by Rochelle Metcalfe, 2013-02-13

FINALLY, got to check out D’JANGO: Unchained -. RAW, great acting by Jamie Foxx as D’Jango, who is trying to rescue his wife from a plantation lord - excellent performance by Leonardo DiCaprio! Applause to Samuel L. Jackson, portraying HNIC inside the slave master’s household, overseeing the house slaves - he had it down to a ‘T’ - you wanted to hate him!

Action tense, violent. D’Jango caused controversy over the use of the word nigger; a show of disrespect , hurtful to hear; some rappers use in their lyrics; privately heard in jest when guys are joshing, but don’t let the white man direct it at a black person! . In reality, the slave masters always referred to his Black slaves as niggers, excessive use of the word throughout the film, but REALTY!

Last Sunday afternoon, over at the Bayview Opera House Ruth Williams Theater - a jewel! What an enjoyable performance by The Harpist from the Hood: The Destiny Muhammad Jazz Trio - featuring Destiny on harp, Leon Joyce, Jr., on drums, and Noriyuki “Ken” Okada on upright bass, and special guest, Blue Note recording artist Eddie Gale on trumpet. The acoustic sound of the historic Bayview Opera House enhanced the group’s movin’, groovin’ two hour set, no intermission! Destiny is stunning - her graceful fingering of the harp strings, lovely, powerful singing voice, mesmerizing. The concert opened to the sounds of John Coltrane - the evening a soulful collaboration,

Black History Month programing will be celebrated throughout the month at BVOH (4705 - 3rd St.,). Opening weekend performance embraced the theme, “From These Roots: 150th Anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation”. Attended Saturday night (Feb. 2) to hear and observe historian BILL DOGGETT’s art exhibit, tracing the history of slavery, and play his original 78 rpm earliest recordings of spirituals on his record player.

Well, my spirit was both uplifted and saddened, browsing his exhibit, that depicted the history of Slavery and journey to freedom; listened to rare 1910-25 Negro Spirituals, that for me, recalled days as a young girl, listened to a radio program, “Wings over Jordan,” would hear the great gospel singers - Mahalia Jackson, for one.

Mr. Doggett (delighted to know he’s related to THE Bill Doggett, of Honky Tonk Blues fame,) winded his victrola, played soul wrenching spirituals, like, “Deep River,” “Steal Away,” “Standing in the Need of Prayer,” Slave messages - escape. “Git on Board Lil’ Chillun,” “Go Down Moses,” “Let My People Go -- the deep baritone voice of the great PAUL ROBESON! .

if you listen to the lyrics, spirituals reference to the railway, or rivers that led to freedom or to heaven, and sometimes the songs gave directions for escaping from slavery.

Stage performance by Infinity Productions, Inc., marvelous, performing Ensemble, enactment of slave dialogue to be free - in period costumes. JUANITA HODGE, Mistress of Ceremonies, narrated the story seeking freedoom, stunning in red long simple gown, and matching chic hat. Of course there was live music performance, that included, The Seastrunk Brothers ( Temptation style dance and voices), and recording artist guitarist/singer PAT WILDER in gut bucket solo Blues performance, sitting on a stool, crouched over, stumpin’ her feet, plucky the guitar (reminded me of KEB ‘Mo, and old country blues - a vision of slaves having fun after working in the cotton fields!

MARY BOOKER, Artistic Director, Infinity Productions, noted for her theater works, dedicated to the uplifting of the human spirit! ‘She proudly urge her people to “Pay homage to the struggles and triumphs of our enslaved ancestors who carved with the strength of their body, mind and soul, the path to freedom for us to follow and for generations to come. We must keep their memory, their hopes and dreams alive! Inform our children of our historical past and vision for the future! “ ASHAY!

Among guests who enjoyed the performance, SUPERVISOR MALIA COHEN (D-10) proud of her district and BVOH!;; TYRA FENNELL , San Francisco Arts Commission; REV. TIM DEWS, My caucasian friend, Photographer LUCRETIA BJORKLAND caught up in the spiritual soul of the evening! Originally she came to hear Pat Wilder, thoroughly surprised over the inspiring evening.

This Sunday, 3-5 pm., singer/award-winning filmmaker, SUSHEEL BIBBS, will portray Mary Pleasant in “O Freedom!” a ONE woman gala musical, Mary Ellen Pleasant returns to San Francisco An urban pioneer, Pleasant rose to power, wealth and influence to become a legend in her own time. The musical features legendary pianist Jacqueline Hairston, and Pope Flynn, Master Drumming. Bibbs is the leading authority on Pleasant. Info (415) 824-0386.

Come out and support BARBARA OCKEL Executive Director, and staff and enjoy BAYVIEW OPERA HOUSE - A SAN FRANCISCO LANDMARK!


E-mail Rochelle at iheard@earthlink.net