Norman Richmond's blog

The Untold Story of the Black Radical Tradition in Canada

by Norman (Otis) Richmond aka Jalali

The author is a veteran of the Black political struggle on both sides of the U.S.-Canadian border, having emigrated to Canada in the Sixties. He points out the similarities -- and differences – in Black radical politics in the two countries. For example, early on, “Africans born in Canada organized as Jamaicans, Trinidadians, Barbadians or Black Canadians.”

2016 Open letter to President Obama: “What About We People Who Are Darker Than Blue?”

by Norman (Otis) Richmond (aka Jalali)

In 2009, President Obama changed the name – and the meaning – of Black Music Month to African American Music Appreciation Month. The author maintains the change represents “a step backward” for Black music. “In one fell swoop he took an international music and nationalized it.”

Remembering Mama Africa Miriam Makeba

Remembering Mama Africa Miriam Makeba

Last week marked the 86th birthday of the late South African singer and Miriam Makeba, known to millions worldwide as “Mama Africa.” She “used her voice as a weapon in the struggle against apartheid” in her native land and came to personify the global African Liberation Movement. Napoleon Bonapart, said Makeba, was a “White” Chaka Zulu.

The Sports of Empire

by Norman (Otis) Richmond

Sports has traveled the world on the fortunes of empire – and the misfortunes of the conquered. “’Thanks’ to imperialism, Africans in the Western Hemisphere were involved in baseball, cricket and football/soccer.” 

Al Prentice “Bunchy" Carter” Would Have Rode with Nat Turner

by Norman (Otis) Richmond aka Jalali

October 12 is the birthday of one of the most talented and promising young men martyred in the massive State repression against the Black Panther Party for Self Defense. “Unlike Huey P. Newton, Bobby Seale, Eldridge Cleaver and George Jackson, Carter has almost been forgotten from the history of Africans in America except for die hards.” But Al Prentice “Bunchy" Carter was a true renaissance man, a man of many talents – and a man of the people.

Venus and Serena’s Father’s Tale of Southern Injustice: Black and White - The Way I See It

a review by Norman (Otis) Richmond

The father who raised two of the greatest tennis players in history was himself the product of southern fried violence and hyper-racism. Richard Williams’ “episode with the Klan alone is worth the price of his autobiography.”

Celebrating 35 years of Black Music Month

by Norman (Otis) Richmond aka Jalali

The Black Music Association was formed in 1979, but not all chapters supported the boycott of racist South Africa in the Seventies and Eighties. The Toronto and New York chapters shunned the racist regime.

From Negro History Week to African Liberation Month

by Norman Richmond, aka Jalali

“Personally, I’m tired of hearing uninformed people remark: ‘They give us the coldest and shortest month of the year to celebrate Black History Month.’ They didn’t give us anything.”

Toronto And The Cultural Boycott Of South Africa

by Norman (Otis) Richmond aka Jalali

Once upon a time, Africans from across the Diaspora and their allies united in a movement to abolish apartheid in South Africa. Toronto was a focal point of this movement.

Open Letter to President Obama: What About We People Who Are Darker Than Blue?

by Norman (Otis) Richmond

President Obama likes to associate himself with “change.” But his altering of the name of the month set aside to celebrate Black music is quite unwelcome. “By not recognizing Black Music Month and changing the name in 2009 you have taken a step backward Mr. President.”

Reflections on Gil Scott-Heron

by Norman (Otis) Richmond aka Jalali

Gil Scott-Heron’s repertoire was as wide and deep as the audience that loved him. “He dealt with racism, capitalism, the environment, Pan-Africanism, substance abuse, nuclear power, women's liberation and just plain ‘silly’ little love songs.”

An Open Letter to President Obama: “What About We People Who Are Darker Than Blue?”


by Norman (Otis) Richmond

In 2009 President Obama altered a 30-year presidential tradition, changing the name of Black Music Month to African American Appreciation Month. That was not the kind of change Black music lovers were hoping for. “In one fell swoop,” the First Black U.S. President, “took an international music and nationalized it.” This is “a step backward,” and needs to be reversed.


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