Blog

Black Histoy Month, Book News, Romance

Day 7 of Black History Month- Historical Romance Edition

In the publishing world, the romance novel reigns — at times an underappreciated, resented, and mocked monarch, but the sales numbers don’t lie. Historical romances are among the most popular books in the genre. However, they are also the most homogeneous and very focus on one view of history.

In recent years, new areas of the historical romance landscape have emerged. Historical romance that features people of color as the heroes and heroines. Since in February we celebrate Black History Month and Valentine’s Day, I thought post of list

7 books that mix Romance with Resistance

  1. Breathless by Beverly Jenkins

  2. The Preacher’s Promise (Home to Milford College Book 1) by Piper Huguley

  3. Daughters of a Nation: A Black Suffragette Historical Romance Anthology

  4. The Brightest Day: A Juneteenth Historical Romance Anthology

  5. Be Not Afraid by Alyssa Cole

  6. For Love & Liberty: Untold love stories of the American Revolution

  7. Cali’s Hurricane by Afton Locke

Black Histoy Month, Book News

Days 5 & 6 of Black History Month

 

 

I saw I am Not Your Negro. It was engrossing, educational and astonishingly satisfying. I want to see it again and again and again. I want to see with all my friends so we talk about it for hours on end.

The reason is simple. The movie rang true. Baldwin’s unvarnished truth that is rarely spoken about in the larger society. It’s a truth that children of color notice by the time they are in 3rd grade. It’s something that itches in the back of your little kid’s brain but  you don’t have the language or the the ability to interpret  it until you are much older.

I had this same satisfying reaction when I read Between the World and Me last year, and again when I recently  read DEAR IJEAWELE, OR A FEMINIST MANIFESTO IN FIFTEEN SUGGESTIONS. That bell ringing sound that pierces through the noise.

Reading these authors reminds me that I am wearing armor. The armor was built slowly out the necessity. The need to survive, for human connection and to see my way through. But it also numbs one to their own rage, sorrows and sense of possibility. It makes it difficult to see the magical being the universe created. It makes me weary that I have to carry it and still participate in the world.  As I grow older, I am starting to understand why the adults from my childhood chose smaller lives.

However, watching I Am Not Your Negro reminded me that the armor is not my skin and not of my own creation. Reading Between the World and Me reminded me that I am not crazy or misreading a situation. The things I see and feel were not just in my head or me being sensitive. Reading DEAR IJEAWELE reminds me that I still have the power to change my present and re-imagine the future. That I am made to create and reshape the future not simply endure someone’s else version of reality. I reality that I must reject or I will slow disappear.

 

Black Histoy Month

Day 4 of Black History Month

Three hidden figure I learned about:

  1. Eugene Bullard was the first African-American military pilot to fly in WWI.  However, he never flew for United States.
  2. Ethel Waters was an American blues, jazz and gospel singer and actress. She frequently performed jazz, big band, and pop music, on the Broadway stage and in concerts, but she began her career in the 1920s singing blues.Her best-known recordings include “Stormy Weather,” “Taking a Chance on Love,” “Heat Wave,” “Supper Time,” “Am I Blue?” and “Cabin in the Sky,” as well as her version of the spiritual “His Eye Is on the Sparrow.” Waters was the second African American to be nominated for an Academy Award. She was also the first African-American woman to be nominated for an Emmy Award, in 1962.
  3. Yasuke,  is the first non Japanese samurai.  He  was a samurai of black African origin who served under the Japanese hegemon and warlord Oda Nobunaga in 16th century. He disappear from the historical records after 1583. Despite this we know almost nothing about him although in Japan he has not totally, he became the subject of a children’s historical fiction cartons.
Black Histoy Month, Uncategorized

Day 3 of Black History Month

This weekend, I am going to see documentary film I Am Not Your Negro.  The film is based on James Baldwin’s unfinished novel “Remember This House”. It tells the story of race in America. Timely topic….

I am going to see the film for two reasons. One, Jame Baldwin is one of my favorite  writers. In my mind, reading Baldwin is an act of courage. His writing has the power to shake and rattle you in ways you are not always prepared for. Reading his work strips you of your defenses and illusions about the what is means to be a Black in America. You can’t  think rationally in the face of the internal rage or the debilitating sadness . He demands you feel and see. His writing is beautiful.

Second reason is Raoul Peck. Peck is is an Oscar-nominated Haitian filmmaker. In late 2014, my boss, documentary connoisseur, came into the office  raving about a film called Fatal Assistance. He knew I would be interested because my family is from Haiti and the film discusses the what happened in the aftermath the 2010 earthquake. Fatal Assistance shows how humanitarian aid can cause more damage then good.

I went to see the film and it was a gorgeous and gut-wrenching. It confirmed the various stories  told at familial gatherings. That many of the NGOs didn’t know what the hell they were doing and have left the country in chaos. The movie was quite enlightening and made me question how helpful are aid organizations if first place.

When I heard he directed  I Am Not Your Negro, I knew I was going to see it. Between Baldwin and Peck I am pretty sure, I am going to be shook, angry and sad. I am also going to need very large drink.

 

Black Histoy Month, Uncategorized

Day 2 of Black History Month

Over the break, I went to see Hidden Figures in the theater. Initially, the film’s leading ladies is what drew me to the movie. As a fan of these actors and wanting to support diverse storytelling in the Hollywood,  I plucked down my $14. Plus, I love period piece.  I left the movie with two thoughts run through my mind.

  1. Holy shit! There were WOMEN that worked at NASA!
  2. There  were BLACK women that worked at NASA!

I couldn’t quite get over it. Then I got really sad and angry for few days. What kills me really is that I was surprised. Every time I discover these hidden histories (no pun intended), my own feelings  of astonishment at the presence of women and POC in the historical narrative annoys the hell out of me and that makes me really uncomfortable. But I ultimately end up being curious when the annoyance, angry and astonishment pass. I wanted to know more.

In the vein of wanting more, I discovered another NASA scientist. Meet:

masthead-thomas

Thomas worked at NASA during the 80s as data analyst, then managed the “Landsat” project, image processing used to transmit space images from a satellite until 1995. While she was most famous for her work with the Illusion Transmitter (basically it’s early 3D technology) she also designed programs to research Halley’s comet and ozone holes.

Ha! Climate change is real!

Black Histoy Month, Uncategorized

Day 1 of Exploring Black History Month

In the past,  I have participated in black history month from the periphery. If I remembered, I would check out some site, read print article, or watch some PBS special. By February 15th, I would have forget it was Black History month and start thinking about March Madness or Mardi Gras.

This year, I have made a commitment to celebrate and explore Black history with conscious mind. The goal is to learn about something I didn’t know and share something I already learned.

Why share something I already know you ask? Because as a society, we have forgotten the history that has lead us to current present day. If this election and Hamilton have taught me, it’s that CONTEXT MATTERS.

What I learned today :

Edmonia Lewis

 

She was the first female African American sculptor to achieve international acclaim at a time when slavery was legal.

and

Matt Baker

Matt Baker is often considered the first known successful African-American artist in the comic-book industry. He developed a reputation early on as one of the best “Good Girl” artists in the business, a master at drawing the female form. He paid attention to the smaller details that allowed his comic book heroine to come alive as a more robust character.

I view these two artist as the building blocks the chain that created one of my favorite forms of entertainment: COMIC BOOKS!

Check out the 15 Influential Black Superheroes. (My favorite black superhero is Storm.)

Learning about  Edmonia Lewis, a black woman who dared to be artist, and Matt Baker, black artist who dare to left his mark on “good girls” of comics, makes me rethink the black superheros we know and love. Somehow learning about Lewis and Baker makes comics not just some whimsical, escapist entertainment. It reminds me that art, in all it’s forms, is the act of rebelling, re-imagining and see yourself in the story. Even when others try to make you invisible.

 

 

Uncategorized

Hamilton will save us all…

I am obsess with Hamilton the musical. I had have the Broadway soundtrack on repeat. It is my musical pacifier/ blankie to bumpy  political road we are all  currently walking. I listen to all the podcasts I could find about the show and it’s cast and have watched the PBS Great Performances episode.

So this weekend, I download the mixtape. The Hamilton Mixtape is a mixtape album featuring assorted songs from the 2015 Broadway musical Hamilton performed by various artists like The Roots , Kelly Clarkson, Sia, Queen Latifah, Busta Rhymes, and Ja Rule. Mixtape has similar energy to soundtrack but there is a frankness that couldn’t play out on a Broadway stage. On the stage, it’s implied. On the mixtape it’s expressed in ways that would have made Alexander Hamilton proud. Even the songs that were just replays of the original had magic.  The soundtrack has become the anthem for my life.

Go listen!

the-hamilton-mixtape-final-clean-350x310

Go listen!

 

Uncategorized

How to deal…

I have struggled daily with making of Drumfp’s America. It is not the America I was taught to believe in or love. Or the America my parents gave up everything they knew for. It’s not the America, I was promised as a citizen of this amazing experiment.

To deal with this course change, I turned to my daily meditation and a quote.

It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness.                                                          -Eleanor Roosevelt

My candle of choice today is Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.  She is a brilliant writer and highly entertaining speaker. She lights me up.

Romance

A Smart bitch, Trash Books — POC edition

I am going let you in on secret ….I READ ROMANCE NOVELS! HOT DASHING HEROES, SASSY LADIES, SEXY TIMES AND LOVE!

so yeah. I really, really, really, really like to reading them. I am sucker for happy ending. They guarantee a happy ending every time. Sometimes I need that because….well, life.

Reading romance novels are like eating movie popcorn. (Side note: I love movie popcorn and the day I discovered how many calories I was eating I was devastated. I just less of it now.) I would read them all the time. However, my brain would rot and I would end thinking like a character in rom-com movie or soap opera. And that would not be good! Now I only read them as “palette cleansers” or on vacation.

Guess what? We just had a four holiday…whoop, whoop!  Check out what I read:

Body and Soul can be best describe as black Bridget Jones with lots of sex. While I found the sex scenes quite fun, the plot of British Idol meets Scandal left me a little disappointed. I wanted to be wowed but I wasn’t. This was a bit of clunker.

While Mystic Park,  however, was home run. It had some of my favorite things: a small town, first love being revisited, close knit community, a sassy mother-figures, a passionate man and a smart stubborn woman. It’s a story about learning to appreciate the little things. It is a journey of growth and change. It takes a trip back home to Trinity Falls for Benita (leading lady) to learn the value of all she has left behind. Regina Hart’s heartwarming tale of life’s surprising moments is a wonderfully written look at the stages of life and the lessons learned.

And the upside there are 3 more books in “Finding Home” series. Mystic Park is the latest installment. All the stories are based in Trinity Falls, Ohio. A small college town with a large thriving black community. If you are in the mood for reading cozy romantic romp, I heart it.