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The Past in the Present: Writing from Georgia

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Theodore Warren McBride, Sr. - Rest in Peace

My dear father Theodore Warren McBride, Sr. passed on Sunday, September 23, 2018 after a lengthy illness. We were able to celebrate his 87th birthday with him on the 15th.  He was a great husband and dad; a wonderful example of paternal commitment, love of life,  love of God and a huge curiosity about the world.  I will post a link to his obituary tomorrow.

Theodore Warren McBride  1931-2018


Ode to Sadness                                                                               

by Pablo Neruda

Sadness, scarab
with seven crippled feet,
spiderweb egg,
scramble-brained rat,
bitch's skeleton:
No entry here.
Don't come in.
Go away.
Go back
south with your umbrella,
go back
north with your serpent's teeth.
A poet lives here.
No sadness may
cross this threshold.
Through these windows
comes the breath of the world,
fresh red roses,
flags embroidered with
the victories of the people.
No entry.
your bat's wings,
I will trample the feathers
that fall from your mantle,
I will sweep the bits and pieces
of your carcass to
the four corners of the wind,
I will wring your neck,
I will stitch your eyelids shut,
I will sew your shroud,
sadness, and bury your rodent bones
beneath the springtime of an apple tree.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Sonia Sanchez Tribute at Philly's African-American Museum

 Yesterday's celebration of  poet and activist  Sonia Sanchez at Philadelphia's African-American Museum was amazing.  Area poets came out to laud this stellar talent  on her 85th birthday.  Here I am reading to her my poem of tribute to her.

Image may contain: 4 people, including Sojourner Ahébée, people smiling, people standingImage may contain: one or more people and crowd
Poets Sojourner Ahebee and Octavia McBride-Ahebee at the Sonia Sanchez Celebration .

Monday, September 10, 2018

Poet Sojourner Ahebee to Read at Apiary Event

Beer & Honey is back!  They are  bringing together some of their favorite writers to celebrate 10 years of APIARY - and the beginning of their submissions period for APIARY X! Join them on 9/15 at Pentridge Station Pop-Up,  5110-5120 Pentridge St, Philadelphia, PA 19143@ 7:30 for a DOPE lineup of performances from 8 Philly writers including Sojourner Ahébée!

Sojourner Ahebee writes stories about African diaspora identities and the eternal question of home & belonging. Sojourner believes not in the boat that floated her here but what she’ll do with the water. Her debut poetry chapbook, Reporting from the Belly of the Night, was released in August 2017. You can find her on Instagram @daughteroftheyam as she dreams up other suns.

APIARY X is supported by the The Velocity Fund and Temple Contemporary. #Apiary #Beer&Honey 

Image may contain: one or more people and people standing
Poet Sojourner Ahebee

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Terence Nance's Univitellin

Image result for terence nance
Terence Nance by Kehinde Wiley

My daughter just introduced me to some of the work of filmmaker Terence Nance, who is the creator of the HBO show Random Acts of  Flyness. Given my West African  and  French bent,  I was particularly impressed by his short film Univitellin.   Enjoy this short excerpt.

UNIVITELLIN from Terence Nance on Vimeo.

Philly's Own Poet Sonia Sanchez Wins $100,000 Prize

Image result for sonia sanchez     The Academy of American Poets announced that  our beloved Sonia Sanchez is this year’s winner of the Wallace Stevens Award.  Kudos to her !!!!

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Independent Lens Presents Winnie Mandela Documentary

One of the more misunderstood and intriguing contemporary female political figures, Winnie Mandela’s rise and seeming fall from grace bear the hallmarks of epic tragedy. Winnie explores her life and contribution to the struggle to bring down apartheid in South Africa from the inside, with intimate insight from Winnie herself, those closest to her and enemies who sought to extinguish her activism.   

Streaming now until February 20, 2018  Click link:

Thursday, November 16, 2017

What can a Black Moor, Our Mona and the very Adept Anthony Teach Us About Being a Good Neighbor – Come see the play "Lacunae"!

Playwright Mona R. Washington

Mona R. Washington most recent play, "Lacunae" will be performed at the Philadelphia Museum of Art's Perelman Building , 2525 Pennsylvania Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19130, December 9th at noon. This is a pay what you want event. This commissioned play is part of the "Philadelphia Assembled" project which is the first public art project ever undertaken by the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Washington is the featured playwright. Her 'atmosphere', which is the way the project is organized, is 'Reconstruction' and for this project she has written plays about gentrification and displacement, and mass incarceration.

Director Antony P. Kamani has directed all of Washington's plays commissioned for "Philadelphia Assembled", including the short "Pop-Ups" and the upcoming "Lacunae". 
Director Tony P. Kamani 

For Washington, "Lacunae" is about making public art, and the multifaceted participation that entails, especially for theatre. She described this play as the culmination of all of the previous plays she has written-short and long-for "Philadelphia Assembled"...and it addresses the major question "What constitutes a just neighbor ?”
So, save the date. R.S.V.P. at #PhilaMuseum #PhiladelphiaAssembled #PhilaOpenYourDoors

The Moorish Chief  by  Eduard Charlemont

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

The Amazingly Brilliant and Generous Artist Tamara Natalie Madden Has Died

                                                         Tamara Natalie Madden

    Tamara-artist, Spelman professor and mother-died on November 4, 2017. This is such a shock. She was such a generous, kind soul. I can recount many stories, but most recently- this past summer-when my daughter was launching her website to promote and showcase her new poetry collection, she approached
Artist and Professor Tamara Natalie Madden
Tamara about using a particular piece of hers for the backdrop of the site. Sojourner wanted to know what costs would be involved. Tamara asked to read some of Sojourner's work.  After a few days later, after reading Sojourner's work, Tamara said she was impressed with Sojo's collection and other poetry,  and said Sojo could use that particular piece of artwork free of charge. 

Her work  and  the lives she touched speak for themselves. Here is a link to learn more about her:

A Go-Fund Me Campaign has been organized to support her daughter's college fund. Here is a link to this:

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Remembering Langston Hughes; His Art, Life and Legacy - Princeton University Conference

* Source: 
Langston Huges by Winold Reiss
Remembering Langston Hughes: His Art, Life, and Legacy Fifty Years Later is a local and national forum on Langston Hughes.
           Nov. 10-11, 2017

Jessie Fauset, Langston Hughes, and Zora Neale Hurston at Tuskegee Institute, 1927From the Langston Hughes Papers, James Weldon Johnson Collection in the Yale Collection of American Literature, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library. 
Since his death in May 1967, his art, particularly his poetry, has been invoked to articulate both some of the nation’s loftiest hopes and its deepest fears. The forum, jointly sponsored by several Princeton University academic departments, takes place over two days, November 10th and 11th, at Princeton University.
Hughes in Harlem

Conference organizer Wallace Best writes, “Langston Hughes has long shaped people’s understanding of themselves and of the United States more broadly.  His powerful written works have provided insight into our painful past and hope for a future beyond the ills that have plagued our society. He was the ‘Bard of Harlem’ and he remains America’s Bard.”
Free and open to the public.

McCosh Hall, Room 50 & Wallace Theater, Lewis Center for the Arts

November 10th-11th, 2017

Thursday, October 5, 2017

African-American Players on the Shakespearean Stage; Ira Aldridge

I am excited this evening to see the Lantern Theater’s production of Red Velvet, a play about the life of African-American Shakespearean actor Ira Aldridge (1807-1867) 
and learn more about the pivotal moment in British abolitionist history in which he played the role of Othello in London, and his fascinating career as a black actor in Europe and all that this entailed.
Cast of Lantern Theater's Red Velvet- photo Mark Garvin

Red Velvet’s run has been extended to October 15, 2017 and over the next week I will share some really interesting information about African-Americans’ long history of participation on the Shakespearean stage and interesting tidbits about the fascinating Ira Aldridge.  I leave now with one of my favorite photographs of Howard University’s Howard Players all-Black Shakespeare cast taken in 1937.  (I am not sure of the play.)  

Here is a link for more information  about The Lantern Theater’s presentation of Red Velvet, click here:   Let’s support theatre that tells our stories.

The Howard Players, 1937- Who can identify what play they were presenting?