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, 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, 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!

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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!

 

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What I am reading…

New York City is my hometown. It’s a great place for people-watching and eaves-dropping on millions of stories. The city is so packed  that the personal does become public even when you are wearing ear buds.

The day I heard the following  description about this book, I knew I had to read it:

“This books doesn’t talk hipster Brooklyn. It talks about the Brooklyn I belong to.  A Brooklyn-by-way-of-Bangladesh with little bit of “Royal Tenenbaums.” …. With sex. Hallucinations, hijabs and handlebars on the always-busy Atlantic Ave. ”

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Have you read this book? Share your thoughts….