On Saturday December 22nd, Black Dot Artists, Inc celebrated 11 years of cultural arts programming with acclaimed actor Don Cheadle in Oakland benefiting the nonprofit’s development of a cultural district in West Oakland aka the Lower Bottoms. In his first public appearance in Oakland, Cheadle engaged in a lively conversation with Black Dot Artists’ Chief Creative Officer, Activist, Marcel Diallo. The event took place at the beautiful Rotunda Building in downtown Oakland.

Don discussed the honor in winning the Nobel Peace Prize for his activism in Darfur; The Dalai Lama said “This isn’t a prize, this is a burden”. Something we can all reflect on. Don spoke on the Head of UN, Sukehiro Hasegawa, trying to get 24 helicopters and 74 Million for the mission and not getting any support; ” Although the AU and EU’s 30,000 members voted 15 to 0, maybe it’s just talk and they don’t want to solve it therefore we are working to privately raise the funding…politrix

On a lighter note, Don’s take on the Writers Strike is that the strike = ego and that fight will keep moving, he guesses through the spring. Don spoke on Marlon Brandon being his all time favorite actor growing up and the lack of good actors in Hollywood today. Admitting he’s a musician picking up trumpet and piano and sax for 12 yrs and how he used to make beats with Marcel who rhymed.

Marcel explained the how the Black Dot Philosophy has really has taken route. It is a spiritual, 3rd eye esoteric concept, opening to collective consciousness. Black Dot describes this, evolved thru ancient concepts for God. The challenge is how to take the essence of what Black Dot and turn it into action, as an artist collective with rappers, singers, musicians, visual artists, short films – at the core they had the conscious awareness like Amiri Baraka, Bobby Seale and other activists that were based on a way of people being true.

The final point made by Don is that it is important to protect, as a collective, give support and value to take care of each other as we take things for granted being fortunate as an American. We need awareness, sensitivity and it’s smart to be proactive now. To cap the night, Asya Shein, Founder of Fusicology, I asked the question “As a celebrity, do you see the ability to help re-shape the state of music because what we hear on the radio is BS. I live in LA and heard personally that you like groups like Slum Village (Don nods in agreement) – do you see things changing, music becoming more progressive” and Don replied “Yes, I hope so. No one is really saying anything anymore and things must change.”

We agree, thank you Don for your insight, Black Dot, Inc for their efforts in Oakland and beyond, Zsa-Zsa, Inc for the ability to cover this event and your Bay Area representation for Fusicology and all the press at that round table, it was an inspiration, as my Bay Area experiences always are.

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