Habari Gani? What is The News?

Hotep!  The news is continuing with the film festival circuit of Healing History: The Documentary!  

Last week, I was in Charlotte, North Carolina for another “Healing History Weekend” anchored by the Charlotte Black Film Festival held at the Charlotte Convention Center.

My weekend began with the publishing of a lovely article about my return to Charlotte to celebrate my work by The Charlotte Post.  Next, the poetic talk at the LATIBAH Collard Green Museum.  Words do not accurately describe the awesomeness of this institution with its life-size installations depicting various slices of our history…  Properly beginning the journey of Africans in America with the story of our ancestors before enslavement is so important!  People need to know of our majesty as it unfolded with the Dogon, the Yoruba, the Kemites…  and LATIBAH brings that knowledge to bear before delving into the trials and tribulations of the Ma’afa – the great disaster of enslavement.

The gathering of conscious-minded folks were first blessed with a duet of powerful djembe players and libation ushering the ancestors to participate.  The assembly room, adorned with African art, kente and symbols, was a perfect venue for my poetry recitation, warmly received and appreciated.

Saturday’s screening of Healing History: The Documentary was well received! Comments can be read in the section “What Folks Are Sayin’…”  Thanks to Tommy Nichols and the Charlotte Black Film Festival for choosing the film!

Filmmaker Kevin Brooks, yours truly and Tommy Nichols, CBFF founder.

Filmmaker Kevin Brooks, MMVP and Tommy Nichols, CBFF director and founder

The second screening of Healing History was hosted by Rev. Dr. Sheldon Shipman of Greenville Memorial AME Zion Church.  The standing room only crowd gathered after services for a poetry reading, film screening, more poetry and spirited discussion.

A truly wonderful Sunday afternoon was made more so by having dinner with my two dear sister friends and hosts, Terri Joelle and LaTanya!  My heartfelt asante sana to everyone who came out, blessing me with their presence and enthusiasm!

Next up… Cannes!  And that’s the news!


Habari Gani? What is the News?

Hotep and Greetings!

The Film Festival Rollercoaster is the News!  In the past two weeks, Healing History: The Documentary has been screened in two countries – Bermuda and the United States.  In the next couple of weeks, it will been shown in Cameroon, Central Africa and in France.  It is amazing!

The premier at the Bermuda International Film Festival (BIFF) was well attended and part of the opening night screening of documentary short films.  Comments were very complimentary and a sampling of them can be read under Film Festivals: What Folks Are Sayin’.  I was delighted that the filmmaker, Kristin Alexander, came for the premier and we were truly gratified by the enthusiastic response.

Mwalimu and Kristin Alexander on the red carpet at BIFF

Mwalimu and Kristin Alexander on the red carpet at BIFF

The Healing History Weekend was enhanced by the debut of the dramatic presentation Everything We Should Be, a play utilizing my poetry as inspiration and dialogue.  Written by Ms. Shalane Dill, it was performed by her drama guild students, The Berkeley Players, a group of aspiring, high school actors from The Berkeley Institute.   An Encore Presentation of both the film and play is scheduled for Sunday, May 31st at the Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute.  Tickets are already selling!

Mwalimu and The Berkeley Players

Mwalimu and The Berkeley Players

St. Louis, Missouri has been in the news so much lately that I was filled with excitement and anxiety simultaneously.  Having the film accepted by Africa World Documentary Film Festival (AWDFF) was an awesome opportunity, as they have venues worldwide and Healing History was accepted by the community venue, The Better Family Life Community Center.  My graduate school colleague and director of the festival, Dr. Niyi Coker, was a beautiful host, delighting me further in sharing that the film was also accepted by the venue in the Cameroon, Central Africa!

Dr. Niyi Coker and Mwalimu

Dr. Niyi Coker and Mwalimu

Of course, my anxieties were unfounded, as the people were warm and welcoming and my schedule full!  I read and signed books at the Progressive Emporium Bookstore and Education Center, the Ngoma Cultural Celebration and at the AWDFF venue, The Better Family Life Community Center, who requested a second screening!  The comments were awesome and possibilities are brewing…


Habari Gani?  What is the News?  The film festivals are the news!!!


Habari Gani? – What Is The News?!


Hotep and Warn Greetings!

Habari Gani?  What is the News?  The International Pan African Film Festival, Cannes, France is the NEWS!!!  Kristin Alexander, the filmmaker of Healing History: The Documentary, got a brief e-mail, straight to the point:

Hello Director,

Your Film is selected for Le Festival International du Film PanAfricain de Cannes.
The FIFP will take place in Cannes from 29 April to 3 May 2015 @ Novotel Cannes Montfleury.

Cannes Festival Poster

Cannes Festival Poster

Without a doubt, the excitement has officially begun!!!  Of course, we were looking forward to the experiences we will have at the Bermuda International Film Festival and the Africa World Film Festival in St. Louis, but Cannes?!!  It is every filmmakers’ dream to have a film accepted in Cannes!  Also amazing: of the couple thousand film submission for this prestigious festival, only FIFTY were selected…. a high honor indeed!

So preparations have begun…  getting the film subtitled in French, plane tickets to be purchased, hotel reservations to be made and packing . . .   we are going to  Cannes, France!  And we are filled with gratitude.

Habari Gani?  This is the news from your servant and Mwalimu in culture and empowerment! Asante for reading and come back soon! Hotep!

Welcome to Habari Gani? – What is the News?!


Hotep and Greetings!

Giving thanks for purposeful work and the opportunity to educate, enlighten and encourage by sharing the knowledge of our global history and culture!

In terms of mission, this blog will keep you current with the activities, updates, thoughts and musings of your servant and Mwalimu in culture and empowerment.  With that, welcome to Habari Gani – Swahili for What Is The News?!”

February was a über busy month with Ashay University classes, Black History Month lectures and plans for the upcoming premier of Healing History: The Documentary and Everything We Should Be play by Ms. Shalane Dill, based on my poetry.

Two classes were offered in Ashay University – Life Before Enslavement and The Harlem Renaissance.  Both classes were met with enthusiasm and a thirst for more – clear indications that our community is hungry for self-knowledge.    The next class starts in mid-May: Seminar on Rightings Arousing Conscious Empowerment – RACE, based on my new book of the same name.   For more information and registration, do proceed to the Ashay University tab on this website.

Meanwhile, plans continue to unfold with the premier of the film Healing History: The Documentary.  The twenty-minute film showcases my work with children, adults and performance poetry.   The play, Everything We Should Be, highlights poetry in a dramatic fashion, telling the all too real story of a teacher trying to empower her students with history and culture, only to be rebuffed.  Shalane is a gifted playwright and we look forward to more collaborations in the future.

Habari Gani?  This is the news from your servant and Mwalimu in culture and empowerment!  Asante for reading and come back soon!  Hotep!