Last night (Friday) was the opening in Lisbon at the ZDB Center, it was off the hook. I must say "Right ON" to the staff at ZDB. They did it up for REAL. Over 1,000 plus came out to see this historical event. Robert King, Emory and I were proud of the presentation of our legacy.
The evening started with a dinner for us and the staff, and at 8pm the doors opened and people couldn't wait to get in. Emory's art came alive and was talking to them. Most of the artwork was done by local artists and most of it was at least 10 feet tall, taking up whole walls (I have photos and I will put them on the website when I return to Cali.
Earlier in the week we went up to Porto, a nice city about a 2 1/2 hour ride on the train, for a Film Festival at the Serralves Museum (National Museum). We were there for two days. They treated us well with a 5 star hotel and nice restaurants. We took field trips to the community (Towers) to talk to young people at the projects. The Towers were built many years ago and now the land is the target for redevelopment. The Towers is located by the bay with a great view. They're making everyone move and some of the people have nowhere to go. Our suggestion to them was to organize, call the media, call their council people, do whatever is necessary, even if you have to ACT UP.
When we got back to Lisbon, we had a busy schedule with interviews and TV time. The other day one of the interviews appeared in the National newspaper centerfold with Emory's Art. The article was well done and even quoted me a few times. Rigo 23 said that was rare to have full centerfold coverage and exhibits at two museums. A popular TV channel interviewed Robert, Emory and me. The program will run Sunday along with another long article in the National newspaper. Rigo and ZDB have organized field trips for us into the various oppressed communities to talk to the young people. We have gone to Vale da Amokeira which is in the southern area of Portugal. We were received by a group of youth who treated us with great respect. They asked good questions and showed us their hood. As we walked through the hood, more and more young people joined us, and soon the police started following us from a distance. Georgio, one of the community organizers said, "the police would have come over to break up such a group of people, but they saw all the people taking pictures of us and people of all colors were surrounding us.
After a while the leader of the Angola Community Center came out to welcome us and show us the center where they have a recording studio. Many of the young Hip Hop artists showed us what they could do. One Portugese girl about 10 was really hot. You should have seen her rocking it with big attiude. The leader gave me his Angola hat, which I wear everyday now. We were told about the history of the struggle of Angola, Cape Verde and other liberated colonies of Portugal. We left there and went directly to the Film Festival at a nice theater in Lisbon. When we got there, people were already lined up waiting to get in. They were showing " In the land of the Free" and other Panther films. I set the tone with an introduction about the films and after "In The land of the Free", Robert spoke about the A3.
Some of the Africans I met last week came and one of them told me he couldn't wait to see the films and brought a group of Africans with him. People came up to me and said "you know that guy, his father is the Ambassador to France and that other young lady's daddy owns oil wells." I said they need education too and was glad they showed up. By the way, the theater was FULL. More to come
Billy X reporting from Lisbon,Portugal