Afro-Vegan Dinner w/ Saul Williams & Bryant Terry
The Matatu Dinner featuring musician/poet/actor Saul Williams reading from his soon to be published book, US(a.), jazz records played by James Beard Leadership Award recipient and chef/author Bryant Terry, and artist talks with Mahader Tesfai and Donte Clark. The dinner menu is curated by Michelin Star award winning chef Sarah Kirnon, informed by the year's film selections and origins.
Jabz and September are two twenty-something suburbanites drifting through a day of drugs, sex, and philosophizing in their privileged Johannesburg neighborhood. Gorgeously shot using rich black-and-white photography, the story is anchored by the live-streamed suicide of their friend Emily. Jabz and September are ill equipped to handle the tragedy that interrupts the hollowness of their daily lives. A first-time director, 23-year-old Sibs Shongwe-La Mer depicts a raw, unique, and captivating post-apartheid Johannesburg.
After living abroad for four years, Saul Williams returned to America and found his head twirling with thoughts on everything from race, class, and gender, to finance, freedom, and guns, to cooking shows, dog shows, superheroes, not-so-super politicians, and everything else that makes up our country. Join us, as Saul reads from US(a.), a collection of poems that embodies the spirit of a culture that questions sentiments and realities, embracing a cross-section of pop culture, hip-hop, and the greater world politic of the moment. It’s a punk rock oracular testament that speaks to the rebellious teen as well as the sheltered suburban dreamer.
ROmeo is Bleeding
A fatal turf war between neighborhoods haunts the city of Richmond, CA. Donté Clark transcends the violence in his hometown by writing poetry about his experiences. Using his voice to inspire those around him, he and the like-minded youth of the city mount an urban adaptation of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, with the hope of starting a real dialogue about violence in the city. Will Richmond force Donté to compromise his idealistic ambitions? Or will Donté end Richmond’s cycle of trauma?
In the Spring of 2011, Senegal was pitched into crisis when President Abdoulaye Wade decided to change the constitution to allow for a third term. An artist-led youth movement erupted to protect one of Africa' oldest and most stable democracies. In a time where democracy is under siege in many parts of the world, 'Incorruptible' offers a positive, hopeful example while at the same time honestly examining the sustainability of a people's movement, and the role that youth are taking in shaping the future of their own country.
Visionary master musician, SHAFIQ HUSAYN, grew up in Oakland, Watts, South Central, Texas and the South Bronx where he experienced Hip Hop in it's infancy, joined Zulu Nation and ran with pioneers Afrika Bambatta and Afrika Islam. Co-founder of Sa Ra Creative Partners and contributor to Rober Glasper's Grammy-winning BLACK RADIO. 'Sa-Ra' is another Kemetic term, meaning son of the sun or child of the cosmos.
DEMOCRATICS // Decolonizing the Imagination
Marshall R Trammell, Black Spirituals percussionist presents the latest iteration from his Music Research Strategies platform. DEMOCRATICS is an integrative, four-part communication system presented in a new language of groove, explosive energy and true creativity that features the percussion quartet of Donald Robinson, Spirit, Tacuma King and Marshall R Trammell on traditional and contemporary drum sets.
Meseganio Tadela, 74, is a hard, obstinate, and nervous man. He immigrated to Israel from Ethiopia 28 years ago with his family. He has chosen to zealously retain his culture, talks very little, and hardly speaks Hebrew. After losing his wife, he is afraid of dying and being alone. Meseganio sets out on a journey that leads him through his children's homes. He comes to realize that he belongs to a rapidly disappearing class that believes in retaining Ethiopian culture. The harsh reality hits him in the face. Having come to know some of life's new realities, he tries to survive according to his own ways.
Other Kinds of Dreams
Other Kinds of Dreams is a reflection on Black and POC women’s organizational strategies and transformational potency in a book authored by Julia Oparah. Presented in performance at the MATATU Festival, it is an exquisite program of Oakland’s finest afrological musicians and diasporic griots. The dynamic formations of creative storytellers using voices, bodies, and electronic and indigenous instruments alike will put a capstone on the journey of the festival and imprint the gift of ‘organization’ on our souls. This interpretation of this particular vision will be imagined and produced by Amber McZeal, Sharmi Basu, and Alexander Brown.
Zéna Carlota presents new arrangements from her upcoming album, “Beautiful News”: a cycle of songs composed on Kora, the West African harp, and ukelele, that use language and stories to explore music, memory and the residual nature of culture in an age of migration.One of the few traditionally trained women who specialize in Kora, Zéna combines West African music and storytelling with her love of Appalachian revival music, pre-electric Delta blues, 1960's folk rock from the UK and American R&B, to create "Afro-folk": an eclectic mix of music and styles from Africa and beyond.
ASNI: Courage, Passion & Glamor in Ethiopia
Perhaps considered the Billie Holiday of Ethiopia, the Edith Piaf of France, Asnaketch Worku lived her life on the edge of her artistry, over the edge of her passions. Yet to separate Asnaketch from the social and political climate of conservative Ethiopia was impossible, particularly in the 1950's and 1960's. Artists in that time were looked down upon, called derogatorily, Azmari, or "not going to heaven." ASNI is as much about Ethiopia, its music and culture, as it is about Asnaketch, a substantive part of the fabric of Ethiopia, past and present.
Eritrean by way of San Diego beat lover Eden Hagos brings visibility to those future sounds that you can’t quite put your genre finger on. Deep rooted in underground hip hop, sample-based, percussion-heavy tunes and future bass, Eden’s ear for unique sounds has kept her digging since her uncle gave her her first Fugees album at age 16. Currently, caught the attention of Okayfuture deeming the young beatstress "a prophet of future sounds." The beat scene and local producers started listening and partnerships with artists, labels, and connectors in the community became plentiful.
Fashion House Marga Weimans
Just as Marga Weimans was about to graduate in public administration, this native of Rotterdam decided to change course and focus on realising her dream: to become a fashion designer. Without conforming to the existing boundaries of haute couture, she has succeeded in creating trends in both the fashion and art worlds and creates a retrospective exhibition for the Groninger Museum. Amidst tremendous personal growth, the camera follows Weimans on her visit home to Suriname, tracing her family's history.
stretch and bobbito: radio that changed lives
During the 1990s, Stretch and Bobbito introduced the world to an unsigned Nas, Biggie, Wu-Tang, and Big Pun as well as an unknown Jay-Z, Eminem, and the Fugees. The total record sales for all the artists that premiered on their radio show exceed 300 million. The late night program had a cult following in the art/fashion world and prison population, as well. All would loyally tune in for the humor just as much for the music. Stretch and Bobbito brought a unique audience together, and created a platform that changed music forever.
Decades after the apocalypse and after extraterrestrial life had been discovered, the few inhabitants left in a hostile Earth have struggled to survive by squatting and rummaging to make ends meet. For many years an alien spaceship has hovered in the skies, undisturbed and dormant, slowly rusting away. Tired of picking up the crumbs of gone-by civilizations, Gagano dreams his life away when not living in a state of perpetual fear. When the spaceship in the sky begins to turn on, our miniature sized hero will be forced to embark on a surreal epic journey that will lead him through the post apocalyptic Ethiopian landscape.
Rasa: Dancers of Alonzo King LINES Ballet
Courtney Henry of Alonzo King LINES Ballet curates a company performance of Rasa. The deeply evocative and shimmering piece, set to an original score by tabla virtuoso Zakir Hussain, was called “an intriguing wonder” by the New York Times. Zakir Hussain’s mastery of classical Indian percussion and unique vision of world music have brought him worldwide renown, including a Grammy nomination, and his collaborations with Alonzo King renew classical forms in an entirely innovative way.
What is Black Guilt? In this film we question the responsibility of African artists in an ever more globalised universe, where we maybe find ourselves "playing catch up" to the West as opposed to following our own paths. Are we victims of our past - forever beholden to our so called arrested development or is our superpower our burden? How much do these complexes and relationships to the ghost of our continent’s violent collective history of oppression, exploitation and struggle haunt us? Is there such a thing as Post Colonialism or indeed Neo Colonialism if Colonialism never ended in the first place? How will this end? When will we lynch these ideas?