Friday, May 21, 2010

Take BACK the MIC!

When I got to the club I could hear the music from across the street. TAKE BACK THE MIC! was an opportunity for artists and everyday people to have our attention, to step into the discourse and listen and take part. When I walked in children were dancing and playing on a sleeping bag on the floor. One mother had a pump and filled balloons which the children hit each other with as they tossed them in the air.

When I came into the club several cameras were up collecting footage, Aaron Ableman Ensemble (Live World Hop) on stage performing--he gave a shout out to Wanda's Picks Radio, which I thought was nice! Between sets a roaming reporter with a camera interviewed special guests and artists.

He walked by me, so I guess I wasn't special enough (smile). An artist on stage completed a painting this evening--I don't know where it will hang.

I'd missed Luisah Teish's eco-stories, but I got to say hi before she left. I missed Dave Room's Malia's Papa.

Soyinka had her drum and sat next to me with her friend. Nearby a cute child danced and sang and enjoyed herself as mom and dad stayed close. Naru told a story about how often we make simple things complicated. A representative from Ella Baker Center spoke about the City of Oakland's powerful environmental policy, along with the current ballot initiatives like Prop 16 which we were encouraged to vote no on--that's the one where PGE gets all the business and local alternative energy resources are shut out of the process. There was also a ballot initiative in November which is also a no vote.

The whole idea for the evening, Take Back the Mic! was to have communities take control of the story, interrupt media and change the narratives perpetrated about black (and other) communities--often called "urban" where all the news is bad, scary or frightening. This campaign is going to be worldwide. The idea was born from a song Derrick and his friends in Ghana produced to counteract the negative stereotypes of black people. The folksong, Sweet Mama, reminds me of Tupac's Dear Mama, without the flaws or guilt--this matrilineal paragon is raised up and honored all over Africa.

In a popular music video the artists flipping the negative media to positive without lifting a finger to advertise. The audience came via the Internet as will most of the movement folks who were taping on flip cameras.

The revolution will not be televised, it will be on-line posted on Facebook. It will certainly be twittered maybe even "linked-in."

Get wise and connect.

Outside the community center, Derrick used plants to make a veve on the sidewalk in front of the window. It was pretty cool.

Seasunz & Ambessa FiyaPowa (Spiritual Hip-Hop)followed Naru and a raffle for tickets to the Harmony Festival June 11-13, 2010. Soulf├Ęge (an LA-based Afro-beat) closed the evening about midnight, DJ Audiopharmacy spinning us in the balmy night. It was a cool launch for the campaign. All around people were videotaping and taking photos to document the evening and to learn more about next steps.

Grind for the Green was in the house. I think their next event is August 14, 2010.

For more info: www.soulfege.com, www.baylocalize.org and www.communitree.net

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