Introducing 'Tales of The Town' by Hella Black Podcast

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Tales of the Town
Tales of the Town (Courtesy of Tales of The Town)

Today we’re passing the mic to a group that’s doing some substantive work, both in the community and in the media.

The Hella Black Podcast, hosted by Delency Parham and Abbas Muntaqim, is a show focused on movements toward Black liberation.

Right now the Hella Black Podcast is running a unique series called Tales Of The Town. It’s produced by former Rightnowish guest and award winning filmmaker, Maya Cueva.

Over the course of 12 weeks, Tales of The Town is looking back at historical movements for Black liberation in Oakland, and diving into current efforts as well. On top of that, they’re making sure to note the arts and culture that has, and continues to fuel movements.

The show features conversations with the hosts' family members and former members of the Black Panther Party. There’s input from historians and culture keepers and there’s interviews with jazz scholars and R&B singers.

In addition to the Tales of The Town series, the group is publishing a photo book, a short film and an album full of original music from some big names in the Bay Area’s hip-hop and R&B circles. The album, podcast, and all of the companion pieces are an extension of the work of the Peoples Programs,  an organization co-founded by Hella Black Podcast hosts, Delency and Abbas.

Peoples Programs works with unhoused folks, providing food through grocery giveaways. They also have a community garden at UC Berkeley, which is maintained by Former Rightnowish guest AB Banks. The group has a mobile medical clinic, as well as a program that assists with bail and legal-support for incarcerated Black protesters.

So this week, we’re featuring episode number four from the Tales of The Town series. This episode dives into the history of West Oakland’s 7th Street, once a main thoroughfare for Black artists– home to jazz clubs and show venues where folks like Aretha Franklin would perform.

That is, until eminent domain brought about BART train tracks and a freeway that ran right through the community, ultimately causing many businesses to close. A blow to the neighborhood that still lingers to this day.

Abbas and Delency talk about that and more on this episode.

Rightnowish is an arts and culture podcast produced at KQED. Listen to it wherever you get your podcasts or click the play button at the top of this page and subscribe to the show on NPR One, Spotify, Apple Podcasts, TuneIn, Stitcher or wherever you get your podcasts.