Amoeblog

California Fool's Gold -- Exploring South Central

Posted by Eric Brightwell, February 6, 2014 11:10am | Post a Comment

IS BUSTIN' A CAP REALLY FUNDAMENTAL? -- SOUTH CENTRAL

Pendersleigh & Sons Cartography's map of South Central
Pendersleigh & Sons Cartography's Map of South Central

South Central means different things to different people. To some it refers to a vast, amorphous collection of neighborhoods and cities between the Santa Monica Bay and the San Gabriel River, north of the San Pedro Bay and south of the 10 Freeway. To others its less of a geographical space than a metaphor -- that's surely the sense in which Ice Cube used it to refer to Compton -- which is of course it's own city and thus not any part of "LA."

A widely-accepted story tells that the South Central brand became so loaded with negative connotations of gang violence and riots that a neologism, South Los Angeles, was devised to "officially" replace it. But South Los Angeles is a geographic concept that goes back at least to the 1930s, as does South Central -- when it was coined to refer to the then-mostly-black neighborhood that arose just south of Downtown along South Central Avenue (hence the name) that is now sometimes referred to as “Historic South Central.”

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Oakland Public Library Celebrates Black History Month with Soul Explosion!!!

Posted by Billyjam, February 4, 2014 09:44am | Post a Comment

Oakland Public Library (OPL) is celebrating Black History Month in various ways at its different branches throughout this month including its soul and R&B music-themed Black History Month Soul Explosion!!! this evening (Tuesday, Feb 4th) at 6pm at the OPL Lakeview branch on El Embarcadero down by Lake Merritt. Local DJ, musician, and record store owner Ed'N'Sted will curate a "multimedia excursion into soul" by playing music and videos by such soul/R&B legends as James Brown, Jackie Wilson, The Isley Brothers, and Little Willie John for two solid hours. Tonight's FREE event starts at 6pm sharp and goes until 7:45pm. It takes place in the Meeting Room of the Lakeview branch, located at 550 El Embarcadero Oakland, CA  94610. More info by calling (510) 238-7344 or online here.

In honor of tonight's East Bay Black History Month event, below are select live videos by three of these artists. Included are the Isley Brothers on Soul Train doing "Summer Breeze," James Brown and band in concert in 1989 doing "I Feel Good," and Jackie Wilson performing "To Be Loved," "Lonely Teardrops," and "Alone At Last" on The Ed Sullivan Show in the early 60's. Also below is a really great piece on the short life (he died at 30) of the underrated Little Willie John who Marvin Gaye dubbed "the soul singer's soul singer." This excellent short documentary, entitled Fever: Little Willie John's Fast Life, Mysterious Death, & The Birth Of Soul (also the name of the book), is well worth watching if you are into the history of soul/R&B.

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Where to Celebrate Black History Month 2014 in Los Angeles

Posted by Billy Gil, January 31, 2014 07:12pm | Post a Comment

February is Black History Month, and we’re celebrating with events around town. Below is a list of events taking place around Los Angeles this February.

 

eyes on the prizeSaturday Feb. 1 - Eyes On The Prize: America's Civil Rights Years, 1954-1965 – AC Bilbrew Library (150 E. El Segundo Blvd.) - 1 p.m.

The AC Bilbrew Library  has a number of Black History events this month, starting with this film screening of Eyes on the Prize.

 

Sunday Feb. 2 – Target Sundays at CAAM 600 State Dr. - 1-5 p.m.

If you haven’t yet been to the Contempoary African American Museum, this might be a good reason to go. CAAM, as it is also known, kicks off BHM with a celebration of achievements in history, art and culture with live performances and an art workshop.

 

moses sumneyMonday Feb. 3 – Moses Sumney – Bardot Hollywood – 9 p.m.

Experimental soul-folk artist Moses Sumney takes the stage at Bardot Hollywood.

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Nothing But a Man, a Film Review by Aiah Samba

Posted by Amoebite, January 27, 2014 12:10pm | Post a Comment

"They don't sound human, do they?" - Duff Anderson

When I was a kid, movies took up a big slice of my daily routine. I was an introverted introvert with nary a friend to call my own. Pop's wasn't around so that left my mom, sister and our RCA television to raise me. I was devouring movies at such an alarming rate my mother began to worry. But that's what mothers do; they worry about their children - especially African mothers. (How will she ever get a grandchild from someone who prays to a TV set?) By the time I was seventeen, I was a self-proclaimed film buff. (Not like I had anything else going for me.) I openly mocked peers with my cinema prowess, brandishing pithy one-liners and pop culture references to put them in their place. But one of those underlings asked an interesting question: "What was my favorite film on African American life?" It made me ponder how much Black cinema I've actually seen. The answer startled me. Now, outside of John Singleton, the Hughes Brothers, some Blaxploitation movies and the occasional Spike Lee joint, there weren't that many I was exposed to. I blamed it on the fact that compared to others, African American movies were far and few between. Heck, I saw more movies from Alfred Hitchcock than all the directors I named above combined. But that was lazy and actually quite inaccurate. There was plenty of gold to be had. So I started to dig. 

Nothing But a Man

Nothing But A Man was one of those gems I discovered. Now this may come off as hyperbolical fluff but I honestly believe this is not only one of the best films on African American life, but American life, period. I never liked the distinction between the two anyway. It's rare to see a film on this subject handled with such tact and elegance - a quiet, sensitive piece with the delicacy and finesse of a Swiss watch.

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Dr. Maya Angelou: From San Francisco Cable Car Operator to Civil Rights Activist, Poet, Author, Actress

Posted by Billyjam, January 27, 2014 10:40am | Post a Comment

Dr. Maya Angelou at Glide Memorial Church in San Francisco

"A bird doesn't sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song " – Maya Angelou

In salute of African American living legends, this tribute to Maya Angelou is the first in a series for the 2014 Amoeblog Black History Month. Maya Angelou, who will turn 86 on April 4th, was born in St. Louis, Missouri in 1928. She would go on to live a trailblazing life in which her accolades would include being an activist, author, actress, screenwriter, educator, dancer, singer, poet, and San Francisco cable car operator. In the 1940's during World War II Angelou moved to the city by the bay (she would return to San Francisco a decade later) after winning a scholarship to study dance and acting at the California Labor School. During that time she briefly held a job as a SF cable car operator. Even at that she was a pioneer in her field by being the very first black female cable car conductor. And that would be only one of numerous "firsts" for Angelou during her influential life.

Angelou's 1969 coming-of-age memoir I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, which her friend James Baldwin was instrumental in getting published, made literary history for being the first nonfiction best-seller by an African-American woman. It also broke records by later enjoying a two-year run on The New York Times' paperback nonfiction best-seller list. Angelou was also the first African-American woman to have her screenplay produced when, in 1972, the film screenplay for the film Georgia, Georgia was adapted from her book.

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