Tag Archives: Kathya Alexander

OPINION: A Simple Solution to One of Seattle’s Homeless Problems

by Kathya Alexander

Several years ago — who knows how many; it’s been a long time ago now — a bald white man parked his very nice car across the street from my house in the Central District (CD). Our duplex kinda shares a parking lot with a Seattle middle school at a dead-end kinda cul de sac. Unlike most of the CD, my block’s not quite gentrified yet. On my short street, we got two old Black women, a Mexican family, and a white-looking Muslim guy. Sounds Black, so I ain’t sure. Nice neighborhood. Nice people. That Seattle kinda nice, where people speak and smile when they’re out walking their dogs but they ain’t all up in your business. Then I noticed that the car hadn’t moved for a while. Eventually, I realized that Bald White Man was living in his car. Then, sometime later, I figured out he was probably selling drugs, too. ʼCause I know the signs: A lot of people coming and going for short little visits to his car. 

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Fiction: The Spirit of Love

by Kathya Alexander

sweet Holy Spirit
sweet Heavenly dove
guide me with your goodness
fill me with your love

She sang as she wrapped the flour around the lard, caressing the mixture in her fingers like it was worthy of love. And that is exactly the way that it was that she felt. Your food didn’t taste good if it wasn’t no love in your heart. Her Mama learned her that when she learned how to make biscuits. How you shouldn’t cook nothing if you feeling like your heart wasn’t clean. So she probably shouldn’t even be in the kitchen this morning. But she don’t have that luxury. She got these chir’en to feed. Sometimes her Mama felt so close she could almost see her. Just there, right outside the corner of her eye. She felt her the most when she was cooking in the kitchen. Even tho it had been more than 20 years since her Mama had died.

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Black Educators Closing Equity Gaps for African American Students and Teachers

by Kathya Alexander

The academic achievement gap between white and BIPOC students has been well documented. Black and Hispanic students trail their white peers by an average of more than 20 points in math and reading assessments, a difference of about two grade levels. Black males, in general, fare even worse, a situation that has not changed much for the past 40 years. 

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Adefua’s Legacy of African Dance and Culture

by Kathya Alexander

The Odunde Festival is an annual harvest festival that celebrates the fruits of labor of the Yoruba people of Nigeria. The word itself means “New Year,” and Adefua Cultural Education Workshop has been celebrating the event here in Seattle for the past 36 years. The theme this year is Reunion, an opportunity to come together and give thanks for life as the city comes out of COVID-19 restrictions. 

The two-day event begins Friday, Nov. 19, at 6 p.m. with a community dance party at the Rainier Arts Center and continues Saturday, Nov. 20, with an African marketplace that opens at 3 p.m. and culminates with a symposium and performance from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

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All That Jazz: The Life and Legacy of Ernestine Anderson

by Kathya Alexander

Ernestine Anderson was just 16 years old when she announced to her parents that she was going to leave Seattle and go on the road to sing with a big band. She’d only recently moved to the city from Texas and was attending Garfield High School. Two years later, when the Johnny Otis band came to town, she made good on her promise, leaving Seattle in 1946 to eventually live in New York, Switzerland, and other cities throughout Europe during an illustrious six-decade career, during which she recorded more than 30 albums. But, no matter where she lived, her heart always pulled her back to her family and the city she loved. 

Seattle’s Central District in the 1940s and ’50s was a jazz mecca. Fellow Garfield High School alum, Quincy Jones, described it as “screaming around the clock.” Both Anderson and Jones performed with Garfield’s jazz band and in various clubs on Seattle’s Jackson Street. Music journalist Paul De Barros’ book, Jackson Street After Hours: The Roots of Jazz in Seattle, has become the standard historical text on the Central District of Seattle and the jazz scene that was going on during the 1940s through the early ’60s. But Anderson felt she needed to make it elsewhere before she would be recognized professionally at home. 

“There were a lot of clubs in the Central area of Seattle: The Black and Tan, The Rocking Chair, and a whole bunch of other[s],” said Eugenie Jones, jazz singer and coproducer of “Celebrating Ernestine Anderson,” a series of community events being held this month to honor the life and legacy of this incredible Seattle icon, who died in 2016.

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Mama’z Meuzz: The Beauty and Pain of Black Motherhood

by Kathya Alexander

On Friday, Nov. 12, Monique Franklin will take the stage to share a reading of her provocative play Mama’z Muezz. The performance starts at 7 p.m. at Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute. Accompanied by a live four-piece band, Mama’z Meuzz examines the experiences of African American mothers from present-day, historical, and ancestral perspectives. 

Franklin will also share part of Mama’z Muezzeum, an interactive and introspective experience full of artifacts, adornments, and ancestral altars that acknowledge what many consider universal experiences (like conception and birth) that for many mothers are traumatic experiences that involve grief and trauma and that need healing. 

In addition to free tickets, Black women attending the performance who are mothers will get a signed copy of the “Mama’z Muezz” chapbook, a collection of the poems from the play. They will also receive a flower, a magnet, royal seating at the front of the house, and a free digital download of the “Mama’z Muezz” mini album. 

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FICTION: The Murder of Emmett Till

by Kathya Alexander

The day that the modern Civil Rights movement begin was the day when them white men kill Emmett Till. His mama, Mamie, was sitting on the sofa in her little house on the South Side of Chicago when the call come in that would change her life. Her child was missing from her granddaddy’s house. 

It was Willie Mae who called, not Mr. Mose. The white men who took Emmett had told Mose not to report a thing he seen or heard. So it was Curtis Jones who call the Leflore County Sheriff. And then Willie Mae call Mamie at 9:30 that morning to tell her what had happen to her only son.

Willie Mae said some white men had come and took him about 2:30 a.m. that Sunday morning. Mamie was still in the bed and was fast asleep, but what Willie Mae was saying sho’ did wake her up quick.

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‘Reflections’ Dance Festival: A Gift of Indigenous and African American Solidarity

by Kathya Alexander

This year’s “Reflections” Dance Festival was filmed in September, bringing the light and sunshine of the summer into the fall to be shared when we need it most. It is a love letter to our beautiful city written in ceremony, ritual, and dance, giving testament to the ways art can heal and transform us even during our darkest days.

Jordan Remington is a Quileute tribe member and community engagement and programs coordinator of Friends of Waterfront Seattle(Friends). Davida Ingram is the Seattle Public Library’s public engagements program manager. Last year they came together to build Indigenous and Black solidarity through arts and culture. 

Their collaboration created a unique gift to the City of Seattle — Reflections Dance Festival — in partnership with Friends of Waterfront Seattle, Seattle Public Library (SPL), Seattle Art Museum, Seattle Office of Arts & Culture (OAC), and Office of the Waterfront and Civic Projects.

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Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month at the Seattle Latino Film Festival

by Kathya Alexander

The Seattle Latino Film Festival (SLFF) opened for in-person viewing on Friday, Oct. 8, and continues through Sunday, Oct. 17. 

The festivities began last Friday at the Seattle Asian Art Museum with an opening night gala and after party reception. Dennis Mencia, a Honduran American actor known for playing Mateo Villanueva on CW’s Jane the Virgin, was MC for the event. The gala showcased the Uruguayan comedy, The Broken Glass Theory, one of the festival’s 106 in-person and online films supporting the magic of filmmaking as part of Hispanic culture globally. 

The in-person showcase continued at The Beacon Cinema in Columbia City on Saturday with an American film called Coast, directed by Jessica Hester and Derek Schweickart. Also shown was the Venezuelan film, Opposite Direction, and an LGBTQ film called Liz In September. The director, Fina Torres, known for Fox Searchlight’s Woman on Top with Penélope Cruz, was present for the Q&A after the screening. 

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FICTION: Freedom Spring

by Kathya Alexander

The daffodils dance in the front yard like tornadoes. Red roses climb, wild, to the roof of our house. This Mother’s Day is alive with hope and with morning. ‘Cept for the slash that is running cross my Mama mouth. 

She kneading the dough for the biscuits for breakfast. She got the radio on, tune to WOKJ. That’s the radio station where my brother, Quint, is a DJ. They talking ‘bout the Freedom Riders, colored folks and whites riding buses down South from Washington D.C. to New Orleans. All of them is students. My Mama say, “This how these chir’en choose to spend they spring vacation? They ought to be home with they mamas.” Then she whip the dough like it’s the thing made her mad.

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