Monday, December 29, 2014

Never Judge A Book By Its Cover, Or Its Size - "The Pecan Man" by Cassie Dandridge Selleck

I love pecans.  Really love pecans.

So when I found out my book club's December selection was "The Pecan Man," I thought, "oh, great a southern mystery and it involves pecans."

However, when I received the book, I was shocked by the fact that it was so small.  It's not much bigger than a pamphlet.  At not even 100 pages, I guess you could call it a "novela."  My first reaction was, "Are you kidding me?"

But despite its brevity, there is nothing small at all about the story it tells.  A brilliant piece of fiction written by Cassie Dandridge Selleck , which puts me in mind of "To Kill A Mockingbird."

Painful and provocative, nostalgic and meaningful.

Well worth the read.  A very small investment of time for a really great book.  

A winner.

"In the summer of 1976, recently widowed and childless, Ora Lee Beckworth hires a homeless old black man to mow her lawn.  The neighborhood children call hime the Pee-can Man; their mothers call them inside whenever he appears.  When he is arrested for murder, only Ora knows what really happened in the woods where Eddie lived.  But truth is a fickle thing, and a lie is self-perpetuating.  Ora and her maid Blanche soon find themselves in a web of lies that send an innocent man to prison for the rest of his life.  Twenty-five years later, Ora sets out to tell the truth about the Pecan Man.  (C) From "The Pecan Man" by Cassie Dandridge Selleck (2012 - all rights reserved)

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?"


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 fiancé, 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.  


"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


"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

Sunday, September 28, 2014

"What's Done In The Dark" by Reshonda Tate Billingsley

"What's Done In The Dark"

Author, Reshonda Tate Billingsley

How many times have you heard someone say, "What's Done In the Dark, Will Surely Come to Light?"

It's one of those clichés that most of us African Americans have heard all our lives.

But, imagine being the one who was caught in the dark and exposed for all to see.

This was my book club's selection this month.  My pick.  And true to Reshonda Tate Billingsley form, she has written another novel that will leave a sister girl with the expression "SMH."

I'm still shaking my head and I finished this book two weeks ago.  

From Reshonda Tate Billingsley:
"Felise is not the kind of woman to cheat on her husband—especially with her best friend’s man. But after one perfect storm of a night, it happened…and she can hardly believe it herself. To top it off, when she woke up in the morning, she found that the man to whom she guiltily made passionate love died of a heart attack overnight. Felise, who is a nurse and a good citizen at that, leaves the hotel room without reporting his death.

When her best friend, Paula, finds out about her husband’s sudden death a day later, Felise is overcome with guilt and grief. She must be there for her friend and her family, but when her husband repeatedly tries to apologize for his absentminded behavior and Paula starts investigating who Stephen was with the night he died, Felise finds it hard to hold herself together. Should she come clean and tell everyone what she did? Or should she just let it go and move past the
mistake on her own?"

This pick certainly evoked a lively discussion among my book club members, along with some mixed feelings about "Should you tell or shouldn't you?"

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Heaven Is Just a Bit Jazzier Right Now - Rest In Peace, Joe Sample

Joseph "Joe" Sample 
(February 1, 1939 – 
September 12, 2014)

When I heard the news two nights ago that Joe Sample passed away at age 75, I was at first saddened, then nostalgic and then embarrassed that I had not thought about all the contributions that Joe Sample made not only to the Crusaders ("Street Life" was my jam!) but to music as a whole.

I realized that while, thankfully, I've gotten older, unfortunately, my radio these days is crowded with so much "noise" that I don't spend nearly enough time enjoying real music.

"Creole Joe" as his twitter handle implies was even a zydeco master.  He did it all.  With style.

I won't reiterate his accomplishments here, as the newspapers have done that.  However, I will pass along the announcement his family posted on his Facebook page.

Services for Joe Sample: Friday, September 19, 2014, 6:00pm-9:00pm, wake and viewing open to the general public, My Mother of Mercy Church, 4000 Sumpter St., Houston, TX, 77020. Funeral services will be private. In lieu of flowers, etc., the family asks to make donations to the Joe Sample Youth Organization, a 501 (c)(3) non-profit. Contributions can be made via paypal/credit card using the following link: or via check to the following address: Joe Sample Youth Organization, P.O. Box 590254, Houston, TX 77259.

As for me, I'm heading to the "record shop" this weekend to pick up some of his classics.  Because there's something about the music store experience that online shopping just can't satisfy.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Where Do We Go From Here? Two Weeks After Mike Brown and Ferguson

Suffice to say, that until two weeks ago, I had never heard of Ferguson, Missouri.

I've never even been in the state of Missouri.  I've heard wonderful things about the African American cultural scene in St. Louis in the past, however, now I'm not so sure I want to visit.

Despite the many and varied reports of what really happened two Saturdays ago in Ferguson, Missouri when Michael Brown and his friend encountered Ferguson Police Officer, Darren Wilson, the only things we can be certain of, are the facts revealed in the coroner's report.  Michael Brown was shot six times, twice in the head, after essentially being stopped for, what amounts to a form of "jaywalking."

What we can almost be certain of is that there is likely going to be no jail time for the cop who killed the unarmed 18 year old.  After all, the burden of proof rests with the prosecution and as of this writing, Officer Darren Wilson hasn't even been charged with a crime.  

One thing we do know is that something has to be done.  We have to seriously address the issue of why our young black men are dying (not only by each other's hands) but far too often, at the hands of the law enforcement whose job it is to "protect and serve."

I don't have a son, but if I did, I'd be afraid to let him out of my sight.  And for sure, I'd sit down with him and we'd watch "Fruitvale Station" together.

Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they aren't following you.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Summer Just Started To Sizzle - "The Choir Director 2: Runaway Bride" by Carl Weber

Carl Weber

Just when you thought summer was coming to a close, here comes one of our favorite African American fiction writers, Carl Weber with the long-awaited sequel "The Choir Director 2:  Runaway Bride."

If you thought "The Choir Director"  (now available in paperback) was scandalous, well you haven't seen anything yet.

As with his other novels, he doesn't fail to deliver on being a master plot weaver.  This has a little bit of something for everyone - there's sex, power, religion, lies, deceit and mystery.

And the ending is anything but predictable.

I. Did. Not. See. That. Coming.

So, mark your calendars for August 19th and get ready for Carl Weber's newest offering from the Hachette Book Group.  

"It's been three years since Aaron Mackie succeeded in helping his friend and mentor, Bishop T.K. Wilson, dig his ministry out of financial ruin. Aaron is also responsible for re-energizing the almost defunct choir into something special. His success has drawn national attention, and he's on the verge of signing a huge recording contract. With his life in order, Aaron decides the time is right to propose to Tia Gregory, the church secretary who caught his eye and inspired him to shed his Tiger Woods-like tendencies to become a one-woman man. The stage is set for what might be the wedding of the year, but quickly becomes the disaster of the year when Aaron is left at the altar without explanation. 

Now, during his own hour of need, Aaron turns to the bishop for help. Unfortunately, the line he asks T. K. to cross will force the bishop to choose between faith and friendship, or as he puts it, "between heaven and hell." As the investigation into Tia's disappearance continues, the two men are challenged in ways they never imagined."

 - See more at:

Thursday, July 31, 2014

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)

Sunday, March 30, 2014


The EMMY®-award winning show, The Bronze Report has moved to the Comcast Hometown Network (CHN), Channel 104, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays at 5:30 p.m.  The show debuted Tuesday, March 4, 2014.

The Bronze Report spotlights current issues, trends, events, art, music and people in and beyond the Bay Area’s vibrant African-American community. The Bronze Report is an answer to the need for more television programs produced by African Americans, for African-Americans.  Audiences of all walks of life appreciate and enjoy The Bronze Report because of the show’s unwavering commitment to quality content, and outstanding production value. 

For more information about the show, and to view past episodes and segments, visit The Bronze Report’s website,

The Bronze Report host, EMMY®-award winner Barbara Rodgers is one of the most recognizable television personalities in the Bay Area.  For over thirty years, her beautiful smile and insightful journalistic style has been a constant as anchor, reporter and host on CBS 5 Eyewitness News and Bay Sunday.  Barbara has garnered dozens of awards and honors for her achievements in journalism and her work in the community.  “I am very excited about this win,” says Rodgers about The Bronze Reports’s recent EMMY® award for Outstanding Cultural Program. “The Bronze Report gives me an opportunity to spotlight some of the fascinating people and events in the African-American community that are often ignored by mainstream media.”

The Bronze Report’s EMMY®-award winning executive producer, writer and co-host Jan Mabry brings a wealth of experience in film, television and theatre to the show. She has written, produced and edited television news and talk shows for ABC, NBC and CBS stations in Northern California, including the Emmy-award winning show, Red Carpet Bay Area.  The Bronze Report is an opportunity to bring all of my professional experience home to my community,” says Mabry. “I am so proud and honored to have won an EMMY® for this wonderful show.  This award belongs to all of us.”

Comcast Hometown Network, Channel 104 is Comcast's regional cable network covering Northern and Central California.  A hometown is not only where we live, but how we identify ourselves.  It's the neighborhoods and communities around us, the people we interact with who affect our daily lives.  Comcast Hometown Network (CHN) sees all of Northern and Central California as our hometown. CHN reflects the values and pride we feel living in our diverse and vibrant communities.

CHN is home to The Bronze Report and other exclusive, compelling programming you won't find anywhere else.

Comcast Cable is the nation's largest video, high-speed Internet and phone provider to residential customers under the XFINITY brand, and also provides these services to businesses. Visit for more information.

The Bronze Report is a media partner of, Northern California’s new online resource for African American arts, events, culture and lifestyle.

For more information about The Bronze Report  contact: Jan Mabry at or call 510.301.5102.


Sunday, March 16, 2014

"THE HOUSE THAT WILL NOT STAND" (extended to March 23) at the Berkeley Rep

Marcus Gardley

I had the pleasure of seeing Marcus Gardley's "The House That Will Not Stand," last week at the Berkeley Repertory Theater.  I'm so glad that I didn't miss this.  It was originally scheduled to end this weekend but is being held over by popular demand until March 23.

Berkeley Rep commissioned the piece by Oakland native, Marcus Gardley (a very gifted and brilliant playwright).  

It centers around the story of free women of color and the New Orleans system of "pla çage," a formal arrangement between white men and free women of color.  

Not only a great lesson in history, it is engaging, funny, moving and the acting is superb.

This is one you won't want to miss.

"The House That Will Not Stand"
Written by Marcus Gardley
Directed by Patricia McGregor

Berkeley Repertory Theater

Phone: 510 647–2949

Sunday, March 9, 2014


The Stanford University 15th Annual Youth Empowerment Conference is a daylong event that includes a series of workshops on ethnic identity, education/admissions, advocacy and enterprise, as well as a diverse and interactive student panel. The event serves high school students from across the nation and at all academic achievement levels. The Stanford Black Student Union and the Black Community Services Center host the event.

The conference’s theme “MAGIC: Making A Greater Individual Commitment” speaks to its mission of positive ethnic identity formation and investment in personal growth. Dynamic speakers, interactive workshops, and vibrant performances are all hallmarks of the conference. Students leave the conference inspired, hopeful, and committed to the cause of excellence.

For info:

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Will "12 Years" Take Home An Oscar? - UPDATE: BEST PICTURE "12 YEARS A SLAVE!"

This is the first time in recent memory that I recall being excited about the Academy Awards.

Honestly, I've always considered it to be tailored to a white audience.  Oh, sure there have been a few times in history where one of our own has taken home the Oscar, but for the most part, it's not about us.  And, no Black movie has ever taken home "Best Picture."

So, tonight, I'll be watching, hoping and praying to see history made.

I admit, I haven't seen every movie that was nominated but I've seen more than half, and I don't think there is one that deserves the Oscar more than "12 Years A Slave."

While excruciatingly painful to watch, it not only delivered a great story, it hit a home run on every cinematic level.

So to the Academy, I say, "Here's your chance.   Tonight is your chance.  Do the right thing."

Saturday, February 22, 2014


Visit the Facebook page for more information and updates:


Presented by Jadar Entertainment 310-601-3134

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Phone: (310) 601-3134
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Sunday, February 16, 2014

Book Review: "Silver Sparrow" by Tayari Jones

I'm not sure how I missed this book when it was first released.  It must have been one of those months when I didn't get around to reading my Essence magazine.  

Thank you, Amazon "Kindle Deal of the Day" for featuring this book a few weeks ago.  Now, I want to go back and read everything Ms. Jones has written.

Not to give anything away, but James Witherspoon is one man who can keep a secret.  At least from his wife.  Well, one wife, anyway.

I'm not spoiling anything by telling you that James Witherspoon is a bigamist.  In fact, the author reveals that detail at the very beginning.

What happens after is a tale told in fiction, but played out in real life, so many times.  

One thing we do really well is keep secrets.  We all have "family secrets" about cousins or uncles or aunts or even parents that we'll take to our graves.  But some things can only stay hidden for so long.  Because I really do believe there are "six degrees of separation."

And even though the book has its share of sadness and sorrow, there are plenty of laughs and lighter moments.

And if you're like I was and don't know who Tayari Jones is, now is the perfect time to find out.  

Visit her website for a look at all of her work and her upcoming appearances.

About "Silver Sparrow"

With the opening line of Silver Sparrow, “My father, James Witherspoon is a bigamist,” Tayari Jones unveils a breathtaking story about a man’s deception, a family’s complicity, and the teenage girls caught in the middle.
Set in a middle-class neighborhood in Atlanta in the 1980s, the novel revolves around James Witherspoon’s families– the public one and the secret one. When the daughters from each family meet and form a friendship, only one of them knows they are sisters. It is a relationship destined to explode when secrets are revealed and illusions shattered. As Jones explores the backstories of her rich and flawed characters, she also reveals the joy, and the destruction, they brought to each other’s lives.
At the heart of it all are the two girls whose lives are at stake, and like the best writers, Jones portrays the fragility of her characers with raw authenticity as they seek love, demand attention, and try to imagine themselves as women.