Liberation Cinema!

The Brothers’ Quarterly Presents

Wattstax2
Wattstax
A Film by Mel Stuart
Wattstax, released in 1973, is much more than a concert film. Along with selected performances from the seven hour July 4, 1972 concert by artists from the Stax label at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, the film features commentary from Black citizens of Los Angeles about what had and had not changed since the 1965 Watts Uprising, and the state of Black people at the time. Familiar and unfamiliar faces and voices populate the film, both on stage and in the community, culminating in a performance by Isaac Hayes long before he became a voice actor on South Park.   Wattstax offers an important historical record of a post-Civil Rights moment when Black communities were popularly considering more radical paths to Black Liberation, and folks who are now mainstream political operatives could lead a sold-out L.A. Coliseum in a chant of “Nation Time!”

Friday, June 7, 2019
AFIBA Center
Doors Open at 6:30 PM; program begins at 7:00 PM
Free: donations accepted
5730 Crenshaw Blvd., Los Angeles
Off-street parking available

 

Liberation Cinema!

The Brothers’ Quarterly presents:

ConcerningViolence1

Concerning Violence:
Nine Scenes from the Anti-imperialist Self-defense
A film by Göran Hugo Olsson

Friday, April 5, 2019
AFIBA Center

5730 Crenshaw Blvd., Los Angeles

Doors Open at 6:30 PM; program begins at 7:00 PM
Free: donations accepted

Off-street parking available
http://www.brothersquarterly.wordpress.com

Where, Exactly, Does Destination Crenshaw Take Us? W. Yusef Doucet

CrenshawBlvd

Where, Exactly, Does Destination Crenshaw Take Us?
W. Yusef Doucet

Destination Crenshaw breaks ground April 2019. The planners have not effectively explained how the creation of an open-air art museum and “cultural experience” will encourage economic activity in the designated area. Although the project has identified “Community Partners,” grassroots neighborhood organizers have been shutout of the decision-making processes for a project that will dramatically alter the character of the main business corridor running through the neighborhood, Crenshaw Boulevard from 48th Street to 60th Street. Although privately funded, the project requires the cooperation of the Eighth District Councilman Marqueece Harris-Dawson, whose first responsibility is to his constituency, including the residents of the Angeles Mesa and Hyde Park neighborhoods, whose wishes the councilman must consider if Destination Crenshaw will ever have the chance to become a path to an economically thriving local destination. As it stands now, the Destination Crenshaw project leaves the pathway to economic empowerment in the Angeles Mesa and Hyde Park neighborhoods unclear and uncertain.

To begin, the Destination Crenshaw project planners have not yet successfully explained how the installation of what they describe as an open-air art museum and “cultural experience” will translate to economic rejuvenation of the stretch of the Crenshaw Corridor the project has staked out for the project. Members of the community can and do appreciate the value of public art and beautification of the street, especially insofar as the project offers the community the opportunity to speak for itself, to represent itself, and to see itself accurately and authentically represented, to tell its story and hear its story. How does that rejuvenate business? How does the project offer support for the existing businesses operating between 48th Street and 60th Street? Does that project have a plan to encourage local ownership or the organizing of business collectives among the residents of the Park Mesa neighborhoods? Does the cultural experience refer to a growth in art galleries, performance spaces and restaurants? The pattern across the country indicates that the infusion of these sorts of businesses into older neighborhoods often accelerates the rent hikes associated with gentrification. Destination Crenshaw is supposed to be a response to gentrification and a bulwark against it by stamping the neighborhood as definitively Black, but it may instead ultimately facilitate gentrification.

In addition to the uncertain economic benefits to the Park Mesa neighborhoods, the Destination Crenshaw project planners have not sufficiently communicated with the residents whom the project will directly affect, despite the presence of “community partners” associated with the project. On their website, http://www.destinationcrenshaw.la, the planners explicitly describe the project as a response to the decision to run the new Crenshaw metro rail line above ground as it passes through the Park Mesa stretch of the Corridor, a decision fiercely opposed by the local community, to no avail. The planners thus propose the Destination Crenshaw project as a social justice effort and a bulwark to protect the integrity of this Black enclave in Los Angeles and place an indelible stamp of Blackness on the community to insure the fact of our presence here through strategically located and themed public art installations that will include multimedia documentation of the Black history of Los Angeles. The planners declare that the project is by Black people for Black people, an effort to celebrate and strengthen Black rootedness in the last remaining majority Black neighborhoods in Los Angeles. In fact, they have acquired the support of several reputable respected community artists and activists as community partners who do lend credibility to the project, including Ben Caldwell of Kaos Network, Ron Finley – the Gangsta Gardener, Berlinda Fontenot Jamerson of the Museum of African American Art, and Karen Mack from L.A. Commons. Nonetheless, an information gap belies the validity of that community partnership. Apparently, many local residents and businesses remain largely unaware or only loosely familiar with the project, despite local newspaper coverage, in The Sentinel, for example. Conversely, the community organizations who are aware and informed, namely the Hyde Park Organizational Partnership for Empowerment (HOPE), the Park Mesa Neighborhood Council, and the African Firefighters in Benevolent Association Center (AFIBA) have received dismissive responses, stonewalling, and what is effectively disinvitations to planning meetings through scheduling at times and in places that make it difficult for working class community members to attend, despite the impact these decisions may have on the look, feel and affordability Angeles Mesa and Hyde Park.

If the community does not know that a major public space development that can dramatically alter their neighborhoods, whether for the good or the bad, that responsibility belongs to Councilman Marqueece Harris-Dawson and his office. The councilman can make his mark with this project, and maybe that is his hope. However, a councilman who comes from a community organizing background as Councilman Harris-Dawson does should certainly recognize the necessity to communicate openly with his constituency, to have his people on the ground canvassing the local residents and businesses about their vision for the neighborhood, to take meetings with community organizations such as HOPE and AFIBA to understand their plans for development, plans they have designed and redesigned since the 1992 uprising, to ensure that rather than governing from above, the council district enjoys a participatory process at the deepest levels. Therefore, it is incumbent upon the Councilman Harris-Dawson to seek community partners who not only live in the Hills, but also in the avenues and streets of the flatlands. To his credit, the councilman did this past Wednesday, February 20, attend a HOPE meeting, upon invitation, with members of his office and representatives from the Destination Crenshaw project. They took the opportunity to make a presentation about the project. Pointed concerns were raised by community members on the need to be included in the planning of their own community, rather than Destination Crenshaw community partners making decisions without the people who have been working on quality of life issues in Hyde Park for the past 25 years. The need for economic empowerment through community ownership and better support for current businesses was stressed, also, the need to support the community’s plan for its future with technical assistance. The Councilman left with a promise to HOPE that it would be better represented in the Destination Crenshaw Community Partners. He also promised to provide a liaison from his office to work with the Hyde Park Community Plan.

To conclude, the Destination Crenshaw project, at its current stage of development, with a groundbreaking looming in April, does not show a pathway to economic revitalization in the neighborhood or along the corridor. Instead, that pathway remains unclear and uncertain. The project has that potential, and the planners are no doubt sincere, but sincerity will not help reinvigorate the existing businesses, nor will sincerity offer new models of business and property ownership for community members, such as the formation of cooperatives with the assistance of Eighth Council District office. The promised “street-scaping” that will change the look of Crenshaw from 48th Street to 60th Street and the installation of an open-air museum will not slow the pace of gentrification. They may accelerate the pace. So, if the project aims to keep the Park Mesa neighborhoods (and adjacent Leimert Park) predominantly Black neighborhoods by establishing the Black presence through monuments and new pocket parks, the project may instead be a record of what once was, of who used to be here, rather than establishing a solid and deeply rooted permanence.

Liberation Cinema!

The Brothers’ Quarterly presents:

sia1

Sia, The Dream of the Python
A Film by Dani Kouyate
Once upon a time in the city of Koumbi, in the kingdom of Wagadou, a despotic emperor, the Kaya Maghan (Kardigue Laico Traore), was told that the Python god was demanding its traditional tribute: the sacrifice of a well-born virgin. The emperor’s priests say further that the Python God wants a particular girl, the beautiful Sia Yatabene (Fatoumata Diawara), so a messenger is dispatched to tell her parents and ease their grief with a gift of Sia’s weight in gold. But Sia runs off in the night and takes refuge in the hut of a madman named Kerfa (Hamadoun Kassogue), whose ramblings are filled with bitter truths that sane people don’t dare express.

Friday, January 4, 2019
Afiba center
Doors Open at 6:30 PM; program begins at 7:00 PM
Free: donations accepted
5730 Crenshaw Blvd., Los Angeles
Off-street parking available
brothersquartely@gmail.com
http://www.brothersquarterly.wordpress.com

Liberation Cinema!

The Brothers’ Quarterly presents:

The Original Afro-Futurist, Sun Ra who brought the reality of Diop’s and Ben Jochannan’s Ancient Black Egypt to the performance stage in the form of what we ordinarily call jazz and dance embodied by the Arkestra, with a vision of the future in which Black people can flourish, even if that means finding a new planet

SunRa

Space is the Place

A Film by John Coney

Friday, July 6, 2018

Afiba center

Doors Open at 6:30 PM; program begins at 7:00 PM

Free: donations accepted

5730 Crenshaw Blvd., Los Angeles

Off-street parking available

brothersquartely@gmail.com www.brothersquarterly.wordpress.com

liberation-cinema-lfist n film yellow

Liberation Cinema!

The Brothers’ Quarterly presents:

Semantics: The Rise & Fall of Muammar Al Gaddafi

ComradeGaffadi

A Film from Critical Productions

Friday, June 1, 2018

Afiba center

Doors Open at 6:30 PM; program begins at 7:00 PM

Free: donations accepted

5730 Crenshaw Blvd., Los Angeles

Off-street parking available

brothersquartely@gmail.com

www.brothersquarterly.wordpress.com

Brothers’ Quarterly Presents: Liberation Cinema!

PiecesD'identites2  Join us for a free screening of Mweze Ngangura’s film Pièces D’identitès (Pieces of Identity) in its twentieth anniversary year.  The film explores the costs the colonial legacy continues to exact from Africans in terms of the uses of African bodies, African mentalities, and African cultural artifacts. “Mani Kongo, the venerable king of the Bakongo, sets out alone on a quest for his long-lost daughter, Mwana, whom he sent to Belgium to study medicine many years before. As soon as he leaves his village and enters the Westernized world he finds his identity challenged. At the travel agency in Kinshasa, young urban trend-setters mistake the king’s royal fetishes as the latest fashion statement while customs officials try to confiscate them as imported art objects. Eventually, robbed, homeless and penniless, Mani Kongo is tricked into pawning his royal regalia, literally his “pieces of identity,” to an unscrupulous art dealer…While Mani Kongo has only temporarily lost his ID [also a meaning of the phrase ‘pieces of identity,’ one’s state-issued identification, one’s papers], the younger generation in the film finds itself adrift in Europe without ever having had one. Mwana (aka Amanda) has just been released from jail for drug-running and is forced to take a job in a strip club where Africans act out Europeans’ lurid fantasies of the other. She was seduced and is still pursued by a small-time, designer-clad hustler or sapeur, Viva wa Viva, whose motto is “the brand makes the man.”…Chaka-Jo is a mulatto [sic] cabdriver, trapped between white and black, the son of an unknown Belgian father abducted from his Congolese mother and placed in a Belgian orphanage. In his frustration, he holds up white bars like a Robin Hood dressed as a Congolese warrior proclaiming himself the ‘Savior of Humanity,’ ” California Newsreel.

PiecesD'identites3

A comedy, Ngangura weaves the fibers of these characters’ lives into a poignant portrait of contemporary African conditions in the diaspora, still so fundamentally relevant in the face of contemporary African migration to Europe in search jobs, peace and security only to find continued super exploitation.

Pièces D’Identités (Pieces of Identity)

A Film by Mweze Ngangura

PiecesD'identites4

Friday, February 2, 2018

AFIBA Center

Doors Open at 6:30 PM; program begins at 7:00 PM

Free: donations accepted

5730 Crenshaw Blvd., Los Angeles

Off-street parking available.

liberation-cinema-lfist n film yellow

Liberation Cinema!

The Brothers’ Quarterly presents:

Liberation Cinema!

The Lessons of Hayti

Hayti2

A Film by Edward J. Harris II

and

Byron C. Hunter

Friday, October 6, 2017

AFIBA Center

Doors Open at 6:30 PM; program begins at 7:00 PM

Free: donations accepted

5730 Crenshaw Blvd., Los Angeles

Off-street parking available

brothersquartely@gmail.com

www.brothersquarterly.wordpress.com

Liberation Cinema!

The Brothers’ Quarterly presents:

Liberation Cinema!

 

CenturyofSelf

The Century of the Self

(Parts One & Two)

A Film by Adam Curtis

 

Friday, August 4, 2017

AFIBA Center

Doors Open at 6:30 PM

 Program begins at 7:00 PM

Free: donations accepted

5730 Crenshaw Blvd., Los Angeles

Off-street parking available

brothersquartely@gmail.com