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November 2014
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December 2014

Did you know that Teddy Pendergrass recorded a song for Kwanzaa? [VIDEO]


The song Happy Kwanzaa is included on Teddy Pendergrass's "This Christmas" album which was released in 2001. It's such a great song --- great lyrics...tight beat...various music styles. Check it out. Share. Live the Principles of Kwanzaa.

See you at the MARY WILLIAMS WOODARD LEGACY KWANZAA CELEBRATION, Saturday, December 27, 2014, 4pm at the African Heritiage Cultural Arts Center, 6161 NW 22nd Avenue, Miami, FL 33142. The event is free and open to the public. A donation of new books or new, unwrapped educational toys for children would be greatly appreciated. For more information, text or call (786) 294-5013.




It's Boxing Day!


Boxing Day is celebrated on the day following Christmas. Some historians say the holiday developed because servants were required to work on Christmas Day but took the following day off. As servants prepared to leave to visit their families, their employers would present them with gift boxes.

Locally, the Bahamian Federation Club used to have a dance each year; not sure if that event is still taking place. If you do celebrate Boxing Day...enjoy!





Kwanzaa: To Celebrate or Not to Celebrate [VIDEO]



Kwanzaa is the seven-day celebration designed to unite and uplift Black people in America. Kwanzaa is based on the Nguzo Saba or Seven Principles: Unity (Umoja); Self-determination (Kujichagulia); Collective Work and Responsibility (Ujima); Cooperative Economics (Ujamaa); Purpose (Nia); Creativity (Kuumba); and Faith (Imani). 

Family and friends gather each day and celebrate each of the principles. A candle representing each principle is lit each day and is celebrated through cultural expression by attendees. On the last day of Kwanzaa, the celebration includes a feast (Karamu) of various foods. In its pure form among family and very close friends, the feast is a potluck dinner.

Kwanzaa was first celebrated in 1966. It is not a religious or political holiday. Kwanzaa is not anti-Christmas or a substitute for Christmas although some folk would have you think so. Elders and children are an important part of Kwanzaa. The elders are treated with respect and reverence and children, who represent the future. Gifts are exchanged during Kwanzaa but should not be presented if they result in undue financial hardship. Handcrafted gifts and educational toys are encouraged. 

If you want to know more about Kwanzaa (and there is more to know), bring family and friends to the African Heritage Cultural Arts Center at 4pm on Saturday, December 27, 2014 for the 25th Annual Mary Williams Woodard Legacy Kwanzaa Celebration. The Center is located at 6161 NW 22nd Avenue, Miami, FL. For more information call or text (786) 294-5013.





Kwanzaa Celebration in Miami: Black Lives Matter All Year Long


It’s beginning to look a lot like Kwanzaa!!! On December 27th, the Miami-Dade Chapter of the Florida A&M University National Alumni Association and friends will celebrate their 25th year of Kwanzaa via the Mary Williams Woodard Legacy Kwanzaa Celebration. This year’s theme is “Practicing the Culture of Kwanzaa: Living the Seven Principles”

SATURDAY. 12/27/2014 . 4PM
6161 NW 22ND AVENUE, MIAMI, FL 33142
In light of the recent civic unrest in this country due to the travesties in this year alone in Ferguson, MO with the fatal shooting of Michael Brown, the videotaped chokehold death of Eric Garner in New York, the shooting of 12 year-old Tamir Rice in Cleveland, OH and others, practicing the seven principles of Kwanzaa: Unity; Self-Determination; Collective Work & Responsibility; Cooperative Economics; Purpose; Creativity and Faith is essential for the uplift and progress of people of African descent living in the United States of America. 
During the Remembering segment, a special tribute will be made to victims of violence and to Dr. George Ellis; Queen Hall; Terri-Lynn Kelly; Arthur L. "Jake" Simms and Dr. Art Woodard, all members of the Miami-Dade Chapter of the FAMU National Alumni Association who transitioned since last year's Kwanzaa Celebration. 
Providing words of wisdom on living the principles of Kwanzaa and community uplift will be local civic activist and advocate William "DC" Clark and author/actor/model Adrian Jules. Entertainment will be provided by Prince Emmanuel Abiodun Aderele, artist-in-residence of the Osun's Village & African Caribbean Cultural Arts Corridor; the Osundara Dance Theater; the Next Generation Dance Academy and the African Heritage Cultural Arts Center Performing & Visual Arts Academies. Don't miss the Doll-Give-Away by Zoe's Dolls. Zoe mission is to make sure every little brown girl has a brown doll.

Through the generosity of a coalition of community organizations, this is presentation is FREE and OPEN to the PUBLIC. Donations of new books and new unwrapped educational toys are appreciated that will be shared with deserving youth in the community. Families are encouraged to attend to enjoy the feast, music and culture. 
If you are an entrepreneur, bring your business card and we will give you a shout out. African drummers; dancers; and spoken word artists are welcome to join us and enhance the festivities. We are “Practicing the Culture of Kwanzaa: Living the Seven Principles”.

Special thanks to the Miami-Dade Chapter of the Florida A&M University National Alumni Association; Dr. Arthur & Mary Woodard Foundation for Education and Culture, the Osun's Village & African Caribbean Cultural Arts Corridor, a project of Community Builders Holistic Development Corporation; and the African Heritage Cultural Arts Center.
Share this widely with your network of family and friends. For more information email Vanessa Byers at [email protected] or call (786) 294-5013.

#BlackLivesMatter #KwanzaaMiami2014 #TheSevenPrinciples


Related Links:

High Chief Nathaniel Styles, Jr. embarks on sacred journey for PBS documentary


Miami's Osun's Village African Caribbean Cultural Arts Corridor continued its global influence as its executive director, Chief Nathaniel Styles was invited by PBC United Kingdom to take part in a television series documenting the Osun Village contribution to the preservation of inter-cultural programming and establishing the importance of the many diverse original people arriving on the river and ocean shores of Miami with culture and traditions that keeps them strong, proud, and unified.  

Sacred Journeys host Bruce Feiler travels to Nigeria with this group of African American pilgrims who are attending an annual festival in honor of the Yoruba Goddess Osun as a way to reconnect with their cultural and spiritual roots. This indigenous African faith, sometimes called Orisa Devotion, was first carried to the Americas during the Transatlantic Slave Trade where it evolved and spread to become one of the ten largest religions in the world with upwards of 100 million practitioners. In its many forms it’s most widely practiced in the Caribbean and Brazil. In the US, after being forced underground during slavery, it is now growing in popularity across the country, especially in African American and Afro- Cuban neighborhoods.

In company with pilgrims from Miami, New York and Boston, Bruce Feiler visits the last remaining Yoruba sacred grove in Nigeria, now a UNESCO World Heritage site, where the Osun Festival attracts tens of thousands of pilgrims and visitors from across Africa and around the world. As two young American pilgrims are initiated as priestesses to the goddess Osun, a Miami-based priest reveals that it’s music and dance that brings most African Americans back to a faith where culture, art and spirituality are inextricably mixed.

In Nigeria this indigenous African religion is under attack from Evangelical Christianity and fundamentalist Islam. But as the Osun Festival reaches its climax, Bruce sees that practitioners from the Yoruba Diaspora are reinvigorating the faith in its homeland while taking home a new sense of identity as African Americans. As a young priestess tells Bruce: “There is no power in not knowing who you are, where you come from. Coming here, I’m taking back that power; I’m taking back that identity.”

Chief Styles' journey to Nigeria on the pilgrimage that included multi-cultural influences will be broadcast on PBS on December 30, 2014 at 9PM ET. Viewers will learn more about the need for more inter-cultural experiences.  The annual festival of Osun-Osgobo in Nigeria, celebrates the goddess of fertility, Osun offers grace to the community; in return, it vows to honor her Sacred Grove, with upwards of 100 million practitioners and supporters.


Photo: Gregory Reed

Daddyless Daddy’s Girl


My Dad, Dr. Arthur E. Woodard, passed away in October of this year. I still miss him a lot.


It has taken a minute to write this post, it's very personal but I must write so I can move on in my life. I have been doing what I must each day but remain somewhat paralyzed by the loss of my Dad several weeks ago. Fully aware of his long time health challenges and impending demise, the loss has been and still is tremendous. Although I am likely oversharing, writing is cathartic. Stop now or read on, I must do what I must do for me on this journey called Life.  

My Dad is Dr. Arthur E. Woodard. His life was a testament to hard work, persistence and unselfishness. My Dad came from very humble beginnings. He accomplished a lot through education in the traditional school classroom; the military and life. Because of his life's path, I realized, at an early age, there would be no acceptable excuse for me not being successful.

My Dad instilled in me the confidence to do anything I decided to do. He said it wouldn’t always be easy but the satisfaction of the accomplishment of a goal would be worth the sacrifice. There was a time during my adolescence when my Dad worked a full-time job and two part-time jobs to provide for our family and to pay for his postgraduate studies. I thought all little girls had fathers like mine.

Until October of this year, my Dad has always been in my life. As a little girl, I had tea sets, dolls and did girlie things. I was a cheerleader and a majorette. To my mother’s chagrin, I also played football with the boys in the neighborhood and went fishing and crabbing in the Gulf with my Dad. He told me I could do anything so I tried to do everything I wanted to do and to do things well that pleased him. 

My Daddy told me that I never had to worry about anything. He told me that he and my Mom would make sure I always had a place to sleep and food to eat. He told me that I didn’t have to put up with anyone’s foolishness and disrespect whether it was on a job or in a personal relationship. Where many families expected their children to be out of the household by the time they were 21 years old, my parents, especially my Daddy, was the opposite. He said I didn't have to move out. He said I could always come home and so, over time, I did.

Now, when I return home each day, my Dad is not there. It’s a strange disconnected feeling that I’m sure other people experience when both parents are deceased. My Dad was the person I called before I called AAA when I had car trouble. He was the person who taught me how to repair things around the house. My Dad was the person I called when other people called me about helping their child with the application process at our alma mater, Florida A&M. My Dad, even during his illness, was the person our neighbors sought out for help with issues with the County. The list goes on and on.

I miss my Dad. I am logical enough to know that we all must leave this Earth as surely as we are born. I thank God for allowing me to be born to a wonderful Dad and Mom. I thank everyone who has helped me and is helping me through this difficult time of being a Daddyless Daddy's Girl. 

My journey continues. Smooches…


Va-va sig 75x39


My Mom and Dad at a military ball sometime during the 1950's.


Dad and Mom, not sure the year but this could have been taken in the late 1980's or early 1990's.


My Dad and I with Kimeisha Robinson and her family. Kimeisha is the 2014 recipient of a $1,000 scholarship from the Dr. Arthur & Mary Woodard Foundation for Education and Culture. She is a graduate of Miami Northwestern and is studying psychology at Florida A&M University.



Rest In Peace, Charles "China" Valles The Mahj


On Wednesday, December 17, 2014, Charles “China” Valles bid farewell to this world, surrounded by family and friends. A viewing is scheduled for 4 p.m. December 26 at the Church of the Open Door, 6001 NW 8th St., Miami, FL 33127. Services,  1 p.m. December 27 at Friendship Missionary Baptist Church, 740 NW 58th St., Miami, FL. A Sunshine Jazz Organization tribute concert in Valles' honor will be held, 6 p.m., December 28,  at Miami Shores Country Club, 10000 Biscayne Boulevard, Miami, FL. Call 305-795-2360. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to The Sunshine Jazz Organization, P.O. Box 381038, Miami, FL, 33238. 


Photo: Miami Herald/Carl Juste






MIAMI  -  To commemorate its 40th anniversary, African Heritage Cultural Arts Center (AHCAC) is presenting “Sankofa: Looking Back, Going Forward.” Sankofa is a year-long series of events, performances, and educational workshops, recognizing and celebrating the talented performers, instructors and community leaders who have grown up in and contributed so importantly to the development and creativity of young people in the inner city.

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, as part of its Knight Arts Challenge, has awarded AHCAC a generous grant in support of Sankofa (from the Akan language of Ghana meaning "Looking Back, Going Foward") to honor the past and celebrate the present by reconnecting established artists with the AHCAC that fueled and fomented their training and careers. “The Center has produced a wealth of phenomenal talent and we’re excited to have our alumni engage and inspire the next generation,” said Marshall Davis, Managing Director of AHCAC.

The Knight Foundation’s Knight Arts Challenge aims to bring South Florida together through the arts. "The cities that are the most vibrant are those where every person considers themselves a creative being,” said Dennis Scholl, vice president of arts for Knight Foundation. “With Sankofa, some of our community’s most accomplished artists will help show the way for our youth.”

“For four decades, the African Heritage Cultural Arts Center has served as a nucleus of arts learning, training and access for children in Liberty City; now, thanks to the Knight Arts Challenge award, our renowned alumni are returning to encourage those following in their footsteps to become the brilliant artists of tomorrow,” said Michael Spring, Senior Advisor to the Mayor and Director of the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs. 

Upcoming Sankofa event highlights include:

·         The Sankofa Gala, April 25, 2015:  the opening celebration of the 40thanniversary year, coordinated in conjunction with Black History Month, celebrating 40 years of artistic service to the community and recognizing outstanding leaders who have been integral to the AHCAC’s success.  

·         The Amadlozi Gallery Exhibitions, (January 23 – March 2015): a guest-curated series of exhibitions and scholarly presentations featuring local, national, and alumni artists. 

·         Jazz Spring Fest, May 9, 2015:  a live music event featuring luminary teachers and alumni Melton Mustafa, Shareef Clayton, and Willerm Delisfort, among others, including pre-Jam workshops with the artists for local musicians and community. 

To learn more about Sankofa, please contact Marshall Davis at 305-638-6771/[email protected]  or visit