Friday, July 04, 2014

Wanda’s Picks Radio Friday, July 4, 2014

We opened with a prerecorded interview with Nefertina Abrams, Royal House of Makeda Productions, and Melame Gange, ModeAfrika apparel, (first aired 7/2/2014) re: Ubuntu-Faqir Simunye Pan African Love and Unity Festival on its concluding night, July 4, 2014, 7 p.m. to 1 a.m. at the Humanist Hall on 27th Street, in Oakland. We open with Gange’s “African Suns.”

Melame Gange and Nefertina Abrams, July 3, 2014
Ubuntu-Faqir Simunye Pan African Love and Unity Festival
photo credit: Wanda Sabir
David J. Dennis, Sr., Civil Rights Activist
and Community Organizer
We then play a segment from an interview with Civil Rights Movement architect, Dave Dennis, who is just returning home from a successful 50th Anniversary Conference at Tougaloo College in Mississippi. The goal of the conference was to answer the following questions: What were the lessons learned? How do they apply to today’s challenges? What is the next phrase? How will an appropriate response be developed for the next phase?

While speaking to Mr. Dennis about the conference and current issues on the stove top boiling over presently like Voter’s Rights and Educational Opportunity, especially for black youth as access to higher education is still neither the norm or representative of the majority of black families, Mr. Dennis the first in his family to graduate from high school.  50 years later, I meet students in my classroom who are the first to graduate from high school and college.

Next steps obviously include access to college education and programs in place to address the attrition rate among black men. Ironically, the issues around voter’s rights are expiring as state’s reevaluate residents’ rights and make certain residents ineligible or make voter registration difficult and access to the polls another hurdle in a society where historic memory is a tragedy of youthful ignorance and social apathy.

See and USA Today Freedom Summer

I share a bit from a wonderful article in the AARP newsletter about the two men, Bob Moses and Dave Dennis’s reunite after many years apart concerning another human rights issue, educational opportunity, something that still eludes many black children and Moses and Dennis’s work through The Algebra Project to demystify and bring these kids into the social economic loop

The absence of such access reflects systemic efforts and a national move to keep black people forever on the bottom of the heap; if one limits a people’s access to knowledge, a permanent underclass is normalized. Not anything new, when one looks at the slave codes which forbade educating black people. Privatization of education, increased prison building and development, plus a legal framework which supports these insidious policies, just point to the massacre we are seeing unfolding as the cradle to prison pipeline grabs more and more of our youth, youth who are not able to compete intellectually in the ring and so become casualties. Call it preventable crib death.

The Algebra Project fits these children with gloves and schools them in a winning strategy, that is, how to win the battle which continues to rage 50 years after the strides made 50 years ago. The poison is in the formula, the bottle, the bedding, everything connected politically to our success as a nation up from slavery. We cannot trust anyone, especially a politician, to have our best interests at heart if we forget to hold these same interests dear as well.

"Dave Dennis was a Freedom Rider and Co-Director of the Council of Federated Organizations (COFO) in Mississippi. Dennis was the Mississippi director of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), but he worked with SNCC members and other civil rights activists in Mississippi under the COFO umbrella to avoid intra-organizational conflicts. COFO organized activists for a Mississippi voter registration drive during "Freedom Summer." Dennis spoke at the funeral of James Chaney, and he worked closely with both Bob Moses and Medgar Evers" (Blackside, Inc.).

He writes on his website: Dave Dennis Connections that "he has been fifty years in the making.  As a speaker, Dave will make available to the public his experiences in the Civil Rights Movement from 1960-1965, using those experiences to frame his personal analysis of the impact of the Civil Rights Movement on present society, both positive and negative, and to share his personal experiences and observations on education that are derived from his involvement with the Algebra Project and the impact of that work on the present and future education system(s) in America."

In an interview with Blackside Inc., Nov. 10. 1985, for the seminal series, Eyes on the Prize: The Civil Rights Years 1954-1965 we are privy to transcript which is not included in the series.

In this work Mr. Dennis reflects on the battleground, tragedies of war and lessons he learned which were not necessarily anticipated. One of these that the United States under Johnson especially after JFK was killed, would not protect the Civil Rights volunteers. The FBI observed, yet did nothing to stop the bloodshed. In a preconference workshop, legal interns from throughout the country, with some from outside this nation, were assigned cold cases, that is, murder cases of black people also casualties of the Civil Rights Movement (1954-1965), plus Jim Crow Laws which have yet to be solved. The cases span the years 1910 t0 1979.

This organization founded by Dr. Margaret Burnham out of Northeastern University, the Civil Rights and Restorative Justice Project (CRRJ) takes its lead from the reopening of, prosecution and resolution of the Emmett Till case, his murder said by many to be the start of the Civil Rights Movement. Mrs. Rosa Parks was certainly thinking of the youth when she refused to surrender her seat on the Montgomery bus not long after his murder. The Emmett Till Unsolved Civil Rights Crime Act of 2007 passed unanimously on September 24, 2008, and signed into law by President George W. Bush in October 2008.   See

In many ways the passage of the Civil Rights Act, reflects a compromise which to date, still does not benefit black people who are in many ways worse off regarding economic access to wealth and quality education despite having so many black people in political office. It is a Trojan Horse, Mr. Dennis says of the Act, impressive, yet when one examines its interior--it leaves much to be desired. He says this as he proceeds to share the four buckets trajectory to outline next steps for the ensuing 50 years.

There was a lot of celebration and congratulations, I am certain at the grand reunion two weeks ago, but these elders or veterans of the Civil Rights Movement (CRM), men and women, plus the 700 or so youth were clear that the battle was not won as they rolled up their sleeves and joined hands. Mr. Dennis said it was easier to organize people 50 years ago because then people were more tangibly connected; now it is hard to find this same synergy within the black community. Even the churches are not as cohesive a destination as before, perhaps because many are so huge, parishioners do not have personal relationships with one another.

Nonetheless, people are encouraged to make their voices known to their city council, county supervisors, on up from governor and congress and senators to our president whose name is attached administratively to policies which undermine the gains made 50 years ago June 2014.

Neferina Abrams’s Royal House of Makeda Productions is an edutainment company whose focus is on creating unity within Africa the African Diaspora through the Arts and Entertainment. The Ubuntu-Faqir Simunye Pan African Love and Unity Concert is more than just some music concert, it is a space to network, learn about businesses you can support, put faces to names, build a network, it is a beginning and certainly not the answer to every question. 
Neferina Abrams and her mother, Mrs. Geraldine Abrams?
Opening Night, July 3, 2014
photo credit: Wanda Sabir

Ms. Abrams gives a lecture chronically Pan Africa’s historic unity which includes oral testimony from an Ethiopian elder the honorable Getachew Asrat, was a child who helped our Great Leaders plant trees to symbolize the growth of African Unity during the 1963 conference in Ethiopia.

Abrams says, “Think of my show like those trees, I am trying to grow unity through the practice of culture. I am an Africana History lecturer and a visual anthropologist which is a person who studies culture with a camera and makes documentaries.
Sista Dymah Rodgers (singer)
"Living on the Edge"

Next she is traveling to Barbados to do research on enslavement during the research process. She states: “I found records of an ancestor of mine who had been enslaved on the island.  I will be doing a documentary which I will show upon my return.  I am also getting ready to begin doctoral research in which my thesis will be a feature length documentary on 'Repatriation.’”

Stay tuned.

One of the dancers Opening Night
Melame Gange’s African Suns celebrates our heroes and the spirit of promise inherent in African sons.  We close the show with his single “Dancing Partner.”  He writes: "This new lover’s rock reggae anthem pays homage to the 50’s era, celebrating dance culture and the power it brings to the human spirit. Gange’s soulful vocals are accompanied by an assortment of instruments that complement the retro spirit of the song encouraging listeners to find their dancing partner."

“This is a protest song” says the singer. “I’m protesting the end of the era where people used to dance. We need that. We need music that moves people to dance.”  The song is available on   Also visit

What I like about the song is Gange’s beautiful vocals. The native Virgin Islander is making his mark on the local and international world of Reggae Music one hit single at a time. This soulful, roots reggae singer, is motivated by a deeper understanding of life, history and culture with a sincere desire to help his people find FREEDOM through music. In addition to his mesmerizing stage presence and captivating voice, his raw vocal talent is most often coupled with issues that he is passionate about, creating a conscious level of music that the people can relate to and “support de ting.” Gange has shared the stage with many of reggae’s royalty bringing forth a message of peace.

Melame Gange is the founder and lead designer of ModeAfrika apparel, a conscious clothing brand that merges history, culture and fashion into each of their unique designs. He is also the founder and Executive Director of Beach Fyah, an annual concert that showcases local music, art and fashion, held at deferent beaches throughout the Caribbean. Stay tuned for Beach Fiyah 2014 “Support de Ting”!

For bookings, drops, dubs and other inquiries contact

Music: selections from Meklit and Quinn and Melik Hadero; the Nile Project: Salaam Nubia from Aswan and Tezete; Melame Gange's African Suns and Dancing Partner.

Link to show 7/2/2014 audio:

7/4/2014 show:

Show link  for July 2, 2014

Kali and Maji Opening Night, July 3, 2014
Aunt Geraldlynn, Nefertina and Mama Geri Opening Night, July 3, 2014
Two Poetess, Kelly Spice (R)

1. Rebroadcast of Ms. Bonnie Boswell, niece of Civil Rights Leader, Whitney Young, Executive Producer and Producer of Power Broker: Whitney Young's Fight for Civil Rights, aired Feb. 6, 2013.

2. Nefertina Abrams and Melame Gange join us to talk about the first annual THE 'UBUNTU-FIQIR SIMUNYE' PAN AFRICAN LOVE & UNITY CONCERT, July 3 nd 4, 2014, 7 p.m. to 1 a.m. (both days) at the Humanist Hall in Oakland, CA. Admission is $10 for adults, children are free.

3. We close with part 1 of an interview with Civil Rights Maverick the Hon. Dave Dennis, Freedom Rider and Co-Director of the Council of Federated Organizations (COFO) in Mississippi. Dennis was the Mississippi director of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), but he worked with SNCC members and other civil rights activists in Mississippi under the COFO umbrella to avoid intra-organizational conflicts. COFO organized activists for a Mississippi voter registration drive during "Freedom Summer." Dennis spoke at the funeral of James Chaney, and he worked closely with both Bob Moses and Medgar Evers. Visit; (to watch film on-line)

Vendor at Unity Festival Opening Night

D. Haloka and Sprandore

Gange and Ms. Abrams

Ebun and D. Haloka

W. Sabir, Ebun and musician and
choreographers for the African Dance Troupe

Soul of the Lion Proprietor

Ghanian vendor

All photos from Pan African Love and Unity Festival Opening Night July 3, 2014. Photo credit for all pictures: Wanda Sabir


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