Category Archives: Celebrity Interviews

AALBC.com’s eNewsletter – October 28, 2014

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.

This month’s eNewsletter is sponsored by

Martha Kennerson

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Kristine is beautiful, smart, driven, and all set to have everything she wants in life. That is, until an ill-fated encounter alters the path she’s chosen in such a way that she’s forced to make the kind of life-altering decisions no woman should ever have to face. While waking up naked in a strange bed with a couple she barely knew wasn’t Kristine’s choice, how she deals with the consequences of that night creates a series of shocking choices that have a domino effect of turmoil to those close to her. Not everyone agrees with the direction Kristine’s life takes, but ultimately, she learns that strength and forgiveness can come from the most unfortunate of circumstances.

Visit www.marthakennerson.com to buy Consequences, and to find out more about Martha and her journey.

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Top Cities for Readers of African American Literature

news-top-cities-for-african-american-readersAALBC.com assessed the relative strengths of almost 300 American cities, to determine which ones are best able to provide environments that are supportive of, and conducive to, the enjoyment of African American Literature.

The result is a list of 26 cities we think are doing a great job. Let us know what you think ▶

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Authors You Should Know

news-marlon0jamesMarlon James

James was born in Kingston, Jamaica, in 1970. He graduated from the University of the West Indies in 1991 with a degree in literature. His first novel, John Crow’s Devil, was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize and was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. James lives in Kingston.

His most recent novel, A Brief History of Seven Killings,
Selected as one of the Library Journal’s Best Books of 2014. More ▶

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new-laurenLauren Francis-Sharma

Lauren is the daughter of Trinidadian-born parents, was raised in Baltimore, Maryland. She graduated from the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Michigan Law School and practiced as a corporate lawyer before writing ’Til the Well Runs Dry, her first novel.

“Women’s magazines from Elle to Oprah Winfrey’s O have praised Francis-Sharma’s novel, and it was recently the centerpiece of a small book festival in Washington during Caribbean Heritage Month …”—Krissah Thompson, The Washington Post More ▶

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news-michael-brownMichael B. Jackson

Jackson was born and raised in Newark, New Jersey. He recently retired after working for 26 years with New Jersey Juvenile Corrections and Parole. His recently (October 2014) released novel, FatherHoodlum: Chronicles of a Prison Dad, is his first venture into fiction writing.

Jackson, founder of the Internet based radio station, Prison Nation Radio, is a passionate advocate for the rights, protections and success of formerly incarcerated people and their families and those without a voice. He lives by the philosophy that “Doing good is the best revenge” and encourages those leaving prison to take control of their own success and “Do good, with a vengeance.” More ▶

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Book Reviews

Rainbow in the Cloud: The Wisdom and Spirit of Maya Angelou

news-rainbow-in-the-cloudOver the course of an enviable career that spanned a half-century, she would write 7 autobiographies, 5 collections of essays, 18 books of poetry, 2 cookbooks, 7 children’s books, and 7 plays. She also received innumerable awards and accolades, including 60 honorary doctorates.

Rainbow in the Cloud is a collection of 200 of the late icon’s most memorable quotes borrowed not only from previously published works but from social media posts and pearls of wisdom shared over the years with her only son, Guy Johnson, and other family members. More ▶

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news-culture-worrierCulture Worrier: Selected Columns 1984—2014: Reflections on Race, Politics and Social Change

Clarence Page takes pride in the fact that his articles enjoy a broad appeal, a reflection of his sterling reputation as an impartial pundit willing to criticize folks on either side of the aisle as he sees fit. On the one hand, he might indict Ronald Reagan for playing the race card by invoking the image of “welfare queens” to curry the favor of rednecks during the 1980 presidential campaign. On the other, he’ll point out how, during the 2008 campaign, Obama declared, “Race is an issue that I believe this nation cannot afford to ignore,” only to proceed to do just that once he got into office. More ▶

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AALBC.com Videos

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An avid reader, Gail Newell of the Go On Girl! Book Club’s Maryland 2 chapter; a young writer, Taheerah Abdul-Rahmaan; a library CEO, Dr. Carla Dean; and two accomplished authors, Leonard Pitts, Jr., and Jason Mott; take the time to explain the importance of literacy.  If literacy, in the Black community is important to you, please share their message. Watch ▶

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Cornel West: Video – Strand bookstore October 22, 2014

news-cornel-west-10-22-2014Cornel West and Darryl Pinckney discussed the financialization, militarization, and privatization of the United States government. West also provided an update on the protests in Ferguson, MO where he and 49 other people were arrested for disturbing the peace.

This conversation took place the Strand bookstore’s rare book room, on October 22, 2014 in New York City. Watch ▶

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Go On Girl! Book Club’s 22nd Annual Author Awards

news-tracey-smithTracey Y. Smith, National Media & Author Relations Chairperson for Go On Girl! Book Club, highlights their 22nd Annual Author Awards celebration at the Sheraton Inner Harbor Hotel in Baltimore, Maryland.

The Author Awards dinner was held on Saturday, June 7, 2014 and honored the 2013 winning authors including Author of the Year, Leonard Pitts, Jr.; Life Achievement Awardee, Marita Golden; Jr. GOG Reader’s Choice Awardee, Kwame Alexander and Unpublished Writer Winner, Taheerah Abdul-Raheem. Watch ▶

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Book Recommendations

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National Book Awards Finalists Announced

AALBC.com congratuates Jacqueline Woodson for her novel, Brown Girl Dreaming, which was nominated in the Young People’s Literature category. We also congratuate, Fred Moten and Claudia Rankine, who were honored in the Poetry category for The Feel Trio and Citizen: An American Lyric respectively, and all of the other nominees. More ▶

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news-citzens-creekCitizens Creek: A Novel by Lalita Tademy

“Lalita Tademy has done it again—Citizen’s Creek is a deep, touching novel of great historical import and lyrical beauty. At the heart of this book is a headstrong family living both as free blacks as well as Muscogee-speaking Creek. We learn the history of a people: one in constant battle to protect both their lands and freedoms, their loves and loved ones–and ultimately, the quest for their inheritance and birthright as Americans–in the greatest, truest sense of the word.”—ZZ Packer More ▶

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Mad at Miles by Pearl Cleage

news-mad-at-miles“The title came about because she stumbled across a Miles Davis interview where he bragged about slapping Cicely Tyson in the mouth and how she was afraid of him when they were married. Wasn’t the first time I heard it, but I was shocked when I did. Miles has always been touted in the black community and among jazz fans as if he was some “musical genius/hero.” I was shocked and offended that he found it comical to abuse a woman, and that his behavior seemed to be a well kept secret. My feel is if Miles doesn’t respect women, he gets no loyalty from me as a fan…I give credit where it’s due in him being a musician, but you will not hear me giving him accolades.” —Dee (from the AALBC.com Discussion Forum)

With directness, Pearl Cleage takes an unblinking look at the current state of abusive relationships and battered women. This is a funny, angry, lyric piece of theatre that all should see, in order to better understand the realities women have dealt with for decades. More ▶

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Related Articles & News

Black Expressions Book Club is no More

news-black-expressionsBlack Expressions Book Club (BE), the first African American direct mail book club, has officially rejoined Doubleday Book Club, effectively ending its existence. BE was a significant part of the increased attention paid to Black books during the 10 year period beginning in the late nineties and was a big part of the Black book landscape.

Carol Mackey was the editor and public face of BE for most of the club’s life. Through Carol’s leadership the club helped bolster the careers of many authors and supported entities like AALBC.com, by co-sponsoring our 2nd annual Black Pack Party in Los Angeles. BE’s founding editor was Monica Harris (RIP), their final editor was Danielle Jackson.

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news-addictedAddicted ★★☆☆ — Film Review

I polled about a dozen sisters to see what they thought of the picture. They all loved it. But we men had found it sheer torture, from the tame sex scenes showing precious little skin, to the Puritanical moralizing, to the over-the-top melodrama.

That being said, since the estrogen-laden ladies uniformly enjoyed the film, I’m inclined to give them the benefit of the doubt, and assume that testosterone heavily influenced my viewing experience. Therefore, fellow males might want to take anything positive I have to say here with a ton of salt. More ▶

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news-guguGugu Mbatha-Raw The “Beyond the Lights” Interview

Belle and Noni are almost polar opposites.
“Noni’s not a bad girl. She’s more of a victim. What interested me in this film, after doing Belle, which was a period drama set in a very repressed society, was the idea of exploring something much more contemporary: the sexualization of women and girls by the music and entertainment industries, how that has become the norm, and what is the cost of using sex to sell music, psychologically and emotionally. Gina [director Gina Prince-Bythewood] often talks about changing the conversation and steering the culture in a different direction, and about providing some inspiration to become your authentic self. Noni has become trapped by her public persona, so there was a lot to sink my teeth into.” —Gugu Mbatha-Raw More ▶

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news-ginaGina Prince-Bythewood The “Beyond the Lights” Interview

Born on June 10, 1969, Gina Maria Prince-Bythewood studied film at UCLA before beginning her career as a writer for the TV sitcom, A Different World. In 2000, she made a noteworthy directorial debut with the critically-acclaimed Love & Basketball, which netted a dozen accolades during awards season, including a couple of NAACP Image Awards, a BET Award and several Black Reel Awards.

Gina’s next feature was The Secret Life of Bees (2008), which also earned its share of trophies, including Image Awards for Best Picture and Best Director. Here, she talks about making her third movie, Beyond the Lights, a romance drama co-starring Gugu Mbata-Raw and Nate Parker. More ▶

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news-bruce-lee-ping-pongBelieve none of what you hear, and only half of what you see.

On a daily basis I see things on social media that demonstrates how easily we can be manipulated into believing that something is true, when it should be obvious that it is not. Facebook, for example, has been putting a lot more video on my newsfeed lately. I’ve started to notice a lot of videos that are clearly fake. However, based upon the comments posted, people believe these fake videos to be true. It is very scary how easily we can be fooled.

For example, I saw a video posted by someone I thought was pretty sharp. They used this video to prove how skilled the martial artist Bruce Lee was with nunchucks, which is a weapon made of two, foot-long sticks, connected by a short chain. Here we see Lee playing ping pong using these sticks This is not to say Bruce Lee was not a skilled martial artist, but the very idea that some people would actually believe this feat to be humanly possible is, itself, unbelievable. Join the Conversation ▶

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Download the AALBC.com Mobile App

news-aalbc-mobile-appThe AALBC.com Mobile Application is available for the Apple iOS and Google Android platforms.

With our free application you can stay up t0 date with our latest book and film reviews, interviews, articles, videos and more. You’ll find content not mentioned in our eNewsletter, as our eNewsletter primarily focuses on more recent information. Get the App ▶

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A Note to Authors

This Month’s Note: The “Old Fashioned” eNewsletter Still Works Great!

news-october-2014Social media is excellent for engaging with readers, but the majority of that engagement remains on the social media’s platform which does little to bring visitors to your website where a richer experience, that you manage, is possible.

Don’t underestimate the effectiveness of an “old fashioned” eNewsletter (like the one you are reading now) to bring visitors to your website. With a newsletter, you can reach all of your readers without having to worry about a social media algorithms deciding which readers see your message. Today, I use Mad Mimi to manage AALBC.com’s eNewsletter. Mad Mimi is free for up to 2,500 subscribers. Mail Chimp is also a good option and is free for up to 2,000 subscribers. Constant Contact is popular (I used it for years in the past), but they do not offer a free option and the service is relatively expensive.

Reaction to last month’s recommendation: Authors add a link on your website to an independent website (Follow this link to learn why), resulted in a number of authors linking back to AALBC.com including Jewell Parker Rhodes and Frankie Lemon. Thanks y’all!

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The Baltimore African American Book Festival Please consider purchasing, or renewing, your subscription to AALBC.com’s eNewsletter—less than 50 cents an issue.

If you’ve read something in our eNewsletter that you enjoyed, or felt was important, please share it. We are responsible for ensuring our stories are told, shared, and preserved. As the number of platforms promoting our work continue to decrease in number, and reach, your active participation is needed.

news-thanks-for-sharingFinally, if you are interested in sponsoring our eNewsletter, November and December are still available.

Peace,
Troy Johnson,
Founder and Webmaster

Good Books, Films, Events & Articles – June 23, 2014 eNewsletter

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.


This eNewsletter is sponsored by Brown Girls Publishing

macro-marketing-authorsIntroducing the next four books from Brown Girls Publishing: D.J. McLaurin’s What if it Feels Good?—the story of an unconventional romance that may not survive a woman scorned or the public’s outrage. Pink & Patent Leather, Candy Jackson’s mind-blowing tale of one-woman’s quest for love at all costs, and the spiraling descent she’ll travel to get it. The Next Thing is Joy: The Gospel According to Vivan Grace, by Tracey Michae’l Lewis, is the story of a woman who is about to find love in a way she never imagined…but what will she have to do to get it? Roni Teson’s Twist, where romance, insanity, mind-altering experiments, and a government conspiracy, all lead to the fight of Beatrice Malcolm’s life. Visit browngirlspublishing.com to find out more.


ellis-j-stillAALBC.com Mourns the Passing of Ellis J. Still

AALBC.com joins the book world in mourning the unexpected passing of Ellis James Still on Tuesday, June 17, 2014. Ellis was the President & CEO, The Burning Bush Christian, Literary, & Scholastic Bookstore. Ellis was a terrific advocate for our literature and was simply one conscious brother. His loss to the book world is incalculable and will be felt for years to come.

He was a member of Abundant Life Family Worship Church in New Brunswick and was part of their Youth Ministry. He was 46 years old. A memorial fund has been started in his honor.


Book Reviews

news-the-man-from-essenceThe Man from Essence: Creating a Magazine for Black Women

Despite the irony of four brothers being behind a publication aimed at sisters, the periodical proved phenomenally popular, soon blossoming into the premiere beauty and fashion magazine for its target demographic. And over the intervening decades the Essence brand has been extended to include an annual Fourth of July weekend cultural festival featuring everything from musical concerts to empowerment seminars.

However, the magazine has also experienced considerable behind-the-scenes turmoil, and much of that drama is the subject of The Man from Essence, a revealing memoir written by Mr. Lewis with the assistance of his former executive editor, Audrey Edwards. Inter alia, we learn that the four founders had no experience in the field of publishing, yet ultimately managed to flourish in part because they had identified a need just begging to be addressed.

new-prodigalProdigal: Special Edition by David Covin

Often, fiction can be confusing when the author loses his way. That is not the case with Prodigal’s author, David Covin, Emeritus Professor of Government and Pan African Studies at California State University, even as he attempts to stuff as much cultural seasoning and action as possible into this bloated plot. The reader, once strapped in, is just encouraged to hold on and go hell-bent for the thrill ride.

In this tale of identity and cultural salvation, Covin displays his incredible capacity to give us a brief history lesson wrapped in a glittering jacket of contemporary urban fiction. It is often brilliant, aware, informative, and somewhat cluttered. If a reader submits to Covin’s commanding will and imagination, Prodigal will be an unforgettable, fulfilling experience.

news-unbreak-my-heartUnbreak My Heart: A Memoir by Toni Braxton

While Toni’s blossoming career would catapult her to the heights of superstardom in a matter of months, it also left her haunted with a sense of overwhelming regret. For, although striking that devil’s bargain led to fame and a half-dozen Grammys, it also meant temporarily alienating the affection of the folks she was closest to.

Furthermore, over the ensuing years, she would find her faith tested by a host of woes reminiscent of Job in the Bible. Not only did she make and lose a fortune, declaring bankruptcy twice in the process, but she married Mint Condition’s keyboardist Keri Lewis and had a couple of children with him before going through a messy divorce.

news-yogaYoga, Meditation and Spiritual Growth for the African American Community

Daya Devi-Doolin shares her philosophy in an easy-to-read how-to tome with an easy-to-follow illustrated introduction, aimed at beginners and also the young at heart. The book features photographs not of skinny contortionists, but of the author and some of her students who, as you’ll see, come in a variety of shapes and sizes.

That lets you know that you don’t have to be lithe and limber like a runway model to assume such poses pictures as the Boat, the Butterfly, the Half Lotus, the Cow, the Chair, the Eagle, the Half Bridge, the Dancer, the Cobra, the Tree, the Spinal Twist, or my favorite, The Mountain (which looks the easiest). Why should the uninitiated even consider trying yoga? “For a new or a renewed body, mind and spirit,” Daya suggests.


Book Recommendations

news-song-of-the-shankSong of the Shank by Jeffery Renard Allen

At the heart of this novel is Thomas Greene Wiggins, a nineteenth-century slave and improbable musical genius who performed under the name Blind Tom.” The novel ranges from Tom’s boyhood to the heights of his performing career, the inscrutable savant is buffeted by opportunistic teachers and crooked managers, crackpot healers and militant prophets. In his symphonic novel, Jeffery Renard Allen blends history and fantastical invention to bring to life a radical cipher, a man who profoundly changes all who encounter him.

Song of the Shank is also our Deal of the Week and is available to you at perhaps the lowest price online! But buy it now because this deal is only available until Sunday, June 29th.

news-strange-fruitStrange Fruit, Volume I: Uncelebrated Narratives from Black History

Written and illustrated by Joel Christian Gill Strange Fruit, Volume I (Grade Level: 4 and up) is a collection of stories from African American history that exemplifies success in the face of great adversity. This unique graphic anthology offers historical and cultural commentary on nine uncelebrated heroes whose stories are not often found in history books.

Among the stories included are: Henry “Box” Brown, who escaped from slavery by mailing himself to Philadelphia; Alexander Crummel and the Noyes Academy, the first integrated school in America, established in the 1830s; Marshall “Major” Taylor, a.k.a. the Black Cyclone, the first black champion in any sport; and Bass Reeves, the most successful lawman in the Old West. Written and illustrated by Joel Christian Gill, the diverse art beautifully captures the spirit of each remarkable individual and opens a window into an important part of American history.

news-the-sacred-bombshellThe Sacred Bombshell Handbook of Self-Love by Abiola Abrams

The Sacred Bombshell Handbook of Self-Love is your passport to become the woman you were born to be. If you’ve been looking for a sign, this is it. Love-Body-Spirit coach, advice columnist, and motivational speaker Abiola Abrams reveals 11 self-worth secrets with assignments to awaken your feminine energy, reclaiming the word bombshell to mean a woman who deliciously embodies her mind, body, spirit – and joy. Abiola’s transformational coaching is buoyed by her Guyanese family lessons and overcoming personal challenges from disordered eating to a failed marriage. If you have everything going for you, except what you really want, this journey is for you.

news-wahts-done-in-the-darkWhat’s Done in the Dark by ReShonda Tate Billingsley

Felise is not the kind of woman to cheat on her husband—especially with her best friend’s man. But after one perfect storm of a night, it happened…and she can hardly believe it herself. To top it off, when she woke up in the morning, she found that the man to whom she guiltily made passionate love died of a heart attack overnight. Felise, who is a nurse and a good citizen at that, leaves the hotel room without reporting his death.

When her best friend, Paula, finds out about her husband’s sudden death a day later, Felise is overcome with guilt and grief. She must be there for her friend and her family, but when her husband repeatedly tries to apologize for his absentminded behavior and Paula starts investigating who Stephen was with the night he died, Felise finds it hard to hold herself together. Should she come clean and tell everyone what she did? Or should she just let it go and move past the mistake on her own?

news-nine-years-underNine Years Under: Coming of Age in an Inner-City Funeral Home by Sheri Booker

Sheri Booker was only fifteen when she started working at Wylie Funeral Home in West Baltimore. She had no idea her summer job would become nine years of immersion into a hidden world. With AIDS and gang violence threatening to wipe out a generation of black men, Wylie was never short on business.

This vibrant tour of a macabre world reveals an urban funeral culture where photo-screened memorial T-shirts often replace suits and ties and the dead are sent off with a joint or a fifth of cognac. As families came together to bury one of their own, Booker was privy to their most intimate moments of grief and despair. But along with the sadness, Booker encountered moments of dark humor: brawls between mistresses and widows, and car crashes at McDonald’s with dead bodies in tow. While she never got over her terror of the embalming room, Booker learned to expect the unexpected and to never, ever cry. Nine Years Under offers readers an glimpse into an industry in the backdrop of all our lives.

news-go-de-ras-to-sleepShaggy Records Jamaican Patois Version of Go the F* to Sleep

Reggae superstar Shaggy repeats Samuel L. Jackson’s reading of Go the F* to Sleep, but in a Jamaican fashion. Shaggy’s humor and verbal prowess are on full display as he reads the book’s stanzas such as:

Modda puss a hug up har pickney,
Young sheep a lay down wid big sheep.
Yuh wrap up an warm inna yuh bed, putoos,
Beg yuh, go de rass to sleep.


Related Articles

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The ESSENCE Brand—Where Black Women Come First—NOT!

“Community Book Center, owned by a Black woman, had been the sole bookseller for Essence Fest from the beginning. At that time the idea was to do everything possible to strengthen and empower Black owned businesses. Last year [2012] Wal-Mart and local white bookstores were allowed in. This year [2013] CBC was told that they did not have space for them. When another vendor reportedly dropped out, CBC was still not allowed back in. The local white-owned bookstore had already been approved.

In a nutshell, Essence has evicted, booted, put out the only Black-owned bookstore to make more room for retail giant Wal-Mart and a local white book store. The Black-owned Community Book Center is practicing Self-Deter­mination by hosting its own Home Fest during the same time as Essence, so I’ll be making a special trip; hope you will too.”
—Minister J. Kojo Livingston

news-market-your-bookDo Yourself a Favor Authors; Market Your Book by A. Yamina Collins

My fantasy romance novel, The Last King, has already been in Amazon’s Top 100 Bestseller List in no less than four separate genres: Fantasy, Science Fiction, Christian Women’s Literature. And yet I’ve only sold 210 copies of the book.

To me, the money hasn’t been a waste. In fact, I am inspired to now hire a professional publicist. I believe in my book and it’s chance to succeed, but that means I have to give it a chance to reach a larger audience.

news-griot-solutionThe Griot Solution

Since black people in large numbers might not read fiction, live storytelling may still resonate in their blood because of the oral tradition. A combination of story telling and controlled psycho-drama—It will necessitate community and traveling theaters, block play parties, or street theater if no buildings will have you—but the big caveat, the silent elephant in the room is the class dynamics within the black community itself or rather not in the community. That is the best and the brightest with money don’t live in the slums.

new-writers-worldWriters’ World Newspaper

A Resource for the self-published, established authors and readers who love them.

Writers’ World will publish positive news and information. We are here to bring good and informative news to our readers. We will also provide valuable information from our authors. Writers’ World Newspaper is a resource for self-published and established authors and the readers who love them to have a forum to exchange opinions on literature. Readers will be provided with unique and motivational articles, implementing ideas and resources to further enhance their lives.

news-black-star-project-journal-logoBlack Star Journal

Check out the news and events archive of The Black Star Project. The Black Star Journal is the news and events archive of The Black Star Project

Founded in 1996 by Phillip Jackson, The Black Star Project is committed to improving the quality of life in Black and Latino communities of Chicago and nationwide by eliminating the racial academic achievement gap.


Interviews

news-ammaAmma Asante

Writer/director Amma Asante made an unusual entry into filmmaking. As a child, she attended the Barbara Speake stage school in London, where she trained as a student in dance and drama.

Here, she talks about her new film, Belle, a fact-based, historical drama starring Gugu Mbatha-Raw about the daughter of an African slave and a British ship captain who was raised in England as an aristocrat.

news-michael-ealyMichael Ealy

For the last few years, Michael Ealy has been red-hot, jumping from TV to film and back to TV, seamlessly. He recently starred in the sci-fi television series, “Almost Human,” for which he earned an NAACP Image Award nomination for Outstanding Leading Actor in a Drama Series.

In terms of the tabloids, the blue-eyed hunk was named one of People magazines’ “On the Verge” actors in the magazine’s “Sexiest Man Alive” 2002 and 2013 issues. Furthermore, he was named one of E! Entertainment Television’s “Sizzlin’ 16” of 2004 and appeared on the cover of Essence magazine’s “Hollywood Screen Gems” for their April 2004 issue.


Film Reviews

news-think-like-a-man-tooThink Like a Man Too – Film Has Little to do With Thinking Like a Man

The surprise hit Think Like a Man was #1 at the box-office over its opening weekend back in April of 2012. Inspired by Steve Harvey’s best-selling, Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man, the original explored some of the serious issues tackled by the popular, relationship advice book by examining the angst of four couples in relationship crisis.

Unfortunately, this relatively-tame sequel fails to measure up to either of those side-splitting descents into debauchery, being basically a vehicle for Kevin Hart’s kitchen sink brand of comedy. Here, the motor-mouthed comedian serves as an omniscient narrator who calls the battle-of-the-sexes’ play-by-play.

news-black-church-incBlack Church Inc. – Film Tackles Topic of Financial Abuse in the Black Church

Gone are the days of working class preachers who didn’t expect financial gain in exchange for spiritual guidance. A new breed of pastors has emerged: the mega-pastor… one who aims to sell their religious brand and get rich off the gospel.

Black Church, Inc. is a feature-length investigative documentary that examines the sensationalism of the black church and its present day relationship with serving the community. The documentary compares the black church’s origins to its modern day cultural relevance. The film focuses on modern mega-churches and asks hard-hitting questions about service vs. the extravagant lifestyles of its multi-million dollar ministers and ministries. The documentary takes a deep dive into controversial issues clouding the church including “love offerings” (cash payments given to ministers), financial abuse and the deification of the mega-church pastor all while asking… is prayer-for-profit moral?


Upcoming Events

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Power to the Publisher (or author with more than one book)

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We currently have two positions available on our Homepage and Books Main page. The regular price is just $49 for 32 days (dropping to $39 on the 3rd consecutive month). However, if you act now, you may secure both positions for just $74. You may even rotate two different books in each position! That works out to a little more than 50 cents per book, per day. Act now, because at this price these positions will not be available very long. Learn more about this service here.

Email Troy Johnson if you are interested in this special price (it is not available for purchase online).

Dear Reader,

In addition to our regular monthly eNewsletter you will may receive one additional “Sponsored Email” each month. These emails will be curated, in exactly the same way our regular eNewsletters are, but will be dedicated to a single business, author or event we believe you will find worthy of special attention.

With the potential addition of the sponsored emails, you will only receive a maximum of two emails from us each month.

Some sponsored emails may be fee based, but not every potential sponsor’s message will qualify; this is not a traditional “eBlast” service; messages will be limited to one per month and curated. This past year, we sent two email messages which reflect the type of information we will communicate with a sponsored email, The National Black Writers Conference Schedule and Join Effort to Make “Forever an Ex” a Best-Selling Book. We may not send a sponsored email each month. However, if we do send a sponsored email you will be automatically entered into a contest to win $50!

If you are interested in sponsoring a dedicated email, please contact Troy Johnson.

As always, if you’ve read something in our eNewsletter, you enjoyed or felt was important, please share it with others. We are responsible for ensuring the depth and breadth of our stories are told, shared, recorded and archived.

paypal-sunscription-buttonIn order to continue our work, and to improve our offerings, we still need your support. Please consider purchasing or renewing your subscription to AALBC.com’s monthly eNewsletter—less than a dollar an issue.

If you are interested in providing more substantial support through website sponsorship please contact Troy Johnson.

Peace,
Troy Johnson,
Founder and Webmaster

Good Books, Films, Events & Articles – May 2014 eNewsletter

You may receive this eNewsletter directly in your email-box by subscribing or download a PDF version. It may also be read on your Kindle ebook reader. Enjoy our previous eNewsletters. Sponsor our eNewsletter.


This month’s eNewsletter is Sponsored by Naleighna Kai

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Naleighna Kai is the bestselling author of Every Woman Needs a Wife, The Pleasure’s All Mine and Open Door Marriage. She is also a contributing author to the New York Times Best-selling book, Caramel Flava.

Open Door Marriage (Brown Girls Publishing, Jan 2014) centers around three people caught up in an all too familiar triangle. Alicia Mitchell, the love of Dallas Avery’s life disappeared, and resurfaced years later at the most inopportune time. Oh, he still loves Alicia, an older woman who captured his heart, but it’s unfortunate that he’s now engaged to a woman he learns—is her niece. When his fiancée, Tori, lays a proposition on the table, it seems that everyone will get a little of what they want, but maybe a whole lot of what they don’t. The stage is set for them to learn one valuable lesson: There’s no right way to do a wrong thing. Visit www.naleighnakai.com for more information.

AALBC.com’s Best-Selling Books March/April 2014

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Our best-selling books lists combine both physical and electronic book formats. Ebooks represented 53% of all sales this period. Nikki Woods’ new novel, Easier Said Than Done, was the strongest seller overall.

Authors You Should Know

AALBC.com mourns the passing of Sam Greenlee (May 19, 2014)news-sam-greenlee

Greenlee was born in Chicago on July 13, 1930. He earned a BS in political science from the University of Wisconsin. Greenlee also attended the University of Chicago and the University of Thessaloniki in Greece.

In 1969 Greenlee published his first, and most famous, novel The Spook Who Sat By the Door. Other works by Greenlee include; Baghdad Blues; a 1971 collection of poems, Blues for an African Princess; and a 1971 collection of poems, Ammunition (poetry, 1975). In 1990 Greenlee was the Illinois poet laureate.

Tonya Boldennews-tonya-bolden

Tonya Bolden, a Princeton University magna cum laude baccalaureate with a master’s degree from Columbia University, is an award-winning author of more than twenty books for children and young adults. They include Maritcha: A Nineteenth-Century American Girl, a Coretta Scott King honor book and James Madison Book Award winner. Bolden’s MLK: Journey of a King received the National Council of Teachers of English’s 2008 Orbis Pictus Award for Outstanding Nonfiction for Children. High praise for her George Washington Carver include a Virginia Library Association Jefferson Cup and a Cleveland Public Library Sugarman Award.

When Bolden isn’t writing she can be found gardening (if it’s not too hot or too cold) or watching period dramas (if it is) or laughing and learning with family or friends or with both.

George S. Schuylernews-george-schuyller

Schuyler (February 25, 1895 — August 31, 1977) was a journalist and cultural critic whose writings appeared in such diverse publications as Crisis, Nation, Negro Digest, American Mercury, and National Review. Schuyler was a prolific writer and an outspoken commentator during his fifty-four-year career.

Schuyler’s life and political views were, however, controversial. By the 1950s, he had become an ardent supporter of U.S. Sen. Joseph P. McCarthy and touted himself as an American patriot, believing that communism was a threat to African Americans. In the 1960s, Schuyler was one of the few African Americans who openly characterized the civil rights movement as a communist-inspired plot to destroy America. His wife, Josephine Cogdell Schuyler, was profiled in Carla Kaplan’s recent book, Miss Anne in Harlem: The White Women of the Black Renaissance.

Kiese Laymonnews-kiese

Kiese Laymon is a black southern writer, born and raised in Jackson, Mississippi. Laymon attended Millsaps College and Jackson State University before graduating from Oberlin College. He earned an MFA from Indiana University and is the author of the novel, Long Division and a collection of essays, How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America. Laymon is a contributing editor at gawker.com.

Long Division was named one of the Best of 2013 by a number of publications, including Salon, Guernica, Mosaic Magazine, Chicago Tribune and the Crunk Feminist Collective. Laymon is currently at work on a new novel and funky memoir called 309. He is an Associate Professor of English at Vassar College.

Maryse Condénews-maryse

Maryse Condé, was born in Guadeloupe, on February 11, 1937. In 1953, her parents sent her to study at Lycée Fénelon and Sorbonne in Paris, where she majored in English. After graduating, she taught in Guinea, Ghana and Senegal.

The critically acclaimed, award-winning author penned several historical novels including I, Tituba, Black Witch of Salem; Victoire: My Mother’s Mother; and Who Slashed Celanire’s Throat? Condé’s “blending of memoir and imagination, detective work and storytelling artistry, is a literary gem that readers won’t soon forget.”

Professor Griffnews-griff

Professor Griff is an internationally renowned educator, writer, producer, musician, platinum recording/spoken word artist, lecturer and founding member and Minister of Information of the pioneering hip hop group Public Enemy.

Griff is a thought provoking and engaging lecturer. He has written several books including Analytixz 20 Years of Conversation and Enter-Views with Public Enemy’s Professor Griff, Acapella Revolution: The Alchemical Transformation of Reconstructing the Oral Tradition and The Psychological Covert War on Hip Hop: The Illuminati’s takeover of Hip Hop.

Book Reviews

news-inside-the-hotel-rwandaInside the Hotel Rwanda: The Surprising True Story… and Why It Matters Today

In 2004, the film Hotel Rwanda received widespread acclaim for its heartrending account of how one man had singlehandedly shielded over a thousand Tutsi refugees from certain death during the Rwandan Genocide by hiding them in the hotel he managed. Don Cheadle earned an Academy Award nomination for his powerful portrayal of Paul Rusesabagina, an apparent modern-day saint suddenly mentioned in the same breath as Oskar Schindler, the German factory owner who had saved so many Jews from the Holocaust during World War II.

What a difference a decade makes! Over the intervening years, telltale cracks gradually appeared in the image Rusesabagina had so carefully cultivated with the help of Hollywood and the human rights community. Those swirling rumors came out into the open when Rwandan President Kagame referred to the supposed paragon of virtue as a total fraud.

How To Knock A Bravebird From Her Perchnews-how-to-knock-a-brave-bird

Inspired by family and friends who have been victims of abuse, D. Bryant Simmons, an advocate of female empowerment and children’s rights, wrote How To Knock A Bravebird From Her Perch to encourage victims of domestic violence and dedicated it to “all women who doubt their abilities. Especially my mother.”

A naturally gifted storyteller, Simmons, has put her heart and soul into this cautionary tale of perseverance, hope and strength. I could understand how we sometimes end up in places we’d never imagined and don’t know how to get out of. How we don’t know how strong we can be until being strong is our only option. This is the story of how Pecan [the novel’s protagonist] finally finds her strength, and when she does it will make you want to cheer.

A Dream Foreclosed: Black America and the Fight for a Place to Call Homenews-adream-deffered

The author, Laura Gottesdiener powerfully investigates the ongoing real estate crisis in A Dream Foreclosed: Black America and the Fight for a Place to Call Home. In her heartbreaking book, the author intimately illustrates examples of what is really a mass-scale tragedy in scope by zeroing in on the fates of four families facing and fighting eviction.

A debt of gratitude is owed to this eye-opening opus for providing proof positive that, even in the Age of Obama, the American Dream remains elusive for the vast majority of black people.

news-what-the-word-beWhat the Word Be: Why Black English… Is the King’s (James) English

When most people talk about the “King’s English,” they’re referring to a very proper, aristocratic way of speaking in terms of grammar and syntax. That style is far afield from the uniquely African-American phraseology also known as Ebonics.

For, according to its author, Diane Proctor Reeder, the roots of Ebonics can readily be found in the King James Bible, the text employed by most slave masters to teach Africans English. To prove her point, Ms. Reeder simply quotes from scripture, such as “Surely the people is grass,” which is found in Isaiah 40:7.

Related Articles

Report: Dramatic Drop in Reading Among Teensnews-children-teens-and-reading

Common Sense Media recently announced the release of Children, Teens, and Reading, a research brief that offers a unique, big-picture perspective on children’s reading habits in the United States and how they may have changed during the technological revolution of recent decades. The report brings together many disparate studies on children’s reading rates and achievement for the first time, summarizing key findings and highlighting where research is scarce, incomplete, or outdated, as well as offering suggestions for new areas of study.

Though the report finds that reading is still a big part of many children’s lives—and reading scores among young children have improved steadily—achievement among older teens has stagnated, and many children don’t read well or often.

Marcus Books of San Francisco Evicted—Should We Care?news-why-care-about-marcus-books

Where do you buy the books that you read?

While Marcus Books situation is sad and unfortunate, the closure of bookstores is being repeated at an increasingly alarming rate across the country. From my perspective, the fight is not just about saving one store, it is about saving all the stores—and websites too, including this one.

Will you support independent, Black owned, bookstores and websites, or will we willingly relinquish the few that remain? Will we sit idly by while complete control over which stories and information about our community, is handed over to some corporate entity concerned with only with maximizing profit?

Prince Among Slaves by Terry Alfordnews-prince-amoung-slaves

In this remarkable work, Terry Alford tells the story of Abd al Rahman Ibrahima, an enslaved Muslim who, in 1807, was recognized by an Irish ship’s surgeon as the son of an African king who had saved his life many years earlier. “The Prince,” as he had become known to local Natchez, Mississippi residents, had been captured in war when he was 26 years old, sold to slave traders, and shipped to America.

Enslaved though he was, Ibrahima was an educated, aristocratic man, and he was made overseer of the large cotton and tobacco plantation of his master, who refused to sell him for any price.

JET Magazine Goes From Print to Digital Onlynews-jet-mag

Johnson Publishing Company (JPC) announced, in a recent press release that “JET magazine, founded in 1951, will transition to a digital magazine app at the end of June. JPC is making the proactive decision to adapt to the changing needs of its readers as their desire to get information quickly and easily increases.” While I’m glad Jet survives digitally, I’m disheartened the print publication is no more.

As AALBC.com’s webmaster and someone who has been actively engaged with the internet since it became a commercial entity two decades ago, I do not believe the digitization of everything leaves us better off. We are reading less and less well. For many, the management of every digital asset we own from books, music, videos, and photos has become a costly technical challenge. The “digital divide” is still a reality for many in our community.

Gugu Mbatha-Raw – The “Belle” Interviewnews-gugu

Born in Oxford, England on June 30, 1983, Gugu Mbatha-Raw trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London. Her first professional role was as Celia in an open air production of Shakespeare’s As You Like It. Gugu subsequently landed roles at Manchester’s Royal Exchange Theatre where she performed the title roles of Cleopatra in Antony and Cleopatra and Juliet in Romeo and Juliet, the latter opposite Andrew “Spider-Man” Garfield.

Here, talks about playing the title character in Belle, a biopic about Dido Elizabeth Belle (1761-1804), the orphaned offspring of an African slave and a British ship captain who was raised in England by her father’s rich relations.

Film Reviews

Half of a Yellow Sunnews-a-half-a-yelloe-sun

The film marks the impressive directorial debut of Biyi Bandele, who also adapted the 543-page opus into a 113-minute saga that walks a fine line between romance drama and sprawling epic. That being said, the picture’s examination of the country’s explosive Christian-Muslim tribal tensions proves to be both timely and compelling, given how they’ve recently resurfaced during the radical group Boko Haram’s current reign of terror.

A steamy soap opera unfolding against the backdrop of a cautionary history lesson reminding us that in Nigeria, the more things change, the more they stay insane.

Fed Upnews-fedup

In the same fashion that corporations have been allowed to market and sell cancer causing cigarettes, resulting in countless early deaths, corporations are now allowed to sell food that is known to be unhealthy.

Today, in many communities, 30% or more of the children are obese; many tens of thousands of children in the U.S. suffer from type-2 diabetes. Type-2 diabetes in a child was unheard of until recently. Obesity on this scale is a relatively new problem. Fed Up describes how food companies add copious amounts of addictive sugar to our food simply to make money—at the expense of our nation’s health.

Recommendations

Not for Everyday Use: A Memoir by Elizabeth Nuneznews-not-for-everyday-use

Nunez’s memoir was recently featured in Oprah.com’s collection of “Memoirs Too Powerful to Put Down.”

“In this swiftly moving memoir, Elizabeth Nunez returns to Trinidad after the death of her mother. While helping her sister and father arrange the burial, Nunez reflects on everything from her admiration of her parents’ loving, 65-year-long marriage (and the failure of her own) and her early, isolated years as an immigrant in New York, to the strange, unshakable grip colonialism has on her homeland today.”

The Brown Bookshelfnews-the-brown-book-shelf

The Brown Bookshelf is designed to push awareness of the myriad of African American voices writing for young readers. Their flagship initiative is, 28 Days Later, a month-long showcase of the best in picture books, middle grade and young adult novels written and illustrated by African Americans.

The founders are authors Crystal Allen, Tameka Fryer Brown, Paula Chase-Hyman, Gwendolyn Hooks, Varian Johnson, Kelly Starling Lyons, Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich, and Don Tate.

Adinkrahene: Fear of a Black Planet by J.A. Faulkersonnews-adinkrahene

In a world where America has elected its first Black president, a new generation of heroes must emerge to unite a divided kingdom.

When Mississippi Senator Kyle Shuler announces his bid to unseat presidential incumbent Herbert Newsom, America’s first, black president, Washington Post political reporter Jonathan Fraiser is miffed. He knows Senator Shuler’s dirty, little secret—that he and two of his friends murdered an elderly, black woman as teenagers. But Jonathan isn’t the only person disturbed by Shuler’s announcement. His longtime friend Selina Giles, an FBI agent, was eleven years old when Shuler slit her grandmother’s throat. Now, Jonathan and Selina must join forces as Adinkrahene agents to prevent a Jim Crow criminal from becoming the leader of the free world.

news-malcolm-littleMalcolm Little: The Boy Who Grew Up to Become Malcolm X by Ilyasah Shabazz

Malcolm X grew to be one of America’s most influential figures. But first, he was a boy named Malcolm Little. Written by his daughter, this inspiring picture book biography celebrates a vision of freedom and justice.

Bolstered by the love and wisdom of his large, warm family, young Malcolm Little was a natural born leader. But when confronted with intolerance and a series of tragedies, Malcolm’s optimism and faith were threatened. He had to learn how to be strong and how to hold on to his individuality. He had to learn self-reliance.

Cariblit: Caribbean Literature Action Groupnews-cariblit

The CaribLit website serves as a central resource for writers and publishers to gain information on publishing, marketing, distribution and bookselling in the Caribbean and to share their expertise and best practices. They know that many other websites exist through which writers promote their work to readers; rather than compete with those, CaribLit will focus on providing information and resources relevant for persons within the Caribbean publishing industry.

MahoganyBooks’ Deal of the Week – Lowest Price Online!news-prodigal-son

This week’s special is Power List and AALBC.com Bestselling author Kimberla Lawson Roby’s new novel, The Prodigal Son (Reverend Curtis Black Novel). MahoganyBooks, the official bookseller of the Power List, is bringing us this new book for 30% off—$5 less than Amazon!

The Black book ecosystem is much more complex than selling books at the lowest price. It is a battle to retain control over how our stories and history are told. MahoganyBooks, AALBC.com and other independent booksellers are driven to ensure that this happens in an uplifting and empowering way.

Enjoy our eNewsletter and Blog on your Kindlenews-subscribe-via-kindle

Read the AALBC.com eNewsletter and our blog posts on your Kindle eBook reader. Try it free for 14 days.

Events

Infamous Books Launch Party – May 28, 2014 in NYCnews-infamous-launch

On Wednesday, May 28th, join Akashic and Infamous Books at The Mysterious Bookshop (58 Warren Street, Manhattan, NYC) at 6:30 PM for an Infamous launch party! Join special guest Albert “Prodigy” Johnson of Mobb Deep, author of H.N.I.C, in celebrating the release of Miasha’s Swing, JaQuavis Coleman’s The White House, and K’wan’s Black Lotus with complimentary refreshments, including beer lovingly provided by Brooklyn Brewery.

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The Black Pack Party is an annual gathering of publishing industry professionals, and is held during Book Expo America. The 2014 Black Pack Party is scheduled for May 29, 2014, in New York City. Register for the 2014 celebration.

news-people-of-colorWhere Are the People of Color in Children’s Books? – Panel Discussion May 31, 10 a.m. – 11 p.m.

Industry professionals will share their insight and knowledge of the state of African-American children’s books; their past, present and solutions for the future. Join in this deep dive with; Patrik Henry Bass, author of Zero Degree Zombie Zone & Book Editor for Essence Magazine; Tonya Bolden, author of many books, including, Searching for Sarah Rector: The Richest Black Girl in America; Regina Brooks, author of Writing Great Books for Young Adults, and CEO of Serendipity Literary Agency; Bernette Ford, author and CEO of Color-Bridge, LLC; Wade Hudson, President, Just Us Books; Vanesse Lloyd-Sgambati, Founder The African American Children’s Book Project, Cultural/Entertainment Contributor, WURD-AM, CEO The Literary Media and Publishing Consultants; and Harlyn Pacheco, CEO of Qlovi.

Moderator: Troy Johnson, Founder of The African American Literature Book Club (AALBC.com)

news-sacremento-black-book-festival
The First Annual Sacramento Black Book Festival takes place June 6 – 8, 2014 at the Historic Center of Oak Park.  There will be over 80 other authors participating as well. Visit sacramentoblackbookfair.com for more information.

Edit 1st — Manuscript Editing Services

What Editors Look for When Considering a Book for Acquisitionnews-edit-first

For Fiction
* Voice: The overall narrative voice.
* Pace: How quickly the story moves.
* Plot: The overall story.
* Style: How the story is written.
* Verisimilitude: Are the details right?
* Character: Are there interesting and multifaceted characters in conflict?

To learn more visit Edit 1st. Be sure to contact Edit 1st for all your manuscript editing needs.

news-advertise-your-bookPower to the Author – Your Book Cover on the AALBC.com Homepage for as Little as $39 for 32 Days

Place your book cover on the AALBC.com homepage and the main page of our Books Section. This type of placement includes the author’s name, the book’s title, and a link to any website.

Dear Reader,

news-subscribeCC LGIn order to continue our work, and to improve our offerings, we need your support. Please consider purchasing or renewing your subscription to AALBC.com monthly eNewsletter—less than a dollar an issue.

If you’ve read something, in our eNewsletter, that you enjoyed or felt was important, please share it with others. We are responsible for ensuring the depth and breadth of our stories are told, shared and recorded.

If you are interested in providing more substantial support through website sponsorship please contact Troy Johnson.

Peace,
Troy Johnson,
Founder and Webmaster

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