AALBC.com eNewsletter – October 11th 2012 – Issue #195

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By Troy Johnson

Authors You Should Know

Countée Porter Cullen

Cullen (1903-1946) was a significant personality during the Harlem Renaissance.  In 1925 Cullen published his first book of poetry “Color”.   Two years later he published his second book, “Copper Sun”.  Cullen was also a mentor to James Baldwin.  Cullen’s was married for about two years to W. E. B. Dubois‘ daughter Nina.  The wedding was considered one of the most significant social events during the Harlem Renaissance.

Joanne C. Hillhouse

Antiguan writer Hillhouse is the author of novel Oh Gad! (Strebor Books, April 2012) and two prior books.  Her awards include a Breadloaf fellowship, the David Hough Literary Prize from the Caribbean Writer, and a UNESCO Honour Award for contribution to literacy and the literary arts in Antigua and Barbuda.  She works as a freelance writer, journalist, editorial consultant, and producer.

J.M. Benjamin

Benjamin is one of the top urban fiction authors writing today.  He is also about to release a film  based upon his 2007 novel, “My Manz and ‘Em”.  The film is directed by Sundance Film Festival Award winner Alrick Brown and stars Jaimie Hector (Marlo from The Wire) and veteran actress Jasmine Guy.

Fiction Book Reviews

Devil’s Wake by Steve Barnes and Tananarive Due

Barnes and Due are skilled writers. The characters in the book are realistic, even if it’s in a zombie thriller; and you will undoubtedly cheer for Kendra and the others to survive. You may even ask yourself what you might do in a situation if your mother, father, son, or daughter was turned into a zombie. Could you kill them for your own survival? Or would the familial ties cause you to pause?

Nonfiction Book Reviews

Mugged: Racial Demagoguery from the Seventies to Obama by Ann Coulter

What makes this book unique is its specific focus on African-Americans, a community the author has a lot of bones to pick with. She basically feels blacks have gotten away with murder, literally (ala O.J. Simpson) and figuratively (ala phony accusations of racism), thanks to a collective white liberal guilt that has lingered around long past its usefulness during the period of the Civil Rights Movement.  Also check out our interview with Ms. Coulter.

Billionaires & Ballot Bandits: How to Steal an Election in 9 Easy Steps by Greg Palast

In this very timely tome, Palast delineates each of the methods employed to steal a contest, namely, purging, caging, spoiling, ejecting, blocking, rejecting, prestidigitizing, tossing and stuffing.  He further explains that African-Americans have a particular cause for concern, since over 50% of the voters prevented from voting are black. And this was the case before the passage of voter suppression laws in so many states with majority Republican legislatures.


The Book Look Season 2 Promotional Video

The Book Look is your online TV review celebrating books and events relevant to the African American community.  The Book Look shares highlights of season 1 as well as a few peaks of season 2.

The Importance of Editing Your Manuscript

Here you will find a series of videos to explain the importance of editing your manuscript. The information is provided by Edit 1st’s editors, authors and other industry professionals. Visit http://edit1st.com, email info@edit1st.com or call 866-603-8394 for more information on Edit 1st and to take advantage of our editorial services.

Kalamu ya Salaam Educator for Change by Respectful Revolution

In New Orleans, Kalamu Ya Salaam is a writer, a filmmaker and an educator. All his life, Kalamu has been motivated by a burning passion for empowering young people with both thinking and writing skills. More than a teacher, he is a mentor who’s been inspiring generations of students into finding meaningful paths for their lives through creative expression. Recorded at the Community Book Center, Bayou Road, New Orleans, LA

Trailer for K’wan’s novel Animal

The anticipation for K’wan’s newest book Animal (Cash Money Content, October 2, 2012) was kicked up a notch by this terrific trailer.  The trailer is cinematic in feel, subtle and nuanced just like K’wan’s writing.  Check both the trailer and the book.


Photos from the Brooklyn Book Festival

The Brooklyn Book Festival is the largest free literary event in New York City, presenting an array of national and international literary stars and emerging authors. One of America’s premier book festivals, this hip, smart diverse gathering attracts thousands of book lovers of all ages to enjoy authors and the festival’s lively literary marketplace. A record 280+ authors participated in over 150 panels and readings, which began on September 17 [2012].

Take America Back…or Forward? by Lowell Thompson

Maybe I shouldn’t say this. But, I’m almost starting to feel sorry for Mitt.  I said “almost”. Because that would be like a Mississippi field slave feeling sad because his ol’ Massa’s whip broke.  How could anyone fall so far so fast? Last week’s “47%” gaffe makes his past…er…uh… “misspeakings” sound like the Gettysburg address.   He was caught on video saying 47% of Americans are losers and leeches who rely on government for handouts and that’s why they’ll vote of Obama.

Are Bookstores Relevant? – A One Question Survey

Vote “Yes” or “No”, you may optionally share your comments.  The results and comments will be shared on an upcoming Blog post.  Along with a debate between AALBC.com’s Troy Johnson, who will argue for the proposition that bookstores are relevant and Mosaicbooks.com’s Ron Kavanaugh arguing against.   Also check out a conversation where people mention their favorite bookstores — let us know about yours.

Photos from The African American Literary Awards Show

The 8th Annual African American Literary Award Show was hosted by celebrated award-winning actor Isaiah Washington. The event took place in New York City on Thursday, September 27, 2012 from 6 pm – 11 pm at Melba’s Restaurant.

The AALAS is an entertainment event production and marketing company with a focus on writers and authors. It produces an annual Literary Awards Show to recognize, honor, celebrate and promote the outstanding achievements and contributions that African-American authors and writers make to the publishing, arts and entertainment industries.

Film Reviews

Won’t Back Down (3 Stars – Very Good)

Won’t Back Down is opening under a cloud of controversy, which is unfortunate since the film is otherwise a quite engaging and entertaining tale of female empowerment. The reason why the picture has generated so much suspicion is that it was produced by Walden Media, the same studio that just a couple of years ago released Waiting for Superman, an incendiary documentary that came under attack for blaming teachers unions for the broken educational system.

Resident Evil: Retribution (1 Star – Fair)

This fifth screen adaptation of Resident Evil film franchise is proving to be every bit as enduring as the hordes of flesh-eating zombies featured in its every episode. The movies are based on the popular series of high body-count computer games which has also spawned some comic books, graphic novels, cartoons, and a line of merchandise with action figures and more.


Dante Brown

Born in Chicago on October 6, 1999, Dante Brown’s big break came at the tender age of 5 when he beat out 500 other children to be showcased as a dancer, comedian and actor on Oprah’s 1st “Amazing Kids” show.  Here, he talks about starring opposite Viola Davis in Won’t Back Down, an inspirational tale of female empowerment about a teacher and a single-mom who join forces to improve a grammar school.

Viola Davis

Viola Davis was born on August 11, 1965 on her grandmother’s farm in St. Matthews, South Carolina, but raised by her parents in Central Falls, Rhode Island. After earning a degree in theater from Rhode Island College in 1988, she went on to do post-graduate work at the prestigious Juilliard School prior to embarking on a critically-acclaimed professional career.   Here, she talks about her new film, Won’t Back Down, a female empowerment saga, where she plays Nona Alberts, a jaded teacher who joins forces with a frustrated single-mom (Maggie Gyllenhaal) to turn around an under performing public school.

Troy’s Recommendations

In Darkness By Nick Lake

On occasion I’m so moved by an editor’s endorsement of a novel that I feel compelled to share the good news with other readers. Nick Lake’s novel ‘In Darkness’ is one such book. Over the course of working in this book the editor read it three times; she told me she “cried each time”. Written to appeal to a younger audience — this book is not “dumbed down”.  It is literary, both adults and teenagers will appreciate its nuances.

Buy “Read Moor” Gear

If your visit our AALBC.com Products Store you not only will you find our “Read Moor” merchandise you will also find a wide variety of AALBC.com branded products.

Your purchases help support AALBC.com effort to  “Celebrate our Literary Legacy”.  So make a purchase today.


Mosaic Literary Conference – Nov. 9 & 10 – Hostos Community College Bronx, NY

The Mosaic Literary Conference is an inspiring and unique grassroots conference planned, produced, and promoted in partnership with local cultural organizations and educators. Its focus is simple —to educate, empower, and reconnect this generation of educators, parents, and students to the power of books and reading. The conference invites some of the most innovative educators and literary artists to facilitate literature workshops to an audience of teachers and administrators.

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A luta Continua,
Troy Johnson
President, AALBC.com, LLC
Toll Free: 866-603-8394
Email: troy@aalbc.com

Celebrating Our Literary Legacy Since 1998



Troy D. Johnson is the President, founder and webmaster of AALBC.com, LLC (The African American Literature Book Club). Launched in March of 1998, AALBC.com has grown to become the largest and most frequently visited website dedicated to books and films by and about people of African descent.