VIDEO: Fela Kuti: Black President | Sound Tracks | PBS

Black President

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Lagos, Nigeria. The country's largest city teems with people hustling to make a living. Despite Nigeria's oil wealth, daily life remains a struggle. Necessities like clean water and electricity remain elusive to many, and the government consistently ranks among the most corrupt in surveys by international organizations.

Against this backdrop, Fela Kuti in the 1970s created Afrobeat, a powerful concoction of American funk and jazz, West African highlife, and incendiary, rebellious lyrics. "Afrobeat is the African truth," says Fela's youngest son, Seun. "Nobody speaks for a lot of us in Africa. They speak for themselves and their business, but they don't speak for the people."

Fela challenged the military rulers of Nigeria and portrayed the plight of his people in songs like "Shuffering and Shmiling," which he sang in the dialect of the streets: Every day my people dey inside bus, suffering, and smiling. Every day my people dey inside bus, suffering, and smiling. Them go reach house, water no dey. Them go reach bed, power no dey. In response, the government dispatched 1,000 soldiers to destroy Fela's compound in 1977. The soldiers beat him, killed his mother by throwing her from a second story window, and torched the building. Fela was arrested more than 200 times in his lifetime.

Today, Fela's youngest son Seun is carrying his father's torch. He recently released his debut album, "Many Things," in which he delivers his own criticisms of the government. Unfortunately, things have actually gotten worse in Lagos, Seun tells reporter Marco Werman. In the Kuti family nightclub, The Shrine, Seun sings: As time dey go, things dey spoil more and more. As time dey go, children dey die more and more. No food to eat. No light to see. No water to drink. Nowhere to stay.


Cassandra Herrman, Producer
Marco Werman, Reporter
Andrew Gersh, Editor
Andy Bowley, Camera/Sound
Kole Payne, Nigeria Coordinator
George Uwaifo, Jib Operator
Christine Levy, Additional Photography
Faruk Lasaki, Nigeria Production Rentals


PBS special on Fela Kuti, "The Black President," includes video and audio tracks with interviews and music.]

INFO: sfsu bsu started a movement

The Black Student Union at SFSU started it all

Monday, February 1, 2010

The Black Student Union at San Francisco State University was the first at any school anywhere. Its official history has not yet been written, but the oral history is being kept alive by two men in their mid-60s talking about the mid-'60s.

They are Jimmy Garrett and Jerry Varnado, who cooked up the concept - a college advocacy group that would work toward civil rights everywhere - and barnstormed it around to other colleges and high schools. The pair met as undergraduate activists in early 1966 and met most recently at Garrett's house a few doors off Martin Luther King Jr. Way in North Oakland.

"We did manage to play a role in a broader movement," says Varnado, a retired attorney who lives in the Oakland hills. "There are Black Student Unions all over the world. I went to the London School of Economics to visit the Black Student Union."

"The group at San Francisco State is the first that we know to use that term," says Akinyele Umoja, associate professor of African American studies at Georgia State University in Atlanta and a leader at the National Council for Black Studies. "Later on, there was a conference in California where black students at other campuses all adopted that name."

It was more than a name, and the lasting acronym BSU. "That activity that they were leaders in didn't just shift San Francisco State. It shifted the access and the academic context of every university in the country," says Kenneth Monteiro, dean of the College of Ethnic Studies at San Francisco State.

The first and still the only academic department of its kind in the country, the College of Ethnic Studies is celebrating its 40th anniversary this school year. The College of Ethnic Studies came out of the black studies department, which came out of the famed student strike of 1968-69, which came out of the BSU, which came out of a wager that Garrett made in Los Angeles shortly after the Watts Riots of 1965.

A winning bet

"The bet was that you could build a black student movement on a predominately white campus," says Garrett, 67, also a lawyer and the retired dean of instruction at Vista Community College (now Berkeley City College). "That was a bet that a couple of people in SNCC (Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee) made. I bet that it could happen."

In his early 20s, Garrett was already a veteran Freedom Rider and youth activist. He came to San Francisco because he had family here, and he came to S.F. State specifically to organize. Being enrolled in classes was mainly a way to avoid Vietnam.

"When I got to San Francisco State, I did an analysis," says Garrett, who broke the black student population into three categories: the Negro Student Association (NSA), an organized club inclusive of all black students; the fraternities and sororities; and the radical Black Nationalists.

"Then there were people like me who didn't know what they were," Garrett says. "Whatever I was, it wasn't one of those."

Strategy sessions

Varnado was one of those. A 21-year-old freshman from segregated Mississippi, by way of the Air Force, he was chapter president of Alpha Phi Alpha, a black fraternity, and active in the NSA. He may have met Garrett at a party at the frat house on Capitol Avenue in the Ingleside district, but he isn't sure. They started having strategy sessions in a corner of the campus library. Two became three. Three grew to five, then to eight.

Whatever it was they were on to, it needed its own name, and that took two or three weeks of meetings to settle. Otherwise, there were no membership rules or bylaws or articles of incorporation filed in the student activities office.

"We didn't plan all this stuff," Varnado says. "It just started happening and it grew."

According to "Blow It Up!" Dikran Karagueuzian's account of the 1968 campus revolt, the name Black Student Union was attributed to a student named Tricia Navara. The book suggests that it was just a matter of renaming the NSA, which is the way Varnado and Garrett tell it.

"For all practical purposes, the BSU and the NSA were the same," says Varnado. But Dean Monteiro says that the BSU formed as a wholly separate entity.

"That was a tough moment," says Monteiro, who was too young to be there but has studied the chronology. "The Negro Student Association was not moving along as if it needed to be defunct."

But it couldn't keep up with the BSU under Garrett, who "soon moved into politics and made the BSU the most powerful pressure group on campus," according to "Blow It Up!"

"Our thing was not simply to understand the world. Our duty was to change it," Garrett says. "Everybody on the campus who identified themselves as a black person, whether they were a student, faculty, worked in the yards, you were a member of the Black Student Union by definition."

Garrett was the first chair, and Varnado was the on-campus coordinator. Word got around, and soon their expertise was being sought at other campuses.

"We had a student who called us from Stanford and he said, 'There's only six or seven of us, can we set up a Black Student Union?' " Garrett says. "We worked at every institution that would open space for us: community college, high school, elementary school."

College outreach

Within a year, the BSU was at every state college in California. There were BSU sweatshirts, BSU dances, but the most important aspect was the BSU outreach into high schools with tutorials and college prep programs.

"Having the name Black Student Union, we were not afraid to go to the ghetto. We were not afraid to go to Hunters Point," says Varnado. "We tried to recruit students to come to college. We wanted them to join the BSU also, but the primary reason was for them to get an education."

The BSU pressed campus administrators for a more liberal admissions policy. A year after its launch, the black population at San Francisco State had doubled, Garrett says, and a year after that, it doubled again.

"Enrollment was increased and many lives were changed because of the outreach they did," says Umoja of the National Council of Black Studies. "BSUs in the late '60s and early '70s provided a key role for tens of thousands of black kids in the United States."

Much of that was the result of the student strike to institutionalize minority curriculums. The walkout started Nov. 6, 1968, and ended March, 21, 1969, making it the longest campus strike in U.S. history. By then, Garrett had moved on toward graduate school in the East, but Varnado wasn't going anywhere. He liked S.F. State so much that he changed his major to prolong his undergraduate career.

During the strike, he was arrested many times and ended up spending a year in County Jail. But it ended well. He proceeded directly from jail to law school at Hastings, though he doesn't recall ever filling out an application. That was the power of the BSU at S.F. State.

A new plaque

If you go out to the Outer Sunset campus looking for the history of the BSU, you won't find much. There is the BSU headquarters in Cesar Chavez Student Center, and there is a commemorative rock hidden in the Quad with a plaque that vaguely honors the strike but doesn't mention the BSU.

Next month, a historic plaque that speaks specifically to the BSU and its sister in arms, the Third World Liberation Front, will be mounted in the front lobby of the ethnic studies building.

Garrett and Varnado will be proud to see it, but they're more proud of what stands behind it.

"I'm just happy that the ethnic studies department is still in existence at San Francisco State," Varnado says. "It's beyond anything that I could have imagined."

Garrett breaks it down to numbers: "Six thousand students take those courses every semester."

E-mail Sam Whiting at

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HAITI: Solar Power to build back better | Stand With Haiti | Partners In Health



Stand With Haiti.

PIH has been working on the ground in Haiti for over 20 years. We urgently need your support to help those affected by the recent earthquake. More About PIH

Solar Power to build back better

The newly installed colar panels at Boucan Carre 

“A lack of power was responsible for a lot of deaths in the first few days [after the earthquake],” wrote PIH Executive Director Ophelia Dahl in a recent message.

With electricity knocked out around the country, surgeons were forced to operate on patients using flashlights. Laboratory and diagnostic equipment were rendered useless. Electric water pumps were nonfunctional. Gas generators helped fill the gap. But finding fuel quickly became difficult, and gas that could be found carried price tags as high as $20 a gallon in the days following the earthquake.  Many of our clinics powered by gas generators came uncomfortably close to running out of fuel.

As PIH begins to move from short-term relief efforts towards long-term recovery and rebuilding work, finding sustainable ways to power hospitals will become a priority.

Since 2006, PIH has been working in partnership with the Solar Electric Light Fund (SELF) to provide solar power to hospitals in Rwanda, Lesotho, and most recently, in Haiti. 

Last fall, SELF installed a 10,000 watt solar panel system on the roof of the public hospital in Boucan Carre, where PIH operates in partnership with the Ministry of Health. While hospitals on the grid in the capital city (roughly 3 hours by car from Boucan Carre) were forced to care for patients by candlelight, the solar panels at Boucan Carre ensured that electricity was one less thing the staff had to worry about as they began treating an influx of earthquake victims.

Boucan Carre was just the first of ten sites in Haiti that SELF is planning to work with PIH to help power. Following the earthquake, having the sun power medical facilities will be one of the goals for helping Haiti to build back better. Help support this initiative.

Read more about SELF’s partnership with PIH in Haiti.

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Partners In Health have been working in Haiti for over 20 years. Check out their website.

INFO: new book--african americans in hawai'i -a search for identity


A new book, “African Americans in Hawai`i: A Search For Identity,” by Ayin Adams Ph.D. to be released February 20, 2010

For Immediate Release:  Monday, February 1, 2010
Contact:  Pacific Raven Press, 808-276-6864

A new book,  “African Americans In Hawai`i: A Search For Identity ,” compiled and edited by Ayin M. Adams, Ph.D. is being released by its publisher Pacific Raven Press on Saturday, February 20, 2010. The essays and interviews in the book document the difficulties and challenges as well as the contributions and successes of African Americans in Hawai‘i.

“The reader of this book will be left with fresh new images of and respect for blacks in Hawai`i, after learning of their 19th century migrations, leadership roles, successes and contributions to the whaling industry, medicine, business, education, science, civil service, the arts, social work, the military, and politics,” says Adams. “The reader will also discover issues of identity and pain, resulting from the derogatory images of blacks in western art, literature, and the media that have permeated the local psyche and eroded a positive self image and respect for blacks.”

Ayin Adams is a performance artist, inspirational teacher and spiritual healer and has been published in numerous magazines, e-zines, and on-line publications. Author of more than five volumes of poetry books, including the acclaimed, “The Woods Deep Inside Me,” Adams was chosen as ‘Teacher of the Year 2008’ by the International Peace Poem Awards Committee. She is the winner of the Pat Parker Poetry Award, the Audre Lorde Memorial Prose Prize Winner, Award Winner for Literary Excellence 2001, and the Zora Neale Hurston/Richard Wright Award.

The 220-page large format book has an  introduction written by Kathryn Waddell Takara, Ph.D.. and foreword by Aaron L. Day and Indira Hale-Tucker. Pacific Raven Press  features new, emerging writers, and established writers of literary fiction and poetry. Pacific Raven Press publishes books by Africans and African Americans and People of Color in Hawai`i. Books are available at Borders, Barnes & Noble,, and  online at .

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Pacific Raven Press

INFO: aalbc e-newsletter - february 1, 2010

 The #1 Site for African American Literature

African American Literature Book Club's eNewsletter - February 1st 2010 BEST SELLING BOOKS

To view the top 25 selling fiction and nonfiction books from November 1st through December 31st, visit: 

Zane Novel - Total Eclipse of the Heart by Zane1 - Total Eclipse of the Heart by Zane
2 - Purple Panties: An Anthology by Zane (Editor)
3 - Missionary No More: Purple Panties 2 by Zane (Editor)
4 - Head Bangers: An APF Sexcapade by Zane
5 - Push: A Novel by Sapphire

Confessions of a Video Vixen by Karrine Steffans1 - Confessions of a Video Vixen by Karrine Steffans
2 - The Isis Papers: The Keys to the Colors by Frances Cress Welsin
3 - Cool, Confident and Strong: 52 Power Moves for Girls by Cassandra Mack
4 - Dear G-Spot: Straight Talk About Sex and Love by Zane
5 - Christopher Columbus and the Afrikan Holocaust: Slavery and the Rise of European Capitalism by Dr. John Henrik Clarke

Allen B. Ballard, Professor of History and Africana Studies at SUNY-Albany, holds an undergraduate degree, Phi Beta Kappa, from Kenyon College in Ohio and a Ph.D. degree in government from Harvard University.

In addition to the novel Where I'm Bound, Dr. Ballard has published two nonfiction books, The Education of Black People (Harper and Row, 1973) and One More Day's Journey: The Story of a Family and a People (McGraw Hill, 1984). His articles have appeared in scholarly and popular journals, including the New York Times Magazine. (Photo of Ballard as a Central High of Philadelphia Senior)

ralph waldo ellisonRalph Waldo Ellison

Ellison was highly regarded by both the literary and academic worlds. He was Fellow of the American Academy in Rome from 1955 to 1957 and on his return held several visiting professorships; latterly being Albert Schweitzer Professor in the Humanities at New York University. He received the United States Medal of Freedom in 1969, became Chevalier de l'ordre des Arts et Lettres in 1970, and received the National Medal of Arts in 1985. Ralph Ellison died in 1994 [of cancer, April 16, 1994], survived by his wife of forty-eight years [married Fanny McConnell, July, 1946]. In his obituary, The Independent declared him "a great gentleman, indeed a noble man, and the remarkable mythologising author of ... the great American Negro novel." 

Check out Ellison's latest novel Three Days Before the Shooting (January 26, 2010). 

vanessa griggsVanessa Davis Griggs

"God's Cheerleader", Vanessa Davis Griggs is an author and motivational speaker who adores the power of words both written and spoken. At the end of 1996, this former BellSouth employee left 18 years of service stepping out on faith and decided to pursue her purpose and passion--writing. Proving out Proverbs 18:16, A man's gift maketh room for him, and bringeth him before great men, she began her own company (Free To Soar) emphasizing the taking off of limits as she travels inspiring and encouraging others--both young and old--to take flight like an eagle and do the same.

Note: The mother of's founder recently discovered Griggs' and has read all of Griggs' books in a just a couple of months and is anxiously awaiting Griggs' next novel, The Truth Is The Light (May 2010) BOOK REVIEWS (Fiction)
wenchPost Black: How a New Generation Is Redefining African-American Identity by Ytasha L. Womack

Post Black opens with the most evocative and entertaining “will not” disclaimer since The Las Poets’ rhythmical rant in “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised” delineated a laundry list of what the impending black insurrection would not involve. Apparently, that coup d’etat must have long since transpired, since author Ytasha Womack now addresses not the mainstream concerns of the oppressed black masses, but those of a diversity of lesser-acknowledged slices of African-Americana, like African and Caribbean immigrants, Buppies (Black Urban Professionals), black gays and lesbians, black transgendered individuals, the biracial community, black bi-culturals, African-American feminists, the Talented Tenth and black Buddhists.

resurrecting midnightResurrecting Midnight by Eric Jerome Dickey

I loved everything about the novel. The characters, the plot, are all winning. I am surprised that I loved the novel as well as I did for I don’t usually go for the international assassin /spy type stories. Now, I can watch and enjoy a Tom Clancy type book when it is turned into a movie, but in its book form I am bored stupid. The difference between Resurrecting Midnight and those books is Dickey. While all of the weapons, action and high tech gadgets are all here, Dickey gave Gideon personal drama to deal with as well. If you have followed Dickey as long as I have, from his first novel (Sister, Sister) to now, he is the master of personal drama, the absolute best. When it comes to crafting a story with memorable characters in messy situations, Dickey is in a class by himself. Couple this talent with an assassin/spy based story, the result is in an infectious, damn hard to put down book.

sleep don't come easySleep Don't Come Easy by Victor McGlothin & J.D. Mason

Sleep Don't Come Easy is a superb, worthwhile anthology that almost got past me. I'm happy that it did not. Mason continues to enthrall me. McGlothin turned out to be a pleasant surprise. Reading this wonderful anthology did get me to look around and ask where all of my beautiful detectives and their unsolved murders and mayhem went. At least Sleep Don''t Come Easy provided me a respite and a little bit of hope.

sassySassy by Gloria Mallette

Sassy has some wonderful qualities that are overshadowed by the grammar/spelling errors. I loved all of Mallette's previous novels with varying degrees. I'm going to continue to read Mallette in the future. I hope, no, I PRAY that Mallette employs copy editor on her next outing, because her stories deserve better treatment than the one Sassy received.

Invasion of the Baby DaddyInvasion of the Baby Daddy Dr. John Bell 

In the debut novel “Invasion of the Baby Daddy,” debut author Dr. John Bell tells of the personal relationship struggles of protagonist Mark Sands. Though Sands is a well-mannered, God-fearing, and well-educated black man, his shyness and a lack of available women make finding his soul mate a challenge. The only women he seems to attract are the ones who already have children, and worst yet a “baby daddy” in their lives. That all changes one Sunday during a church visit when he meets the lovely Rachel and makes an instant connection. But as they say, if something seems too good to be true, it probably is. BOOK REVIEWS (Non-Fiction)
The New Jim CrowThe New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander

Now that bloom has fallen off the rose of the Obama Administration, most black folks are beginning to wake up to the fact that his election isn’t about to turn the country into a post-racial utopia any time soon. To the contrary, attorney Michelle Alexander argues that in recent decades America has increasingly, and ever so subtly, adopted a color-coded caste system where minorities are targeted, stigmatized and marginalized by the criminal justice system.

Alexander, a Professor of Law at Ohio State University, makes her very persuasive case in The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, a scathing indictment of the widespread practice of selective enforcement of draconian drug laws. Ostensibly, the aim of the U.S. government has been not only to warehouse masses of African-American males behind bars, but to relegate them permanently to a subordinate stratum of society even after they’re paroled.

post blackPost Black: How a New Generation Is Redefining African-American Identity by Ytasha L. Womack

As she explains it, “Post Black is about emerging groups, both vibrant and forceful, whose voices and issues are entrenched in communities but are not part of the social agenda, public discussion, national politics, or collective identity.” Ms. Womack’s salient point is that African-Americans are long past the point of comprising one monolithic interest group. Excuse me for already feeling that way 50 years ago.

Nonetheless, the book is well-written and sensibly organized with chapters devoted to each of the aforementioned “new” constituencies. However, the author bases her conclusions about her assorted subjects more on anecdotal evidence and her own personal feelings than on any social scientific data or empirical research INTERVIEWS

soledad obrienSoledad O'Brien - Eyewitness Report on the Haitian Relief Effort

In the wake of the Haitian earthquake, CNN’s Soledad O’Brien rushed to the region to deliver the same sort of high-quality, eyewitness coverage that she has dependably broadcast in the past on location after location from such disasters area as the Indian Ocean Tsunami and Hurricane Katrina. Because of her seemingly effortless style and her People Magazine’s 50 Most Beautiful People List looks, what tends to get lost about this intrepid, Emmy-winning reporter is that she’s also a Harvard grad with a keen intellect, a razor sharp wit, a great sense of humor and an ever-inquiring mind.

chiwetel ejioforChiwetel Ejiofor- The “Endgame” Interview

Chiwetel Ejiofor was born in London on July 10, 1977 to Nigerian  immigrants, Arinze, a doctor, and Obiajulu Ejiofor, a pharmacist. By the age of 13, he was already appearing in numerous school and National Youth Theatre productions, and he subsequently attended the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts, as well as Dulwich College.

In 1996, the versatile stage thespian caught the attention of Stephen Spielberg who cast him in Amistad. Chiwetel returned to the stage before making another big splash onscreen in the critically-acclaimed thriller Dirty Pretty Things. He went on to co-star in Love Actually, Slow Burn, She Hate Me and Melinda and Melinda. His more recent film credits include 2012, American Gangster, Talk to Me, Kinky Boots, Four Brothers Inside Man, Redbelt and Children of Men.

Here, he talks about his life, his career, and his powerful performance in Endgame, for which he just  landed a Golden Globe nomination

cornel westCornel West  - The “Brother West” Interview

One of America's most provocative public intellectuals, Dr. Cornel Ronald West has been a champion for racial justice since childhood. His writing, speaking, and teaching weave together the traditions of the black Baptist Church, progressive politics, and jazz. 
Though currently the Class of 1943 Professor at Princeton University, Dr. West first burst onto the national scene in 1993 upon the publication of his best seller, Race Matters, a searing analysis of racism in American democracy. In his long-awaited autobiography, BROTHER WEST: Living and Loving Out Loud, he now offers a compelling exploration of his heart behind the human mind.

Here, he answers questions from readers and talks about the book which explores such themes as Faith, Family, Philosophy, Love and Service.

cathy hughesCathy Hughes - The TV One Interview

Catherine Elizabeth Woods Hughes was born in Omaha, Nebraska where she attended Creighton University and the University of Nebraska. But before graduating, she began working at KOWH, a local black radio station where she handled assorted jobs en route to becoming well-known in the industry.

By 1975, she was named the radio station's general manager, and four years after that, she and her husband, Dewey Hughes, purchased a small radio station, WOL, thus creating Radio One. When the marriage failed, Hughes purchased her husband's half of the business, giving up her apartment and sleeping at the station in order to make ends meet. Over time, she turned it into a profitable operation, while going on the air herself to host a talk show which would blossom into a hit program. 

Today, the popular media mogul is the first black woman in the U.S. to head a company whose stock [Symbol: ROIA] is publicly-traded on an exchange. Here, Cathy talks about her career, about TV One which is celebrating its 5th year anniversary, and about hosting the celebrity interview show TV One on One.

9th wonderThe 9th Wonder Interview

Born Patrick Denard Douthit in Winston-Salem, NC on January 15, 1975, 9th Wonder is a Grammy Award-winning producer, DJ, college lecturer and social activist. Since his introduction to hip-hop in 1982, 9th has been immersed in the music and the culture of the art form, while gaining experience in music theory throughout middle and high school.

9th was recently appointed the National Ambassador for Hip-Hop Relations and Culture by NAACP President Ben Jealous to lead a board of Ph.D's, and hip-hop artists. Here he discusses his life, career and musical philosophy. FILM REVIEWS
off and runningOff and Running

When Tovah Klein emigrated from Israel to the United States, she met and fell in love with Midwesterner Travis Cloud. The smitten lesbians subsequently settled in a trendy section of Brooklyn together where they would raise their three adopted children as Jews, sending them to Hebrew school.

What might strike some as strange about this arrangement is that none of the kids had a Jewish background. Rafi, of mixed-ethnicity, was born drug-addicted and with an STD, while his slightly younger sister Avery’s parents were African-Americans from Texas, and little Zay-Zay was a cuddly, Korean orphan. ARTICLES
the best and worst black businessesKam Williams’ Annual Assessment of the Best (and Worst) in Black Cinema

The very best African-American film fare from 2009 was released early on, starting with Notorious, Medicine for Melancholy and Not Easily Broken, all of which arrived in theaters last January. That same month, Precious made its big splash at the Sundance Festival, walking away with a trio of awards: best picture, director (Lee Daniels) and actress (Mo’Nique).

While a bounty of other excellent African-American oriented offerings subsequently arrived over the course of the year, none ever matched Lee Daniels’ tour de force in terms of either emotional depth or raw intensity. Plus, Precious featured Oscar-quality work by Gabby Sidibe in the title role and by Mo’Nique as her relentlessly-abusive mother. And Daniels also coaxed career screen performances out of his motley cast, from Paula Patton to Mariah Carey to Lenny Kravitz to Sherri Shepherd.

So, without further fanfare, check out this critic’s humble assessment of the best and the worst in Black Cinema for 2009. RECOMMENDS
Nobody But You - A Grayson Friends Novel by Francis Ray

NASCAR champion Cameron Dunlap is poised to win this year's Sprint Cup. But being a successful race-car driver comes with a price. Cameron knows that his profession puts him at high risk. Thankfully, his latest visit to the hospital left him intact. That is, until he bumps into Caitlin Lawrence...and is thrust back into his painful past.

Caitlin left Cameron at the altar because she could never accept Cameron's fast and furious existence. The threat of losing him on the racetrack was just too much for Caitlin — and the young son Cameron never knew he had. Now that this chance meeting has changed their lives forever, will Caitlin and Cameron find a way to recapture what might have been?

searching for tina turnerSearching for Tina Turner by Jacqueline E. Luckett

On the surface, Lena Spencer appears to have it all. She and her wealthy husband Randall have two wonderful children, and they live a life of luxury. In reality, however, Lena finds that happiness is elusive. Randall is emotionally distant, her son has developed a drug habit, and her daughter is disgusted by her mother's "overbearing behavior." When Randall decides that he's had enough of marriage counseling, he offers his wife an ultimatum: "Be grateful for all I've done for you or leave." Lena, realizing that money can't solve her problems and that her husband is no longer the man she married, decides to choose the latter. Drawing strength from Tina Turner's life story,Searching for Tina Turner is Lena's struggle to find herself after 25 years of being a wife and mother.

why I love menWhy I Love Men: The Joys of Dating by J.J. Smith

"J.J. Smith cuts through the chatter with some tried-and-true cures to our relationship malaise. There are other books of this type but what separates J.J. Smith's book from the others is she dares to tell the raw truth about the power of sex. The book is written in a conversational tone that grabs the reader with charm, style, almost like an intimate whisper from a sista friend." —Robert Fleming,

Ralph Ellisons 3 days before the shootingThree Days Before the Shooting by Ralph Ellison
At his death in 1994, Ralph Ellison left behind roughly two thousand pages of his unfinished second novel, which he had spent nearly four decades writing. Long awaited, it was to have been the work Ellison intended to follow his masterpiece, Invisible Man. Five years later, Random House published Juneteenth, drawn from the central narrative of Ellison’s unfinished epic. 

Three Days Before the Shooting . . . gathers together in one volume, for the first time, all the parts of that planned opus, including three major sequences never before published. Set in the frame of a deathbed vigil, the story is a gripping multigenerational saga centered on the assassination of the controversial, race-baiting U.S. senator Adam Sunraider, who’s being tended to by “Daddy” Hickman, the elderly black jazz musician turned preacher who raised the orphan Sunraider as a light-skinned black in rural Georgia. Presented in their unexpurgated, provisional state, the narrative sequences form a deeply poetic, moving, and profoundly entertaining book, brimming with humor and tension, composed in Ellison’s magical jazz-inspired prose style and marked by his incomparable ear for vernacular speech.

damagedDamaged by Kia DuPree

Camille Logan feels trapped. After she is sexually and emotionally abused by her foster parents, she turns to the one person she knows she can trust--her boyfriend Chu, a mid-level drug dealer. But when life finally starts looking up for Camille, Chu is brutally murdered. Again feeling abandoned and helpless, and refusing to return to the system, Camille finds herself living with a stable of women in a tiny run-down apartment building in Washington, D.C., working for Nut, a deranged pimp. Fed up with her life, Camille is forced to right her wrongs, and slowly learns that her past does not necessarily determine her future.

Unsigned Hype Book TrailerBest Book Trailer of 2009 - Booker T. Mattison's Unsigned Hype

Told from the perspective of ambitious, aspiring hip-hop DJ and producer Tory Tyson, Unsigned Hype takes readers onto the streets of New York and gives them a glimpse into the realities of life on the block. Author Booker T. Mattison knows this world well, having been mesmerized the first time he heard the beats and rhymes of rap in 1979. Since then, he's embraced this world of hip-hop, as a filmmaker and writing and directing music videos that have aired on BET, MTV Europe and TBN.

The story of Tory Tyson is an inspiring one that pulls back the curtain on the urban young-adult experience, with its fresh voice and true-to-life rendering of the hip-hop world. Capturing the delight of teen and older adult readers alike, Booker T. Mattison delivers an insightful and inspiring story that trumpets hope and is staged to become an anthem for this often misunderstood generation.

National Book Club ConferenceThe National Black Book Festival

The National Black Book Festival (NBBF) is an annual event, sponsored by, the world's largest African-American retailer online.  The event attracts a wide array of authors, publishers, book clubs, libraries and individual readers from the Southwest U.S. and nationwide.  NBBF 2010 will be held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Downtown Houston.

The event features a pavilion of authors, including those who are notable and new.  Book signing and discussion sessions with featured authors, workshops and seminars, a spoken word poetry slam and book club give-aways are just a few of the exciting featured activities at NBBF.  Authors will be grouped according to genre and there are 17 genres that will be represented.  The Festival is open to the public and admission is $5.00 per day for adults and teens.  Admission is FREE for children under the age of 12.

Be sure to check out's Founder in the Marketing Your Book On a Limited Budget seminar; presentated with Oswald Scott, Author and Attorney and Dana Pittman of Nia Promotions.

self publishing symposiumThe Annual Self-Publishing Symposium

Join us March 7th, 2010 at The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture to take advantage of what this important business event can do for your publishing company. Whether you’re a self-published author, small/independent press or writer considering self-publishing, you won’t want to miss this opportunity to; (1) to Learn successful business strategies from industry experts, (2) Network with professionals and make powerful connections, and (3) Grow your business to new heights. of a proud sponsor and particpant of the 2010 Self-Publishing Symposium.

10th NBWCThe Tenth National Black Writers' Conference

The Tenth National Black Writers' Conference, first presented in 1986 as a result of the visionary leadership of the late John O. Killens, will be held March 25-28, 2010. Toni Morrison, will be the Honorary Chair. The theme of the National Black Writers' Conference is And Then We Heard the Thunder: Black Writers Reconstructing Memories and Lighting the Way. Through a series of panel discussions, roundtables, author readings and storytelling, the National Black Writers' Conference will use the metaphor of thunder, memory and light to examine the historical representation of the literature of Black writers and the representation of new and future directions for contemporary and emerging literary voices. With Toni Morrison as the Honorary Chair, the National Black Writers' Conference will also honor Amiri BarakaKamau Brathwaite and Dr. Edison O. Jackson. Black writers will come from throughout America, the Caribbean, Europe and Africa.

Be sure to check out the sponsored reading featuring authors Allen B. BallardVictor LaValle and Dolen Perkins-Valdez.
Black Women and the names of their children...?

Yeah, it's pretty sad. A post 1970 generation of Negroes have been ghettoized with these silly coonish names. Negroes were desperate to separate themselves from white America and it's racism, so, in their misguided attempt to rename themselves with non-western sounding names, they initially used authentic African names. But soon the pandemic craze of haphazardly making up so-called African sounding names became the norm. . .
 ” —Xeon
What is everyone reading?

“Well, I'll go first. I'm reading Victoire by Maryse Conde, which is a sort of memoir, biography, historical fiction novel. You all know how much I love Maryse Conde. I find her brilliant. She's one of my all time favorite writers of all times. So far, the small novel is turning out to be magnificent. I'll keep you posted.” —Thumper

Visit Daily to get the latest new in the world of books
freedom on the menuFreedom on the Menu: The Greensboro Sit-Ins

Today is the 50th anniversary of the Greensboro, North Carolina, sit-ins. On February 1, 1960, four African American college students staged a sit-in at the Greensboro Woolworth's lunch counter. They did so to protest the store's policy of serving "the white trade only" for lunch. Many of the heroes and heroines of the Civil Rights Movement were ordinary people who chose to take a stand against injustice. To learn more about the impact of the actions of the "Greensboro Four" and those who supported them, I recommend Freedom on the Menu: The Greensboro Sit-Ins for ages 7-12. 

kindlePublisher Wins Fight With Amazon Over E-Books

“We have expressed our strong disagreement and the seriousness of our disagreement by temporarily ceasing the sale of all Macmillan titles,” Amazon said. “We want you to know that ultimately, however, we will have to capitulate and accept Macmillan’s terms because Macmillan has a monopoly over their own titles, and we will want to offer them to you even at prices we believe are needlessly high for e-books.”

Howard ZinnHoward Zinn, Historian, Is Dead at 87

Mr. Zinn was the author of "A People's History of the United States," which inspired a generation of high school and college students to rethink American history. (New York Times Fri, 29 Jan 2010 05:49:01 GMT) 

spot light on john henrySpotlight on John Henry

 The children's picture book John Henry combines a fascinating tale by Julius Lester with award-winning artwork by Jerry Pinkney, the winner of the 2010 Randolph Caldecott Medal for The Lion and the Mouse. John Henry was designated a 1995 Caldecott Honor Book for the excellence of Pinkney's illustrations.  ( Fri, 29 Jan 2010 06:00:00 EST) INFORMATION AND HOUSEKEEPING has started to roll out some enhancements to our website.  You may have already noticed the redesigned layout and homepage.  

connect via google comment on articles and moreOther enhancements include an complete overhaul of our discussions boards.  The new features are too numerous to mention here in detail but include the ability to use your FaceBook ID to participate in the discussions.

You can also use your google, twitter, Yahoo, AIM account to join and post comments on our reviews and other pages.  It is also the fastest way to get your photo on :-) 

Look out for additional enhancements and applications including an iPhone application, and a searchable database for book stores, book clubs, and publishing industry professionals.

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    EVENT: jackson, tennessee--poetry for port-au-prince

    The Griot Collective of West Tennessee presents "Poetry for Port-au-Prince" Saturday February 13 6 pm at the Green Frog Coffee Company in downtown Jackson Tennessee.  "Poetry for Port-au-Prince" is an open mic event where poets, published and unpublished, are invited to read their original works or poems by their favorite poets.  A $10 donation is requested for each poem read with all proceeds going to Unicef for Haitian earthquake relief.

    The Griot Collective of West Tennessee is a 501(c)(3) poetry workshop meeting monthly from September through May.  The Green Frog Coffee Company is located at 112 Baltimore Street in Jackson Tennessee.  The event is free and open to the public.  For more detai ls, phone:  731.423.5537.

    EVENT: detroit--the woodward line - 3 young poets

    Three young poets grace the February edition of

    The Woodward Line
     A Monthly Poetry Series

    Wednesday February 17, 7:00 PM
    Scarab Club 

     Co-sponsored by 

     Springfed Arts: Metro Detroit Writers

    Nandi Comer

    Jamaal Versiz May

    Tommye Blount

    at the Scarab Club 
     217 E. Farnsworth at John R   

    Free Admission

    PALESTINE: driving Palestinians out of their homes

    In the West Bank's stony hills, Palestine is slowly dying


    In the richest of the Occupied lands, Israeli bureaucracy is driving Palestinians out of their homes. Robert Fisk reports from JiftlikBy Robert FiskJanuary 30, 2010 "The Independent" - -Area C doesn't sound very ominous. A land of stone-sprinkled grey hills and soft green valleys, it's part of the wreckage of the equally wrecked Oslo Agreement, accounting for 60 per cent of the Israeli-occupied West Bank that was eventually supposed to be handed over to its Palestinian inhabitants.

    But look at the statistics and leaf through the pile of demolition orders lying on the table in front of Abed Kasab, head of the village council in Jiftlik, and it all looks like ethnic cleansing via bureaucracy. Perverse might be the word for the paperwork involved. Obscene appear to be the results.

    Palestinian houses that cannot be permitted to stand, roofs that must be taken down, wells closed, sewage systems demolished; in one village, I even saw a primitive electricity system in which Palestinians must sink their electrical poles cemented into concrete blocks standing on the surface of the dirt road. To place the poles in the earth would ensure their destruction – no Palestinian can dig a hole more than 40cm below the ground. 

    But let's return to the bureaucracy. "Ro'i" – if that is indeed the Israeli official's name, for it is difficult to decipher – signed a batch of demolition papers for Jiftlik last December, all duly delivered, in Arabic and Hebrew, to Mr Kasab. There are 21 of them, running – non-sequentially – from numbers 143912 through 145059, all from "The High Planning Council Monitoring [sic] Sub-Committee of the Civil Administration for the Area of Judea and Samaria". Judea and Samaria – for ordinary folk – is the occupied West Bank. The first communication is dated 8 December, 2009, the last 17 December.

    And as Mr Kasab puts it, that's the least of his problems. Palestinian requests to build houses are either delayed for years or refused; houses built without permission are ruthlessly torn down; corrugated iron roofs have to be camouflaged with plastic sheets in the hope the "Civil Administration" won't deem them an extra floor – in which case "Ro'i's" lads will be round to rip the lot off the top of the house.

    In Area C, there are up to 150,000 Palestinians and 300,000 Jewish colonists living – illegally under international law – in 120 official settlements and 100 "unapproved" settlements or, in the language we must use these days, "illegal outposts"; illegal under Israeli as well as international law, that is – as opposed to the 120 internationally illegal colonies which are legal under Israeli law. Jewish settlers, needless to say, don't have problems with planning permission.

    The winter sun blazes through the door of Mr Kasab's office and cigarette smoke drifts through the room as the angry men of Jiftlik shout their grievances. "I don't mind if you print my name, I am so angry, I will take the consequences," he says. "Breathing is the only thing we don't need a permit for – yet!" The rhetoric is tired, but the fury is real. "Buildings, new roads, reservoirs, we have been waiting three years to get permits. We cannot get a permit for a new health clinic. We are short of water for both human and agricultural use. Getting permission to rehabilitate the water system costs 70,000 Israeli shekels [about £14,000] – it costs more than the rehabilitation system itself."

    A drive along the wild roads of Area C – from the outskirts of Jerusalem to the semi-humid basin of the Jordan valley – runs through dark hills and bare, stony valleys lined with deep, ancient caves, until, further east, lie the fields of the Palestinians and the Jewish settlers' palm groves – electrified fences round the groves – and the mud or stone huts of Palestinian sheep farmers. This paradise is a double illusion. One group of inhabitants, the Israelis, may remember their history and live in paradise. The smaller group, the Palestinian Arabs, are able to look across these wonderful lands and remember their history – but they are already out of paradise and into limbo.

    Even the western NGOs working in Area C find their work for Palestinians blocked by the Israelis. This is not just a "hitch" in the "peace process" – whatever that is – but an international scandal. Oxfam, for example, asked the Israelis for a permit to build a 300m2 capacity below-ground reservoir along with 700m of underground 4in pipes for the thousands of Palestinians living around Jiftlik. It was refused. They then gave notice that they intended to construct an above-ground installation of two glass-fibre tanks, an above-ground pipe and booster pump. They were told they would need a permit even though the pipes were above ground – and they were refused a permit. As a last resort, Oxfam is now distributing rooftop water tanks.

    I came across an even more outrageous example of this apartheid-by-permit in the village of Zbeidat, where the European Union's humanitarian aid division installed 18 waste water systems to prevent the hamlet's vile-smelling sewage running through the gardens and across the main road into the fields. The £80,000 system – a series of 40ft shafts regularly flushed out by sewage trucks – was duly installed because the location lay inside Area B, where no planning permission was required.

    Yet now the aid workers have been told by the Israelis that work "must stop" on six of the 18 shafts – a prelude to their demolition, although already they are already built beside the road – because part of the village stands in Area C. Needless to say, no one – neither Palestinians nor Israelis – knows the exact borderline between B and C. Thus around £20,000 of European money has been thrown away by the Israeli "Civil Administration".

    But in one way, this storm of permission and non-permission papers is intended to obscure the terrible reality of Area C. Many Israeli activists as well as western NGOs suspect Israel intends to force the Palestinians here to leave their lands and homes and villages and depart into the wretchedness of Areas B and A. B is jointly controlled by Israeli military and civil authorities and Palestinian police, and A by the witless Palestinian Authority of Mahmoud Abbas. Thus would the Palestinians be left to argue over a mere 40 per cent of the occupied West Bank – in itself a tiny fraction of the 22 per cent of Mandated Palestine over which the equally useless Yasser Arafat once hoped to rule. Add to this the designation of 18 per cent of Area C as "closed military areas" by the Israelis and add another 3 per cent preposterously designated as a "nature reserve" – it would be interesting to know what kind of animals roam there – and the result is simple: even without demolition orders, Palestinians cannot build in 70 per cent of Area C.

    Along one road, I discovered a series of large concrete blocks erected by the Israeli army in front of Palestinian shacks. "Danger – Firing Area" was printed on each in Hebrew, Arabic and English. "Entrance Forbidden." What are the Palestinians living here supposed to do? Area C, it should be added, is the richest of the occupied Palestinian lands, with cheese production and animal farms. Many of the 5,000 souls in Jiftlik have been refugees already, their families fled lands to the west of Jerusalem – in present-day Israel – in 1947 and 1948. Their tragedy has not yet ended, of course. What price Palestine?