Monthly Archives: October 2012

Living, surviving, and thriving with a disability


 Living (the early years) 

I am in the middle of my fifth decade of life. I acquired my disability at the age of two and one half years old. Living with a disability is a mighty challenge for anyone. My disability happened early in my life, so I have always been a member of the disabled community. Identification as a “person with a disability” is a relatively new development/stage of disability. Continue Reading →

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Food as a weapon: Welcome to a ‘new age of food justice’

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

Kwasi Nate Russell has studied the corridor on Minneapolis’ North Side from West Broadway Avenue, starting at Washington Avenue and east toward Girard Avenue, and discovered nearly 20 “major and minor fast-food/ junk-food establishments.”

LaDonna Redmond, a senior program associate at the Minneapolis- based Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, recalled that there were more fast-food places than fresh-food places “within 10 minutes” of her home when she lived in Chicago. “I could get a semiautomatic [weapon]… We can get anything in the ’hood, but I could not get an organic tomato,” she said jokingly. Both Redmond and Russell, a local natural food diet entrepreneur, discussed at the Black Environmental Thought II conference at the University of Minnesota in September how “food politics” have adversely affected Blacks and low-income people. “The industrial food system was created in part by the exploitation of Native Americans and Africans, because it was the exploitation of land and labor that created the food system that we stand on today,” explained Redmond. “Food always has been used as a weapon. Continue Reading →

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Black women: Reclaim your sacredness as containers for the spirit of our people

First of a three part column

In my last article, I highlighted culture as a resource for healing, building, and creating financial prosperity among African American people. The central message expressed was the importance of a return to an intellectual heritage and ancient self, which I see as the first step in moving toward community development. Randall Robinson opens his book The Debt: What America Owes Blacks with a revealing description of himself as having been born in 1941, but having his Black soul born eons ago on another continent “somewhere in the mists of prehistory.” He writes, “I am the new self and the ancient self, I need both to be whole, yet there is a war within and I feel a great wanting of spirit.”

In my work of establishing cultural wellness as a field of study and an approach to healing the African mind, I am lifting up the potentiality and power that cultureprovides to feed the wanting spirit. In Black America, as we reckon with and heal ourselves from generations of abuse, under development and benign neglect, we will be able to reverse the forces which have impeded our collective thriving. The 400 years (25 generations) of systematic enslavement will cease to have a hold on our development when we restore our consciousness of this ancient self. I realize that many may think that this is utopian thinking, but I am asking Black America to indulge in some serious utopia, because there is always a slender but precious hope that today’s utopia will become tomorrow’s society. In this article, I would like to build on the previous central message by lifting out and examining the role of Black women in our healing and rebuilding process. Continue Reading →

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Nat’l NAACP president motivates audience to action

Activist makes commitment to help solve problems facing local Blacks
By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer


National NAACP President and CEO Ben Jealous says that Minnesota “is more like Mississippi than it should be.”

Having once worked in Mississippi, a state known for its poor education and high prison rates, Jealous, the featured speaker at the October 12 Roy Wilkins Center’s 20thanniversary dinner at University of Minnesota’s Hubert Humphrey Center, admitted how surprised he was to learn that Minnesota is among the worst in Black unemployment and Black graduating rates, and near the top in Black incarceration rates. “I was a little surprised when I looked at the stats of the state of Minnesota. Black folk here are less likely to graduate than Black folk on the average in the country, more likely to be incarcerated than Black folk on the average in the country and less likely to have a job,” stated Jealous. “These are times for all Americans and Minnesotans to become courageous in reaching out and helping people understand that Minnesota is more like Mississippi than it should [be],” he continued. He believes that the state’s present Black generation must be included to help change things. Continue Reading →

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Penumbra Theatre Co. flips the script to meet economic challenge

Financial state result of administration’s failure to watch cash flow

By James L. Stroud, Jr.

Contributing Writer


Penumbra Theatre Company (PTC), one of the nation’s largest African American theaters, has suspended its programming for the year. This decision is due to a cash-flow challenge, which prompted PTC to lay off six of its 16 full-time employees. In a surprising twist to it all, PTC’s Lou Bellamy, who is known for being the founder, will be replaced as artistic director. However, according to reports, his successor will not be announced until close to the spring of 2013, when the theater will resume production. PTC was founded by Bellamy in 1976. Continue Reading →

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A conversation with Maya Angelou

Renaissance woman speaks on Tyler Perry, Obama and ‘the sweet language’

By Charles Hallman
Staff Writer

Born in St. Louis, Missouri, Dr. Maya Angelou is a renowned “renaissance woman” who as a teenager became San Francisco’s first Black female cable-car conductor, and worked with both Malcolm X and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

James Baldwin helped guide her toward working on what would become her first of over 30 best-selling books. A three-time Grammy winner, she also has written for the stage, screen and television, and her poetry is legendary. Last week, Dr. Angelou (MA) called the MSRfrom her home and talked about her life present and future.  
To read the full story, click here

To receive the print edition, become an MSR subscriber: Continue Reading →

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Light rail construction poses threat to surrounding businesses

Black-owned club struggles to stay open while losing customers

By Dwight Hobbes

Contributing Writer


Progress at what cost? Metro Transit’s impeding connection of the Twin Cities through light rail, all things being equal, is a step into the future. Hooking Minneapolis and St. Paul up with convenient, super-fast means of commuter travel and transport on a long commercial corridor seems to be advantageous for all in the metro area. Except all things aren’t equal. Continue Reading →

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This week’s entertainment spotlights

Acoustic Africa: Dobet Gnahoré, Manu Gallo and Kareyce Fotso

Sun,, Oct. 21, 7 and 9 pm
Dakota Jazz Club & Restaurant
1010 Nicollet Mall, Mpls., 612-332-1010 or
Acoustic Africa 2012 focuses on the richness of the African traditions of the voice and the song, featuring three of the continent’s most dynamic up-and-coming vocal talents. Tickets are $30 and $40. Vogue Trash Costume Fashion Ball

Sat., Oct. 20, 7 pm
Patrick’s Cabaret
3010 Minnehaha Ave., Mpls.,
612-724-6273 or
This benefit will feature a silent auction, fashion show, and an open dance party with local breakers and in-house DJs. Continue Reading →

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Black girl speaks: a play and artistic movement




Talitha V. Anyabwele’s Black Girl Speaks, makes its area premiere, launching the 2012-13 national tour, at a most appropriate venue, North Minneapolis’ Capri Theater. After all, where better to honor African American women with this celebrated production than the heart of the Black Twin Cities. Author-director-performer-producer Anyabwele states this theatrical experience is, “a series of monologues and spoken word pieces threaded together to chronicle the lives of Black women throughout the Diaspora. “Everything…from our relationships with our mothers, daughters and sisters and lovers and husbands to experiences with our careers to molestation, [the show has] very deep topics in our community we typically shy away from. And at the end I always applaud the Black woman for triumphing, the fact that we are standing as strong and beautiful as we are today.”

It was first staged in 2005 and, standing on spontaneity as a significant part of its strength, has never in its history as an international vehicle been done exactly the same way twice, letting the work thrive as art that continually evolves. Continue Reading →

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