Tag Archives: culture

How Bloggers Can Help Each Other


A few years ago I created a website, Huria Search, to showcase and highlight the websites of Black content providers, including magazines, newspapers, major websites, and bookstores.

In April of this year, I added a database of Black bloggers (http://huria.org/blogs/). Today there are 195 blogs in the database. I personally added about 75% of the blogs. Basically, I went to every blog roll and best blog ranking I could find, and added the blogs that were still online and active.

I’ve read content from all of the blogs. Several blogs are well designed, have great content, enjoy a large audience, and are doing well financially. However, all the blogs can benefit from more readers and revenue.

We can—indeed must, do more to support each other.

I have both a personal and collective interest in seeing this happen; I have maintained this blog for over a decade, and understand the challenges bloggers, especially those just starting out, face attracting readers.  I know many good writers who no longer maintain blogs, because they were unable to attract readers or effectively monetize their blogs. Without their contributions, the Web does not reflect the richness of our culture and is a less interesting place.

Some bloggers are migrating to Facebook, but the creativity and unique design of a Blog are simply impossible on a Facebook page. Of course there are also the issues of revenue, privacy, control and even ownership to contend with.

I see no indication the difficulty in attracting readers and generating revenue on a blog will change, in our favor, unless we take action to reverse it. My list of blogs can help readers discover the blogs in the database, but again I think we can do more to help each other.
I don’t pretend to have solutions, but I think if we figure out ways to collectively leverage our blogs, we can all benefit. Before search engines we used webrings, while that may not be a great solution in 2015, it may be better than what we are doing now.

I’m appealing to you for ideas to help all of us in our effort to attract more readers to our blogs. If you have any ideas please consider emailing me at troy@aalbc.com, replying in the comments section below, or better still by sharing your thoughts on a conversation I just started on my discussion forum.

You may add additional blogs to our database by using this form.


Troy Johnson,
Founder Huria.org


Bestsellers Lists, Authors, New Books & More – June 2015

Power List Spring 2015

Multi-Title Authors Find Success on Spring 2015 Edition of the Power List of Best-Selling African-American Books More ▶

Books published by Brown Girls Books dominate AALBC.com’s Bestsellers list for the period March to April of 2015.

Authors You Should Know

J. Ivy: Hip-Hop PoetJ. Ivy: Hip-Hop Poet

J. Ivy is a hip-hop poet, musician, actor, and speaker. He received a Peabody Award for his performance on Russell Simmons’s Def Poetry, as well as a Grammy Award for his contribution with Jay-Z on Kanye West’s The College Dropout album. J. has also collaborated with John Legend, RZA, The Last Poets, The Roots, Common, Mos Def, The Black Crowes, Bob Dylan, and many more.

He supports his community through his Write to Live Academy and the Dear Father Initiative, which encourages young people to explore careers in the arts. If you know a young man, or even an older, one troubled by a lack of a relationship with their father, share J. Ivy’s work with them. Check out our video of J. Ivy, at work, uplifting Black youth here ▶

Jaz Johnson: 21-Year-Old-NovelistJaz Johnson: 21-Year-Old-Novelist

Jasmine “Jaz” Johnson was born on December 13th, 1993 in Bridgeport, Connecticut and has been writing as long as she can remember. Jaz’s passions include art, writing, and graphic design. Her first novel, Sibling Secrets, was published in 2010.

This young writer is so very impressive. At 21, she has already published novels in several genres including, science fiction, and romance (or borderline erotica as she describes it). Readers of any age will enjoy her work. Writers of any age can draw inspiration from her example. She has a life goal of owning a bookshelf of her own books, and being surrounded by the lives and worlds she’s created. I’m sure she will realize that dream. More ▶

Regine L. Sawyer: Creator of Black ComicsRegine L. Sawyer: Creator of Black Comics

Sawyer is the founder of Lockett Down Productions and coordinator of Women in Comics NYC/International. We’ve published a video of Regine describing both her work and publications. She spoke with AALBC.com during the Bronx Book Fair. More ▶

Dr. Condoleezza RiceDr. Condoleezza Rice

Rice has authored and co-authored several books, including Germany Unified and Europe Transformed: A Study in Statecraft, with Philip Zelikow; The Gorbachev Era, with Alexander Dallin,Uncertain Allegiance: The Soviet Union and the Czechoslovak Army and Extraordinary, Ordinary People: A Memoir of Family, which we reviewed back in 2010.

Unfortunately many in the Black community have marginalized Dr. Rice’s remarkable, often unprecedented, accomplishments. A few weeks ago she spoke at my daughter’s college graduation. It was a excellent speech and an inspiration to many. While  ainstream media gushed over Steve Jobs graduation speech a few years ago,
Condi’s speech, arguably more impressive, was overlooked by the media. You may watch the speech here ▶.

Banke Awopetu-McCulloughBanke Awopetu-McCullough

Banke is a native of Rochester, NY. She holds a Bachelors of Arts in Drama and African and African-American Studies from the University of Virginia and a Masters in Adolescent Education from Roberts Wesleyan. McCullough’s literary style has most been influenced by hip hop music and classic African-American literature.

Her latest novel, Always Want More (Mill City Press, October 2014), tells the story of Tracy Mitchell whose rise in the hip-hop journalism world was swift and fierce. Having secured a position at her dream publication, Real, she hopes to write stories that make an impact. You’ll also enjoy the book’s trailer and book club discussion video. More ▶

Book Reviews

Child, Please: How Mama’s Old-School Lessons Helped Me Check Myself Before I Wrecked MyselfChild, Please: How Mama’s Old-School Lessons Helped Me Check
Myself Before I Wrecked Myself

Toya Graham was at home watching TV coverage of the recent Baltimore riots when she spotted her only son, Michael, in an unruly crowd of kids taunting and throwing objects at the police. Without giving it a second thought, the shocked, single-mother of six sprang into action and rushed right down to the scene to retrieve her misbehaving 16 year-old. Cell phone cameras caught Toya lecturing and slapping Michael silly as she dragged him away…

In Child, Please (Tarcher, May 5, 2015) author, Ylonda Gault Caviness, has belatedly come to embrace more of her mom’s supposedly-antiquated approach after becoming exasperated by the challenge of rearing her own three daughters. “Any fool could see, Mama had the whole motherhood thing down to a science,” she concedes. “Now, in my forties, I finally get it.” More ▶

Book Recommendations

The Ultimate Betrayal by Kimberla Lawson RobyThe Ultimate Betrayal by Kimberla Lawson Roby

AALBC.com, Power List and New York Times bestselling author Kimberla Lawson Roby is back with the 12th book in the Reverend Curtis Black Series, The Ultimate Betrayal (Grand Central Publishing, June 9, 2015)

It’s been four years since twenty-eight-year old Alicia Black, daughter of Reverend Curtis Black, divorced her second husband, the most womanizing and corrupt man she has ever known. Since then, Alicia has been dating her first husband, Phillip Sullivan, a wonderfully kind and true man of God whom she’d hurt terribly by cheating on him. Alicia has worked hard to prove herself worthy of his trust once more, and when he asks her to marry him again, she couldn’t be happier. Until Sunday 21st only, buy The Ultimate Betrayal for 33% off (less than Amazon)..

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi CoatesBetween the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

In the one hundred fifty years since the end of the Civil War and the ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment, the story of race and America has remained a brutally simple one, written on flesh: It is the story of the black body, exploited to create the country’s foundational wealth, violently segregated to unite a nation after a civil war, and, today, still disproportionately threatened, locked up, and killed in our streets. What is it like to inhabit a black body and find a way to live within it? And how can we all—regardless of race—honestly reckon with our country’s fraught racial history and free ourselves from its burden?

Between the World and Me (Spiegel & Grau, September 8, 2015) is Ta-Nehisi Coates’s attempt to answer those questions, presented in the form of a letter to his adolescent son. More ▶

Michelle Obama: A Life by by Peter SlevinMichelle Obama: A Life by by Peter Slevin

Michelle Obama has been catching a lot of flak again, this time for her remarks during a recent commencement address at Tuskegee University [another brilliant speech]. The First Lady has been under the gun ever since the 2008 presidential campaign, when her detractors playing “gotcha politics” quoted something she said out of context to suggest that she hates the United States.

But Michelle was making more complicated points than the simplistic sound bites she’s been reduced to. For that reason, it is appropriate that her biography opens with an in-depth analysis of a very emotional speech she delivered to Anacostia High’s graduating class of 2010. More ▶

Grant Park by Leonard Pitts Jr.Grant Park by Leonard Pitts Jr.

Grant Park (Agate Bolden, October 13, 2015) is a page-turning and provocative look at black and white relations in contemporary America, blending the absurd and the poignant in a powerfully well-crafted narrative that showcases Pitts’s gift for telling emotionally wrenching stories.

Grant Park begins in 1968, with Martin Luther King’s final days in Memphis. The story then moves to the eve of the 2008 election, and cuts between the two eras as it unfolds. Disillusioned columnist Malcolm Toussaint, fueled by yet another report of unarmed black men killed by police, hacks into his newspaper’s server to post an incendiary column that had been rejected by his editors. Toussaint then disappears, and his longtime editor, Bob Carson, is summarily fired within hours of the column’s publication. More ▶

$$ The Twenty Million Dollar Race $$ by Vincent Armstrong$$ The Twenty Million Dollar Race $$ by Vincent Armstrong

The kidnapping of a precious six-year-old girl by the Mafia leads to an outrageous ransom demand of twenty million dollars. With only six weeks to deliver the high price ransom and save the girl’s life, an unprecedented race to attain the money by the abducted girl’s family quickly ensues. As the days tick down to the deadline for the ransom to be paid, a vicious crime spree on an unimaginable scope and level evolves as the entire country becomes glued and riveted to this mega media story (Magic Rainbow, April 19, 2015). More ▶


9th National Conference of African American Librarians - August 5-7, 2015 - St. Louis, MO9th National Conference of African American Librarians – August 5-7, 2015 – St. Louis, MO

The Black Caucus of the American Library Association is excited to return NCAAL to it’s original biennial conference schedule. New to NCAAL 2015, is a Wednesday through Saturday schedule, allowing conference goers to take advantage of lower transportation rates typically available on Tuesdays and Saturdays. The new schedule also provides a wonderful opportunity for attendees to stay over and explore the city of Saint Louis once the conference concludes Saturday afternoon.

Exhibitors are invited to participate in the 9th National Conference. The association continues to work to make its conferences relevant and enjoyable for the hundreds of librarians who attend Learn more about their biennial conference ▶

Wade HudsonIn Search of Diverse Book Buyers Panel Discussion at Book Expo

You may watch the video of the “In Search of Diverse Book Buyers” panel discussion, which was held during Book Expo America. The panel took place, May 28, 2015, in New York City, and was recorded by Clyde Davis of Fathers and Sonns.

The panel participants were Wade Hudson of Just Us Books; Marva Allen of Hueman Books; Troy Johnson, webmaster of AALBC.com; and Vanesse Lloyd-Sgambati of the The African-American Children’s Book Project. Lloyd-Sgambati, who organized this panel, has also launched the Preserve a legacy, buy a book! campaign. More ▶

Film Reviews

Bass Clef Bliss (★★★★)Bass Clef Bliss (★★★★)

Directed by Patrick Scott, Bass Clef Bliss is an alternately heartrending and uplifting biopic chronicling the tight bond between a mother and son as together they confront an assortment of daunting challenges associated with autism. Scott makes a most impressive debut here, as he oh so delicately balances the access he was afforded to his subjects ‘daily lives with their plausible concerns about personal privacy.

Besides focusing on Terrence and Therese’s trials, tribulations and ultimate triumphs, this informative documentary features a cornucopia of facts and figures about autism, courtesy of both experts and anecdotal evidence. Did you know that in 1985, 1 in 2,500 babies developed the disorder, and that today the number is about 1 in 68? More ▶

Watch the full movie; “Finding The Funk,” a Film by Nelson George, Narrated by QuestloveWatch the full movie; “Finding The Funk,” a Film by Nelson George, Narrated by Questlove

Did you miss Finding The Funk’s network debut? You can now stream Nelson George’s exploration of the funk bloodline for free via VH1.

The documentary film, Finding the Funk (2013), is narrated by ?uestlove and features words from D’Angelo, George Clinton, Sly Stone, Bootsy Collins, Nile Rodgers and scholar Michael Eric Dyson, and many other visionaries and performers who help us navigate through the tangled bloodlines of musicians and showmen which have defined the lineage. More ▶

Related Articles & News

Pros and Cons of Mainstream and Self-Publishing by C. Liegh McInnisPros and Cons of Mainstream and Self-Publishing by C. Liegh

There are two basic routes to getting published, mainstream and self-publishing. Mainstream is when one submits one’s work to journals/magazines and publishing companies to be published. Self-publishing is when one decides to publish one’s own books. They both can be equally effective although the mainstream manner is the most respected because it allows one to reach a larger audience more quickly and it has an aura or illusion of validation. Although self-publishing does not offer the validation from the establishment, it offers a satisfaction of artistic and economic control of one’s work. Yet, the most effective manner of publishing is to use various aspects of mainstream and self-publishing simultaneously. More ▶

Cynique's Corner - Culture, Race & Economy Discussion ForumCynique’s Corner – Culture, Race & Economy Discussion Forum

“Screw all these dysfunctional, self-absorbed, narcissistic, exhibitionist idiots who make up the freak show carnival of celebrity.”

For daring to share with the world her angst about being a woman trapped in a man’s body, “Bruclyn” has become the anathema of the Religious Right, the poster child for the LGBT community and an enigma for ex-wife Kris Kardashian. But, since “she” had the money to remedy this mix-up via plastic surgery and hormones, she has earned the honor of appearing on the cover of Vanity Fair, flaunting her new identity, all glamorous and feminine, skillfully made-up, sporting long hair extensions, implanted boobs, not to mention her big feet and the tucked-in penis she couldn’t bear to part with… Cynique is just getting warmed up. Read more and join the discussion ▶

Our African-American Literature Discussion Forum is Now Mobile!Our African-American Literature Discussion Forum is Now Mobile!

Join the conversation and talk about books you’ve written, or books you’ve read. You may exchange views with authors, avid readers and those who wish to learn more about Black literature and publishing. You can also share rich media content without worrying about being bombarded with ads, having your privacy invaded, or having what you see be determined by efforts to maximize revenue.

Thumper’s Corner, the name of our African-American literature discussion forum, was started in 1998 and has been continuously running ever since. Historically, Thumper’s Corner has been a very special and popular area of our web site. In recent years however, participation has waned as social media gained in prominence. I hope this recent upgrade to our platform will encourage more participation. Join Us ▶

An On-line Advertising Primer for AuthorsAn On-line Advertising Primer for Authors

For a book, several factors determines the effectiveness of a online advertising campaign; (1) the reputation and name recognition of the author; (2) the quality of the book cover or banner and; (3) the potential reader’s interest in the subject. In general, an advertisement for a book with an ugly cover, by an unknown author writing about a subject no one cares about will perform worse than a book with an attractive cover, by a well known author writing in a popular and timely genre or subject.

Notice I did not mention anything about quality of writing. One can not determine the quality of a book’s writing solely from the banner or book cover. That information is best conveyed on the landing page; where readers who click the advertisement are sent. More ▶

A Tribe Called NewsA Tribe Called News

A Tribe Called News was founded on Howard University’s campus and seeks to be the voice of millennials of color.

They cover everything from culture to feminism. They believe the voices of millennials are timely and valuable to the conversations happening in communities of color. To contribute please emailatribecallednews@gmail.com.

Obama’s BookshelfObama’s Bookshelf

Waiting to Exhale
 by Terry McMillan, Richard Wright’sBlack Boy, and W. E. B. Du Bois: A Reader is on President Obama’s Bookshelf. What’s on your bookshelf? ▶

DMessage from AALBC.com Founder Troy Johnsonear Reader,

As always, I encourage feedback on our eNewsletter. Most months I experiment with different types of content in an effort to better serve you. This month I’ve recommended a couple of books, from brilliant writers, that do not come out until the fall. Does notification of books, that far in advance, interest you? Let me know what you think about that, or anything else, by emailing me or posting a comment on our discussion forum.

As always, remember to show your support for the writers and institutions we cover, with your paid subscription to our newsletter.

Peace & Love,

AALBC.com eNewsletter – June 9, 2015 – Issue #226

Excellent Books, Authors, Events and More

You may receive this eNewsletter directly in your email-box by subscribing. It may also be read on your Kindle ebook reader, or any device by downloading a PDF version. Enjoy our previous eNewsletters. Consider sponsoring our eNewsletter or a dedicated mailing.

April’s eNewsletter is Sponsored by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers

Authors You Should Know

news-dwayneDwayne Alexander Smith on Winning the 2015 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work – Debut Author

When I reached the podium, after the applause had faded, the first words out of my mouth were, “I did not expect to win.” Yet, there I was standing before a roomful of amazingly talented people accepting an NAACP Image Award for best debut author for my novel Forty Acres.

Not only was the win a surprise, the nomination was a surprise as well. Many people might not know this but in order to be nominated for an Image Award your material has to be submitted to the committee along with a submission fee. Pamela Samuels Young a friend and fellow author, and winner of the same award last year, kept urging me to submit my book, but I kept forgetting. When I finally did remember the submission deadline had passed. More ▶

henry-dumasHenry Dumas

Henry Dumas (July 20, 1934 – May 23, 1968) was shot and killed in 1968 in Harlem months before his thirty-fourth birthday by a white transit policeman under circumstances never fully explained. After his death he became a kind of literary legend, but one whose full story was unknown. A devoted cadre of friends and later admirers from the 1970s to the present pushed for the publication of his work. Toni Morrison championed him as “an absolute genius.” Amiri Baraka, a writer not quick to praise others, claimed that Dumas produced “actual art, real, man, and stunning.” Eugene Redmond and Quincy Troupe heralded Dumas’s poetry, short stories, and work as an editor of “little” magazines. #blacklivesmatter More ▶

news-gregory-pardloGregory Pardlo

Pardlo’s book of poems, Digest earns him the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry

His poems have appeared in American Poetry Review, Boston Review, The Nation, Ploughshares, and Tin House, as well as anthologies including Angles of Ascent, the Norton Anthology of Contemporary African American Poetry, and two editions of Best American Poetry. He is the recipient of a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship and a fellowship for translation from the National Endowment for the Arts. An Associate Editor of Callaloo, he is currently a Teaching Fellow in Undergraduate Writing at Columbia University. More ▶

news-gwynne-forsterGwynne Forster

AALBC.com mourns the loss of pioneering Author Gwynne Forster, who transitioned this past January. She was 7 years shy of 100.

Forster is considered one of the first authors to publish a romance novel featuring Black main characters. She published more than 20 books in the genre. She always had a kind word and was supportive of AALBC.com. Gwynne introduced me to her publisher, Walter Zacharias (Kensington Books), and AALBC.com interviewed them both back in 2007. More ▶

n ews-gary-hardwickGary Hardwick

Hardwick, pseudonymously known as a.a. clifford, is the author of several novels including his first, Cold Medina and City Wide. The Seattle Times called Hardwick “the Elmore Leonard of black mystery writers.”

The former attorney, is also an acclaimed screenwriter, director, and filmmaker whose hit films include; The Brothers and Deliver Us from Eva. He is also an executive producer for television as well.More ▶

news-shay-spiveyShay Spivey

Spivey is a professional social worker with an overwhelming passion for helping others and sharing resources. Writing, How to Submit a Winning Scholarship Application: Secret Techniques I Used to Win $100,000 in College Scholarships, fills a need in our community by unlocking the mystery of “scholarship applications” for high school and college students, families, teachers, and counselors.

Shay Spivey is a scholarship and financial aid advisor specializing in helping students understand and prepare to win scholarships for college. Shay earned her Bachelor and Master of Social Work from Indiana University. More ▶

Book Reviews

news-corruption-officerCorruption Officer: From Jail Guard to Perpetrator inside Rikers Island by Gary L. Heyward

Gary eventually escalated to pimping in an attempt to cater to his captive clienteles’ carnal needs, too. He referred to his whores as “copstitutes” since they were fellow corrections officers secretly supplementing their modest civil service salaries by fellating and fornicating with felons in Rikers’ utility closets.

All of the above is recounted in riveting fashion in Corruption Officer: From Jail Guard to Perpetrator inside Rikers Island (Atria Books, March 2015), a jaw-dropping memoir that’s as demoralizing as it is shocking. After finishing this eye-opening page-turner, one can’t help but wonder how much hope there can be for a country where the cops are just as crooked and as degenerate as the outlaws they’re supposed to be protecting society from. More ▶

news-my-grandfatherMy Grandfather Would Have Shot Me: A Black Woman Discovers Her Family’s Nazi Past by Jennifer Teege

If Gary L. Heyward’s book was not shocking enough for you, fasten your seat belts for Jennifer Teege’s bizaRre tale, recounted in My Grandfather Would Have Shot Me (The Experiment, April 2015).

How do you think you’d react if you were Black and you inadvertently uncovered evidence that the mother who callously left you at an orphanage at less than a month-old was the daughter of an infamous Nazi who ran a concentration camp? That’s precisely what happened to Jennifer Teege who learned at 38 that her grandfather was Amon Goeth, a monster who not only ordered the extermination of thousands of Jews, but took a certain sadistic pleasure in participating in all the torture, maiming and killing. More ▶

news-black-male-framesBlack Male Frames: African-Americans in a Century of Hollywood Cinema, 1903-2003 by Roland Leander Williams, Jr.

Professor Williams sets out to show how black male movie characters have basically been either submissive or subversive to suit the fluctuating needs of the dominant culture.

He sets about proving his thesis by closely examining the careers of five African-American acting icons, starting with Sam Lucas (1839-1916), the first black film star. He was not only the first black to play Uncle Tom onscreen, but he was also the first to portray the deferential character onstage. (Syracuse University Press, January, 2015) More ▶

news-let-us-prayPraedamus Let Us Prey Selling Heaven: It’s All An Illusion by Don Spears

Televangelist Creflo Dollar recently asked members of his congregation to tithe the $60 million he needs to buy himself a luxurious Gulfstream jet so he could travel in style while spreading the word of the Lord around the world. Is the popular prosperity preacher sincere or just another hustler in a collar?

Before you answer, you might want to read Praedamus: Let Us Prey (Spears Publishing, December 2014), a jaw dropping expose’ written by Don Spears, a brother who is not one to mince words while making a full frontal assault on organized religion. This very timely tome represents the culmination of 9 years of research in religious history stretching back centuries from the present. More ▶

Book Recommendations

news-emergeThe Best of Emerge Magazine

The 1990’s. African Americans achieved more influence–and faced more explosive issues–than ever before. One word captured those times. One magazine expressed them. Emerge.

In those ten years, with an impressive circulation of 170,000 and more than forty national awards to its credit, Then, after nearly a decade, Emerge magazine closed its doors. But a collection of the finest articles from Emerge is still available. These articles will resonate with you today just as they did 20 years ago. Today however, the issues are even more pressing, and you will truly be hurt by the tremendous void left when the magazine died. The Best of Emerge Magazine, edited by George Curry (One World/Ballantine, July 29, 2003) represents the best of American journalism. More ▶

the-jumbiesThe Jumbies by Tracey Baptiste

Tracey Baptiste was born in Trinidad, where she grew up on jumbie stories and fairy tales, and decided to be a writer at the wise old age of three. Her debut, a young adult novel titled Angel’s Grace, was named one of the 100 best books for reading and sharing by New York City librarians. The Jumbies (Algonquin Young Readers, 4/28/2015) is her second novel. Buy ▶

news-only-the-strongOnly the Strong: An American Novel by Jabari Asim

Jabari Asim’s debut novel, Only the Strong (Agate Bolden, May 12, 2015) explores the challenges and rewards of love in a quintessential American community where heartbreak and violence are seldom far away.

Moved by the death of Martin Luther King Jr., Lorenzo “Guts” Tolliver decides to abandon his career as a professional leg-breaker and pursue a life of quiet moments and generous helpings of banana pudding in the company of his new, sensuous lover. His erstwhile boss, local kingpin Ananias Goode, is also thinking about slowing down—but his tempestuous affair with Dr. Artinces Noel, a prominent pediatrician, complicates his retirement plans. Meanwhile, Charlotte Divine, the doctor’s headstrong protégée, struggles with trials of her own.Buy ▶

news-stuntStunt by Jet Black

CEO and ex-OSI agent Ricky Stunt must moonlight in the seedy adult film world to search for the truth after his fiancé Denise is murdered. To find her killer he will do whatever it takes, even if it means screwing his way to the top. But can Stunt find the murderer before the people at his day job discover what he’s been up to at night? It’s Kill Bill meets Boogie Nights in this erotic thrill ride full of sex, action, and revenge. (Jet Black Ink, December 18, 2014)Buy ▶

news-hbcuHBCU Experience – The Book: A Collection of Essays Celebrating the Black College Experience

Co-edited by Black college alumni Dr. Tia Tyree and Christopher D. Cathcart, HBCU Experience celebrates the rich legacy and experiences of those who attended HBCUs. Further, with the debate still raging over the relevance and need for HBCUs in the new millennium, this collection of more than 60 essays showcases the unique journey of HBCU graduates, highlights the important need for these institutions and accentuates the overall benefits of having an HBCU education.

The groundbreaking anthology chronicles undergraduate realities such as dating and relationships, dorm living, road trips, pledging fraternities and sororities, student activism and leadership, athletics and much, much more. Buy ▶

the-african-equationThe African Equation by Yasmina Khadra

A giant of francophone writing, Algerian author Yasmina Khadra takes current events as a starting point to explore opposing views and myths of Africa and the West, ultimately delivering a powerful message of friendship, resilience, and redemption.

Yasmina Khadra: Yasmina Khadra is the pen name of the Algerian author Mohammed Moulessehoul. He became director of the Algerian Cultural Center in Paris in November 2007 and in November 2013 announced his candidacy for the presidency of Algeria. (Gallic Books, March 17, 2015) Buy ▶

news-rich-womans-fetishRich Woman’s Fetish by Naleighna Kai

Gina escapes a hellacious life by doing the unthinkable—selling the use of her womb to the highest bidder among rich, childless couples from more affluent areas of Chicago. She even accommodates their “special” requests ranging from participating in forbidden fetishes to more complicated liaisons. Years later, Gina learns that one of her surrogate daughters has been forced into the illicit world of drugs and prostitution. When the police and FBI turn a blind eye, Gina risks the anger of her former sponsors and lovers to have their children search for the younger sister they know nothing about. The women soon learn how to depend on each other to do the impossible (Macro Publishing Group, April 2015). Buy ▶


news-patricia-saundersQ&A with Poet, Patricia A. Saunders

When you talk about your books–and share reflections of your past—some parts are very painful and personal. How challenging was it to reveal the inner aspects of your life?

It was challenging because I talk about being almost homeless, raped, molested, and some baggage that my family didn’t want me to share. I prayed that my pain would be a testament to someone that I am still standing after going through it all. I took my family’s feelings into consideration and chose not to do some pieces in public settings rather allow readers to read it themselves.


news-after-the-danceReading and Book Signing with Jan Gaye author of After the Dance: My Life with Marvin Gaye – May 20th 7PM – Harlem, NY

LeRoy Neiman Art Center in Harlem, 2485 Frederick Douglas Blvd. (at 148th St.), New York, NY 10039 – Refreshments will be served.Troy will be there with at least one free book to the first person who presents a print out of this page of our enewsletter.

Gay’s memoir, After the Dance (Amistad, May 19, 2015), reveals how she met Marvin in February 1973. Despite a seventeen-year age difference and Marvin’s marriage to the sister of Berry Gordy, Motown’s founder, the enchanted teenager and the emotionally volatile singer began a scorching relationship.

“With raw and penetrating honesty, this memoir reveals everything audiences ever wanted to know about Marvin Gaye’s life. Offering a holistic understanding of Gaye’s obsession with finding love, his addictions, and most especially the philosophy behind the music. Sympathetic, caring, this is a must read for anyone who wants to learn the traumatic backstory that shapes Gaye and all of his relationships. Most importantly, this is also a story of a woman courageously sharing her voice, her story.” –bell hooks, author of Ain’t I A Woman

BLACK PACK PARTY IX — Save the Date, Wednesday, May 27th. Details TBA on AALBC.com #BPPIX — Sponsored by Amistad Booksnews-final-black-pack-party

news-bea-logoBook Expo America

In Search of Diverse Book Buyers, 5/28, 12:30 – 1:00 p.m., Downtown Stage

Where are diverse book buyers? What are the best ways to reach African American book buyers? Where do African American book buyers shop for books? Join in the discussion with publishing experts as they share their insight and knowledge of successful strategies to reach African American book buyers. Speakers include Troy Johnson, Founder of AALBC.com, Marva Allen, Founder and CEO of Hueman Books and Wade Hudson, Founder of Just Us Books. Moderated by Lloyd-Sgambati, The African American Children’s Book Project & WURD-AM Radio.

Spotlight on African American Children’s Authors & Illustrators – 5/29, 2:30 – 3:00 p.m., Uptown Stage

Award winning authors and illustrators will open the pages of their book and share their inspiration and experiences to encourage the next generation of readers. The panel will feature Caldecott Medalist Jerry Pinkney – The Grasshopper & the Ants, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers; EB Lewis, illustrator – First Step: How One Little Girl Put Segregation On Trial – Bloombury, and Shane Evans – 28 Days: Moments in Black History that Changed the World, Roaring Brook Press. Moderated by Lloyd-Sgambati, The African American Children’s Book Project & WURD-AM Radio.

Film Reviews

news-brotherly-loveBrotherly Love – Very Good (★★★☆)

Twins Jackie (Keke Palmer) and Sergio Taylor (Eric D. Hill, Jr.) already had it tough enough growing up in the ghetto before the untimely demise of their dad a few years ago. But then their mother (Macy Gray) stopped functioning and started hitting the bottle.

That’s when their big brother, June (Cory Hardrict), became the family breadwinner, and it’s been a struggle for him to keep a roof over their heads ever since. So, he started dealing drugs hoping that his becoming an outlaw would at least enable his siblings to keep their noses clean and continue pursuing their dreams. After all, Sergio is one of the top high school basketball players in the nation, while Jackie is an aspiring singer in need of a big break. More ▶

news-supremacySupremacy – Fair (★½☆☆)

Directed by Deon Taylor (Chain Letter), Supremacy is a hostage thriller ostensibly inspired by actual events which transpired in Sonoma County, California on the night of March 29, 1995. At 11:30 that evening, Sheriff’s Deputy Frank Trejo was assassinated by a recently-paroled member of the Aryan Brotherhood and his gun moll, just before they forced their way into a nearby house and held the owners captive.

The resolution of this Hollywood version of the standoff relies on an empathetic Mr. Walker’s rising to the occasion. His philosophizing (“Prison does something to a man.”) miraculously manages to induce a couple of the most menacing and despicable screen characters in recent memory to have an 11th hour conversion. More ▶

Related Articles & News

ebooks8 Ways Bookstores Can Engage the eReading Community by Shawneda Marks

Embracing ebooks is important to the financial health of independent bookstores by helping store owners maximize exposure by offering all literary formats, creating relationships with a new generation of readers and writers as well as generating more revenue.

I’ll admit there are no absolutes so it is possible there are communities where eBooks and social media engagement aren’t detrimental to the bottomline of a bookstore. However from a financial standpoint any business owner hoping their store will outlive them must consider todays youth. More ▶

news-black-bloggersTracking Black Bloggers

Huria Search, the directory that tracks the “Best of the Black Web,” has just added a section for Black Blogs. Yes, there are still talented writers including authors, journalists and everyday people sharing ideas and opinions on subjects relevant to, and from the perspective of, Black people. Enter your Blog, the password is “bloggerweek,” (without the quotes).

Use Huria Search to share information about your blog, to learn about new ones and to share what you’ve discovered with others. Discover Great Blogs Here ▶

news-westdyson2011Dyson versus West

“IMO, West and Dyson are like a pair of divas ridiculing each other’s plastic surgery. Their feud has been reduced to a sideshow, and doesn’t even reach the level of rivals vying for the Alpha Male status because neither one of them wields any power other than an ability to polarize their black social media audience.

Meanwhile, President Obama is able to remain above the fray, probably amused by how 2 of his most relentless critics are neutralizing each other.” —Cynique Join the Conversation ▶


Dear Reader,

news-troyWhen the Montgomery Bus Boycott was launched, many of the people involved did not have a TV or a telephone, let alone a Twitter account. How did they accomplish the amazing feat of forcing the end of racial segregation on the public transit system in Montgomery, Alabama and become a major factor in changing the United States’ Constitution making the practice illegal? Perhaps a better question would be; why did they have boycotts back then, and why don’t we now? What do you think? ▶

Remember to show your support for the writers and institutions we cover, with your paid subscription to our newsletter.

Peace & Love,

troy signature 1

Troy Johnson,
Founder & Webmaster, AALBC.com
Support AALBC.com, Support this eNewsletter

AALBC.com eNewsletter – April 28, 2015 – Issue #225


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