Taking of South Central…Philadelphia, The

Producer of the Work / Filmmaker: 

Odunde with Scribe Video Center

Filmmaker Facilitator: 

Videomaking Consultant - Tina Morton; Humanities Consultant - Jeff Maskovsky, Post Production - Tina Morton

Year released: 
10 min 16 seconds

This video is available for purchase as part of a Precious Places Community History Project Vol.1 compilation DVD.

Once “South Philly,” the area along South Street is now “Center City.” As longtime residents around the 2100 block can attest, gentrification has besieged this close-knit neighborhood that is regionally famous for Odunde, an annual African street festival. South Street is located just blocks from Center City's skyscrapers, and with real estate values rising, longtime residents in this neighborhood increasingly face displacement as the borders of Center City march ever southward. It is not the first time that the specter of displacement has arisen here: as residents remember, the Crosstown Expressway threatened thousands of homes in the area until the 1970s. The Taking of South Central...Philadelphia consciously places South Street's predicament in a national context. "Gentrification is like an epidemic," says the narrator. "People are being displaced from Harlem, San Francisco, Chicago, Detroit... where will working class people live?" The video features longtime residents such as Odunde founder Lois A Fernandez, and Lilly Gertrude Capps Venning-Dickerson, known locally as "Miss Buzzy," a 102-year resident of the neighborhood. With the community changing around them, neighbors are increasingly contemplating the future of this vital section of the city that to them will always be South Philadelphia.

African Continuance, The

Producer of the Work / Filmmaker: 

Omomola Iyabunmi & Corbitt Bank

Year released: 
8 minutes

$20 for individuals / $35 for Community Institutions ie: libraries, schools, non-profits / $50 for Universities & Businesses

Buy this Video: 

To purchase a DVD please call 215 222 4201 or email

Omomola Iyabunmi is a musician, educator, composer and director of the Women's Sekere Ensemble. Lovingly featured in the video, Iyabunmi's Philadelphia-based female percussion group spreads African diasporic culture in secular and sacred song, accompanying themselves on their namesake bead-covered gourds. Iyabunmi explains how a sekere (pronounced SHAY-keh-ray) is constructed, and explores the significance of traditional African music and its impact on the African woman musician in America today.

Filmmaker's Name: 
Omomola Iyabunmi & Corbitt Banks
Filmmaker's Photo: 
Filmmaker's Bio: 

Omomola Iyabunmi is a Sekere maker who has has pursued her study of African culture and percussion for more than 30 years. In 2004, she was the winner of a 2004 Leeway Foundation Window of Opportunity Grant to study learn the Aro instrument, a part of Sekere music tradition, at the Obatala Centre for the Arts in Nigeria, with the opportunity to participate in rituals where this traditional music is played and used. She included the Aro in performances with the Womenís Sekere Ensemble upon her return. Iyabunmi also teaches sekere-making classes and sells the beautifully handmade instruments at modest cost.

Corbitt Banks works with Pennsylvania's Mental Health and Aging Coalition, and is a former South Street store owner and art and culture project coordinator for the City of Philadelphia Empowerment Zone's North Central zone.

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