National Black Book Festival


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Black History Year - Yeah, Yeah, It's still March

Number 57

It has been a long day, but hey, I’m home and updating my blog.  I return to volunteering at the library tomorrow after work.  I love, love, love working at the library.  I find so many books and always wish I had more time to read them.  There’s an older white gentleman who hangs out at the library.  At first, I thought we was just one of the many homeless people hanging out at the library during cold weather, but this man comes in with dirty clothes, missing teeth, uncombed hair and smelling like a fish that was just pulled out of the Harbor in New York, no damn idea what is in that water, except some dead bodies.  This man literally stinks to high heaven.  He has noticed me almost two or three times a week in the library and he also noticed me taking big stacks of books out.  He approached me one day and suggested I read Carolyn Hart, “Death on Demand Mystery series,” and Alice Kimberly’s The Ghost and Mrs. McClure (Haunted Bookshop Mystery) series.  He said he noted how I read lots of mysteries as well as many Urban and fiction African American authors.

The man floored me to death.  His knowledge of books by every type of author is amazing.  Now, when I come to the library, I always say Hi, and he gives me another author to try out.  No, he does not limit himself to just white authors.  He covers every type he can find.  
We now have a contest going on as to who can read all of the books in the library by the end of the year.  I will lose, since I work during the day, but about two weeks ago, I caught up with the amount of books he read and we just talked and talked.  I even took him to Starbucks and brought him a muffin and coffee.  We sat and talked for so long, that it became very late, which caused me to be late for work the next morning.  It was interesting to say the least and it took me a while to get use to his smell.  Isn’t it sad that we still judge people by the way they look (Or in this case, smell!). I, like so many others, thought he was a lazy bum, but that has since changed.  He is just a happy bum who read books.  
You never know, that could be me one day with gas being over three dollars a gallon and damn milk and cookies is costing more!!  Oh, well, on to books and such:
Asha May,  together with her mentor Debbie Allen, Idris Elba and Lance Gross have created an excellent TV series Milk + Honey. Idris and the Brown Paper Dolls company (Chicagoans and Howard U, FAMU & Spellman grads Dana Gills, Asha Kamali May, and Jeanette McDuffie) have been working on this series for over 3 years.  The show was created to showcase diverse images of women of color that are rarely seen on the big or small screen, and also to create more opportunities for black actors.

The "Milk + Honey" scripted series will soon be seen on all platforms and is looking to get picked up by a TV network. They need 1 million views of the trailer which is posted on the website

Please check it out and forward to your friends!
TV is getting black again.  Angela Basset will play a special agent in charge of an elite police unit on ABCs - IDENTITY.  Taraji P. Henson will play a detective on CBSs - PERSON OF INTEREST and Kerry Washington takes on the role of high-powered publicist on ABCs - DAMAGE CONTROL.  
Not many African Americans on TV since Cosby left, so let’s give these shows a try and see if they have done better.  Let me know what you think. 
CI CI FOSTER - SUNNY RAIN - $2.99 - - - Social worker Natalie’s and husband Bryce’s opposite schedules makes it difficult to have a normal marriage. When she seeks solace in the arms of an older man, her troubled past resurfaces to haunt her.  Monica will stop at nothing to win back the love of her ex-husband, Ray. Can their love survive Ray’s new baggage and drained bank account? Or is she pumping herself up for another let down?  Armed with a bodacious booty and razor sharp tongue, men can’t get enough of Leslie. And she wouldn’t have it any other way. That is, until she meets Derrick. He is fine in every sense of the word. The only problem is he knows it!

TINA BROOKS McKINNEY - SNAPPED - $7.99 - - - To Merlin Mills, his family ceased to exist when his father turned his back on him, and he had to make some drastic changes in order to survive. Now, nine years later, his family is back, and their existence threatens his once stable relationship with his new wife. If Merlin wants to hold on to her, he must face the demons he’s conveniently forgotten and put them in their proper perspective. Can he undo the damage caused by his omission, or will he snap under the pressure? Gavin Mills always despised his twin brother, but now the fact that they are mirror images might work to his advantage. When Gavin gets a taste of Merlin’s wife, he decides he has to have her, no matter the consequences.  Gina Meadows took in the children of her common law husband, Ronald, mainly because she feels guilty that she is unable to conceive. Imagine her surprise when she discovers she’s pregnant. It could be just the thing she and Ronald need to rekindle their relationship or it could spell disaster. With so many demons still plaguing them, this family reunion will be anything but easy.

TRACY BROWN - SNAPPED: A NOVEL - $9.99 - - - In Brown's latest, four New York friends find money doesn't buy happiness and love doesn't either, especially when it's confused with lust. Latoya Blake's a fashionista realtor who's flamboyantly single and distrustful of men because of a horrific secret in her past. Dominique Storms has a successful music industry job and a lovely 13-year-old daughter, but she's obsessed with an incarcerated man. Former model Camille Bingham is married to Frankie B., the trusted associate of a dying Manhattan crime lord, Doug Nobles, and she rightfully suspects her honey's getting far too close to Doug's daughter, Gillian, who's poised to take over after her father dies and Baron, her dangerously out-of-control brother, is out of the way. Camille's younger sister, Misa, yearns to be rich like her sis, but is a neglectful single mother of a three-year-old pursuing a relationship with the sadistic Baron. Brown makes these desperate women amazingly sympathetic even as they make foolish choices, and the same goes for Frankie B., despite his appalling mistreatment of Camille. It all adds up to some seriously twisted problems leading to some cliffhanging shockeroos that undoubtedly mean a sequel is on its way.

ANNETTE GORDON-REED - $9.99 - THE HEMINGSES OF MONTICELLO: AN AMERICAN FAMILY - - - This epic work tells the story of the Hemingses, whose close blood ties to our third president had been systematically expunged from American history until very recently. Now, historian and legal scholar Annette Gordon-Reed traces the Hemings family from its origins in Virginia in the 1700s to the family's dispersal after Jefferson's death in 1826. It brings to life not only Sally Hemings and Thomas Jefferson but also their children and Hemings's siblings, who shared a father with Jefferson's wife, Martha. The Hemingses of Monticello sets the family's compelling saga against the backdrop of Revolutionary America, Paris on the eve of its own revolution, 1790s Philadelphia, and plantation life at Monticello. Much anticipated, this book promises to be the most important history of an American slave family ever written.

HEIDI W. DURROW - THE GIRL WHO FELL FROM THE SKY - $7.45 - - - Rachel Morse (the girl in question) wonders about being "tender-headed." It's how her grandmother chides her for wincing at having her hair brushed, but it's also a way of understanding how Rachel grapples with the world in which she landed. Her parents, a Danish woman and an African-American G.I., tried to hold her and her siblings aloft from questions of race, and their failure there is both tragic and tenderly wrought. After sustaining an unimaginable trauma, Rachel resumes her life as a black girl, an identity she quickly learns to adopt but at heart is always reconciling with the life she knew before. Heidi W. Durrow bolsters her story with a chorus of voices that often see what Rachel can't--this is particularly true in the case of Brick, the only witness to her fall. There's a poetry to these characters that draws you into their lives, making for a beautiful and earnest coming-of-age novel that speaks as eloquently to teens as it does to adults. 

Got to stick on one for Black History Year.

NELLA LARSEN - PASSING - $2.99 - - - The heroine of Passing takes an elevator from the infernal August Chicago streets to the breezy rooftop of the heavenly Drayton Hotel, "wafted upward on a magic carpet to another world, pleasant, quiet, and strangely remote from the sizzling one that she had left below." Irene is black, but like her author, the Danish-African American Nella Larsen (a star of the 1920s to mid-1930s Harlem Renaissance and the first black woman to win a Guggenheim creative-writing award), she can "pass" in white society. Yet one woman in the tea room, "fair and golden, like a sunlit day," keeps staring at her, and eventually introduces herself as Irene's childhood friend Clare, who left their hometown 12 years before when her father died. Clare's father had been born "on the left hand"--he was the product of a legal marriage between a white man and a black woman and therefore cut off from his inheritance. So she was raised penniless by white racist relatives, and now she passes as white. Even Clare's violent white husband is in the dark about her past, though he teases her about her tan and affectionately calls her "Nig." He laughingly explains: "When we were first married, she was white as--as--well as white as a lily. But I declare she's getting darker and darker." As Larsen makes clear, Passing can also mean dying, and Clare is in peril of losing her identity and her life.