Black Histoy Month, Reading list, Top Lists, Uncategorized

The books I read during Black History Month!

Its the beginning of Women’s History Month! February was an exciting blur of life, learning and having the flu. But as the saying goes: Nevertheless, she persisted!

While didn’t post often, I did read a ton.

My top five reads:

An American Marriage

Newlyweds Celestial and Roy are the embodiment of both the American Dream and the New South. He is a young executive, and she is an artist on the brink of an exciting career. But as they settle into the routine of their life together, they are ripped apart by circumstances neither could have imagined. Roy is arrested and sentenced to 12 years for a crime Celestial knows he didn’t commit. Though fiercely independent, Celestial finds herself bereft and unmoored, taking comfort in Andre, her childhood friend, and best man at their wedding. As Roy’s time in prison passes, she is unable to hold on to the love that has been her center. After five years, Roy’s conviction is suddenly overturned, and he returns to Atlanta ready to resume their life together.

This interesting love story is a profoundly insightful look into the hearts and minds of three people who are at once bound and separated by forces beyond their control.

Reason for reading: This title is an Oprah’s Book Club pick!

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The ABC’s of the Black Panther Party

The ABCs of the Black Panther Party introduces and gives an overview of the Black Panther Party to children (suggested ages 7-12). The ABCs of the BPP helps to start the discussion about race and political activism and helps to develop the social-political consciousness of children.

Reason for reading: My brilliant friend wrote it! Well-written and beautifully drawn.

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The Wedding Date

Agreeing to go to a wedding with a guy she gets stuck with in an elevator is something Alexa Monroe wouldn’t normally do. But there’s something about Drew Nichols that’s too hard to resist.

On the eve of his ex’s wedding festivities, Drew is minus a plus one. Until a power outage strands him with the perfect candidate for a fake girlfriend…

After Alexa and Drew have more fun than they ever thought possible, Drew has to fly back to Los Angeles, and his job as a pediatric surgeon and Alexa heads home to Berkeley, where she’s the mayor’s chief of staff. Too bad they can’t stop thinking about the other.

They’re just two high-powered professionals on a collision course toward the long distance dating disaster of the century — or closing the gap between what they think they need and what they truly want…

Reason for reading: Roxanne Gay tweeted about it, and I love a good romance novel! February is also the month of romance.

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This Is Just My Face

Gabourey Sidibe skyrocketed to international fame in 2009 when she played the leading role in Lee Daniels’s acclaimed movie Precious. In This Is Just My Face, she shares a one-of-a-kind life story in a voice as fresh and challenging as many of the unique characters she’s played onscreen. With full-throttle honesty, Sidibe paints her Bed-Stuy / Harlem family life with a polygamous father and a gifted mother who supports her two children by singing in the subway. Sidibe tells the engrossing, inspiring  story of her first job as a phone sex “talker.” And she shares her unconventional (of course!) rise to fame as a movie star, alongside ”a superstar cast of rich people who lived in mansions and had their own private islands and amazing careers while I lived in my mom’s apartment.”

Sidibe’s memoir hits hard with self-knowing dispatches on friendship, depression, celebrity, haters, fashion, race, and weight (“If I could just get the world to see me the way I see myself,” she writes, ”would my body still be a thing you walked away thinking about?”). Irreverent, hilarious, and untraditional, This Is Just My Face will resonate with anyone who has ever felt different, and with anyone who has ever felt inspired to make a dream come true.

Reason for reading: Again, Roxanne Gay said read it, so I obeyed!

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Hunger

In Roxanne Gay’s phenomenally popular essays and long-running Tumblr blog, she has written with intimacy and sensitivity about food and body, using her own emotional and psychological struggles as a means of exploring our shared anxieties over pleasure, consumption, appearance, and health. As a woman who describes her own body as “wildly undisciplined,” Roxane understands the tension between desire and denial, between self-comfort and self-care. In Hunger, she explores her past—including the devastating act of violence that acted as a turning point in her young life—and brings readers along on her journey to understand and ultimately save herself.

Reason for reading: So you might have noticed a theme here…I love Roxanne Gay. She is brilliant, funny writer who I connect with on many levels. Reading her work feels like being gut-pouched with the beauty of the hard parts of the human experience.  But it’s also strangely liberating.

Black Histoy Month

Black History Month, what is the point?

It’s that time that time of year where America pretends to acknowledge the achievements of African Americans and the history of the civil rights movement. I debated in the face of “modern” America if there is a point to paying attention or honoring it.  It feels like most of this country seem to be re-writing the facts or don’t believe in them because racism, sexism, and classism are in en vogue. So why bother?

Then I remember these quotes:

My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style. – Maya Angelou

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

I imagine one of the reasons people cling to their hates so stubbornly is because they sense, once hate is gone, they will be forced to deal with pain. – James Balwin

Each of these quotes got me through last year. So I am choosing again to honor this month.  I am going to “light a candle” by focusing on what is good and great about the past and present.  Face the pain, so I don’t accept the narrative of injustice as the “fact,” and I will do it with joy, compassion, and humor. Because the vast irony of black history month is despite the whitewashing of the historical record, African American, hell people of color around the world, did not break and did not stop and did not give up their ambition, hope or humanity. We lived and changed the world in spite it all, and we will continue to do so.

Happy Black History Month!

Black Histoy Month, Uncategorized

Day 17 of Black History Month

Jean-Baptist-Point Du Sable

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Founding Father of Chicago

He was a Black pioneer, trader, and founder of the settlement that later became the city of Chicago.

Du Sable was from St. Marc, Sainte-Domingue [now Haiti]. His French father had moved there and married a Black woman. DuSable is believed to have been a freeborn. Around the 1770s, he went to the Great Lakes area of North America, settling on the shore of Lake Michigan at the mouth of the Chicago River.

The British arrested him in 1779 for the defiance of the crown, and took him to Fort Mackinac. There he managed a trading post called the Pinery on the St. Clair River in present-day Michigan, after which he returned to the site of Chicago.

By 1790, Du Sable’s establishment had become an important link in the region’s fur and grain trade. In 1800, he sold out and moved to Missouri, where he continued as a farmer and trader until his death. But his 20-year residence on the shores of Lake Michigan had established his title as Father of Chicago. Jean DuSable died Aug. 28th 1818 in St. Charles, Mo.

Black Histoy Month, Book News

Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad is going to be a Amazon show!!!

I have been a fan of Colson Whitehead‘s since I read The Intuitionist.  I really enjoyed his latest book immensely.  I am doubly excited about the Amazon announcement because the writer/director of  MOONLIGHT, Barry Jenkins has come on to help adapt it.  So much talent on this project gives me hope it will turn out well.

Black Histoy Month

So I failed…Except on day 15

At the beginning of February, I stated I was going to blog about various things I would be learning throughout Black history. I made it to day 13.

I felt like a failure for weeks. So much of a failure that I gave up blogging right through March.

However, I had a moment of clarity while talking to a friend about how much I much loved

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I was mid-rant about how she had to see this movie, how amazingly well-acted it was and how it made me face some my own internal stuff.  When I realized that I had made it further then I thought. Working on the project made me try and go see things that I never I did before. If I had not made the effort to blog, I probably would have not gone to see this amazing film in the theater. Or danced and shouted like crazy person when it when Best film at the Oscar’s.

I saw it on day 15.

Now, I have decided to keep going. I am going to share all the stuff I learned. I booked marked everything so no reason not share.

Blogging through Black History taught me one fundamentally truth, if you don’t seek the  various reflection of yourself,  You won’t notice when your reflection is starting back at you.  I want to see myself especially in a world that seems to want to pretend that I am not here.

Black Histoy Month, Book News

Day 11 of Black History Month

During this month, I have challenged myself to read books by Black authors I have never read. Once such author is Jacqueline Woodson. I read the rave reviews about her work, but I never had a chance to pick up any of her books. Partly because they are considered YA novels. But two weeks ago,  I was at the public library and there it sat on the table outside the Adult Trade isle. I took it as a sign and I am so glad I did.

It’s elegantly written, yet sparse prose are heartbreaking. The amazing thing about this book is how Jacqueline Woodson packs so much in Another Brooklyn. She may be economical with her words, but she doesn’t shortchange you when it comes to delivering an emotional and thoughtful story of loss.

I plan to read more of her work. Check out her list of other award winning books here.

 

Black Histoy Month, Uncategorized

Day 9 of Black History Month – The Man Crush edition

Look, I know I am day late, but I can’t stop thinking about the man. He has been constantly on my mind.

I have had crush on this delightful piece of manliness for long time. I love his music, his style and his bald head. And this weekend, he was in one of my favorite action franchise, John Wick: Chapter 2.

I would like introduce Lonnie Rashid Lynn, Jr, a.k.a  Common

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Common is one talented, woke individual. Plus he is driven and hot!  Check out his videos for his album BLACK AMERICA AGAIN.

Black Histoy Month, Book News

Day 8 of Black History Month –

Yesterday was snow day for me,  so it was an excuse to read. (Ha! Like I need an excuse.)  I spent the afternoon with

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The book “is filled with illustrated histories behind some of life’s most common and underappreciated objects – from the paperclip and the toothbrush to the sports bra and roller skates.”

There were many stories about the things that we live with that surprised and delighted me. It’s also showed how people of color made contributions great and small. Some of the inventors, I already knew about, like Madame C.J. Walker .

Do you know who Jan Ernst Matzeliger is? Those of us who love shoe shopping ought be grateful to him.

In 1883, Jan Ernst Matzeliger came up with an original innovation that changed how shoes were made. He devised a machine that would sew the sole to the upper of a shoe in about a minute. His “shoe lasting” machine changed the process of how shoes were made by mechanizing a part of their manufacture that previously had to be done by hand and thereby cut the cost of making shoes by half. Amazing!

I recommend this book. it’s filled with great informative stories for all ages!

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.