Over the years, there has been an abundance of information written on the Black Panthers, as well as a few off-Broadway plays and short film clips. However, all of this information was missing a cohesive component, often allowing for many unanswered questions and propaganda.
Stanley Nelson, an award-winning documentarian, is the first to direct and write a feature length documentary “The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution” is an in depth journey that depicts their cultural and political force on the two Americas (Black and white). Running time is 1 hour and 53 minutes.
Nelson goes straight to the source, merging rare archival footage with the voices of the people who were there: police, FBI informants, journalists, white supporters and detractors, and Black Panthers who remained loyal to the party and those who left it. It features Kathleen Cleaver, Jamal Joseph and many others.
Originally known as the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense, the group was founded in 1966 in Oakland, Calif., by Huey Newton and Bobby Seale. The party’s original purpose was to patrol African-American neighborhoods to protect residents from acts of police brutality.
Today, some 50 years later, the Black community is still crying out and protesting against police brutality. When the Black Panthers patrolled neighbors with automatic rifles, then-President Ronald Regan called for stricter gun control laws, and FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover called the party “the greatest threat to the internal security of the country.” He supervised an extensive program (COINTELPRO) that used surveillance, infiltration, perjury and police harassment tactics to undermine Panther leadership.
Oddly enough, when the white force called the Oath Keepers showed up in Ferguson, dressed in fatigues and carrying weapons, the police on the scene and the mayor seemed to welcome them. Their statement was, “We are here to stabilize and protect the community.” The Black Panthers were in the community to do the same, as well as implement social programs such as free breakfast for children and community health clinics.
Black Panther Party membership reached a peak in the late 1960s, with offices in 68 cities and thousands of members. After being vilified by the mainstream press, public support for the party lost traction. Currently, the Black Lives Matter movement is being vilified in the wake of recent police fatalities.
Nelson connects the dots from 50 years ago that reflect a moment in time when a group called the Black Panthers, young men and women (some only teenagers), committed themselves to the revolution to establish economic, social and political justice for all. Nelson’s documentary must be seen by everyone. It is a lesson in American history and the ways of white folks who aren’t willing to share.
“The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution” runs now through Sept. 15 at Film Forum, located at 209 West Houston St. It is also running at the Magic Johnson Theater near 125th Street and Eighth Avenue. Check times online.
There are only two jazz clubs in New York City owned by women. One is the Village Vanguard and the other is the Brooklyn jazz mecca Sista’s Place, owned by Viola Plummer (located at 456 Nostrand Ave.).
For 20 years, Plummer has been keeping the jazz tradition alive in Brooklyn, with such respected musicians as Reggie Workman, Jimmy Owens, Hamiett Bluiett, Charles Tolliver, Craig S. Harris, T.K. Blue, Neil Clarke, Charles Burnham, D.D. Jackson; the critic, poet, author and playwright Amiri Baraka; and Amina Baraka. Sept. 11, Sista’s Place will receive the official plaque for Honorary Landmark Status from Assemblywoman Annette Robinson. The ceremony takes place at the club, 6 p.m.
Brooklyn’s jazz tradition dates back to the early 1950s, when Brooklyn natives such as Max Roach, Cecil Payne and Randy Weston turned the little city into a jazz hotbed. During that period, it wasn’t a surprise to see Miles Davis, Roy Haynes or Freddie Hubbard playing at one of the many Brooklyn clubs. They all flocked to the clubs to perform.
The anointment of Sista’s Place with Honorary Landmark Status acknowledges Plummer’s diligent work to keep jazz alive in the community at this specific location. For more information, call 718-398-1766.
During the 1960s, Eddie and Charlie Palmieri, Tito Puente and Tito Rodriguez all lived in the Bronx, making it one of the most vibrant musical habitats of its day. Today, the young bassist Carlos Henriquez, who holds down a steady chair with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, is also a native of the Bronx.
He will return to his native borough Sept. 12 under the banner “Carlos Henriquez: Back in the Bronx,” with Jazz at Lincoln Center and Wynton Marsalis. They will perform at 8 p.m. at Lehman Center for the Performing Arts, located at 250 Bedford Park Boulevard West.
To celebrate JALC’s 2015 to 2016 season opening at Lehman Center, they have prepared a guided bus tour to transport ticket holders (and JALC staff) to and from the venue for the performance. In 1998, after high school, Henriquez joined the Wynton Marsalis Septet and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, touring the world and getting featured on more than 25 albums. He has performed with a varied group of artists, including Chucho Valdes, Paco De Lucia, Tito Puente, the Marsalis Family, Willie Nelson, Bob Dylan, Stevie Wonder, Lenny Kravitz and Marc Anthony.
For tickets, email email@example.com or call 212-258-9877.