Sunday, June 26, 2016

"A Sinful Calling" by Kimberla Lawson Roby

Get Ready.  The Black Family is back.

If you thought they were scandalous before, you ain't seen nothing yet.

 I'm sure we all know people, at least I do, who say "I've been called to preach."  

And your first thought is, "Who called you??"  I get that it's not our place to judge the heart or intent of others.  However, with megachurches and storefronts popping up every day, all over the world, you can't help but wonder, if God is truly calling all these people.

And there you have the basis for Kimberla Lawson Roby's latest novel in the Curtis Black series, "A Sinful Calling."

It mixes equal parts of love, marriage, religion, lust, sin and all the other things we encounter in our everyday lives.

Another great read from this New York Times Best Selling Author.

"Two years ago, to everyone's surprise, Dillon Whitfield Black, the secret son of Reverend Curtis Black, boldly moved back home, married a woman named Raven, decided he was going to become a minister, and then founded a church right in the center of his living room. Today he's pastor of a 1,000-plus-member congregation, and new members are joining weekly. Sadly, behind closed doors, Dillon is far from being a saint. Dillon has become more like the man his father was thirty years ago-consumed with money, power, and lots of women. His family may have let bygones be bygones, but they continue to keep their distance. 

Not Alicia, though. This daughter of Curtis Black joins Dillon's congregation, leaving her father's church behind. The family has forgiven Alicia for marrying Levi Cunningham, the former drug dealer she had an affair with, but once Alicia realizes they will never fully accept Levi, she decides to see her family less and less. She and Levi are truly happy, however, guilt from her betrayal of Phillip and its aftermath casts a shadow over their wedded bliss.

But when Raven decides she wants a higher position in the church and Alicia hides a devastating secret, the entire family is affected in ways they don't see coming. In the end, no one will be able to trust anyone . . . and for very good reason."

Thursday, June 16, 2016

BET Networks Premieres "Music Moguls" and "F" in Fabulous - If You Don't Know, Now You Know!

BET Networks Premieres Two New Series
"Music Moguls” and “F in Fabulous”

Tuesday, June 28 Beginning at 9:00 PM ET/PT
“Music Moguls” Premieres Tuesday, June 28 at 9 PM ET/PT on BET

“F in Fabulous” Premieres Directly Following with Back-to-Back Episodes Beginning at 10 PM ET/PT on BET

“Music Moguls” showcases the lives of some of the most recognized moguls in the industry on their endless rise to the top. As artists themselves, Birdman, Snoop Dogg, Jermaine Dupri, and Damon Dash bring their unique blend of smarts and creativity to the stage, to the boardroom, and the streets, as they try to balance the concerns and obligations of family with the never-ending demands of the music business. From grooming new talent to building new empires these moguls dare to do whatever they need to do to stay at the top of the game. (from BET and L. Plummer Media)

Thursday, June 9, 2016

"The Greatest of All Time" - Muhammad Ali, A Proud, Free Black Man

January 17, 1942 - June 3, 2016
"Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee."  

The greatest "spoken word" poet of our time has died.

It's taken me a few days to actually sit down and write about what the passing of Muhammad Ali (née Cassius Clay) means to me and that's mainly because I think until today I've been in denial.

Although, we had all seen the effects of Parkinson's on his body for over two decades, he left us with so many quotes and poems and memories, it didn't seem that he would ever really be gone.  But, he is.  And we're all better people for him having graced this earth for over 70 years.

Muhammad Ali came of age in an era when it wasn't popular for a black man to "speak his mind."  Or, speak, at all, for that matter.  But, speak, Ali did.  And speak.  And preach.  And predict.  And he did it all with a freedom, poise, confidence and power like no one had before or has done since.

His popularity spanned generations.  In fact, my great-nephew who isn't even two years old yet, can often be seen sporting a baby tee-shirt with one of Ali's quotes emblazoned on his tiny chest.  Obviously, he doesn't know who Ali was, but one day, maybe he'll look back at his baby pictures and be grateful that his dad thought it important that he "put some respect on Muhammad Ali's name."

He was right.  He was so pretty.  And smart.  And the greatest of all time.

Friday, May 20, 2016

For Your Weekend Reading Pleasure - "The Blackbirds" by Eric Jerome Dickey

New York Times bestselling author Eric Jerome Dickey delivers his next delectable, erotic romance
"They call themselves the Blackbirds. Kwanzaa Browne, Indigo Abdulrahaman, Destiny Jones, and Ericka Stockwell are four best friends who are closer than sisters, and will go to the ends of the earth for one another. Yet even their deep bond can’t heal all wounds from their individual pasts, as the collegiate and post-collegiate women struggle with their own demons, drama, and desires.

Trying to forget her cheating ex-fiancé, Kwanzaa becomes entangled with a wicked one-night stand—a man who turns out to be one in five million. Indigo is in an endless on-again, off-again relationship with her footballer boyfriend, and in her time between dysfunctional relationships she purses other naughty desires. Destiny, readjusting to normal life, struggles to control her own anger after avenging a deep wrong landed her in juvi, while at the same time trying to have her first real relationship—one she has initiated using an alias to hide her past from her lover. Divorced Ericka is in remission from cancer and trying to deal with two decades of animosity with her radical mother, while keeping the desperate crush she has always had on Destiny’s father a secret… a passion with an older man that just may be reciprocated.

As the women try to overcome— or give into— their impulses, they find not only themselves tested, but the one thing they always considered unbreakable: their friendship."

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

An E-Interview with Tia Williams, author of "The Perfect Find"

Tia Williams "The Perfect Find"
First of all, congratulations on your latest novel, “The Perfect Find.”  It’s always nice when a new novel touches on a subject, or subjects, that transcend the “color line,” so to speak. That said, was there a particular incident in your own personal life that was the catalyst for the book?

Tia Williams:
Thanks! Yes, I wrote this book during a really difficult point in my life. I’d had everything I’d ever wanted – the magazine career, the book career, great home life, dream apartment– and then I lost everything. I got laid off, and very sick (for a very long time), and divorced. I was in a lot of pain and couldn’t really keep a full time job for a couple of years – so I shut the world out and invented Jenna Jones! She was sort of my alter ego, a character who was going through her own reinvention. Jenna’s a 40-year-old superstar fashion editor who gets fired by her magazine, dumped by her fiance, and loses all her money in one week! Writing Jenna’s story as she navigates a huge, scary career comeback in the new digital world, fights to get a hold of her life again, and deals with falling wildly in love with a totally unlikely soulmate – it was so cathartic. I lived vicariously through her. And she inspired me to chase my own comeback!
How hard was it for you to break into the world of beauty, as a woman of color, and what were some of the barriers and stereotypes you had to overcome?

Tia Williams:
I was definitely an anomaly when I was a beauty editor at magazines like Elle, Glamour, and Lucky. There weren’t a lot of us in the room, and certainly not in beauty. There were definitely some challenges! I had to know everything about white beauty, while educating everyone on black beauty. I was sometimes mistaken for a dresser when reporting backstage at fashion shows. And then there were the publicists you only communicated with on the phone (this was the 90s and Aughts!), and then when they met you in person and saw you were black, suddenly you’d start hearing the “homegirls” and “girlfriends.” But I never saw this as anything deeper as being the silliness that comes with the territory of being an “only.” The upside is that you’ve gotten in the room, so you have the opportunity to make change.
I grew up on Seventeen, Glamour and Essence as my “go-to” magazines for beauty and style advice.  And I’m talking paper.  I still subscribe to both print and digital editions of magazines and newspapers.  How has the digital age changed the fashion and beauty industry for the better and for perhaps, the worst? How has social media played into the job market for print journalists?

Tia Williams:
It’s changed everything. I grew up in the print magazine industry, and now digital rules. It’s a learning curve, definitely, when all you know is print. When I went from being a beauty editor at magazines to, I had no idea what I was doing. What was a “clicky” headline? “SEO”-friendly key words? I was lost. And so is Jenna! After twenty years in print, she’s so in over her head at her new job, at a street style online zine. Everyone’s 23, and social media savvy, and she doesn’t even have Facebook. She thinks gifs cause strokes. She’s a rookie at 40, which is where a lot of my magazine editor friends have found themselves, with the industry changing so much.
They say “40 is the new 30.”  Are “they” telling the truth?  And do you think that the older woman/young man relationship is still scrutinized more heavily than vice-versa?

Tia Williams:
40 is the new 27, girl. But only in terms of energy and spirit (and, in my case, musical taste – because all I listen to is Drake, Kendrick, J. Cole, and whatever, that Bieber album is fire). The value of being 40 is having the wisdom you didn’t have at 28. And yes, older women with younger men is always scrutinized more heavily. Which is a huge theme in The Perfect Find! Jenna falls into this wildly passionate, soulmate thing with Eric, who is almost half her age. Everyone is scandalized – and it’s because we live in a patriarchal society! Men are supposed to be the alphas, the ones in charge, the teachers, the leaders. So, it makes sense when older men are with younger women. When women are the older ones, it usually looks like a predatory thing, or sexual desperation. Which is ridiculous. Love is love. By the way, younger men absolutely adore older women. It’s kind of nice to be worshipped, now and then
Jenna “crosses the line” between her professional and personal life.  In your opinion, is that still a line you don’t cross or has society relaxed its feelings about that in the same way we embrace “business casual?”  

Tia Williams:
I don’t think workplace romances are encouraged. It reads as unprofessional. Like, you can’t control yourself in the office? There are zillions of men out there, you really had to pursue a thing with the dude in the next cubicle over? Control yourself! Jenna and Eric try to fight her feelings for as long as she can, but then they just explode. And it was so much fun building up that tension!
Lastly, Anna Wintour has endured through the decades.  And for that matter, so has Iman.  Are they the exception or the “new norm?”

Tia Williams:
New norm! Women only get older, more interesting, sexier and richer (in experience and wisdom, not financially, though in many cases the latter’s true, too!) as they get older. I feel more self-possessed at 40 than I ever did in my 20s. I wouldn’t trade it. Though I would like my 1998 ass back. 
More About Tia:
For fifteen years, she was a magazine beauty editor (at YM, Elle, Glamour, Lucky, and, and in '05, created one of the first beauty blogs, Shake Your Beauty. She's the best-selling author of THE ACCIDENTAL DIVA and the IT CHICKS series, and co-wrote Iman's THE BEAUTY OF COLOR. Currently the Copy Director at Bumble and bumble, she lives in Brooklyn with her diva daughter - See more at: "ShakeYourBeauty"

"The Perfect Find" published by Brown Girls Books Publishing

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Beyonce Serves "Becky" Ice Cold Lemonade, and in the words of Shaggy, "It Wasn't Me!"

They say revenge is best served cold.

If we are to believe that Beyonce's latest "video/biography" "Lemonade" is based on truth, which I do, then I'd say revenge is best served as cold lemonade.

I was very impressed with Queen Bey's latest.  It's art like we've not seen from her or anyone in a while.  Made me think about the '70s and Gil Scott Heron.

And if the album itself wasn't enough to set tongues wagging about her marriage, her dad, Blu Ivy and everything in between, how about when Rachel Roy thought it would be really funny to tag her instagram post with "Good Hair Don't Care."  Not only did the joke backfire on Roy and cause her to have to shut down her Instagram for a time, it may have also been career suicide to a large extent for this quite talented designer.

Of course, never to be outdone, or to let us have anything of our own, I'm standing by for the deluge of tee-shirts, mugs and the like which steal from Beyonce's most recent hit with hashtags of #becky, #lemonade, #goodhair and on it goes. 

What Beyonce did with this piece of work was not only make great music and art - she reclaimed any power that the haters in the general public may have thought they had over her success.  

Yes, as Queen Bey most aptly coined, "The best revenge is your paper."


LINA - Live at "The Mint" in Los Angeles, One Night Only, Friday, April 29, 2016 (presented by Jadar Entertainment)

Click HERE for Tickets 
The Mint

Doors open @ 7:30 - Show starts @ 9:00

Lina is a gifted international singer, songwriter and actress with the voice of an angel.   Her unique style is an effortless blend of neo soul, jazz, r&b, classical, and opera.   Follow Lina on Twitter