Friday, September 28, 2012

Wanda's Picks Radio Show Friday, September 28, 2012

Author, James Kilgore joins us to talk about his latest book, murder mystery set in Oakland and Zimbabwe, Prudence Couldn’t Swim, just out on Switchblade Press. He is in town for an author event at Freedom Archives: From Fugitive to Fiction: The Literary and Political Odyssey of James Kilgore, Sunday September 30, 2012: 4-6pm, 518 Valencia Street - San Francisco.

Kilgore was a fugitive for 27 years, on the run for his participation in political violence in California during the 1970s. He spent most of his time underground in Southern Africa, where he was an educator, activist and father. Upon his arrest in Cape Town in 2002, dozens of people from around the world, including Nobel Laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa, wrote letters of support to the court. In the end, the U.S. authorities sentenced him to six and a half years in prison, which he completed in 2009. Currently a research scholar at the Center for African Studies at the University of Illinois and an activist on criminal justice issues, Kilgore has just returned from his first visit to South Africa since his arrest. Now he will be making his first trip to California since his release from prison.

For more information about the event Sunday, Sept. 30, 2-4 p.m., at Freedom Archives visit or call 415-863-9977

We play an archival interview with director, Abigail Disney about the Women and Girls Lead Initiative on PBS October 2011.

She is followed by Halifu Osumare, Ph.D., Black Popular Culture and Dance Studies Scholar, who joins us to speak about her latest book: The Hiplife in Ghana: West African Indigenization of Hip-Hop published by Palgrave Macmillan and the reading at Underground Books in Sacramento, Sat., Sept. 29, 2-4 p.m. Visit

Professor Halifu Osumare is currently Associate Professor and Director of African American and African Studies at University of California, Davis. She has been a dancer, choreographer, arts administrator, and scholar of black popular culture for over thirty years. She has accomplished many of these roles not only in the U.S., but also in Africa in the countries of Ghana, Nigeria, Malawi, and Kenya. Her teaching and writing spans the traditional African to the contemporary African American, to which her 2007 book, The Africanist Aesthetic in Global Hip-Hop: Power Moves, testifies.

She holds a M.A. in Dance Ethnology from San Francisco State University and a Ph.D. in American Studies from the University of Hawai`i at Manoa. Photos from

Members of The Pyramids: Idris Ackamoor, Kenneth Nash and Kimathi Asante, on the occasion of their 40 Anniversary 1972-2012 release “Otherworldly” join us to talk about their gala performance event Nov. 1-3, 2012 as a part of The Underground Jazz Cabaret at The African American Art and Culture Complex Burial Clay Theater, 762 Fulton Street, in San Francisco. They also talk about Antioch College  with Cecil Taylor, study abroad programs where the ensemble first went to France to study French then to Africa where they spent nine months studying and playing and collecting instruments in Morocco, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Senegal, and Ghana. We spoke about their seminal work: "Otherworldly," just released --the reunion tour about five years ago after 35 years where they took Europe by storm. In a follow-up interview, Kimathi spoke of living in the hinterlands of Ohio, where not even his wife knew his performance history or heard him play up to that point, when Idris made they call inviting him to join the other musicians on a reunion tour.

Kimathi says he is playing better now than ever in his career and is happy he can travel freely as a recently retired public school principal.

The San Francisco Party with The Pyramids is part reunion, part kick off of their European Tour which will cross quite a few borders where the ensemble has a huge fan base, a fan base unfortunately absent in America at this writing, but that can change (smile). Besides their latest CD, "Otherworldly," guests Nov. 1-3, will be able to pick up an archival or should I say, historic double CD of the group "back in the day." Visit or (415) 292-1850 for tickets.

Music: Soweto Gospel Choir: "Malaika" and selections from The Pyramids's Otherworldly

Radio show link:

Wanda's Picks Radio Show, Wednesday, Sept. 26, 2012

2012 marks the 20th anniversary of Audre Lorde’s passing, the acclaimed Black lesbian feminist poet and activist. Throughout the 70s and 80s, Lorde’s incisive writings and speeches defined and inspired the women of color, feminist and LGBT social justice movements in the United States.
AUDRE LORDE - THE BERLIN YEARS 1984 TO 1992 explores a little-known chapter of the writer’s prolific life, a period in which she helped ignite the Afro-German Movement and made lasting contributions to the German political and cultural scene before and after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the German reunification. Lorde mentored and encouraged Black German women to write and publish as a way of asserting their identities, rights and culture in a society that isolated and silenced them, while challenging white German women to acknowledge their white privilege. As Lorde wrote in her book Our Dead Behind Us: Poems, “It is not our differences that divide us. It is our inability to recognize, accept, and celebrate those differences.”

AUDRE LORDE - THE BERLIN YEARS 1984 TO 1992 contains previously unreleased audiovisual material from director Dagmar Schultz’s personal archive, showing Lorde on and off stage. With testimony from Lorde’s colleagues, students and friends, this film documents Lorde’s lasting legacy in Germany.

We speak to the director, Dagmar Schultz about her film and the screening, Sat., Sept. 29, 2012, 2 p.m. at the Berlin & Beyond Film Festival in San Francisco at the Castro Theatre. The screening is proceeded by a reading with Afro-German writer, Ika Hügel-Marshallat 1 p.m. from Invisible Woman: Growing Up Black in German. Tickets are $10-$12 for Reading & Film. Visit Visit

Ika Hügel-Marshall © Dagmar Schultz Ika Hügel-Marshall was born in a small German town in 1947 to a white German mother and an Afro-American father. Initially, she grew up with her mother, but from her sixth to her fifteenth year of life she was raised – as many Afro-German children of her generation – in a children’s home. Only at the age of 39 she met other Afro-Germans and was involved in setting up the “Initiative of Black Germans” (ISD). In 1993, she found her father in Chicago and met him and his family – a most profound experience.Hügel-Marshall was the recipient of the Audre Lorde Literary Award, which enabled her to write this critically acclaimed work. Hügel-Marshall also appears in Schultz’s film following the reading and was a close personal friend of Lorde.

Our next guest Ayodele WordSlanger Nzinga has been called a renaissance woman. She is a director, playwright, poet, performance artist, artist-educator, and a scholar-activist. Ishmael Reed describes her as tour de force. Marvin X says her performances are orgasmic and she is one of the best in the Bay. The late Pri Thomas called her one of the best poets of our time.

Nzinga is the founding director of The Lower Bottom Playaz and The Sister Thea Bowman Memorial Theater, 920 Peralta Street (in the yard behind the Prescott Joseph Center). The theater located in West Oakland has provided Oakland with 11 Theater Seasons and her troupe is the life behind the footlights in the theater the press describes as one of Oakland's treasures.

She is currently directing August Wilson's The Piano Lesson which will open October 5 in Oakland. She is also taking a work by William Crossman, Rag Doll Lullaby to the San Francisco Theater Festival September 30, 2012, where she will perform her own work, North American Griot as well. The Theatre Festival starts is11:30 AM to 4 PM. I recommend the North of Market Tenderloin Community Benefit District, 134 Golden Gate Ave., San Francisco:

Sat., Sept. 29, 2012 is a fundraiser for the theatre at its Oakland location.

Ms. Nzinga holds an MA and MFA in Writing and Consciousness and a Ph.D. in Transformative Education and Change.

Her motto is: I create therefore I am. Visit

We close with an interview with Professor Manu Ampim and Ammnah Babikir about the flooding of pyramids in Sudan. The classical African civilizations of ancient Kush and Nubia are in jeopardy of being permanently flooded by a series of dams along the Nile River in northern and central Sudan. Time is limited for Prof. Manu Ampim and his research team to document the remaining archaeological evidence before the flooding begins. The mission will require $50,000 to complete and help convince UNESCO to begin protection of the sites.

Ancient Kush & Nubia Under Threat, Saturday, October 13, 2012 from 3:00 PM to 6:00 PM (PDT) at the LINEN LIFE GALLERY, 770 E 14th Street, San Leandro, CA 94577. Visit

Ammnah Babikir, a Sudanese and African American woman, brings insight about this region where she lived for over a year with her paternal family. Ms. Babikir is also a poet, violence intervention/mediation intern and survivor of sexual and domestic violence.

Professor Manu Ampim is an historian and primary (first-hand) researcher specializing in African and African American history and culture. He earned a Masters of Arts degree in History & African American Studies from Morgan State University in 1989. He has taught in the Department of History at Morgan State University (Baltimore, MD), and at San Francisco State University in the Department of Ethnic Studies. Also, Ampim has studied at Oxford University in England, and collaborated on a NASA-sponsored research project, which examined the ancient climate and migration patterns in Africa. Currently, Prof. Ampim teaches history at Contra Costa College (San Pablo, CA), and a Africana Studies/Study Abroad course at Merritt College in Oakland, CA. He also teaches a pioneering 7-Step Primary Research Methodology Course at Advancing The Research.

Show link:

Friday, September 21, 2012

Wanda's Picks Radio Show, Sept. 22, 2012

Monir Ahmed Shakil-AKBAR carrying a brick, trying to escape from his captor (smile). He's the villain, so don't feel sorry for him. The tag line is: "Some men run from their past, while others chase it." I think the lesson is that we often run toward something from afar that looks inviting only to find out too late that it was not worth the exertion.  Perhaps deadbeat dads are better left in their graves?

Shahed Ali Sujon-
BABU is on a mission to make men who abandon their families accountable, especially those who like AKBAR are running for government positions. AKBAR who is a gangster and family man has a dirty little secret worse than the grime and graft that fills his boots as he wallows in spiritual sewage.

We wonder what motivates BABU and Amit Ashraf, the clever screenwriter and director he is, saves the reason for the end--it is so fantastical, at least for me, I never guess where the rickshaw is headed until the driver is pumping me for a tip which I gladly gave--Running is certainly worth every turn and twist to its sad yet entirely realistic end. Sometimes it's better to not know the end of the story (smile). Sometimes what we have is as good as it gets. Look at BABU--he has a wife whom he loves, a beautiful son, respect in his community--yet he's a good guy, who like Superman, can't let the less fortunate suffer.

Running shows us that for all BABU's efforts, one cannot force the moral hand of an evil entity. Evil exists and it walks on two legs like AKBAR's, who is ironically takes the name the Greatest, an attribute normally associated with God. At one point, AKBAR gets into an argument with BABU and BABU tells him that he is not perfect or even more special than the captive. That the goal in life is to be a person.

AKBAR has trouble being a person. Somewhere along his journey he loses his humanity and once lost BABU's injections --a visit to a temple where he get a reading; time in the country where he can reflect on his past; and finally an opportunity to right grievous wrongs is a waste. Redemption comes from the inside and AKBAR has no internal life he can access. His heart is gone, as he says to BABU, he stays drunk and high so he can move through the remainder of his days in a DAZE. Running is not for the faint of heart; instructive it shows how much families suffer when their fathers leave and some, like BABU will move heaven and earth sometimes to put things back together.

Today we speak to Amit Ashraf, director of Runaway (Udhao) and composer, Jacob Yoffee, who are in town for the screening this evening at 3rdi South Asian Film Festival, Bollywood and Beyond, 7:15 PM at the Roxie Theatre. Visit


A graduate of NYU’s film and dramatic writing program, Amit is an award-winning film director. Passionate about storytelling, filmmaking and animation, he has been making movies for over ten years.  The true stories of runaways in Bangladesh inspired Amit to write and direct Runaway, which will be his first feature. He has several projects in the works already, both in Bangladesh and outside.

Jacob Yoffee: With a jazz background, Jacob graduated from NYU’s film scoring program where he met Amit. He worked on Amit’s thesis film and was later hired for Runaway. His versatility and orchestral composition is what drew Amit to him. Jacob is now working in LA on several studio pictures.

We close with an interview with Michael Ross, curator & artists: Stephanie Ann Johnson, Patricia A. Montgomery, Lisa Ramos, re:the exhibit Race: Art Before Answers in the African American  Center at the San Francisco Public Library, 100 Larkin Street, through Oct. 18, 2012. This exhibit is a part of AfroSolo Festival 19. Visit The reception and artist talk is Sunday, Sept. 23, 2-4 in the Latino Heritage Room, lower level.

Visit (415) 557-4277. Music: from Huun Huur Tu: "Prayer"; "Ancestors"; Avery Sharpe's "Ain't I a Woman"; Mo'Rockin' Project's "Tajine"; Ben Vereen's "Defying Gravity."