Saturday, February 27, 2010

Savior's Day

When I was a little girl on February 26, we'd go to the temple or mosque to listen to the Honorable Elijah Muhammad's annual address from Chicago on God's birthday. On February 26, god came in the person of Master Fard Muhammad. (Feb. 26 was his birthday). He met then Elijah Cook in Detroit, originally from Macon, Georgia, and taught him his version of the religion, stayed for a bit and then moved on, never to be heard from again.

The Black Panthers have a peacock chair with Huey Newton, holding a rifle, Muslims have the photo with Fard Muhammad, Elijah Muhammad and at that time, Wallace D. Muhammad, holding a Qur'an.

There is a lot of mystery surrounding Fard Muhammad, but all I know is that he was god in the flesh. Unlike Christians, I can't think of anyone who prayed to him, or looked to him for salvation. I never confused him with Allah, the supreme being or creator, but I always found it cool that a messenger came from the black community and like Moses, God spoke to a black man.

In the Nation of Islam, the Messenger cited more from the bible than Qur'an, a book I never mastered or read. I think there was one in the house--in fact, I know there was, but my rationale was, why read the bible if the Muslim book was Qur'an, so I read Qur'an. Most Muslims had it in the highest place in their home: on closet shelves, on top of cabinets. Ours was on the book shelf in a stand, open to whatever section my dad was reading at the time he put it there. I noticed on my recent trip to Africa that in the Gambian home I stayed, the Qur'an was on a high shelf, wrapped in cloth.

But folks in Africa knew the Qur'an, although I think they knew Hadith or the wisdom of their cheikhs better.

I don't know what it is, but I was looking forward to this Savior's Day more than in year's past. I never got to Chicago to hear the Messenger in person, and when I went to McCormick Place about 14 years ago, Minister Farrakhan delivered the keynote and by the time we were checked, there were no seats inside so my cousin and I left. I hadn't traveled all the way to Chi-town to see Minister Farrakhan on close circuit TV. I could do that at home.

I went to the Chicago Metropolitan Museum instead to see the Impressionists exhibit, and what I remember was Monet's "Water Lilies."

I did too much today. Instead of going to San Francisco, I probably should have gone to La Pena to see Jovelyn Richard's "Come Home," but I wanted to see Robert Moses' Kin's latest the Cinderella Project, which I enjoyed what I didn't doze through. Earlier today I discovered a new gallery in Oakland: 57th Street Gallery on 57th Street and Telegraph. The exhibit there now has a closing party, February 27, and comes down March 2. An all women exhibit goes up the next day. I got a sneak preview of one of the artist's work.

I have too many choices Saturday as well. I plan to get to some of the satellite exhibits for the Art of Living Black, the shows at Mills College and the Studio 750 A on 14th Street. I might swing back by Joyce Gordon Gallery which has a fabulous all women show. Poet Laureate, Wole Soyinka is giving the key note at the scholarship fundraiser that afternoon at the Aquatic Center; there is a Zimbabwean ensemble playing at Ashkanez, "The Breach," continues at Cultural Odyssey at the African American Art and Cultural Complex through Sunday afternoon.

Now that is an experience not to miss. Black Choreographers Here and Now close a very successful season this weekend as well at Dance Mission. These choreographers are called, Next Wave and some were commissioned for this season.

I wanted to get over to ACT to see the Caucasian Chalk Circle. I don't know if that is happening. Sunday after I go to the "Ayibobo: A Prayer for Haiti" at Glide Memorial Church on Sunday, February 28, 1:30-4:30, I will probably chill out in San Francisco and go to BCHN.

Alvin Ailey comes into town next week, Tuesday, March 9, I am excited. Monday, March 1, Chinaka Hodge's play opens at Intersection for the Arts. Thursday, March 4, 7:30 at the Emeryville theatre(Bay Street)there is a special fundraiser and screening of two films highlighting the book, Half the Sky. I wish I could get back to LA to see the play I missed and the black doll show at William Still, both close Sunday, February 28.

I have had some great interviews with a lot of the principals in these upcoming or closing shows, so tune into: (Wanda's Picks on


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