Black Future Month// 2-4-11 // Hodari Davis, Father
Posted on February 5, 2011
Hey there fam. We took the day off at Thickwit yesterday in honor of one of my favorite humans, Hodari Davis. Yesterday marked his solar return and I got to thinking about how much Hodari Bayano Davis (HBD) does in the world. If you look back to my post from Feb. 1, you’ll see that a conversation with HBD sparked this series of blog entries.
In my life, in just the time that I have known him, he has been a highly respected professor at SF’s leading Jesuit Institution, the Executive Director of a non-profit (Making Waves, Marin), an unfailing advocate for young artists,, a celebrated emcee and Hip Hop Scholar, and the father of three. That is not the complete list. That is just the iceberg’s tip, slim. As my brother and MVMT maker Rolando BRown would say, Hodari Davis grows and grows.
At Berkeley High, where he was a pillar of the African American History Department, he also gave any number of Bay Area emcees some of their earliest lessons in the science of rhyme (head nods to the original members of The Attik, Piper of Flipsyde and Dr. Vajra Watson). You may remember him as one of the teachers featured in the PBS documentary School Colors. While the doc toes the precarious line between sensational and inaccurate, it’s no surprise that Hodari’s charisma stands at the center of the film. Even the Berkeley Rep’s 08/09 hit Yellowjackets has a character that has an eerie and uncanny resemblance to HBD. He’s a fixture of the Bay Area arts scene, and you might not even know his name. Well it’s Hodari, and you should write it down.
At present, Hodari serves as the Director of National Initiatives at Youth Speaks and is the Executive Producer of Brave New Voices (BNV) the International Youth Poetry Slam Festival, as seen on HBO. He’s also one of the principal organizers of Life is Living, a traveling, day long eco-focused arts festival thats supports tactics for thriving in urban communities (www.lifeisliving.org).
Yeah, he does a lot. A whole lot. And while his list of accolades grows daily, I’d wager a very safe bet that his proudest accomplishments are his children, Bayana, Ikera and Obasi.
So, today (in honor of his birthday yesterday — and I think Ikera’s too), I celebrate Hodari Davis, Father. He’s the type of dad that is active at softball games and swim meets. He’s often the first baba on the field, and the last one off. He’s a focused, driven competitor, and inspires success in his children and players without inspiring arrogance or hype. He’s a model father, and if dedicated Black fatherhood isn’t tied to a brilliant #blackfuture, well then I’m hanging it up.
As a nod to those that come before, I’d like to include a photo of Hodari’s father, Raymond Davis. Brother Ray is a noted academic and University professor, a veteran of the Vietnam war, a scholar of Kemetic traditions, a spiritual teacher, and probably the nicest person I’ve ever met. Easy and clear to see where HBD gets it.