Game Over: The Rise and Transformation of a Harlem Hustler by Azie Faison
Faison was a ninth grade dropout who earned more than $100,000 a week selling cocaine in Harlem, New York, during the peak of America's "War on Drugs" between 1983 and 1990. Faison, along with two partners, was an urban prince with cars, jewels, and people -- in awe of this million-dollar phenomenon -- at his feet. His legacy has been praised by hip-hop's top names in their lyrics, and his life was the basis for the urban cult classic film Paid in Full starring Mekhi Phifer, Wood Harris, and rapper Cam'ron and produced by Jay-Z's Roc-A-Fella Films.
In Game Over, Azie brings forth a powerful memoir of New York's perilous drug underworld and music industry, with an intellect and wisdom to empower and challenge the street culture he knows so very well.
Do Me Twice: My Life after Islam A Memoir by Sonsyrea Tate - Reviewed by Book Review by Kam Williams
Until the age of 18, Sonsyrea "Ray-Ray" Tate was essentially raised in the Nation of Islam, although the Black Muslim sect would change its name and philosophy several times over that time span. This could prove to be very confusing for a child who first had it ingrained in her head that all white people were devils, before being taught that they�re not devils, and then, oops, they are in fact devils after all. Her mandated clothing and spiritual rituals also underwent revisions intermittently, which might understandably take a toll when one is expected to follow a flip-flopping path on faith alone.
Held by Leslie Haskin - Book Review by Idrissa Uqdah
Held is the author's own personal account of recovery towards healing. She found that recovery meant rebuilding trust with God, then with others and then with herself. She found that recovery is temporary; but that healing is the restoration of wholeness, heart, mind and soul. Healing is forever. But one must recover in order to heal and remain open to God so that He can fix what is broken inside. And while He is fixing what is broken, He will hold you in His loving care. This is the basic message that the author puts forth in the book using prayers and Scriptural references to enhance and make clear her personal story. Reaching out to a hurting world; Haskin does an awesome job of relating to those in need of healing in this book.
Why did The City Sun [1984-1996] Matter? by Wayne Dawkins
On June, 6 1984, the inaugural City Sun cover story was �Death of a Generation� written by Errol Louis, now an op-ed columnist at the New York Daily News. He reported that 54 percent of New York City's black males age 16 to 19 were unemployed; 14 percent of black men ages 20-plus were jobless, and the city's 42-percent high school dropout rate was extreme at four schools in predominantly black neighborhoods.
The early City Sun formula was an oversize black masthead accessorized with a red streamer that mimicked the city's bare-knuckled tabloids, the Daily News and New York Post, liberal use of wide-angle action photos, an eclectic mix of stories about black New York life, regular Caribbean and Africa news pages, a copious arts and culture section led by critic Armond White and arts writer Fern Gillespie, and an out-of-the box sports section edited by Anthony Carter �Tony� Paige.
Mission Accomplished: Wicked Cartoons by America's Most Wanted Political Cartoonist by Khalil Bendib - Book Review by Kam Williams
Fortunately, Khalil Bendib is an exception to the rule and his work stands in sharp contrast to most of his colleagues. This inventive Muslim-American artist routinely weighs-in with clever, iconoclastic cartoons on subjects ranging from war profiteering to New Orleans to racism to healthcare to the criminal justice system to the Middle East.
Trademark Bendib can be found in his lampooning of the 2004 presidential election in Ohio as "separate but equal" with side-by-side tableaus in which votes are collected in ballot boxes in white precincts, but in trash cans in black neighborhoods. He returns to this theme frequently to illustrate the country's 21st Century form of segregation, such as his drawing of a hospital where a "Whites Only" sign has been replaced by one reading "Insured Only."
Just the sort of honest, hard-hitting cartoons called for in this Orwellian Age where doublespeak and disinformation have become the order of the day.
Gone to Where the Bong Trees Grow By L. E. Rainey
http://aalbc.com/authors/gone_to_where.htm The next time you pick up a picture book written by a contemporary children's author flip through the pages. Take a few minutes to read the storyline and you'll discover an interesting fact--parents are rarely depicted as significant characters in contemporary bedtime stories. It would be fun but, perhaps, a tad bit naive, to pretend that the parents in picture books had followed the lead of the much beloved characters in Edward Lear's classic nursery rhyme the "Owl and the Pussycat"...
What Black Men Think - Film Review by Kam Williams
What Black Men Think is highly recommended as an excellent alternative to the mainstream propaganda which would have us internalize the worst beliefs about an unfairly maligned segment of society. Perhaps more importantly, this groundbreaking documentary ought to serve as an overdue wake-up call for young African-American males to take Harriet Tubman's words to heart, and to assume the responsibility of reprogramming their own minds in a positive manner instead of voluntarily internalizing a self-defeating mentality which amounts to little more than the 21st Century's equivalent of slavery. Excellent (4 stars)
An Illuminated Life: Belle da Costa Greene's Journey from Prejudice to Privilege - Book Review by Kam Williams
Most African-Americans of my generation were raised with whispered rumors about light-skinned relatives who had opted to pass for white. Sadly, due to the United States' virulent strain of racism, this often meant that one might never see or hear from that crossing over sibling, cousin, son or daughter again, given the sick society's strictly-enforced system of segregation For this reason, a book like the aptly titled An Illuminated Life represents a priceless addition to the annals of African-Americana, for it represents a very revealing and detailed biography of a woman who made just such a daring transition. Belle Marian Greener (1883-1950) was born in Washington, DC to parents who were both black. Her father had been the first African-American to graduate from Harvard while her mother hailed from a prominent black family which had been emancipated for generations.
Billy Dee Williams - The General Hospital, Night Shift Interview
William December Williams, Jr. was born on April 6, 1937 in Harlem where he was raised by his parents, William, Sr., a janitor, and Loretta, an elevator operator. Billy Dee, who exhibited considerable promise both as an artist and as an actor early in life, attended Manhattan's prestigious Music and Art High School.
The strikingly-handsome thespian's big break came in 1971 in the acclaimed television movie "Brian's Song" where he played Gayle Sayers opposite James Caan. He immediately followed up that impressive performance with another as Billie Holiday's husband in "Lady Sings the Blues" which co-starred Diana Ross. The two would appear together again years later in "Mahogany."
Balls of Fury - Film Review by Kam Williams
Christopher Walken's vintage performance as Feng is so over the top, it makes you forget the patently political-incorrectness of a white person playing an Asian. The same can be said of scenes where chopsticks are used to grab a guy by his gonads, or where a character speaking Chinglish mixes his �l's and his �r�s.
The film's ensemble also includes Aisha Tyler (http://aalbc.com/reviews/aisha_tyler.htm) as Feng's blowdart wielding henchwoman, along with Reno: 911's Kerri Kenney, veteran character actor David Koechner and Terry Crews, a buff crowd-pleaser who seems to be asked to flex his pecs in his every cameo nowadays. But Balls of Fury is basically a star vehicle which provides a breakout role for 2005 Tony Award-winner Dan Fogler, a gifted comic who comes across like a combination of Johns Belushi and Candy, exhibiting the former's impish, unbounded enthusiasm, and the latter's ever-endearing charm and twinkle in the eye. Excellent (3.5 stars)
John Singleton The Illegal Tender Interview with Kam Williams
In 1992, the USC film school alumnus became both the youngest person and the first African-American ever to land an Academy Award nomination in the Best Director category for Boyz N the Hood. He also earned another nomination for the picture's screenplay.
He went on to write, produce and direct Poetic Justice, Higher Learning, Shaft (2000), and Baby Boy. Singleton's additional credits as director include Rosewood (1997); 2 Fast 2 Furious and Four Brothers. John has also enjoyed tremendous success as a producer, financing the independent feature Hustle & Flow (2005) which landed an Oscar for Best Song and a Best Actor nomination for Terrence Howard.
The Sights and Sounds of the Harlem Book Fair 2007
If you missed or attended the 2007 Harlem Book Fair, visit this page. Here you will find commentary, video, links to hundred of photos, blog posts and other information about this year's Harlem Book Fair.
Having experienced the book fair as an advisory board member, panelist, volunteer coordinator, exhibitor, advertising seller, street map maker and even table and chair carrier my impressions are somewhat unique. My emotions for each years fair range from joy and excitement to downright frustration and anger. This year was no different.
I truly enjoyed the conversation between Howard Zinn and Walter Mosley. I made sure I was front row and center for that exchange. I participated on a panel about book reviews. The audience's questions and participation was truly enlightening. The most frustrating part of the day was paying for an advertisement in the Harlem Book Fair Journal and not seeing a single one all day...
Visit the link about to learn more about this year's Harlem Book for click the following link to read about previous Harlem Book Fairs: http://tinyurl.com/2wa7de.
The Best of the Web for Black Books
We've added a few more terrific web sites to the list including The Urban Book Source, also check out the newly revamped Thebacklist.net and other favorites like; TheGRITS.com who are running the GRITS Kidz Book Club and Radio Show and Disilgold Soul who pack more information onto one page than most entire web sites! All the sites are all have something unique to offer and are worth a visit.
Sojourner's Dream - Book Reviewed by Idrissa Uqdah
I approached the novel, Sojourner's Dream by first time author Angeline Bandon-Bibum expecting a sweet, sweet romance novel that transcended international cultures between an African American woman and an African man. The novel is a love story about the romance between Sojourner Brown, a shy graduate student at Howard University and Joseph Kalissa, a handsome and accomplished international lawyer from Rwanda but that is where my expectations ended.
What I found was a very detailed storyline filled with the horrors and the atrocities of the civil war in Rwanda in 1959 between two ethnic groups; the Hutu and the Tutsi people. It was an incredible read...
Judge Not! by Audrey Forrest Carter - Book Reviewed by Idrissa Uqdah
Audrey Forrest Carter has penned a great sequel to her well-received debut novel, The Wages of Sin. In Judge Not! readers follow the tale of Dr. Laura Bradley-Hutchins as she returns home to Atlanta due to a family crisis. She is Initially afraid to return to reclaim her children from her cheating and powerful millionaire ex-husband who drugged her and had her falsely admitted to a mental institution. But Laura finds her power and is filled with rage and determination to not only save her children, but to also extract revenge against her ex-husband, Alex.
Resurrecting the Champ - Film Review by Kam Williams
Hollywood has never been known to let the facts get in the way of an uplifting, overcoming-the-odds bio-pic, and Resurrecting the Champ is no exception. Based on the Los Angeles Times article of the same name written by J.R. Moehringer in 1997, the film revolves around an aspiring journalist who stakes his teetering career on a feature about a homeless ex-boxer while simultaneously learning a valuable lesson about father-son relationships in the process. Poor (� star)
From Vacation to Work � Think Before U Return by Kevin Wayne Johnson
During my 23+ years in the workforce, nineteen with the federal government and four within the setting of corporate America, I have seen friends, peers, associates, and colleagues, at all levels within the organization, encounter multiple problems while at work. I, too, have faced them. In most instances, the affected person feels isolated, alone, trapped, with nowhere to turn. You are NOT alone.
...Keeping pace with these constant changes is a fulltime job in and of itself. Having a personal relationship with God, through Jesus Christ, is the assurance that we can overcome all of the pressure and change that is inherent to a typical day at work.
Who's Your Caddy? - Film Review by Kam Williams
In Caddyshack (1980), arguably Rodney Dangerfield's finest hour on film, the late comic stole the show as a nouveau riche tycoon who outraged the old-moneyed members of the exclusive country club he was thinking of buying.
The running joke in that fish-out-of-water classic revolved around his bull-in-a-china closet boorish behavior and bad taste as he offended relatively-uptight members of polite society.
Who's Your Caddy resurrects the same premise, but basically in blackface, relying on the racist notion that you can take a brother out of the ghetto but you can�t take the ghetto out of the brother. The picture stars gangsta� rapper Big Boi (aka Antwon Andre Patton) in the Rodney role, only typecast as C-Note, a mythical hip-hop icon from Atlanta who's "getting his pimp thing together." Poor (0 stars)