Charlotte “Mama C” O’Neal to give musical performance and take part in screening of “Mama C: Urban Warrior in the African Bush”
A former Black Panther who went on to found a nonprofit in Tanzania while living in exile will give a free, public talk and performance at UC Merced.
Charlotte “Mama C” O’Neal will share her story of survival and life as a Black Panther from 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 23 in the Wallace-Dutra Amphitheater.
Afterward, there'll be a reception and screening of a "Mama C: Urban Warrior in the African Bush," a new documentary about O'Neal by filmmaker Joanne Hershfield in UC Merced’s California Room, across from the amphitheatre. Hershfield is an award-winning filmmaker and professor of Women’s Studies and Department Head, at North Carolina State University Chapel Hill.
During the first event, O'Neal along with Tarika Lewis, Avotcja and Val Serrant will perform songs in celebration of life, art and community. O'Neal is a world-class improvisational jazz, blues, spoken word and visual artist. She immigrated to Africa in 1971, where she and her husband co-founded the United African Alliance Community Center. Her poetry and reflections are widely published, and she is the subject of numerous books, articles, and documentaries.
Tarika Lewis, the first female Black Panther, has toured nationally and internationally with legendary saxophonist John Handy with Class, and currently plays violin, viola and harp with SONG and the Bobby Young Project Blues Band.
Avotcja plays small multi-percussion, and is a popular Bay Area radio DJ as well as founder/member of Avotcja & Modúpue (the Bay Area Blues Society’s Jazz Group Of The Year in 2005 & 2010). Val Serrant, a highly skilled musician, from the Republic of Trinidad & Tobago will perform with African and steel drums. His music reflects his rich and diverse cultural heritage.
"As a member of the Black Panther Party, I was taught the importance of building international solidarity among all people while honoring my ancestral roots. That philosophy has never changed and many of my poems and songs reflect this burning desire and mission to spread peace, love, empowerment and unity through my art,” O'Neal said.
She has four albums to her credit, the latest being titled Nyatiti Speaks to Me. O'Neal is the first woman to play the obokano, an eight string lyre, and one of four women who plays nyatiti professionally. Both these traditional African instruments were previously taboo for women to play.
Before and after the screening, there will be short discussion sessions with O'Neal, Tarika Lewis, Val Serrant and Avotcja. For information on the film, please visit, http://www.mamacurbanwarriorfilm.com.
This event is sponsored by the African Diaspora Student Association at UC Merced. For further information, please contact Kim McMillon at email@example.com.