Sunday, July 20, 2014

Museum of African Diaspora (MOAD) Presents Oakland Stories: The Black Panthers - "Politics and Party Music"

Thursday, July 24, from 6 to 8 p.m.

African American Museum & Library
659 14th Street
Oakland, CA

RSVP for this event at

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Bobby Womack - Music That Left Its Impact

Robert Dwayne "Bobby" Womack 
March 4, 1944 – June 27, 2014

When my daughter came into my bedroom last night and told me that Bobby Womack died, my first reaction was, "You know who Bobby Womack is?"  You would expect my first reaction to be, "Oh, No!," but for some random reason, he crossed my mind just the day before yesterday and I went to my "Bobby Womack" station on Pandora.

I plugged in the "Bobby Womack" station when I heard about his Alzheimer's diagnosis a couple of years ago.  I was working at my desk, and all of a sudden, I thought, "I wonder how Bobby Womack is doing.  I haven't heard anything in a while."

The song that came on when I clicked on the channel on Pandora was, "Harry Hippie," and while listening I thought, "this wasn't my favorite Womack song, but boy it's a good one."  My favorite, if you can't guess, is "If You Think You're Lonely Now."  How many times have all of us played that particular tune?  If not on the stereo, 8 track or CD, we've certainly sung it in our heads.

And despite whatever hurdles he may have faced and overcome in life, one thing that remained indisputable was his incredible talent, recognizable voice and "grown man demeanor."

He's singing with the angels now.

Rest In Peace, Mr. Womack.  We're still playing your tunes.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Habits In The 'Hood

I see a change on the horizon in my neighborhood.

The other day, as I was leaving to run errands, I saw two Black women walking down the street in what I initially thought was Muslim attire.  As they got closer to my house, I saw they had rosary beads in their hands and were praying as they walked.

Excitedly, I asked, "Are you nuns???"  They responded in the affirmative and introduced themselves as Sister Fatima and another Sister whose name I forgot in my enthusiasm.  I told them that I, too, was a Black Catholic.  Then I went on to ask them what parish they were with and where they lived.

They explained that they had purchased a home just a few blocks away.  Then they asked if they might come back another time, perhaps on the weekend, to visit.  Naturally, I said, "Of course."  I mean, that's the first time I'd ever seen nuns in my neighborhood.  They had accents, which I couldn't discern but it was clear they were not American-born.

It made me smile to realize that hope is not lost.  Even on us who continue to wait and believe that a "change is gonna come."

Lord knows we can use all the nuns we can get.  We have enough drugs, guns, violence and chaos to keep an entire order of sisterhood busy.

Praise the Lord, we are gentrified!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Legends Never Leave Us - Poet Laureate Maya Angelou Passes at Age 86

Marguerite Ann Johnson (Maya Angelou)
April 4, 1928; died May 28, 2014

Oh, My God!  Those were my first words this morning when I learned of the passing of the great Maya Angelou.

For my generation, in particular, she was one of our national treasures.   When my daughter was 12, I bought her a copy of "I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings," a literary right of passage.

We are blessed in knowing that our great legends never leave us, for their imprint lasts forever.

Rest in Paradise, Ms. Angelou.  You have fought the good fight.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

"A Wanted Woman" by Eric Jerome Dickey (A Book Review)

Rick James said it best, "Cold.  Blooded."

It took me much longer to read this book than most of EJD's novels because it was so intense, I could only read it in little chunks.  And I couldn't read it before bed.  Never knew when someone was going to be, how shall I say, "eliminated."

I loved how EJD managed to weave in family dynamics, race, class, color, discrimination, fashion, politics and pop culture into a novel about a female assassin.

I kept saying to myself, "Are there really women and people like this out there?"  Unfortunately, I think there probably are people like that walking the earth.  And it scares the heck out of me.

Eric Jerome Dickey's writing has changed greatly over the years.  And that's a good thing.  His novels are so able to "carry their own weight," that they cross gender and race lines which translates, hopefully, to a broader reading audience than his earlier work (which I still love).  I can't explain it.  It's complicated.  But it's all good.

We need to meet new people.  Even if her name is "Reaper."  When I say "meet new people," I mean on the page or screen.  I have no desire to meet "Reaper" in real-life.  She frightens me more than "The Riddler."

Highly recommended for those who love mysteries, thrillers, action and women who can do anything a man can do - only better.

In bookstores and online now.  I think it would translate nicely onto the big screen.

"A Wanted Woman" by New York Times Bestselling Author, Eric Jerome Dickey

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

"The Prodigal Son" by Kimberla Lawson Roby (On Sale Date: May 14, 2014)

The Prodigal Son

The Black Family is back.  

And this time it's not the good Reverend Curtis Black or his wife Charlotte who are causing trouble.

There's a new Black in town.  Well, sort of.  Technically, he's a Black.  But he goes by the name of Dillon Whitfield.  He's the Reverend's long-lost son.  And since Matthew Black hasn't spoken to his parents in a year (that's right, a whole year), Dillon figures that it's only fitting that the true first born son of Curtis Black should taken center stage and assume his "rightful" place in the dynasty.

And center stage he takes.  He's not alone.  He's got company.  In the form of Matthew's new wife Raquel (can you say "a piece of work?"), who isn't adjusting to marriage and motherhood quite the way Matthew had hoped.  Of course, who can totally blame her after what her monster-in-law Charlotte put her through in "A House Divided."

And, if  you're not up to date with the "Curtis Black Series," you might want to use the next month before "The Prodigal Son" goes on sale to catch up.  I can't explain it all here.  And besides that would spoil the fun.

As always, this is one family that never comes up short in the drama department.  They just can't seem to behave themselves.  You never know what or who you're going to run into when you turn the page.

Which is a great thing for us loyal fans of Kimberla Lawson Roby.  

"The Prodigal Son" by Kimberla Lawson Roby
(A Reverend Curtis Black Novel)