Sunday, June 3, 2018

Book Review: "An American Marriage" by Tayari Jones

A few years ago, I read "Silver Sparrow" by Tayari Jones with my book club.  It remains one of my all-time favorite books.  "Silver Sparrow" opened my eyes to one of the best authors of our time.

Fast forward to 2018 and the release of her newest novel, "An American Marriage."  This book is an Oprah's Book Club Selection.  However, Tayari Jones didn't need Oprah's stamp of approval to encourage me to buy and read her work.

I was so moved by this book in many ways.  

It is the story of a man (a newlywed) conviction of a crime he didn't commit.  What unfolds is a story about love, marriage, betrayal, racism, injustice, life in the South and so much more.

I enjoyed every page.  I suggest you take the journey for yourself.

Newlyweds Celestial and Roy are the embodiment of both the American Dream and the New South. He is a young executive, and she is an artist on the brink of an exciting career. But as they settle into the routine of their life together, they are ripped apart by circumstances neither could have imagined. Roy is arrested and sentenced to twelve years for a crime Celestial knows he didn’t commit. Though fiercely independent, Celestial finds herself bereft and unmoored, taking comfort in Andre, her childhood friend, and best man at their wedding. As Roy’s time in prison passes, she is unable to hold on to the love that has been her center. After five years, Roy’s conviction is suddenly overturned, and he returns to Atlanta ready to resume their life together.
This stirring love story is a profoundly insightful look into the hearts and minds of three people who are at once bound and separated by forces beyond their control. An American Marriage is a masterpiece of storytelling, an intimate look deep into the souls of people who must reckon with the past while moving forwardwith hope and paininto the future.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

"Southern Cafe" to be Featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives - Friday, May 25, 2018


Oakland's Southern Cafe on "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives"
Friday, May 25th | 9:00pm*
* Check Your Local Listings

Please visit Southern Café at two locations:

2000 MacArthur Blvd, Oakland CA 94602 (510) 336-2013,
Enjoy our All -You - Can - Eat Sunday Buffet and Live Jazz from 5-8 pm 

400 G Street, Antioch, CA 94509  (925) 754-1172,
Sundays choose from Menu Items | Dine-In / Take Out / Catering / Delivery

Monday, April 16, 2018

Waiting While Black. . .The Starbucks incident is only one example of what black folks go through every day

By now, we've all heard about the incident at the coffee shop in Philadelphia where two African American men had the audacity to set up a meeting with a friend/colleague in Starbucks.  Imagine that, a meeting in Starbucks?  You know how the story unfolded.  They ended up in handcuffs being escorted out of the cafe just as the friend they were meeting showed up.

What pains me more than the sight of these good looking black men being "shackled" and kicked out of the establishment was the look of resignation on their faces.  They were smart to know that resisting arrest could lead to being shot by the police.

During the last recession, white men and women all over America pretty much hung up their shingles and made Starbucks their personal "offices."  Heck, they still do it to this day.

I can walk into any Starbucks in this town during open hours and find at the very least six people who are "conducting business" inside Starbucks.  They "might" purchase something.  And if they do, trust me, they nurse that cup for hours.  Just having a "messy" table is enough for them to "squat" as long as they please.

If I'm being totally honest, I too, have stopped in a Starbucks to use the restroom or wait for someone and purchased nothing.  I believe that most Americans have done the same.  Why not?  We know that we've all given Starbucks a good sum of money over time while working, traveling, shopping, in airports, office buildings, you name it.

It's sort of like stopping at a gas station while traveling and using the restroom.  Starbucks stores just like gas stations are everywhere.

And maybe that's the problem.

Maybe they've gotten too big for their own good. 

Starbucks is so convenient for me.

There's one in my building and I go there at least once a day for coffee or a snack. 

Boycotting Starbucks means that I would have to leave my building and take the extra time and effort to visit an independent coffee shop or another chain. There are coffee shops on every corner.

And that is why I think I need to boycott Starbucks (at least until I see some true commitment and change).  Because boycotting Starbucks is easier than tossing and turning in my sleep because I was just too lazy to be inconvenienced.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

50 Years Since Dr. King was brutally assassinated - do we even dare to dream anymore?

I was a small child when Dr. Martin Luther King was brutally assassinated on the 4th day of April in 1968. 

However, I will never forget the squeal that my mom's friend let out when she learned that his wounds were fatal.  She walked in and said to my mother, "They shot him down like a dog!" 

My mom who had been listening to the events unfold on the radio sadly replied, "He's dead."

The blood curdling scream pierced my young ears and remain etched in my memory forever.

In my neighborhood, Dr. King was a saint and someone who gave us a hope and a dream for a better future.

And here we are today, 50 years later, under the "leadership" of a man who dares us to dream (and not in a good way).

I refuse to give in to what many would have us do and abandon all hope.

I will admit - it's pretty darn blurry right now.

We must never forget.  And never stop dreaming.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

It seems "Colorism" is alive and well and we've got the Heineken commercial disaster to prove it

Every time I write a post about "colorism," I can't believe we're still talking about colorism.  Yet, we are still talking about colorism.

And while I don't know that people are still "passing the brown paper bag" around, I have a feeling that somewhere this "tradition" continues.

I had to read the article three times and watch the now "removed" Heineken "Lighter is Better" commercial four times to actually believe what I was seeing.

If it weren't for Chance the Rapper, it's entirely possible this "subliminal message," might have slipped by with little notice.

In the commercial, for the new beer product, the bartender slides a beer down the bar past several darker skinned patrons (a woman, a musician, another woman) to a "fairer skinned" woman.  It looks like the commercial was targeted to an international audience.  In all fairness, the darker skinned women and the fairer skinned woman might all be of the same ethnicity.  But one thing that is unmistakable is that the "caste" system lives.

That's racist.

In a rush to absorb as much as we can and as fast as we can, we often overlook what's happening right under our nose.

Remember, just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're not out to get you.

Keep your eyes open and your ears cued.  And if you see something, hey, do what Chance the Rapper did, tweet about it.

I have a feeling someone at Heineken is going to be looking for a new job.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Brian Copeland in "Not a Genuine Black Man" - Hammer Theatre, San Jose State University, Saturday, February 3, 2018

The Hammer Theater in Association with the Marsh presents ...
Brian Copeland's Award-winning "NOT A GENUINE BLACK MAN"
Growing up Confounded and Isolated in a Nearly All-white Bay Area Town

San Jose, CA: On Saturday, February 3rd, Brian Copeland returns to San Jose in his award-winning performance of "Not a Genuine Black Man," a one-man play he first debuted in 1994 at The Marsh in San Francisco. Copeland reprises the powerful play that explores his childhood experiences as a member of one of the only African American families living in the then 94% white suburb of San Leandro, California.

His staggering tale of laughter, tears, and sociology went on to become the longest-running solo show in San Francisco theatrical history with over 800 performances. Copeland has performed the play in over 30 cities, including a critically acclaimed run Off-Broadway.


Brian Copeland
One-man play: "Not a Genuine Black Man"
Saturday, February 3, 2018 | 7 p.m.
Hammer Theatre, San Jose State Univ. (Between 2nd & 3rd Streets) Downtown San Jose
$20 Early Bird thru Jan. 17th (Disc. Code: EARLYBIRD)
$35 Gen. Adm.; $10 Student Adv.; $20 Student @ the door

The play is currently in television series development. In 2006, Copeland published a best-selling book based on "Genuine" that is now required reading in several high schools and colleges across the country. The book was the 2009 pick for Silicon Valley Reads, a library-based program in which all of Santa Clara County reads the same book simultaneously.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Rain Pryor Comes to San Jose, California in "Fried Chicken and Latkes"

Fried Chicken and Latkes
Rain tells hilarious and heart-wrenching stories of growing up Black and Jewish in Beverly Hills. Her father was comic genius Richard Pryor, and her Jewish mother was a go-go dancer turned Astronomer! Funny, Compelling, Outstanding! Adult themes and language.

Saturday, February 17, 2018
8:00 pm, Tickets: $40.00
School of Arts and Culture at the Mexican Heritage Plaza
1700 Alum Rock Avenue
San Jose, Ca 95116

For more information call:
San Jose Multicultural Artists Guild