Sunday, August 23, 2015

"Those Who Cannot Remember the Past are Condemned to Repeat It" - Hurricane Katrina - Ten Years Later

It's hard to believe it's been ten years today since we saw the horrendous tragedy that hit New Orleans in the form of a hurricane.  A natural disaster that no one could stop but many didn't prepare for - starting at the top with the Federal Government.

It's ironic that while we're in the midst of wondering, hoping and praying who will or will not be the next President to succeed President Barack Obama, the media is once again back in New Orleans to revisit what has transpired in the ten years since "Katrina" as she's come to be known (by only one word) ripped apart a city, families, communities, cultures and changed lives forever.

If there is anything good that came from this disaster, it was opening America's eyes (even when didn't want to see) to the fact that there are people suffering from poverty, lack of proper housing, clothing, streets, medical care and who just plain are being treated less than human right here on American soil.

For me, it introduced me to children whom I've never met personally but I've come to know and love.

New Orleans is still suffering a decade later.  People have been displaced, dispatched, relocated and will never return to home as they knew it for generations.  There were over 1800 lives lost.

In the immortal words of George Santayana, "Those Who Cannot Remember the Past Are Condemned to Repeat It."

Don't forget.  We can't forget.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

In Memoriam: Julian Bond, 1940-2015

(January 14, 1940 – August 15, 2015)
Julian Bond, a leader in the Civil Rights Movement (SNCC) who served twenty years in the Georgia Senate and House of Representatives passed away August 15, 2015 in Florida at the age of 75.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Cancun Jazz Festival Presented by BTWconcerts - Labor Day Weekend 2015

Cancun Jazz Festival
Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya
Labor Day Weekend September 3 - 6 2015

Presented by BTWconcerts

Monday, August 3, 2015

Book Review of Charlie Wilson "I Am Charlie Wilson"

I just finished reading “I Am Charlie Wilson” and feel good that I have received one of God’s examples of grace.  Charlie Wilson is a man who worked hard at what he loved but allowed a disease to go unchecked.  

As his story reads, he had many reasons to be at odds with the world given his absent father, over-worked single mother and competing worrisome siblings.  

He shares that his outside persona and hysterical fan base, belied the truth that was his shyness and lack of fortitude which made him susceptible and a victim to the vices that are symptomatic of dis-ease.  

Oh, but for the Grace of God and the work of Angels, Charlie, last name Wilson, found himself being picked up and put back on his feet with a greater sense of purpose and strength than he had ever possessed.  He came to not only strip away the disease of addiction but he found a power greater than himself to lead the way to a fuller more purposeful life.  His already great gift of song and performance was enhanced and like the territory of Jabez was widened.

Good going Charlie.  Thanks for Sharing.

(Reviewed by "Anonymous")

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Remembering James Baldwin

James Arthur Baldwin (August 2, 1924 – December 1, 1987)
I read my first James Baldwin Novel when I was about eight years old.  I have no memory of what it was about.   I'm fairly certain it was "Go Tell It On the Mountain."  It belonged to my sister who was more than ten years older.

I was a voracious reader and read at an early age.  And I read whatever I could get my hands on.  You can only read fairy tales so many times, and then you have to broaden your tastes.  And with a limited library in my home, that meant "borrowing" books from whomever.  In this case, my big sister.  I'm fairly certain she never even knew I borrowed or read it.  That's the thing about little kids.  They're so much smarter than we give them credit for being.

When I found out it was James Baldwin's birthday today, I noticed that he was born in 1924.  It made me giggle.  My mother was born in 1924.  And almost certain that my mother never read anything by James Baldwin.

We must continue to expand our study of black history beyond the classroom, and most definitely, beyond February.  

Happy Birthday, James Baldwin.  We are very lucky that you live on in your literature.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

"I Am Charlie Wilson" - A Memoir

"The long-awaited memoir of seven-time Grammy-nominated artist Charlie Wilson, the iconic R&B and Funk singer-songwriter-producer—interwoven with his recollections of collaborating with fellow artists such as Stevie Wonder, the Rolling Stones, and Snoop Dogg.

Recognized the world over for his distinct voice and timeless hits spanning a career of nearly half a century, Charlie Wilson is one of the most celebrated musicians of his generation. So it took friends and family by surprise when he checked into rehab and revealed that he had been not only homeless, but also helpless.

Here, in the memoir fans have been demanding, is the story of how love and faith carried him through not only his addiction, but also prostate cancer. Here, too, is the story of his work in the music business, including a career resurgence that saw collaborations with some of the most sought-after artists of today, including Pharrell and Justin Timberlake.

Now over twenty years sober, Wilson recounts a life filled with vertiginous highs and heartbreaking lows. His is a story of triumph over adversity, courage in the face of extreme hardship, and love when all else is lost. It is a tale of the last sixty years in social and pop culture history, and one that will stay with you for years to come. (From Simon and Schuster)"

Available online at amazon and other retailers.


Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Winner of Victoria Christopher Murray's "Stand Your Ground"

Yes, just yes!

This is a really good book.

So different from anything that I've read from this author.  

I especially liked the way the story was told in two parts and from the perspective of two different women.  I don't want to give anything away, so I won't go into a lot of detail. 

This is the right book at the right time.  

Janice Johnson's son has been murdered and as we've heard all too many times before, the shooter is using the "Stand Your Ground" defense.  I have to admit until the murder of Trayvon Martin, I had never even heard of this defense.

But it's not just Janice Johnson (who, by the way, is a stronger woman than me for sure) that you get to know, you also come to know Meredith Spencer, the wife of the accused killer.

This was very cleverly written and held my attention to the very end.  

This is one for the library.

And, now we have a WINNER!

The winner of the free copy of "Stand Your Ground" by Victoria Christopher Murray compliments of Simon and Schuster is Miss Pearl from San Francisco.