As February shifted into March, we were once again reminded during Black History Month that history is a living thing, and one of the major ways it lives on is through the cultural arts – which has thankfully given us such a rich tradition of black music. SF Sounds shutterbugs Juan Gomez and Eric Arnold hit up some of the happening
local shows of the last month to visually capture this cultural dynamic in action.
Big ups once again to Fantastic Negrito, a local Oakland boy made good, who brought back glory for the Bay from the Grammys. His official celebration at the Starline Social Club—which once housed a local chapter of Marcus Garvey’s U.N.I.A. association—was replete with music industry folks, educators, artists—and even
members of the East Bay Dragons Motorcycle Club.
The New Parish hosted three particularly off-the-chain shows, by legendary NY hip hoppers EPMD, Ivorian diva Dobet Gnahore, and Oakland’s own Jennifer Johns – just recently returned from a 10-month sojourn in South Africa.
Continuing the theme of black female empowerment, Meklit Hadero’s Ethio-jazz rendition of the Lauryn Hill classic “Doesn’t Even Matter” was an unquestioned highlight of YBCA’s Hip Hop Clas/Sick, which this year paid tribute to Hill’s groundbreaking Miseducation album.
Meanwhile, dancehall reggae was the order of the day, as Brooklyn sound system Double Dragon also hit Starline, featuring legendary singjay Screechy Dan, of “Pose Off” fame.