Friday, November 17, 2017

Jesse Jackson's Parkinson's Diagnosis and the Tragic Cost of Living a Public Life

Whether you love him or not, Jesse Jackson is a living legend.  

While many of his accomplishments have been overshadowed by talk of inaccuracies in his recanting of events or his alleged infidelities, there is no question that Reverend Jackson has lived a very giving and public life.  And he's reaped the rewards and consequentially the tragedies that accompany such legendary status.

It makes me sad to write this because when I think of Jesse Jackson, I think of a tall, proud, handsome man.  Despite his shortcomings, he's one of a kind.  

Which also makes me think about Jesse Jackson, Jr.  The man I thought would be the First Black President of the United States.  It's true.  Long before I'd heard of President Barack Obama, I followed the career of another young, intelligent, handsome, charismatic politician from Chicago who seemed destined for the White House.  I don't need to elaborate on Jesse Jr's. ultimate fall from grace, but suffice to say, that people seem to only remember the bad things you've done and not the good.

The Jackson family has gone through a lot.  Let's send warm thoughts and prayers their way.  They've given a lot and that's the least we can do.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Zane Presents Curtis Bunn's new novel "Welcome to My World" - FREE GIVEAWAY

From Essence bestselling author Curtis Bunn comes a moving novel about a down and out corporate executive whose unexpected encounter with a stranger inspires her to reinvent her life.

Brenda Harris, a former corporate executive in Atlanta, has endured two years of personal tragedies and professional disappointments, and believes the world owes her a break.

One day, she encounters a homeless man who encourages her to look at life differently. She regularly sees this man at one of her daily stops. But she does not realize that he has been closely observing her and, despite his mental illness, is able to forge a deep connection with her in ways that both surprise and inspire her.

She realizes there is a whole world out there for her to experience, and Rodney Bridges, the homeless man, helps her begin her journey of self-discovery by challenging her on their daily walks. The path is difficult, but her time with Rodney opens her up to a new world, a world she had dismissed when she lost her job, her husband left her, and her dear sister died.

Part of her journey moves her to help Rodney. Through meaningful conversation and dedication, she is able to penetrate the emotional wall Rodney built after his own tragic circumstances sent him onto the streets. They become an unlikely duo—encouraging each other to overcome each of their own obstacles...and slowly a new world emerges.

A moving and powerful story about how inspiration can be found in the unlikeliest places, Welcome to My World also reaffirms that the simplest things in life—a conversation with a stranger—can lead to life-changing results.


Winner will be announced on Thursday, November 15, 2017.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Dr. Joseph Lowery's 96th Birthday

President Barack Obama,
Rep. Maxine Waters, Dr. Christine King Farris and
 Ambassador Andrew Young Acknowledge
Dr. Joseph E. Lowery's 96th Birthday 

Click the video to see highlights of Dr. Lowery's 96th birthday tribute.
Click the video to see highlights of Dr. Lowery's 96th birthday tribute.

OWN's "Greenleaf" star and singer, Keith David; Tyler Perry's "House of Payne" star and vocalist, Cassandra "Cassi" Davis; and gospel superstar, Yolanda Adams, mesmerized the audience with a stellar musical tribute to Dr. Lowery.

Atlanta, GA - While President Barack Obama and Congresswoman Maxine Waters sent birthday greetings, Ambassador Andrew YoungMartin Luther King III and Dr. Martin L. King Jr's sister, Dr. Christine King Farris were among celebrities and dignitaries on hand in Atlanta to acknowledge the 96th birthday of civil rights leader and former King confidant, Dr.  Joseph E. Lowery.

The historical evening was made most memorable when OWN's "Greenleaf" star and singer Keith David; Tyler Perry's "House of Payne" star and vocalist, Cassandra "Cassi" Davis; and gospel superstar, Yolanda Adams, mesmerized the audience with a stellar musical tribute that encapsulated the life of the well-loved nonagenarian.  The Joseph and Evelyn Lowery Institute (Lowery Institute) hosted the gala which also featured Lowery Institute Change Agents packing the stage to honor the Dr. Lowery with raised fists and taking a knee.

For more information on the Lowery Institute visit


Jazzmyne Public Relations

Jazzmyne Public Relations brings a uniquely personal, yet substantive approach to the vast world of public relations. Specializing in publicity, media management and management consulting, the firm has been recognized nationally for its successfully impactive media campaigns for almost 30 years.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Is Hip Hop Bridging the Racial Divide?

On the elevator ride to my office this morning, there was a millennial on his way to work listening to a very loud song on his headphones (he had removed them when he got on). I said "Who are you listening to?"  He replied, "That would be "Young Thug.""

He smiled, departed the elevator and  wished me a good day as he headed to his job at Merrill Lynch.

Times have really changed.  Or have they?  

I mean it's nice that music is universal, knows no colors, etc.  But I can't help but believe that this young man is enjoying "code switching" of a different nature.  He can listen to all the rap he wants as long as he checks it at the door.

We are used to living in two worlds, however, I just wonder what the "suits and ties" would think if they knew what he was doing before he logged onto his computer?

I will believe things have truly changed when I see a young Black man on the elevator going to his job at Merrill Lynch. 

I ride the same elevator every day and I can't count that I've seen even one.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Flashback Friday: "Daddy Was a Number Runner" by Louise Meriwether (with Foreword by James Baldwin)

While riding the train this morning and reading my first ever Bernice McFadden novel (another post for another day), I was reminded of one of the very first "coming of age" books I read which was the classic, "Daddy Was a Number Runner" by Louise Meriwether.

The details of the book are cloudy, which is why I plan to read it again.  However, the realistic writing style and the descriptive narrative of African American culture is very similar in my recall.

I didn't want to miss a chance to "flashback" to arguably one of the greatest works of black literature of my time.

It also made me realize that the more things change the more they stay the same.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

"Sin of a Woman" by Kimberla Lawson Roby

"Sin of a Woman" by Kimberla Lawson Roby is one of the best reads of the summer.

The latest "Curtis Black" novel has Raven Black (if you're a fan of Lawson Roby's you know Raven's history) playing with fire.  And I mean the fires of hell.

Nothing I dislike more than a man or woman pretending to be "called by God," when in fact, they're called by the devil.

If you thought that Raven's ex-husband Dillon was scandalous, you haven't seen anything.  Raven's latest act makes Dillon look like a boy scout.

When Raven and her new "BFF" Porsha Harrington (Dillon's ex-mistress) join forces and open one of the area's largest churches - well, let's just say it's a mess.

My favorite part is how Ms. Lawson Roby intertwines the gospel with urban fiction.

Put this on your summer list.

Available in bookstores, online and in hardback and kindle/e-reader formats.

Monday, June 19, 2017

"All Eyez on Me" Starring Demetrius Shipp, Jr. They Don't Want You to See This Movie.

Tupac Shakur
Demetrius Shipp, Jr. (as Tupac Shakur)

Critics be damned.  You cannot expect our movies to get the same kind of favorable treatment given to movies made by people who are not "of color."

So happy I didn't listen to the nay-sayers and went to see for myself this weekend, the newly released "All Eyez on Me" starring Demetrius Shipp, Jr.  

In addition to the fact that the resemblance to the late Tupac Shakur is "eery," Shipp is a great actor.  

The movie is over two hours long but it moved with a quick pace and kept me engaged.

Sure, the filmmakers took creative liberties.  That's what artists do.  But don't let folks tell you that it's not a good movie.  It's a great movie.

Go see for yourself.  In fact, pack the theaters.  

Watch the Official Trailer, HERE.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Friday, May 12, 2017

Phaedra Parks and the Real Housewives of Atlanta - This is my confession

I'm going to talk about something here today that I've never fully admitted to before.

For years, I tried to ignore the Real Housewives of Atlanta.  As a Black woman, I felt it was not in the best interest of my race to engage in discussing a show that doesn't always depict black women at their best.

What joy can be gained from watching on-camera fights, break ups, good news, more often bad news and spilling of the tea in front of a national audience?

But, hey - I'm human.

I confess that I have finally given in to my "human side" or shall I say "nosey nature" and watched the entire four-part reunion.  I mean, after all, white women expose themselves on a number of reality series - right?

Question of the day - Is this scripted??  Phaedra Parks is a successful professional woman.  An attorney for crying out loud.  Would she risk her entire career for a short-term "cash cow?"

I don't know the answer, but I do know one thing - whether people admit it or not, it seems a whole lot of folks are watching to find out.

p.s. - anybody else miss Nene?

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Golden: The Miraculous Rise of Steph Curry - A Book Review of Marcus Thompson II's "Sermon"

Preach Marcus!  

Marcus Thompson’s observations of Steph Curry’s miraculous rise, is that spiritual food that I look for on Sunday to sustain me through the week, as I encounter the slings and arrows of opposing fans.  
Yes, Marcus is indeed that learned Preacher delivering a stirring sermon to his “choir” and meticulously constructing his evidences of indictment upon those who are still unbelievers.  

"Golden" paints a picture of one who was chosen to break down the constructs of NBA lore and belief to bring about a new Covenant of faith and Resurrection to the "We Believe-ers" and  the "Strength in Numbers” generation.  

Thompson’s high literary and B-Ball IQ, is poured from the heart, as he intertwines facts with prose and events with analysis to fully discuss Steph Curry’s inevitable rise to greatness.  Steph Curry’s life writes the book and Marcus Thompson puts pen to paper to retain it for us as it happens in our midst and for generations to come.  

Each chapter chooses a particular focus on Steph Curry’s life, but each chapter tells the same story; he was gifted to us to show us a different way.  If you are a fan, reading this book will only help you identify and give meaning to how you feel.  

If you are not a fan, reading this book will make you look at your own legend in a different way.  Amen.

(Review by JRS)

Friday, April 14, 2017

"Golden" - The Miraculous Rise of Steph Curry from Touchstone Books and Marcus Thompson II - available now

Just in time for the NBA Playoffs, comes "Golden - The Miraculous Rise of Steph Curry" written by Marcus Thompson II, Sports Columnist with the Bay Area News Group.

Available online at amazon, Barnes and Noble and in bookstores.

(Review coming soon!)

Thursday, April 6, 2017

The thin line between cultural appreciation and cultural appropriation and why French Montana was trending on Twitter

I woke up this morning to find rapper French Montana was trending.

I like French Montana.  He seems like a nice enough guy.

The reason he was trending on twitter -  he had gotten into a "twitter-war" or "clap back," if you will, with a young woman  who tweeted that essentially no one cares about French Montana.

And while she didn't actually send a direct tweet to Mr. Montana, she upset him enough for him to respond directly to her with a few "opinions" of his own about her appearance which included the words "nappy __ poetic justice braids."

And that's when the fight broke out.

What troubles me most is that while French Montana is of Moroccan descent, he always seems to enjoy the company and support of African Americans both in the entertainment industry and in his fan base.

Never mind that he has dated Khloe Kardashian and Iggy Azelia, we just assumed French was "one of us."  Now it seems he was perhaps. . .full of cultural appropriation.

I have a feeling that French is going to rethink "clapping back" in the future.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Thursday, March 9, 2017

20th Anniversary of the Death of The Notorious B.I.G.

Is it an awful thing for me to say that I never really understood or appreciated "Biggy" when he was alive?

To be honest, most of his music was a little too "raw" for my tastes at that time.  I was in the throes of being a new mom and probably didn't think it quite appropriate to blast his music in the car or house with a small child around.

However, now that I'm a "grown-up" (as in "of a certain age"), I actually get what he and the other rappers of his time (RIP Tupac) were trying to say through their music.  And I also understand what led them to share their art in the form of hip-hop.

You never really realize how great people are until it's too late.  That's the wonderful thing about art though - it never really dies.

Long live hip-hop.

Rest in Peace, Christopher George Wallace.

(May 21, 1972 – March 9, 1997)

Sunday, February 19, 2017

"Copycat" by Kimberla Lawson Roby

Have you ever had a copycat?  I know I have.  

Imitation is said to be the highest form of flattery, but when does it cross the line into "obsession?"

Although, we've all been just a little jealous of something or someone at one point in our lives, how we handle that most normal of emotions is what makes all the difference.

I've never been one to covet other people's things or become envious when a friend has success in life or work or love.  Quite the opposite.  We should want our friends to do well.

Unfortunately, not everyone knows what to do with those unhealthy pangs of jealousy and actions often spiral out of control and enter the danger zone.

Kimberla Lawson Roby, one of my very favorite authors, hit the nail on the head with this one.  This is a departure from the "Curtis Black" series, but a very deep look at what is sometimes at the root of "unhealthy competition."

Enjoyable and enlightening.

Online and in bookstores now.

Click HERE for a listing of Lawson Roby's book signings and appearances.

Befriending Traci Calloway Cole is the best thing Simone Phillips has ever done. Traci is the kind of woman Simone wants to be-in every way possible. She begins copying her role model. Not because she wants to be Traci. She just wants to be exactly like Traci.

Traci doesn't worry, though. She knows Simone doesn't mean any harm and that her mimicry is only sincere admiration. Until she discovers how far Simone's obsession has gone.

It is then that Simone's entire world begins unraveling, and dreadful secrets from her past are exposed with no warning. Secrets that she'll do almost anything to protect.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Grammy Award Winning Singer Al Jarreau (March 12, 1940 to February 12, 2017)

Al Jarreau with Barbara Rodgers (1978) (Photo Credit:  Jim Dennis)
Al Jarreau pictured with his wife, Susan, and friends in Rochester. (1978)  (Photo Credit:  Jim Dennis)

Al Jarreau and Jim Dennis (1978)

Al Jarreau who won seven Grammy Awards died on Sunday, February 12, 2017 in a Los Angeles hospital.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Wisconsin Foundation for School Music. 

Among Jarreau's many hits was "We're In This Love Together."  He also sang the theme song for the television show, "Moonlighting."

Jarreau is survived by his wife Susan and son Ryan.  Private memorial services will be held.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

If Donald Trump Wants to Ban Muslims - Are African Americans Next?

I think the climate post-election has not only gotten more frightening, it's gotten to be downright disgusting.

The news of this past weekend which shook up the travels plans of many and pulled the scab off of racism at the knee, caused me to wonder, 'What's next?'

If Donald Trump wants to "Make America Great Again," which in my opinion is code for "Make America White Again," are we slowly but surely witnessing the rebirth of segregation in the US?

It's time we all opened our eyes widely and realized that we're going to be part of the solution or part of the problem.  Because we're not really free unless we're all free.

And I'm not feeling very free right now.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

"Man on the Run" - Another Great Read by NY Times Best Selling Author, Carl Weber

Carl Weber books are my guilty pleasure and I make no apologies.

However, they are hot.  Steamy hot. You'll want to keep a little portable fan at hand.

I'd like to see "Man on the Run" made into a movie.  Because I need more urban fiction to make it to the screen and this one is totally adaptable.

If only I had a group of "ride or die" friends like Jay Crawford does.  

Imagine spending ten years locked up for a crime you didn't commit.  And then imagine having the guts to escape.  And "your boys" have your back.  

So many twists and turns, that I had to keep going back to the cover to make sure I was reading the same book.  And just when I thought I had it solved, I didn't have it solved at all.

That's what I love about Carl Weber.  He always leaves you wanting more.

On sale in bookstores, online and in print or digital.  I'd suggest you buy print and digital.  One to keep and share and one to read "on the run."  Pun intended.

Man on the Run

New York Times bestselling author Carl Weber delivers a riveting, action-packed drama full of the twists and turns for which he's become known.

It was the night before his wedding, fifteen years ago, that the nightmare began for Jay Crawford--locked up for a crime he never committed. Now, he's escaped prison and wants nothing more than to clear his name and protect his family. To get justice, he'll need the help of the three best friends who have always had his back--Wil, Kyle and Allan. But a man on the run requires absolute trust...and Jay may just be setting himself up for the ultimate betrayal. (From Hachette Book Group)

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Allen Temple Health & Social Services Ministry Presents the MLK Jr. Drum Major for Freedom Breakfast, Monday, January 16, 2017 in Oakland, California

Please join Allen Temple Health and Social Services as we celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr by reflecting on "Why service still matters". Guests will enjoy opportunities to meet others within the community and hear from pioneers such as Congresswomen Barbara Lee, Former Black Panther Elaine Brown, Honorable Ron Dellums and other honorable guests. Networking from 8:30-9:00 am. Breakfast and program will begin at 9:00 am.

Special Guest Speakers:  Congresswoman Barbara Lee
Hon. Ronald V. Dellums
Elaine Brown

Mistress of Ceremonies

Barbara Rodgers
Host, Comcast Newsmakers

Click HERE to Purchase Tickets