26, 2009 two activities will be held to commemorate the life and death of Carl Bernard Hampton. The Gravesite Remembrance will take place at 3:00pm at Golden Gate Cemetery 8400 Hirsch Road Houston , Texas . The Community Memorial will kick off at 5:00pm at 3212 Dowling Street Houston , Texas next to the PABA. The memorial will include a tour of the actual spot were Carl was gunned down by Houston police. The memorial on Dowling Street will also feature: a limited free food giveaway, survival program speakers, poets and edutainment.

We will then speak to Jacques Ibula, Congolese artist/activist who has a concert: "Song Writer Sundays Unplugged," July 19, 8-10 at at Yoshi's in San Francisco. Visit

We'd planned to conclude with Donald Harrison, who will be at Stanford Jazz with his latest band, Saturday, July 18. Visit We had to reschedule, so watch for an one hour special sometime before Donald's date at the Detroit Jazz Festival Labor Day weekend in September.

Today the show took off running along revolutionary themes covering the African Diaspora from the Haitian Revolution and its people who have been under attack ever since, to the Black Panther Party and martyred soldiers like Carl Bernard Hampton, whom his friend Boko says, was "one of Black America's most articulate, courageous and heroic, young leaders was ruthlessly slain by the Houston Police Department's Central Intelligence Division (CID), July 26, 1970, to our concluding interview with Jacques Ibula, musician, artist, activist, health care provider, who describes himself as a traditional African which to me means he has not traded in his cultural mores for western trinkets.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Bill Pickett Invitational Rodeo July 11-12 in Hayward

Driving on I-580, Saturday afternoon, the blue sky streaked with white cotton and hardened taffy, my granddaughter and I headed east toward the Mission Hills and the 25th Annual Bill Pickett Invitations Rodeo. Once we exited, it took nearly an hour to snake along the road toward the Rowell Ranch Arena up ahead. Never again will I wait to the last minute to leave the house on a Bill Pickett weekend.

I thought about taking our bikes on BART next time, when we finally arrived, parked and went to our seats. It was about 3 p.m. Horse trailers were all along the periphery, and as we entered I heard the National Anthem being played.

Children were petting horses and sporting cowboy gear, I found out later hats were gifts from a BPIR sponsor. The day was warm, dusty and as the day progressed a bit cooler --the sky graying a bit and tinkling on unsuspecting bare arms, but the steer riding was enough to make the audience rethink leaving before the final event--relay races, were completed.

We watched horses do the Hollywood Shuffle, Snoop Dog (a real cow-dog) roll over, play dead and shake hands, kids as young as 12-14 rode in a couple of events like the barrel race and won. I liked the relay the best, that and the bronco rides. That was pretty exciting. In the calf tying, I wondered if the animals who were being flipped and tied were all right afterwards. I also wondered about the steers who were also flipped and held down. Overall, it just seemed like animals trained to participate in a recreational activity.

I'm not certain what the trade-off would be for the animals, but the quarter horses were magnificent to watch in action as they whizzed up and down the large field with a rider and sometimes without. It was amazing watching the horses make quick turns sometimes losing the rider along the way. Several times the audience stood when it seemed like the horse was going to hit a wall or fence...of course the horse didn't, but the rider...well that was a different story.

I loved the relaxed vibe and the easy manner today at the rodeo. Everyone should go to the rodeo, the Bill Pickett Invitational Rodeo in particular. The wall-to-wall black folks, is theraputic. Everyone, young and old, were smiling, patient with each other, and just feeling really irie. I felt transported to a time when black people loved each other and loved being with each other.

It felt like a Maafa Commemoration, the beach after the ritual when we're just chillin' talkin' and eatin' as the waves wash up to the shores, drumming and other African instruments keeping the groove cool and mellow.

It was like that... smooth jazz...fried catfish with Louisiana hot sauce, potato salad with corn bread, vanilla ice cream chasing peach cobbler. It was another country, another time, another place, another where I couldn't leave, didn't want to climb out of the canyon as the parking lot emptied, the sun dipped its head on the horizon, the sky now streaked with pink, blues and purples... just as the tailgate party got kick-started...the trailers hitched in a circle like what one reads about when one hears about those wagon trains and early explorers who wanted to expand the territory northwest the mythologies whitened, the reality a lot more colorful.

When what I guess would be called half time, if we were at a football game, began, Miko Marks, a black country singer I interviewed earlier this year on my radio show, sang a few of her hits, Brianna and I got up to walk through the vending area to visit the merchants and perhaps buy something. After the $8 parking fee, all I had left was enough for a souvenir program, but as we people watched and looked at the long food lines--yummy! we saw Brianna's other grandmother, Mia and her Bree's uncle Maurice, whom we'd wanted to invite to the rodeo.

It was perfect. We moved from the bleachers to the box seats to sit with them, and hung out there until the final events concluded with a horse run where the horses danced around the arena...unbridled and without riders. It was a lovely moment a time capsule of a moment passed.

Together we all meandered through the crowd, snapping photos as cute kids in cowboy attire, including spurs walked by. One little girl had on hot pink: dress, boots and hat. She was too cute.

One of the impressive aspects of the rodeo besides the intergenerational aspect, which was lovely--the respect and regard the youth held the adults and the pride the adults held the youth. The Kidz Calf Scramble,where children 10 and younger chased after two calves in the ring trying to pull off a ribbon stuck to their back. It was fun watching the 50-60 kids chase the calves. The other event, which wasn't in the program, but was so culturally apropos was the impromptu Hollywood Shuffle with the cowgirls and cowboys dancing near the gate, cowboys on horses fancy dancing, and then one cowboy stood up in his saddle and danced and then twirled his lasso. It was impressive.

The afternoon was filled with such marvelous talent and sportsmanship. With KBLX as one of the sponsors, the music was great and of course we sang along to quite a few songs without much prompting from the announcer. The cultural vocabulary reached across age and class. We were black and proud and without any conversation witness to the power of this shared reality, one James Brown named in a popular hit song.

As my granddaughter pulled on my shirt and asked me to take her over to ride the ponies, I encouraged her to walk over as the cowboy I was speaking to told her, ask one of his boys to help her.

She didn't.

I continued to speak to Jesse, whose horses, Star Fire (mom) and her two year old daughter, Golden Star, were enjoying alfalfa. Jesse, who lives in Valley Springs (near Stockton), hails from Martaville, Louisiana. He is a part of the Brotherhood Riders. They sponsor youth from urban areas and teach them animal husbandry.

"If you give her an apple of carrot she is your friend for life," Jesse told Brianna. Unfortunately, we didn't have either, but next year....Jesse's Star Fire was newly pregnant, the dad, "Dignity Day," born on a Sunday, was at home. "He is huge," his owner said of his horse, the father of all Star Fire's children. "Can you see the constellation in her eyes?" He asked me and then I looked again. It did look like a galaxy--pretty cool.

Jesse said his nine siblings, like the Jacksons--were separated by stair steps, similar to the progeny of his mare and her mate. Proudly admitting that he delivered all of Star Fire's foals, Jesse said, horses can have babies one after the other. Brianna suggested Star Fire's foal's name: Blue Star.

The horse Brianna had ridden a bit earlier, had two different colored eyes. Dolly was 4, another horse we met this afternoon, Whiskey was 5. This is young for a horse. They live long lives. Ramon told me. He held the horse Bree was riding. All the animals looked well cared for and loved. Equestrian sports seems like a great way to keep families together. I just loved Stephanie Haynes trailer, her names in big bold lettering.

Stephanie won in her category--I'm vague because I don't remember which one, (I think it was Ladies Steer Undecoratin' The women, take the ribbon off the steer). In the various events: Barrel Racin', Bull Doggin', Calf Roppin', Junior Barrel Racin', and my favorite, Pony Express Relay Race, even when someone missed their goal we applauded their effort. None of it looked easy, even losing.

Most of the contestants grew up on ranches in the south, but here in the SF Bay, we have a strong black cowboy tradition with the parade each year in October in Oakland. I saw Oakland Black Cowboy Association logos on a few folks when we were walking around and I hope to have members of the Black Cowboy Association in Oakland, on my radio show to talk about their annual parade and community barbecue in West Oakland.

I didn't realize it was after six when we left, but like I said, everyone was so nice. I want to go to LA to the finals November 21-22. Listen to the interview I had with Jeff Duvall and Stephanie Haynes Friday, July 10, 9:30 AM, at

A. Peter Bailey

This evening a few of us gathered at a nice barbecue restaurant to meet with Brother Malcolm's friend, A. Peter Bailey. A good friend of Yuri Kochiyama's also, Yuri's children, students of Bailey's at the neighborhood Freedom School in New York. It was great watching the two old friends catch up with one another. Bailey said he had the original letter Yuri sent to Malcolm X introducing herself to him and asking if she could join his organization.

As the evening progressed it was great seeing the comradery and love Brother Peter has for Sister Yuri. At times Phil Hutchings, would lean over and repeat for her what Brother Peter had said; older now, her hearing is not what it was. At times Brother Peter would stop and repeat himself for her. He also spoke fondly of Yuri's late husband, Bill, as a strong presence in the home, his wife's silent partner, how he'd be at all the meetings she called.

Bailey was reared at Tuskegee, Alabama, though he moved to Germany with his family when his dad was transferred there. Bailey later joined the military himself. He moved to Washington, D.C. to enroll at Howard University, where he studied for two years before a trip to New York and his falling under Malcolm's spell, forged a friendship which lasted until the leader was killed—and Bailey never returned.

He spoke about how kind and thoughtful Malcolm was. He spoke about the plots against Malcolm's life and the training he and others learned regarding this United States governments attempt to infiltrate black organizations like Brother Malcolm’s Organization of Afro-American Unity (OAAU).

Bailey spoke about how he learned about writing and security and how a sick nation afraid of its people behaves associated with Malcolm X and OAAU. He edited nine issues. The afternoon Malcolm was killed, he and his leader conversed about the current issue and he was told not to run it that day.

Brother Malcolm stressed to his staff how important it was to use the right words to avoid slander and potential legal suits. Brother Peter said Malcolm stated as an example, the use of the words “murderer” and “killer.” He was speaking of the killing of a black youth by New York police in the issue in question. Those journalists who used the word "murderer" were sued for slander, not Bailey and his staff.

Brother Peter spoke of the reunion of OAAU members August 2006. He said the last time many of them had seen each other was in 1965—there are five hours of unedited footage on DVD. He said such an event would never happen again. One reason for this is the death of many members since then. He spoke of the book, "Malcolm X, Man and His Time," how he and his comrade Earl edited this volume to set the record straight about Brother Malcolm— how they took the book to Dr. John Henrick Clarke to get a publisher, Clarke, a more established scholar.

He said of the 18 OAAU members present at the reunion, 15 were at the Audubon Ballroom that day Malcolm was killed. So was Yuri, who knew El Hajj Malik from his Nation of Islam days--

One could see the look that passed between the two witnesses to the execution. Bailey recalled the day . . . the blood, the melee in the room, what the shots sounded like, how many, the professional nature of the killing, where people were sitting—enemies and friends.

At the reunion Bailey said he put out a call for papers and has received 12 so far even though he hasn't decided what to do with the DVD and papers. His memoir will be out next year.

The conversation shifted and turned, touching on the profound impact Malcolm had on African nations and their support of OAAU. He referenced the 1964 debate on Congo, and Guinea's response to the U.S. posture that it needed to look at its own policies regarding its treatment of African American citizens. In other words, MIND YO OWN BIZNESS MISTER CHARLIE!

It sounded so exciting! Brother Peter recalled Dr. Clarke said six countries were ready to support Malcolm's call for the World Court to address the apartheid on America. When I asked Brother Peter to name the countries, he said they were Ghana, Guinea, Algeria, Tanzania....This was what he asked Spike Lee to focus on in his film: Malcolm’s international work. He said Lee interviewed him for hours and the resulting film was a big disappointment, but with the commercial backing, Brother Peter said, Spike Lee’s Malcolm X is about as close to the true commercial Malcolm as we will get. He told Lee to show the COINTELPRO surveillance. Lee said he did, but if one wasn’t paying attention s/he could miss it.

Brother Peter started to tell us about an article he wrote about Michael Jackson and his hatred of his blackness. I think it is published by the National News Publication Association. He spoke about the tension between Jackie Robinson and Brother Malcolm, which Robinson put on hold when the four girls were murdered in 1963bombing of the church. Robinson called for a rally in New York and invited Brother Malcolm to speak. El Hajj Malik El Shabazz spoke first and was followed by Eartha Kitt, who was booed. Speaking out loud, Brother Peter asked why the crowd booed and without knowing him, Brother Malcolm answered: "because all her husbands are white men."

When Bailey joined the organization the split had occurred and so he didn’t meet Muhammad Ali, but he did know Minister Farrakhan. Though there wasn’t a detour, one could tell there was a story there.

Brother Malcolm was a master teacher, Brother Peter said of his friend. At that time, he worked as a file clerk at Times Inc. What he did was create files on persons mentioned three of more times in the newspaper. When Brother Malcolm was killed, they asked him to pull everything they had on file on this man's life.

In retrospect he said security should have overrode Malcolm's decision to not check guests that afternoon in February at the Audubon Ballroom. Malcolm said they would start at the next event. Brother Peter spoke about the chaos after the shooting and police inaction. He also spoke of a trip earlier that same year where France wouldn't let Malcolm land in Paris. The government sent the plane back to England. Carlos Moore was there waiting to greet Malcolm and got on the phone and told comrades in England Malcolm was coming back. Reminds one of Anti-American propaganda during the Cold War where the U.S. would take citizens’ passports. They took Paul Robeson’s, Richard Wright’s—I don’t know why France wouldn’t let Malcolm disembark.

Brother Peter spoke about Malcolm statement that the biggest obstacle to black unity freedom and success had to do with the psychological assault of white supremacy on the black psyche.

The Honorable Elijah Muhammad said such people were deaf, blind and dumb to the knowledge of self. They were for all intents and purpose dead and only knowledge of self would wake them up. When I was a kid and I’d hear the minister, I thought he was speaking of zombies, not people.

The day Brother Malcolm was killed Brother Peter said he'd clipped an article and shared with Malcolm about a group calling themselves "Deacons of Defense of Justice." Brother Malcolm saw the move as one worth duplicating throughout the country.

Contrary to what has been said that Malcolm thought he was going to die, Brother Peter said Malcolm spoke that day of doing more work developing the OAAU after returning from an invitation to speak at an event hosted by the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee in Mississippi.

Brother Peter spoke about the U.S. government’s desire for a blood bath between the Nation of Islam and OAAU, yet Malcolm spoiled their plans when he took the fight for justice for black people international. He emphasized the system of racism even before the term structural violence and institutional racism became P.C. or politically correct parlance. When one speaks of the time between 1955 and 1965, Brother Peter said one needs to put it in the context of the height of the Civil Rights Movement, Cold War...oppression and violence.

After Brother Malcolm was killed some of his closest friends went underground, like Earl Grant who had to leave town and then the country. Brother Peter kept his friend’s things for two years while Grant was on the lam. Brother Peter spoke about the FBI interrogation after Malcolm was killed. They didn’t bring him in for questioning right away, but when they did, he was prepared. Brother Malcolm had prepared them. He knew how to answer their questions and what questions they would make. He spoke about the tricks they played which he didn’t fall for.

As he spoke he mentioned books which were written about this time: he co-wrote the “Seventh Child: A Family Memoir of Malcolm X,” by Rodnell P. Collins (Malcolm’s nephew) and A. Peter Bailey (1988) and other authors such as Muhammad Ahmad, Maxwell Stanford Jr.— “We Will Return In The Whirlwind: Black Radical Organizations 1960-1975,” Afro Cuban Carlos Moore, and British journalist Anthony Summers who wrote about JFK, when mentioning how misguided black people were who were so in love with JFK. He said the reason JFK's sent troops into Little Rock was only after African nations challenged America's treatment of its black citizens, and if I recall his words correctly, said they were going to send troops into America to protect us. Yeah, wow! is an understatement.

Another book mentioned was: "Revolutionaries to Race Leaders, Black Power and the Making of African American Politics" by Cedric Johnson. He spoke of finding 60 bound volumes of old Pittsburgh Couriers in a closet at the Schomburg library where a custodian instructed to throw them away had the good sense to disobey those orders.

This was just one example of how poorly the library took care of its archival materials, and to hear Brother Peter tell it, nothing significant has changed in its policy. I didn't understand why the black librarians haven't as local and national organization done something about this, after all, NYPL, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture is a branch of the New York Public Library, similar to the African American Museum and Library here in Oakland where our archived materials are better cared for. I know; I'm a trustee.

Brother Peter recalled one of the newspaper's columnists, George Samuel Schuyler who wrote brilliantly then, he said and the complete about face in later publications like his: Black and Conservative (1966). His opposition to Martin King's receipt of the Noble Peace Prize was cause for his separation papers from the black newspaper (1966).

His faced glowed as he spoke of press junkets he organized for journalists while editor for Ebony (1968-1975) to this country and that, the first African American Beauty contest where these five brothers sang. This was his first time seeing the Jackson Five. A collector, he began collecting magazines with Michael Jackson on the cover years ago, and planned to make them available as a collection at Jackson's concert tour. Now that Michael is dead, he has to figure out how much to charge. Adeeba Deterville, who was there that night, said to make sure there are two commas in the figure.

He excitedly told us about his serious first issue collection of black magazines: Ebony, Negro Digest...and how excited he was to see for the first time a copy of Jet. He joked with its owner that he'd better keep his eyes on his property.

When asked about Malcolm's children he said that Malcolm's grandson, who is 24 now, asked Brother Peter to send him the OAAU goals and objectives. He wasn't certain if the grandson had received the letter, until the young man told him to forgive him for not writing back when he saw him later after his release. See

Brother Peter said young Malcolm hung out with his aunt Iyasha in January for the Inauguration and is now at the University of Syria. He said he introduced Attalla to Yolanda King. Attalla loved theatre. I think he said at the time Yolanda was the Associate Director of Black Theatre and together the two women founded Alliance Theatre and had plans to write a play, "Of One Mind," about their two fathers. Brother Peter was on his way to LA where Attalla was on the list to visit.

An editor and writer for Ebony Magazine from 1968 to 1975, Brother Peter teaches journalism in Washington D.C. and still writes for the National Black Journalism Association.

It was such a delight listening to him talk and talk and talk. It felt like Africa, where the dancing and music goes on and on. At 10:30 the conversation shifted to the street not because anyone was tired of listening and talking, no, the restaurant closed but not before we took photos.

While Brother Peter waited for Shukuru to bring her car around to take him back to his hotel the conversation continued. I just took photos and wished I'd had more space on my recorder, but I didn't. I taped the conversation at dinner, but I haven't listened to it yet. This narrative is from my notes and memory. I hope it's accurate, so it’s subject to editing (smile).

Brother Peter was headed to LA the next day. When not traveling he teaches mass media at the University of the District of Columbia and writes for the National Newspaper Publishers Association where he proudly shared, one of his protégées works.

As Brother Peter spoke, Shukuru Sanders who'd just returned from New York knew many of the people Brother Peter spoke of, as did Amara, Michael Lange who is known here for his dramatization of Malcolm X's speeches. Marcel Diallo and his family were present, as was Emory Douglas who told me of Eartha Kitt's support for the Black Panther Party. Duane Deterville, who'd hosted one of Brother Peter's colleagues recently at Marcel Diallo's Black Dot Cafe, was one of the folks hanging outside the restaurant until Brother Peter had to go. Folks in the restaurant who were not a part of our party were drawn into the discussion.

He is a great storyteller who answered question after question but never lost the theme which he began, that Michael Jackson's whiteness was a symptom of what he says Brother Malcolm would speak of constantly, white supremacy and its affect on black consciousness.