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PRESS ROOM: Kaya Fest 2019

THE WESTSIDE GAZETTE — Kaya Fest is the creation of Stephen Marley, an eight-time Grammy Award winner, singer, songwriter, musician producer and son of the legend Bob Marley.  It was named by the New Times as one of “Miami’s Ten Best Musical Moments of 2017!

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By The Westside Gazette

“Education Before Recreation.” is The theme of Kaya Fest 2019; Kaya Fest overall.

Kaya Fest is the creation of Stephen Marley, an eight-time Grammy Award winner, singer, songwriter, musician producer and son of the legend Bob Marley.  It was named by the New Times as one of “Miami’s Ten Best Musical Moments of 2017! Presented by Fruit of Life Productions and The Alacran Group it is scheduled to return Saturday, April 20th, 2019 / 1 p.m., at Bayfront Park Amphitheatre, 301 Biscayne Blvd. in downtown Miami after a triumphant 2018 Sell-Out in California!

One of the rare times the Marley brother get together on stage you do not want to miss this star-studded performance.  The Marley Brothers; Ziggy, Stephen, Damian, Ky-Mani and Julian along with Busta Rhymes, Davido, Sean Paul, Kes the Band, Chi Ching Ching, Protoje, Walshy Fire (of Major Lazer) Third World, Koffee and special guest appearances by Farruko and Pitbull, will give on-lookers a show of a lifetime.

This is a show that marijuana/kaya/cannabis/hemp, Mary Jane, users don’t want to miss.  While the education is delivered throughout the show, users of the substance freely enjoy the benefits of smoking without repercussions.

However, one of the main reasons people attend is to see the show.

The highly anticipated show on April 20th will no doubt have audience members their feet dancing to the sweet sounds of reggae music thought the day and enjoying great food.  There is still time to get you tickets don’t be the only one is south Florida not attending please go to www.kayafestivals.com to get your tickets.

This article originally appeared in The Westside Gazette.

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Bay Area

Residents Celebrate 510 Day, an Oakland Holiday

The holiday started in 2016, when a group of long-term Oakland residents felt that, in the face of Black and Brown native Oaklanders being displaced through the city’s gentrification, a celebration of their cultures was necessary.

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Neptune Jenkins, Tiny Matthews and Zay Coleman at Oakland's 510 Day celebration today near the Lake Merritt Amphitheater. Photo by Zack Haber on May 10.

Demetrius Coats with his legs over his bike’s handlebars as he rides in the bike caravan around Lake Merritt at Oakland’s 510 Day celebration today.
Photo by Zack Haber on May 10.

Over 40 people gathered around Lake Merritt on Monday to celebrate 510 Day, an Oakland-based holiday that honors Black and Brown cultures of the city and their resilience against displacement each year on May 10.

“For us, it’s a protest and a party at the same time,” Leon Skyes, a Black Oakland native who helps organize 501 Day celebrations, told The Oakland Post. “Rather than being targeted, today we’re being celebrated.”

The holiday started in 2016, when a group of long-term Oakland residents felt that, in the face of Black and Brown native Oaklanders being displaced through the city’s gentrification, a celebration of their cultures was necessary. The 415 Day, a San Francisco holiday where residents gather every April 15th in Dolores Park to celebrate against and protest the removal of native SF families, was 510 Day’s inspiration. Both holidays get their name from their city’s respective telephone area codes.

In the years since the first 510 Day, several incidents at or near Lake Merritt have shown the area as a contested place where long-term Black and Brown residents’ acts of celebrating, music making, barbecuing, or simply existing have been under threat.

In the fall of 2016, a woman who lived near the lake called police on Aaron Davis, an 18-year-old Black Oakland native, to file a noise complaint about him playing his drum set. Soon after, Oaklanders rallied behind him with drums of their own to protest the complaint.

In mid-May of 2018, after a viral video showed white Oakland resident Jennifer Schulte calling police on Black Oakland resident Kenzie Smith for barbecuing near the lake, many Black Oakland residents came out to protest the incident by participating in the “BBQ’n While Black” celebration. Later that year, a white jogger threw a Black Oakland resident’s belongings in the lake. The city began evicting many Black and Brown homeless residents from the area and enforcing no camping rules in 2018 as well.

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic the lake has become a contested site for informal Black and Brown businesses after residents who live nearby have filed complaints against Lake Merritt vendors selling merchandise without permits.

“Gentrification has created a hostile environment for us where we can’t even just exist without getting the cops called on us,” Needa Bee, who helped start 510 Day and organize its Lake Merritt celebrations, told The Oakland Post.

Bee, also known as The Lumpia Lady, has lived in Oakland for about 30 years and has sold lumpia, a traditional Filipino food, for about 10 years at Lake Merritt. She served free lumpia to those who came to the 510 Day celebration.

The celebration included a bike and car caravan that circled the lake about one and a half times. Bikers, many of whom rode fixed gears and did tricks, lead the way. Demetrius Coleman put his legs up on his bike’s handle bars several times as he rode. 

 At one point, Zay Coleman sat entirely on one side of his bike, only using one pedal to move it as he biked down Grand Avenue with both his legs and his face pointing towards the lake. Cars that had signs attached to them supporting defunding the Oakland Police Department and against gentrification followed along, honked their horns loudly, and blared Oakland musicians like Too $hort. Motorcyclists rode along and revved their engines. Two roller skaters also joined the caravan.

After the caravan, participants gathered at the Lake Merritt Amphitheater to eat food and take photos while some of the bikers continued to do tricks. Neptune Jenkins stood on the frame of his bike while grabbing the front wheel, pushing and pulling it back and forth while continuing to balance. Signs honoring historical Oakland events and famous Oaklanders like basketball player Bill Russell, activists Elaine Brown, Bobby Seale, and Fred Korematsu, musician and dancer Kehlani, and rap groups Hieroglyphics and Digital Underground were lined up in a row at the amphitheater.

Nicole Lee, an Oakland native who helped organize the celebration, described 510 Day as a way to “assert joy at the same time that we’re protesting around Oakland natives and Oakland culture being displaced.” 

The politics of 510 Day were present at the amphitheater, as organizers encouraged participants to sign a petition to be sent to City Council, Mayor Libby Schaaf and county and state leaders to support the #WeStillHere Oakland Platform which outlines nine demands including shelter for all and Oakland’s non-cooperation with Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

While people celebrated at the amphitheater with music and some drank alcohol and smoked cannabis, the celebration stayed calm, the crowd was not densely packed, and people left well before dark. Although in years past 510 Day in person celebrations included larger, dense crowds and live DJs spinning loud music, organizers intentionally kept this year’s in person celebrations low key as a precaution against spreading COVID-19. The organizers hosted a party on the internet later in the evening with local DJs Kleptic, AbelDee and DJ Fuze.

“While this isn’t physically the largest [510 Day celebration], this has been one of the best ones, just by the heart of the people, the will of the people, and the vibe,” Skyes told the 510 Day celebrators at the Lake Merritt amphitheater. He looks forward to hopefully returning next year with a larger in person party/protest.

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Black History

Odetta Gordon: Citizen of the World

Bob Dylan once commented that “hearing Odetta on record turned me on to folk singing.”

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Odetta Gordon (1930–2008) was born in Birmingham. After her father’s death, she moved to Los Angeles with her mother. What she didn’t leave behind was the soul of Birmingham. The city’s deep Southern music had become a part of young Odetta’s being.
At age 13, Odetta studied piano, had voice training, and taught herself to play the guitar. Later, she earned a degree in classical music from Los Angeles City College and performed in a 1949 production of Finian’s Rainbow in San Francisco. Soon (1950s) she would emerge as an important figure in the New York folk music scene.
Gordon relocated to New York City, where her talent was supported by performers such as Harry Belafonte and Pete Seeger. With their encouragement, she performed and recorded more widely. Her repertoire included a distinctive blend of spirituals, slave songs, prison and work songs, folk ballads, Caribbean songs, and blues. Her career had taken off.
In New York, Gordon released her solo recording, Odetta Sings Ballads and Blues (1956), followed by At the Gate of Horn (1957). Bob Dylan once commented that “hearing Odetta on record turned me on to folk singing.” Her voice beckoned four repeat performances at the Newport Folk Festival (1959–65) and subsequent appearances at Carnegie Hall, on television and in several films including Sanctuary (1961).
Gordon’s career continued to blossom. She performed with symphony orchestras and in operas worldwide. She was a featured performer throughout the states, her audience weaving through various cultures. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. dubbed Gordon “queen of American folk.” She had the “ear” of the people, thus  were next on her agenda.
In 1963, Gordon performed at the historic March on Washington and took part in the March on Selma. She sang for President Kennedy and his cabinet on the nationally televised civil rights special, Dinner with the President. Through addressing political and social issues Gordon had become an important advocate for civil rights; an activist for social change.
Sadly, the movement lost steam and interest in folk music began to wane. As a result, Gordon’s career started to lose its fire. Still, she continued to perform throughout the 1960s and 70s internationally. She recorded Odetta Sings the Blues (1967) and in 1974, appeared in the television film The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman. In 1987, the concert marking forty years of her life as a performer (1986) was released as the live recording Movin’ It On.
In 1999 President Clinton awarded Gordon the National Medal of Arts, the highest award given in the arts in the United States. The Library of Congress, in 2003, named her a Living Legend.
Gordon is remembered as an American folk singer who was noted especially for her versions of spirituals and became for many the voice of the civil rights movement of the early 1960s. She passed away on December 2, 2008, at the age of 77.

Source:  https://www.thehistorymakers.org/biography/odetta-gordon-41
https://www.britannica.com/biography/Odetta
Image:  By Jac. de Nijs / Anefo – Nationaal Archief, CC0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=31277817

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Arts and Culture

APPLICATIONS FOR SAN FRANCISCO’S $3 MILLION MUSIC AND ENTERTAINMENT VENUE FUND TO OPEN APRIL 21

The Music and Entertainment Venue Recovery Fund will offer grants of at least $10,000 to every eligible entertainment venue in San Francisco, which have been struggling to remain in business as a result of COVID-19

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San Francisco, CA — Mayor London N. Breed today announced the City’s Music and Entertainment Venue Recovery Fund will begin accepting applications for grants on Wednesday, April 21, 2021. The fund was established to provide financial support to San Francisco-based live music and entertainment venues in order to prevent their permanent closure due to the pressures of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Venue Fund advances the Economic Recovery Task Force’s recommendations to support the arts, culture, hospitality, and entertainment sector. The fund is also aligned with San Francisco’s other efforts to support entertainment venues, including Mayor Breed’s $2.5 million in fee and tax relief for entertainment venues and the proposals to support arts and culture in the Mayor’s Small Business Recovery Act legislation.
“These music and entertainment venues are part of what makes San Francisco such a special place to live and visit,” said Mayor Breed. “This past year has been devastating for the entertainment sector, and these local funds will help these businesses hang on until they can start operating again.”
In March 2021, Mayor Breed and Supervisor Matt Haney agreed to allocate $3 million to the fund as part of $24.8 million for small business loans and grants in the current year surplus spending plan. The first round of grants will expend all $3 million in equal amounts to every venue eligible to receive funding. Grants will be at least $10,000 for each venue, although that amount will vary based on how many venues qualify for the program.
“Our independent music and nightlife venues have been hit hard over the last year, and desperately need the support that this fund will provide,” said Supervisor Matt Haney. “Nightlife and entertainment are cornerstones of our city’s economy and culture. As we reopen and recover, we need our city’s venues to not only survive, but to be even stronger.”
The fund is administered by San Francisco’s Office of Small Business, and was developed in consultation with stakeholders from the Office of Economic and Workforce Development, the Entertainment Commission, the Small Business Commission, the San Francisco Venue Coalition, and the Independent Venue Alliance.
The fund is also available to receive donations from the public. Any private donations received before the first round of grants is issued will be distributed as part of that round. If additional money is added to the fund by the City or through donations after the first round of grants is issued, that money will be awarded in subsequent rounds of grants. Members of the public interested in donating may find out more information at sfosb.org/venuefund
“San Francisco’s storied live music venues bring more than just economic activity to our City; they are the beating heart of our shared culture, diversity, and sense of identity,” said Ben Bleiman, President of the San Francisco Entertainment Commission. “But due to the pandemic, many of them are teetering on the edge of permanent closure. We applaud Mayor Breed, Supervisor Haney, and our San Francisco leaders for swift, decisive action to establish the Music & Entertainment Venue Fund. These grants will play a crucial role in saving our live music venues before it’s too late.”
“Live music venues have not been able to be open for even a single day, at any capacity, for over a year. They have been among the hardest hit businesses in San Francisco, and as a result are hanging on by a thread,” said Sharky Laguana, President of the San Francisco Small Business Commission. “Many have been forced to permanently close. Music is a central part of San Francisco’s identity and history, and speaking as a musician, I don’t want to even think about our City without our beloved venues. This aid will make a big difference, and help keep music alive in San Francisco. Thank you Mayor Breed and Supervisor Haney for creating the Music & Entertainment Venue Fund.”
Applications open on April 21 and the deadline is May 5, 2021. Venues eligible to receive funding must have held a Place of Entertainment permit from the Entertainment Commission prior to the start of the pandemic and must be able to demonstrate a track record of substantial live entertainment programming, among other eligibility criteria.
Venues interested in applying and members of the public interested in donating to the fund can learn more at sfosb.org/venuefund
 

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