Sunday, July 30, 2006


Focus on Africa: Somalia under Sharia

With the rise of the Islamic Courts in Somalia there's been chatter in the mediasphere about a "Taliban-like" regime coming to power in Mogadishu. It's an alarming possibility, but is it really plausible. To get a handle on what is happening Foreign Policy spoke to Craig Timberg who reports on Africa for the Washington Post.

A couple of choice quotes from the article Seven Questions: Somalia’s Struggle...

FOREIGN POLICY: Since 1991, Somalia has been torn apart by rival secular warlords. Why has this Islamic militia risen to power in the capital now?

Craig Timberg: I don’t think anyone knows for sure why it has happened now. One factor was the U.S. support for secular warlords. When it was discovered that the United States was backing warlords who were widely hated, support for the Islamic militants increased.

When I was in Mogadishu recently, I clearly sensed a popular frustration with the United States for having backed lawless warlords. They used to shoot people and rape girls with impunity. They drove around the capital in fancy trucks and flaunted their wealth. For the Americans to have associated with and supported these guys . . . it made Somalis angry and frustrated with the U.S. government.

Just great...another American foreign policy that creates support for radical Islamists, alienates and angers ordinary people, and shreds moral legitimacy...hecuva job.

Friday, July 28, 2006


For the Children: The 2nd Annual Afrofunk Music Festival

Repost from SFSTATION:

"The Afrofunk Festival, which sold out its debut last July to wide critical acclaim, is the first and only Afrobeat Festival in the world. This year’s festival will feature diverse and electrifying International musical acts from Guinea, Algeria, Senegal, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Brazil, and the Bay Area, all coming together to bring the house down while raising funds for Kids in Darfur, Sudan, Niger and Kenya whose lives have been devastated by war and famine. Proceeds from this year's Afrofunk Festival will benefit Save the Children Emergency Relief Fund.

Headlined by festival producer Sila and the Afrofunk Experience, the lineup for 2006 also includes legendary kora master Prince Diabate, Afrobeat heavyweight Jujuba, world-famous improvisationist DJ Cheb i Sabbah, the only American band to ever perform at Fela Kuti’s shrine in Lagos, Nigeria—Aphrodesia, 2005 SF Music Award winner (Best World Music) Albino, local favorites Afrobeat Down, all-female Brazilian funk band Goddess of Funk, Liberia’s DJ Jeremiah, and DJ Emmanuel Nado of Ivory Coast."

Thursday, July 27, 2006


2006 Hip Hop National Convention

I know this is a little late as the convention ended three days ago. But, just in case you, like me, were unable to attend this year, check out Laura Flanders on her RadioNation show. Flanders gets her talk on live from the 2006 Hip Hop Political Convention in Chicago with organizers Robert 'Biko' Baker and Khari Mosely -- talking about their success in reaching young people. Then, women in Hip Hop and the global reach and influence of Hip Hop culture with scholar Dawn-Elissa Fischer and neo-soul music impresario Anasa Troutman.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006


Falasha Films: San Francisco Jewish Film Festival and MOAD turn spotlight on the Ethiopian-Israeli experience

Roni Hadar as Sarah (left) and Sirak M. Sabahat as Shlomo in Radu Mihaileanu's "Live and Become," the closing-night feature of the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival.

This week the Museum of the African Diaspora (MOAD), The San Francisco Jewish Film Festival and the San Francisco Black Film Festival team up to screen films about Ethiopian Jews and Jews of Color as part of SFJFF's 26th year. I'm so excited that this fascinating but overlooked aspect of Jewish culture is finally getting some attention by filmmakers.

Israel, 2005, 54 minutes, Amharic, and Hebrew with English subtitles.

"Winner of the 1st Prize for Documentary Film at the Jerusalem International Film Festival, Sisai is an emotional and eye-opening portrait of immigrants caught between two worlds and two identities. When 23-year-old Sisai, an Ethiopian Jew living in Israel, learns that his adoptive dad has located his biological father in Ethiopia, the two of them, along with his brother (and filmmaker) David Gavro, embark on an unforgettable journey back to Africa. In San Francisco and Berkeley, followed by panel discussions as part of Spotlight on: Ethiopian Jews and Jews of Color."

Sisai will be preceded by
Motherless Haya - North American Premiere, Israel, 2004, 14 minutes, Hebrew, with English subtitles. Haya Zelka, an Ethiopian teenager in the Israeli town of Ramla turns the camera on herself.

July 27, 2006
Live and Become - Film
Director: Radu Mihaileanu
Belgium, France, Isreal, Italy
143 min.
Amharic, french, Hebrew w/ Eng. subtitles

Live and Become will be presented on the 27th as part of the SFJFF's closing night event. The film is described as a "sweeping, emotional saga [in which] an Ethiopian boy from a Sudanese refugee camp is airlifted to Israel during Operation Moses, which transported 8,000 Ethiopian Jews to Israel in 1984. Adopted by a Mizrahi family, Shlomo grows up, falls in love and serves in the Israeli army but is plagued throughout by two secrets: He was not born a Jew and is not an orphan. Radu Mihaileanu has created a monumental drama following one young man’s epic quest for his roots and identity.

Monday, July 24, 2006


Radio Me: Reggie Prim featured on KFAI: Fresh Air Radio 90.3

You know, sometimes you've just got to toot your own horn. And today is one of those days. I can't say I don't feel like a supreme egotist telling you all this, but I think I like doing radio interviews. Today, I was featured on KFAI: Fresh Air Radio in Minneapolis as a guest on Health Notes. The host Kinshasha invited me for the second time to talk about art and community and my trip to Kenya. Also, in the first hour she featured my friend and fellow community worker Sondra Hollinger Samuels, who I am working with at The PEACE Foundation. The PEACE Foundation, on whose board I serve, is dedicated to addressing violence in North Minneapolis, through vigils, interventions, community arts projects, block parties, art crawls and anything else we can come up with can help to strengthen this beset but vital majority Black community. So, check it out at the link below. Do it this week because after that it's history.

Health Notes on Fresh Air Radio 90.3

Sunday, July 23, 2006


Sunday Music Mix: BrokeN'Beat Radio Philadelphia

Usually I would never give away a source of great music...its an instinct that compilationists and DJ's have - protect your sources. But, I'm feeling generous today. And, there aren't that many readers of BlackBloggah anyway so its not like I'm announcing this to million...BrokeN'Beat Radio is a fantastik source for NuJazz mixes from some of the best brokenbeat DJ'on the planet. Here you will find hours and hours of streaming mixes that (if you dig grooves and are, as a friend used to say, "One of the sexy people.") you will difinitely want to check out.

Get you earhole worked with this week's superjazzy mix from 2 duders from Barcelone whose crates must be made of gold...

FRED GUZZO & FRED SPIDER The 2Siders boys from Barcelona mix up a batch of jazz nuggets.

Here's a sample of what's in the mix:

Saturday, July 22, 2006


The 2006 Harlem Book Fair: Black Readers and Writers Unite

Repost from QBR: The Black Book Review

The 8th annual Harlem Book Fair will be held on Saturday, July 22, on West 135th Street, between 5th and 7th Avenues, from 11 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Publishers, writers, literacy vendors will exhibit and author panel discussions will be televised by C-Span’s Book TV. Opening the book fair’s festivities will be the Wheatley Book Award ceremony on Friday, July 21, from 7pm to 9pm, at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture branch of the New York Public Library.The Harlem Book Fair is free and open to the public.

Catch it all on my favorite channel - BookTV on CSPAN2

Tuesday, July 18, 2006


Tidbits from the Times: G.O.P. bid for Black votes fails and bat weilding racist gets 15

Well, although it was a day when the old Grey Lady announced it was laying off 150 people and trimming the size of the paper by 11%, thankfully there was space for a couple of good news stories, definitely fit to print.

Story 1: G.O.P's bid for Black Votes falters
Although I thought the Good Ol' Party had a chance with Black voters by appealing to the our conservative streak - in particular the gay marriage issue. But, then Katrina happened and we had to watch in horror as Black people died and Brownie did a "heck of a job" ignoring the crisis; and Bush's mama made that crazy statement while touring the refugee camps of houston "And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this--this (she chuckles slightly) is working very well for them."
Well, the same can't be said of the G.O.P. bid for Black votes. According to the article in today's New York Times.

Mr. Mehlman’s much-publicized apology to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People seems to have done little to address the resentment that built up over what civil rights leaders view as decades of racial politics practiced or countenanced by Republicans. One example they point to is the first President Bush’s use of the escape of Willie Horton, a black convicted murderer, to portray his Democratic opponent in the 1988 election, Michael S. Dukakis, as soft on crime.

That perception of Republicans as insensitive to racial issues was fed again by the opposition mounted by some House conservatives to an extension of the Voting Rights Act. The House approved the extension last week.

Story 2: Bat-wielding racist gets 15 years for hate crimes
Nicholas Minucci, 20, who was convicted last month of a hate crime in the beating and robbery of a black man in Howard Beach last year, was sentenced to 15 years in jail today.

Mr. Minucci’s “words and actions and the very nature of the crime send out a deplorable message of intolerance and exclusion which impacts us all,” said Justice Richard L. Buchter, who could have sentenced Mr. Minucci to as few as 8 years, or as many as 25 years. “The fact that the crimes were committed as hate crimes makes them far more repugnant and deserving of an enhanced punishment.”


Prophetic Resistance: Islamic Scholar Amina Wadud

Controversial scholar Amina Wadud writes on the place of women in Islam

One of the great fallacies of this historical period is that all of the Islamic world is opposed to the rights of women and that the religion itself denies full humanity to women. It is easy for us to condemn all of Islam as being anti-feminine given the realities of laws and traditional practices that are destructive of the rights, dignity and freedoms of women and girls such as FGM, discriminatory property rights laws; hijab; stoning, etc. But, what if all these practices were aberrations or destructive misreadings of the sacred texts of Islam. Controversial Islamic scholar Amina Wadud makes this very case in her new book and in a recent interview on WNYC's Bryan Lehrer show.

Amina Wadud made the headlines last year when she led a prayer for a group of Muslims in New York. It was a protest of the tradition that forbids female imams in Islam and it drew condemnation from conservative Muslims as well praise from secular feminists. She outlines her arguments for change in a new book, Inside the Gender Jihad: Women's Reform in Islam.

Monday, July 17, 2006


My Nairobi: National Geogrpahic peers into the soul of an African City

"This is the tension that best defines Nairobi: to try (and often fail) to live within the world-views of our traditional nations; to try (and often fail) to be seamless, Western-educated people; to try (and often fail) to be Kenyans—still a new and bewildering idea."

Binyavanga Wainaina

Having recently visited Nairobi for the first time, I was struck by the complexity, vitality, warmth, and frenetic energy of this African capital. A city of contrast, movement, beauty and suffering Nairobi has installed herself into the chambers of heart and mind. I find that I still dream of her often bumpy and convoluted streets, walled complexes, traffic jams, matatu, markets, and proud people.

I was so lucky during my visit to be welcomed into homes, businesses, art centers and family gatherings. Nervous for my first visit outside the U.S. and Europe I scheduled a day-long stop in Zurich. But within hours of arriving there I was seriously bored and wished I'd flown directly to Kenya. On arrival I found a city seemingly on the verge...with a crackling energy and hopefulness that was addicting and catching. I sense an optimism rising in Kenya and I plan to be part of it in the future. If my opinion matters at all, I'd recommend Nairobi as a first stop in Africa.

So, it was with great pleasure that I received an email from my friend Pete Tideman, my guide and travel mate in Kenya, of a National Geographic feature Inventing a City. Check it out for yourself.

Friday, July 14, 2006


Voting Rights Act Renewed Despite Challenges by Republicans

President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the Voting Rights Act in the Capitol Rotunda, Washington DC, as Martin Luther King Jr. and other civil rights leaders look on, August 6, 1965. LBJ Library/ Photo by Yoichi R. Okamoto

Despite attempts by Republicans to shorten its lifespan and modify key provisions, the House of Representative approved a 25-year renewal of the Voting Rights Act. However, it didn't come easy. Republicans worked fiercely to modify or as some suggested "gut" the historic legislation that is considered "the crown jewel of the civil rights movement."

I'm having some difficulty understanding why almost all of the Republicans felt it necessary to attempt to, in essence, destroy a vital piece of legislation that guarantees and sustains our basic democratic right and ensures that all citizens participate in the electoral process without discrimination and intimidation - unless, of course, they are opposed to the values and rights protected in the VRA. Can you imagine that?

The renewal of the VRA is a real reason to celebrate. So, tonight, raise a glass to the brave freedom workers who courageously challenged this nation to put into law the values and rights it so nobly espoused but worked so long to deny. Raise a glass to the heroes and martyrs of the movement. Remember the rights we enjoy today were paid for with blood. Remember Cheney, Goodman, and Schwerner. And, in their honor and memory, please VOTE!

Thursday, July 13, 2006


Not Satisfied Yet: BET Founder Johnson in Talks to Found New Urban Media Co.

The cover of the New York Times business section reported that the Weinstein Company is in negotiations with Robert L. Johnson, founder of BET to form a new media company that will focus on black family entertainment. What will the billionaire brotha do next? I guess he's not satisfied with being the biggest black hotelier in the world (the brotha bought 63 hotels for 1 billion dollars) and running his private equity business the RLJ Companies (notice the plural and the subtle use of his own initials...and private equity is whitespeech for "all this is my money".) Well, I suspect this new venture will earn gazillions and will no doubt leave us with reams of hogwash...ooops I mean entertainment that will delight and uplift us. More power to the brotha. Wish I had summahismoney. Hey Bob! I can write. Send a brotha a check for a script. I got a buncha scripts waiting for your new production company to come along and film them. Help a brotha out with a couple million or know you can spare it.

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