Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Break the Box Office! Go TODAY to see Chris Rock's "Top Five!"



So glad that I made the effort and got off the couch last night to go see Chris Rock's new movie, "Top Five."

After the last few weeks of hearing about the demise of a major Black comedian, it was really nice to see something that lets me know we can still laugh!

Haven't had this much fun at a movie in a while and it was great to see so many familiar faces on the screen.  Special shout-out to Tracy Morgan.  Get better.

I don't want to give anything away, but let's just say it's a romantic comedy, documentary, recovery movie all in one.

Who's your "Top Five?"

Starring:

Chris Rock, Rosario Dawson, Cedric The Entertainer, JB Smoove, Tracy Morgan, Kevin Hart and a whole lot more.

Rated R - and it's really Rated R - NOT for children.

Monday, December 8, 2014

A Christmas Prayer by Kimberla Lawson Roby

Kimberla Lawson Roby gets me.  She gets us.  She gets "the black experience."  

Ms. Lawson Roby has an appreciation for the black family, God, the black church and understands black life from every socio-economic perspective. Those are just a few of the reasons she's one of my favorite contemporary authors today.

Kimberla writes from the heart and from a deeper place than most African American fiction writers today. 

I couldn't be more pleased with her new Christmas novella "A Christmas Prayer," the latest in the Reverend Curtis Black series.  I, like many other people, am truly invested in this series.  And I'm never disappointed with her books.

What could be better than a novel which focuses on the true emotions that come around during holiday time - including sorrow.  Many of us are seeking to find joy during what is supposed to be a joyous time of year.  And, even if, especially if you're having a rough time this year, you should read "A Christmas Prayer."

Order online, pick it up at your favorite bookstore, grab a hot cup of cocoa, curl up on the couch and enjoy.  It's good for the season and good for the soul.

"Alexis Fletcher hasn't had a merry Christmas since losing her mother.  Every December she remembers the joy her mother brought to everyone during the holiday season, and wishes her family could be whole again.  And even as Alexis prepares to start a new family with her fiancĂ©, Chase Dupont, outside forces threaten to destroy her potential happiness.  But fate has one more surprise in store for Alexis, and it might be exactly what she needs to finally embrace the one holiday that has brought her nothing but heartache."  (From Hachette Book Group)



Friday, November 28, 2014

"Beyond the Lights Movie" - The Perfect Thanksgiving Weekend Movie

"Beyond the Lights" Starring Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Nate Parker

I fell into a nice little movie this Thanksgiving weekend.  

"Beyond the Lights," which was released on November 14th has enjoyed great reviews but seems to be getting very little press.

So, here's my take on it.  Sort of "The Bodyguard" meets "Love and Basketball" meets hip-hop.

Great storyline, good acting and thought-provoking life lessons.  The PG-13 rating made me kind of wonder what 13 year olds are doing these days, but then I realized it was my age showing itself again.

Please support this movie.

"Beyond the Lights" - Starring Gugu Mbatha-Raw ("Belle"), Nate Parker ("Red Tails")

Also Starring:  Minnie Driver, Machine Gun Kelly and Danny Glover.  

Storyline:

"The pressures of fame have superstar singer Noni on the edge, until she meets Kaz, a young cop who works to help her find the courage to develop her own voice and break free to become the artist she was meant to be."

Sunday, November 23, 2014

DC's Legendary Former Mayor Marion Barry Passes Away

Marion Shepilov Barry, Jr. (March 6, 1936 – November 23, 2014)
Marion Barry was not a perfect man.  He did not profess to be.  He had his faults.  We all do.  But I'm not alone when I say that news of his death today saddened me.

Just last week, his name came up in conversation.  In fact, one of the people I was talking to, thought he had already died.  Whenever his name comes up, the first remark is usually, "Hey, wasn't he the guy who. . .?"

And while he never was able to live down his infamous hotel room "bust," he boomeranged and continued to do more good work for the citizens of the District of Columbia.  He was even re-elected Mayor.

Yes, there were a few "hiccups" in between, but no one can argue that Marion Barry was a man for the people.  Which is why he continued to win public office after a scandal that others, not as great, could not have overcome.

When I think of Marion Barry, I think of the large, imposing, outspoken, no-holds barred husband of the beautiful ex-wife, the late, Effi Barry.  This was in his "heyday."  

Before Barack and Michelle, there was Marion and Effi.  The DC power couple.

And while Barry obviously never reached the oval office, he left his imprint all over DC politics. And he helped a lot of Black folks along the way.

Let he who is without sin, cast the first stone.

Rest, in Peace Mr. Barry.  Your good deeds shall speak for you.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Dear Black, People, Please See and Support "Dear White People" Movie


Synopsis

"The unexpected election of activist Samantha White (Tessa Thompson) as head of a traditionally black residence hall sets up a college campus culture war that challenges conventional notions of what it means to be black. While Sam leverages her notoriety as host of the provocative and polarizing radio show 'Dear White People' to try to prevent the college from diversifying Armstrong Parker House, outgoing head-of-house Troy Fairbanks (Brandon P. Bell), son of the university's dean (Dennis Haysbert), defies his father's lofty expectations by applying to join the staff of Pastiche, the college's influential humor magazine. Lionel Higgins (Tyler James Williams), an Afro-sporting sci-fi geek, is recruited by the otherwise all-white student newspaper to go undercover and write about black culture--a subject he knows little about--while the aggressively assimilated Coco Conners (Teyonah Parris) tries to use the controversy on campus to carve out a career in reality TV. But no one at Winchester University is prepared for Pastiche's outrageous, ill-conceived annual Halloween party, with its 'unleash your inner Negro' theme throwing oil on an already smoldering fire of resentment and misunderstanding. When the party descends into riotous mayhem, everyone must choose a side."


It's been a long time since we had a movie to talk about in the same vein as Spike Lee's early works.  But the indiegogo film, "Dear White People," from Justin Simien has brought it back full circle to Lee's "Do the Right Thing," and "She's Gotta Have It."

I'm not sure if Simien realizes just how much of what's new is old.  

I was reminded after seeing the movie last weekend, that the more things change the more they stay the same.  I invited my daughter to see it with me and she did.  And then I told her to be sure to get on social media (instagram, twitter, Facebook) and tell all her friends, who hadn't seen it, to make sure they do.  Movies like this don't come around often.

And while there is definitely a comedic side to the film, it tackles head-on a very serious subject - racism in the echelons of higher education  - in particular - Ivy League (and other) predominately White colleges.

I hope that it not only encourages dialogue (and keeps it going), but also opens up the eyes of young people to the importance of activism and involvement in our communities.

Don't miss it.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

MoAD Presents Jewelle Taylor Gibbs in Conversation with Barbara Rodgers - Sunday, October 26th





Destiny's Child: Memoirs of a Preacher's Daughter delivers a powerful and compelling story about an African American family who survives centuries of racial and social struggles to succeed and achieve upward mobility despite numerous obstacles. Part family history, part memoir, Destiny's Child is a thoroughly researched presentation of author Jewelle Taylor Gibbs's roots, both in terms of her mixed-racial heritage and the other prominent figures that helped her develop her identity over the years. It chronicles more than two hundred years of her paternal family's strides and highlights their contributions to the civil rights movement in the United States, often motivated by such well-known pioneers as Eleanor Roosevelt, Thurgood Marshall, Martin Luther King Jr., and Dorothy Height, who were family friends, role models, and mentors. Gibbs attributes her own success to her family’s legacy and values, which were anchored in religion, education, economic resources, and political activism.


Meet Jewelle Taylor Gibbs, author of "Destiny's Child:  Memoirs of a Preacher's Daughter" in conversation with Barbara Rodgers, Retired KPIX Newscaster/Anchor and currently seen on "The Bronze Report."
Barbara Rodgers

3 to 5 p.m.
Sunday, October 26, 2014

California Historical Society
678 Mission Street
San Francisco, CA  

(Made possible by the generous support of the National Smart Set, San Francisco Chapter and Dr. Ernest Bates)

$5 for general admission; Free for California Historical Society and MoAD Members

Purchase tickets and RSVP here