Thursday reminded me of what’s great about living in San Francisco. The day began with a press tour of “Faith Ringgold: American People,” a retrospective of the 91-year-old artist’s work at the de Young, and ended at a KQED Live event with Oakland’s own Danyel Smith, author of ”A Very Personal History of Black Women in Pop.” Having the good fortune to spend a big part of the day immersed in the work of two brilliant Black women was like someone turning the lights and music back on inside of me.

The Ringgold show, which covers more than 50 years of Ringgold’s paintings, quilts and soft sculptures and includes the original paintings for her beloved children’s book “Tar Beach,” could as well been called “A Very Personal History of Black Women in Art and in America.” Work that Ringgold made in the mid-1960s, around the time Smith was born in Oakland, feels as vivid and relevant today as it must have then — responsive to the pain, violence and waste of racism and sexism; reflective of Black family love and joy; and dreaming of worlds where Black women are at the helm of their own bright and complex destinies.

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