Category Archives: Culture

Terrific Books Coming in May, Beyond Adichie, and More!

Terrific New Books Coming in May

news-may-bookFormer U.S. Poet Laureate, Rita Dove will publish a collection of her poetry from the 30 year period, 1974 to 2004. There are also new novels from AALBC.com bestselling authors, Bernice McFadden and J.D. Mason, and from critically acclaimed authors Kalisha Buckhanon and Yvvette Edwards.

On the nonfiction side, look for Murray Talks Music: Albert Murray on Jazz and Blues by Albert Murray, and The Cook Up: A Crack Rock Memoir by D. Watkins. What a great year it has been so far in the world of Black literature; the variety and depth of what is available should keep you quite busy.


Beyond Adichie: Nigerian Writers Produce Great Literature

news-nigeriansChigozie Obioma has been called “…the heir to Chinua Achebe.” His novel The Fishermen won the NAACP Image Award for Debut Author, and was selected by the Go On Girl! Book Club for their 2016 reading list. Sarah Ladipo Manyika’s new novel, Like a Mule Bringing Ice Cream to the Sun, from Cassava Republic Press has already received a great deal of critical acclaim. As a novelist, Teju Cole has won many awards including the PEN/Hemingway Award and the New York City Book Award. His first book of essays, Known and Strange Things is eagerly anticipated. Nnedi Okorafor is a novelist of African-based science fiction, fantasy and magical realism, and winner of the World Fantasy Award and Wole Soyinka prize.

Learn about these brilliant writers and many others of Nigerian descent including Ben Okri, Helen Oyeyemi, Chinelo Okparanta, Uzodinma Iweala, Uwem Akpan, and Chris Abani.


Folktales’ Black Women’s Literary Society — Reading List

news-folk-talesFolktales’ Black Women’s Literary Society has shared their reading list with AALBC.com. Shonda Rhimes book, Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person, makes their list and is a popular read among book clubs this year. Mat Johnson, Darryl Pinckney, Dr. Damon Tweedy, and Sister Souljah also made the cut and round out a nice selection of titles across genres. Let Folktales’ Black Women’s Literary Society and the other book clubs we follow help you discover your next great read.


NAACP Image Awards for Literature — Winners and Nominees

news-naacp-imageEach year 40 titles are nominated for NAACP Image Award in 8 different categories, Biography/Auto Biography, Children, Debut Author, Fiction, Instructional, Nonfiction, Poetry, and Youth/Teens. The 2016 Image Awards were presented on Feb. 5th.

AALBC.com is working to compile a list of all the nominees and winners since the award’s inception. We’ve already updated our website with the titles from the last 5 years and have information going back to 2005. If anyone knows when the NAACP Awards for Literature started please email me; troy@aalbc.com.


New Videos

Is Michael Eric Dyson Right? (Or Have Black Intellectuals Lost Their Minds?)

news-mike-on-obamaDr. Michael Eric Dyson was recorded in conversation with Dr. Khalil Muhammad on April 3, 2016, during the 13th National Black Writers Conference, which is run by the center for Black literature at Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn, New York. Dyson discussed the Obama Presidency which is also the subject of his latest book, The Black Presidency: Barack Obama and the Politics of Race in America. Dyson pulled no punches, as he took President Obama to task during this 90 minute conversation.

AALBC.com captured just a small portion of this biannual conference. In addition the conversation with Dr. Dyson, we videoed poetry readings by Rita Dove, Afaa Michael Weaver, and Rowan Ricardo Phillips.

If you enjoy any of these videos please support AALBC.com by sharing them with others and subscribing to our YouTube channel.


Zane is a 213 Time AALBC.com Bestselling Author!

news-zaneWith 34 different titles, Zane has made AALBC.com’s bestsellers list an astounding 213 times—no other author comes close.

Here are the top 30 bestselling authors (89 counting ties) on AALBC.com over the past 18 years with links to those very popular books.

While Zane is our most prolific author, she did not write our all time bestselling book. That honor goes to another title… and you’ll probably never guess which one it is; click here to find out.


Shirley Gale Thinks Outside the Box to Promote Literacy

news-shirley“Literacy on the Go! If you spot my Armada (you really can’t miss it) and you can tell me the day, time, and location where I’m driving, you can be entered to win one of my awesome books for FREE! Just enter your email contact information on my website. It’s that easy! I will contact you when you win.

I’m going to be driving from Texas to Virginia to Washington D. C. starting late June 2016. I am also planning a road trip to Chicago to visit libraries, schools, and community centers in the Fall of 2016. Look for me. I’m coming to talk about literacy and the lack thereof (read more).”


Events Coming in May

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There are several book festivals taking place this weekend including the; PEN World Voices Festival in New York City; Bocas Lit Fest in Trinidad & Tobago; Greater St. Louis Book Fair in St. Louis, Missouri; Dallas Book Festival in Dallas, Texas; Yallwest Santa Monica Book Festival in Santa Monica, California; and Dayton Book Expo in Dayton, Ohio. Discover these and other great book festivals coming up the rest of the year.

Also, learn how easy it is to add our automatically updated, book festival calendar to your website or blog. Help promote and support these book festivals and provide great information for your website too.


A Great Deals to Promote Your Book on AALBC.com

news-large-coverOur Large Book Cover Advertisement (or ad banner) appears on virtually every AALBC.com webpage. Each author whose book is promoted also receives a free Author Profile.

Also consider Sponsoring our Monthly Newsletter. This is a great way to reach readers of Black literature. All of our mailings are permanently archived on our website.


Dear Reader,

news-aalbc-18In addition to hand picking all of the books that are placed on the site, we are collect, share, and archive information that even major corporations, with vastly greater resources choose not to. There simply is not enough revenue to justify the activity for these entities.

Fortunately revenue is not our sole motivator; we are a mission driven website and are motivated by sharing the wealth of stories by people of African descent. Will you help us do this? Please click this link to purchase your subscription to our newsletter. Your financial support is needed to help AALBC.com grow and become an even better source for information on these important books.

I also hope to see some of you at the 10th anniversary celebration of our Black Pack Party in Chicago #blackpackparty

As always, thanks for reading!

Peace & Love,
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Troy Johnson,
Founder & Webmaster, AALBC.com


AALBC.com eNewsletter – April 29, 2016 – Issue #233

2015 Year End Thank You!

Coming in the New Year

newbookscreenshotThe biggest news for the new year is our website upgrade. We are redesigning AALBC.com from scratch, and we have the benefit of 18 years of content and experience, to bring you a world class website, celebrating Black culture through literature.

Without getting too technical, we are developing a customized CMS, which will allow us to present information about books and authors in a way that no other website can. Our new website is, mobile first, faster, more easily navigated, and less cluttered.

We now offer more flexible book buying options, including links to publishers (as with Just Us Books) and other independent booksellers, to bring you the best deals while offering publishers better opportunities to profit from their books. In some cases, as with the Go On Girl! Book Club’s reading list, commissions from book sales are donated to charity.

Speaking about book clubs, we are greatly increasing our coverage of book clubs, not only to help book clubs attract new members and share ideas without other clubs, but to help readers discover the great reads book clubs have researched and uncovered.

This is just the beginning; we still have a lot content to migrate and have not settled on a layout for our homepage, but you can review our progress, in real time, on our development website aalbc.org.

Our upgrade is a massive project, which we plan to complete in the spring 2016. Your ongoing support is crucial to the success of this effort, indeed to the survival of AALBC.com. Here are 5 things you can do to help:

  1. Share our content.
  2. Purchase your eNewsletter subscription.
  3. Buy books through our website.
  4. Share your thoughts in the comments on each page and join our discussion forums
  5. Keep reading!

The Power List & Huria Search Will Be Decommissioned

Decommissioned websitesHuria Search’s goal was to support and showcase independent Black owned content producers and book websites by making them more discoverable. The spirit of Huria Search will continue on AALBC.com. We have already migrated most of Huria Search’s content to AALBC.com, including our information on Black Bloggers, Black Newspapers, Black Magazines, Black Bookstores, Black Book Websites, with more to come.

The Power List was a collaborative effort to fill the void, left by Essence Magazine and Blackboard, for a bestsellers list covering African American literature. However, AALBC.com’s best selling books list, with our newly increased focus will be a suitable alternative next year. The new website design has made it possible to add a children’s bestselling books list and we will be able to produce a new list every month.

The freeing up of resources, previously dedicated to the Power List and Huria Search, will allow me to focus more intently on improving AALBC.com.

A Very Special Thanks to These AALBC.com Supporters

news-troyWhen one compiles a list like this, important people are invariably left off. To you I truly apologize. However I feel compelled to acknowledge a few people and institutions, who in 2015 lifted me spiritually, financially or through deed. Without your support AALBC.com would simply be impossible. In no particular order:

Dr. Elizabeth Nunez, Christopher D. Burns, Akashic Books, Kimberla Lawson Roby, SmileyBooks, Wade and Cheryl Hudson, The Center for Black Literature, Dr. David Colvin, Good2Go Publishing, Vanesse Lloyd-Sgambati, Robin Johnson, Connie Divers Bradley, Victoria Christopher Murray, Sherrie Young, Mike Cherichetti, Fertari Netsuziy, W. Paul Coates, Jewell Parker Rhodes, Lynda Johnson, Pamela Samuels Young, Gwen Richardson, Charisse Carney-Nunes, Queens Public Library, Baruch College, Kam Williams, Black Caucus of the American Library Association, Carol Taylor, HICKSON, Google, Martha Kennerson, M. D. Williams, Robert Fleming, Rita Williams-Garcia, Tony & Yvonne Rose, Ramunda & Derrick Young, Jamie Blatman, Kalamu ya Salaam, HICKSON, Mike D’nero, Bernard Timberlake II, Cordenia Paige, HARRY BROWN, my “Bookends NYC” crew, anyone else I failed to recognize.

Finally to my wife and daughters who bear, involuntarily, the struggle I have taken on without complaint and with love. They support my effort, of celebrating Black culture through literature, simply because it is my dream.

I wish you all a happy and prosperous New Year!

Peace & Love,
Troy Johnson
AALBC.com Founder and Webmaster

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AALBC.com Co-Hosts the Annual Black Pack Party Which will be Held in Chicago in 2016

 

Are Negro Girls Getting Prettier?

Ebony February 1966, Vol. 21 Issue 4, p25

The article focuses on the improvements in the beauty, health and personality of African American women. According to a survey, the African American women are considered to have improved in their charm and beauty. The medical specialists think that better nutrition and the grooming knowledge have contributed to the improvement in their beauty. Edward W. Beasley, a pediatrician, states that dancing is good for the development of limbs and is thus advisable for women. Abstract from Ebsco.

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“Experts say better nutrition, grooming, know-how have brought improvement.” Gone, “…are the spindly legs, sagging bosoms, unruly rumps and ungroomed heads that marred many a potential lovely of yesteryear.  Such common flaws have been displaced by a feminine refinement, both facial and physical, that has elevated today’s young lady of hue to a place of prominence among the most pulchritudinous.”

In the April 1966 issue of the magazine, Ebony shared several letters to the editor in reaction to “Are Negro Girls Getting Prettier?” article.  Some of the letters Ebony published, to Ebony’s credit, were quite scathing (Click the image of the letters below to view a larger version).

ebony-letters-to-the-editor

Judging Ebony’s 49 year old cover article, from a 2015 perspective, would be unfair. However, given the reaction of some of the readers, during the period, it is clear issues of beauty are no less controversial then as they are today.

What is most remarkable is that these issues persists to this day and continue to be exacerbated by Black media.

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Even through natural hairstyles are becoming increasingly popular among Black women, rarely do these sisters grace the cover of magazines.

At least the days of cover stories like this have past, but we still have a long way to go.  One of the Ebony magazine readers, in 1966, put it best, “…you should view the ‘sisters’ through your own eyes and not through the eyes of a ‘Chuck’ and his standards.”

Of course no AALBC.com blog post would be complete without a book recommendation. Vintage Black Glamour (Rocket 88 Books, February 18, 2015) is an gorgeous archive of glamor photographs covering a 100 year period with diverse images of Black beauty.   This volume will demonstrate, for those who had any doubt; Black women were ALWAYS beautiful.

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Vintage Black Glamour Includes over 150 stunning black and white and color photographs — including many rare and unseen archive images.

Using rarely accessed photographic archives and private collections, inspired by her family history, Nichelle Gainer has unearthed a revealing treasure trove of historic photographs of famous actors, dancers, writers and entertainers who worked in the 20th-century entertainment business, but who rarely appeared in the same publications as their white counterparts.

Alongside the familiar images and stories of renowned performers such as Eartha Kitt, Lena Horne and Aretha Franklin are photos of literary legends such as Lorraine Hansberry and Maya Angelou as well as images of less well-remembered figures such as Bricktop, Pearl Primus, Diana Sands. Vintage Black Glamour is a unique, sumptuous and revealing celebration of the lives and indomitable spirit of Black women of a previous era.

lorraineandmaya

Although talented, successful and ground-breaking, many of the women in these
pages were ignored by mainstream media, but their life’s work and attitude stand as
inspiration for us still, today. With its stunning photographs and insightful
biographies, this book is a hugely important addition to Black history archives.

vintage-black-glamore-still vintage-black-glamor-still-3