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COMMENT: AUTHOR: Michelle M. Holloway [Visitor] DATE: Fri, 07 Feb 2014 20:56:51 +0000 URL:

The article once again revisits the Black woman’s value to American society. The author demonstrates the sterotypes and informs us of the progress we are making as educated, classy, dignified Black women. She emphasizes why we need to stop degrading and belittling the value of the Black woman. The Black woman reighs with personified strength ! Respect her.
Well written.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Rina [Visitor] DATE: Fri, 09 Aug 2013 03:30:18 +0000 URL:

Thanks for your post. I haven’t seen these movies, but I’d like to.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: moony [Visitor] DATE: Sat, 09 Feb 2013 16:21:49 +0000 URL:

thank you for your response! it makes me feel better to know that there is something i can do. i also appreciate that you understand the place i am coming from. i don’t consider myself a racist (although i believe that we all, no matter our color, have some racist tendencies that are hardwired into us by our culture, which we must strive to overcome), but that i do witness such behavior excessively in poorer black communities in my area. not to say i don’t see it in white communities, and not to say i didn’t “do the whoopin’ dance” a few times. but the actions i saw were not discipline, they were abuse, and i felt helpless.
thank you again for replying!

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Eisa [Visitor] DATE: Fri, 08 Feb 2013 10:13:40 +0000 URL:

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Eisa [Visitor] DATE: Fri, 08 Feb 2013 10:12:23 +0000 URL:

Hi, Moony -

Stacey sent this message and gave me permission to post it for you. Her answer is way better than mine was! Thanks so much for reaching out with such honesty.


Hi Eisa,

Forgive me for just getting back to you. I’m home today with a cold so I’ve a little time to catch up on correspondences.

I read that woman’s comment on your blog. It’s a question I hear all the time. First, she should be commended for her concern for this black child, any child. It reveals a great deal about her humanity that she was horrified by what she saw. And then she remained so disturbed that she took to the Web to try to “understand” this mother’s actions. You and me are Black women and we are deeply disturbed by these scenes. I think you need to emphasize the above points and reassure her that she is not a racist but that she has a responsibility to respond to abuse when she sees it. But she’s got to do it in a way that does not jeopardize her or make things worse for the child.

Check out this piece I wrote some time back. There may be some useful tips:

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: eisa718 [Member] DATE: Mon, 04 Feb 2013 14:33:18 +0000 URL:

Hi, Moony -

I’ve asked the amazing Stacey Patton of Spare the Kids to add a better response to your lovely and important question. I’m not so sure my response was adequate at all. So, please look for something here in the comments section from her. In the meantime, you may want to see her site:



----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Eisa [Visitor] DATE: Sat, 02 Feb 2013 00:46:01 +0000 URL:

I do not think race is a factor here. If you witness abuse, you should call 911. If you witness parenting styles that you disagree with but that are not abusive, there is really nothing you can do. I hope this helps! :)

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: moony [Visitor] DATE: Tue, 29 Jan 2013 16:34:45 +0000 URL:

if you ever do see this, i would be eternally grateful for a response. i’m going to sound extremely racist when i tell you this, but i actually googled, “why are black women so mean to their children?” today in response to witnessing so many incidences exactly like you just described. today, i witnessed a woman screaming at her child, ignoring him, and threatening to slap him - and i nearly lost it. but there’s something i’ve learned - been taught, actually by society and witnessing these things - that to intervene when a black woman is abusing her child, verbally or physically, is to invite violence toward yourself. so i did nothing. what could i do? that’s why i am asking you. what would you suggest? how does one intervene when forced to witness child abuse? i realize it isn’t only black women - i’m not stupid. i’ve witnessed abuse from all creeds and colors. but in my particular city, it seems to be something i witness primarily in low-income black communities. i realize this article was written a while ago now, but i am hoping, hoping that you will see this and e-mail me. i wanted to kidnap her son. i wanted to rescue him. i hated her, and i wanted her to know i hated her. i wanted to hurt her and say, “this is how your baby feels every time you scream at him.”
maybe i need to work on my own emotions too. LOL

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Eisa [Visitor] DATE: Wed, 23 Jan 2013 14:44:26 +0000 URL:

thanks so much for your thoughtful comment, keryl. first of all: lovelovelove virginia. she’s a terrific sister. thanks to her for connecting us.

so, i think i agree with much of what you assert here. yes, tarantino does amazing things with women characters in most of his films. i am still pleasantly stunned by arquette’s alabama in true romance. this character just shocks the audience in an amazing way in that film. what genius! so, i am more than a little disappointed in broomhilda, who is tough and strong and tried to run away on her own and totally loves her man and is empowered by that love. why can’t she just shoot one gun? kick one guy in between his legs, or elbow somebody - anybody - in the gut?

i don’t think that would detract from django as the central character or somehow make this another movie. i think that would make this movie a better movie.

i don’t expect her to be able to shoot all those men who come into the big house like she’s some wild bad-azz super-slave - even django couldn’t handle all those shooters. but i do want to see her DO something in that climactic scene. any little ole thing. after all she’s gone through - and all that we know she knows that django has gone through - she ought to have the gumption and skill to make one subversive move (heck, maybe even two or three) in that shoot-out or in the final scene in the end when django blows up candieland. she can’t get no payback from sam jackson? bust one cap in him? come on. django coulda even handed her the gun to do it, and showed her how to use it.

i’m not asking that the narrative shift to some other plotline; i’m just asking that the one that tarantino wrote just be a more satisfying one.

not too much for a sister to ask for, right?

PS - i also loved the relationship between jackson’s character and his master. too much - and still just right. ;)

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Keryl Mc [Visitor] DATE: Tue, 22 Jan 2013 23:28:52 +0000 URL:

Late one night a week or so ago having a great late night conversation with my best friends while attending a conference in New York, it was a girls night in, we of course talked about Django Unchained. I’d seen it, they hadn’t yet. When I returned home Virginia DeBerry, being the ever knowledgeable social media maven and writer sent your blog post. You raise some interesting points, but it feels like there are some really important dynamics highlighted in the film that are being overlooked.

Based upon Kill Bill and Pulp Fiction I know QT knows how to create strong female characters. And these are women who are not adjunct to the story, especially in Kill Bill, they are the movie. So for me that’s a given. He can create strong female characters.

Here’s another perspective about Django that comes up for me. For Broomhilda to become a central character in this film it would have to be her story, it would have to be Broomhilda Unchained. You can’t have a character appear two thirds through the movie who suddenly now becomes the kick ass, I don’t need any help, can kick ass all by myself, shoot a honky, kill a mf, and run just good, just as fast as any man, heroine. That would be another movie. I’d love to see that movie, too. I’d pay to see that movie. But it would be a different movie.

Plus, if she were that kind of tough as nails chick, she would have “been done gone” from Candie Land and any other plantation that tried to hold her, leaving a trail of bodies in her wake, a la Kill Bill. So I appreciate the observation and criticism about Broomhilda but suggest that is another movie. Write your movie, we need more perspectives not less.

Then there’s this do or die love thing between Django and Broomhilda. It’s a love story for the ages, let alone the love story of slavery. I mean brother man goes through fire and flame, dogs and wicked heat, being beaten and outwitting folks, just to find and free his wife. And when he is freed, brother man is a free black man, what does he want most in the whole wide world? To find and free his wife.

I’m not seeing many people talk about the novelty, if not outright pioneering imagery, of the relationship depicted between Broomhilda and Django. There was fire and heat, there was passion in this union, and commitment, and trust. Sister girl trusted Django. He was steadfast, a man of his word and worthy of trust. So this script broke a couple barriers, here was a black man worthy of trust, and there was love, passion and commitment between two slaves who were not even considered human.In all of the slave narratives we’ve seen, all five of them, when do we see this kind of deep love depicted?

But Django and Broomhilda were up against a system designed to grind them into dust and when he was sold off she, legitimately, thought she’d never see him again. Ever. So when she does see him, at the plantation where she is held captive and clearly this was no accident but by design, she faints. I understand, and understood in the moment. What a shock to her system. Not only was he alive but he had the support of a white man trying to help them? Seriously?

Maybe because QT isn’t invested in this narrative in the same way we are, he was not compelled to treat it as precious, as untouchable, he didn’t need to construct noble, long suffering, loyal and beaten down slaves. And it works. It works. I really loved this film because he was able to uncover some dynamics of the relationships between slave and master that many overlook if they ever thought it might exist at all. (Ole’ Stephen in the library, legs crossed, crystal glass of liquor in hand getting set to school the master. Say what!!)

I could go on and on but I won’t. I think much of the criticism of Django is a result of the absolute dearth of stories of the black American experience, especially the slave era. So each film is freighted with the need to address everyone’s needs and desire. And that is a bridge too far for any one film to cross. Even and especially Django Unchained.

That’s my two cents and I’m sticking to it. :)

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----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Eisa [Visitor] DATE: Thu, 10 Jan 2013 16:27:16 +0000 URL:

Thanks for your comment, Natasha. I thought Django was a good movie - and I think Washington is an amazing actress. I just wish she had been given the opportunity to do more in the film, to help actualize her own freedom.

Thanks so much for your comment, sis! :)

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: natasha dyer [Visitor] DATE: Thu, 10 Jan 2013 10:20:34 +0000 URL:

simply put i think the movie was just fine. it was great in fact. there were enough dynamic characters. and geez i mean really GEEZ…everyone spared life and limb just to get broomhilda. her power though silent in this film is just as LARGE. i think movie was EXCELLENT. it didnt need not anymore dynamism. Satisfied. plan to see it again this saturday. i mean if you really think of it the movie was about them getting to her. by the time they got to her thats the LAST PART of the movie. she did fine.

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----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Eisa [Visitor] DATE: Sun, 20 Mar 2011 16:42:16 +0000 URL:

Thanks for your comment, Jeff. Those of us who were young when it happened have (I think) a really powerful perspective on the Three Mile Island event, and on nuclear power in general. All the talk about Japan has brought on a rush of memories. Thanks for sharing yours.

In light (LOL),


----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Jeff Banks [Visitor] DATE: Sun, 20 Mar 2011 12:37:01 +0000 URL:

I remember sitting in the basement. I was around 16 years old. The basement was underground and concrete block construction. I was hoping it would block some of the rads. Funny, my parents house was built in the 40’s or 50’s I guess and included a “bomb shelter". Block walls, no windows or doors to the outside. The worst day was when we did evacuate from CD East high school. Some fool teacher (geology class) turned on a gieger counter, the thing was rattlin off like popcorn in a microwave…(good analogy…we all got a few extra rays)Steelton/Harrisburg, PA

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Eisa [Visitor] DATE: Tue, 08 Mar 2011 15:37:37 +0000 URL:

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----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Eisa [Visitor] DATE: Tue, 08 Mar 2011 07:05:40 +0000 URL:

This is a very good question, one I hesitate to answer, as I am not a historian. However, I *think* the spelling above is correct: Wiley.

Good luck!


----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Andy Whetstone [Visitor] DATE: Mon, 07 Mar 2011 21:21:43 +0000 URL:

Ms. Ulen, I hope you have time to respond to this request, but I understand if that is not possible. My 11-year-old daughter is writing a paper on Medgar Evers and we have noticed in numerous publications two spellings for his middle name. Your letter above is the only publication I have found that contains both spellings. Now my entire family is interested which is correct and why and when was it changed? Any information you could provide or sources we could investigate would be greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance, Andy and Annika Whetstone

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at a time, government never did anything for laymen as a result
it is time conscientious people take it private…

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: eisa [Visitor] DATE: Tue, 11 Jan 2011 15:43:41 +0000 URL:

Dear Colleagues and Friends

This is an update on the evolving situation at Medgar Evers.

A public meeting led by the coalition was held on January 5, 2011. The revised name for the coalition of students, faculty and community leaders is the Medgar Evers College Coalition for Academic Excellence and Mission Integrity. There was a good turnout and many are ready to work to change the situation at Medgar Evers.

There is now a website and a facebook page which details what people can do to show their support. The website for the coalition is and the facebook page is The website has a fact sheet and two letters which can be sent: one to the Chancellor and one to the President. The Chancellor’s letter requests that the President asks for the resignation of the Provost and the President’s letter asks for the following.

* Immediately ask for the resignation of Provost Howard Johnson.
* Restore student support services to ensure academic excellence.
* Redistribute resources allocated to outside consultants and shift them to student support services.
* Demonstrate your support of the College?s centers and community programs.
* Rescind the eviction of the Center for NuLeadership on Urban Solutions and forward the Center?s proposal to CUNY.
* Restore the open enrollment policy at the College and create a pipeline for student enrollment.
* Restoration of the Medgar Evers College Preparatory School’s Dual Enrollment Program to previous levels.
* Take immediate actions to provide gender equity balance in your top level administration.

The coalition is asking that this information be disseminated widely.

There will be a silent demonstration outside of BAM on Monday, Jan 17 (where the President is asked to give remarks). Information will be forthcoming.

Stay tuned!



----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: eisa [Visitor] DATE: Thu, 06 Jan 2011 11:45:58 +0000 URL:

Now that’s a strong comment, Candace. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts. From what you say, it seems like there might be a possibility for some good to come out of the current mess, and maybe a real overhaul of the things that do need to be changed can take place. Hopefully folk at Medgar like you can help make the school even better going forward from all this.


----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Candace [Visitor] DATE: Wed, 05 Jan 2011 23:04:06 +0000 URL:

As an employee and student at Medgar, I’m upset with the general hostility and incompetence of many faculty and staff as well as the mis-information that they give to students. There were all kind of negative things going on that were not good for the college before Dr. Johnson and Dr. Pollard arrived. Though I don’t agree with some of what they are doing, the behavior of so many faculty and staff who have day to day contact with students is horrible. As it stands, the College as a whole is not doing its best to honor the “mission.” The graduation numbers, which are public, speak for themselves. There’s a lot of work for everyone to do and a little less fighting on both sides is needed.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Eisa [Visitor] DATE: Wed, 05 Jan 2011 06:22:03 +0000 URL:

Thanks so much for sharing your view of the situation, from a student’s perspective, Alejandra. I can imagine having so many professors receive letters of termination is very disturbing. Long-term relationships with faculty are key to mentoring, professional and academic advice, informal counseling, and to supplement applications to grad school and work with their letters of recommendation. I’m glad to hear you’re circulating petitions and voicing your concerns in the public realm.

Thanks for adding to this public discourse!


----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Alejandra [Visitor] DATE: Wed, 05 Jan 2011 00:33:17 +0000 URL:

I am a current student of Medgar Evers College and I can give a view on how some of the students feel about this situation. Many students of the Public Administration Department are upset about what is going on at the college. Four wonderful professors in our department were given termination letters effective later this year and we are appalled by this action. These professors have given much of themselves to their students in and out of the classroom to help us succeed and the current administration has basically spat in the faces of these dedicated educators. Other students and I have signed petitions that were sent to the email of Chancellor Goldstein. We have very little faith in the college administration’s claim of being student-centered, when so many services that are geared towards helping students have been terminated, or reduced. Unilateral decisions supposedly in our best interests have been made without our input.
The atmosphere in the college is very tense. Though there are problems before this new administration, I have never seen professors so frustrated in their working environment. The fear is that the legacy of Medgar Evers College is swifty being destroyed.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Eisa [Visitor] DATE: Tue, 04 Jan 2011 15:25:51 +0000 URL:

Wow, Nana. That definitely places the entire situation in context - and makes the conflict between administration and staff even more disturbing.

Thanks for your input!


----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Nana Ashhurst [Visitor] DATE: Tue, 04 Jan 2011 15:14:46 +0000 URL:

In contrast, my son attends Westchester Community College, in Valhalla (near White Plains), part of the SUNY system. Support services for incoming students have EXPANDED, as the student body has grown the past two years (both from adults returning to school for new job training, and regular students entering community college for the first two years of their education to save money). There certainly is a difference between schools that serve a predominantly black community and one that serves one of the wealthiest counties in the state.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Kevin Powell [Visitor] DATE: Tue, 04 Jan 2011 15:02:54 +0000 URL:

The Mess at Medgar Evers College
By Kevin Powell

“You can kill a man but you can’t kill an idea."?MEDGAR EVERS
(NAACP Field Secretary in Mississippi murdered by Ku Klux Klan in 1963)

And, no doubt, Medgar Evers must be tossing and turning in his grave at Arlington National Cemetery this very moment. For how terrible is it that a college named in his honor is in the midst of the ugliest chapter of its long history, a history born of the sweat, and the blood, of the Civil Rights Movement?

The problem, to put it mildly, are the president and the provost of Medgar Evers College, two Black men who, by virtue of one baffling action after another, demonstrate no respect for the mission of a school built in the heart of Black Brooklyn, and who ostensibly have little to no respect for faculty and staff, nor the community that surrounds that institution. That their behavior and mindset are akin to the Southern White segregationists of the Civil Rights era who went out of their way to block, literally and symbolically, the doors of their schools rather than allow Black students in, must be something the president and provost have conveniently forgotten. That the leadership of the City University of New York, which governs all 23 of the four- and two-year schools in its system, has allowed this now very public spectacle to fester and rot begs this question: Who really cares about the mission and future of Medgar Evers College?

I mean, seriously, would this blog and the protests and pending lawsuits be necessary if we were discussing, say, John Jay College, Lehman College, or Medgar?s borough cousin, Brooklyn College?


However, we are talking about Medgar Evers College, though not technically an historically Black college in fact, but certainly so in its creation, sense of purpose, and the overwhelming numbers in terms of faculty, staff, and students. Indeed, for those who do not know, Medgar Evers College is a four-year commuter school of 7000 students nestled in what we call Central Brooklyn. Brooklyn is not only the largest of New York City?s five boroughs (with 2.5-3 million residents we would be America?s 4th most populated ?city?), but Brooklyn also contains the biggest Black population in our nation (nearly 1 million people of African descent from across America, and the globe).

And the original mission of Medgar Evers College, as stated currently on its website at, was ?a result of collaborative efforts by community leaders, elected officials, the Chancellor, and the Board of Trustees of The City University of New York. The College, named for the late civil rights leader, Medgar Wiley Evers (1925-1963), was established in 1969 and named in 1970, with a mandate to meet the educational and social needs of the Central Brooklyn community. The College is committed to the fulfillment of this mandate.?

Obviously someone didn?t mention this bit of history and purpose to President William Pollard or Provost Howard Johnson. Or perhaps the duo has simply not bothered to read the website during their tenure. Because in my 20 years of living in Brooklyn, and an extensive association with that school?as a community and political leader; as a writer and artist; as someone who has given numerous lectures there, and participated in more panels, conferences, and seminars than I can count, there; and as an ally and supporter with my own critiques of Medgar Evers College?never could I have imagined, when these two took over the leadership in August of 2009, such a swift and abrupt deterioration of the way the school is administered.

Immediate past president Dr. Edison O. Jackson definitely was no perfect leader, either, but you at least got the sense he genuinely loved the school and the community about the school. Conversely, at a chance encounter with President Pollard the summer of 2010, I came away thinking the man not only did not like Brooklyn (it took everything in me not to suggest he should leave if he despised it, and us Brooklynites, so much), but that Mr. Pollard was eager to do whatever he could to dismantle the inner mechanisms of Medgar Evers College, even the parts that were working just fine. It is one thing, as a leader, to put your own stamp on an enterprise you are now running, as every leader should have her or his vision on how things should be. It is quite another to give the appearance of destroying that enterprise entirely, with reckless abandon, just because you can?

Yet I am not even sure if ?incompetent? is the right word to describe what is happening here. But it is abundantly clear to me, when one reviews the backgrounds of President Pollard and Provost Johnson prior to their coming to Medgar Evers College, that whoever thought these two gentlemen deserved to run a major institution for higher learning must not have seen any of the numerous articles critical of their prior escapades.

In Mr. Pollard?s case, we are talking allegations of the gross mismanagement of millions of dollars at his previous job as president of the University of the District of Columbia:

In Mr. Johnson?s case, we are talking allegations of the plagiarizing of an academic plan from Syracuse University, where he formerly worked, and which he gave to his new employer, the University of North Texas:

So is it little wonder that since the arrival of Mr. Pollard and Mr. Johnson in August 2009 we have the present mess at Medgar Evers College, including:

1) Some very curious faculty dismissals

2) Threats of shutting down academic centers on the campus

3) Faculty concerns about the administration?s lack of respect for shared governance (in the past month 66 faculty members (89% of those who voted), mostly tenured, cast a vote of ?no confidence? in the president and the provost)

4) No strategic plan by the president or the provost, after one year on their jobs, on the future of Medgar Evers College

5) The Provost eliminated the Writing Center and the Center for Teaching and Learning (what college does not have a Writing Center?)

6) The Administration removed Carver Bank ATMs (Carver is the largest Black-owned bank in America) and replaced them with Citibank ATMs

7) The Administration issued an eviction notice for The Center for NuLeadership; and although the proposal for formal approval of the Center under CUNY guidelines was approved before the current administration came into power, the President and Provost have refused to forward the proposal to CUNY

For a full accounting of faculty, staff, and community concerns, please check this excellent blog:

And there are many more issues, but the one that sticks out to me is the apparent attack by the Medgar Evers College administration on the Center for NuLeadership on Urban Solutions. As was stated in a recent press release, the Center for NuLeadership ?is the first and only public policy, research, training, advocacy and academic center housed in the largest urban university system in the United States, conceived, designed, and developed by formerly incarcerated professionals.?

In other words, these are not just ?ex-cons? running wild at Medgar Evers College. These are individuals like Dr. Divine Pryor, formerly incarcerated person, who has turned his life around and become a valuable asset to community and academia. And I can honestly say, in my travels throughout America, to literally hundreds upon hundreds of colleges and universities, community centers and religious institutions, and jails and prisons of every kind, that I have never encountered someone who is as articulate, dynamic, and passionate in identifying ways to stop the school-to-prison pipeline so real for American ghettos as Dr. Pryor.

And if Medgar Evers College was founded with the expressed purpose of meeting ?the educational and social needs of the Central Brooklyn community,? then does it not make sense to house a center that deals directly with the record numbers of Black (and Latino) males being shipped off to jail each and every year, in Brooklyn, and all the Brooklyns in America?

Not by the logic of President Pollard and Provost Johnson. Perhaps that is why these two Black males, along with CUNY central administration officials, saw nothing wrong with a December 17, 2010 late-night ?raid? of NuLeadership?s offices, and the seizure of computers personally owned by Dr. Pryor and his colleague Kate Kyung Ji Rhee.

Or why the Center for NuLeadership was asked to vacate its offices by December 30th (the center had to go to court to block the eviction, temporarily).

Or why the president and the provost have refused to forward the recommendation by the college?s governing body to establish, officially, the center at Medgar Evers College.

Or why the president and the provost have blocked the Center for NuLeadership?s funds, and refused to approve a $2.4 million grant that would have given first-time non-violent offenders a second chance by sentencing them to college rather than prison.

The great sadness and irony of these two Black male administrators doing this at a college born to better the most underserved parts of Brooklyn is not lost on me. Doubly sad and ironic that we have a president of the United States (Barack Obama) and a Secretary of Education (Arne Duncan) who have consistently called for innovative solutions to prepare and propel the most marginalized populations in America.

And sad and ironic, furthermore, because the City University of New York actually has a system-wide Black male initiative. But how can we seriously discuss any initiatives for Black males and not include in that conversation ideas and best practices to cease the rapid flow of Black (and Latino) men in and out of the criminal justice system?

So as we approach the annual Dr. King holiday in less than two weeks, the president and provost of Medgar Evers College and the City University of New York hierarchy find themselves with a major dilemma, bad publicity, and unnecessary and very preventable beefs, in and out of court, with Medgar Evers faculty and staff, and Brooklyn community members. As one tenured professor at Medgar Evers College said to me in an email, what is happening at the school ?should be a national outrage.?

For sure, the mess at Medgar Evers College is a national outrage, and a deeply moral failing, too, especially at a time in our history when America?s inner cities require, need, demand, nonstop and pro-active solutions and remedies, and as many opportunities as possible for our communities, particularly for the young and the poor.

And wasn?t that the point of Medgar Evers College in the first place, to serve the people?

Kevin Powell, a long-time Brooklyn resident, is a nationally acclaimed activist, public speaker, and author or editor of 10 books, including Open Letters to America (Soft Skull). You can contact him at

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Eisa [Visitor] DATE: Tue, 04 Jan 2011 13:13:49 +0000 URL:

Thanks for those links, Peter Hogness.


----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Peter Hogness [Visitor] DATE: Tue, 04 Jan 2011 12:29:17 +0000 URL:

Readers may be interested in these articles from the newspaper of the Professional Staff Congress (PSC), the faculty/staff union at CUNY:

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Eisa [Visitor] DATE: Mon, 03 Jan 2011 18:58:05 +0000 URL:

I agree, Yeon, that the student response to all this is important to know. I hope some current Medgar students leave comments expressing the voice(s) of the people the college is intended to serve.


----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: eisa [Visitor] DATE: Sun, 02 Jan 2011 20:33:48 +0000 URL:

@ Chris Chambers - Yup.

@ P Spears Jones - I agree that the monetization of public education at all levels, elementary, secondary, and higher, is problematic. I also bemoan the elimination and reduction of resources that directly improve the quality of learning and overall development of the student, while lines in the school budget that do not directly impact student achievement, like salaries at the administrative level, remain unchanged.

Thank you both for taking time to read and comment!


----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Chris Chambers [Visitor] DATE: Sun, 02 Jan 2011 18:20:03 +0000 URL:


----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: [Visitor] DATE: Sun, 19 Dec 2010 05:35:02 +0000 URL:

Don’t they know how much better off they are than us? They’re in for a shock when they find out how bad our health care system is.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Thomas Lee Publishing [Visitor] DATE: Wed, 20 Oct 2010 12:51:10 +0000 URL:

Ms. Millner,

I stumbled onto your blog while visiting another Black author’s (Carleen Brice) website. Your words and your passion regarding the struggles of writers in general, and Black writers in particular, really hit the mark.

I write, illustrate and publish childrens and YA adventure books. This has been my unanticipated, new career since being laid off from my management position in the advertising and film post production industries. I have authored and published three books in the last year and I spend countless hours trying to figure out ways to market my books in such a way as to “fool the general public” into giving them a try. Just this week, I have pondered whether I should remove my photograph from my various websites and replace it with an avatar-one that doesn’t reveal my race.

My books are mostly available via on-line retailers (, B&,, etc…) I work hard at creating books and illustrations that will appeal to all children (no matter the race.)
I belong to one of the online authors’ communities and marvel at how easy it is for some of the non-Black writers to sell their books. I ask myself if being a Black writer is a deterrent-even though I have yet to write my first book for and about Black children. I wonder if in this economic environment there is a not-so-subtle move for some folks to “take care of our own.” And if that is the case, who will take care of the Black writer?

I have decided to focus on marketing efforts and nothing else for the coming months. This will include mailing marketing materials to local schools, churches and libraries; seeking reviews and interviews from print, radio and internet venues. I will set up appointments and visit some of these institutions face-to-face. I am excellent at reading body language. Surely, I will get an answer to some of my questions while meeting with these folks.

Thank you for sharing your insight and experiences and for your encouraging words!

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: elliott levin [Visitor] DATE: Sun, 17 Oct 2010 06:10:02 +0000 URL:

Interested in event on Oct. 27.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: eisa718 [Member] DATE: Wed, 13 Oct 2010 07:17:03 +0000 URL:

I think you make some great points, Amanda. I have one question: Do you think the police training you mention should include sensitivity training around the issues of race, racism, diversity, and difference as they relate to high tension situations? If so, I think many from local communities where police are often perceived more as threats than as protectors might agree with you.


----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: D Ivan Young [Visitor] DATE: Wed, 15 Sep 2010 21:23:37 +0000 URL:

I KNOW GOD works in mysterious ways. It is my hope to have you be a part of my career. After reading about your origins, commitment, and character I know I want to be a part of the Atria family. You understand purpose. My God continue to bless, keep and use you.

D Ivan Young

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: edfeduser [Visitor] DATE: Mon, 06 Sep 2010 13:43:13 +0000 URL:

College is something that must be earned. Remember that, the better educated our citizens the more economically our country can develop and dominate the rest of the world. We have laggard in our education practices and let other countries pump out smarter and richer citizens. The people make the country. I worked and paid for my own school with some help from local funds. Did my own research and applied locally for pell grants. I have since used that wisely to secure a great paying job. is a great site for information on how to apply and where to apply for pell grants, scholarships, and loans.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: eisa [Visitor] DATE: Thu, 22 Jul 2010 14:25:37 +0000 URL:

thanks for your comment, marixsa! yes, i hear a lot of people went with their babies to see babies. ;) so glad tenoch enjoyed it as much as we did.



----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: james watts [Visitor] DATE: Thu, 27 May 2010 03:28:38 +0000 URL:

sis… i think you may be on to something here. to place your most recent comment into a question: what does it say about anyone who decides to dawn the head of an empire? still sis, all statesmen and women were resisted by the status quo and constraints of office. where does creativity, new ideas from new people , some notion of a progressive future and guts come into play?

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Tammie Holland [Visitor] DATE: Mon, 19 Apr 2010 16:35:51 +0000 URL:

Hi Denene and other ladies,

My name is Tammie Holland and I have a non for profit called “The Unpublished Author".It is a charity that donate books to poor unstocked libraries around the country. Most of these libraries are in poor, black communities. I ask auothors to donate a copy of their unpublished work to these libraries for the children to enjoy. In return, the author get their message out to there for writers to enjoy, and it gives you a chance to give back to a worthy cause. I have several children’s and young adult books that I can’t get published. I also am a “Black Writer"…who just want to get my message of inspiration out . If any of you ladies are interested please email me to let me know. You will receive full recognition from “The Unpublished Author” and an author profile including picture acknowledging your donation in the library that your work is placed. Hope to hear from you all soon

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: eisa [Visitor] DATE: Sun, 18 Apr 2010 10:23:48 +0000 URL:

You might have a point regarding King and his strident opposition to the Vietnam War, Winston. I do wonder, however, what his stance might have been had King lived to become Commander-in-Chief, as Obama now is. It’s much harder to remain steadfast in one’s pacifism when one must act as Leader of the Free World.

Thanks so much for your great comment! I’m glad you will continue to check out this blog, Winston. I hope to read more comments from you.


----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Winston Hobson [Visitor] DATE: Sat, 17 Apr 2010 19:39:23 +0000 URL:

Wonderful discussion. Still, though is was a great fight, the post by Ms. Harris-Lacewell, and the response by Mr. Watts, I have to say Mr. Watts scored a knockout. The post is more about the reality of Dr. King and the peception of Pres. Obama. Although the Prs has been in office only a bit over a year, treatises have already been written on his work as President; thus there are volumes of material and such for evaluationand comparison of Dr. King and Pres Obama. I think context is crucial. Mr. Watts hit the nail on the head by noting that Pres Obama is wokingout of a box. He has to work withthe Congress in mind at every step. Still, as President one expects him to articulate positions and work for those articulations. I agreewith Mr. Watts that the Pres.’s rhetoric on the campaign trail and his actions in his first year in office have been at odds with each other. Ms. Harris-Lacewell’s position is that one has to account forthe fact the Pres works out of circumstances such that he cannot do things the way the constituents who put him in office expects-because he has to work everything throughand with the Congress. Still, I believe one issue shows the chasms between Dr. King and Pres. Obama-the current warss the Country is in and the one it appears Pres. Obama is about to take the Country into. Icannot perceive Dr. King compromising on his war positions. His strident rhetoric and opposition to the war in Vietnam vis-a-vis the Prsident’s position on the current wars set the men light yeas apart. Greaat blog which I will continue to “check out.”

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: eisa [Visitor] DATE: Mon, 29 Mar 2010 12:16:46 +0000 URL:

Thank you, Mark and James, for your thoughtful comments. It is important that we continue to remain vigilant in this participatory democracy - and that means holding Obama to as much scrutiny as any other American president. Public discourse is key; your thoughts are valued here. I appreciate your time and energy in moving the conversation forward and look forward to reading what others think.


----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: james watts [Visitor] DATE: Sat, 27 Mar 2010 02:44:14 +0000 URL:

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++there are many points she makes of dr. king that we have deliberately flushed from our memories such as driving bro. rustin from the movement,ignoring issues of gender and sexism not only as they impacted black women but as they pertained to the civil rights movement itself; king directly colluded in the sexism of the movement. however, i think the sister then departs into a maze of illusion when she asserts obama’s imperfection but sees him as"wholeheartedly groping"towards the +better and fairer. imperfection is totally beside the point. criticism of obama need not encompass any standard of perfection, not at beef is that he has concertedly embraced the political frameworks that are certain to hamper him if he really wants any genuine change. however, why does the sister assume obama wants any genuine change?why do people assume this?. because he said so?the escallation of the afghan war is not about an imperfect man. it is about one who has dawned the historical goals of the american empire i.e. to use military force to secure resources, and the cooperation of countries and their populations towards the empires else do we explain the us’s history of intervention in south america and its squashing of indeginous democratic insurgencies?or of our intervention in the middle east in the overthrow of regiemes, and the consistent efforts to repress arab nationalism. sister eisa, do you really believe his afghan war with the carnage it continues to bring to the afghan people is about a wholehearted attempt to forge a better world or of his imperfections? or is it the overpowerwing seduction of u.s. militarism which the king has embraced as does a true head of empire.? and sis, what of the insane anti-iranian madness that he has fully embraced? do you still honestly believe now that he really meant to establish a new thinking of diplomacy?iran has not invaded a country in 250 years , is a member of the nuclear proliferation treaty and thus has voluntarily agreed to UN inspections all of which have thus far concluded that iran has not violated the conditions of the pact.while our most strategic neighbor not only has the most developed arsenal in the mid-east but refuses to submit to any pact requiring inspections and has for 42 years occupied an indigenous population brutally and attacked countries in violation of international law.. once more, we, you, me the taxpayers have concertedly collded in this occupation including the recent masacre in gaza. except for a few family arguments obama, has wllingly, cocertedly, with all deliberation continued this country’s role as a dual partner in the barbaric say he may not be perfect? this is not about perfection, it is about whether one has some semblance of heart and decency to confront his own need to run an empire.he has kept in place the sordid elements of the national security state and has no desire, impulse or thought towards propose an urban policy to address the present crisis of cities which, as you know,are entailing increasing levels of poverty, decimation of the public sector- massive teacher and public safety layoffs, an eradication of traditional public schools with an aggressive effort to marginalize further the teachers’ unions. the widely heralded HEATH CARE BILl leaves the for-profit infrastructure intact. as you know, this is crucial because, in time, the insurance companies will undermind the so-called reformist elements of the bill. without, a public option which obama deliberately surrendered to the industry last august there is nothing to keep it honest. they will not stand to lose any money.remember, obama did not so much as fake an intent to fight, he simply wanted to know what they wanted to facilitate a deal and our man offered it right up.he talks about the two ongoing wars as if they had nothing to do with the deficits which gives the feds a reason not to help the cities(read joe stiglitz’s book). i am not a particular fan of mr. dyson although i do give him 10 stars for confronting homo-phobia even on black campuses. i am not sure what he means by ‘BLACKNESS” which he accuses our man of running from. but,i do believe obama is radically more cautious addressing race than even realistic conventional politics a recent naacp meeting he dawns the affect of a baptist minister and tells inner- city black children by way of an naacp audience that poverty, and the accompanying economic segregation does not negate that their destiny is in their hands. of course, the audience went wild which partly explains why the naacp is as impotent as it is. just like slick willie, all obama has to do is throw black people some self-help babble abd tidbits about the strengths of black families and we are estatic. nothing he offers them in the way of a substantive urban policy dealing with housing, jobs, violence.he does not want to appear as favoring blacks after all he could not have won without our record turnout( no democratic nominee can. obama got only 47& of the white vote), and we are american citizens.these factors appear not to meet the qualifying criterion.of course, with the exception of the lbj presidency,these factors have never pushed either party towards prioritizing the issues of black people. so why does he feel he has to be defensive? he has precedence to stand on. alas!!! the brother is not alone . the black caucas just had 18 of 36 reporting for roll call to vote to continue funding the war. further, the distinguished james clyburn of south carolina accompanied the distinguished nancy pelosi of california in greeing the hon.israeli prime minister mr. natanyahu. as sister pelosi made sure to grab the hand of the pm, letting him know that the democratic party supported israel in its ongoing occupation, masacre of gazans and confiscation of occupied east jerusalem, brother jimmy was all smiles and smiles. i am certain the president was pleased.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: eisa [Visitor] DATE: Tue, 23 Mar 2010 08:38:30 +0000 URL:

It was a great discussion - and Erasure is an amazing book. Thanks for your comment.



----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Eisa [Visitor] DATE: Thu, 18 Feb 2010 11:05:13 +0000 URL:

yes, we all mourn the passage of sister lucille. thank you for taking time to comment. i think every memory of her strong words lifts her spirit higher. may she rest in peace.



----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Bx2Baltimore [Visitor] DATE: Wed, 17 Feb 2010 14:03:55 +0000 URL:

Eisa – Clifton is my absolute favorite. Thx for putting this up.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: eisa [Visitor] DATE: Tue, 16 Feb 2010 09:57:58 +0000 URL:

@Eric - Thanks so much for your kind note! Words like yours keep me going. ;)

@Scott - I’m not sure DeGruy’s event isn’t better advertised. Hopefully this posting will help. Will you leave a comment about the event after you attend? It would be great if you could help spread the word.


----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Scott Walters [Visitor] DATE: Sun, 14 Feb 2010 19:01:41 +0000 URL:

Hello. I hope to attend this, but am curious as to why this event has not been more widely advertised. I can find no reference to it on the CCNY or CUNY websites.


----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Eric Kreitzer [Visitor] DATE: Sun, 14 Feb 2010 08:44:28 +0000 URL:

She is one of the most remarkable presenters I have ever seen. Really challenges the listener. Sadly I cannot make it as I will be in MA for business. BTW, am a proud fan of yours, Eisa, as a 1986 graduate of Hunter College (BA, Comp Sci) Keep it coming!

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Eisa [Visitor] DATE: Sun, 14 Feb 2010 05:44:12 +0000 URL:

No problem! Thanks for your comment. :) I hope we receive more info on the event from attendees.


----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Eric Kreitzer [Visitor] DATE: Sat, 13 Feb 2010 16:58:53 +0000 URL:

Thanks for posting this.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Ant [Visitor] DATE: Mon, 08 Feb 2010 15:02:29 +0000 URL:

I think you’re looking too deeply into the title of the band. Who cares what they call themselves. Have you ever heard of freedom of speech? Just because the title has the word black in it doesn’t mean it’s to do with race. It’s a shame there are so many busy idiots in the world. Why don’t you think about what you do and say rather than judging others?

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Sarge [Visitor] DATE: Fri, 22 Jan 2010 12:06:22 +0000 URL:

I think you guys need to get your facts straight before convicting these police officers. It just wasn’t a free for all shooting, he got in a scuffle with the one officer and got the officers gun and was about to use it. That constitutes a rightful shooting on the officers defense. When you are a police officer you are left with split second decisions. The comment about the officer being sent from Washington is a bunch of crap that is NOT true at all (Larry you’re an idiot.) Black or white, I challenge any of you on here to stand in the shoes of any police officer for one day… You’ll never make it!!! Oh, and by the way I am not a police officer, I am a African American serving my country in the United States Marine Corps!!!

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Lise Funderburg [Visitor] DATE: Mon, 28 Dec 2009 10:14:36 +0000 URL: http://WWW.LISEFUNDERBURG.COM

Right on. I thought maybe my less-than-thrilled reaction to the movie was because my companions chose a theater that didn’t offer 3-D, so all I had to focus on was the plot…which struck me as just so much racial essentialism viewed through the mea culpa white liberal lens. Thanks for your thoughtful commentary…

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: eisa [Visitor] DATE: Mon, 28 Dec 2009 09:26:36 +0000 URL:

hey, helen -

yes! we descendants of quakers have to stick together. ;)



----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Helen W. Mallon [Visitor] DATE: Mon, 28 Dec 2009 08:54:12 +0000 URL:

Great interview, Eisa. Thanks! I’ve been out of touch but haven’t forgotten our meeting at AWP.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: eisa [Visitor] DATE: Wed, 23 Dec 2009 11:33:40 +0000 URL:

thanks so much for your kind words, kellie. your support means so much!


----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: pittershawn [Visitor] DATE: Mon, 07 Dec 2009 23:30:08 +0000 URL:

Read this first on Bernice McFadden’s website a few days ago. Bravo! Well written! Couldn’t have said it better, V&D.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Lamont L. Lewis [Visitor] DATE: Wed, 25 Nov 2009 09:54:17 +0000 URL:

It would be an honor and a privilege to have you edit my first book. My Life, My World Book One, Honor in tha Circle. God Bless


Lamont Lewis

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Travis in ATX [Visitor] DATE: Wed, 18 Nov 2009 10:13:44 +0000 URL:

Your way off here… The “white guys” (why are you stipulating who is what color?) are a band called The Black Keys. Dash helped create Rocafella = Blakroc.

I have heard a leaked copy and its excellent regardless of what color some of the people involved are.

Get over your self-righteousness and celebrate a musical accomplishment, 50 years ago this kind of multi-race compilation wouldn’t be possible. Bands like Booker T and the MGs played soul with whites in the band, was that a slap in the face to all the greats on STAX records recording “black soul music"??

Any fan of music should be able to appreciate this, and upcoming new bands of a similar genre should be be glad for any exposure.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: spock jenkins [Visitor] DATE: Sun, 15 Nov 2009 11:47:54 +0000 URL:

Forgot to add: I believe that the ‘DAS phrase was an offshoot of the Bar-Kays “Black Rock” album that came out around the same time.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: spock jenkins [Visitor] DATE: Sat, 14 Nov 2009 21:12:23 +0000 URL:

Unfortunately, when our young ‘uns don’t know their history, they tend to come with the “new” much like Dash has done. As far as the “Black Rock” terminology, let us not forget that WDAS-FM coined this phrase for it’s programming back in the early 70’s.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: eisa [Visitor] DATE: Thu, 12 Nov 2009 14:19:48 +0000 URL:

Thanks so much for your supportive comments and for elevating the discourse!

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Sabiyha [Visitor] DATE: Thu, 12 Nov 2009 13:55:11 +0000 URL:

Thanks Eisa for taking the lead on this discussion. Based on some of the responses, you may need to do another piece on the misconceptions people have about religion and sexuality.

Why do people think gay people have a lifestyle (they don’t - gay folks are a diverse grouping with myriad lifestyles). Why do some think Jesus wouldn’t approve of gay people and their right to form supportive and legally protected families? Where do people get these ideas?

Heterosexuals do not have a monopoly on righteousness and goodness knows they have caused so much damage to human kind and this earth that they should not condemn others simply for their sexual orientation. Moreover, if Jesus was so hung up on sexuality, why didn’t he talk about how the gays were going to hell in a hand basket when he had the chance? I think it is because he had more pressing issues to deal with and because he had more compassion in his pinky than his followers have been able to muster for millenia.

These attitudes are sad but not surprising for religion is not an immediate buffer or antidote for ignorance. What was that posted comment before mine? James says that “Gay = black is a fail” - that doesn’t even make sense.

This isn’t about making ourselves feel better but it is about morality and bigotry. Keep challenging our minds and hearts Sistah Eisa! We need to think more and not rely upon knee-jerk responses in the face of ideas that challenge us.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: James [Visitor] DATE: Sun, 08 Nov 2009 20:30:52 +0000 URL:

Keep telling yourself that everybody against this is an evil monsterous bigot who thinks the earth is flat and wants all women barefoot and pregnant if it makes you feel better but I’ll tell you this: Gay= Black is a fail.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Paula Margulies [Visitor] DATE: Sun, 08 Nov 2009 13:45:21 +0000 URL:

Well said, Eisa. Gay marriage is, indeed, a civil rights issue. Thank you for putting your thoughts out there, and let’s hope that right minds prevail in New York on November 10th.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Jill Dearman [Visitor] DATE: Sun, 08 Nov 2009 10:36:39 +0000 URL:

Elsa, thanks so much for posting this. Simultaneously I sent this note around:

Dear Friends,

You know that 99% of the time I only post things about writing, for writers … but today I am compelled to make an exception.

I am crying as I write this and utterly nauseated.

You know that 99% of what I post and e-mail is purely about writing, for writers. I am making an exception because I feel so lost, humiliated, powerless, scared and UNSAFE after the horror of Maine?s repeal of Gay Marriage.

This was not Alabama, people. This was Maine. Socially liberal New England. Yet the Christian Right–who elected and re-elected GW Bush–was focused and powerful enough to get out their vote, so that 53% of Maine voters voted to repeal this basic human right.

On Tuesday, November 10th the NY State legislature will vote to pass gay marriage in NY or not. As this November 5th New York Times article (?Gay Rights Rebuke May Change Approach?) discusses, after the Maine vote, our politically cautious NY senators will be less likely to stick their necks out for gay rights.

If I had to communicate one thing to all the many wonderful, loving, liberal straight people in my life who in their hearts love their gay friends and relatives, it is this:


As you saw with 8 years of GW Bush, the Christian Right is powerful, monied and driven to make sure that the whole of this country abides by their beliefs despite us fair, rational, non-extremists (gay, straight, whatever race, religion, etc.) being the majority. There was Prop 8 in California. Now Maine. We are talking about states full of rational, progressive, empathic people…yet this is the reality. We might not understand why these extremists are so anti-gay but they exist and they are on a mission to destroy gay rights. YOUR rights, too! Folks, these same people are against organ donation, a woman’s right to choose and stem cell research as well.

Maine had gay marriage briefly then it was taken away. Ditto in California. This leaves every gay person deeply hurting.

Please, friends, I have been to many wonderful weddings–gay and straight–this year (including my own!). And I can’t tell you how many well-meaning friends and family members said things like, “Can you believe that this is happening in our lifetime? Who would have thought gay marriage would be so accepted? How wonderful!” I wish this were true, but it is not the LEGAL REALITY!

Sadly, my wife and I had to go to Connecticut to get married because it is not legal in New York. New York!!! When we travel out of state, unless it is in the HANDFUL of states where gay marriage is LEGALLY recognized, we had better have our wills, health care proxies, etc. with us in case anything bad happens and we need to act as any legal spouse would in an emergency.

I am scared and heartbroken, as are my gay brothers and sisters. We know that every single day, we live precariously, with only minimal rights, and we know what the religious extremists in this country are capable of.

PLEASE! Hear our cry and HELP!

If you are willing to help, as I know in my heart you are, here’s what you can do:

– SEND THIS NOTE to at least five people in your life (cut, paste, send…)

– ATTEND A CANDLELIGHT VIGIL for gay marriage in NY on Nov 9, 6pm in Union Square (Go to Marriage Equality New York for details.)

– TELL OTHERS: the reality is that gay marriage and gay rights BARELY exist in this country. If we want the “momentum” of gay rights to spread we can?t allow states like Maine, one of the most independent-minded, live and let live states in the union, to be bullied and dominated by Christian Fundamentalists.

– LEARN MORE: go to Marriage Equality New York for information on gay rights in NY and other states.

– TAKE ACTION. Contact your elected representatives (info at Marriage Equality New York).

THANK YOU for any way you can support this cause!

Peace and love,


----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Cynthia Goins [Visitor] DATE: Tue, 03 Nov 2009 09:53:58 +0000 URL:

Congratulations my Sister

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Black Woman Blogging [Visitor] DATE: Thu, 29 Oct 2009 17:22:49 +0000 URL:


It’s you and writers like you that keep us little-known and unpublished black writers writing. To paraphrase Anna Julia Cooper, when and where you enter, you take us black writers with you. Keep your head up and the words flowing.

Maybe we all need a t-shirt that reads, “I AM a black writer” with photos of inspiring writers such as yourself.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Julia Chance [Visitor] DATE: Wed, 28 Oct 2009 18:44:06 +0000 URL:

Preach Rob! Dame’s clueless and lazy, a bad combination. Glad HP gave you some shine regarding this.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: eisa [Visitor] DATE: Wed, 28 Oct 2009 16:04:27 +0000 URL:

It’s very good news, Honoree. We can’t celebrate too much! :)


----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Betty Tucker [Visitor] DATE: Mon, 19 Oct 2009 18:12:00 +0000 URL:

I think you are an awesome writer. Your passion will prevail.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: James [Visitor] DATE: Sat, 17 Oct 2009 17:53:31 +0000 URL:

I’m currently reading this point, although it lacks the flow and style of Donald Bogle bios of Black Hollywood it is an interesting read if for no other reason it corects some myths about Horne’s life. But honestly Gavin isn’t much of a writer.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: eisa [Visitor] DATE: Tue, 13 Oct 2009 10:44:57 +0000 URL:

What a thoughtful comment, Jennifer. Thank you for your memories of discovering Wright’s novel in your home and community library. Thanks, too, for affirming the universal truths readers discover in This Child Will Live. Your observations of life across race and class lines in Texas are wonderful. The hope, of course, is that more young people will read Wright’s work.


----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: eisa [Visitor] DATE: Fri, 09 Oct 2009 12:10:48 +0000 URL:

good luck to you, too, l divine!

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: eisa718 [Member] DATE: Thu, 08 Oct 2009 09:58:27 +0000 URL:

Thanks for all three comments above. I think there is a great divide in this country concerning the specific issue of police brutality and, more generally, the ongoing disenfranchisement and marginalization of African Americans. My hope is that this blog helps maintain a thoughtful, reasoned public discourse on issues that often spark passionate responses.

Having said that, I would never advocate vigilante justice, Larry.

Rick A., I’d like to respond to your comment. I’m not sure domestic violence “carries a presumption of possibly armed and dangerous.” Batterers beat their partners - otherwise the call would be for police to respond to a stabbing or a shooting incident, not a domestic violence incident.

Mae, I think your comment is heartfelt, thoughtful, and substantive.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: eisa718 [Member] DATE: Thu, 08 Oct 2009 09:45:34 +0000 URL:

You’re welcome, Nnamdi. And good luck!

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: mae [Visitor] DATE: Sun, 04 Oct 2009 22:28:47 +0000 URL:

This is a very good article. It is very sad that officers go into a church to apprehend a suspect with no regards to the daycare children in the church who will be tramatized for life. It is easy for someone who hasn’t walked in our shoes to think that the Rockford Police department is a just in how they treat people of color. Additionally ,what must be said, yes we must do better but most Black men do not have a chance. They are generalized from the moment they reach their early teenage years. Please do soul searching a realize that these are human beings. Police officers mirror the rest of society, there are good cops and bad cops. Rockford has had a long history of alleged police brutality that has gone unaddressed.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Rick A [Visitor] DATE: Sun, 04 Oct 2009 09:54:36 +0000 URL:

It appears the only feature of this reported incident that is labeled ‘alleged’ is the fact that the Peace Officers involved were working on a call to ‘apprehend’ a suspect identified as a perpetrator of Domestic Violence which carries a presumption of possibly armed and dangerous, so if the ‘message of media’ is: “Police Bad, Community Outrage Good", there soon will be even less good police to protect the peace in these neighborhoods at risk.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: ashley buckholts [Visitor] DATE: Thu, 01 Oct 2009 13:33:55 +0000 URL:

hey um……… i was doin my project on u an need 4 fact about u

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: pittershawn [Visitor] DATE: Fri, 14 Aug 2009 10:16:42 +0000 URL:

I stopped eating most of the garbage in the mainstream years ago when I learned what they do to our food. The book, Fast Food Nation, was an eye opener.

Now, to add to it all, yet MORE carcinogens. This is not the only one in foods. Believe it.

Carcinogens in KFC Chicken: (Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine)

In addition to this, my McDonald’s cheese burger and fries (my little experiment) are still going strong, a year later. No deterioration. No bacteria. Nothing. Looks like I just purchased it, except for being hard as a rock. What are they putting in them? Don’t answer that. Can send pictures to those who want to see. Hit me off blog at ptp (at) pittershawn (dot) com.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: ulen should hire bill ayers to ghost-write her next dull nefertartar book [Visitor] DATE: Sun, 02 Aug 2009 15:56:40 +0000 URL:

then everything will be alright~

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: barack obama [Visitor] DATE: Wed, 29 Jul 2009 20:50:41 +0000 URL:

it’s spelled ‘poop chute,’ my niggah
don’t be ‘typical’…learn how to spell

Another Ricci Case in NYC?

A stinging court decision that past New York City firefighter exams violated U.S. civil rights law sets the stage for negotiating a fair settlement while avoiding the divisive remedy of forced hiring.
Brooklyn Federal Judge Nicholas Garaufis could not have been more forceful in concluding that the city’s 1999 and 2002 FDNY tests ran afoul of Title VII, the same statute at issue in the New Haven firefighters case made famous in the Sonia Sotomayor Supreme Court nomination.

The article states that only 3% of black applicants passed 1999 NYFD test. So in 2007 after the test was tweaked and changed the 12% of black applicants passed NYFD test. Maybe I’ll sound ignorant but how do you create a test that favors a particular race?

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: depleted [Visitor] DATE: Wed, 29 Jul 2009 19:23:37 +0000 URL:

I have seen partially educated white women on COPS engage in histrionics and they walk away without an arrest or a scratch. Police officers are not gods and powerful white men utter those same words “DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM” daily with the intended results. Dude from Las Vegas - take you head out of your poop shute.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: James Passey - Las Vegas, NV [Visitor] DATE: Wed, 29 Jul 2009 17:29:44 +0000 URL:

LOL Distinguished Professor of African-American Histrionics….

Seriously. Anyone that asks a cop “DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA WHO I AM?” should be tazed merely on principle. Hell, writers who write that line into scripts of police movies should be tazed. There is no more grating cliché than that.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: nick melnick [Visitor] DATE: Wed, 29 Jul 2009 17:25:14 +0000 URL:

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: yani [Visitor] DATE: Mon, 27 Jul 2009 20:42:16 +0000 URL:

It makes me angry to see this as national news at all. Just that distinctions of race are in the headlines at all adds significance to racial barriers. Whether or not it is intentional, by covering news like this rather than say the violence on the streets of Tehran, journalists are only continuing age old stereotypes. I found a good discussion of the matter here:

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: pittershawn [Visitor] DATE: Mon, 27 Jul 2009 20:16:41 +0000 URL:

The blinders need to come off. As long as we continue to allow those with the physical ability to harass us, but who have no spiritual or moral fiber, we will never get anywhere.

I do NOT like Gates in the least. And I will never defend him. But I will defend the situation and the truth of the matter. I don’t care who it was…as long as I do not touch, or threaten a police officers life, he/she does not have the right to arrest me for exercising my freedom of speech. I don’t care if I told him his mama was a whore who sucked men off for money. He can be pissed all day long, but he does not have the right to arrest me. I can speak freely if I am annoyed. And like Gates or no, I refuse to defend the bad behavior of those cops.

They are going too far, and if we don’t stop them, it will land on our doorstep. Because as much as we think it’s cute to have to say yessah massa, it isn’t until we have to do it, that we realize that it AIN’T all that cute. What are we waiting for, for our spirits to be torn down to the bone marrow before we see it isn’t right?

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Sabiyha Prince [Visitor] DATE: Mon, 27 Jul 2009 16:50:22 +0000 URL:

I am surprised by the comments of Annoyed etal and fail to understand how one’s opinion of Dr. Gates prior to this incident is relevant. Police misconduct is not less egregious if it is directed at individuals perceived to be arrogant or dismissive of past racial injustices. While these latter two accusations need corroboration and are a matter of perspective, the fact remains that Gates was on his own front porch when this happened.

Thanks to this author of “A Teachable Moment” for reminding us that obedience to police officers is not mandated by law. It may be good form and common sense but it is not unlawful to express umbrage toward these individuals, who are supposed to provide names and badge numbers when these are requested by citizens.

I, too, am happy to see a bonafide debate taking place here. Kudos. Personally, I would like to err on the side of ridding the society of racial injustice rather than excusing it because of the status and/or attitude of the victim for in the last few years, I have had more than a handful of African American male friends and the children of friends arrested for NOTHING and subsequently released (sometimes with an apology and sometimes not). Sadly, a friend (a black dentist no less) was unarmed and killed in DC by an off duty black officer. This should not happen to anyone’s husband, son, brother, uncle or friend and it needs to stop now!!!

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Eisa [Visitor] DATE: Mon, 27 Jul 2009 16:16:37 +0000 URL:

Dear Annoyed,

I’m really glad you’ve posted your comments. I must, however, disagree with you. I think the public discourse over Gates’ arrest is an important human rights issue. I’m thinking of Amadou Diallo, who was profiled and shot in the doorway of his home. There are so many documented cases of police brutality; Black and Brown men are killed by police in this country at alarmingly high rates - and all of these victims were profiled before they were murdered.


----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: ANNOYED [Visitor] DATE: Sun, 26 Jul 2009 23:36:14 +0000 URL:

Yes, Amanda, I hear you on everything. But I also suspect that sometimes racism (or its supposition) can become for us a raison de’etre (and, in the case of an academic like Gates–whose work is built on denouncing racism, as well as promoting his illustrious self–a ‘raison de travail’). I can’t help but think of being really bothered by hiccups, only to anticipate them as soon as they’re abated. Some of our diaphragms have gotten too used to hiccuping. There are WAY more serious human-rights abuses happening here and in the rest of the world about which we should all be protesting instead.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Amanda Insall [Visitor] DATE: Sun, 26 Jul 2009 17:29:00 +0000 URL:

Wow. I think there’s a lot to talk about regarding the arrest of Dr. Gates. My first thought was: he’s kind of a celebrity…doesn’t his neighbor know who he is from his recent television appearances on African American lives? Does the cop not watch Channel 13? Well I guess that is a stretch.

I saw a panel including Tim Wise on CNN and understood what he said. He said he believed that the (deep) structure of racism in our country causes the behavior of Black people to be constantly called into question. The idea was: the neighbor lady calling the police; did she do so based on the skin color of the men she saw pushing the front door open? Did the police react more negatively to a man who was trying to straighten out a misunderstanding (caused both by the neighbor and the police officer’s negative assumptions…based on guess what? Skin color.) Did the police react in a more hostile manner to a Black homeowner breaking into his own home….than they would to a White man doing the same thing.? Undoubtedly.

So the conversation and teaching moment should really be about the racist structure of our society which has brought about these kinds of assumptions. The snap judgements that people make, when they are on the job, holding a gun, driving a car, getting into a verbal dispute… that can make it very dangerous to be a Black person in the US.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: ANNOYED [Visitor] DATE: Sun, 26 Jul 2009 13:54:13 +0000 URL:

I agree. I think Skip is an opportunist. The ‘teachable’ moment for Professor Crying Wolf should’ve been earlier, when the cops came to his house. Teaching moments don’t always have to public and publishable (he mentioned even putting his mug shot on the next book and adding this whole incident to a documentary he’s doing about racial profiling). Each encounter is an opportunity to rewrite history. He’s a professional whiner, that kid in grade school who couldn’t wait for a bully to even glance at him so that he could pull out all his political guns. I’m tired of intellectuals/academics making a living from historical oppression. In an interview, Skip went on about his having returned from China, how everyone knows him at Haaahhhvahhhhd, blah, blah, blah. What he doesn’t see is how CLASSIST he was being. What’s the point of fighting oppression if we’ll just turn around and treat others as badly? He also showed how removed he is from reality, acting ’shocked’ (a man over 50!) that he was being processed by the law like any other citizen ("Do you know who I AM?"; “egregious” nature of incident). Now, I’m not exonerating Crowley, but let’s also take responsibility for racial baiting. Skip is a drama queen, loving all this attention, which I bet he was orchestrating from the moment the cops showed up, hoping but not hoping he’d be the next Rodney King (what would Rodney say).

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: James Flentje [Visitor] DATE: Sun, 26 Jul 2009 10:52:13 +0000 URL:

What I find amazing about this incident is Prof Gates refuses to see that he did anything wrong. I can agree with Obama that both sides probably “over reacted” but it would be nice to see personal accountability coming from Prof Gates in that he acted in a very unprofessional mannor and disgraced Harvard University by his childish meltdown. He should have handled it by saying, “Officer, thank you for looking after my house, I am Prof Gates, I live here, thank you for checking up on my house, my family and protecting me. I guarantee you, we would have never heard anything about this incident. This was not a racial incident, it was an opportunity by Dr. Gates to misplace his rage and the fact that a fellow arresting officer who was also black concurred with the arrest satisfies my argument. There are alot of areas to expose racial profiling, unfortunately, this is not one of them and thus the only “teachable moment” here, is don’t be an A-Hole !!!

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: eisa [Visitor] DATE: Thu, 23 Jul 2009 09:33:36 +0000 URL:

thanks, carleen!

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: carleen [Visitor] DATE: Wed, 22 Jul 2009 21:52:17 +0000 URL:

Great review! I’ll be linking to it at my blog next Tuesday.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: nana [Visitor] DATE: Fri, 10 Jul 2009 17:52:34 +0000 URL:

Very aptly put.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Pritha RaySircar [Visitor] DATE: Fri, 10 Jul 2009 00:35:08 +0000 URL:

Congratulations, Malaika! Well done. I am thrilled to say that I was your edit assist for a hot 10 minutes! I knew back then that you’d be be doing something good. And lo: you have. No surprise at all.

Kind regards,

Pritha RaySircar

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: eisa [Visitor] DATE: Mon, 06 Jul 2009 08:39:03 +0000 URL:

hey, julia -

thanks for your comment. it will be exciting to see what quincy jones does if he buys it back.


----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Julia Chance [Visitor] DATE: Fri, 03 Jul 2009 10:08:36 +0000 URL:

“The Bling and the beefs tore it all apart. Faxes and fights, emailed rumors and mean (just mean) blogs ? all these folk struggling over a small pie that wasn?t even finished cooling, so we all got burnt.”

Truer words have never been spoken regarding all of this. When it comes to our endeavors, too often and too soon we think we’ve got it made, and we make no provisions for rainy days or what’s around the corner (technologically speaking, the future is now).

I think there’s room and interest in online entities that create the same excitement that these magazines did in their hey day. And hopefully the forward thinking amongst us is at work on it.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: eisa [Visitor] DATE: Fri, 03 Jul 2009 09:42:54 +0000 URL:

strong words, as always, chris!

thanks for your comment below, guy!

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Chris Chambers [Visitor] DATE: Fri, 03 Jul 2009 09:36:50 +0000 URL:

Beneath all of this, are we, as readers, just tracking what’s going on in the majority society: we’re just dumber than we were decades ago? Lazier? Shorter attention span? Demanding drama and gossip, not news? It’s got nothing to do with money, and everything with culture and reader tastes. That’s something pervading every issue we face.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Guy Routte [Visitor] DATE: Fri, 03 Jul 2009 09:23:14 +0000 URL:


----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: carleen [Visitor] DATE: Mon, 29 Jun 2009 22:11:17 +0000 URL:

You said exactly what I thought and felt, but couldn’t form the words to say. Thank you!

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: eisa [Visitor] DATE: Sun, 28 Jun 2009 12:42:31 +0000 URL:

thanks, all of you, for your comments. let’s pray our collective soul force helped send the brother home.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Guy Routte [Visitor] DATE: Fri, 26 Jun 2009 16:36:05 +0000 URL:

as always miss Eisa, you capture the real feelings I have, thanks sis.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Nick Chiles [Visitor] DATE: Fri, 26 Jun 2009 16:05:00 +0000 URL:

Fabulous job, my dear. You perfectly evoked our confused and mourning state this morning. But as the news media inevitably lasers on in his bizarreness, it is left to us to celebrate his magic. I don’t think I have ever been as overwhelmed by someone’s talent in one single moment as I was when I watched him on Motown’s 25th Anniversary special. I don’t think you can truly grasp the fullness of the man unless you were old enough to watch and process the force of that moment, almost exactly 25 years ago.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Hilda [Visitor] DATE: Fri, 26 Jun 2009 15:27:52 +0000 URL:

Eisa……you really captured it so
eloquently. Eventhough I hail, by birth, from
the small Central American country of Belize,
Michael was oh so ever present in our music
and the many happy memories through high school.
“I want to Rock with you” was used by our senior
class for a dance number. We were all so thrilled
by his music. Then I came to NY and was amazed that
I got to see him on award shows, etc. and see him
belt out the tunes that we used to croon over
as young girls, teenagers and now women. I am
fill with sadness for his children, family and
friends, but happy that his voice and music will
live on for many days to come.

Thanks for your beautiful peace on such an icon of
our times and a legend in his own time.


He will be missed…

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Jonelle [Visitor] DATE: Fri, 26 Jun 2009 13:42:45 +0000 URL:

Beautiful piece! So well said. We love and miss you BROTHER Michael.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Julia Chance [Visitor] DATE: Fri, 26 Jun 2009 13:14:35 +0000 URL:

Thanks for sharing Eisa – your post speaks volumes.

I too am surprised at my level of grief. The Jackson 5, and later Michael Jackson, were part of the songbook of my youth and young adulthood. Only now as an adult do I fully appreciate his special talent – a gifted, soulful child singer who moved us kids and our parents – who evolved into a phenomenal adult entertainer. An unprecedented career that set the standard for so many who came after. His song verse, “You’re just another part of me…” rings true for me right now.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: eisa [Visitor] DATE: Fri, 26 Jun 2009 11:38:26 +0000 URL:

amanda - thanks so much for thinking of this blog - and, yes, “i’ll be there” is flipping amazing. and, now, so heart-wrenching…

ernie - thanks for your comment!

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Amanda Insall [Visitor] DATE: Fri, 26 Jun 2009 11:26:52 +0000 URL:

My fingers were itching to navigate to your site this morning to see what you’d write about Michael Jackson. Then I received the link via email, almost as soon. I like to remember MIchael as the young golden voice in “I’ll be there". He gave it all in that song. His absolute all. The vocal talent in that track is stunning. And that track is just the first of his legacy. Astounding.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: eisa [Visitor] DATE: Fri, 26 Jun 2009 11:24:57 +0000 URL:

my husband. thank you.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Cathy Chen [Visitor] DATE: Tue, 23 Jun 2009 00:53:35 +0000 URL:

Many voted based on their political party view point. We need to focus on solution not judgemental comments. What can we contribute to a solution, suggestion, and idea common interest for our people in this country, not based on separate class and party interest. Voting will not make a different except create anger and division among people.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Cathy Chen [Visitor] DATE: Tue, 23 Jun 2009 00:48:42 +0000 URL:

Many voted based on their political party view point. We need to focus on what the solution not judgemental comments. What can we contribute a solution, suggestion, and common interests for our country as people not separate class and party interest. voting will not make a different except create anger and division among people.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Lynn Wheeldin Suruma [Visitor] DATE: Fri, 19 Jun 2009 01:58:12 +0000 URL:

Congratulations, Malaika! I know you know how thrilled I am for you.

Lynn Suruma

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Malaika Adero [Visitor] DATE: Fri, 12 Jun 2009 12:04:11 +0000 URL:

Thank ALL OF YOU for your kind words and this has been great for reconnecting me with old friends and family. All the best to you. One Love.–Malaika

P.S. Diriki, I’ll be in touch

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: John Omar (Diriki) [Visitor] DATE: Thu, 11 Jun 2009 18:10:00 +0000 URL:

Glad to re-discover you sister. It’s been a long time (1976) I always thought you were the most real member of P.R.A.E. please contact me i have a great author you need to meet. with love….John omar (woodcarver) 216-587-1811 anytime

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: carleen [Visitor] DATE: Sat, 06 Jun 2009 20:12:21 +0000 URL:

They lost their minds a long time ago! This is just evidence of continued insanity. Fortunately, I don’t think it works anymore, except for the other crazies. I think the majority of us are so damn ready to move on and get this country back in shape!

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Noor [Visitor] DATE: Fri, 05 Jun 2009 05:52:27 +0000 URL:

Wow, this is amazing
Nothing can really describe this with plain words.
Suheir Hammad has achieved a lot especially after writing this touching poem that reflects reality directly on ground.
Thank you for you your support
may god bless the souls of innocence and the dead.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: pittershawn [Visitor] DATE: Wed, 03 Jun 2009 22:21:59 +0000 URL:

Although I don’t go for some of the thoughts on Sotomayor and the Human Genome Project because of different things I’ve learned, I must 100% agree with you on the difference between prejudice and racism. Tell it! Cause folks don’t realize. Racism carries power and action. Prejudice does not. Preach on it sister! Love the break down and clarification on that point.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: elise [Visitor] DATE: Wed, 03 Jun 2009 21:19:06 +0000 URL:

eisa, your essay expressed what so many of us have been thinking since gingrich, limbaugh, and company pulled that desperate rabbit out of their hate . . . um,, i mean hat. i guess they didn’t read the republican/conservative book of fairy tales, especially the chapter about how anyone can make it in america and be successful if you pull yourself up by your bootstraps, get a good education, and work hard. here’s one of many people who did just that! sorry you don’t like the ideology, rhetoric, or (let’s keep it real) skin color! sotomayor’s story is the “american dream” realized, but they don’t like the fact that she has not baptized herself in the american melting pot.

one thing that stuck out the most to me in hearing her story is when she talked about her first year or two at princeton . . . how she wouldn’t even dare to open her mouth because she felt so different from her classmates. how could she go through her life and forget or ignore that experience that i’m sure was brought on by many factors - race,gender, class, ethnicity? how could she not let that and many more experiences shape who she? and how could she not carry who she is into her professional life on some level? it is a sad proclamation proclaimed by even sadder people. if they think she is racist (and i too have been arguing about that word and prejudice being used as if they were synonyms), well, as my mom used to say, “it takes one to know one.” in the meantime, i’m looking forward to “sonia from the block” becoming our next supreme court justice!

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: eisa [Visitor] DATE: Wed, 03 Jun 2009 17:19:25 +0000 URL:

thank you, all of you, for your supportive comments. it’s good to know we are in community and not in isolation as these attacks continue. (even newt gingrich’s apology seems mean-spirited and strategic.)

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Sabiyha Prince [Visitor] DATE: Wed, 03 Jun 2009 12:25:00 +0000 URL:

Thank you for the enlightening essay. While we often tout the benefits of dialogue, so much depends upon what those parties participating in these important conversations actually know about the subject matter. Your piece represents the kind of thoughtfulness and awareness that is missing from discussions initiated by mainstream media pundits and elected officials. Their thinking is not nuanced and they don’t know the history of race.

In addition, I am particularly dismayed by the racializing of Sotomayor as the race (gender, religion, sexuality and everything else) of her critics are assumed to have no role in shaping their perspectives, opinions and, given white privilege, overall status in life. I mean gee whillickers, even the most cursory familiarity with American history reminds us that whiteness only feigns invisibility - all people are shaped by their backgrounds and experiences in life. Contrary to centuries of racist pseudo-science and cultural imperialism, white men are not more objective than women or individuals and/or groups of color.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: chris chambers [Visitor] DATE: Wed, 03 Jun 2009 12:24:46 +0000 URL:

We have come to a sad point when people like Rush, Tom Tancredo et al are calling people racists and gnashing their teeth?

We shouldn’t be afraid about proclaimin that this our expression, our thing. Sonia should not be couching this as an apology. But this leads to a dirty little secret. A lot of this is the fault of white liberals who have turned racism into fairy tale villian “hate” and intolerance, sucking the meaning right out of it. Now we all are racists, and we’re running around apologizing to people who never apologize or even acknowledge our concerns and experience.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: eisa [Visitor] DATE: Wed, 03 Jun 2009 12:10:37 +0000 URL:

thanks, chrystal. you know we shouldn’t even trip (on pulled rugs). let’s instead pray for this sister’s confirmation and the continued march toward a more equitable society where no one can be racist. in the meantime, i’m with you: let’s at least get the terms right.



----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: pittershawn [Visitor] DATE: Tue, 02 Jun 2009 15:45:12 +0000 URL:

Great post.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Eisa [Visitor] DATE: Sun, 24 May 2009 08:16:29 +0000 URL:

Thanks so much, John!

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: eisa [Visitor] DATE: Mon, 18 May 2009 16:15:04 +0000 URL:

Thanks for your comment, Brendan. It’s so important that all of us bear witness to these unfortunate events when they take place. Very often the most important act is to remember and tell.


----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Brendan [Visitor] DATE: Wed, 13 May 2009 09:00:14 +0000 URL:

I live two hours south of Burlington in Brattleboro VT. yes, racial profiling goes on everyday down here. Bfrattleboro has a mix of ethnicities, mostly African American and white. Our International college SIT, has complained numerous times to the Brattleboro Police dept regarding the harassment of their african students while driving. It is bad everywhere. What to do? I let my friends know to remain calm and do not do anything flashy. This is crazy.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: eisa718 [Member] DATE: Fri, 08 May 2009 12:20:44 +0000 URL:

I’m so happy to read well-written popular fiction - especially in the summer. Farai is amazing, and check out Hollyhood by Val Joyner (see her interview on this blog).

I think the big publishers will be looking for big sellers in popular fiction and genre fiction OR books that are reviewed extensively and win high-brow literary awards. It will be harder for mid-list writers to break in with this economy and what’s happening specifically in publishing. At this year’s AWP RingShout panel, Chris Jackson said something to the effect of there is no more mid-list fiction. (I wasn’t there. Home with the belly back then.)That says a lot.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Chris Chambers [Visitor] DATE: Fri, 08 May 2009 12:12:06 +0000 URL:

I got a comp copy of Farai’s novel and it’s very good. Naturally, it’s got an autobiographical strain. Of course, this a little love melodrama and such to spice it up. I like that, and I think she nails it. What are your thoughts, Eisa? Look, it’s not To Kill A Mockingbird or Sense and Sensibility or Their Eyes Were Watching God, but although these books are marketed as if they are the wheel or fire, in reality I don’t think the current book industry is looking for stuff like that anymore. LOL They are praying that dicerning folk over above the average tool will pick up this book and be entertained, and, as I said, I think farai nails it for dicerning readers looking for interesting fiction. I think my wife & her colleagues might like this.
I want to follow Tharp and Spears-Jones’ stuff. Sadly I’m tapped to do faculty seminars at Georgetown’s reunions, then something at Princeton’s. the 29th and 30 is always crazy.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: pittershawn [Visitor] DATE: Thu, 30 Apr 2009 09:39:23 +0000 URL:

I think, like a wanting lover, we should be more observent. We can’t let being in love keep us from seeing certain things with clarity.

I would never vote in such trite things, particularly not through a controlled media. It is really insulting to my intelligence to imagine I should “vote” on a thing I have no viable way of measuring at this point in time. No fruit has beared. There is nothing to vote on. And even if there was, I would never believe a media that is not open would be so inclined to give me the truth about what is going on in our world. The days of Watergate type journalism are gone. Maybe they were dying then and the story was merely a means to save a dying paper.

Either way, MSNBC and their ilk insult my intelligence by asking me to “vote.” Vote on what? Nothing has happened, nothing has changed, and nothing but idle words have been floating around. This government is on its last leg. And I do not believe anyone can save it, because many are unaware of the forces that are determined to see the world transformed into one giant slave ship.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: davi [Visitor] DATE: Wed, 29 Apr 2009 22:53:19 +0000 URL:

he is the greatest and he is doing a very good job

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Bob [Visitor] DATE: Wed, 29 Apr 2009 09:45:15 +0000 URL:

I am not worried. Obama knows what’s good for me.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Bill Rogers [Visitor] DATE: Mon, 27 Apr 2009 17:44:23 +0000 URL:

F in every aspect of his preidency.
He is not even qualified to be

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Carol Landsverk [Visitor] DATE: Fri, 24 Apr 2009 00:30:10 +0000 URL:

F for failure to seek the best for USA
F for frightening reality he brings…
F for friends with wrong folks……..
F for free lunches do not exist……
F for foretelling of the end………
F for fringe type American………..
F for forthrightness is missing……
F for frounce in attitude…………
F for fullfilled promises lacking….
F for furtiveness full blown………

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: eisa718 [Member] DATE: Thu, 23 Apr 2009 17:56:15 +0000 URL:

Here’s a link to the New York Times article on the benefits of breastfeeding for mothers who nurse:

Thanks for this, Tara Roberts!

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Cecil L. Dunham [Visitor] DATE: Thu, 23 Apr 2009 17:02:21 +0000 URL:

F Minus

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Brooklyn G. [Visitor] DATE: Sun, 19 Apr 2009 18:04:02 +0000 URL:

What up, I’m Brooklyn G. co-author of A Silent Weapon For A Quiet War. Coming in June.All Street Publishing Inc.and Myself want to thank you all for creating ringShout: A place for black Literature, what a great idea and as time goes on we wish to be able to contribute to this website growth.

1 love,
Brooklyn G.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Chris Chambers [Visitor] DATE: Wed, 15 Apr 2009 20:32:05 +0000 URL:

This sounds like a wonderful event. Despite my disagreement on some, but not all, culture issues, he remains a provocative (even amusing) figure. I wish I could come. You all need to do stuff in D.C.–after the meltdown, it’s the only city that matters anymore, (and the mayor of DC, the govs of Md. and Va. aren’t clowns or bizarre as are Mr. patterson and Mr. Bloomberg).

Anyway please let me know how the event goes and include me in any follow up.
I did a blog post on the “Tea Parties,” by the way.


----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Anita Miller [Visitor] DATE: Sun, 05 Apr 2009 23:53:40 +0000 URL:

I think that Rebecca Walker is incredibly intelligent and very brave. I read “Black, White, Jewish” and was so impressed that she came through her difficult childhood and adolescence confused, but still moving forward to sort it out. I learned a lot from her book and admire her for the person she is. Her observations about being a woman infused with feminist philosophies is for me not only interesting, but a relief in a way. She stated some of my fears and concerns. I am an artist who through my life has tried to balance art with motherhood. It is a worthwhile, but never ending challenge. Thanks to Rebecca for her insights on the matter. As the cliche goes, who said life was easy? An understatement for sure.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: M o [Visitor] DATE: Sat, 28 Mar 2009 16:04:21 +0000 URL:

still love you,your work,will get the equation for life and please write more fiction!!!

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Tod Ewing [Visitor] DATE: Thu, 05 Mar 2009 17:48:40 +0000 URL:

Greetings all, Supporting black book stores is a must but it is samo samo trying to swim upstream with less capital and resources. I am relatively new to the area but having a Karibu book store already was a big deal to me. I am finishing a book and would have liked nothing better than to do a book signing with Karibu!! Until we have racial unity and justice this path will continue to be all too familiar. God bless all your work Karibu. I know I am late in writing this but felt compelled.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: lizz bronson [Visitor] DATE: Tue, 03 Mar 2009 17:54:34 +0000 URL:

hi, i echo all the sentiments listed. i too believe it is an incredible disservice to NOT have news and notes, ( did i say that right?)with the incredible innovative angles it takes, in terms of culture, in terms of looking at social issues, in terms of keeping track of our pulses and covering things that are on our minds that are not covered in the regular daily media. how are we supposed to get a good perspective or commentary, geared towards us, in the news now? with all the things that go uncommented and unreported. alot of the things said on n+n were on my mind but unconfirmed until i heard it on the program. it is incredibly vital now, with the changing times we face in this world. there is no substitute for a voice that speaks to people with a high level of consciousness. i don’t know what the reason is for eliminating the program( they said it is economic) but the show provides a valuable service to the community.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Jennifer [Visitor] DATE: Tue, 03 Mar 2009 11:24:14 +0000 URL:

Good news! Farai is back on the public radio airwaves! She is guest hosting “The Takeaway with John Hockenberry & Adaora Udoji” from now through Friday, March 20, while Adaora is on parental leave.

“The Takeaway” is public radio’s new morning drive news program, produced by WNYC & PRI, in collaboration with the BBC World Service, the New York Times, and WGBH Boston. It is designed to invite more folks to the table through diverse voices, a live format and a conversational tone.

It can be heard in New York 6-7am on AM 820, 8-10am on 93.9 FM, and from anywhere on from 6-10AM ET.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Villager [Visitor] DATE: Thu, 26 Feb 2009 15:03:11 +0000 URL:

I think that NPR did a disservice to its African American listeners when they cancelled News and Notes. I enjoyed the weekly Bloggers Roundtable. I look forward to promoting Farai’s book on my blog. I also hope she will find time to come to the Blogging While Brown conference in Chicago later this year.

peace, Villager

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: john [Visitor] DATE: Wed, 25 Feb 2009 22:34:29 +0000 URL:

IM sorry.this guy wasnbt to bright..but some of the blacks and thier new panther party have way to much hate and no brains ..they are the true racists…in this day and age? hold this one ppor guy trying to make a bussiness for this this true racism?..or just something to let everyone else in this country know that “we are still discriminated against!"..

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: pittershawn [Visitor] DATE: Thu, 19 Feb 2009 19:40:25 +0000 URL:

A tear came to my eye after reading this. Only truth and the emotions it conjurs can do this. This is real, sis. Real. For us writers…real…

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Paula [Visitor] DATE: Wed, 18 Feb 2009 10:22:51 +0000 URL:

All I can say is A and men!!! Preach Denene. Preach, girl!!

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: 'Nonymous [Visitor] DATE: Thu, 12 Feb 2009 22:25:08 +0000 URL:

Prof. Chambers:

With all due respect,
1) There are always Auntie Thomases.
2) Powells’ point is a civil-rights one, not about who’ll listen or the gender of those who had drunk the poison

And as to the passing of an STD, anyone who’s sexually active is at risk, period–basic sex ed. An STD’s no excuse for violence.

The real venereal disease is how quick people are to justify violence against women–a universal epidemic. When societies are killing the bearers of its children, for sure it’s the end of civilization.

But as long as we’re going down, might as well glam it up on the video.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Prof. Chris Chambers [Visitor] DATE: Thu, 12 Feb 2009 15:35:10 +0000 URL:

Excellent–but: (1) will nay male knuckleheads listen and (2) most of the voices I’ve heard and seen on the true pulse–black gossip blogs and sites–trashing Rihanna have been female.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Sabiyha Prince [Visitor] DATE: Thu, 12 Feb 2009 15:07:50 +0000 URL:

The STD allegation is the least important aspect of this incident and yes, all the facts need to be in before we even know the full extent of the truth with this case.

My concern is the reliance upon excuses on this general issue. Violence against women and children is as morally reprehensible and economically damaging as racism. Just as white folks need to stand up and fight against racial inequality, so to do men need to take a firm stand against this type of oppression. Too many of our brothers look the other way or make excuses for their friends and kin - “oh he works so hard” or “she just doesn’t know how to make him happy.” There is never any justification for intimate partner abuse so stand up for your sisters and take the brunt from your so called brothers when they violate the humanity of those around them.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: T Carter [Visitor] DATE: Thu, 12 Feb 2009 14:40:45 +0000 URL:

Thank you for this compelling and important story. I truly believe that dialog is necessary and any violence against women is unacceptable. I do think however, that as outsiders of a truly personal incident, the complete story (both sides) and true facts are necessary (inlcuding the STD story) before we can spread conclusions.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Anonymous [Visitor] DATE: Thu, 12 Feb 2009 14:19:00 +0000 URL:


I think that you are an extremely bright man, with great visions. Everything that you posted, I fully agree with…There is a rumor that Rihanna passed on an STD, to Chris Brown. If that is so, that is horrible. The circle of trust was broken, if the rumor is true. Chris Brown’s parties have yet to comment on the situation…

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Thrasher [Visitor] DATE: Tue, 10 Feb 2009 15:58:15 +0000 URL:

From my vantage point NPR simply does not want N&N when since from thier limited vision “Tell me more’ was the Black NPR quota appeal to Black Folks.. Truth is urbane white america has little attention span for Black urbane shows in part becuase of petty envy and cultural jealousy..
The elite White bandwidth of NPR market is obessed with thier cultural themes and energy..Black themes which will highlite white ignorance and white cultural underdevelopment and the truth of the genius of Black artistic simply has a short shelf life on urbane white radio aka NPR..

NPR in this regard is no different from the MSM radio outlets …NPR is just a degree more progressive but not by much…

For years NPR only thought civlization and creative ideas originated from Western Europe & Israel. NPR for decades ignore entire continents so the idea that N&N plus Tell Me More was too many negroes and colored folks for them to digest..

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Stanley Bennett Clay [Visitor] DATE: Mon, 09 Feb 2009 21:55:45 +0000 URL:

I am totally elated and not a bit surprised. Everybody in the know are totally aware of Malaika’s brilliance. So what’s the big deal? She’s the Obama of Lit. Your eye toward the future is amazing. I have no doubt that you will be the one, and in it’s time, to shepard the books of the Obama girls when they become the Obama women. We place our national treasure of the future in your most able hands.

A Serf,

Stanley Bennett Clay

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Farai [Visitor] DATE: Mon, 09 Feb 2009 15:19:23 +0000 URL:

Hey Chris and Eisa:

Thanks for the heads up on the hip hop journalism article.

I think the reality is that the whole media business is ridiculously perilous right now. (worth adding this twitter feed if you’re following the biz:

HOWEVER, just because an industry is in trouble does not mean you should abandon promising properties, especially ones that are growing new audiences. I believe N&N was doing that.

Don’t sleep on the crossover potential of public media. I was at an event at a hotel in St. Louis, and everyone from a busboy to a university president was listening to the show. They were actually listening because they could cite and repeat to me things they heard on air. I was humbled.

Now my job is to find another way to bring my talent and values into journalism. It could be another show, or another means. And the great thing is that there is SO MUCH TALENT out there right now. Some of the smartest, most innovative people have lost their jobs… which means they are up for grabs. I think we’ll see some incredible teams and incredible innovation emerge from this tough time.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Prof. Chris Chambers [Visitor] DATE: Mon, 09 Feb 2009 12:57:32 +0000 URL:

Note I left myself a weasel back-door: “Inner devils of NPR finance and the West Coast operation aside…”
Nevertheless, I do think there’s a support issue out there with the broader community, and News & Note/NPR is but one metaphor so I am sticking to my guns. What does Farai say on this?

I didn’t know about the measure of XXL, etc. and will check it out. Note I didn’t mention Vibe in a negative light as R. Kenner (and Mike Gonzales, of course) are pals. LOL

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Eisa [Visitor] DATE: Mon, 09 Feb 2009 12:20:23 +0000 URL:

Hey, Chris -

Seems like you’re assuming the numbers didn’t add up for News & Notes. That may be true, but I certainly don’t know for sure. It was a popular show. Often, colleagues and friends would mention that they had heard me on the Bloggers’ Roundtable - white folk and Black folk alike. So, from my anecdotal experience, just as many if not more of the show’s listeners were white. Though N&N expressed an intelligent African American voice, its listeners ran the racial spectrum. This leads me to believe the show wasn’t cut because of lack of support but for other reasons.

On this one, it seems likely that NPR’s lack of commitment to the African American experience is what killed News & Notes (regardless of what it cost to operate two shows in LA). Clearly, no one in management determined that this unique show was worth somehow saving.

Also, you might want to check out this article writer and friend Tara Roberts sent to me. It seems mags like XXL are not enjoying the broad support you suggest they receive from our community:

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Prof. Chris Chambers [Visitor] DATE: Mon, 09 Feb 2009 11:26:49 +0000 URL:

I’m looking forward to the novel–you know I like that kind of stuff, Eisa so thanks for asking her the details. Very thoughtful questions put to her; likewise, thoughtful answers are given. But you know I gotta be Dr. Negative/Devils Advocate here, as always. The inner devils of NPR finance and the West Coast operation aside…there are times when something from the dark recesses of my Grinchlike soul arises and I it whispers to me that our folk just don’t give a damn about NPR on any level. Maybe if News & Notes profiled T Pain, covered the beats of mags like XXL etc…dabbled in the strange what i call self-indulgent fluff of Essence, it’d show in the ratings? NPR’s target demo, to me at least, has always been urbane (not urban) whitefolks. The majority of whitefolks either don’t know about NPR or look at it as something snobby/liberal/whatever. Let’s 10% of whites (and I’m playing crazy with that term whites, but bear w/me) are the NPR crowd. Okay, let’s say 10% of blackfolks are an NPR crowd. But while the ratio’s equal their 10% is massive and our 10% is tiny in number. And our 10% are draining their wallets trying to support the finer arts, better books, film, TV etc. while our 90% well, you know my mean elitist stand, Eisa LOL. So the question I would have asked is the eternal one: how do we maintain progamming i.e. News & Notes without dumbing it down or radical and I;d say destructive re-tasking, but casting a wider net? Frankly that starts at home. You don’t have to be wealthy or have a PhD to love public radio. Someone, perhaps the President on his bully pulpit, should start sermonizing, as culture is JUST as important as policy and legislation…

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: eisa718 [Member] DATE: Sun, 01 Feb 2009 16:19:53 +0000 URL:

Dear Ariel,

I’m glad you enjoyed the interview. I am scheduled to teach Summer Session I classes at Hunter this year.

Best to you this semester at Berklee!

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Ariel Levitan [Visitor] DATE: Sun, 01 Feb 2009 13:41:17 +0000 URL:

Hi, Eisa:

Really enjoyed this interview! I am a student at the Berklee College of Music/Boston and wanted to take an English course (writing) over the summer at Hunter. Will you be teaching any courses over the summer? Please let me know. Thanks! Ariel…

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: michelle m. holloway [Visitor] DATE: Tue, 27 Jan 2009 18:49:35 +0000 URL:

No doubt this is blatant RACISM! The bakery should be investigated by the FBI, because the owner made a direct threat towards President Obama. The pendulum swings endlessly and for every step we move ahead, we still have to keep boycoting. We as a people MUST NOT take these incidents lightly. Stop referring to each other as N——.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Christopher Chambers [Visitor] DATE: Tue, 27 Jan 2009 16:44:25 +0000 URL:

I could have done w/out the celebs, even the artsy-intellectual ones at the Root Ball (even tho I got some nice dap due my Root piece w/Gates). I sensed they had taken it over. I thought Barack was the anti- flash bang?

Strange how we froze from 6am thru 10am 1/20, but as soon as the program began and I could see Sasha and Melia on the Jumbotron, I could feel my toes again, and my face warmed…

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Christopher Chambers [Visitor] DATE: Tue, 27 Jan 2009 16:41:24 +0000 URL:

This the millieu we’re in. Not virulent, invidious stuff. No, it’s indirect, joking and often somewhat “innocently” inadvertent. I’ll bet this fool genuinely believed it was okay.
Some of this relates to our lack of control of our own images on TV (e.g. “reality shows"), film, Hip Hop(yeah, I said!). When the coarse, the bamma, the violent and the ghettofab get play, white people think it’s all cool, all a joke, all a party.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Tiffani Carter [Visitor] DATE: Tue, 27 Jan 2009 15:20:02 +0000 URL:

I’m speechless. New York as the “melting pot” does not escape the racism that still abounds in this world. And it?s just plain and simple? he?s an idiot! This was very informative, thanks Eisa!

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Audrey Edwards [Visitor] DATE: Tue, 27 Jan 2009 15:19:41 +0000 URL:

Yes, this has been making the rounds. The
haters will always be among us, I’m afraid.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Alison Clement [Visitor] DATE: Mon, 26 Jan 2009 18:31:59 +0000 URL:

thank you.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: eisa718 [Member] DATE: Fri, 16 Jan 2009 08:27:50 +0000 URL:

Thanks, TO. I was struggling with a cold, so my big achievement was not coughing during the roundtable. :)

I think we’re all mourning the loss of “News & Notes.” Farai is amazing, and I think it’s one of the best shows on NPR. As much as I love them, I’d rather see those car guys from Boston canceled…

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: T O [Visitor] DATE: Thu, 15 Jan 2009 21:52:40 +0000 URL:

Brilliant appearance on N & N – too bad it’s being canceled.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Debra [Visitor] DATE: Wed, 14 Jan 2009 20:34:39 +0000 URL:

I?ve started a discussion on my blog you may find interesting (I hope)!!! Please check out my blog about Rearrange A Bookstore Day, this can be huge for us all.
Please check out my blog and I want your feedback, and your bloggers too!

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: eisa718 [Member] DATE: Fri, 09 Jan 2009 08:40:21 +0000 URL:

What a powerful post, Nelly. Thanks so much for bearing witness, for the act of Remember and Tell.


----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Chicago Attorney [Visitor] DATE: Fri, 26 Dec 2008 21:38:08 +0000 URL:

Wow, you make the President Elect sound like the Messiah himself! If Barack can live up to these kind of expectations, more power to him. I sure hope he can.

many people have put him on such a high pedestal with such high expectations, I seriously wonder whether any human being living or dead could ever live up to them. If he can, he’ll be a hero.

Just one question on the superior wisdom thing…where was this “wisdom” during the 20 years he sat in the church of Rev. Wright and listened to hate sermons, bashing whites and America in general?

Everyone is human, and Barack needed that those political connections to rise in the Chicago machine, then he conveniently dismissed them when they “came to roost” during the campaign, as Rev. Wright would say. I’m sure Barack doesn’t actually believe all the stuff Wright spewed out for 20 years, but anyone with such “wisdom” would have walked out of that church along time ago. Just sayin….

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: pittershawn [Visitor] DATE: Thu, 25 Dec 2008 00:22:29 +0000 URL:

good read.

long time no speak. haven’t heard from you in a while.

take care.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Carleen [Visitor] DATE: Mon, 22 Dec 2008 20:25:44 +0000 URL:

Power structures never give up (as Obama has said), and I think there’s going to be a lot more of the negative that comes with the positive changes this country is experiencing and will continue to experience. The positive will win out.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: willis brailey [Visitor] DATE: Thu, 11 Dec 2008 20:37:23 +0000 URL:

I was wrongfully terminated from Advance America Cash Advance, Inc for not reporting an arrest that was dismissed. This action commenced and being prosecuted under the provisions of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 in the U.S.Dist Court for the Eastern dist of Virginia at Richmond. I am relying on Gregory v. Litton Systems, Inc., 316 F.S. 401, 402, 403 (C.D. Ca.1970); affirmed, 472 F.2d 631(9th Cir. 1972)I need to find a case in the 4th circuit that’s on point with this case if not, looks like I have a up hill battle. I need the NAACP help ASAP. I file this case pro-se, I have no funds since being terminated April 11, 2007.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Rosalyn Story [Visitor] DATE: Thu, 04 Dec 2008 11:48:32 +0000 URL:

Years ago, you edited the softcover edition of my book, And So I Sing: African American Divas of Opera and Concert, back in the early days of Amistad. Even back then, I was struck by your combination of intelligence, sensitivity and compassion. I just learned about this great news, and I’m not at all surprised.
I’m very happy for you and proud to have worked with you! You are so deserving. May your blessings continue,
Rosalyn Story

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Bridgett [Visitor] DATE: Wed, 03 Dec 2008 14:14:32 +0000 URL:

Amanda and Farai,

Both of you were early supporters of Naked Acts, cheering me on through it all. Ten years have not dimmed my gratitude.

Thank you!

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: M HINAWY [Visitor] DATE: Tue, 02 Dec 2008 19:32:28 +0000 URL:

She is my fav ciz am so proud of her…

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Amanda Insall [Visitor] DATE: Tue, 02 Dec 2008 11:37:53 +0000 URL:

Wow she’s got that Ethiopian model thing going on!

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Eisa [Visitor] DATE: Tue, 02 Dec 2008 08:46:22 +0000 URL:

Hi, Steve -

Thanks for your great question! I think Obama’s choice of Hil for Sec of State legitimizes his role of leader of the party, because he enables the reconciliation that the Democratic leadership and former Hillary Clinton supporters require.

I also think Hillary’s sharp as a tack and this is a great role for her within his administration. I certainly do not think she will be traveling the world, meeting with global leaders, and calling for them to take Obama out. :)

Finally, Obama is probably the best qualified president elect we’ve had since FDR. I also think he knows the basic Art of War playbook. He’s pulled in a rival just in her moment of defeat, offered her a can’t resist opportunity, and thus has replaced resentment and malice by planting a subconscious sense of gratitude in her head - just when she was down and out.

Smart. It’s win-win-win.

What do you think?

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Jane [Visitor] DATE: Tue, 02 Dec 2008 08:45:57 +0000 URL:

3 words SU-PA-STAR! Aisha puts the ROCK in ROCKHOUSE!!!!

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Amanda Insall [Visitor] DATE: Mon, 01 Dec 2008 11:42:09 +0000 URL:

Can’t wait to see the film again, B.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Farai [Visitor] DATE: Mon, 01 Dec 2008 11:04:55 +0000 URL:

Love and will always love your film Bridgett!

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: nana [Visitor] DATE: Wed, 26 Nov 2008 16:45:58 +0000 URL:

Interesting. I think our books should be in the AA section, but - if they aren’t already - they should also be double-exposed in the YA lit/reference/historical romance/new hardcovers/etc sections too.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: anonymous [Visitor] DATE: Sun, 23 Nov 2008 15:52:31 +0000 URL:

I am going to say something un-politically correct….but… does make one
wonder how Obama managed to reach an entire nation of people via email with
consistent coorespondence (to blacks, whites, hispanics, jews and gentiles as
MLK would say)..yes NEITHER the Urban League NOR NAACP can manage to reach out
to just AA’s consistently. I had someone sign me up for a lifetime membership to
the NAACP last year….they cashed the check and I have heard absolutely nothing
from them. How tragic. I think this election proved that relevancy is the key.
Please don’t print my name because I have close family friends in key leadership
positions of both orgs, but feel free to steal my statement as a call to action
for your readers. OR print anon! Makes you wonder doesn’t it?

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Carleen [Visitor] DATE: Tue, 18 Nov 2008 12:53:09 +0000 URL:

Totally off-topic, but wanted to let you know: December is National Buy a Book by a Black Author and Give it to Somebody Not Black Month. Check it out:

Introducing my new blog: White Readers Meet Black Authors, the official invitation for EVERYBODY to check out the African American section of the bookstore. Every Tuesday I’ll review/introduce a black author or comment on an issue. First up is starting a movement in which we all give a book by a black author to somebody who’s not black for the holiday season.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: TA-S [Visitor] DATE: Fri, 14 Nov 2008 13:06:48 +0000 URL:

Congrats to a person who deserves nothing but wonderful blessings……

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Phyllis Montana-Leblanc [Visitor] DATE: Thu, 13 Nov 2008 18:56:21 +0000 URL:

Congratulations, Malaika! And thank you so much for all of guidance and help in my becoming a new author! I couldn’t have done it without you. “Not Just The Levees Broke” My Story During and After Hurricane Katrina” Foreword by: Spike Lee is doing great and huge things for me! I have a huge interest in my next manuscript already and I’m so happy. Congratulations again, you are definitely getting what you truly deserve. Peace. Phyllis Montana-Leblanc.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Carleen [Visitor] DATE: Fri, 07 Nov 2008 22:13:12 +0000 URL:

Congratulations to us!! America, we did it right. Like you, I believe with the help of God and the ancestors, we did it right!!

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Eisa [Visitor] DATE: Fri, 07 Nov 2008 12:28:54 +0000 URL:

I hope you find the person you’re searching for here, Patricia. Is it Elise Chance, with an s?


----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Patricia DeArcy [Visitor] DATE: Fri, 07 Nov 2008 11:54:48 +0000 URL:

In 1992 I directed Elice Chance in a “Get Out The Vote” video and have been trying to locate
her. To my surprise when I googled her name I not only found her but found this article written about 4W and Selma Jackson whom I also worked with as a community activist promoting Black Fashion Designers. To anyone who reads this I would like to be in touch with both of these amazing women once again to celebrate our recent collective victory. My e-mail address is

Thank you for your help

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Lance [Visitor] DATE: Wed, 05 Nov 2008 16:33:01 +0000 URL:

Almost felt as if I were with you at that moment in time

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Amanda Insall [Visitor] DATE: Wed, 05 Nov 2008 14:03:21 +0000 URL:

Over the bridge and into the land we were always meant to be. I am now so proud of my country. I have never felt so proud before. I’m thinking of this precious new life, your child who will come very soon into this beautiful new world.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Bonnie [Visitor] DATE: Wed, 05 Nov 2008 10:47:15 +0000 URL:

We RISE We RISE Lets continue to RISE

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Farai [Visitor] DATE: Wed, 05 Nov 2008 10:44:37 +0000 URL:

It makes me happy to see my people happy. I got a beautiful text from some of my family in Zimbabwe and have friends from around the block and around the world who have been waiting to exhale. I have been too.

The world isn’t only made up of politics, as much as I would sometimes fall into that trap, so I am re-focusing on health and wellness so I can be that 106 year old and see the first black WOMAN in the White House

No rush. I am savoring the moment and reaching out to my global family, blood family and chosen family.


----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Elisha Miranda [Visitor] DATE: Wed, 05 Nov 2008 10:09:33 +0000 URL:

Amen! Ache! Last night was a historical moment that we will tell our children about. The emotions, the celebration. Harlem was celebrating too sis. It was beautiful.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: jenn [Visitor] DATE: Wed, 05 Nov 2008 09:32:07 +0000 URL:

My voice is still hoarse!!!!

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Seradin Engram [Visitor] DATE: Wed, 05 Nov 2008 09:27:14 +0000 URL:

I cannot begin to express my feelings on last nights election. This is truly a victory not only for our African American brothers and sisters but for all Americans. As I walked the halls of Hunter this morning, many times I’ve heard people expressing their restored faith in this country and I can now say the same. It was just heartwarming to watch as millions waited to hear the results.
And even more exciting and joyful was when they announced he was elected president.
Although, I myself have not explicitly experienced discrimination and racial prejudice to my face, it was a sobering and joyous occasion for my parents who
lived through the civil rights movement. I was thrilled that they were able to see a black man elected president in their lifetime. I’m happy because I now see
a much brighter future for my generation and for my children as well. We have a better chance and dreaming is no longer in vain.
I am elated that young black men now have a concrete and living model to aspire
to-not some overpaid sports star or blissfully ignorant rapper that has no sight of the future farther than the next day. What’s even more, (as you’ve said in
the past) Obama can relate to all Americans. As many people have commented, the McCain rallies had only a few diverse faces scattered amongst the majority. As
for Obama, I’ve never seen so much diversity for a sincerely good cause like I saw last night.
Peace and Love to Everyone!

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Andrea King Collier [Visitor] DATE: Tue, 04 Nov 2008 17:07:37 +0000 URL:

As I write this, I am supposed to be working, but am too emotional and too distracted. I stood proudly and patiently to vote today for two hours at a polling place in Lansing, Michigan, that has never seen a waiting line to vote. My husband Darnay, daughter Nicole, who is 23 and my son Chris, 19 (who voted for the first time) went with me to vote as a family.

We ran into old neighborhood friends and made a lot of new friends (you get to meet new people when you stand in line for two hours). To see really young people standing in line with really old people, willing to do what it takes to have their voices heard, was an amazing thing.

We were voters 127, 128, 129 and 130 at our polls. It must have been the look on my face, that made the poll-worker who took my ballot want to tell me, ?I thought you might want to know what numbers you were.? She?s right. Tonight when the big numbers come in, I will keep remembering 127, 128, 129 and 130.It took all the self control I had, to not burst out in tears.

I have been so emotional, and have had some terrific access to aspects of the campaign, that I have cried the whole year. Last night I cried because Barack Obama?s grandmother didn?t live to see this moment. A month ago I cried at a rally to hear him say ?I stand here because someone believed in me.?

I know what he meant. Today, I voted for Barack Obama. I cast one vote, but it was for me, and all the family that came before me who could not even imagine a moment like this. It wasn?t until I got home that I had another moment. Nicole came in the room and said, ?Ma, we voted for the first black president.? I haven?t pulled myself off the floor yet.

I don?t know what the real outcome will be tonight. We know that strange things happen in elections. But I do know that just as I remember a childhood working in campaigns, as I remember being at Ernie Pyle School when John Kennedy was shot, remembering when Robert Kennedy was shot, Martin Luther King. Today I look at my son and remember casting my first vote?for Jimmy Carter. This is a day I will never forget.

Whenever something amazing happens in my life I have to anchor myself in where it comes from. I whisper to myself something my grandfather used to tell me whenever I would roll my eyes at political talk, or whine about stuffing envelopes or going to yet another awful fish fry to raise money for some candidate. He?d say, ?A high price has been paid for you to be here.? Today, I look at my two adult-ish kids, here having their say at the polls, showing their IDs, looking back at me. No dogs and guns. No beatings. Just a fully realized moment that my ancestors paid for on ships, in cotton fields, and in boycotts.

Today is another momentous occasion in the Collier family. My first born is going to her first day at work at our local television station. She is going to be a news assistant. Tonight she will be working from 6 pm to 4 am posting election results. I couldn?t resist saying to her for the thousandth time in her life, ?A high price has been paid for you to go to that station tonight?to even be able to count votes for a black man.? So if tonight, at that station, it turns out that she gets to say, ?Barack Obama, President Elect,? I home she also tells somebody tonight, ?I know that a whole lot of people paid a very, very high price for me to be here.?

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Audrey Edwards [Visitor] DATE: Tue, 04 Nov 2008 16:37:05 +0000 URL:

This was sent by a black American friend in Paris, where the French have already been whooping it up since yesterday in anticipation of an Obama victory. Sante!!


Mes Amis,

I can’t stop crying!

Last night, November 3, the “Comité de Soutien à Barack Obama” launched red, white and blue balloons in honor of Senator Obama’s anticipated victory. A crowd of hundreds then went to nearby Findi Restaurant, on Ave George V, where the party continued with champagne, hor d’oeurves and stirring gospel sung by the world famous Golden Gate Quartet. From “No More Weepin’ and Wailing’ “, to “Oh Happy Day!", to Linda Lee Hopkin’s soul stirring rendition of the “Star Spangled Banner"….it was a night to remember!

Imagine “YES WE CAN!” and “0-BA-MA!” shouted in French by thousands.

The hope and joy we shared in Paris last night was amazing!! With a 95% approval rating among the French, Senator Obama is considered the one who will lead not just America, but the World into a new future!

I can only think of how it must have been after World War I, when African American soldiers, among them the 369th Harlem Hellfighters, were hailed as heros! Last night put us in the middle of an election that is HISTORY!

Tonight, I’ll join French, Spanish, African and African American friends at an all-night election-watch party off the Champs Elysees, hosted by Africa International Magazine (celebrating it’s 50th anniversary). We are saddened by the death of Senator Obama’s Grandmother, Madelyn Dunam, but as my dear Rev. June Gatlin so eloquently writes, “She rests, assured (she has prepared) her majestic Grandson to ascend into the Divinely ordained place of World favor.”

It’s November 4th, 2:00 in the afternoon here in Paris. We are all waiting for you to vote and for the final vote to be tallied in California, which should come early in the morning for us.

We’ll be waiting….and watching, prepared to be part of this historic world moment in time!

Fired Up! Ready To Go!


Ricki Stevenson Bascombe

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Carleen [Visitor] DATE: Tue, 04 Nov 2008 10:12:22 +0000 URL:

If this wasn’t the last nail in the coffin….

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: eisa718 [Member] DATE: Mon, 03 Nov 2008 12:47:13 +0000 URL:

I know! Crazy, right?

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Chris chambers [Visitor] DATE: Mon, 03 Nov 2008 10:45:27 +0000 URL:

Lawd have mercy…

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: eisa718 [Member] DATE: Sun, 02 Nov 2008 06:45:47 +0000 URL:

Thanks for commenting, Emily. I must say, think that there is an unprecedented sense of overwhelming pride in this election year. I appreciate your post, and you may be right in some instances, but I would bet the bank that the majority of folk - of all colors, of all classes, of all sexual orientations, of all accents, around the world even - are incredibly excited to replace mediocrity with excellence. This is the most important election of your life. Trust. If you are a Gen Y-er, you might not get this just yet, but this is perhaps the most important election in the nation’s history. You are bearing witness to greatness.

Go, Obama. Go!

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: emily [Visitor] DATE: Sat, 01 Nov 2008 22:50:23 +0000 URL:

Seems like some supporters are hoping to influence the election by wearing attire that endorses their candidate.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Nan [Visitor] DATE: Fri, 31 Oct 2008 19:58:44 +0000 URL:

Good points!

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: nana [Visitor] DATE: Fri, 31 Oct 2008 19:55:32 +0000 URL:

Totally. I still don’t understand why Bloomberg didn’t just let the voters weigh in on this. He prolly would’ve won. But the way he went about this, he will not be getting my vote. Nor will
Christine Quinn.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: nana [Visitor] DATE: Fri, 31 Oct 2008 19:47:13 +0000 URL:

This video should run nationally!

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Eisa [Visitor] DATE: Wed, 29 Oct 2008 08:27:40 +0000 URL:

I’m so glad you became active around this issue, Jessica. Many of us have been so focused on the presidential election that, despite extensive local news coverage, we simply let this important issue slide by.

I, too, think about the role of money in the term limits debate. As a Brooklynite, I am opposed to Bruce Ratner’s Atlantic Yards Project. I was glad to think a new mayor might impede construction of the monolith that I and many of my neighbors think would destroy the cultural, historic, and economic integrity of our community. Bloomberg and Borough President Marty Markowitz will certainly continue to push to support Atlantic Yards and may even profit from its construction.

I’m afraid many voters, unaware that the term limits law was overturned by the City Council, will simply vote for more familiar faces without thinking about the implications of that vote on our democratic process.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Eisa [Visitor] DATE: Wed, 29 Oct 2008 07:44:54 +0000 URL:

That’s a great point, Straightshooter. As a Brooklynite, I’m surrounded by proud, open Obama voters. I have, however, been concerned about people of color in other parts of the country who live and/or work near McCain supporters, specifically those who have spewed virulent hate speech at McCain’s town hall events. I’m sure it’s hard for Obama supporters - of any cultural or ethnic background - in certain parts of the country, as the Republican drive to verbal violence has been speeding forward this election.

While I’d never want anyone to feel so compromised that s/he feels vulnerable simply for wearing a campaign button, it probably does make sense for folk to enter the polling places appearing completely neutral, pull their secret ballot, and safely go about their lives.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Michelle M. Holloway [Visitor] DATE: Thu, 23 Oct 2008 08:44:28 +0000 URL:

That was an excellent persuasive argument. While we as Americans/local citizens appreciate those willing to serve their communities, we are a democratic society built on the basis of allowing “ALL” to have equal opportunities. This means new ideas, not a dictatorship for personal gain or glory.

Thanks for sharing Eisa.


----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: eisa718 [Member] DATE: Wed, 22 Oct 2008 15:13:27 +0000 URL:

I think a lot of folk have been confused about what they can wear when they go to vote, Ivy. I’m glad this statement from the NAACP Legal Defense Fund has helped to clear things up for you.


----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Ivy Pittman [Visitor] DATE: Tue, 21 Oct 2008 21:38:22 +0000 URL:

The NAACP Legal Defense Fund should require that the Voter Bill of Rights include this information.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Ivy Pittman [Visitor] DATE: Tue, 21 Oct 2008 21:35:48 +0000 URL:

Thank you for clarifying this rumor. I just got into a major debate over this dilemma.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: shmobisimo [Visitor] DATE: Mon, 20 Oct 2008 22:31:27 +0000 URL:

this is posted on facebook. is it not true?

SAVE THE DATE- Honoring the Work of Octavia E. Butler– The Center for Black Literature & The Nat. Black Writers Conference (NBWC) is hosting its bi-annual symposium SAT March 28, 2009 at Medgar Evers College, CUNY in Brooklyn, NY. 12 PM -5 PM

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: eisa [Visitor] DATE: Thu, 16 Oct 2008 12:05:43 +0000 URL:

Dyson was focused and scholarly… and no panelists were injured in the making of this discourse… but he did quote Hip Hop and reach ministerial heights - in a good way. He had much support and love love from the crowd.

And there was a crowd. Time Warner slipped on putting us in the smallest conference room. Standing room only.

Holmes was not as terrifically right wing as I expected her to be. I actually enjoyed some of her comments. On an earlier panel on Day 1, she was coming more from her CNN right-leaning perspective, and she certainly wasn’t incredibly progressive in her remarks at the Race panel, but she modulated more to the just-right-of-center, I’d say, on Day 2.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Chris Chambers [Visitor] DATE: Thu, 16 Oct 2008 11:54:42 +0000 URL:

Kudos on the panel. I have a number of substantive comments, but what springs to mind for this post is the impression, from your narrative, that my Hoya colleague prof. Dyson sounded uncharacteristically restrained, focused and scholarly. Likewise, Amy Holmes apparently wasn’t doing right-wing talking points. Did Omar put happy pills in everyone’s water?

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Ricky Gordon [Visitor] DATE: Tue, 14 Oct 2008 04:07:01 +0000 URL:

Congratulations to great women.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Amanda Insall [Visitor] DATE: Sun, 12 Oct 2008 14:01:47 +0000 URL:

At McCain rallies the maggoty underbelly of American society is exposed. Old ladies sputtering about “Ayrabs". A man who you’d fear if you saw him at a gas station spitting hate into the microphone. I think these images are certainly reminiscent of images we know of lynch mobs. Why does this image keep coming up? It has always been used as a threat. The McCain/Palin campaign incites these crowds by accusing Obama of “palling around with terrorists". It is terrifying that their very accusations of terrorism against the Obama campaign speak more aptly to their own right wing motives.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: eisa718 [Member] DATE: Sun, 12 Oct 2008 08:44:58 +0000 URL:

Hey, Amanda -

You know my husband Ralph has always called the elections of ‘00 and ‘04 “bloodless coups.” You’re both right.

Right now, I feel worried not for Obama’s safety, as many people rightfully are, but for the average person of color who is unlucky enough to cross paths with a McCain supporter or two after they’ve been riled up at one of these town halls. Remember the Asian exchange student killed by a Texan homeowner on Halloween simply for ringing the wrong doorbell on his way to a costume party? Or the guy caught on a Texas 911 tape going after two Mexican American burglars he witnessed stealing from his neighbor’s home? The 911 operator kept telling him not to go after the men with his gun, but he did anyway - and killed them both. I know whatever they stole was not worth more than a human life. Had this guy been riled up by watching Lou Dobbs? I don’t know, but I do know the mob mentality, and, as I watched the video of these town halls play, all I could think was, ‘I am so glad Ralph and I aren’t caught up in that mad crowd.’ Too many brothers and sisters were killed by lynch mobs simply because they happened to cross paths with a bloodthirsty gang, high on hate speech, hunting Black flesh - anyone’s Black flesh - to burn, maim, destroy.

All presidents are targeted by crazy persons, and every elected official at Obama’s level receives death threats, but they do have the secret service there to protect them, offering them the highest possible level of security. The average Joe or Jane does not.


----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Amanda Insall [Visitor] DATE: Sat, 11 Oct 2008 22:28:58 +0000 URL:

Sheesh, I had the exact same thought Eisa, about the mobs of whites at McCain meetings chanting “Kill him” in the background. All this right wing fear mongering about terrorism, when I fear terrorism from the right wing. The question that is haunting me these days: What the heck happened last time in Ohio and Florida with voter fraud….and what are we doing to prevent a veritable coup d’etat from the right from happening again in this election?

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: eisa718 [Member] DATE: Thu, 09 Oct 2008 12:59:41 +0000 URL:

Hey, Mahogany -

Last night was something, wasn’t it? Both Tayari and Nicole were impressive. I would definitely keep Nicole in mind for future events. She’s a great moderator.

Thanks for asking about Crystelle Mourning. You might try calling Brownstone Books if you live in Bed Stuy, as they should have a copy or two in stock. Of course, you can always order there or at a chain if, say, the B&N on Court Street doesn’t have it on their shelves. And the book is available online through Amazon. You can click on the banner below to get directly to the page.

Either way, lemme know what you think once you’ve read it, and thanks again for your support!

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: mahogany l. browne [Visitor] DATE: Thu, 09 Oct 2008 12:02:53 +0000 URL:

Nicole was quite thorough. She asked things I thought about all the way home. Jones’ had an incredible reading of her new work. Great to see you there. Where can I find your book in Brooklyn?

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Christopher Chambers [Visitor] DATE: Tue, 07 Oct 2008 09:19:25 +0000 URL:

She’s on the ticket merely b/c Barack didn’t capitalize on the bizarre Hillary bump; my strategy is win first, worry about the Clintons later. Hillary should be the VP candidate. Biden can be Sec. of State. Moreover, Palin’s job is to keep the crazy GOP fringe happy: the disgruntled redneck ignoramuses who by all notions of self interest should be voting Democrat, the bloggers, the wingnut pastors, etc. It is a cynical move. frankly, Mike Huckabee could have filled this role. He’s a populist and anti big business, however.

We can rail all we want but unless Barack boldly addresses this rather than try to float above it, it will not end.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: elise [Visitor] DATE: Mon, 06 Oct 2008 20:50:44 +0000 URL:

the problem of being educated and sounding intelligent seemed to be an issue that was only in the black community. blacks who “spoke correct english,” got good grades, or went on to higher education institutions were branded as “trying to be white” or “uppity.” but more and more this is not just a problem in the black community . . . it is a problem in this country and it has been largely perpertrated by white folks in the media and government. it is the dumbing down of america. we are actually being encouraged to vote for our leaders based off of if we would have a beer with them or hang out with them a a bar-b-que. i’ve never wanted to do either with any elected official be it the mayor, governor, or president. we elect them to be leaders not friends! and there is nothing wrong with our leaders being intelligent, level-headed, and articulate.

i pray to God that people will wake up and see the mccain/palin ticket for exactly what it is - more of the same in an extra dumbed down version. obama inspires people to dream, to hope, to accomplish!!! as a society we need that!! we need to be creators, inventors, educators, and educated. and if those folks don’t want to wake up because they fear a black man being president will be a nightmare, they should step aside or get rolled on by those of us that will make that dream a reality!

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Amanda Insall [Visitor] DATE: Mon, 06 Oct 2008 11:12:45 +0000 URL:

Watching Palin during the debates, I had the distinct impression that I was watching a person in Junior High participating in a school debate. The folksy Fargo “Os"…"There you goooo again Joe…". The snippy little tag phrases manufactured to avoid any substantive questioning. Unfortunately there are Americans who dig this kind crap. The pronunciations nuke ya ler, and I ran and I raq seem to be some kind of code for “I’m a moron” The sad thing, is the people the Republicans are trying to reach with this fifth grade rhetoric are being lied to about this ticket’s true intentions. The true intention of the M/P ticket is to maintain the status quo, and prevent any redistribution of resources from the large corporations who are running this economy into the ground.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: eisa718 [Member] DATE: Mon, 06 Oct 2008 10:10:25 +0000 URL:

Dear Diamondancer,

So sorry it’s taken this long for me to respond to you! The NBWC takes place every other year, so, as far as I know, there won’t be a 2009 conference. Please keep an eye out for the 2010 schedule.

Again, I am so very sorry to have taken more than a few days to get back to you.



----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: carolyn ferrari aka diamondancer [Visitor] DATE: Tue, 23 Sep 2008 11:18:18 +0000 URL:

Do you have the dates announced for the 2009 calendar year?



----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Michael Lomuscio [Visitor] DATE: Mon, 22 Sep 2008 16:15:26 +0000 URL:

It was a great moment in United States history that Senator McCain has chosen a true American as his Vice Presidental running mate. As it is also a great moment in American history that Senatore Obama is the 1st African American to be nominated to his party, Sarah by far is ready to lead this country than Senatore Obama. Vote Sarah!

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: nana [Visitor] DATE: Wed, 10 Sep 2008 21:00:53 +0000 URL:

The hypocrisy is staggering and the silence is deafening. I want the liberal Times and the conservative Fox News alike to admit that if Palin was a woman of color - rich or poor - she and her family would have been raked over the coals for Bristol’s pregnancy. But mostly, I want voters to see this glaring disconnect between a party who lacks compassion - but abounds in condescension - for those less financially fortunate than themselves. I want voters to see clearly that McCain and the Repubs saw themselves losing this election, so they completely changed their message - bitten off Hillary - from experience to now I don’t even know what. I hope voters recognize that this election is not a movie in which a spunky character or unexpected plot twist steals the show. I hope voters overcome their cynicism of govt and have the audacity to hold their elected officials and themselves accountable for the fucked-up-edness that America is dealing with now and be the change they want to see.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: the daily d [Visitor] DATE: Wed, 10 Sep 2008 10:54:10 +0000 URL:

I have read your blog with thought and I have to play the other side here.

Palin has a typical American family. Period. Kid is carrying a kid, husband has a DUI, she may have had an affair, etc. Are you to tell me she is to be above the drama that the rest of us may live or surely have in our family? Oh wait, yes you are, because Obama presents his family as “perfect” and the typical American Culture is to have that idle to look up to. I.e. The manner in which we worship sports stars. Hook, line, sinker.

You speak of the National Inquirer as being spot on; well have you read the headlines when they feature Obama? Are those not spot on as well? Or is it because you support Obama and worship that “perfect” family that you turn an editing eye to those stories?

Doesn’t anyone wonder why when Obama worked so hard as a community organizer that his campaign commercials always show the White struggling Americans? I’m from Chicago, trust me the communities he worked in were anything but White so where are they? Oh and I did hang out in those communities because I had friends there so I know.

Obama says get the military out of Iraq so we can move them to Afghanistan. So no budget cut there unless he decides not to fund the troops while they are there. And currently in Afghanistan the growing battle is the drug lords, not the terrorists. That is a battle the US cannot win in any country.

I am with you on this point that I will never agree with how the media treats new stories and how they use stereotypical terms developed by the subcultures of this society to call out a name. But that hasn’t stopped Obama either.

Going green is going to cost more money then people realize. I myself tried to get a recycling bin and was turned down, the budget isn’t there and I live in a major city. So I take myself to the recycling areas provided because that is the best they can do. Well its something but where is the money going to come from to Go Green the way these candidates say we can and what do we do in the meantime to get there?

I just want to hear politics and base my vote off of what each has to say about what they “really” can do and not vote for someone who reminds me of the guy in middle school who promises were nothing more than hopeful wishes.

I want someone who works with and looks to our elected officials for help and answers; not to his family first and government later.

I hope America survives the outcome of the vote this election year but unfortunately I think what is to come is not what any of us will expect.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Wow [Visitor] DATE: Mon, 08 Sep 2008 12:06:54 +0000 URL:

Bitter bitter woman get over it….he didn’t use your company for travel.. ok, bill him for the bounced checks and move on, even send him a letter telling him how angry you are. I mean I understand your frustration but this book fair has been going on for years and has helped thousands of known and unknown black authors for YEARS.

You only worked with him because you know that this is the biggest african american book fair in the country. No doubt that you would be in a better position if you could work with the Harlem book Fair. I’m confused that you were still willing to work with him after the first check bounced, and then accepted ANOTHER regular check, even after you demanded a certified check. You were desparate for fame one way or another and because you didn’t get it from actually working with the book fair you tried to get it from bad mouthing the book fair and the founder.

You’re still not well known, other than being the bitter woman who still hasn’t come into her own, still only well known for being the one who was mad at Max Rodriguez and the Harlem book fair – is that your claim to fame? How about working on your travel company, we all make mistakes in life – CLEARLY you both made some…. move on.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Amanda Insall [Visitor] DATE: Thu, 04 Sep 2008 17:24:26 +0000 URL:

I wonder if McCain chose Palin partially to counteract reports that he called his wife the “c word” in public. Fortunately this whole “privacy” business that the Republicans are spouting about the teen pregnancy of her daughter, only highlights the kind of duplicity and hypocrisy that we’ve witnessed during the last 8 years. If a teen’s pregnancy is a private family matter, then why are the Republicans trying to make a federal case out of Choice? I mean, I don’t care if some “Hockey mom", or “Walmart mom” chooses to have 5 children. It’s none of my business. Why do they care about what other women choose to do? People are sick and tired of this kind of bullshit. And that’s exactly why the whole Republican campaign is falling apart.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Carleen [Visitor] DATE: Thu, 04 Sep 2008 14:28:04 +0000 URL:

Of course they want to take us back to the culture war. They can’t fight on the economy. They can’t fight on energy. They can’t fight on any other platform, including these actual wars they’ve started. My optimism comes from the strong belief that Obama & Co. aren’t going to fall for it. We’re going to keep asking people if they’re better off than they were 8 years ago. We’re going to keep asking if they want health care. If they want jobs. If they want their sons and daughters home. Those old arguments are done.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Virginia [Visitor] DATE: Thu, 04 Sep 2008 14:04:22 +0000 URL:;

Absolutely on point! Brava! Donna and I didn’t wait–we did a blog about the Palin baby on board Tuesday. I was speaking to my mother this morning(she just turned 85) right after I read your blog and she said to me: “When someone has to tear down another person in order to lift themselves up–they’re hiding something.” So I read your entire blog to her! And she sends her bravas! too.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Donna [Visitor] DATE: Thu, 04 Sep 2008 12:31:35 +0000 URL:;

Political debate has devolved into reality TV at it’s best (worst?)–right up there with The Apprentice and Flava of Love. The one who delivers the best zinger wins–the truth be damned. I find it interesting that Bill O’Reilly (!?) has chosen to air an Obama interview during McCain’s big night. We’ll see what that becomes. The good news/bad news is that any illusion we had that this campaign was going to be about the civil discussion of issues has been whacked. Candidates, put on your armor. Welcome to American Gladiator–White House edition.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Bonnie [Visitor] DATE: Thu, 04 Sep 2008 11:58:09 +0000 URL: http://Palin

WOW ! Right on point cuz. How dare the RNC think there is anantidote for Obama when he is the antidote and the cure.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Denene Millner [Visitor] DATE: Tue, 02 Sep 2008 09:32:00 +0000 URL:

Thank you, Eisa and Tina, for a wonderful, thought-provoking Q&A! It’s certainly nice to see a contemporary take control of her writing destiny; Tina is an inspiration for us writers who revere the written word and its legacy, and work tirelessly to get folks to respect what we do. Write on, Tina. Write on! We see you…

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Nana [Visitor] DATE: Sat, 30 Aug 2008 14:30:14 +0000 URL:

I think Barack said it best in his acceptance speech when he intoned that you use old lines of attack when you don’t have fresh ideas of your own. McCain has consistently poached elements of Obama and Hill’s game-changing strategy from using the front of his lectern to broadcast his ‘Country First’ message to choosing Sarah Palin as his VP in a bald attempt to capture Hillary’s supporters and garner the attention he’s jealous of Obama for commanding. But what does he truly stand for? He says Obama would put winning this election before winning the war, but I think he’s just revealing his own vaulting ambition to win this election at all costs. We know Obama stands for change. What does he stand for?

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Lance [Visitor] DATE: Thu, 28 Aug 2008 14:45:19 +0000 URL:

Don’t worry Niece, you weren’t the only one in the waterworks. My wife, son, daughter and his girlfriend who happens to be white were all down at the waterworks with you. We had long discussions about this event and will probably continue this for quite sometime. This was not only the first person of color to win this position but the bigger issue is that this is a shockwave that has struck around the world.

Barack has given hope to all, he is like a giant meteor who struck the ocean and sent shock waves over us all. We, the babyboomers used to have a slogan “the whole world is watching” and yes we are. I am not only a proud blackman, but now I’m a proud American. You and I once had a conversation about what your gneration could do to emulate the sixties activist. If you remember you were told by one of us that you had to find your own way because times have changed, circumstances are entirely different. The person who told you disappointed the both of us, however since then I’ve been more vigilant aout the state of our nation and I see and understand more now, especially in light of this election.

There is a movement in this country which I see more clearly now. We the babyboomers were from the streets, we marched, we fought, we demonstrated and we were strong and taught you what we knew;we questioned everyone especially those over “thirty” :-)we gave you the free breakfast programs and we brought an end to the Vietnam war.However, what I see now is that you too are in the streets but the streets of your generation are here on the internet, are here in your writings,your McDonald generation has brought food for our stomachs but food for our minds as well.

As Sly and the family Stone sang “somebody is watching you” (referring to “Big Brother") It was true but now somebody is watching big brother.No where to run and no where to hide.News of a Rodney King incident or the likes is around the world in a matter of seconds. I’m sure the ruling parties weren’t prepared for this but it out there now and the buck stops here for the whole world to see.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Carleen [Visitor] DATE: Thu, 28 Aug 2008 14:08:30 +0000 URL:

I went out last night and walked the pedestrian mall downtown, or we should call it Obamatown now. What a feeling to be surrounded by thousands of folks all wearing Barack t-shirts, hats & buttons! What a feeling to see the store windows lined with posters and photos of our next president, who is such a beautiful man, and photos of him and his beautiful family! To see people of all hues sharing the same enthusiasm and hope did my heart so much good, better than therapy!

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Helen M. Sutton [Visitor] DATE: Thu, 28 Aug 2008 11:21:36 +0000 URL:

You could not have expressed the stong emotion that follows yesterday’s action and speeches any better. I , too, was in tears, thinking about my parents, who were part of the fight for civil rights, and the joy that must be on their faces looking down. Yesterday was my dad’s birthday. When Obama was nominated by acclamation, I just looked up and said,"Happy Birthday Daddy.”

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: eisa718 [Member] DATE: Wed, 27 Aug 2008 19:50:37 +0000 URL:

Love your comment, Carleen! They do know. You are so right. Thank you for reminding us that our ancestors are with us - and celebrating!

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Carleen [Visitor] DATE: Wed, 27 Aug 2008 19:30:41 +0000 URL:

I know, Eisa! I feel the same way about my grandfather, but they know. No way (no how, no Mcain) they don’t know this!!!

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Audrey Edwards [Visitor] DATE: Wed, 27 Aug 2008 18:57:47 +0000 URL:

Powerful piece, Eisa. This is the insanity of racism, isn’t it? That white people will throw down (and go down) with the Devil before they give it up to a black man. Geeez. It do make one tired, I must say. I’ll also say if Obama man doesn’t make it to the White House, I’m so out of here…

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Eisa [Visitor] DATE: Mon, 25 Aug 2008 19:27:45 +0000 URL:

I wish I were in Denver, Carleen, but I’m here in Brooklyn with my husband watching everything on CNN and PBS. :) I’m hoping to get some great guest blogs from folk lucky enough to attend this historic convention, though. I would love to read what folk are really experiencing - and less of the media response to convention events.

We’ll just have to meet each other at some other event, Carleen. :)


----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Carleen [Visitor] DATE: Mon, 25 Aug 2008 14:50:32 +0000 URL:

Eisa! You’re in Denver. Welcome to the Mile High City! I’ll be looking forward to your posts.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Eisa [Visitor] DATE: Sat, 23 Aug 2008 10:35:13 +0000 URL:

Thanks for your kind words about the site, Mark. Glad it helps you get your day started. :)

I hear you completely on the library. Enough studies have been done that prove one significant difference between higher achieving students and lower achieving students is that those young people who do well come from print rich home environments: they see their parent(s)/guardian(s) read and they are read to every day until they become independent readers themselves.

In my elementary school, we had Library Class every week. We learned the Dewey Decimal System, applied for school library cards, and checked out and returned library books.

Wouldn’t it be great if, given the paucity of print rich home environments among some students, all elementary schools provided this opportunity to our children? Aren’t our tax dollars supposed to help ensure the public schools produce thinking, literate citizens? If regular library attendance is such a no-brainer, why don’t all American schools provide it?

And this is where I quarrel with Cosby. His rhetoric blames the dispossessed without - and this is key - without holding our inadequate system of public education and other crucial social institutions (like health care and business/corporations) equally responsible for their role in shaping these community and national realities.

Should folk take responsibility for their children’s access to books and learning? Yes. Should the rest of us also share the blame for the lost potential among so many of our beautiful children? Yes.

I guess I’m a bit of a DuBoisian. I think that freeing folks’ minds - developing the tools to create a critical analysis of the conditions that have led to dispossession among certain peoples - is key to our liberation. Those tools, of course, are available (for free!) at the library.


----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Eisa [Visitor] DATE: Thu, 21 Aug 2008 09:36:14 +0000 URL:

Hi, Mark -

Thanks for your comment! While I respect your point of view and what seems to be a focus on more practical approaches to improving the lives of African Americans, I think it’s imperative to develop theory. Indeed, even if we were to agree that Cosby provides all the solutions to improve Black life, no one would begin to implement his strategies without first understanding and accepting the theoretical basis of his plan.

We’ve got to move our minds, and our behinds will follow.


----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Dera [Visitor] DATE: Fri, 15 Aug 2008 00:49:45 +0000 URL:

Hi Eisa, I am just seeing this. I’m going to need a promt to remember to come to your blogs; I get so busy. Anyhoo, I appreciated Johnson’s essay although I did not agree with everything. I also enjoyed reading Professor Jerry Ward’s response that was posted on Kalamu. Over at the Writers Forum at Agrigeneas, we have been having a dialogue on the essay. Go to the link and follow the thread.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Dera [Visitor] DATE: Fri, 15 Aug 2008 00:06:31 +0000 URL:

Hi Eisa, I am just seeing this. I’m going to need a promt to remember to come to your blogs; I get so busy. Anyhoo, I appreciated Johnson’s essay although I did not agree with everything. I also enjoyed reading Professor Jerry Ward’s response that was posted on Kalamu. Over at the Writers Forum at Agrigeneas, we have been having a dialogue on the essay. Go to the link and follow the thread.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Dera [Visitor] DATE: Fri, 15 Aug 2008 00:06:29 +0000 URL:

Hi Eisa, I am just seeing this. I’m going to need a promt to remember to come to your blogs; I get so busy. Anyhoo, I appreciated Johnson’s essay although I did not agree with everything. I also enjoyed reading Professor Jerry Ward’s response that was posted on Kalamu. Over at the Writers Forum at Agrigeneas, we have been having a dialogue on the essay. Go to the link and follow the thread.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: DeBerryandGrant [Visitor] DATE: Tue, 12 Aug 2008 10:02:36 +0000 URL:

Scary stuff. I don’t eat their “food-like offerings” because I don’t like it. Now I have even better reason!

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Shawn Shell [Visitor] DATE: Tue, 05 Aug 2008 02:55:42 +0000 URL:

Johnson’s article was a stimulating read.Dr. Johnson said that the old narrative that blacks have perpetuated will not fit a Barack Obama world–although by the time Obama is finished with this presidential campaign, he will be able to walk a tightrope at a circus.One cannot deny the evolutionary leaps in progress that blacks have made today in mainstream America, but where I would part with him is not that blacks should give up the old narrative, if I understand him correctly, but blacks should build upon the narrative.I think that Johnson misunderstands how ignorant many of us as Americans are about the American past in general, regarless of race.It would be self-defeating for blacks to use slavery and Jim and Jane Crow as an excuse for personal behavior and to harbor resentment against whites, but,there are ways in the old narrative can be interpreted as having redemptive value for a “Barack Obama World.” The excitement among blacks over Obama’s candidacy can only be explained in terms of the narrative Johnson contends should be abandoned. Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman,Sojourner Truth,W.E.B. DuBois,Fannie Lou Hamer, Martin Luther King Jr.,and those who fought so that there could be a Barack Obama presidency, should never be forgotten; this would be a diservice, not to just our children and grandchildren, but it would be cheating posterity. When Jews celebrate Passover every year,the bitter herbs are a reminder that their stay in Egypt was bitter.Jews, religious or not, have been celebrating this meal for over three thousand years, so I don’t think a Barack Obama presidency means that blacks should abandon the rich heritage that others have bequeathed to them. While I was on a study tour in Israel with my seminary in 2006, we visited the Yad VaShem Museum (the Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem).A horror film could not come close to what the Nazis did to the Jews, but the Jews are not talking about, “We need a new story.” They have built on to their rich history, and what they say about the Holocaust, blacks should say about slavery and Jim and Jane Crow, “We won’t forget!”

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Angelia [Visitor] DATE: Wed, 30 Jul 2008 09:45:02 +0000 URL:

What’s sad that even after it even if he was high on drugs after he was handcuffed someone explain to me how on earth he can justify tasering him at all. And also explain to me in the aftermath of the autopsy where his death was ruled a homoside why is this cop not in handcuff? Oh I almost forgot, it was only a black man he killed. Besides america would only be upset and it would only be headlines news if it were a black officer and a white perp!

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: sandra [Visitor] DATE: Mon, 28 Jul 2008 17:18:11 +0000 URL:

The documentary did nothing but further negative stereotypes about blacks, especially black men.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: eisa [Visitor] DATE: Sun, 27 Jul 2008 19:21:48 +0000 URL:

thanks for visiting, kardwell. we all pray for the families with you - and that these terrible acts of bigotry, as you call them so well, no longer take place.


----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: gerry johns [Visitor] DATE: Sun, 27 Jul 2008 14:48:36 +0000 URL:

We cannot expect that a four hour show will cover a subject as extensive as Black life, any where. We need to start somewhere and why not with CNN’s series?No one can tell the whole story{ies}, everyone has astory to tell, let’s listen as much as we can to others, then write your own story. Black people are not a collective group, we are as diverse as this planet. We cannot be lumped together as one experience. My life is as different as from yours as my face is as different from yours. Write your own story, then compare it to other stories and get your picture.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: eisa718 [Member] DATE: Fri, 25 Jul 2008 14:50:06 +0000 URL:

thanks for all your astute comments, sistren! interested in hearing what brothers are thinking…

in the meantime, check out these other blog posts on the series:


----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: elise [Visitor] DATE: Fri, 25 Jul 2008 14:02:05 +0000 URL:

i watched both episodes of black in america and thought to myself, “how are they going to truly show what it means to be ‘black in america’ in only two nights? i didn’t know what to expect but i didn’t expect much. i agree with you eisa and all of the commentors - there was nothing new in this batch, but i do give o’brian points for asking the questions that those of us who did watch were saying to ourselves or others as we watched. i think there was an effort but i’m not sure what the overall goal of the show was supposed to be.

i have to say i’ve been more disappointed in bet’s hip hop vs. america series. maybe because they are a “black station” i hold them to a higher standard when it comes to telling our stories . . . alright, they aren’t a black owned station and haven’t been for awhile now, but as a channel that bills itself as “black entertainment television” i still look to them to give the black public a more diversified, authentic black experience than any other network.

i tried to watch a few airings of hip hop vs. america and with the exception of the episode that had to do with hip hop and women, i could not stand to watch more than 5-10 minutes of it. from the one or two panelists that talked too much and tried to outshine everyone else on the panel, to the moderators asking simplified, ridiculous questions (with the exception of mc lyte on the show about women) with very little follow up to what panelists were saying, to the choppy editing of the show . . . it really fell flat and failed to bring about any new ideas or real action.

and because you mentioned it eisa, the last thing any little black boy ever needs to be offering an african girl or any kid for that matter is a chemically jacked up apple slice with dipping sauce from mc donalds!!! sorry, but that commericail really bothered me way more than the show.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Rosalind McLymont [Visitor] DATE: Fri, 25 Jul 2008 13:22:37 +0000 URL:

I didn’t expect much, but, because I like Soledad O’Brien, I tuned in nonetheless to the first part. I fled after less than five minutes and chose not to watch the second part.

Based on the very little I saw, I concluded that there would be none of the uplifting or celebratory truths about my people and our community in this CNN depiction of Black America. So far, my conclusion has been validated by hardier souls than I who watched either all of one or both parts of the presentation.

As Josef Ben Jochannan always said: Until the lion learns to speak, we will always hear that the hunter never failed to conquer the lion.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: pittershawn [Visitor] DATE: Fri, 25 Jul 2008 12:11:49 +0000 URL:

I knew about two months ago this show was coming. I visited the website then and was, sadly, not surprised at what I saw. It was evidently going to be more of the same old crap.

I opted not to watch it. So far, almost everyone who has spoken on it, has confirmed every single thing I thought and felt it would be.

From the sound of all the comments so far, it barely deserves a D+.

As for the points you’ve highlighted and what you felt would be good reporting, I agree. Why aren’t all those areas you mentioned discussed?

I try not to be jaded, but the same thing just keeps on happening. And my beautiful black people keep expecting a different result.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: pittershawn [Visitor] DATE: Fri, 25 Jul 2008 12:06:40 +0000 URL:

sharon, i love your clarity on what is potentially to come. i feel the same way.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: M Miller [Visitor] DATE: Wed, 23 Jul 2008 21:23:44 +0000 URL:


Michaela is queen of hateration. I believe it’s her own sense of inadequacy that brings out the ugliness and her ego trippin.

She is most definitely not the same person when the cameras are on and then off.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: pittershawn [Visitor] DATE: Wed, 23 Jul 2008 19:02:41 +0000 URL:

Nugent’s version? Frankly, I’d let him keep his version. He’s an idiot. If the man was in fact high on cocaine, pcp and had asthma, that was ALL the more reason NOT to taser him. Asthma??!! You taser a man with asthma?????

I’d let him keep his story so he can hang himself. Jerk.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Guy Routte [Visitor] DATE: Mon, 21 Jul 2008 16:45:19 +0000 URL:

Thanks Eisa for posting this response. I read the piece by Errol Lewis and i was blown away by the obvious negative slant and lack of balance. Kevin’s thoughtful and honest response shows the kind of integrity and leadership reflective of the man I know. Good work.


----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: asha bandele [Visitor] DATE: Mon, 21 Jul 2008 15:52:58 +0000 URL:


What an excellent response Kevin! Eisa, thank you so much for posting it. I will share with my networks immediately.


----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: t.jenifer [Visitor] DATE: Thu, 17 Jul 2008 23:09:51 +0000 URL:

The drawback to this kind of foreign thinking is that it required domination by leaders and it required that blacks hate whites and beat down anyone seem to have intelligence rising up ranks, because the bigger agenda was truly about giving black leaders power over the black psychological plantation and the Jews would have divine over their tribe and combined support for taking Israel, which was in the works as far back as early 1900. So, to truly understand these black leaders anger, you must merge together two distinct histories of people –Blacks and Jews, and two opposing religion, Christianity and Talmudic. The partnership of the Rabbinical and Ministerial leagues had absolutely nothing to do with religion, and everything to do with a new ideology; nothing was to interfere with the ideology. So the politics of forging a watered down version of Communism and mental slavery cloaked behind democracy while ranting equal justice, gender right and multiculturalism was long running saga. To explain the “equality” of these two incompatible ideas, that is democracy and dictatorship, remember this: Montesquieu noted in The Spirit of the Laws Bk. VI, Ch. 2,
“In republican (democracy) governments, men are all equal; equal they are also in despotic (dictatorial) governments: in the former, because they are everything; in the latter, because they are nothing.”
To undermine individual rights, free speech, as well as the separation of church and state, men and women must be given over to brainwashing; sexual perversion, lost moral and educational values and then they become lazy and need leaders to thin and need leaders to think for them. Obama and this new generation alone with the power of the internet has pushed the “ism", wizards and the gender fraud aside, which Hillary Clinton was devoted worshiper, for common sense and the perfection of what Montesquieu and the founders had in mind. For this very reason, the lust for power, the Founders wanted the separations of Powers, the individual bill of rights, to protect individuals from the State, from the establish of a State Religion and from Tyranny. The Good cop, bad cop ploy and the divide to conquer tactics had worked for nearly 50 years, while those who attempt to warn others were demolished professionally, like myself, which is the price one must be willing to pay without resentment, for the aim is not to get mad, but to use mind and talent to get even–level the playing field, is what I do.
As long as Jewish leaders control their tribe and secured Israel with U.S. support, the Black leaders would become the new black Slave masters and continue to blame whites, like Jews blame Germany. Individual rights were to be lost; brilliantly, the plan worked until now when the people woke up and smelled the roses–they could think for self and pierced the veil, like Dorothy they saw the Wizards and understood the magic. The people discovered an honest history, and realized the tribal mental assault was harmful and the tribal sex was not that dam good–remember Spitzer and Bill?? So, well done my children. Keep control of your own minds and know that you have the God-given right and the talent to do any thing you desire within the bounds of Law. That old Order’s attempts to become G-d, failed. Thus, Obama represents–the many, and the demise of an unlawful system, so naturally jealousy alone with the lost of power is why Jesse and all those leaders who pushed the Hillary propaganda on the tribe, are watching “their” dreams turn into a nightmare, due to divine intervention–the elevation of consciousness. Remember the law of “Cause and Effect,” what goes around, comes around!!!!!

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: t.jenifer [Visitor] DATE: Thu, 17 Jul 2008 22:56:56 +0000 URL:

1. Excellent! Time always has the last laugh. The younger and post civil right generations, that is, most of you are seeing for your self the Civil and Gender right fraud that was perpetuated back in the 1960-70s. It was movement on the surface that appeared to be just–equality for all, but behind the scene, it was a ploy conducted and carried out by the new Judeo-Christian masters that rose up during that time with a hidden agenda. Naturally, King, Jr. was the front man for the cause and every front man has well-connected back up man,which was Jesse, as alluded to in your piece. The intent over the long haul was to undermine morality and the Constitution replacing it with self appointed and secret group leaders’ pushing divine and ideological rights that was to be held together by the gender right “phallis” worshippers. That was the deal. The Feminist’s role and responsibility was women and children–placing a divide between home and father, plus there was recruitments, and initiations, via academia “internship” programs. In other words, lawmakers got dates and sex for free, aside from Spitzer who had special desires that only pros could tackle. In return the women got political clout. That is the reason Hillary blame the right wing for Monica and invited Jesse to minister them. See the connection. Are you feeling me? For these liberal gullible “Public Services” the interns were guaranteed college credits and references. There was no shame. In any event, these well protected and hidden linkage or partnerships gave rise to the movement of “isms", and “rights” which I might add, were unconstitutional as a skewed system and subculture emerged when we already had a Democratic system that needed the kinks worked out. Whites saw the scam but kept silent because of “guilt.” However, there was detour away from democracy and into the worlds of “Isms". The radical promotion of socialism and communism where individuals lost their individuals right in order to think alike and follow leaders–a European thing, that was nothing but liberal elite gang rule, imported from Russia and Germany which is the reason there was nothing in American history to compare it too. That brought about a dumbing down of the masses via propoganda, judiciary activism, munbo-jumbo education and the advent of Special Ed. where psychological manipulation was the master–all by designed. There is more.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Al-Nisa [Visitor] DATE: Thu, 17 Jul 2008 14:34:47 +0000 URL:

Ladies and Gentleman……..Watch out for the divide and conquer technique. They’ve always been crafty at getting us to choose sides and take focus off the goal. Jessie has to deal with his own demons… this is not the time to call him to the carpet- we have too much riding on this election. lets get Obama in, then deal with the nay sayers. This open letter from a broader scope does not just reflect on Jesse but it reflects on our inability “as a people” to ward off the tricks of our oppressor. Although Naji’s comments were warranted, this may not be the best time to divide the country into Jesse loyals and Obama supporters.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: jomo grady [Visitor] DATE: Thu, 17 Jul 2008 10:05:39 +0000 URL:

The funny or f***** up thing is that this fool was always so concerned with how the public or media viewed him and now its coming back full circle for this fool in the worst way. The African American public thinks he?s a punk ass hater and dead beat dad and the white man is going to follow suit like ?You know Jesse they do have a point?.lol. That lil? Secret handshake and blood oath you took to get you out the field and into the house can?t save you now N****, kick rocks.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Ralph Richardson [Visitor] DATE: Mon, 14 Jul 2008 18:18:15 +0000 URL:

Excellent article!

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Sabiyha [Visitor] DATE: Mon, 14 Jul 2008 17:30:36 +0000 URL:

Sorry Mr. Jackson, this brotha is for real (and so are recording devices and the historical record). I don’t want to play the generational card - this is about character and not age. There is room for all at the table so no one need step aside. Moreover, we don’t all have to agree but we should be more careful given, both, the atmosphere and the tendencies of Fox.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: elise [Visitor] DATE: Mon, 14 Jul 2008 08:33:01 +0000 URL:

well said, kevin!!! you’ve got my vote and i pray many others!!!

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: [Visitor] DATE: Mon, 14 Jul 2008 07:18:56 +0000 URL:

LGBT books have been around a lot longer than is generally known. In creating and publishing gay and lesbian anthologies, (by authors of color), Zane introduces readers to a new variation on the genre. She is branching out with an open mind to include LGBT works in her catalog and that’s a step forward. Diversity is a hallmark of the LGBT community, and perhaps we should be thankful that literary moguls like Zane are permitting gay and lesbian lit onto their imprints, and wondering when more publishers will follow suit. THe demand, as Zane points out, is certainly there.

The fact that “Purple Panties” meets resistance in spite of its success, is testimony to the pervasiveness of bigotry, and the need for perseverance on the part of those who write in the LGBT genre.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: elise [Visitor] DATE: Sun, 13 Jul 2008 17:24:21 +0000 URL:

the day i read this post, i had watched an hbo documentary about film director roman polanski. in the 1970’s he too had been arrested for the statutory rape of a 13 year old girl he had been taking pictures of for, i believe, vogue magazine. he had also been charged with giving her alcohol and drugs and sodomizing her. the documentary point of view was how polanski had been wronged by the judicial system and a judge that was hell bent on making an example out of a celebrity rather than following the law. the question is was “the law"? purely because of his celebrity, polanski was allowed to plead to lesser charges hoping he would eventually get some kind of suspended sentence. had things gone his way he would have served virtually no time for his crime. to my understanding he never admitted to any wrong doing making the case that she consented to sex. she was a thirteen year old child!!! her consent didn’t make it legal nor moral!!! the film constantly makes the case of polanski being this artistic genuis with extreame bad luck (parents in concentration camps during wwII, wife being brutally murdered by charles manson’s croonies, and the sexually active, pill popping, alcohol swigging thirteen year old who accused him of rape). he is a genius who was “unfairly forced” to flee this country because of its “biased treatment of artists.” despite this travesty, he never let the bastards get him down and continued to go on and realize his artistic visions by continuing to make movies. he and his work were even recognized by the academy of motion pictures when they honored him with the best picture and director award for the film, the pianist.

flash forward to the 21st century and r. kelly . . . how ironic that i watch this hbo documentary is the same day i find out about kelly being found guilty (did it even make the mainstream news? that is very telling as well if it didn’t; “who cares about some black, r&b hoochie being molested and some r&b guy getting off for it?") at one time kelly was being (rightly so) demonized for his crime but by the time is next album dropped, he too was being hailed as an “artistic genius who might have done something fucked up but makes a slamming music.” i’ve seriously heard people say as much, and i’m not talking about folks out on the street or just brothers too. some of the same talking heads that came out against him when the allegations came out were now pumping their fist for his music as if the two weren’t related at all. people have been actually willing to give him a slide just because they like “step in the man of love!” just because he made some ridiculous record about getting closer to God!!! just because the man makes good music he should get a pass. “these girls are fast. these girls are grown. he didn’t do anything that bad. he needs help. he shouldn’t go to jail for something like that.” yeah right, picture those same people that made these sound bites saying this if someone had sex with a 13 year old they knew, peed on her, and video taped the whole thing for prosperity.

now, i’m one of those people who looks at folks in the limelightand in gerneral holistically. you could be making john coltrane, stevie wonder, the police, nirvana type crazy, slamming, fly music, but if you’ve got some morally incorrect antics going on, i will not support you, PERIOD!!!! and i will go on a personal crusade to make sure others will do the same or at least know how i feel. why do we as a public constantly let celebrities get away with bad behavior and then even “big-up them” for going through adversity? i say we do have to be proactive on a grassroots levels with the folks we know - men, women, and children! but we also have to turn off a lot of this mainstream nonsense and not support it. when the artist and the record companies feel it in their pockets then the changes will come. we have the power!

and to the person who wrote before me “this man was found not guilty . . .” well, there are too many innocent people in prisons right now (as even one is too many) who were found guilty by a jury of their peers and quite a few guilty people who have walked the streets as free people. just check the streets of paris for mr. polanski.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Ana Maria [Visitor] DATE: Fri, 11 Jul 2008 18:31:59 +0000 URL:

I totally agree with Tim Wise. Not a bad assessment for a White / Male guru who is aware of the huge equality gap in our society.

Punishing Obama was Rush Limbaugh’s dream but we are too smart for that. For many centuries we have been suppressed and fighting against each other instead of building on each other’s strengths (minorities and women).

We can do this! Let’s vote for the candidate who will help pave the way for institutional equality.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Michaela angela Davis [Visitor] DATE: Mon, 07 Jul 2008 13:18:51 +0000 URL:

eisa + sharon
thank you so MUCH.
I just came back from Nawlins-Black Girls Rock! hosted a panel discussion for vh1Soul…the amount of young sisters that rolled up+ thanked me for speaking up for them was overwhelming!
they DEFINITELY watch BET…that, said PLEASE let BET know you saw the show-so we can lobby for more+better programming for our girls (+us2!)

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: VERONICA [Visitor] DATE: Tue, 01 Jul 2008 09:44:38 +0000 URL:


----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: alex [Visitor] DATE: Thu, 19 Jun 2008 02:27:43 +0000 URL: http://yahoo

This man was found not quilty and now you want to make petitions against him..for what exactly?

So now you don’t want us to buy his music?Why?So we should believe your verdict over the jury one?

Sorry,i don’t support your views.This is condemnation of another human being.Sorry!

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Kameela from PRATT [Visitor] DATE: Wed, 11 Jun 2008 22:13:00 +0000 URL:

“She has behaved more like the jilted lover who can’t let go of the dream of a relationship.” Ha! That’s an interesting way to look at it considering her relationship in the past with Bill.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: pittershawn [Visitor] DATE: Wed, 04 Jun 2008 23:02:25 +0000 URL:

she is incredibly open. i love that.

her viewpoint gives balance.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Janet Goldner [Visitor] DATE: Wed, 04 Jun 2008 14:55:03 +0000 URL:,

Thanks Patricia for your incisive, even handed and as always eloquent reaction to this amazing, historic, challenging moment. Yes, its going to be a very interesting Fall.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Honoree Jeffers [Visitor] DATE: Wed, 04 Jun 2008 12:22:56 +0000 URL:


I was so happy last night! (I cried like a fool all through the speech:-)) For so long, I’ve felt that my hope for the black community–and America as a whole–might just be in vain. I know one man can’t save us all, but so many of us now feel invigorated to keep fighting the good fight. I don’t feel silly about my hope anymore! I talked to my mother this morning and we both said we never thought we’d feel this way in our lifetimes. I’m so glad she’s alive to see this day. What a blessing!

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Eisa [Visitor] DATE: Wed, 04 Jun 2008 11:42:37 +0000 URL:

I feel the same way about my grandmother, Martha. She had to walk behind the White children to receive Holy Communion when she was growing up in Atlantic City, New Jersey. She didn’t go to the movies because she would have had to sit in the colored section. And she still served this country as a nurse during WW II. We owe them all, sis. For everything.

Our ancestors must be the happiest angels in Heaven.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: eisa718 [Member] DATE: Fri, 30 May 2008 07:41:16 +0000 URL:

Thanks for your comment, Seve. I know you are one Gen Y-er who knows what’s going on in Hip Hop today, and your insight is right on time.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: elise [Visitor] DATE: Thu, 29 May 2008 23:17:46 +0000 URL:

wow!!! thanks for this post!!!

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Ralph [Visitor] DATE: Sun, 25 May 2008 08:18:33 +0000 URL: http://www,

From the New York Times:

Say What? Hillary Clinton Does it Again

By The Editorial Board

We have no idea what, exactly, Hillary Clinton was thinking when she referred to the assassination of Bobby Kennedy in explaining her decision to keep on campaigning when it looks like there is virtually no hope of her winning the Democratic nomination.

(We?ve supported her decision to do so. This is a democracy, after all.)

But she could, at least, have apologized.

Instead, she issued one of those tedious non-apology apologies in which it sounds like the person who is being offended is somehow at fault: ?I regret that if my referencing that moment of trauma for our entire nation, and particularly for the Kennedy family was in any way offensive.?


Is it even possible that Mrs. Clinton thinks someone out there was not offended by her remark, Kennedy relative, Obama relative, or just plain folks?

Mrs. Clinton tried to excuse her inexcusable outburst by saying she was distracted by the shock of the news of Senator Edward Kennedy?s malignant brain tumor. But there was something familiar about what she said, and thanks to Ben Smith of Politico, we remembered what it was. Mrs. Clinton said basically the same thing in an interview with Time on March 6:

?I think people have short memories. Primary contests used to last a lot longer. We all remember the great tragedy of Bobby Kennedy being assassinated in June in L.A.?

What?s next? ?Mistakes were made??

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Devynity [Visitor] DATE: Thu, 22 May 2008 12:50:23 +0000 URL:

I want to thank everyone for reading and responding to what I had to say. I just wanted to address some of the criticisms. Yes, I may have been naïve in believing that I would be cast on the show simply because of my talent, however, I think that my being appalled at how Black women are depicted on television is valid. I am more upset with the fact that the show is out there portraying female emcees as caricatures of what we really are rather than significant contributors to the art form than not being cast. Of course, being an artist that wants to get out there, being on television is ideal. Some of the responses I have read, both on this blog and a few others, make it seem as if it is easy to get on television or have your song played on the radio and that I was merely hungry for celebrity when that is not the case either way. I have been performing since I was 13 and in every meeting that I?ve had with anyone in the industry pertaining to my career was first and foremost about my appearance as opposed to what I had to offer creatively. I am not upset about not being on the show. I am upset that it is okay for a show like this to be on television. Everyone keeps saying, ?what did you expect, it?s VH1? and ?it?s the nature of the machine?. Well if we know that, then what are we doing about it? We?ve become to accustomed to how it is we are portrayed in the media.

I have friends that couldn?t wait to get home to watch the season finale of Flavor of Love 3. Why? What does that show do for you that you just have to go home and watch it? We?re contributing to the problem. No, I haven?t watched a full episode of Miss Rap Supreme. I don?t watch BET. Nor do I watch Flavor of Love or any other show that depicts Black women as money-grubbing, ignorant s**** because I can?t bear it. You can argue that it is entertaining but, I don?t find any amusement in that. If there were at least 1 or 2 sisters on the show making a positive statement lyrically, I would be okay with the show but, there aren?t. You can be a talented emcee and still not say anything. There are several Black men making a lot of money for not saying anything. That is a problem. Once upon a time, emcees were rewarded for their intelligence. Smart rappers were sought out and we loved them. I may?ve been a bit harsh in citing Don Imus in regards to the women on the show but, like Dave Chappelle said, ?you may not be a h* but, you sure are wearing a h*?s uniform? and that?s as real as it gets. If we know that these shows feed on ratings and we know that we are poorly represented on these shows, why do we continue to watch them? I took a class on Malcolm X while working toward my degree at Hunter and there was a student there from Oregon. She was white and she shared with the class that there were no Black people where she was from. She told us that the only real knowledge she had of Black people came from shows she watched on Comedy Central and MTV/VH1. If the only knowledge I had about Black women came from shows like Flavor of Love and Miss Rap Supreme, what would I think Black women were? Just a thought. Thanks again.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Felicia Pride [Visitor] DATE: Mon, 19 May 2008 16:17:32 +0000 URL:

As a woman who also shares an affinity for hip-hop and believes in its power to motivate, educate, and empower, I definitely feel this sister’s pain at wanting hip-hop, as seen on television, etc., to represent her differently.

Call it hope. Idealism. But I can’t fault her for wanting to see change within the very engine/machine that is working against her art, her person, and her sanity.

Many womenhiphoppers have a similar moment of clarity (which usually is as heartbreaking) when we realize that the hip-hop industry really ain’t built for us. We realize that no matter how dope we are, the industry may never hear us. May never represent us. May never respect us despite our demands. Despite our campaigns. And while this reality is frustrating, maddening, upsetting, you gotta move on.

This isn’t to say that you stop fighting the machine. No. You continue to fight. You continue to raise your voice. But your strategy changes. You concentrate on being focused so you can move crowds, go into schools and tell youngsters how hip-hop really got started, show educators how they can harness the power of hip-hop for good or represent your *true* hip-hop. You focus on being the hip-hop you want to see. You focus on being the black woman you don’t see on television, the one you want others to know. You focus on bettering your community. You don’t give up on you. You don’t give up on your belief in hip-hop. You begin to eradicate the effects of the machine.

You remain sane. You rock, rock on.

Felicia Pride, author of The Message: 100 Life Lessons From Hip-Hop’s Greatest Songs

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: 'Nonymous [Visitor] DATE: Mon, 19 May 2008 10:04:52 +0000 URL:

What in the hell were you doing trying to get on TV in the first place, given the state it’s in? Any reality show is guaranteed vaudeville. Though I applaud your dreams, Devynity, you need to have much higher standards. The problem from the start is being so bent on celebrity (i.e., telling EVERYONE about the audition w/out a casting guarantee) and being on the screen. That’s why so many of who you speak of are willing to make such asses of themselves. We’re shopping around our talent in the wrong places, chasing pipe dreams, including in the literary industry. Tila Tequila, Miss Rap Supreme, etc. Even celebrities are throwing up their families onscreen for the extra cash. This culture’s going down the toilet unless we start creating our own venues…and tempering our astronomical egos.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Chris Chambers [Visitor] DATE: Mon, 19 May 2008 09:21:20 +0000 URL:

I applaud her. I wish there were more people (not just young women, black women, black people…plain people) like her. But what did she expect? These shows are not about reality. They are about “sordid” entertainment. Escapist garbage, feeding stereotypes. In other words–ratings on the cheap. A carnival, in other words, full of freaks.

As for talent, how many American Idol winners truly have REAL careers now? Why not? Because the show’s about ratings and demos and commercials, that’s why. Not cherrypicking the best folks.

Nevertheless, stories like this help the rest of us grow the balls to say: “No, we aren’t haters. We just think TV can do better, and BLACK FOLKS can do better. Whatever happened to shame?”

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Christopher Chambers [Visitor] DATE: Thu, 15 May 2008 00:09:17 +0000 URL:

She’s the queen of black books. And therein is the problem. I am wading through the swamp of homophobia in our community–indeed among some of her stalwart fans–and going straight to another higher and drier place. Basically, do we really need street lit porn for lesbians? Is that truly a step up? I love Zane and we marylanders gotta stick together but she knows where I stand on some of this stuff. She’s self-deprecating, and, unlike many of the authors and newly minted moguls and mogulettes in this umbrella genre, does not proclaim herself bigger than anyone in literature. NONETHELESS, I don’t see the need for yet more segmenting and pigeonholing. You see what will happen. A thoughtful poet or novelist who seeks to bring life and electricity to her pain pens something and the publishers pass. Triple Crown, or Strebor publishes a new line called “CHOCOLATE PUSS-LICKERS” and that’s the new norm (I just made that title up…shows where my mind is).

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Emma Tate [Visitor] DATE: Wed, 14 May 2008 02:24:00 +0000 URL:

Congratulations, you have worked hard for this and it is well deserved.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Farai Chideya [Visitor] DATE: Mon, 12 May 2008 17:25:25 +0000 URL:

Yay M!!!!!! I am thrilled!

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Ralph [Visitor] DATE: Sat, 10 May 2008 00:25:35 +0000 URL: http://www,

That’s funny! My honey is putting her thing down. Go head baby, I’m proud of you!

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Ralph [Visitor] DATE: Fri, 09 May 2008 23:59:11 +0000 URL: http://www,

Look at my honey looking at the macro of shit!!!

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Troy Johnson [Visitor] DATE: Sun, 04 May 2008 20:43:56 +0000 URL:

“circle of love” {sigh}

Eisa, thank you so much for coming and sharing the moment with your visitors.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Sabiyha [Visitor] DATE: Sat, 03 May 2008 08:55:15 +0000 URL:

Thanks for your eloquence. Yes, we want Obama to win but not at any cost. Do we all have to shut up and dance to their tune? I think not - I have worked too hard and fought too many battles to censor myself so this individual can become President of the USA. Toward what end?

I will forward this link and appreciate your thoughts.


Sabiyha Prince, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Department of Anthropology
American University

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: elise [Visitor] DATE: Wed, 30 Apr 2008 22:39:23 +0000 URL:

i’m at somewhat of a lose at how to broach this subject eloquently and without passion. . . on one hand, i hear you about the whole national race talk, manipulation of the media, strong black man and black church stance eisa, but quite frankly,rev. wright has pissed me off these last few days and i seriously wish he would just put a sock in it until the election is over.

his responses within this last week has been, in my opinion, more about his ego than anything. the time for him to speak should have been immediately when the brouhaha started, not weeks after the fact when the whole thing was starting to somewhat fade. we know the subject would have continued to come up, but obama’s “we the people” speech helped to put the controversy in its place and the campaign back on track. and obama didn’t dis him in the process but rather supported him! for wright to say or even insinuate that obama is less than genuine because he’s a politician feels like the master trying to put the young grasshopper in its place. we hear you rev. wright! nothing that you said in the sound bites is new to any of us. we’ve talked all that shit before in our homes, at our jobs, in the beauty shops and barbers, and yes, in our churches. you really didn’t need to defend yourself because it’s not just black people who agreed with you. hell, look at all the shit right-wing, conservative family values ministers popped after 9/11 and katrina. hello . . . jerry farwell?!?!?! remember him, media outlets? the same man that you all so honorably eulogized when he died? how about all the shit he used to pop? none of the politicians that cozied up to him never felt the need to explain him or themselves. obama in his speech was essentially saying, if you want to bring this up, fine but we’re going to lay a few things on the table before you label this man a crackpot, so you know where this rhetoric comes from. so much of what wright is doing right now undermines obama and i’m once again thinking about that expression that southern blacks used to say, “niggas and crabs . . . always pulling each other back down to the bottom of the barrel.” we are seeing divide and conquer 2008 style when the stakes are too high for all of us, black and white.

when asked why rev. wright was doing what he has been doing for the last couple of days, Rev. Eugene Rivers, a Boston minister who appeared on The Today Show this morning called wright’s actions “an extended ego trip that had no practical, political . . . utility.” he quite accurately called it when he said, “he’s tripping!” indeed! the thing is he’s now “tripped” us all up. thanks, rev. wright.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: eisa718 [Member] DATE: Wed, 30 Apr 2008 15:27:25 +0000 URL:

This comment comes from Patricia Spears Jones:


Since I couldn’t respond to your blog, here’s my feelings on Wright and the past few days.

While there are many things that Wright says and his performance before the NAACP shows how good a performer he is there are other things that are way outside Black peoples thinking (we do all subscribe to the government gave us AIDS stuff). Working class whites more likely to believe conspiracy theory stuff than educated whites and probably agree more with the Good Reverend then is let on. But ,what strikes me about this is “timing” and just why now? I am not a conspiracy theorist, but I smell a Nader like situation here–something to off the Dems game and keep the Status Quo just that.

Rev. Wright has every right to state his ideas, but on a very gross political level it just seems to be another case of undermining a Black person’s chances to actually win and lead. If Obama gets the nomination and that is a big IF, it will not be because working class whites embraced him, but because the coalition he’s been building overwhelms everything else. If working class whites think Senator Clinton will do them better, so be it. But when push comes to shove they are more likely to to put their faith in the Republicans who have made their lives so much worse, than deal with the possibility for real change that might actually bring them that better life. Sad.

Patricia Spears Jones

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Jonelle [Visitor] DATE: Wed, 30 Apr 2008 12:14:35 +0000 URL:

Strong men keep on comin’!

Thank you for this Eisa!

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: eisa718 [Member] DATE: Thu, 03 Apr 2008 11:56:54 +0000 URL:

So great to hear your voice, Linda. And thank YOU for all you do.


----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Linda V [Visitor] DATE: Thu, 03 Apr 2008 11:47:17 +0000 URL:

Denene, you said it all here–and with equal amounts of passion and eloquence. Thank you so much. Reading your piece made my day….week. And thank you Eisa for getting it out there.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Denene Millner [Visitor] DATE: Thu, 03 Apr 2008 08:38:40 +0000 URL:

You know, I really struggled with whether of not I should write this piece. I came to Eisa’s site this morning, fully expecting that there would be a bunch of comments full of vitriol–about my feelings on this issue, about my husband, Nick Chiles, who, too, has spoken out quite eloquently on this subject, about our writing life together. Indeed, because we’ve dared to speak up and say this isn’t right, folks–OUR folks–have said everything from we’re just “complaining” because we can’t sell books to we’re lazy and not willing to hustle to we’re just mad because we’re sexually frustrated. I’d be tempted to laugh if it wasn’t so sad. But this morning, I’m grinning because I woke up to these wonderful words of support from writers and intellectuals I respect, love, and admire. Thank you, thank you, thank you for having my back. You know I got yours. D.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: DeBerryandGrant [Visitor] DATE: Thu, 03 Apr 2008 08:09:10 +0000 URL:

We echo your outrage, your disappointment and of course, your fleeting bouts of temptation by thoughts–however fleeting– of a “real job.” But most of all we echo your resolve to keep writing, to keep telling our stories. For if we don’t, we fear the Thug/Ho archetype will prevail, self-degredation will continue to reign and THEY will win. We did a blog called Writing White, which was on pretty much the same topic, last September.

Our marginalization is real, not perceived and certainly not paranoia. When we were on book tour this past winter, we actually spoke, out loud, about how dangerous and damaging our current literary climate is–hoping to encourage readers and booksellers to do their part–we even tried with a few interviews, but surprise, surprise–mostly that part got left out…

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: asha bandele [Visitor] DATE: Wed, 02 Apr 2008 22:23:20 +0000 URL:

Thank you Sis for having the courage to stand up for our words, for our right to witness our lives. So many of us can learn from your example.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: kendra [Visitor] DATE: Wed, 02 Apr 2008 21:53:16 +0000 URL:

how i wish THIS black writer had “babies” that flowed as well…

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: eisa718 [Member] DATE: Wed, 02 Apr 2008 21:14:26 +0000 URL:

Thanks for your support, Sister Rosie! I love our community of Black women writers.


----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Rosemarie Robotham [Visitor] DATE: Wed, 02 Apr 2008 20:43:05 +0000 URL:

Beautifully said, Denene! I have seldom seen this hidden struggle so clearly, passionately explained. And thanks, Eisa, bringing this to a wider audience. I’m sending wind to your sails, and getting the word out to anyone who will listen about both Hotlanta and Crystelle Mourning.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Amanda Insall [Visitor] DATE: Wed, 02 Apr 2008 11:53:34 +0000 URL:

I say take the low road and give him a piece of my mind. But I have had all of the responses Tayari describes in her essay when confronted with chauvinism. One thing I know, when I meet Black men, I often feel their mothers standing behind them. To me, they seem much more used to strong women than other men. Just a thought.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: eisa718 [Member] DATE: Mon, 31 Mar 2008 19:08:51 +0000 URL:

This comment arrives from the Paris laptop of journalist Audrey Edwards:


Wow! It sounds like things got heated up indeed with these two fiery brothers. I’ve interviewed them both, love them madly, but wouldn’t want to get into a pissed-off match with etiher. Also love the NBW conference. Still going strong after all these years. Still fulfilling a need. Your presentation was brilliant!


----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Leslie Ann Murray [Visitor] DATE: Mon, 31 Mar 2008 15:04:41 +0000 URL:

If I knew that the conference would off had such a conversation, I would of come down. I really enjoy the National Black Writer’s conference but I feel it’s very static, archaic, and are unwilling to embrace new forms of ideas into the conference (Ex. Digital media).

As a young black writer, I attend these events to 1. Network 2. Connect with older much experience black writers 3. To be inspired, but none of these things have ever happened. I just feel the “older much experience” black writers never lend themselves as an outlet for us and many of them are trying to keep the pot of goal for themselves. I remember when I attend the National Black Writer’s event 5 years ago and Woodie King verbally pulverized my friend when he asked a simply question about “how to get started in the business.” Also, that same year the egos from the black writers were out of control, I am still offended by many of their statements.

I think Brenda Greene, is amazing and she really works hard to organize this conference but we really need to start engaging young black writers like me into the conference. We just want to be a part of something, to feel like older experience black writers are looking out for us, to engage without being told, “we ain’t there yet.”

I am really upset I missed seeing you and Martha Southgate speak. I was only coming to conference for that because I think you guys bring a different energy and perspective.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Ralph Richardson [Visitor] DATE: Sun, 30 Mar 2008 11:01:28 +0000 URL:

As usual your are right on the cutting edge of history.

Holla atcha boy!!!

Ralph Richardson

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: eisa718 [Member] DATE: Sun, 30 Mar 2008 08:42:21 +0000 URL:

Farah Jasmine Griffith asked us specific questions about Black literature and our own writing for our panel, “Resistance and Reconciliation: Transforming Our Lives Through Narrative.” This was my response:


Obviously writing is an act of resistance for descendants of slaves who were not allowed to write or to read, but this history of exclusion is only one part of our narrative of triumph, one part of our narrative of resistance and reconciliation and transformation. For Black women writers in particular, the act of writing, of bearing witness to our lives, is revolutionary.

The condition of Muledom, the double burden of femaleness in a sexist society and Blackness in a racist society, is expressed with articulate precision by Nanny in Zora Neale Hurston?s Their Eyes Were Watching God. When Nanny tells Janie that the Black woman is ?the mule of the world,? she lays the theoretical foundation for 20th century Womanism, or Black Feminisms. But Nanny wanted to do more. She wanted to ?preach a great sermon? about Black women ?sitting on high,? but there was no ?pulpit? for her. Nanny lacked space in the public realm where she could give full voiced expression to her particular experience. Denied access to the public realm, Nanny remains relegated to the domestic sphere, where she holds Janie in her lap and testifies. Nanny remembers and tells. He bears witness to truth, the truth that is her experience as a slave woman, as a Black woman. The triumph of Hurston?s Eyes, of course, is that Janie also remembers and tells, in the private realm of her Eatonville home, when she passes the story to Phoeby, and then Phoeby, her ?kissin? friend? and active listener to Janie?s personal narrative, also remembers and tells. She carries Janie?s story and Nanny?s to the community because Janie tells her to, because, as Janie tells Phoeby in the final chapter of the novel, ?my words are in my friend?s mouth.? Thank God for the legacy of Black women storytellers. Because of our dynamic and empowering oral tradition, Zora could give us one of the finest works of the 20th century, a novel rooted in the oral tradition, the African-centered tradition of call and response, and perform the sacred act of writing, of remember and tell, to gift us Their Eyes Were Watching God.

Generations of Black women storytellers enabled Zora?s triumph. We Black women who write must honor that tradition as we remember our history and bear witness to the contemporary realities that affect Black women?s lives. I think the women on this panel are doing that. Tayari Jones bears witness to the Atlanta child murders from the point of view of a Black schoolgirl in Leaving Atlanta. In Third Girl From the Left, Martha Southgate remembers and tells the story of one Black woman who loses her mother to the mob violence of the 1921 Tulsa race riots. Honoree Jeffers examines the complexities of our matrilineal heritage and internalized racism, providing a counter-narrative to the archetypal Black mother, in her poem, ?Only the Yellow.? Farah Jasmine Griffin places the private courtship of two 19th century Black women in the public realm, giving voice to silenced Black women who love other women, in Beloved Sisters and Loving Friends.

Together, this work liberates Black women from the forced silence and marginalization that informs much of our history in the West. Black women writers who work in our literary tradition resist that silencing and place our diverse experiences in the center of the public discourse. This is a radical, transformative act. It enables us to shift beyond mere survival, so that Black women can, finally, begin to thrive.

In my novel, Crystelle Mourning, I center the experience of the female protagonist, Crystelle Brown. Crystelle faces the contemporary reality of Black on Black violence in our community in a uniquely Black female way. Living in New York and haunted by the ghost of her first love, a young man shot and killed their senior year in high school, Crystelle returns to her West Philadelphia neighborhood to release the pain, guilt, and overwhelming sadness that have also haunted her, and to release the young man?s soul from her own heart. She is able to do this only in community, our community, surrounded by women ? and one man, her grandfather ? who recognize her paralyzing grief and help her reclaim her mobility so she can cross back over to joy. Through the efforts of her mother, her friend, the mother of the boy shot and killed, and even a homeless woman in her neighborhood park, Crystelle is restored. And liberated.

I like to think that writing Crystelle Mourning enabled me to resist the internalized self-hatred and Post-Traumatic Slavery Disorder that I believe are two psychological realities that fed the sharp violence in our community in the late 1980s and early 1990s. I also hope that Crystelle?s triumph will help readers claim their personal liberation. It was difficult to remember and tell the story of tragic loss over the years it took to craft my novel, but ultimately I do think writing and reading can set the spirit free. Certainly Crystelle actively listens to her loved ones to liberate her own soul.

As difficult as our struggles still are, we know our literary foremothers struggled to give us that pulpit. We can now claim the space in the public realm that was denied Nanny. We now have the voiced expression Nanny craved. We have it in part because storytellers like her gave us the gift of remember and tell. Our African-centered tradition of call and response, the interdependency of the active speaker and active listener, our powerful oral tradition, which has sustained us over the generations, can begin, in this new century, to liberate us all.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: eisa718 [Member] DATE: Wed, 26 Mar 2008 23:05:39 +0000 URL:

Hi, Imb -

Here’s a response to your question from Dr. Brenda Greene.

Hope to see you at the conference!


The VIP Reception is separate. At this point, the person would have to register
for all programs, talk shops and reception on site. Registration begins on
Friday, March 28.


Brenda M. Greene, Ph.D., Professor of English
Executive Director, Center for Black Literature
Medgar Evers College, CUNY
1650 Bedford Avenue
Brooklyn, New York 11225

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: John [Visitor] DATE: Tue, 25 Mar 2008 14:50:39 +0000 URL:

“the artificial construction of race constructed by the elite” was bought into, in toto, by working class whites. And it was bought into because it was believed, accepted and most of all needed. They weren’t duped, they weren’t bamboozled and they weren’t lead astray. They benefited (was the benefit a faustian pact? probably so) from it. And the benefit was white skin privilege. Not elite white skin privilege; but the privilege (the head start if you will, the money in the bank before a lick of work is done) accorded all with white skin, regardless of class. The kind of privilege that enabled a white homeless gutter wench woman to put down a professional black women as black nigger bitch.

Yes, lower income and working class whites would have prospered better in a free system and yes, there is more that unites us across racial lines than the artificial construction of race divides us. But that artificial construction of race exists for a reason and the benefits of it are centuries of ill gotten gains. Do you know any team willing to give up homecourt advantage?

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: eisa718 [Member] DATE: Mon, 24 Mar 2008 09:39:47 +0000 URL:

Thanks, Elise, for sending these links and the whole speech to me.

You can watch or read the whole speech here:

If you’re busy, here’s a highlight from the speech:

“We have a choice in this country. We can accept a politics that breeds division, and conflict, and cynicism. We can tackle race only as spectacle?as we did in the OJ trial?or in the wake of tragedy, as we did in the aftermath of Katrina?or as fodder for the nightly news. We can play Reverend Wright’s sermons on every channel, every day and talk about them from now until the election, and make the only question in this campaign whether or not the American people think that I somehow believe or sympathize with his most offensive words.

“We can pounce on some gaffe by a Hillary supporter as evidence that she’s playing the race card, or we can speculate on whether white men will all flock to John McCain in the general election regardless of his policies.

“We can do that.

“But if we do, I can tell you that in the next election, we’ll be talking about some other distraction. And then another one. And then another one. And nothing will change.

“That is one option. Or, at this moment, in this election, we can come together and say, “Not this time.” This time we want to talk about the crumbling schools that are stealing the future of black children and white children and Asian children and Hispanic children and Native American children. This time we want to reject the cynicism that tells us that these kids can’t learn; that those kids who don’t look like us are somebody else’s problem. The children of America are not those kids, they are our kids, and we will not let them fall behind in a 21st century economy. Not this time.

“This time we want to talk about how the lines in the Emergency Room are filled with whites and blacks and Hispanics who do not have health care; who don’t have the power on their own to overcome the special interests in Washington, but who can take them on if we do it together.

“This time we want to talk about the shuttered mills that once provided a decent life for men and women of every race, and the homes for sale that once belonged to Americans from every religion, every region, every walk of life. This time we want to talk about the fact that the real problem is not that someone who doesn’t look like you might take your job; it’s that the corporation you work for will ship it overseas for nothing more than a profit.

“This time we want to talk about the men and women of every color and creed who serve together, and fight together, and bleed together under the same proud flag. We want to talk about how to bring them home from a war that never should’ve been authorized and never should’ve been waged, and we want to talk about how we’ll show our patriotism by caring for them, and their families, and giving them the benefits they have earned.

“I would not be running for President if I didn’t believe with all my heart that this is what the vast majority of Americans want for this country. This union may never be perfect, but generation after generation has shown that it can always be perfected. And today, whenever I find myself feeling doubtful or cynical about this possibility, what gives me the most hope is the next generation?the young people whose attitudes and beliefs and openness to change have already made history in this election.

“There is one story in particularly that I’d like to leave you with today?a story I told when I had the great honor of speaking on Dr. King’s birthday at his home church, Ebenezer Baptist, in Atlanta.

“There is a young, twenty-three year old white woman named Ashley Baia who organized for our campaign in Florence, South Carolina. She had been working to organize a mostly African-American community since the beginning of this campaign, and one day she was at a roundtable discussion where everyone went around telling their story and why they were there.

“And Ashley said that when she was nine years old, her mother got cancer. And because she had to miss days of work, she was let go and lost her health care. They had to file for bankruptcy, and that’s when Ashley decided that she had to do something to help her mom.

“She knew that food was one of their most expensive costs, and so Ashley convinced her mother that what she really liked and really wanted to eat more than anything else was mustard and relish sandwiches. Because that was the cheapest way to eat.

“She did this for a year until her mom got better, and she told everyone at the roundtable that the reason she joined our campaign was so that she could help the millions of other children in the country who want and need to help their parents too.

“Now Ashley might have made a different choice. Perhaps somebody told her along the way that the source of her mother’s problems were blacks who were on welfare and too lazy to work, or Hispanics who were coming into the country illegally. But she didn’t. She sought out allies in her fight against injustice.

“Anyway, Ashley finishes her story and then goes around the room and asks everyone else why they’re supporting the campaign. They all have different stories and reasons. Many bring up a specific issue. And finally they come to this elderly black man who’s been sitting there quietly the entire time. And Ashley asks him why he’s there. And he does not bring up a specific issue. He does not say health care or the economy. He does not say education or the war. He does not say that he was there because of Barack Obama. He simply says to everyone in the room, “I am here because of Ashley.”

“"I’m here because of Ashley.” By itself, that single moment of recognition between that young white girl and that old black man is not enough. It is not enough to give health care to the sick, or jobs to the jobless, or education to our children.

“But it is where we start. It is where our union grows stronger. And as so many generations have come to realize over the course of the two-hundred and twenty one years since a band of patriots signed that document in Philadelphia, that is where the perfection begins.”

You can watch or read the whole speech here:

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: lmb [Visitor] DATE: Sat, 22 Mar 2008 01:27:54 +0000 URL:

Professor -

Very excited about the conference, but as usual, a touch confused about the logistics.

Do we need to register for the conference and then register AGAIN IN ADDITION for the Saturday evening reception?

(I haven’t been able to go down in person to inquire, as I’m living/working in that “other” borough. ;-) I’ve called the Center, and of course the line is continually busy.)

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: JH [Visitor] DATE: Wed, 19 Mar 2008 12:31:45 +0000 URL:

I think Tara only supports Hillary, because Hillary is a woman. A lot of people, including myself, supported Hillary before Obama, but when the better candidate steps in, people flock. It’s not about race. It’s not about gender. It’s about a dream that will not be deferred. It’s about a chance to move forward. Tara said, “If she (Hillary) inspires even a few of the millions of girls and women in this world to believe that they too could run for an impossible office and win, then she’s the harbinger of the kind of change I think the world needs.” An African-American male, whose father is from Kenya, and mother is from Kansas is running for President too. If Tara does not also see Obama as a harbinger of the kind of change that the world needs, then I have to suck my teeth and roll my eyes right along with the rest of them. He gives everyone hope. Women. Men. Black. White. He represents not only African-Americans, but “White America” as well. His mother, and his grandmother are white women. So, he also represents women. Obama, embodies and encompasses the understanding of pride and prejudice in the world. Lastly, Tara stated that it is the “impossible office". You support Clinton and still see it as the “impossible office". I support Obama, and now I know that all things are “possible".

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: DeBerryandGrant [Visitor] DATE: Wed, 19 Mar 2008 11:34:32 +0000 URL:

I (Virginia) am not for Barack because he’s black, but because I believe he is a brilliant visionary – the first in my voting lifetime, which is considerable–who might (and this is where my idealism battles my cynicism) be able to lead this country away from the perilous edge on which it is teetering. We are in a dangerous place and time – where privacy, individualism, truth, are falling prey to the prying eyes and ears of government, the “if you’re not with us you’re against us” rhetoric and more spin and fear mongering than we can possibly control. I believe that only something (someone) new – like America was two and half centuries ago can bring us back to the real belief in, and pursuit of, the shining ideals that were and still are inherent in our constitution and the right of every American.

But so far as I can tell, this is still America and we can all still follow our hearts, minds and consciences and vote for the candidate of our choice.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: zuhirah [Visitor] DATE: Wed, 19 Mar 2008 11:01:38 +0000 URL:

why do we even have to speak about this in these terms.. “race trumping gender"?? who says I’m supporting Obama cuz he’s black? Personally, I’m supporting him cuz I’m an idealist.. truth ruth. i would have liked to hear why, other than Hillary being a woman, Tara is such an ardent supporter– was it Hillary’s support of the war, or her recent proposal to put thousands of more cops on the street? peace and love, ZK

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: John McCann [Visitor] DATE: Wed, 12 Mar 2008 09:17:49 +0000 URL:

Do I hear a GOP presidential attack ad looming? Something like: “Bill Clinton – sex scandal. Eliot Spitzer – sex scandal. Democrats – scandalous. They just don’t get it. Republican John McCain does.”

Wait, wait, wait! Not endorsing anybody here. I’m just saying …

John McCann

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: elise [Visitor] DATE: Mon, 10 Mar 2008 14:26:34 +0000 URL:

your prose on the wire were so eloquent and heart-felt that i find myself tearing up as i write. words can’t express the love and most importantly, the appreciation i had for that show. it really tells the story of any small time city but of course it was particularly endearing to me because i am from b-more. i loved the montage i call “with love from balitimore” but i especially loved the montage of the regular people of b-more mixed in with the characters in mcnulty’s daydream. it is those people and their stories that are often ignored in everyday life even on an entertainment level, so to see them be able to shine just for a matter of seconds shows the commitment david simon, ed burns, & company had to them and also to us as audience members.

yes there is an “urban” genre in movies and even literature (that’s obviously soooooo urban and hip it’s called “lit."), but even though they are “keeping it real” they are not real to the urban or people of color experience they say they represent. they are sexed up, explotive, and some ways dismissive to their audience. the wire never fell into that. strong stories, strong acting, production details . . . what more can i say? it will truly be missed!!!

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: eisa718 [Member] DATE: Fri, 07 Mar 2008 11:22:47 +0000 URL:

This comes from journalist Audrey Edwards:

Good show, Eisa! Your comments were right on. I’m so tired of publishers buying into black pathology and thinking that whites can tell our stories better than we can. And I love Farai. She does great radio. I’m back in Paris catching up on good things like NPR.


----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: chris chambers [Visitor] DATE: Tue, 04 Mar 2008 17:42:20 +0000 URL:

Concomittantly, this type of stuff is used all the time by wacko right-to-lifers when they bribe our typically bribable black preachers each year around the anniversary of Roe v Wade. I’m not defending Planned Parenthood is there’re some “shennanigans” as Juno put it, afoot. But this is no reason to stem any support, in my opinion, of a woman’s right to choose.

Indeed, if you want to talk eugenics, I think that’s a reasonable debate topic in our community. It goes on all the time in OB-GYN offices, in community clinics, in fertility practices…just not in the news. Plus, given the bane of poverty, irresponsibility, crime and too many generations bringing new hopeless generations into this world (hell ay my age I’d be a great granddad in some circles!)…then yeah, let’s talk eugenics. As we fear to discuss real solutions to real problems–spawned by institutional and structure racism, history…or plain crazy, ill behavior–then a little Norplant might go a long, long way. Think I’m wearing a swastika on my arm? Think again. ‘hood clinics and public health service stations all over this country can pop those things in and you’d never know it, frankly, I know a lot of middle class black folks who see no problem with it whatsoever when you get them behind closed doors or at the dinner table…

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: pittershawn [Visitor] DATE: Tue, 04 Mar 2008 11:45:04 +0000 URL:

Good piece, Eisa.

Sad to say, I wouldn’t trust planned parenthod as far as I can throw them.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: eisa718 [Member] DATE: Tue, 04 Mar 2008 11:13:56 +0000 URL:

Everyday acts of outrage, Helen - wonderful! (I just had to paraphrase Gloria Steinem.:)

Thank you for sharing your activism with us, Helen. I wonder how many other letters FOX has received…

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Helen Mallon [Visitor] DATE: Tue, 04 Mar 2008 09:45:45 +0000 URL:

I just sent this email to Fox News:

As a white person, I am deeply offended by Mr. O’Reilly’s recent joke about not lynching our potential first lady ‘unless’ she proves to be a disloyal American. Would he broadcast a similar joke about raping her? Probably not. Therefore, even he would admit that in humor, there are lines that should not be crossed. Okay. Since when is lynching ‘better’ than raping?

Some issues are so raw and painful that to say ‘I was only joking’ only adds salt to the wound. Mr. O’Reilly’s remark reveals severe blindness to the realities of American history and the painful legacy of the Jim Crow era.

Helen W. Mallon

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: eisa718 [Member] DATE: Sun, 02 Mar 2008 13:19:08 +0000 URL:

I wish you could make it, too, Carleen. Can’t wait to hear all about Virginia, though. :)

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Carleen [Visitor] DATE: Sun, 02 Mar 2008 13:00:09 +0000 URL:

Good for Star! And yes I agree with you…black women are all up in this campaign. Every time I see a pic of Michelle I feel proud!

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Carleen [Visitor] DATE: Sun, 02 Mar 2008 12:58:36 +0000 URL:

Man, I wish I could be there!! But I’m going to be at the VA Book Fest instead.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: pittershawn [Visitor] DATE: Sun, 02 Mar 2008 10:24:51 +0000 URL:

Bill O’Reilly is racist, like 95% of the media. Most of them have simply become adept at camouflaging it, as they have about many things over the last few hundred years. In Age of Manipulation by Wilson Keys, he talks about all the tricks they use to manipulate the masses. Sadly, this manipulation affects us the most.

Star’s response was wonderful. She clearly assessed the mental and emotional insecurities and depraved thinking of men like O’Reilly, who spend their whole lives trying to cover up who they really are. I wouldn’t be surprised if, like she suggested, that he too was in his basement drinking and spitting with his buddy, trying to figure out why blacks are equal and what they can subtly do about it.

This is who most of them are. But we cannot keep flocking to their media. At some point in time, we need to create our own, 100% independent sources. There are so many intelligent blacks out there. We don’t need them or their media. We need to create a new Rosewood, a new Black Wall Street…

We need to stop needing them for everything. And when we do that, we don’t have to worry about ever hearing them slip up and show their true colors.

My 15 cents…

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: eisa718 [Member] DATE: Wed, 27 Feb 2008 08:48:46 +0000 URL:

Thanks for connecting the experiences of Black women writers to our sister-writers across race lines, Helen. We have much more in common as women than the superficial divisions, like race, that would keep us apart. It’s nice to know there’s a spirit of activism growing among all women writers. Maybe we can direct these energies into one powerful force and form stronger coalitions that benefit us all - readers and writers.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Helen Mallon [Visitor] DATE: Tue, 26 Feb 2008 20:12:55 +0000 URL:

My thought relates to Eisa’s fine article in Crisis and her observations on book covers. (Paperback editions of literary novels being ’sexed up’ with Urban Lit style covers.) I have heard white women writers express a similar frustration. There, the supposedly more saleable paperback cover image comes from the Chick Lit mindset–often showing the miniskirted or bathing suited body of a thin, young white woman (even if the protagonist isn’t young) truncated in some way by the edge of the book cover. My observation (not exhaustive) is that when publishers change the covers for paperback editions of the books written by black women writers, the images tend to be more overtly sexual. Cleavage, steamy looks, all of that. It’s as if what is being “suggested” on the Chick Lit influenced covers is about to be “acted out” on the Urban Lit influenced covers.

This is all market-driven, and writers know what the publishers seem not to–these cynical tactics don’t increase book sales.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Michelle [Visitor] DATE: Mon, 25 Feb 2008 14:22:27 +0000 URL:

Get more facts about bottled water quality and its impact on the environment at

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: eisa718 [Member] DATE: Fri, 22 Feb 2008 10:47:27 +0000 URL:

Hey, Charles!

So happy to hear your commitment to our children continues. Just wonderful. I know the SEED school will thrive under your watch. And I’m glad info from this blog helps the good folk teaching there.

It would be great to hear what the students think of the Street Lit debate, especially the idea that “at least they’re reading something” when they read Urban Fiction. What do they think about this debate? Have they heard the NPR Bloggers’ Round-table and read the online debate by visiting other blogs? If so, please encourage them to post comments. A lot of us are wondering what young people are thinking.



----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: charles [Visitor] DATE: Fri, 22 Feb 2008 10:40:10 +0000 URL:

Good to see you’re vigorously pushing the pen and still tapping the keys. This is Charles Adams (of 113 and Sat West/313) by the way. I’m now in DC as Head of School of our nation’s only public urban college preparatory school, the SEED school. I’ve bookmarked your blog and passed it on some like minded souls. We’re definitely using the info about street lit and hip-hop fiction. Be well.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: poetryman69 [Visitor] DATE: Wed, 20 Feb 2008 07:35:54 +0000 URL:

Energy Independence Now!
No more Oil Wars!
Stop funding the terrorists!
Drill in Anwar.

Build more nuclear power plants
Use More coal.
Use more natural gas
Turn trash into energy
Double the efficiency of windmills and solar cells.

If France can do nuclear power so can we.
If Brazil can do biomass/ethanol power so can we.
If Australia can do LNG power so can we.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Sofia Quintero aka Black Artemis [Visitor] DATE: Tue, 19 Feb 2008 10:55:31 +0000 URL:

Sister Writer, thank you for sharing this with your readers and colleagues. :) The four of us are excited about this curriculum and hope it will inspire more like it. In the same spirit in which you teamed up with others to form RingShout, we, too, were trying to stop talking and start doing. :)

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: chris chambers [Visitor] DATE: Fri, 15 Feb 2008 22:53:57 +0000 URL:

I spied Kavanaugh’s and left a prickly post. He deserved it. I have immense respect for him, but please–it gave the flavor of one of these statements from older black leaders who are “captive” or owing to the Clintons, over Obama. Another strain (other than not wanting to upset sponsoring or advertising white publishers who feed out appetite for this brain candy and swill) might be a genuine, post-Black Arts activist tradition that tells us that art should be populist and for and by everyone. Well, we’ve seen how that and corporate economics has destroyed professional journalism–why not literature, too?

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Carleen [Visitor] DATE: Thu, 14 Feb 2008 20:36:29 +0000 URL:

Eisa, I linked to ringshout and posted about it on my blog yesterday. Anything else I can do to participate and support, let me know!

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: DeBerryandGrant [Visitor] DATE: Thu, 14 Feb 2008 14:29:12 +0000 URL:

Yes, to paraphrase the Academy Award Winning Song from 2005, “it’s hard out here for a writer!” Not that it isn’t always–but the overwhelming preponderance of street, urban and erotic lit on the AA shelves and displays in bookstores, makes us very aware that if the industry climate in 1996 had been as it is today, Tryin’ to Sleep in the Bed You Made would very likely not have been published. We already were up against what we called the Toni/Terry dynamic. We weren’t deemed either “Morrison literary” or “McMillan commercial” and since there was no pre-determined African American category for us… despite the fact that what we wrote, as far as we were concerned, was contemporary women’s fiction–we had difficulty finding a publisher. So yes, it is hugely important to keep the circle wide, for there are many who live and write somewhere in between. And as we’ve been out on book tour these past few weeks, we’ve been telling readers how important it is to support the writers whose work they’ve come to care about–or they won’t find them on the shelves any longer.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: eisa718 [Member] DATE: Thu, 14 Feb 2008 07:29:21 +0000 URL:

Please join our ringShout circle, where we celebrate ambitious Black books, Carleen. :)


----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Carleen [Visitor] DATE: Wed, 13 Feb 2008 19:17:02 +0000 URL:

Thanks Eisa for letting us know about ringshout! I’ll check it out.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Eisa [Visitor] DATE: Wed, 13 Feb 2008 14:34:24 +0000 URL:

Thank you for your comment, Sofia. I also really appreciate your post on your own blog today. This discourse will certainly move us to a more powerful place as readers and writers.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Connie Briscoe [Visitor] DATE: Wed, 13 Feb 2008 10:01:27 +0000 URL:

My point is that books like this are not entirely new, and that whites write erotica books, too. But they’re sold under the table and in back alleys. The mainstream publishing industry doesn’t glorify books like this written by whites. The authors don’t get imprints and they aren’t featured front and center at mainstream book events. And the more mainstream white authors don’t get shunned or cast aside in favor of those writing erotica. So yes, I primarily blame the industry.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Sofia Quintero aka Black Artemis [Visitor] DATE: Wed, 13 Feb 2008 09:59:25 +0000 URL:

Thanks always, Eisa, for making it easier to follow the debate on this important topic.

As you well know, sister, I am one of those writers whose work lies in the middle. As an activist, I made a conscientious decision to write popular fiction as a way to raise socio-political issues among an audience of readers that might not otherwise engage them (and yet has the most to lose by their lack of engagement.) Indeed, one can employ the urban vernacular and still write deeply about the human condition. However, it is this ambition to grapple with substantive themes and a respect for craft that makes me identify with those who squarely place themselves in the literary camp. Quite frankly, I am adamant about distinguishing myself from street lit, yet I don’t know if – based on what I write alone – if the literary crowd would embrace me. I don’t know if solely based on my titles, covers, storylines and pen name, they would even read a word and discover that I’m not trafficking in the stereotypes and gratuitous sex and violence.

If there is such a sharp line between the commercial and literary, where do writers like me belong? Does such a line serve any of us -writers and readers alike in general, and specifically communities that have been long underrepresented or misrepresented?

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Christopher Chambers [Visitor] DATE: Sun, 10 Feb 2008 16:31:40 +0000 URL:

I disagree with Connie on one aspect. You CAN blame the authors, too. You MUST blame the authors, too. And the readers. Yes, our folk. We have been telling folk since the 60s that everything goes, everything’s cool. Now form or format–those are constructs of “the Man” or house negroes trying to stifle “our voices.” Couple with that the general cheapening and hype-orgy aspects of American society as a whole and look what you get. People who brazenly assert they are bigger and badder than Zora Neale Hurston feeding slop to readers who think they are being urbane by buying a $15 softcover featuring a black women whose breasts are spilling into the hands of either a male model or a criminal. Worse, our readers, our fans, our public seem to think that this, not Edwidge or Martha, carries some form of versimilitude. No lie. Crazy as hell. But no lie.

So maybe my problem (and I won’t even go into the white smarmy little girls who along with out of touch white males, gay or straight, who make these editorial decisions) is with the pretense. Pretense among these authors (hey, ANYONE can be an author!) and the public. One reason I respect Zane is that there’s no pretense. I have a lot of problems with the subject matter and the way it has even pre-empted old business models, let alone literature. But she does not declare herself the heir to James Baldwin. She harkens to Stephen King when he said: “I’m a salami writer. I try to write GOOD salami, but salami is salami.”

Look, I’m not saying we emulate the near-masturbatory brand of prose that white literary authors have been spilling for years. Tom Wolfe has written essay after essay on that crap. But hey, at least they get published. If you’re white, you can write a novel about a butterfly who turns into a human and tours with a rock band before getting eaten by bird who’s really your dead mother and get published. Get a great critical review. Us? Hmmm. And don’t be fooled. It’s as bad in “genre” fiction, nonfiction, memoirs–even graphic novels/comic books.

The solution isn’t in new imprints. It’s in authors deciding they aren’t going to play Zip Coon anymore, and black waking the hell up readers saying hey, we can do better. Harsh, hating, evil? Yep. But it’s the only solution with meaning.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Connie Briscoe [Visitor] DATE: Sat, 09 Feb 2008 13:00:59 +0000 URL:

Very insightful post. I experienced some of it first-hand when one of my publishers tried to put one of those scantily-clad, provocatively posed women on the cover of one of my novels. The jacket design wasn’t bad; it was actually decent. But it didn’t fit what was between the pages of the book–which had one rather tepid, very brief love scene in the whole novel. I saw it as a big fat lie and protested. The publisher made some changes. but I still wasn’t satisfied and I ended up paying myself to have the jacket re-shot the way I wanted. Believe me, that’s isn’t cheap.

The problem isn’t the authors. You can’t blame them for trying to earn a living. The problem is with publishers who are marginalizing good black writers who aren’t writing street lit or erotica. Many of them can’t get a publishing deal. Zane has an imprint at a major publishing house. Fine. I assume that wouldn’t happen if she wasn’t selling books and publishers are about making money.

But where is Terry McMillan’s imprint or Walter Mosley’s? Don’t tell me they couldn’t produce a ton of good selling books, too. They’ve been around far longer and if it weren’t for the likes of them there would be no street lit or erotica authors, period. The fact that our leading literary authors do not have imprints at the mainstream publishers–and to my knowledge haven’t been offered imprints– says a lot.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Rob [Visitor] DATE: Fri, 08 Feb 2008 13:17:39 +0000 URL:

One thing you’re not mentioning is the violence aspect of most of these books. A lot of the central male characters are drug dealers and gangsters and violence, as well as graphic sex, permeates throughout these stories. And you cannot tell me there’s no correlation between all the violence young people watch and read and all these killings of young Black men by other young Black men that we are seeing today.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: amenra [Visitor] DATE: Thu, 07 Feb 2008 14:32:46 +0000 URL:

I post this in the wrong place can you delete and repost this comment?

I write because I want whatever or whomever may come from the future peering into the past hoping to catch a glimpse of what might have happen here in the now. Will my time traveler find the pathological psychosis of a writer obsessed with the narcissistic behavior of someone who needed the validation of a culture of pirates. This European prism has narrowed my brothers and sisters myopic vision of wonderful colors of the spectrum of literateur down to the color of green. So much so that we will do and say anything to intoxicate our souls with this color. It is as though the monsters that seeks to devour our very being has hypnotize us to the point that we have come to glorify the greed of the monsters ways. How can we destroy that which we seek to become? “The truth is, that, in circumstances like these, the sense of fear is annihilated in the unutterable sights that fill all the eye, and the sounds, that fill all the ear. You become identified with the tempest; your insignificance is lost in the riot of the stormy universe around.” I hear absolutely nothing in Eisa article on literature from those purported intellectual writers and black publishers that is visionary, imaginative or enlightening that will free our minds . In fact one can only think of after reading this piece of the neurosis of our intellectualls. I can only wonder and hear the voice of Frantz Fanon in the whirlwind as we are mired down in the “neosexual revolution” all the while we are being destroyed, yet we pontificate on our book covers and the nature of what does and does not sell, prism green…I see “Green People.” A voice in the wilderness cries out, “But it so happens that when the native hears a speech about Western culture he pulls out his knife–or at least he makes sure it is within reach. The violence with which the supremacy of white values is affirmed and the aggressiveness which has permeated the victory of these values over the ways of life and of thought of the native mean that, in revenge, the native laughs in mockery when Western values are mentioned in front of him. In the colonial context the settler only ends his work of breaking in the native when the latter admits loudly and intelligibly the supremacy of the white man’s values. In the period of decolonization, the colonized masses mock at these very values, insult them, and vomit them up.” Where are the voices of the Frantz Fanon, Assata Shakur, Angela Davis, Marcus Gravey, C.L.R. James, Perl Cleage, Bell Hooks and so many others. Oh, what wonderful fiction and reality, my amnesiac mind funny , I only see Green People.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Carleen [Visitor] DATE: Wed, 06 Feb 2008 21:14:43 +0000 URL:

The protagonist of my novel Orange Mint and Honey is a sexually inexperienced 25-yr-old black woman. I was in a workshop at the University of Iowa summer program and had another black woman in attendance tell me quite dismissively “I hope you don’t plan to sell your book to black women.” It really threw me, and scared me. I wondered, “Is this really what we’ve come to?”

I’m gratified and relieved that Essence and the Black Expressions Book Club have embraced my book. We’ll see very soon if readers do too.

Regarding the issue of covers: I bought the paperback of Third Girl from the Left. It has a striking cover and while there could be lots of other images that better capture the book, I don’t find it offensive.

I’ve also been told (online) by a black woman writer to be grateful that there are no people at all on the cover of my book. That way, it can’t be relegated to the bookstore “ghetto.” Like the “race records” of the 50s. So I’m back to, “Is this really what we’ve come to?”

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Andrea King Collier [Visitor] DATE: Wed, 06 Feb 2008 19:46:14 +0000 URL:

Eisa, you did a great job of talking about the issue. It is hard for me to knock what other writers are producing, because I know how hard it is to put butt in chair and tell a story. HOWEVER, I live in a fairy tale land where the literature is a spotlight on the people. While there are some people who live by their wits on the street, or on their backs ( this is harsh I know), there is another part of the writing culture that wants to portray other layers of our world. At the end of the day we are so much deeper than the My Pimp, My Ho books. Even the pimps and hos gotta be deeper than that.

So maybe the solution is that old school readers like me need to loosen up and new school writers should learn how to spell, and publishers should get behind the support of a real balance. What will lift us up as readers, as writers, as a people? As a person who teaches essay writing, I have learned how to value all stories, even if they differ from my little middle class princess existence. I call again and again for a balance that portrays all aspects of our lives in their splendor.

And can I just say that it helps to be a reader of books before you become a writer of books.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: eisa718 [Member] DATE: Sun, 27 Jan 2008 11:25:00 +0000 URL:

I can hear the melody in my head, Amanda! He is ours. :)

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Amanda Insall [Visitor] DATE: Sun, 27 Jan 2008 11:16:13 +0000 URL:

Did you hear the song that closed the victory speech in South Carolina in the Obama campaign…"Here I am baby…signed, sealed, delivered I’m yours…” Fabulous. (I just wanted to say fabulous.)

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: eisa718 [Member] DATE: Sun, 27 Jan 2008 07:26:48 +0000 URL:

That seems like a balanced response to me. Thanks! As I said, I know very few anti-abortion voters… in fact, I don’t think I know any (until you and I met via “News and Notes” :). I think it’s important for people with different political views to start to really listen and try to understand each other, rather than just going to the mat every election year.


----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: John McCann [Visitor] DATE: Sat, 26 Jan 2008 22:37:49 +0000 URL:

Responding to Eisa responding to my previous post: I realize there are issues other than abortion. But a candidate’s view on snatching human life says a lot about that candidate. Sure, fix the economy and, thus, look after you and me. I want to eat just like everybody else. But the unborn have voices, too. We just can’t hear them.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Andrew G. Benjamin [Visitor] DATE: Fri, 25 Jan 2008 17:20:14 +0000 URL:

The Independent article is parody. There are tens of thousands of parodies published with no one taking offense. In politics everyone is a target because they make themselves targets. They are game! It is the nature of things in the real world. Being black, or Jewish, or Catholic does not make one immune from being parodied. Chill out! Obama is not harmed and will only be harmed by his own actions and skills in dealing with the Clinton Machine that is out to decapitate him.

I wonder if the very same people who are SO offended by Rick Murphy’s parody are equally offended by the millions of web references to your ELECTED president and vice president as: “Chimp", “Moron", “The Idiot in the White House,” etc….DURING TIME OF WAR?

Do YOU think it is appropriate to depict leaders during war as idiots? Even if you don’t agree with their policies?

Obama is NOT our president. He has a chance of becoming resident provided he doesn’t self-destruct. And if and when that happens watch out. Murphy’s jokes will be nothing next to what will come down the pike.

Obama is just one of many empty suits or dress running for president in both parties. He is no more immune from being parodied because of race or Hillary because of sex than any other candidate who happens to use race or sex TO GET ELECTED.

They both have.

Andrew G. Benjamin

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Eisa [Visitor] DATE: Fri, 25 Jan 2008 14:23:03 +0000 URL:

Roger Green has more info on The Independent. Apparently, they have established a pattern of racist so-called satire with two offensive pieces. This Obama piece was the second. Check out Roger’s site. (See the comment above this one for the link).

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Roger Green [Visitor] DATE: Fri, 25 Jan 2008 14:12:46 +0000 URL:

I was appalled by the Independent piece, which was forwarded to me. The apology is…lacking, to be sure. There’s something erelse on that page, though, that’s ALSO bugging me: (1/25/08)

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Amanda Insall [Visitor] DATE: Fri, 25 Jan 2008 11:41:55 +0000 URL:

Reading the column as it appeared in The Independent… (Quick thinking Eisa) before the walk of shame…It is truly terrifying. It reminds me of posters caricaturing Jews that were put up on businesses and in newspapers in Nazi Germany. And the many caricatures we have seen of African Americans in our storied past. Murphy’s response is laughable, cryable and scream worthy. Evidently he hasn’t bothered to get to know his “highest paid” employee very well. (or any other Person of Color for that matter.) If he had, he would never have entertained the sick fantasies that he evidently thought clever in his column. Thank you Eisa for acting so quickly.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Ron [Visitor] DATE: Thu, 24 Jan 2008 19:28:34 +0000 URL:

It seems the closing of Karibu Books has to do with a conflict between the owners and not a financial downturn, which I would almost welcome –ead these pieces in the The Washington Post and Publishers Weekly. I was set to rail against the behemoths Barnes & Noble and, both plowing their way through a field of closed bookstores. I was ready to blame everyone around me –we, including myself, just don’t read the way we once did. The Internet, iPods, cable TV, XM Radio, video games continue to whittle the time we commit to reading. Public transportation has become the default reading room.

So. just when I thought Karibu would be martyred and its demise lead to a possible reading resurgence it turns out that the end is akin spat between brothers. I’ve always admired Sana and Bro Yao (who, of the two, I personally know). Book selling is not an easy game, low margins and high overhead for “bricks and mortar.” Now add to the mix business views that are not in sync and you have the making of a bookstore closing.

I get the sense that both will re-emerge separate and stronger, still in the book business. Sometimes its not enough to move on. You must tear down the old house before you can build anew. It may take a while but I hope that the partners will make a statement –joint or separate– affirming their friendship before this degrades into “Britney/KFed” gossip.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Anonymous [Visitor] DATE: Thu, 24 Jan 2008 18:42:31 +0000 URL:

I find this level of concern over this matter a poor use of your talent and resources. Shock of all shock, there are racist. SFW, BFD, is that news? Are you surprised? Think about it, who cars about this publication, you’re only feeding into the hype and actually exposing them to people who would otherwise not give’em any attention or concern at all.

Your problem? This is the obvious, the easy target to hit out of the park. Requires no skill, talent, or even intelligence to address this. Now if you want to be relevant, actually say something about something that matters and is significant, why don’t you speak to Bob Johnson slinging mud on Obama and referencing his cocaine use and marginalizing him today, for some youthful experimentation?

But that would mean you addressing Black on Black shameful behavior. It’s far more significant when a Bob Johnson says what he did about Obama, than some newspaper no one cares about. Step up to something relevant, will you?

And Bill Clinton’s certainly said some outrageous things about Obama, the “fairy tale” speech and all that. I have found Bob Johnson and Bill Clinton to be the spokesmen of demeaning speech about Obama, their words are far more damaging.

The real question is do you have the skill set, intelligence, and talent to dissect the subtle nature of empowered people that are degrading of Obama in their speech? People who matter?

Step up your game if you want to make a difference.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: pittershawn [Visitor] DATE: Thu, 24 Jan 2008 17:36:42 +0000 URL:

Much respect to NiaOnline!

And thanks, Eisa, for putting this out there.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: eisa718 [Member] DATE: Thu, 24 Jan 2008 14:33:56 +0000 URL:

Thanks for that, Chris!

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: ChrisChambers [Visitor] DATE: Thu, 24 Jan 2008 14:30:18 +0000 URL:

I think the answer is both. Vision affects the financial aspect and finance affects vision. You don’t have to be Bill gates to understand that. Lonnae (O’Neal parker) with the Post spoke to Simba and few folk but she was on a scoop deadline, so perhaps given the fallout Simba’s talking more. Hoke is still clammed up as of 230pm Thurs. I think the key is that while neither was down with the street fiction and Video Vixen crap, one perhaps saw it as a tool and the other did not. However, as I’ve said, as an indie seller if you want to continue to get people in the door, away from big box stores that can sell the ignorant yet bestselling stuff cheaper and in huge quantities, you must offer more and showcase more, and have a staff that can educate the consumers and in turn create a clientele over and above folk who just want to supporta black business, or who live near PG Plaza Mall. I know they were trying hard for that, but despite the committment and the inventory of hard to find stuff, they just let folk walk in, buy Noire and Terri Woods and the like, and leave. Hell, I can do that at Costco.

Yet in the end, like Heath Ledger, we’ll never have a smoking gun.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: eisa718 [Member] DATE: Thu, 24 Jan 2008 13:12:33 +0000 URL:

Thanks so much for your keen observation about the need for diversity in Black Books, Steven - and thanks, too, for your kind words about my blog! :)


----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Steven Williams [Visitor] DATE: Thu, 24 Jan 2008 12:40:02 +0000 URL:

Everyone in the area loses out when diversity is reduced. Without the unique perspective that a black owned chain provides, many good books from small publishers and university presses do not receive an adequate representation in the marketplace. When that happens everyone looses out.

By the way, I also wanted to congratulate you on such an attractive blog. Great design and a great unified look.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: eisa718 [Member] DATE: Wed, 23 Jan 2008 23:14:04 +0000 URL:

Great point, Amanda!

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Amanda Insall [Visitor] DATE: Wed, 23 Jan 2008 21:11:07 +0000 URL:

I think we need a forensic linguist to find the true source of this utterance. A person who grew up in Kansas/Kenya/Indonesia generally does not speak this way…It sounds fake.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: pittershawn [Visitor] DATE: Wed, 23 Jan 2008 15:33:10 +0000 URL:

Their actions are just one of the many symptoms of what has NOT changed in this country. Folks think this is an anomaly. But in fact, they are the voice of many. When racist comments are made in media, I’d like you to show me one white person who shows the same level of anger and disdain that blacks show for the person who uttered the words. Personally, I have yet to see even one who is as appalled as we are, who steps to the front and shouts from the roof tops how disgusted they are with the madness.

What do they do? They dialogue in a manner that clearly shows they don’t care, but are simply attempting to pacify the few with a false show of concern.

I must conclude that this is how many of them feel–they don’t care and are unaffected by it–hence, they too do not care for people of color. Their silence and lack of passion when these things happen shows me all I need to see.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: eisa718 [Member] DATE: Wed, 23 Jan 2008 15:13:11 +0000 URL:

I hear you, Zuhairah. That’s a serious issue, one I need more info on to be honest, as, like you, I’m unsure as to why he won’t make his health care program mandatory.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Julia Chance [Visitor] DATE: Wed, 23 Jan 2008 15:11:32 +0000 URL:

Chris, you got that right. Being from the Balto./D.C. area, with their majority black populations it’s a sad state of affairs. I think for many book buyers the lure of discount spots, from Amazon to Costco, is irresistible. I interviewed black book sellers for an article my book club’s (Go On Girl!) journal. Felicia Wintons who owns Books for Thought in Tampa said:

“Granted, people do whats convenient. If they happen to be in Wal-Mart, target or K-mart and see a book they like they’ll buy it. But we have to remember that it’s important to support black bookstores because they are the foundation of black literature. Wal-Mart isn’t going to have the author come in and sign, we are.”

Also, we seem to find out that our businesses are in trouble when the only choice left is to close up shop. I remember Sister Space in D.C. appealing to the public to try to save it, but to no avail

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: eisa718 [Member] DATE: Wed, 23 Jan 2008 15:08:19 +0000 URL:

Thanks for voicing your outrage, Sheryl!

I think twice about things that could be hoaxes, too. For example, I did receive info about a postcard a young Bill Clinton sent his mother. The postcard had a stereotypical image of a Black person and - yes - a watermelon. I didn’t post it, though, because I thought it could be a hoax. The Obama article, however, appears on The Independent site. Unless someone is hacking into newspaper databases on the East End, it’s real.

Crazy, right?

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: zuhirah [Visitor] DATE: Wed, 23 Jan 2008 15:05:15 +0000 URL:

hey SIs, what I would base my vote on is health insurance. I heart Obama. I do. ANd was so happy to see him come strong on Monday. However, I do take issue with his resistance to universal healthcare. I understand that he doesn’t want to make it a mandatory deduction.. but c’mon, it’s always the ill prepared folk (or folk that would rather have that extra 100 bucks a month for some new sneakers, or some curtains, or blankets.. whatever), boohooing when the shit hits the fan. So yeah, universal health insurance would become like a tax.. but we need it to be universal ie. mandatory, for it to work. and it may just be a deal breaker for me.. I hope he comes around (even if it means his policy will be more like clinton’s and edwards’)or adjusts his policy. can someone whisper that in his ear for me?:)

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Sheryl Huggins [Visitor] DATE: Wed, 23 Jan 2008 14:55:44 +0000 URL:

I cannot believe this is real. I wonder if it’s some kind of hoax? If not, they have some really stupid and twisted people out on the East End. I’ll be letting them know what we think of this garbage, that’s for sure.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: chris chambers [Visitor] DATE: Wed, 23 Jan 2008 14:18:56 +0000 URL:

Sad, evil thing that’s happening. Dropping like flies…but why? Okay, this is a tough economy, I know. There’re always business goblins re: supply, finance, control, management personalities. Nevertheless, we should ponder an unspoken business model question. Think about it this way: there’s always a niche, under the radar. But when you’re forced to push the street fiction and the more simplistic/crass chickit/soapopera stuff and Video Vixen nonfiction–the same product as the huge chains–and there’s no price break, better service, more convenience, etc., the chains will win every time. Ergo, put out a unique product and enhanced service. Yes there are large “white” indie stores barely scraping by, but that’s how they do scrape by. Look at the specialty mystery shops which stand the test of time, the comic book stores, even the antiquarian shops. I know that’s easier said than done, but it’s worth the effort when the alternative is shuttering these businesses, liquidating the stock and Wal-Mart-ing everything in sight.

In my D.C.-Balto. area, brimming with black professionals, students, educators, military folk with an education (in other words–officers!!! and I don’t care if that sounds elitist), entrepreneurs, mid-level managers to corporate VPs, this state of affairs is especially troubling.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: eisa [Visitor] DATE: Tue, 22 Jan 2008 17:25:33 +0000 URL:

So, John, would you really base your decision on the single issue of abortion? Or, is that one of several issues of concern to you as a voter?

Just wondering. I know few, if any, Christian fundamentalists and others for whom abortion rights is an important issue, and I’d like to hear more from that perspective to learn more.


----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: John McCann [Visitor] DATE: Tue, 22 Jan 2008 16:37:06 +0000 URL:

I’ve been saying all along that an Obama-Edwards ticket would be strong. However, I must add that, in the beginning, I wasn’t sure if that ticket, instead, would be Edwards-Obama. All that said, this is not my endorsement for either one of them. Pardon my grammar, but a brother has to make sure they ain’t gonna kill those unborn babies.

John McCann

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: eisa718 [Member] DATE: Sun, 20 Jan 2008 11:18:32 +0000 URL:

That’s a great reference, Elise. I need to see the film, but I’ve heard it’s really good, and the James-Booker contest was certainly prelude to Obama’s presidential run.

I wonder what other local elections of recent years involved a “street fight” between the old Black guard and our new leadership.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: elise [Visitor] DATE: Sun, 20 Jan 2008 11:08:51 +0000 URL:

thank you for this post!!! this article expresses quite well the sentiments of many of us who were raised by people with ties to the civil rights movements of the 1960s and 1970s who appreciate their struggle but are baffled by these black leaders of yesteryear attitudes towards mr. obama. it seems like some old fashion play-hating is going on when we REALLY don’t have time for those kinds of antics.

i urge people to check out the documentary “street fight” about the mayoral race in newark, nj when cory booker first ran against sharpton james. there are many similarities between what was going on in the race and what obama is dealing with in terms of black leadership.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: eisa718 [Member] DATE: Thu, 17 Jan 2008 12:03:54 +0000 URL:

Thanks for joining in here, Ragazza.

I don’t see an Obama Clinton ticket either. I do, however, sniff the beginnings of an Obama Edwards run. I think that would fly better in the south, and Obama had the Midwest, West Coast, and Northeast on lock.

I see John’s point, but I’m not sure Hillary is electable in the Bible Belt. They’d rather see anyone but her, I think, the way most Democrats wanted anyone but Bush.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: nyc/caribbean ragazza [Visitor] DATE: Thu, 17 Jan 2008 10:11:57 +0000 URL:

I assure you Barack and Hillary will not be on the ticket together. If he wins her high negatives and that she is another sitting sentor does not help him.

If she wins, Barack would not want to be her VP. The VP slot will go to someone who is either a governor or a big city mayor. Someone with experience balancing budgets, dealing with unions etc. not just legislative experience. The last sitting senator to be elected to the Presidency was JFK. It’s a tough leap.

If Barack wins big in South Caroline, look for the attacks against him to get stronger. It’s going to get ugly.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Amanda Insall [Visitor] DATE: Wed, 16 Jan 2008 19:24:22 +0000 URL:

I feel that Obama’s appeal is highly visceral. I’ve always examined the micro “in between” facial expressions of political candidates. In a split second one can see how a facial expression is squelched or manufactured depending on the audience that is listening. I guess this disingenuous quality to the politician’s face that makes it hard for me to watch them. Obama seems to appeal because he is a man who seems to believe what he says. He appeals across party lines because he is the candidate who viscerally seems to have the most integrity. On the other hand, the fact that Obama is designated as a Black man, also may have an appeal in this election. The whole “democracy” rap the US has been using as a pretext to intervene in Iraq has little meaning when this “democracy” is imposed by country which was founded on the exploited labor of African Americans. Perhaps there are Americans (as well as the rest of the world…) who would equate the election of an African American to the Presidency of the United States with some hope for an authentic Democracy in the future.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Julia Chance [Visitor] DATE: Tue, 15 Jan 2008 14:52:05 +0000 URL:

Glad you weighed in here, Yvette!

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Yevette [Visitor] DATE: Tue, 15 Jan 2008 14:32:19 +0000 URL:

One area of concern for me about Barack?s candidacy is that white America, including large parts of liberal America, don?t know history well enough and therefore can not adequately analyze the dual impact of race and gender in this country. Hillary’s comments about LBJ are quite simplistic. And people who give all the credit for civil rights to Martin Luther King are overlooking the fact that a powerful movement with many courageous leaders was behind his rise. Many of these leaders were black women, who were also the backbone of the civil rights movement. Only recently has the critical leadership of Ella Baker, Septima Clark, and Fannie Lou Hamer been given in depth scholarly attention. The general public is still oblivious to their achievements. King and many others, black and white, put their lives on the line, had their houses blown up and lived in terror in the South. The great Fannie Lou Hamer was viciously beaten in a Winona, Mississippi jail. When she went to the 1964 Democratic Convention and told her story and challenged the seating of the all white Mississippi delegation, what did Lyndon Johnson do? He interrupted the live proceedings with a press conference, because he didn?t want the white South to desert him and the Democratic Party. They would, however, starting with Strom Thurmond changing his party affiliation from Democrat to Republican. However progressive he was compared to white Southern politicians of his era, Johnson did what he was forced to do by a powerful movement. This is all in the history books. Also as a sign of the casual racism of his day, he was used to calling blacks ?nigger? even after he signed the Civil Rights act. This too is recorded. So forgive some of us if we are not effusive in our praise of the work of this president.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Ralph Richardson [Visitor] DATE: Tue, 15 Jan 2008 11:17:34 +0000 URL:

Julia has it right, it is about entitlement. But that is what the whole elitist culture of the democratic party is wrapped in. While the Republicans can give a fuck about you (which is at least honest). The democratic party has a holier than thou mentality. They want to help you, because they believe they are smarter than you. And as long as they are on top and they are the distributors of “jobs” and “protection". everything is fine. If you challenge them, and win, dirty little things start popping out. Like MLK played a minor role to LBJ in the civil rights movement. Expect more stuff like this from Hillary.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Julia Chance [Visitor] DATE: Tue, 15 Jan 2008 09:34:26 +0000 URL:

Here-here Eisa! You’ve nailed it. Of course race plays a part in this election, but in the way the race is framed, not the issues. I think Hilary wants to win, and will go to the mat – slinging mud all the way – to accomplish that goal. She feels she’s entitled.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Carleen [Visitor] DATE: Sat, 12 Jan 2008 11:41:41 +0000 URL:

I am very grateful for this book and for this interview! I’m sure they will both bring healing for lots of folks who need it.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: eisa718 [Member] DATE: Thu, 10 Jan 2008 07:31:04 +0000 URL:

That’s a balanced comment, Connie. The mountaintop has a brilliant, shining summit. We can be blinded by the light, especially as we approach that highest level of human interaction. As African Americans, I think your point, that we have to make sure we note the improvements your comment acknowledges and also see racism clearly when it is present, is a great one.

I say: “Go, Obama, go!” Come on people, we still have a ways left to climb. Let’s do it together.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Connie [Visitor] DATE: Thu, 10 Jan 2008 07:02:20 +0000 URL:

I have recently discovered Chris Matthews’ show as a result of following this election so closely, and I find him very refreshing and forthright. Sometimes I also think that we black folk (especially those over 30) need to “get over it.” But only “sometimes.” LOL. I do think things have improved A LOT racially, especially over the past 20 years or so, and we have to work harder to not imagine it when it’s not there but to also recognize and deal with it when it is.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: John [Visitor] DATE: Wed, 09 Jan 2008 17:28:53 +0000 URL:

Fascinating. Shirley sounds clear and confident, Max sounds like what Hilary Clinton must have felt like after the Iowa Caucuses and Esther does little to hid her bias against Max.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: eisa718 [Member] DATE: Wed, 09 Jan 2008 13:37:21 +0000 URL:

I hope so, Amanda! :)

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Amanda Insall [Visitor] DATE: Wed, 09 Jan 2008 13:05:37 +0000 URL:

Is it Camelot I see in the distance?

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: eisa718 [Member] DATE: Mon, 07 Jan 2008 14:59:47 +0000 URL:

Thanks so much for your comment, Joy. It’s good to hear that some of the young folk you know are crossing racial and party lines to connect to Obama’s promise of a hopeful, united, future America. And it’s just good to hear from you. I hope you had an amazing holiday season. :)

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Joy [Visitor] DATE: Mon, 07 Jan 2008 14:49:52 +0000 URL:

Well I believe! (yes I am the ‘whitest white girl’ from your English class last semester). I want everyone to believe Obama’s message of hope and unity for America. Listening to his Iowa victory speech made me feel like anything was possible. I don’t think this is just an optimistic NY feeling. I’ve been surprised by the young white republicans I know who are feeling the Obama feelings. (and they’re not from NYC). I agree that younger generations don’t have as much ‘internalized racism.’ There is, however, a lot of divisiveness in the country. Obama seems to transcend all of that.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: eisa718 [Member] DATE: Mon, 07 Jan 2008 11:23:30 +0000 URL:

Am I too optimistic? Is my glass half full? Am I sheltered New Yorker in community with hip folk from around the world? I hear you… Maybe I was just buggin.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Suad [Visitor] DATE: Mon, 07 Jan 2008 10:03:26 +0000 URL:

Girl, maybe in nyc, and I say ‘maybe….I would have to disagree. After living for a year in the midwest, I don’t think anyone, particular most white Americans, have gotten over it.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: eisa718 [Member] DATE: Thu, 03 Jan 2008 07:58:12 +0000 URL:

This comment came from Elise:

happy new year eisa,
thanks for sending out your roundtable discussion on farai’s show. it was a great discussion and i thought you all brought up thought provoking ideas and comments. i’m going to be checking out the other participants blogs too.

all the best in 2008!

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: LaSharah [Visitor] DATE: Wed, 26 Dec 2007 11:22:42 +0000 URL:

I’m catching up on my NPR News and Notes on podcast, and was pleasantly surprised to hear you on the bloggers round table. You made some excellent points! I hope she has you on the air more often.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: elise [Visitor] DATE: Fri, 21 Dec 2007 23:18:22 +0000 URL:

no, those were not my words although i agree with many of the sentiments. i’ll have to ask julia who wrote it. i’m glad you put it on your blog. it’s just so sad!!! they have been talking on the news about crime going up in central brooklyn, and i am certain that the gentrification of ft. greene, clinton hill, and bed-stuy has a lot to do with that surge in violence. when people are being displaced to neighborhoods that are disenfranchised while other communities are being “developed” and thriving, what more can be expected? we have to take back and invest in our communities.


----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: eisa718 [Member] DATE: Wed, 19 Dec 2007 08:58:56 +0000 URL:

Julia! Girl, where is your Hip Hop-ology? “Reagan is the prez, but I voted for Shirley Chisholm.” One of the greatest old school Hip Hop lines, sistah-love. :)


----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Julia [Visitor] DATE: Tue, 18 Dec 2007 20:42:25 +0000 URL:

Biz Markie voted for Shirley Chisholm?! When? In 1972? He’s either way older than I thought he was, or wrote her name in on a ballot for jokes during a more recent election. Please explain, Ralph.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Ralph Richardson [Visitor] DATE: Tue, 18 Dec 2007 00:42:56 +0000 URL:

Oprah can choose to back any presidential candidate she wants.
Heck Biz Markie voted for Shirley Chisholm. When we realize that in order to get great service, we have to give great service, we will realize an undivided power.



----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: eisa718 [Member] DATE: Mon, 17 Dec 2007 08:11:22 +0000 URL:

This message comes from Nsenga. (I have to talk to my webmaster about the trouble some of you are having posting comments. Sorry!)

As salaam alaikum Eisa!
I’m just writing to show my gratitude. You were such an excellent, wonderful moderator at the “As the Veil Turns” Artist Talk. I couldn’t have wished for anyone better to discuss my project with amongst so many wonderful people. Thank you sis. I’m so glad to have been sharing this project with you. You were insightful, sensitive, and so very present. I was floating on a cloud since last week, just overjoyed at the good vibes and success of our event on December 7th.

Peace and Love,


----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: A concerned citizen [Visitor] DATE: Sat, 15 Dec 2007 10:56:08 +0000 URL:

Your website lists you as a Journalist, so either you are a biased journalist or not a very good journalist. The reason I say this is because in January of 2007 Bloomberg wrote a followup article regarding slave labor, pig iron and Toyota. The key word being followup. In November 2006 they wrote their main piece on slavery, pig iron, and GM, FORD, WHIRLPOOL, KOHLER, ALL of the steel manufacturers in the U.S. and many other U.S. manufacturers who purchased pig iron from producers accused of purchasing charcoal from companies that use slave labor.

So either you work for one of the American companies, do not like to see Toyota selling more cars in the U.S. than the American companies, or you like to write articles without really doing any research on the topic before hand making you a lousy journalist.

Before your 18 avid fans inundate Toyota with their 18 emails or phone calls, look at your own country, who did not buy 18,000 ton this year, but purchased over 4,000,000 ton from the same producers accused of buying charcoal from companies that have slaves.

While we are on the subject, I also read that the bananas that are sold at most major retail chains buy them from distributors who buy them from Central and South American farmers who have people on their farms that they also do not pay. Coco has cost hundreds of thousands of slaves their lives, not just being forced to work for room and board, but being whipped until they have no skin on their bodies, where are the phone calls to Hershey???

We should not forget about the hundreds of slaves producing charcoal, or the bananas in the market, but try to remember everything you purchase every day comes from Chinese slave labor. 8 year olds working 16 hours a day for pennies a week, at least the slaves in Brazil get room and board. The pennies a week the 8 year old gets does not pay for room and board, so his 5 year old sister must also work 16 hours a day too, just so America can buy cheap products, oh no I forgot, just so we can pay athletes millions of dollars to endorse products that we wind up paying 1000’s% markup because the athlete wears it. Dont worry about the MILLIONS of children in China.

But the 22 slaves they found that they somehow tied into Toyota is much more important that the other MILLIONS.

I am not a jornalist, so I did not check any of your other blogs to see if you touched on the hundreds of thousands of white slaves sold into prostitution, but I am sure if it was as important to you as the 22 slaves and Toyota, white slavery must be somewhere on your site.

A weak excuse for journalism if you ask me, and keep up the good work!!!

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: eisa718 [Member] DATE: Wed, 12 Dec 2007 12:21:58 +0000 URL:

Received from Date With a Book founder Marcia Mayne:

Hey Eisa,
Tried to post the following but I kept getting an error message that my email address was incorrect.

“I can’t say this surprises me. I’m just infuriated, especially since I got this the very day Michael Vick got 23 months and that became the lead story on almost every channel, every news report. It just confirms what we’ve all known or suspected – television is designed to distract us from real issues.

I’m infuriated because just when I thought it was safe to leave The Struggle and dream a new story, a new reality, this pulls me back and reminds me that there’s no let-up. A luta continua.”

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Solid Gold Travel [Visitor] DATE: Tue, 11 Dec 2007 23:31:01 +0000 URL:


Max Rodriguez of the Harlem Book Fair is a professional conman. Solid Gold Travel has had the unfortunate experience of being conned by him recently, leaving a huge debt and responsibility.

In early 2007, Mr. Rodriguez entered an agreement with the Bermuda Department of Tourism and Solid Gold Travel to sponsor a Cruise to Bermuda for August of 2008. When the time came for Mr. Rodriguez to pay his agreed upon deposit for the Cruise, he submitted 2 consecutive bad checks. After his second check bounced, we reached out to Mr. Rodriguez via phone and email to no response whatsoever. Now, after several months and several attempts to reach him, Mr. Rodriguez will not respond.

In recent conversations, we have found that Mr. Rodriguez has defrauded numerous other businesses and minority organizations.

As minority business owners for over 20 years, we understand the importance and value of the Black Business responsibility and reputation. Max Rodriguez has built a career out of scamming our community and should be held responsible for his actions.

If you or someone you know has been tricked, conned or ripped off by Max Rodriguez of the Harlem Book Fair, we invite you to share your story or contact us at

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Ralph Richardson [Visitor] DATE: Tue, 11 Dec 2007 18:16:11 +0000 URL:

Behold the pale horse!!!!

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: pittershawn [Visitor] DATE: Tue, 11 Dec 2007 16:15:11 +0000 URL:

zuhirah, zeitgeist was pretty good. Yes, I saw that they touched on it there. But there are numerous places to get detailed information on the North American Union and other plans in the works to unite the world unbeknowst to the larger population of earth.

Something is afoot, and I can only hope people wake up before it is too late. We all need to stop disbelieving our experiences.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: pittershawn [Visitor] DATE: Tue, 11 Dec 2007 16:08:53 +0000 URL:

The circles I roll in have been talking about the North American Union for well over two years now.

I even have pictures of the Amero. Saw it about 5 months ago. This discussion has been going on a long time. But, as I try to tell folks, the mainstream is a part of the cover. They want to keep the public in the dark so they can do their dirty work.

Folks think I’m a conspiracy type. So, I don’t bother to talk about some things. I let those who want to live in the dark see for themselves. As we say in Jamaica, a hard head makes for a soft bottom.

And some folks have very hard heads and don’t want to hear anything that is not on the mainstream media. Why? Cause if the TV doesn’t tell you about it, it isn’t true. If the NY Times doesn’t talk about it, it doesn’t exist.

Ok, well, they are going to see too dog gone late. And the North American Union is one that will be too late to change.

As for that news report, just as I’ve been observing for years with mainstream media, someone slips up and tells the truth, and the story is killed immediately, never to be repeated. We can hear about Vick and his dog for weeks, but nothing about the North American Union. And folks want to tell me something isn’t going on with our government?

ok. I’ma go sit down now…

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: zuhirah [Visitor] DATE: Tue, 11 Dec 2007 14:42:39 +0000 URL:

Thanks, it is sinister that this has been kept so hush hush. I first heard via – there’s alot of stuff in it (take it or leave it), but act like you know. peace!

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Keli [Visitor] DATE: Mon, 03 Dec 2007 03:20:24 +0000 URL:

Hi Eisa-Just want to say that I understand where you’re coming from and agree that it would be wonderful if news outlets invested more in digging below the surface of stories but I have to say that I am so blown away that NBC invested the resources and time in putting together a piece of this scope focused on us that I am willing to give them a little leeway regarding its depth. I’m so used to having us ignored by the media altogether (unless we’re being depicted negatively) that this was a breath of fresh air. I also want to give props to all of the African-American journalists including Rahema and Mara because I am sure that they and other African-American producers were hugely instrumental in getting this story on air–a testament to the importance of diversity in the newsroom. Kudos to them! Keep it up ladies and you keep it up too Miss Eisa!
P.S. I reference the NBC segment on the election in my latest blog which can be found at

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: eisa718 [Member] DATE: Sun, 02 Dec 2007 19:40:12 +0000 URL:

A luta continua indeed. This from journalist Audrey Edwards, a founding member of NYABJ:


Below is the reconstituted comment on your Gary Anthony Ramsay blog. Thank you for offering to post if for me.–AE


I want to say how much I love getting your informative blogs now that I’m living in Paris. They give me such a valuable perspective on the goings on Stateside–most recently the story surrounding Gary Anthony Ramsay’s departure from NY1. As a founding member of the New York Association of Black Journalists, I was struck by a couple of things in the reporting of this story: 1) Gary’s presidency of NYABJ was the first thing mentioned in the Daily News story I read, and 2) his phone call to the station of the talk show discussing Bernard Kerik was labeled a “crank.” The slant of the story was clearly a malicious attempt to both malign an organization of Black journalists and to characterize a reporter’s legitimate questions on a call-in show as the irrational ranting of a “crank.” Interestingly, the story I read gave no particulars as to what Gary actually said. Apparently, simply making the call constituted a crank.

I appreciate Gary taking the time to clear the air about what happened and to take responsibility for what he called a “lapse in judgement” in making the call. Of course, we know of others who have lapses in judgement all the time without questionable news stories reporting it or careers being derailed. I’m currently living in a country where such a lapse occurred just last week when two African teenagers living in one of Paris’s ghettoized suburbs were run over and killed by two policemen. In what appeared to be a childish game of “chicken,” the teenagers were racing across an intersection on their motor scooters as a police car came barreling down on them in the other direction. Instead of slowing down, the car sped up, a fatal “lapse in judgment” on the part of the cops that led to two kids dying and a furious riot ensuing. Over 80 cops were sent to the hospital, the French government freaked out, the press went wild, yet at no time did anyone take responsibility for this particular lapse in judgement or even say it was “wrong,” though it certainly proved deadly.

What’s most interesting about living in another European culture is seeing how issues of race and class, power and influence have global connections. African-American struggles in the States match other struggles throughout the Diaspora. I’ve always known this intellectually, now I’m witnessing it firsthand. It has been sobering and instructive, to say the least.

A luta continua,
Audrey Edwards

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: eisa718 [Member] DATE: Sun, 02 Dec 2007 14:26:12 +0000 URL:

Thanks to author Virginia DeBerry for sending me the link to - and to Average Bro who let me post this:


NBC News To Black Women: It Sucks To Be You
via Racialicious - the intersection of race and pop culture by Guest Contributor on 11/28/07

by guest contributor AverageBro, originally published at
Well, here we go again. Every 3-4 months, the mainstream media tries to focus on a topic of interest to black people, and as opposed to objective coverage, they resort to flipping to page 94 in The Book of Manufactured Controversy.
This phenomenon is something I’ve blogged about in the past, especially such “issues” as black women dating outside their races, and the disparity between news coverage of missing black women and whites. BTW, how ironic is it that after shaking down and illegally arresting all those Arubans, the very cats we knew had abducted Natalee Holloway all along turned out to be responsible? Maybe ironic isn’t the right word.
Anyways, NBC News With Brian Williams (how clever is that title?) is running a five part series this week called African-American Women: Where They Stand, and after watching the first night, I can already tell you it’s the piece of oversensationalized crap you’d expect it to be.
Here’s a blurb from NBC News about the series:

Throughout the week of November 26, “NBC News With Brian Williams” will take a look at the issues facing African-American women across our nation in a new series “African-American Women: Where They Stand.” The series will cover a wide-range of issues from their role in the ‘08 Presidential race, to the increased health-risks that they need to be concerned about.
Monday’s installment will discuss African-American women’s progress in the education field. Nearly two-thirds of African-American undergraduates are women. At black colleges, the ratio of women to men is 7 to 1. And that is leading to a disparity in the number of African-American women who go on to own their own businesses. Rehema Ellis will talk to educators, students and businesswomen about why this disparity exists.

The problem with such coverage is the medium itself. Trying to objectively present the dynamics of such a topic in 3-4 minute vignettes is a surefire recipe for failure. If NBC was so concerned about “the state of black women", maybe they’d dedicate a few episodes of Dateline. Instead, these short segments, cleverly dropped at the end of each show (to make you watch the whole episode of course) go headfirst into misleading statistics that serve no real purpose other than further discrediting black men and magnifying a rift between genders that exists in every race.
Case in point, last night’s segment lead off by showing a black single mom who owns her own PR firm. No problem here, entrepreneurship is positive stuff. But then the show starts throwing up a series of stats, namely the 7-1 ratio of black women to men at HBCU’s and that black women account for 63% of all black college students. Never mind the fact that the academic gender gap is hardly unique to blacks, it’s a universal problem that is just now emerging as one of the biggest epidemics in public education. And of course, the series reaches deep into The Book of Negro Excuses, and blames hip hop for the high dropout rates of black males. Typical. They droned on with more and more stats about how black women control a majority of the $850B of annual spending power in the black community, and how the rate of business ownership among black women is growing at a higher rate than that of black men.
If the purpose of the series is to focus on black women, why even bother mentioning how well they are performing relative to black men? Hell, why even bother mentioning black men at all?
What’s really the point?
Don’t misunderstand me, I’m obviously not downing black women here, but I think when you can only highlight their successes by contrasting them with the relative failures of black men, there’s obviously an ulterior motive at work.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: relationships are hard. Period. But by continually bombaring ourselves with stories like this, the manufactured DL brother phenomenon, or Love Lust and Lies style destructive chatter, we’re only making the issue worse. Black people operate in generalizations just as much (more?) as any other race, yet I can’t say I see this level of devisive rhetoric directed towards anyone else.
It’s like The Willie Lynch Letter personified. Never mind the fact that The Willie Lynch Letter is nothing more than an internet hoax, it’s still pretty appalling.
Note to Black America: learn, trust, and love each other. Turn this crap off, because NBC News clearly cares about keeping us apart more than they do about where Black Women Stand.
The ladies at WAOD are ripping this series a new one, but if you’re watching this series and have a different take, you know where to voice your two cents.
African-American Women: Where They Stand Series on NBC [with video]

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Brooklyn Ron [Visitor] DATE: Sun, 02 Dec 2007 09:56:33 +0000 URL:

I’m wishing Gary all the best as he deals with this in such a brave and straightforward way. These life events that try the soul can lead to growth, personal and professional.

Ron Howell

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: pittershawn [Visitor] DATE: Sat, 01 Dec 2007 13:34:24 +0000 URL:

Sadly, I am not surprised about NBC’s lack of substantive coverage. I came across something a few months ago I found very interesting. It is what I have observed to be the truth about “the press.” This is from long ago. I don’t see where much has changed. If anything, Jena 6 not being reported for over a year in the mainstream, and then at the final hour, distorted reports, more than proves the below to be true.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts Eisa. You are an aware sister. I appreciate you.

- pp

John Swinton New York journalist at a banquet (1880’s): “What folly is this, toasting an independent press? There is no such thing, at this date of the World’s history, in America, as an independent press. You know it and I know it. There is not one of you who dares to write your honest opinions, and if you did, you know beforehand that it would never appear in print. I am paid weekly for keeping my honest opinion out of the paper I am connected with. Others of you are paid similar salaries for similar things, and any of you who would be so foolish as to write honest opinions would be out on the streets looking for another job. If I allowed my honest opinions to appear in one issue of my paper, before twenty-four hours my occupation would be gone. The business of the journalists is to destroy the truth, to lie outright, to pervert, to vilify, to fawn at the feet of Mammon [Biblical ref.], and to sell his country and his race for his daily bread. You know it and I know it, and what folly is this toasting an independent press? We are the tools and vassals of “rich men” [Biblical ref.] behind the scenes. We are the jumping jacks, they pull the strings and we dance. Our talents, our possibilities and our lives are all the property of other men. We are intellectual prostitutes.”

Here is another tidbit for thought. Slightly off topic, but relevant in many ways:

“It is perfectly possible for a man to be out of prison, and yet not free - to be under no physical constraint and yet to be a psychological captive, compelled to think, feel and act as the representatives of the national state, or of some private interest within the nation, wants him to think, feel and act. “The nature of psychological compulsion is such that those who act under constraint remain under the impression that they are
acting on their own initiative. The victim of mind-manipulation does not know that he is a victim. To him the walls of his prison are invisible, and he believes himself to be free. That he is not free is apparent only to other people. His servitude is strictly objective.” Brave New World Revisited, Aldous Huxley, 1958

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Tina McElroy Ansa [Visitor] DATE: Sat, 01 Dec 2007 13:05:21 +0000 URL:

Your blog entry on the NBC series was, as all your writing, thoughtful and thought-provoking. Many of us agree with your response concerning the lack of depth in the reports, even though we all realise the limitations of television reporting that offers only a few minutes of exploration.

“Walking Bling” is something that caught my attention, too. Especially since the focus of my fourth novel YOU KNOW BETTER was just that, a young African-American woman/child looking for love and affirmation who seems to aspire to one thing in life: dancing in the background of a music video.

Although the novel did encourage some discussion about our young people (male and female) and the myriad of challenges and shiny nothings they face, especially juxtaposed to the ethos of the Hip-hop culture, there was not nearly enough of response.

Among my age group (the parents and grandparents of these young folks), there is a definite hesitation (and shame) about discussing their children’s lives and the part we’ve played in it. And among the younger generation, there was a hesitation in reading a book that was not in the popular “street/urban lit” genre.

What to do? What to do? Just what we’re doing. Talking/blogging about it, writing about it, making films about it, praying about it. In other words, just doing something!

I applaud you for your work.

Love and peace,
Tina McElroy Ansa

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: eisa718 [Member] DATE: Fri, 30 Nov 2007 07:35:05 +0000 URL:

I received this comment from Su’ad Abdul Khabeer:



just wanted to share something briefly with you. home today, exhausted, turned on the television, and went to the On Demand section offered by Comcast Cable, the free part of the section of course. Under TV entertainment there are various cable shows that offer free shows. Sundance offers this seasons’ Iconoclast (which i’ve always wanted to see) If you have TV and cable, do check to see if your company provides it, or youtube “Sundance Iconoclasts” or download on Itunes. This season has a few cool pair ups, the most meaningful to me was Alicia Keys and Ruby Dee. It was something else, definitely check it out. Extremely inspiring and poignant are the interactions between these two women and they way the understand their relationship to themselves, to us, to the world.

And then, there’s BET. they offer free viewing of their reality show College Hill. In which aspiring black college students are interning in Chicago, and also drinking themselves into oblivion, cheating on their significant others, bickering, and other dismal activities that make me wonder for the future or rather, just cry out: My People! My People!

The really unfortunate things it that only the few black folks who have paid for the Sundance or happened upon it like myself will see the brilliance we are capable of, while the greater majority of, particularly the young one whose creative minds are looking for direction, all have easy access to degradation we are capable of on BET

In the documentary on Ms. Keys and Ms. Dee, Ruby Dee recalls the fact that there was a time in Harlem when you couldn’t walk down the street without passing a pulpit on the corner. Maybe its time to pull the soap boxes back out?


----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Concerned Brooklynite [Visitor] DATE: Thu, 15 Nov 2007 12:43:09 +0000 URL:


By Errol Louis

New York Daily News, 3/14/06

It’s not often that a journalist gets to confront a candidate for public office with the classic entrapment question, “When did you stop beating your wife?” But in the case of Kevin Powell, a candidate for Congress in Brooklyn who describes himself as “a recovering misogynist” with a history of physically abusing women, a variation on that question must be asked.

Ever since the 2003 assassination of City Councilman James Davis by a sick, gun-toting wanna-be, I have been convinced that people with a propensity for violence have no place in politics. It’s too tempting to resort to the thuggery that mars many elections.

Last year, for instance, two Queens City Council candidates were arrested for making death threats against each other, with one allegedly flashing a gun. And aides from rival campaigns in the Brooklyn district attorney’s race got into a sidewalk scuffle with broken bottles that sent one man to the hospital.

Powell, 39, a writer and community activist who hopes to topple incumbent Rep. Ed Towns, didn’t duck the issue when I reached him by phone yesterday. “If you’re going to be a leader, you have to be transparent. You have to be honest about everything,” he said.

Powell admits to a volatile temper described in his book “Who’s Gonna Take the Weight?” He cites two college incidents, “one where I hit a female student in the head with a stapler during the course of an argument, and the other where I got into a punch-throwing exchange with a female student I had sexed and then discarded like an old pair of shoes.”

Powell ultimately got expelled from Rutgers for pulling a knife on a female student during an argument. The pattern continued when Powell mentally and physically abused a girlfriend in 1991.

He says that was the last time he raised his hand to a woman. But Powell got arrested in 2001 after hitting and smashing the glasses of a fellow writer and showed up in a gossip column in 2004 for punching and biting yet another scribe at a nightclub.

“I take full responsibility for it. Huge mistake on my part,” Powell says of the 2004 fracas. “I let myself down and a lot of other people down.”

Powell is a powerful writer who was among the first journalists to recognize hip hop as more than a fad. He also is a creative community organizer who sponsors an annual coat drive, frequently speaks out against sexism and domestic violence, and is currently working in the Gulf of Mexico region on a project that links college volunteers with post-Katrina relief efforts.

Brooklyn politics could use that talent and energy. But Powell, who compares himself to a recovering alcoholic, acknowledges in his book that “I can lapse at any time.” If that’s true, Powell on the campaign trail is like an alcoholic who opens a bar - a man unwisely toying with temptations best avoided.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: eisa718 [Member] DATE: Tue, 13 Nov 2007 07:53:54 +0000 URL:


I was able to view your link for the “Street Talk” discussion. For some reason I wasn’t able to post my comment on the site so I might as well tell you here. I think Leslie brought up a good point. Young professional women should not fear the “b” word being used against them. Its utterance usually means someone is afraid of a woman’s strength and relentless determination. I found it amusing that you, Eisa the progressive, never uses the word except in citing a feminist magazine. Yet, the conservative who dismisses the idea of re-appropriation admits to using the word to defame other women. Although Lisa probably saves the insults for particularly vile women, I was completely lost as to what her stance is on the word’s use after that comment.

Thank you,
Jesica Manzueta

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: eisa718 [Member] DATE: Sun, 11 Nov 2007 07:29:02 +0000 URL:

You know, Chris, as long as the we elevated the discourse, got people talking about the real issues. :)

Seriously, though, thanks for the support, brother.

And sisters! Elise and Elisha, thank you for your support, too. Lisa was a nice person, and I liked her when I met her, but I just felt like she was focusing all her conservative energy on me during the taping, and my progressive energy just surged in response.



----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: chris chambers [Visitor] DATE: Sat, 10 Nov 2007 20:44:31 +0000 URL:

You did great!!! An old lady in the coffee shop where I watched this asked if that was all your hair and I said yes ma’am.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: eisa718 [Member] DATE: Sat, 10 Nov 2007 16:47:17 +0000 URL:

Thanks so much for your comment, Esther. As a poet and domestic abuse survivor, you have much to say about empowering women. I hope more people go to your site and support your work.


----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Elisha [Visitor] DATE: Sat, 10 Nov 2007 15:25:33 +0000 URL:

Yes, Eisa she sure did! Ditto to Elise’s comments above. Not trying to sound caddy, but you’re not only smart your pretty. How dare you be both, right? Double jeopardy! Especially to a conservative white woman with so many insecurities, I could see it in her body language. Ironically, here you all are talking about the B-Word and her treatment of you could go to the roots of how women internalize sexism, and thus create competition among one which often results in putting someone down. As one of my mentors once said, you must of said something right for her to go at you. Keep speaking your truth!

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: elise [Visitor] DATE: Sat, 10 Nov 2007 15:11:14 +0000 URL:

did she “go at” you a little bit . . . ummm, i would say yeah, but she probably would have done the same to any black intellectual sitting in that seat. sometimes certain white people can sometimes talk to even the most intelligent black person and still try to make you feel like you don’t know what you are talking about. she might not have understood your initial comments but i think there was a more tactful way to express it. it’s cool though because you were time enough for her and made many great points especially about other people wanting to use the “n-word.”

gotta run for now. hopefully i’ll get to finish posting my thoughts later.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: eisa718 [Member] DATE: Thu, 08 Nov 2007 07:04:11 +0000 URL:

That’s a great question. I know it received significant press coverage, particularly from CNN, though I didn’t read or hear that the blackout impacted American business in the way the organizers might have intended. I do know that, for my husband and me, doing something consciously on November 2nd was personally empowering. The current trends have been so insulting and dehumanizing, and so many Americans are fed up…

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Curious [Visitor] DATE: Wed, 07 Nov 2007 16:16:35 +0000 URL:

What was the outcome of this November 2, 2007 blackout?

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: AcuflalkMak [Visitor] DATE: Sat, 03 Nov 2007 02:05:00 +0000 URL:

I?ve got an Amazon gift certificate burning holes in my pocket,
and I want to get the most bang for my buck.

Enter the Secret Amazon Web Pages:
Amazon Secret Web Pages

This is where you?re going to find the “latest sales, rebates, and limited-time offers” from
Amazon, and you can score some pretty deep discounts if you?re a savvy shopper.

Next, there?s the special Sale link. This is open every Friday, and ONLY on Fridays.

You can find the same good discounts here as you would in hidden Deals, although some
Fridays you can really get lucky and make off like an Amazon bandit - I?ve seen discounts
there as low as 75% off sticker price.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Esther Slade [Visitor] DATE: Thu, 01 Nov 2007 12:54:07 +0000 URL:

Thank you for this powerful and informative summation of violence against women and girls. I sincerely home that someone can read this and have the strength to leave a violent relationship. If just one woman is saved, that’s a whole generation.

Thanks again.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: inisdinia [Visitor] DATE: Sun, 21 Oct 2007 18:39:15 +0000 URL:

Was lookin’ for this… I might even
have to throw down a bookmark.

Apple Iphone Mobile Phone

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: pittershawn [Visitor] DATE: Fri, 19 Oct 2007 12:50:10 +0000 URL:

What a thorough response.

I have never been particularly impressed with Juanita Bynum. I am not religious, but I do watch what the self proclaimed sanctified are doing.

I believe spirit takes precedence over all else. And a truly decent spirit tends to not engage in certain things. Spirituality, as I see it, will always trump religious. But it seems many of these religious types don’t see it that way.

This letter from Mr. Walton is one to meditate on. He’s written a lot that can be discussed at length.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: eisa718 [Member] DATE: Tue, 16 Oct 2007 06:19:23 +0000 URL:

I’m reading the book now (it’s my subway read, and I’m really enjoying the “thorny, unresolved tension.” :) So far, I think he’s right on point. I’ll let you know what I really think when I’ve read the last page.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: chris chambers [Visitor] DATE: Mon, 15 Oct 2007 22:38:59 +0000 URL:

Just a warning. Nathan’s book does pose a thorny, unresolved tension. Indeed I think some people who feel that there should be a push back on gentrification might think Nathan doesn’t go far enough in that regard. He doesn’t “let black folks off the hook” for essentially messing up or allowing our own backyards to deteriorate in some circumstances.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Amanda Insall [Visitor] DATE: Sat, 13 Oct 2007 10:46:38 +0000 URL:

Indeed, much more sinister. Where under the table deals don’t move quickly enough, arson does. We’ve had a couple of fires on Bridge Street in downtown Brooklyn this year. I’ve wondered about them. Busy restaurants and businesses that have been there for years have lost their leases, and now await the process of eviction in the shadows of new construction. There is a high school across the street from me on Bridge. Fabric stores where women come to buy fabric for tailoring clothing. Medical imaging centers on Willoughby. Organic growth has been these establishments and the restaurants (Tio Pepe, the Coal Pot among others) that support people who go to school and work here. Through my window out on Duffield, there is what is said to be “a station” on the Underground Railroad. Right next to it is a new building going up: condos. I believe that those players in the game of downtown Brooklyn will stop at nothing to achieve their air conditioned nightmare.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: eisa718 [Member] DATE: Sat, 13 Oct 2007 07:48:37 +0000 URL:

McHall’s book is next on my list - after I finish E Ethelbert Miller’s new collection of poetry. Chris, please tell him I’m very excited to enter this new work and read the way a strong writer handles the problem of gentrification and displacement in our communities.

Amanda, I agree with your powerful, astute assessment! I actually think it’s even more sinister than you describe. I believe the organic process, which includes community review and planning,is impeded by corruption. Seriously. I do believe we will start to get stories of under-the-table deals… how else to explain the fact that the interests of the community and the vision of local residents are ignored? I feel like Brooklynites are being treated with such disregard… and isn’t that the inherent nature of corporations? Doesn’t money, and the misuse of it, silence people and basic human needs? Doesn’t paper (green money, crisp white balance sheets, aged yellowed deeds) become more important than flesh (Black, Brown, and White)?

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Amanda Insall [Visitor] DATE: Fri, 12 Oct 2007 20:00:27 +0000 URL:

I often think developers cut off their own noses to spite…the city. What I mean by that, is that cities have organic growth processes. The project you described where three Black Fort Greene entrepreneurs create a community center in their neighborhood; A cultural center devised by people who have lived and participated in the community for some time. These entrepreneurs were participating in the growth of Fort Greene in a way consistent with its history. Corporate Developers, on the other hand undercut the success of their own projects by creating a sterile “corporate feeling” spaces which have no cohesion with the neighborhood’s history and organic development. I mean if people wanted to live in condos, they’d move to the suburbs. People do not come to cities to experience this corporate ideal of community space. They come to experience and participate in the growth of a neighborhood with character and authenticity.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: chris chambers [Visitor] DATE: Fri, 12 Oct 2007 18:55:10 +0000 URL:

I’m moderating a panel down here at Busboys & Poets in DC with nathan McCall. His first work of fiction is called “Them,” and yeah, it’s about gentrification. The G word.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: eisa718 [Member] DATE: Fri, 12 Oct 2007 16:43:03 +0000 URL:

Oh, wow. That’s something. Maybe these brothers can find some compensation, too…

Maybe I shouldn’t have used the term “rallying.” I mean there are folk chatting about this situation, especially in the context of Ratner’s plan for Atlantic Yards, on the Internet. Sorry about that!

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Donna [Visitor] DATE: Fri, 12 Oct 2007 16:21:58 +0000 URL:

I agree, eminent domain can be wielded as a bulldozer and if they received no benefit, then that’s just wrong. The 3 brothers I mentioned did not own the building either–they leased. It was the City government that made the difference. So, we need to require NYC government to respond as well–it’s not just the property owner who is affected. And when is the rally?

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: eisa718 [Member] DATE: Fri, 12 Oct 2007 16:13:45 +0000 URL:

Thanks for your positive comment, Donna. I think the issue for these three brothers is, they didn’t own the building. They were leasing it from another man, so all the money they invested is just gone.

There are folk rallying in support of Amber Arts and Music Space, though. It just kills me that this can even happen - and that it’s our city, our taxes, that make it happen. Eminent Domain is a beast.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Donna [Visitor] DATE: Fri, 12 Oct 2007 16:04:11 +0000 URL:

I can only hope they got a fair price for their property–one that takes into account the improvements they made, increases in the property value, etc. I know 3 brothers who opened an Ethopian restaurant in New Brunswick, NJ. About 18 months after the place opened, the block was acquired by eminent domain. With help from the city they were able to acquire space across the street,opened a bigger place, and 10 years later they are going strong. I realize that’s harder in Brooklyn–property is at a premium. And are our City officials sensitive to the needs of community business? Another question open for debate. I have been through renovation, so I know how much it takes out of you, but I hope that together they are strong enough to pursue their original vision. Don’t let the dream die.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: coloredhoney [Visitor] DATE: Tue, 09 Oct 2007 22:08:55 +0000 URL:

gentrification is tricky business. on the one hand, if you live in the hood, on sundays you will find at least 10 ny times at your local bodega. on the other hand certain people move in and double the rent for everybody and send the housing prices soaring toward saturn. gentrification makes the neighborhood a little stale, a little stepford, even. though the sidewalks are cleaner. i miss seeing biggie at the white castle on atlantic ave. and washington. things done changed.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Felicia Pride [Visitor] DATE: Sat, 06 Oct 2007 20:52:29 +0000 URL:

I can’t blame Terry. I would be HOT too. I still can’t believe that a man with no other merits listed on is biography (check it out on the Simon & Schuster site) but the fact that he’s Terry McMillan’s ex-husband manages to get a book deal–a novel at that!

I think that fact alone speaks volumes about publishing, America, and capitalism.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: eisa718 [Member] DATE: Fri, 05 Oct 2007 17:58:26 +0000 URL:

Check out Felicia Pride’s blog entry covering Terry’s letter on Black Voices:

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Troy Johnson [Visitor] DATE: Fri, 05 Oct 2007 13:37:13 +0000 URL:

Hey Eisa,

I posted this letter and Terry’s reply on my discussion baords:

It is obvious Terry is pissed off, to the height of pisstivity, with the Plummer book – which I can entirely understand. Can you image having the most sensitve parts of you private life in print for the world to see… and other to profit.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Ralph Richardson [Visitor] DATE: Fri, 05 Oct 2007 12:41:54 +0000 URL:

It was all a dream… I used to read Word Up! Magazine.

Was Biggie giving us a warning about the future of his neighborhood? Was Biggie a prophet? And if he was a prophet, was he a bigger prophet than Niggradamus?

While you ponder those laborious questions. I just have to say that Gentrification SUCKS! Even more than riding on the train with no dough. Gentrification SUCKS!!!

As an urban scholar/mathematician once said… No real cyphers = no real MC’s.

P.S. Can I write a blog on your blog about how your blog doesn’t accept my email address. Or would you rather blog about it?

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: zuhirah [Visitor] DATE: Fri, 05 Oct 2007 10:25:54 +0000 URL:

but look who is spittin from the her corner in Fort Green :). Biggie would be proud. stand up!

also, note that Biggie and alot of those cyphers were happening when Dinkins was mayor– imagine if we had a brother in the white house:) Obama for president and Wu-tang Forever!

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Seradin Engram [Visitor] DATE: Tue, 02 Oct 2007 20:19:26 +0000 URL:

I hate to be the one to regurgitate what this Brother so eloquently stated here, but I must say that he is insightful with this idea of an everlasting moment of silence. A prayer unending. The wives and children and family members and friends of ALL lost through acts of violence never stop praying. In fact, after the loss, one could say that these ones often have “moments of speech", that is speech disconnected from the Lord. They never forget, and although we cannot live what they’ve lived or are living, it is only fair to acknowledge the fact of the loss.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Theo Perry [Visitor] DATE: Mon, 01 Oct 2007 08:15:38 +0000 URL:

Eisa it was a grand event! And, all that met you talked highly about you and your book. Stay focused.

Blessings always,

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Stacey Barney [Visitor] DATE: Fri, 28 Sep 2007 20:40:04 +0000 URL:

Hey Eisa,

It was very good to see you at Amy Barnett’s shindig. You lit up the night–social butterfly that you are. I’ll do better next time about making the rounds, I swear!!!

Talk to you soon,


----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Amanda Insall [Visitor] DATE: Tue, 25 Sep 2007 12:35:00 +0000 URL:

A noose in the hermeneutics of the American South? It’s not a high school “prank". It is a threat. These noose yahoos bring up the bloody past as a threat whenever they feel like it. And when people are threatened, they should call the police! I want continued media converage onto this Jena business. We can’t allow the local judiciary to imprison boys who were just trying to stand up for themselves when a threat was made on their lives! No one should ever have to attend school under a constant threat of violence.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Wanda [Visitor] DATE: Sun, 23 Sep 2007 13:29:12 +0000 URL:

In this world, in this century one would think that things would have changed. Yes and No, yes the hearts and minds of many White Americans are loving and kind and they believe in equal rights and
justice for all. Yet we have that remanant of White Americans who are stuck in the past, they hate anyone or anything that is different than what they consider their norm. We all must learn to live in peace and harmony, to agree to disagree without inflicting violence and or inferiority upon our adversaries. I Love all God’s children, I do not agree with all of their teachings, yet I respect them for who they are, a child of God. I am an African American who attends a diverse United Methodist Church, It is so good and wonderful to see goods Love spread past race and see only souls. Peace to All.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: eisa [Visitor] DATE: Fri, 21 Sep 2007 17:41:07 +0000 URL:

Chris -

I dunno, brother. A self-described member of the KKK driving in front of Jena 6 protesters with two nooses hanging from his truck? Sounds like a real attempt on his part to turn a peaceful protest ugly. Kudos to the Jena 6 supporters who did the right thing by calling the police and watching this perpetrator of a hate crime (in my opinion - not a legal one) as he was taken away in handcuffs. I mean, the superintendent in Jena called the nooses that started all this a “prank” - and you see where that got us.

And College Park students have been harassed because of race in years past. Time for the culture that dismisses this type of behavior as simple or non-threatening to end, I think.

And your blog is so strident and progressive. Your comment surprises me…

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Chris Chambers [Visitor] DATE: Fri, 21 Sep 2007 16:55:00 +0000 URL:

Organized effort in College Park-likely not. Same in Alexandria, La. It’s usually this formula: liquor plus ignorance multiplied by youth factored by groupthink derivative of older white giving negative role models.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Fawzia Afzal-Khan [Visitor] DATE: Fri, 21 Sep 2007 16:50:22 +0000 URL:

This is truly awful stuff–and what is just as bad is that there has been NO major news coverage of the initial event in Jena or its aftermath. What kind of country are we living in??

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: pittershawn [Visitor] DATE: Fri, 21 Sep 2007 14:52:42 +0000 URL:

Folks need to be alert. We are heading toward marshal law and an eventual police state if we don’t wake up and see what is going on around us.

This is just a prequel to what is on the horizon. Sad to say, this is small compared. Doing nothing is not an option at this point.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: kendra lee [Visitor] DATE: Fri, 21 Sep 2007 13:42:14 +0000 URL:

the more things change, the more they stay the same. sad. and infuriating. i’d say i’m ashamed i’m from the south, but this kinda madness happens nationwide–just maybe not as blatant.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: dre oba [Visitor] DATE: Tue, 18 Sep 2007 21:13:11 +0000 URL:


Justice for Everybody Not African
Indians and Latin kids lock them up and pack them in
Crime pays so the DA will trap them in
It’s the new millennium slave trafficking
Call Weezy, Call Baby, Call BG, Call Juvenile, Mannie Fresh, Call Master P
Soulja Slim would have rode but he in the ground
Somebody call Young Turk he ’bout to get out
Call Romeo he ballin’ on a scholarship
Don’t be silenced by record label politics
Original Man so I’ll be the genesis you know what the mission is:
We gonna FREE THE JENA 6

Jena, Louisiana they call it the Deep South
In other words black folks keep out
Or stay in your place its OK if you’re playing it safe
Or a wide grin stay on your face
Kids raised to hate
Before age 8 they learn to tie nooses this is what a lie produces
And 10 years later you beside the student in high school
In his mind you’re a visitor N—- it’s my school
This is my room don’t you even try coon
It sets the stage for a showdown at high noon
Lunchtime in the cafeteria one mind thinking blacks inferior
One time under a tree that cracks the exterior and reveals the truth
Must of forgot that you’re still a spook
You’ll remember when you see this noose see this tree was used
To hang your ancestors after we’d party and barbecue
This led to rising tension when the ones who did it got a brief suspension
And you know our spirit we will not surrender we always fight back
It’s on now its white vs. black like a war
A black kid was jumped it opened the door
A white man pulled a shotgun at a convenience store on black children
They didn’t put their hands to the ceiling
They disarmed the man and then ran from the building
Unless you’re born black you can’t understand the feeling
They beat that boy down they never planned to kill him
Them young brothers just wanted to defend they friends
And in the end to suspend is all it should have been
But they went further
They was charged as grown men for attempted murder
For a fight in high school
They were made an example in Jena that whites rule
And you won’t see this on the Nightly News
Cause they’ll likely choose dog fighting and blues
Michael Vick being stripped of his lightning shoes
Not 6 teenagers being charged despite the rules
Or a racist prosecutor trying to take our future
This is madness children behind bars this is savage
As we spend money on cars, jewelry and fabric
Our children need our help to heal this damage
When you don’t speak the truth watch your realness vanish
So sign the petition organize for the victims
Please give your money, your time, and your wisdom
And to Mychal Bell were gonna fight for your freedom
And we want a million dollars for every night you keep him

It’s Justice for Everybody Not African
Indians and Latin kids lock them up and pack them in
Crime pays so the DA will trap them in
It’s the new millennium slave trafficking
Call Weezy, Call Baby, Call BG, Call Juvenile, Mannie Fresh, Call Master P
Soulja Slim would have rode but he in the ground
Somebody call Young Turk he bout to get out
Call Romeo he ballin’ on a scholarship
Don’t be silenced by record label politics
Original Man so I’ll be the genesis you know what the mission is:
We gonna FREE THE JENA 6

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: dre oba [Visitor] DATE: Mon, 17 Sep 2007 20:13:53 +0000 URL:


Justice for Everybody Not African
Indians and Latin kids lock them up and pack them in
Crime pays so the DA will trap them in
It’s the new millennium slave trafficking
Call Weezy, Call Baby, Call BG, Call Juvenile, Mannie Fresh, Call Master P
Soulja Slim would have rode but he in the ground
Somebody call Young Turk he ’bout to get out
Call Romeo he ballin’ on a scholarship
Don’t be silenced by record label politics
Original Man so I’ll be the genesis you know what the mission is:
We gonna FREE THE JENA 6

Jena, Louisiana they call it the Deep South
In other words black folks keep out
Or stay in your place its OK if you’re playing it safe
Or a wide grin stay on your face
Kids raised to hate
Before age 8 they learn to tie nooses this is what a lie produces
And 10 years later you beside the student in high school
In his mind you’re a visitor N—- it’s my school
This is my room don’t you even try coon
It sets the stage for a showdown at high noon
Lunchtime in the cafeteria one mind thinking blacks inferior
One time under a tree that cracks the exterior and reveals the truth
Must of forgot that you’re still a spook
You’ll remember when you see this noose see this tree was used
To hang your ancestors after we’d party and barbecue
This led to rising tension when the ones who did it got a brief suspension
And you know our spirit we will not surrender we always fight back
It’s on now its white vs. black like a war
A black kid was jumped it opened the door
A white man pulled a shotgun at a convenience store on black children
They didn’t put their hands to the ceiling
They disarmed the man and then ran from the building
Unless you’re born black you can’t understand the feeling
They beat that boy down they never planned to kill him
Them young brothers just wanted to defend they friends
And in the end to suspend is all it should have been
But they went further
They was charged as grown men for attempted murder
For a fight in high school
They were made an example in Jena that whites rule
And you won’t see this on the Nightly News
Cause they’ll likely choose dog fighting and blues
Michael Vick being stripped of his lightning shoes
Not 6 teenagers being charged despite the rules
Or a racist prosecutor trying to take our future
This is madness children behind bars this is savage
As we spend money on cars, jewelry and fabric
Our children need our help to heal this damage
When you don’t speak the truth watch your realness vanish
So sign the petition organize for the victims
Please give your money, your time, and your wisdom
And to Mychal Bell were gonna fight for your freedom
And we want a million dollars for every night you keep him

It’s Justice for Everybody Not African
Indians and Latin kids lock them up and pack them in
Crime pays so the DA will trap them in
It’s the new millennium slave trafficking
Call Weezy, Call Baby, Call BG, Call Juvenile, Mannie Fresh, Call Master P
Soulja Slim would have rode but he in the ground
Somebody call Young Turk he bout to get out
Call Romeo he ballin’ on a scholarship
Don’t be silenced by record label politics
Original Man so I’ll be the genesis you know what the mission is:
We gonna FREE THE JENA 6

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: eisa718 [Member] DATE: Wed, 12 Sep 2007 10:46:12 +0000 URL:

Why everyone should read the work of Elizabeth Nunez:

Prospero?s Daughter was a March 2006 Editor?s Choice in the New York Times. The Times calls Elizabeth Nunez ?a master of pacing and plotting,? and says that Prospero?s Daughter is ?gripping and richly imagined.? Prospero?s Daughter was named 2006 Best Novel of the Year by Black Issues Book Review and was the 2006 One Book, One Community selection for the Florida Center for the Literary Arts, celebrated at the 2006 Miami International Literary Festival.

Nunez is the award-winning author of six novels in all. Besides Prospero’s Daughter, she has written the novels Grace; Discretion; Bruised Hibiscus; Beyond the Limbo Silence; and When Rocks Dance. Bruised Hibiscus won a 2001 American Book Award, Discretion was short-listed for the 2003 Hurston/Wright Legacy Award and Beyond the Limbo Silence won the 1999 Independent Publishers Book Award in the multicultural category. In its review of Nunez?s novel Grace, Publisher?s Weekly says that the prose is ?exquisitely tuned? and that the narrative unfolds with ?understated elegance.? The Seattle Times comments that ?Discretion delivers two memorable characters whose personal culture clashes, both shared and internalized, are as telling as those of the world they inhabit.? Black Issues Book Review describes Bruised Hibiscus as ?moving, powerful and haunting? and Booklist says of Beyond the Limbo Silence that Nunez has a writing style that ?will remind many Toni Morrison and Alice Walker.? Beyond the Limbo Silence was also picked by the Washington Post as one of the best books of 1998.

Elizabeth Nunez is co-editor with Jennifer Sparrow of the anthology Stories from Blue Latitudes: Caribbean Women Writers at Home and Abroad and author of several monographs of literary criticism, with emphasis on Caribbean literature.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Beth Clarke-Jackson [Visitor] DATE: Fri, 07 Sep 2007 19:33:32 +0000 URL:

Please visit this website to help support the Jena 6. They are also selling Tee-Shirts to raise funds for their legal fees. (The cut off date may have passed but it is never to late to participate!) PEACE!

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Ralph Richardson [Visitor] DATE: Fri, 07 Sep 2007 14:28:30 +0000 URL:

What time is it? It’s time to wake the f*ck up!!! Believe me this is not an aberration. I repeat, this is not an aberration.

Wake the f*ck up!!!

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Virginia [Visitor] DATE: Fri, 07 Sep 2007 10:52:00 +0000 URL:

You asked what time is it? It’s time for us to realize that for as far as we’ve come, it isn’t far enough. It’s time to get a backhoe, dig up that stump (and stumps like it everywhere) by its racist roots and not allow it to stand as a monument to a town’s utter disregard and lack of respect for the dignity of every life–including that of a tree.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Theo Perry [Visitor] DATE: Wed, 05 Sep 2007 15:30:57 +0000 URL:

Thank you so much for spotlighting this ugly crime against blacks and the ongoing struggle for people to sit and live anywhere they want.


----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Chris Chambers [Visitor] DATE: Fri, 24 Aug 2007 10:38:51 +0000 URL:

I’d heard of his death–he was only 59?

The family-funeral analogy is apt. Hopefully it doesn’t go to part II of the sad norm: promising to get together and support each other…then of course forgetting and not seeing each other anyway. Perhaps this will hold us all together.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Chris Chambers [Visitor] DATE: Fri, 24 Aug 2007 10:28:01 +0000 URL:

Walter is great–he was the first person to push Gary Phillips and I on the Darker mask and has sme jocular (and interesting) opinions on the publishing industry.

I should’ve renewed my NABJ membership! I live near D’Lea Bundles and she has shamed me so I better send a check…

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: pittershawn [Visitor] DATE: Thu, 23 Aug 2007 19:06:58 +0000 URL:

wow! that’s serious. i dig it.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: pittershawn [Visitor] DATE: Tue, 21 Aug 2007 11:06:57 +0000 URL:

great piece!

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Jessica Martinez [Visitor] DATE: Wed, 15 Aug 2007 00:38:26 +0000 URL:

Hi Professor!

I took English 320 with you during summer session 1, and I’m just stopping in to say hi! I only had one small comment regarding your last blog; I noticed the new Aquafina commercials that really try to hammer in the message that they filter and purify their water about a million times so that consumers feel like the water in the bottle is better than ordinary tap. Now that the cat is out of the bag I guess they’re going to be defending their product for a while.

I heard that some restaurants in the city (or elsewhere? I saw it on the news…) are refusing to serve bottled water and are instead serving regular chilled tap water. With all this crazy weather (tornado in Brooklyn?!) I think people are finally getting the message: Global warming is real! And the effects will only continue to worsen within our lifetime. It’s scary how much damage humans have done to the environment in such a short amount of time. We’ve existed for about the past… minute?… in the Earth’s lifetime, and yet we’ve been able to do scary things to the environment.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: pittershawn [Visitor] DATE: Tue, 07 Aug 2007 13:36:00 +0000 URL:

I think a huge problem is using what THEY put on television or radio (Hot Ghetto Mess, Flava of Love) as the barometer for what we as blacks are doing nationwide, or are accepting. We are not the ones picking our dregs of our society for media, they are. Do they pick the dregs of their society to make music or shows (tv or movies)? I rarely see it.

And I personally will not ask THEM to put better shows on for us. I will create my own Rosewood. They don’t care about us, they never will. I will not attempt to make them do anything to my benefit. We didn’t need them for well over 5,000 years, we don’t need them now. In my humble opinion, we need to take back our culture and stop asking them to give it back to us by changing programs on TV and all other manner of things. We need to work to create our own stations, buy up our own airwaves and do our thing, whatever that thing may be, as we had done for centuries upon centuries before they infiltrated OUR homelands.

I’m frankly sick of trying to “reach” them (white folks) or teach them, or force them or whatever–I want a revolution!

They want every aspect of black society and history to go away. Look at what they think about African Studies in colleges? They think it is a waste and only installed to give us black pride by telling lies about our history. Basically, they say we have no history and they would like African Studies to be stricken from college campuses–Mary Lefkowitz being the ring leader. I tell ya, if that don’t beat all.

I don’t know what else to write….

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: pittershawn [Visitor] DATE: Tue, 07 Aug 2007 13:15:31 +0000 URL:

some folks who were the pioneers in pulling cigarette companies to the carpet did a blind test on the street recently. Most folks failed miserably as they could not correctly detect bottled water from tap water.

thanks for saying more about this. people really need to wake up and pay attention to the manipulation.

for those interested, read Age of Manipulation. it talks a lot about how we are daily bombarded with images meant to manipulate our thinking, buying habits, etc. and you know what? most people fall for the trap and do what they are subliminally told.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Wendi Jackson Smith [Visitor] DATE: Mon, 30 Jul 2007 14:39:32 +0000 URL:

Thanks for sharing this. As women with afro-latino roots I found the article very interesting. I can recall once time in my life, when I was referred to as “café au lait". Ironically it was not in Brazil (where my father’s family is from), it was while living in Europe. While conversing with a white french woman, I referred to myself as “black” ( I am black and American after all) she told me you’re not black you’re café au lait. I swear I did not know what the heck she was talking about! I suspect that many of these terms that are developed answer the need for some Europeans to label and catergorize everything and everybody. The unfortunate part is we tend to take it and wear it as if it was always there.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Wendi Jackson Smith [Visitor] DATE: Mon, 30 Jul 2007 13:09:49 +0000 URL:


After reading the history outlined in your response to Blair Smith?s comments, one cannot help but ask ?as people why we are in this position in 2007??

In reviewing the facts you outlined, it is abundantly clear that as black people we have a legacy rich in intellect, ingenuity and perseverance. This leads me to believe that we lost our sense of values along the way and it saddens me personally because we should have been building on the legacy and history you pointed out. Instead, with programming such as ?A Hot Ghetto Mess?, ?Socially Offensive Behavior (SOB)?); ?gangsta rap? music; referring to ourselves as ?N*****s, ?hos, and b****s? we seem to be reinforcing the exact opposite of that which our legacy points to. I am sure this is not a new notion. I am well aware that many people have thought, stated, and written books and magazine articles on the topic. Yet with all this energy and focus, it seems that it is not reaching the intended audience as we continue to tear down the very history you retorted in your comments.

With respect to Blair Smith?s comments, they are correct from his own personal history. I have the pleasure of being his wife and I have also had the pleasure of speaking in depth with his family. They shared with me the history and the hardships they had to overcome with starting ?The Afro?. Ironically the experience that Blair?s family had with respect to some black people (in Baltimore) at that time not seeing the need for a black newspaper is not relegated to that time (or to Baltimore for that matter). It is common knowledge in the publishing world that books by Alice Walker, Toni Morrison and authors like them did so well because white women were buying them?not necessarily blacks. That is not to say that that blacks/black women did not buy them, I did, and my aunts did. They are referring to the grand scheme (which is one of many dangers that come from the use of statistics without context). Recently, actor (and now writer) Hill Harper published a book ?Letters to a Young Brother: MANifest Your Destiny?. This is a book that many advised him not to publish for the simply stated reason that ?young black men do not read?. Now is that true historically? Maybe-maybe not; the point is when books, movies, music, video games, sneakers etc. are being marketed, they do not go by history, they go by marketing trends and data collected from those trends. At some point, the trend told then that ?young black men do not read?. Luckily, through an aggressive grass roots internet campaign (that stated what was being said about young black men not reading), I believe Hill Harpers book has sold relatively well (It was #1 non-fiction on AALBC). It is because of his perseverance and vision that the book is even offered. That is his contribution to cleaning things up in our culture.

This brings me something that Malcolm X said in one of his speeches. He said something like: If you give a thirsty man dirty water he?ll drink it? because he?s thirsty, but if you provide him with a pure vessel, he?ll have a choice. (This is not a direct quote but my recollection of what I heard from a recording).

Bringing this back to Eisa?s original point?.black folks are thirsty and there is only dirty water out there being offered to quench that thirst. I believe it is largely our own fault as we are not demanding (from ourselves or from society as a whole) clean water. Until we demand better, the history you enlightened us with will just be words on a computer screen. As it stands now?.through own actions we ourselves are tearing that history a part every time we allow a ?Flavor of Love?; ?Hot Ghetto Mess?; Socially Offensive Behavior (SOB)??(the list goes on and on and on ) to see the light of day. From a marketing standpoint, they?ll keep putting it out there if enough of us watch?because by watching it-we chose it! By staying silent we condone it.

In closing, I think it?s time for us to come down from the ?ivory tower? and take this knowledge into parts of our community that really need it. (I try do this through volunteer work and mentoring) because the younger generations (on average) do not seem to be getting the very knowledge you shared on this Blog. Do you know that many young, black people I mentor have said (to me) that I ?act? white just because I speak a certain way, or because I don?t dress like some misguided woman they saw in a rap video? But I can tell you they believe Flavor Flav is truly ?black?.

There is definitely a need for correcting erroneous data. Blair?s comment that ?98% of the Black population could not even read?, may have been historically incorrect,; however we better make sure that it NEVER becomes historically correct. From where I am standing this seems to be an insurmountable task at times. Yes, sad, but true, and of course based solely on my own personal experience!

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Stacey Patton [Visitor] DATE: Sun, 29 Jul 2007 21:49:51 +0000 URL:


Again, thanks for your comments. I TOTALLY agree with you. And yes, I am aware of your family’s newspaper. I didn’t miss the point in your original message. But if we as a people are to make demands for and of ourselves we must come correctly. We must be accurate and thorough. We must know ourselves and the details of our own history (personal and collective) and we must know it well. As they say, “knowledge is power.”

I just felt compelled to clear up some historical inaccuracies. Not looking to go toe-to-toe in a fiber optic “Thrilla in Manilla.”

Peace and Love.
S. Patton

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Blair Smith [Visitor] DATE: Sat, 28 Jul 2007 12:58:13 +0000 URL:

Stacy, thank you for your response to my comments and the history lesson. It is clear, with your obvious credentials, that your information was well researched.

My point was simply that WE can create marketable information (by and for Black people) in good taste, that is profitable, because we have done it before. Whether it is news or entertainment or both. Having sold advertising for a Black newspaper, I know the challenges.

What I was trying to say is, we don’t need a “Hot Ghetto Mess” polluting the airwaves. We can shut them down and demand more quality!

In the 2004 Harvard Business Review article “How Global Brands Compete” by Douglas Holt, John Quelch and Earl Taylor, it clearly details how American companies in the 1980’s began marketing and exporting products to other countries. These products were originally REJECTED because they were not the best quality and American companies did not really try to “communicate” with local consmers in those foreign markets in the branding decisions. Now, oversees branding and marketing is very inclusive and profitable for American companies.

Why can’t WE as Black people make the same demands FOR ourselves? Why can’t we as Black People make these demands OF ourselves?

Sometimes these blogs can blur the context of a comment. When I made my statement, I was speaking within the realm of personal histories. My information comes from the children and grand-children of people who where there fighting the good fight.

Perhaps you’ll take the opportunity to read my family’s newspaper online at Although as a Black history scholar and Black journalist, I am sure you are already familiar with them. We can BOTH continue to learn from the rich histories outlined by their legacy.

PS, I am sure you will have a more candid rebuttal to my comments and that’s fine. As long as we stick to the original point of the article, my fingers can punch out keyboard strokes like Ali punched out Joe Frazier in the “Thrilla in Manilla". I believe that is also historically acurate.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Stacey Patton [Visitor] DATE: Fri, 27 Jul 2007 18:22:53 +0000 URL:


Thanks for your comment. But some of it is a bit problematic and historically wrong. As a professor of African American history and a former black journalist let me provide some correction here . . .

You wrote, “After all, even Black folks did not think a newspaper for Negros was a good idea in the 1890s. Especially since 98% of the Black population could not even read. Where was the market back then?”

Correction: There was indeed a very vibrant market for black newspapers decades before 1890. Let’s begin with “Freedom’s Journal” the first black newspaper founded in 1827. The editors were Samuel Cornish and John Russwurm. Next we have the “Ram’s Horn (NY) in 1847 founded by Willis Hodges. Then “Freedom’s Journal (Rochester) in 1847 by Frederick Douglass. In 1855 San Francisco’s “Mirror of the Times,” and “The Kansas Herald of Freedom were established.

By 1855, ten years before the Civil War a total of 40 black newspapers were founded. Okay, that’s just the North – free blacks. So what about the South?

The South’s first black newspaper was established in New Orleans in 1862. It was called L’Union. I could list more. By 1865 there were newspapers in Louisiana, Alabama, Tennessee, South Carolina and Georgia. By 1875 Missouri, the last of the former slave states lacking a black newspaper, founded “The Negro World.”

Between 1861 and 1877, 115 black newspapers appeared across the nation. 500 appeared between 1880 and 1890. In 1902 alone there were 101 newspapers founded. Between 1895-1915, 1,200 black newspapers served their communities.

So it wasn’t that blacks didn’t think that newspapers weren’t a good idea. And it is NOT true that, as you say 98% of blacks could not read in 1890. As many historians have shown (Herbert Gutman, Gunnar Myrdal and others) that by 1890 (25 years after emancipation), nearly half the black population was literate despite extralegal violence and other forms of discrimination aimed at undermining black progress. Many of the papers did not last long because of economic factors, violence, discrimination, not because blacks didn’t think they were useful or a good idea or that there was no market.

I usually don’t respond like this, but I don’t like it when our history is consciously or unconsciously distorted by misinformation. I hope these facts will be useful. I can also provide an informative bibliography that can highlight these facts about blacks, literacy, and journalism.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Wendi Jackson Smith [Visitor] DATE: Fri, 27 Jul 2007 16:12:06 +0000 URL:

To my hubby’s point I want to share an experience we had today. I had the idea that my hubby and I would go see the movie “Talk to Me” tonight. When I went on “Fandango” to get the movie times (and theatres showing it in our area), it was limited. Now My husband and I live in Westchester and it is only showing in one theatre in ALL of Westchester (and not in the predominately African-American areas either). Just to make sure I wasn’t going crazy, I checked the theatres in NYC and although there are more places to see it there, it is also limited. It is at Magic Johnson though. So my question is: why are we getting “Norbit” and “A Hot Ghetto Mess” pushed down our throats and when something of quality (with an actor who in my opinion is overdue for an Oscar; and a Director who I consider to be a mentor in my business) comes out we have to look for it under a microscope.

To my husbands point, as a people we need to DEMAND quality! This forum is a great start!!!!!

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Blair Smith [Visitor] DATE: Fri, 27 Jul 2007 14:41:09 +0000 URL:

Eisa, living in Baltimore/DC, you’ll understand this.

My Dad said something very profound when I met him for brunch last week. He said the point of our family’s newspaper business was not the newspaper itself. The point is my Great Grandfather showed us we can create a successful business despite any odds. After all, even Black folks did not think a newspaper for Negros was a good idea in the 1890s. Especially since 98% of the Black population could not even read. Where was the market back then? We created one!

When people say there is no market for “quality” Black entertainment, that is not true. We can create one if we want to.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Julia Chance [Visitor] DATE: Fri, 27 Jul 2007 02:46:22 +0000 URL:

I was surprised to hear about the debut of “Hot Ghetto Mess” considering that filmmaker/director Reginald Hudlin is now head of entertainmnet over at BET. Thought he was more progressive, and hipper, that that. Of all ways to uplift the race…

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: mimi [Visitor] DATE: Wed, 25 Jul 2007 11:17:47 +0000 URL:

Let’s face it: there’s a certain segment of the black community that has no filter with regard to their behavior. People like this have always existed. But when black became beautiful amid the growing pervasive presence of media reflecting negative images of black people, it spawned a generation of loud, vulgur, arrogant black people who gladly parade their obnoxious behavior for all the world to see. I don’t think we’re going to be able to do anything about people so egocentrically predisposed to acting this way. But what we’re going to have to do, like it or not, is to get off the monolithic slave ship and distance ourselves from people who simply aren’t doing the race any good. And that includes a lot of people who have ‘made it.’ People like Monique, for example. As long as anonymous women in the black community see themselves in the image of someone like her who is earning big $$$, there’s no way you’re going to get them to understand that their behavior is wrong. Again, we have to face the fact that a lot of famous black women have been elevated to celebrity status who probably shouldn’t have been so annointed. We are going to have to move into a mindset contrary to the UNITY MINDSET, which the late 60’s advocated. Sure, I hate the thought of doing that, 60’s person that I am, but sadly, there is no other way. If we don’t, then they will become the dominant force in the black community and seize ownership of black authenticity. Actually, they’ve practically seized it already and the effects of that kind of black authenticity can be seen in the way young people denigrate and disparage the importance of education. This is NOT a good thing and certainly will not empower us. As other ethnic groups make their moves toward inclusion in the economic, politcal mainstream, we will be BACK THERE complaining about racism. Our love affair with black stereotypes and outlandish behavior, our need to laugh at these types, these things are killing our relevancy. We’re also insulting our ancestors. It’s common knowledge that a drowning man will take you under, if you let him. I say: Save yourself!

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Kayla [Visitor] DATE: Thu, 19 Jul 2007 14:55:00 +0000 URL:

Professor Ulen,

This is unrelated to the post, but I spent the two days between the summer sessions reading your book, and I just wanted to congratulate you on publishing such a thoughtful and well-written novel! Your poetic writing style fit beautifully into the context of the story, and the mourning process evokes such a universal emotion that I was able to follow along with Crystelle in her journey. I truly enjoyed reading.

Please keep writing!
Enjoy the rest of your summer,
Kayla McCaffrey

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Gwendolyn D. Pough [Visitor] DATE: Thu, 19 Jul 2007 12:49:28 +0000 URL:

Board chair Roger Williams mentioned Imus, stated he had never used the n-word before, and claimed he heard it “on television or rap music or something.”

Now, this I have a hard time believing. An 80-year-old white man who needed rap music to teach him about racial slurs? Mmm hmm. Right. He didn’t need any help being a racist any more than Imus did being racist and sexist and homophobic.

As for BET’s “Hot Ghetto Mess,” last time I looked BET was a hot ghetto mess. I think we do need to start holding them responsible and if that means an organized boycott then so be it. The truth is we should have begun the process of holding them responsible years ago, before they turned into such a mess. But it’s never too late to start cleaning up. Great post, sis. Insightful.

much love and peace,


----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: elise [Visitor] DATE: Thu, 19 Jul 2007 11:42:59 +0000 URL:

thanks for including information on the controversy around hot ghetto mess. i’d read on a site recently about the boycott of the show, but never got a full understanding of what the show was about (although i did surmise that the premise seemed to be just one more outlet for making black folks look bad). after reading the attached cnn article, i took a visit to the website that inspired the show. what did i find? the pictures that many of my friends and i send and fwd to each other with notes attached like “can you believe this?” or “my people, my people :)". i had to dig deeper because the cnn article mentioned that the creator of the site was a black, female lawyer. i was just wondering why she created it.

long story short, she says the site and its contents are to “hold a mirror up” to the images that we as black people create and reinforce as representative of who we are as a people. she said we need to work toward a “higher standard” in terms of what we put out there. the site was divided into many subcatagories including “not ghetto” where she lists black people who are doing the damn thing without being ghetto about it. each article begins with “so and so you are not ghetto.” well thanks. that means a lot coming from a person who to be exploiting people as far as what it means to be “ghetto".

one of my main problems with this site is the mean spiritness of it. i must admit that i am guilty of this too because i often laugh and shake my head in disgust as i fwd it on to a friend. there is a part of me that looks down on “those people” and accuses them of helping to bring down the race. but what does it say about me when i fwd it? or watch it on tv? or buy it in magazines? or not take an active role in doing something about it? the creator of this site says that she doesn’t offer any suggestions or answers, so why reshuffle the questions? we know what the problems are in our communities, in our culture, and in our race. so why promote something that shows us in a negative light without offering suggestions or possible answers?

so now that i know, i will not be watching hot ghetto mess as i think it is important to clean up our messes, not put them on blast. my favorite quote from the sopranos last season was when brooklyn mafia kingpin phil decides to have tony soprano offed. he says, “…there are no scraps in my scrapbook.” not the best analogy, but it’s time that more of us start thinking the same way.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: chris chambers [Visitor] DATE: Thu, 19 Jul 2007 11:04:30 +0000 URL:

Possibly it feeds a vicious circle, as Cora Daniels touched on in Ghetto Nation. We put the sassy/loud/nasty/hyper sexual/cursing stereotype out there, white producers/writers/record company execs/editors pick it up and reflect it back, skew it, saturate us, and we in turn shoot it back at them in the vicious circle?

The thing that bothers me the most is some black men, some black women, too who poo-poo this kind of debate. I actually heard one dude (one of my friends, unfortunately) who said women who complain about this (and video vixens, etc.) don’t have men!

We had the mammy stereotype but we did not perpetuate that. Tht was whitefolks propaganda. The more insidious thing here is we have self-perpetuating stereotype and the effect is the same, though we somehow delusionally think it’s empowerment!

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Carleen [Visitor] DATE: Fri, 13 Jul 2007 10:54:04 +0000 URL:

Hi there,
I just tagged you. Hope you can play! (Sorry to leave such a silly comment on such a thoughtful post!)

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Dera Williams [Visitor] DATE: Wed, 11 Jul 2007 15:35:13 +0000 URL:

Why is there a double standard?

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: anjuelle floyd [Visitor] DATE: Mon, 09 Jul 2007 15:03:14 +0000 URL:

I’d just like to say that after reading all the informative and passionate comments on Martha Southgate’s article, which I believe is a relevant concern to not only African American writers of the literary genre, but also readers who are craving to read more stories in the style, I am feel very lucky. I am a new published author and the publishing house that brought my work to print opened their literary imprint with my collection of short stories.

No, I was’t paid a large advance, but I did receive one that helped pay the entertainment attorney who oversaw my contract. And let me say that unlike with Simon and Schuster, my publisher owns my book for only a decade.

What’s been most important to me is the ability to retain my artistic creativity in creating protagonists, African American who do not fit the stereotypical box and prisons so many of the images depicting us in print and on screen do. Working with my editor has been a breeze. In fact it was so easy I became frightened. Now that my book is out, and I love my cover as do so many who have purchased it–no cartoon characters.

I’m proud to say that my publishers are not African American, not that we don’t need African Americans to go into publishing, but with what I see and hear from my fellow authors who deal with tradtional publishing and publishers who are in 99% of the cases, white, I feel extremely blessed.

I am working very, very hard, as an earlier commenter (Dera Wiliams) stated in doing MY part to self-promote. It takes just as much time as writing. And then there is the money. I’m again lucky to have a supportive husband whose seen me writing tirelessly for 15 or more years. Also my children, all daughters are supportive.

For me getting published has been a family affair through which I have experienced divine grace in so many ways.

We all need to work to get more literary works writtten by AFrican Americans out where all readers can enjoy and learn from what they have to say.

If anyone has an essay or short story they’d like to share, please visit my website and/or send it to me so that I may post it.

I do not own it and the minute a traditional publisher wants it I will remove it.

Deepak Chopra said that the best way to get what you, yourself want, is to help others get what they want.

I want to develop a devoted reader audience and continue to write and publish for a LONG time. At 47 I am one of those writers who seems to edging toward hitting my stride 10 years behind the others. But that doesn’t bother me. In fact I think it is an appropriate rite of passage for me as a woman, and a writer.

Writing takes patience and time. And for those who are willing to persevere as they wait, good things come to them.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: jenn [Visitor] DATE: Mon, 09 Jul 2007 13:54:41 +0000 URL:

This is great that this discussion is happening. I felt so alone in my store sometimes while struggling to address these issuse and trying to keep body and soul together financially. (Ron, I here ya’ brother!)

Here is an idea that I just posted on my blog but I put here to use to think about:

I think that we need to take this thing back. One idea I had is to create an alternative to the bestseller list. (I’ve never been able to create one that made any sense any way.) Let’s create a “Critics list” or “Best Reader’s list” in which writers, booksellers, and literary critics vote on the best work being produced every month, one for fiction and one for non-fiction. (This wouldn’t be a bad idea for the “greater” community of writers) After all, isn’t the bestseller lists just a self-perpetuating guide to what is being read? It is kinda crude to only use sales as a measure to what is worthy of reading. These new lists are not a complete solution to these very complicating set of issues but it could be a start. It’s a way of putting a stamp of approval on some of our more worthy books and making a clean separation from the “street lit.”

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Fatima Shaik [Visitor] DATE: Mon, 09 Jul 2007 11:30:32 +0000 URL:

I am in New Orleans now and was checking on whether my essay on race came up on the PEN website when I saw Martha?s. I guess we were thinking along the same lines. I asked the children’s committee to put race on our section of the website when we first began running comments on the web. Segregation is going to be an even bigger question since the Supreme Court?s recent decision.

I’m glad to see that Martha?s essay stirred up a good bit of discussion on the question in her venue. I think that publishers are not nurturing anyone these days and no matter the problem – bad economy, joblessness, etc. – it often affects blacks most because of our precarious position in American society.

I am a black literary writer still. I published my first adult book in 1987 to fine reviews. I switched to children’s lit when I had children, writing two illustrated books and one YA, again with good reviews, and some recognition from YALSA and Banks Street. While the kids were getting older, I published stories and essays in the anthologies in Breaking Ice, Steetlights, Men We Cherish, African American Literature and journals Southern Review, Callaloo, and others. I am still doing short stories and finishing a book on the Societe d’Economie in New Orleans (an historical memoir). I?ve seen both Ron and Martha at the parties lately. But I don?t get out much. I have a full time job.

Will some writers get to sit back on their accolades and have the publishers come to them? There are many factors including race, sales, friendships, and more. All of them pale to the reason many of us got into the business. We need to write.


----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Ron [Visitor] DATE: Sun, 08 Jul 2007 22:48:50 +0000 URL:

Yeah, “doomed” was harsh. Forgive me. My comments were more toward “martha southgate” as metaphor for most literary writers. As opposed to Martha Southgate, decent human being and super woman.

My only concern is that by recognizing both the inherent value and bias in institutions who can co-op the aesthetic we only help to strengthen and perpetuate it.

In my short time on this planet, I’ve heard these arguments time and again, lack of: compensation, recognition, equality. Yet we still seek tacit approval.

I don’t have the answer. It’s hard being an independent –I’m broke. Could Martha have written an editorial for the Times if Black Classic Press had published her book? Could Tavis Smiley have published a book with Third World Press if he didn’t have other streams of income? Maybe, maybe not. There are benefits to gain from participating in a business that has its own award system –trophies or financial– built in.

In the end I’m not mad at anyone. I just want us to consider building our own institutions.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Martha Southgate [Visitor] DATE: Sun, 08 Jul 2007 21:09:30 +0000 URL:

Hey, Dera–Thanks! Sorry I didn’t say that sooner.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: K.C. Washington [Visitor] DATE: Sat, 07 Jul 2007 16:37:11 +0000 URL:

As a writer of literary/historical fiction, Martha’s essay struck a real and painful cord. All I can add is that we have to keep believing in our work, ourselves, and our peoples stories. And we MUST keep talking without attacking. Thanks Martha!


----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Dera R Williams [Visitor] DATE: Sat, 07 Jul 2007 03:39:34 +0000 URL:

Hi Eisa,

Thank you for this forum. I sent Martha Southgate?s article to several people and it has been the topic of conversation in different reading and writing groups. For those of us who read and write literary fiction, this essay certainly hit a nerve. Southgate wrote a great, piece that asks some hard questions. If I may, I would like to add my two cents.

First of all, I want to say that I am happy that while voicing her concerns about the plight of Black literary fiction, she did not disparage other Black genres. When Southgate was here in Oakland when promoting Third Girl From the Left at Marcus Book Store, she did talk about the proliferation and promotion of urban/street literature and her concerns about the lack of promotion for ?ambitious literature? that delves into human issues. Not surprisingly, when I sent Writers Like Me out, I received a number of replies complaining about how the urban/street lit was getting all the attention and publishing credits. This was not unexpected but it caused me to think on a few things.

Frankly, the grievances and complaints are getting a little old. I am weary of writers lamenting that their books are being ignored in favor of those that are in demand. (See my essay on Deirdre Savoy?s blog-
about the positive value in Black literature). For one thing, complaining and downgrading street/urban lit, drama for drama sake, and so-called erotica is not going to change anything. We all know writing is about business and business is about the bottom line. Instead of complaining, Black authors of literary fiction can take a more proactive stance.

1. Promote, promote, promote. I cannot tell you how frustrated I, who has been involved in literary circles for several years, get when I belatedly hear about a book that has been out for several months or a year or hear about a writer who has been around a for a minute. Why had I not heard about Calvin Baker (Dominion and Naming the New World) until about a year ago? I happened to catch a review in the San Francisco Chronicle of his latest book and immediately told my circle of literary fans. Word of mouth or a review is how I have discovered what has come to be some of my favorite authors. My small circle of literary readers also hear about Black literary authors through publications like Poets & Writers (that?s how I learned of Black Brit writer Andrea Levy), obscure literary journals and writing programs (one of my friends had Victor Lavalle (The Ectastic) as an instructor. But mostly, we hear about y?all through the grapevine. Just when we bemoan there isn?t any serious Black literature, somebody will send an e-mail. Have you heard about?..?

Black literary writers need, no, they must be responsible for promoting their own work. The publisher whether it is traditional giant like Simon & Schuster or a small press is not going to do it, over and beyond the budget allowed for such promotion. Not everyone gets the multimillion dollar contracts of Steven Carter (The Emperor of Ocean Park and New England White) who I just saw Friday night talking about scene, characterization, setting and emotion, or Lalita Tademy (Cane River and Red River) who get the multi-city tours and Oprah acclaim. Nor does everyone get the attention of a Pulitzer Prize as Edward P. Jones (The Known World). What better promotion than that? I cannot tell you how many e-mails I get a week about ?other? literature by Black writers. Some hire publicists but a great majority of street/lit, Sistergirl/relationship, and church-themed fiction authors send out multiple press releases and announcements about their books on their own. They descend upon the Internet, spamming us right and left. And it just keeps coming and coming. This leads me to number 2.

2. Black author of literary fiction must court the ever burgeoning number of book clubs, both online and physical, especially online reader and book groups and other literary venues. Before your book is released, aside from what your publisher is doing, you need to be creating your own list of contacts that can spread the word about your book. You must insist that a number of books are set aside for review by online groups such as the one I review for, APOOO (A Place of Our Own) and so many others. Do not just rely on reviews from the N.Y. Times, the Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times. The APOOO Exchange reviewers post their reviews prominently on There are more review sites and venues that you can shake a stick at?space does not allow mentioning all, and some are very much respected in the Black literary arena and beyond such as APOOO (founder/moderator Yasmin Coleman), RawSistaz and Book Matters. Sure, you want to be a cross-over success and cater to ALL readers but in the process, do not ignore the Black literary community who has promoted many a literary book WHEN they know about it.

3. Drop a thank you note to those who do take the time to review your books. Just a short appreciation means so much to the many reviewers, both individual reviewers and professional review teams who take the time to say thanks. Very few of these reviewers of these venues are paid monetarily. Reviewers are more inclined to review the next book because they feel their work is acknowledged and appreciated. Those ?other? genres write thank you notes all the time. Our review group gets several notes a week, surprisingly, even when the reviews are not glowing. They thank us for taking the time to read and honestly assess their books. The reviews from my review team are posted at, yet I can count on one hand how many times literary writers send a note of appreciation. Why that is, I?m not sure. Perhaps they don?t have time or do you think the reviews, no matter how well written are not worthy because it is not a N.Y. Times review? I was very appreciative of Eisa?s thank you note to me last fall after I reviewed Crystelle Mourning. You better believe I will read and review her next one.  We review ALL genres and yes literary, some of who have been named on Southgate?s reading list, but we do not hear from them. I meet authors all the time as I am a regular customer at Marcus Book Store in Oakland as well as a member of the Marcus Book Club. An author will say upon hearing my name, ?Hey, I read your review on Amazon. Thanks.? Really, how would I know that?

Does all of the above I have laid out take time? You bet it does. And it might take a little moolah. How do you do this while teaching a full load, or working a 9- 5 in private industry and or raising a family? You just do it. The ?other? writers do who hold down full-time employment and raise their families. You are disciplined writers; carve out a couple of hours a week just to promote you, or hire a college student to do the grunt work. I?m betting you will expand your readership base and just maybe, increase sales. I heard Kim McLarin (Meeting of the Waters and Jump) say about a year ago when she was in the Bay Area, that for her, it is all about the writing; that she could not live with a work for four years of writing and not believe in it. Colin Channer (Passing Through and Satisfy My Soul) said he would write regardless. At the end of the day, most writers of literary write because of the love for the craft.

Dera Williams
July 6, 2007

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Errol Louis [Visitor] DATE: Fri, 06 Jul 2007 12:16:37 +0000 URL:


Links to the 35 or so columnists in the Trotter group are at

Looking at your website, I’m very impressed at how much multi-media activity you’ve taken on. It reminds of a time, about 20 years ago, when I had a freelance project that involved writing up short blurbs of movies in order to update the catalog of the Black Filmmaker Foundation. It required watching dozens of black indy films from all around the country.

After seeing the early work of artists like Julie Dash and Charles Burnett, I often tried (in vain) to explain to friends that the newly famous Spike Lee, while talented, was not necessarily the best producer/director among his peers, but maybe the hardest-working and unquestionably the most media-savvy. Obviously, that counts for a lot.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Martha Southgate [Visitor] DATE: Fri, 06 Jul 2007 12:05:18 +0000 URL:

Thanks Errol,

This is a great suggestion. In my previous post, I didn’t mean I won’t spend any time hustling–in fact, I do spend time hustling. But I just have to watch how much time I spend hustling. And I wante every minute spent hustling to be an effective one. The hustle is not the whole game. Your suggestion is a very wise investment of time and a group that I was totally unaware of. What’s the address?

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Errol Louis [Visitor] DATE: Fri, 06 Jul 2007 11:11:20 +0000 URL:

While authors may (understandably) not want to spend writing time hustling product, let me suggest a small(ish) investment of time that can have a big payoff.

I and many other black newspaper columnists belong to an organization called the Trotter Group ( whose members are at USA Today, the Washington Post, and a host of regional papers. We collectively reach many millions of readers every week.

I think that having one’s publisher and/or PR firm send literary ficiton and notices of readings to these folks regularly would be a wise investment of time and effort.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: pittershawn [Visitor] DATE: Fri, 06 Jul 2007 10:54:21 +0000 URL:

wow. heavy discussion.

as a writer, i also find it difficult to write because of the constant pressure of paying the bills. it is not easy. my hope is that i can find some sort of writing grant to help me focus solely on my writing. this is what a great many black writers need…financial stability.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Martha Southgate [Visitor] DATE: Fri, 06 Jul 2007 09:29:05 +0000 URL:

Wow. Glad to see people are reading the piece and reacting. I’ll just jump in with some responses.

To Ron: Sheesh. Doomed?! That’s kind of harsh. I, in no way think that being published by a major publisher is a right or a privilege. Nor do I think that the hand of God should come down and sell my books for me. The intent of my piece was to point out some forces (both inside our culture/ourselves) and outside of it, that consipre to make it hard for those of us who want to write well and thoughtfully to do so and to get our voices heard.

Regarding your point about me and my ilk needing to get out there on 125 with the folks: you’re absolutely right. I do as much getting out there as I can via events like the Go On Girl convention (which I just attended) and the NBCC last year in Atlanta. But I will admit that I privilege time to write over time to market myself–and I have precious little of both. Does Relentless Aaron have kids? A partner? A job besides selling his books? I don’t'think those of us who can’t (for whatever reason, temperamental–many writers are very private people who just can’t bear to hustle themselves–or timewise) get out there on 1-2-5 should be penalized or denigrated. There are many roads to readership–we need to take them all.

Further, I’d add that we sell ourselves short by assuming that our job is only to sell to other black people. We’re Americans, our stories are part of world literature. Sure, we don’t want to disrespect or down play our brothers and sisters who love us–but why the heck shouldn’t white people, Hispanic people, whatever kind of people, read our books? We read (and enjoy and learn from and are enriched by) the best of theirs. It should absolutely go both ways.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: jenn [Visitor] DATE: Wed, 04 Jul 2007 21:14:59 +0000 URL:

Hi Eisa,
I just posted on my blog about this essay and then I saw this post. Thanks for drawing attention to it. I have a slightly different take on the situation. I’ll quote from my post here:

“… while I am sympathetic to Ms. Southgate’s assertions in her essay that there aren’t “more of us at the party” the reasons are not just because “the publishing industry remains overwhelmingly white.” It is because it remains overwhelmingly in the hands of big business. Large corporations are not conducive to taking risks. They are good at buying smaller companies and squeezing out their creative energy. The end result is a lack of vision on the part of publishers who may see black writers as incapable of grabbing popular appeal. It’s creating a segregated reading public and pushing creative writers like Ms. Southgate and other “risky” writers to the margins. Like the saying goes, ‘when the rest of the country catches a cold, the black community catches pneumonia.’”

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Ron Kavanaugh [Visitor] DATE: Wed, 04 Jul 2007 09:53:34 +0000 URL:

Here’s a sample. Feel free to read the entire post at

She writes with heroic concern about the fact that writers such as Toni Morrison and Ralph Ellison (who I don’t believe fits well into this because of his writer’s block and self doubt was so devastating) for all their greatness, published sporadically and were in their forties before true success arrived. As I enter my mid-forties with hopes of writing I did take some offense at the thought that 40 was somewhat late in life. But I’ll leave that for another post.

Martha, who I met once and seemed lovely, is doomed. Sorry, Martha. On one level there’s an assumption that being published is a right and not a privilege. She buys into the myth of the traditional publishing dynamic that’s dangled in front of her every time a White writer is published.

The old publishing world: I write, you publish. Success!
The new publishing world: I write, you, my German-owned-conglomerate publisher, find a niche that’s comfortable for you, I work that niche until there’s no hair left on it, all the while looking for traditional and new media options to help synergize and commodity my talent to help lift the marketing burden off you. Oprah, please call. Success!?…

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Stacey Patton [Visitor] DATE: Wed, 04 Jul 2007 09:05:59 +0000 URL:


Thank you for publishing Martha’s piece on your blog. While sobering, it is an important one. Indeed, writing quality and responsible literature while black can feel quite lonely and discouraging at times. Sometimes I’ve asked myself: “Does anyone care to read about black love? About healthy black relationships? About pride in oneself and one’s culture and history?”

Many of the obstacles that Martha writes about are not specific to black writers. I’ve seen young white writers meet many of the same struggles. The literary industry is a tough and competitve business all around. Every writer has to work hard to establish their voice and to tell their story in a way that hasn’t already been told. Sometimes a writer has to balance his or her soul with other motives.

You should read W.E.B Du Bois’ “Gift of Black Folk.” Though written in 1904, his themes abotu black music, art, and literarture ring true today.

Thanks again Eisa!

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Bridgett Davis [Visitor] DATE: Tue, 03 Jul 2007 08:17:32 +0000 URL:

Thanks for sharing Martha’s piece, and for contextualizing it for us – for placing it beside other seminal works that reveal the state of black artistic being at a given moment in our history.
When you do it right, writing is a raw, risky and sometimes downright dangerous act. To think that the publishing world would not reward, nurture and develop African American writers who dared to be so brave is unbelievable to me. It reminds me yet again that our contributions have no value in and of themselves – only in relation to how much entertainment, voyeurism and economic gain they provide the dominant culture.
We who would dare to do this thing that is different need constant support and feedback from fellow risk-takers, folks who ‘get’ us. We as black lit writers and artists of all types, need to create a community of support to inure us from an indifferent, clueless society.
Your blog is one place where we can come for that community – the cyberspace version of a rambling 138th St. walk-up at Lenox Avenue during the Harlem Renaissance, where folks could come and get a meal, a pep talk, a few dollars to help with the rent…
Because at the end of the day, we’re marked for extinction, we black lit writers, and we need to join forces, procreate and above all, proliferate.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Troy Johnson [Visitor] DATE: Mon, 02 Jul 2007 11:53:42 +0000 URL:

Hi Eisa, thanks for sharing Martha’s piece. I wrote about it om ymy Blog: and discussion board

Now I’m going to see what Chris Chamber wrote on his blog…

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Seradin Engram [Visitor] DATE: Mon, 02 Jul 2007 00:38:28 +0000 URL:

Thanks for putting this up on your blog.
I have two things i want to say about this :
It really is sad to know that there aren’t that many writers of color who are able to devote all of their time to writing and still keep from starving. I guess being aware that you will (probably) have to work until you draw your last breath to take care of yourself, your family and to pay those colossal student loans turns many people away from pursuing their dreams. I can definitely relate to Martha; my family is discouraging me from becoming a full time artist of anything: visual art, music or writing. I remember my mother’s words, “Oh, so you wanna be a writer now"? Martha is absolutely correct. We all fear of losing that security, which doesn’t allow us to nurture our creative forces.
And secondly, i read Nick’s piece. I work at Barnes and Noble and lets just say that I’m thoroughly embarrassed to know that Frederick Douglass’ slave narratives are sitting adjacent to what Nick calls “crassness". Its completely embarrassing. These “street lit” books are making homes for themselves on tables with other books that have much more to say. I really don’t think that Zora worked hard to have her works resting next to a book that does nothing but perpetuate the negative stereotypes about black people today. In my opinion these books are nothing but empty calories, and forcing other good and spiritually and emotionally satisfying books out of print. A lot of these young women read these books because “they speak to them". Personally, being black in the 21st century does NOT include drugs, violence and illicit sex. It doesn’t speak to me. In fact, it angers me to have to tell a customer who is looking for something fulfilling that our store doesn’t have it on the shelves but to know that we have a mother load of “ghetto lit” and “street lit” propped up on our shelves.
But I’m glad to know that I’m not alone in my sentiments.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: chris chambers [Visitor] DATE: Sun, 01 Jul 2007 13:32:16 +0000 URL:

I loved Martha’s piece.

I took an entirely more cynical, even confrontational muse…maybe a rant…on my blog a few days ago. Sorry if I offended anyone, but hey, it’s a blog…

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: chris chambers [Visitor] DATE: Sun, 01 Jul 2007 13:30:38 +0000 URL:

We should do something like that down here in DC.

Please tell Glenville I said hello. Loved our panels back in the day when they had him pegged as a fellow detective/thriller writer.

PS my historical novel Yella Patsy’s Boys, coming out in 12/08, has a contemptorary thread featuring a girl if Bermuda/Trini nationality finding out that her mother’s family actually originated in the US–freed slaves who fought for the British in the war of 1812 (and set fire to the White House and Capital Building). I call that “full circle” Caribbean-American heritage.

Also please say hello to Mrs. Joy Bramble and hopes she shouts out to her son david for me!


----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Fimbo [Visitor] DATE: Thu, 21 Jun 2007 03:57:35 +0000 URL:

CNN pretends to be neutral – yet they milk the ad dollars generated by fear-mongering. The following article examines in-depth, why Lou Dobbs is a tactical propagandist worse than Dr. Joseph Goebbels ? The Nazi Minister of ‘Propaganda and Enlightenment.’: CNN’s Lou Dobbs - The Minister of ‘Propaganda and Enlightenment’

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: eisa718 [Member] DATE: Wed, 20 Jun 2007 09:09:22 +0000 URL:

I received this lovely comment from Elizabeth Nunez:

You were the magician, Eisa. Thank you for creating a stimulating evening.


----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Stacey Barney [Visitor] DATE: Mon, 18 Jun 2007 11:19:58 +0000 URL:

Hey Eisa,

Thanks for the mention and for the run down on BEA. It was a good year I think, and especially nice to have celebrated Clara’s tenth year organizing the African American Pavillion. And catching up with all the peeps was a joy!

See you soon.


----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: simone [Visitor] DATE: Thu, 14 Jun 2007 10:12:24 +0000 URL:

My youtube pick would be this one, a new version of the Who’s on First routine. check it out at

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: LaSharah [Visitor] DATE: Wed, 13 Jun 2007 22:01:04 +0000 URL:

Thanks for the shout out! It was so great to see you. And I enjoyed myself Tribal Spears; I’m going to add it to my list of favorite hangouts.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: pittershawn [Visitor] DATE: Thu, 07 Jun 2007 13:01:45 +0000 URL:

It is rather funny.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: pittershawn [Visitor] DATE: Thu, 07 Jun 2007 13:00:51 +0000 URL:

It was great to see you too, Eisa.

The BEA is overwhelming. It is great to meet/see so many wonderful authors, publishers, editors, etc. but it is definitely a lot. A part of me wonders if it is worth it to go more than one day (I actually ended up going only on Friday, even though I planned to attend all 3 days).

I don’t feel I missed anything. But again, it is great for networking.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Nicole [Visitor] DATE: Thu, 07 Jun 2007 08:32:23 +0000 URL:

Hey, Eisa! Look at me–mentioned in your lovely list of folks you crossed paths with last week. Thank you, again, for making sure you intro’d me to every and anyone who stood near you (and always with a smile). You’re the best “hype man” a girl could want.

I had great time at the BEA par-tay. Being a Brooklyn girl, I don’t venture to Harlem much, and it was so good to see all of these joyful people come out to celebrate black books, black art…black life.

And I saw you on the Mosaic mag cover (on the web site). Gotta scoop up a copy and read about your continuing success!

See you next week at the Caribbean Heritage Week panel, Madame Moderator. It’ll be on and poppin’, for sure.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: eisa718 [Member] DATE: Thu, 31 May 2007 12:54:06 +0000 URL:

Thanks for that background info, Chris, of which I was unaware. I do hear him going after the corporate fat cats, but it seems every promo for his show is about crushing “illegal immigrants,” often contextualized in his crusade to save the middle class. I don’t think pitting the poor against the middle class is going to save any of us. I wish he would do more of his investigation of corporate America, and less of his assault against immigrant America.

Thanks again!

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Chris Chambers [Visitor] DATE: Thu, 31 May 2007 12:40:43 +0000 URL:

I agree with a lot of what you say, but to be fair, he doesn’t squarely blame immigrants for the crushing of the middle class. Lou started off as the Business anchor and a friend of corporate America. After a number of years on air he had an epiphany and started his crusade initially against what he saw was slovenly corporate governance, flouting of securities and banking laws, naked greed, too much devotion to quarterly outlooks as opposed to the long term, and indeed outsourcing and ludicrous trade with China, even environmental issues. I think he started off using immigration as an example of how corp. America uses immigrants, but yeah, he started getting more and more strident. I don’t think he’s given up on the notion that the rich are crushing the rest of us, but he’s gone too far.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Seradin Engram [Visitor] DATE: Mon, 28 May 2007 01:07:24 +0000 URL:

Its funny you mention that. I’m probably being blasphemous but I’m just musing. This reminds me of something one of my favorite recording artists once said: “Women are probably closer to God…We make life".
If thats not profound, then I don’t know what is. Just the power to procreate alone is massive. Even our bodies are made differently specifically for that.
Could it be that these hyper-masculine emasculated males know this subconsciously? That they cannot inherently recreate or simulate what our bodies can?

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Chris Chambers [Visitor] DATE: Sat, 26 May 2007 22:14:11 +0000 URL:

That’s pretty cool to see students musing and sharing.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: pittershawn [Visitor] DATE: Mon, 21 May 2007 22:10:19 +0000 URL:

Why is women’s power a major threat?

I think it is because this now male dominated society (eurocentric) does not want anyone to know of our ancient history, where women were revered and honored above all. They do not want anyone to know that we ran societies. That we maintained nations.

They want everyone to forget…blot our past out of the pages of time. And send all that we were into the abyss.

Religion is such a huge factor is this madness. But people are so steeped in it, that they cannot see how it has corrupted the minds of many, driving them to do horrible things as god drips from their tongue.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Seradin Engram [Visitor] DATE: Sun, 20 May 2007 21:36:04 +0000 URL:

I probably should not have watched that video clip because it left me feeling very helpless and raw. “Honor killings"? Honor killings?!?!!?
Why are certain practices against women condoned in society? Why are clitoridectomies seen as ok and an upright practice? Why are women’s power taken away from them, like this young women’s power to date or to even socialize with whomever she wishes? Why is women’s power a major threat? Why?

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: eisa718 [Member] DATE: Sat, 19 May 2007 22:16:51 +0000 URL:

Appiah’s NY Times article, written not too long ago, explored the problems of cultural relativism, if I remember correctly.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Chris Chambers [Visitor] DATE: Sat, 19 May 2007 17:47:37 +0000 URL:

Prof. Kwame Anthony Appiah developed a sort of “new” cultural relativism where you respect everyone’s cultural BUT you don’t stand for certain things as norms, especially when they have a repressive or genocidal etc. bent. I.e. female circumcision and yeah…stoning.
Would make a great topic for a novel.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Seradin Engram [Visitor] DATE: Sun, 13 May 2007 18:42:53 +0000 URL:

I guess its just interesting to note what kind of world we truly do live. I remember a point you made in class one day…that everyone is concerned about race in one way or another. Not every living soul on this planet is racist, but we’ve been conditioned that way, so that if we see someone whose facial features are ambiguous…we wrack our brains trying to categorize them.
Its not really a bad thing, but when you start telling people where they are from or who and “what” they are, then it becomes a problem.

Again, I wanted to thank you Professor Ulen for inviting Brother Willie to read at our class that day. He put a lot in perspective for me…and even better….threw some others things out of place.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: eisa718 [Member] DATE: Fri, 11 May 2007 07:10:10 +0000 URL:

Nigger-Reecan Blues
Willie Perdomo (for Piri Thomas)

Hey, Willie. What are you, man?
No, silly. You know what I mean: What are you?
I am you. You are me. We the same. Can’t you feel our veins drinking the
same blood?
-But who said you was a Porta Reecan?
-Tu eres Puerto Riqueno, brother.
-Maybe Indian like Gandhi Indian.
-I thought you was a Black man.
-Is one of your parents white?
-You sure you ain’t a mix of something like
-Portuguese and Chinese?
-Naaaahhh. . .You ain’t no Porta Reecan.
-I keep telling you: The boy is a Black man with an accent.
If you look closely you will see that your spirits are standing right next to
our songs. You soy Boricua! You soy Africano! I ain’t lyin’. Pero mi pelo es
kinky y kurly y mi skin no es negra pero it can pass. ..
-Hey, yo. I don’t care what you say - you Black.
I ain’t Black! Everytime I go downtown la madam blankeeta de madesson
avenue sees that I’m standing right next to her and she holds her purse just
a bit tighter. I can’t even catch a taxi late at night and the newspapers say
that if I’m not in front of a gun, chances are that I’ll be behind one. I wonder
why. . .
-Cuz you Black, nigger.
I ain’t Black, man. I had a conversation with my professor. Went like this:
-Where are you from, Willie?
-I’m from Harlem.
-Ohh! Are you Black?
-No, but-
-Do you play much basketball?
Te lo estoy diciendo, brother. Ese hombre es un moreno!
Mira yo no soy moreno! I just come out of Jerry’s Den and the
spray off my new shape-up sails around the corner, up to the Harlem
River and off to New Jersey. I’m lookin’ slim and I’m lookin’ trim
and when my homeboy Davi saw me, he said: “Como, Papo. Te
parece como
un moreno, brother. Word up, bro. You look like a stone black
-I told you - you was Black.
Damn! I ain’t even Black and here I am sufferin’ from the young
Black man’s plight/the old whtie man’s burden/and I ain’t even
Black, man/a Black man/I am not/Boricua I am/ain’t never really
was/Black/like me. . .
-Leave that boy alone. He got the Nigger-Reecan Blues
I’m a Spic!
I’m a Nigger!
Spic! Spic! No different than a Nigger!
Neglected, rejected, oppressed and depressed
From banana boats to tenements
Street gangs to regiments. . .
Spic! Spic! I ain’t nooooo different than a Nigger.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: eisa718 [Member] DATE: Wed, 02 May 2007 07:14:05 +0000 URL:

Zuhairah, you are absolutely right. I think we would have to add names like Danyel Smith to the list. She’s the surrent EIC of Vibe and Vibe Vixen and the auhor of two novels. Indeed, Gwen Pough and Elaine Brown recently co-edited the Hip Hop Anthology Homegirls Make Some Noise, which I contributed to. Gwen teaches Hip Hop at Syracuse and also authors romance novels.

Hip Hop perpetuated the cultural legacy of our ancestors; and, in this turn-of-the-millennium era, provided the opportunites for writers, who in ancient times might have been called Griots, to work as journalists, essayists, and fiction writers. Frankly, I don’t know how most of us would eat without Hip Hop, as it helped create the new entrepreneurs, who provided new opportunities, which allowed us to earn a living doing our writerly thing.

God Bless the Drum.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Pittershawn Palmer [Visitor] DATE: Tue, 01 May 2007 19:12:59 +0000 URL:

Here here!

Too bad a great many of the people in this nation are catatonic, otherwise they would have seen what was obvious to many from the very beginning.

More than 15 years ago I stopped looking to the media for facts.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Chris Chambers [Visitor] DATE: Tue, 01 May 2007 18:43:58 +0000 URL:

Amen on Bill Moyers. The press that’s attacking Bush now was just as guilty of jumping on the bandwagon.

As for Goodling, it’s just another example of the chickens not only coming home to roost, but having their feathers plucked for all to see!!!

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: eisa718 [Member] DATE: Sat, 28 Apr 2007 09:21:10 +0000 URL:

As I travel around promoting Crystelle Mourning, I often hear folk who are hungry to read literary Black fiction. Unfortunately, they often don’t know what authors to look for. Here are some contemporary, younger U.S. writers who do honor the tradition, and the craft, of Black books. Some are more literary, others are doing genre fiction, and you should try to check out all of them:

Tayari Jones
Bridgett Davis
Martha Southgate
Nelly Rosario
Edwidge Danticat
Marie-Elena John
Erica Simone Turnipseed
Jeffery Renard Allen
Calvin Baker
Colson Whitehead
Carl Hancock Rux
Colin Channer
Michael Thomas
Chris Chambers.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Seradin Engram [Visitor] DATE: Thu, 26 Apr 2007 21:41:59 +0000 URL:

Professor Ulen,
I must say that I am glad that you mentioned this. I thought that perhaps I was being ignorant in thinking and feeling that a lot of today’s black writers are NOT honoring the legacy that our fathers and mothers have left for us.And perhaps that these authors aren’t weighty. It’s funny though, because as an artist, there is still the concern of catering to the masses, and also you only write about what you know.

But like you said, how many of these writers have actually studied the black cultural movements of 20th Century? I myself have even felt ignorant sometimes when if haven’t read a title by Langston Hughes or Zora Neale Hurston and others.

A lot of this street fiction depicts these young women who find themselves in compromising situations and they usually end up falling in love with a man that doesn’t deserve them. And that man is usually involved with some altercation with the law, one way or another.

I guess what makes the street fiction such a turn off to many readers and other writers is that although the author acknowledges the suffering and the trials and tribulations their character faces, the author has them wallowing in all this DRAMA. Everyone has DRAMA, but these stories aren’t compelling. There really isn’t a developed story. On the surface, it could reflect the hardships some blacks and other people of color have to face. But these books don’t challenge the reader, to read deeper. To think. To analyze. Even that rare occasion while you’re washing dishes and the significance of a detail finally comes to you. It doesn’t come. They are entertaining, but are these books written to soothe the soul? Or even to stir it? Do they feed the mind? Or even break the heart? Maybe. But the greater majority don’t provide an invaluable lesson for the reader and ask them to reflect on themselves. Because we all know that a good book or movie usually makes you look at how you fit into all of it, how you would react in a situation like that. We subconsciously identify with characters that are fighting to find their authentic selves, because all people of color have been stripped of that true and unadulterated identity. We identify with characters that fight for acceptance, because we all have taught by this patriarchal society that we can never be good enough.

Some of the stories presented in these street fiction novels are valid…we all know that there are people living in the world today that do depend on illegal substances in order to make it through the day. There are people that break the law in order to survive. But, in total agreement with what you said, there has got to be more that we can offer the next generation of children, readers and authors to reflect on. There has to.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: eisa718 [Member] DATE: Wed, 25 Apr 2007 15:52:39 +0000 URL:

Can’t leave out the issues of gun control - and money. You guys are right on point!

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Wendi Jackson Smith [Visitor] DATE: Thu, 19 Apr 2007 16:41:44 +0000 URL:

During my childhood years I often remember my great-grandmother saying “money is the root of all evil". She was so wise!

To your point with respect to Aaliyah’s fatal plane crash. The person whose job it was to make an executive decision not to allow the plane to fly that day did not step up to make that decision. Why? Money. They don’t want to lose money. In fact the pilot stated that the plane was too heavy. It was Aaliyah’s handlers that said ‘make it work’ so to speak. No one stood up because of the fear of losing money and/or the greed of wanting more money and people died because of it.

The same holds true with respect to the VA Tech tradegy. Yes, this young man was obviously troubled–but why didn’t the owner of gunshop question him prior to selling him TWO guns. Common sense would dictate tasking the following questions: Why does a college student need a 9MM gun that can spay 50+ bullets before reloading? and most importantly… Why would he want one? If the owner of the gun shop would have taken a moment of pause prior to selling him the gun in the first place…perhaps we wouldn’t have lost 32 students. Again, you may find yourself asking (as I do) Why? Was the gun shop so desperate to sell a gun for money and for profit….. judging from these events, I guess the answer is YES.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Seradin Engram [Visitor] DATE: Wed, 18 Apr 2007 21:48:26 +0000 URL:

I fully agree that there should be more attention given to other issues that students might be facing. I guess people may feel that it’s not their place to say something, or that they’re being a busy-body or something like that. But when you outweigh the risks, preventing a bloody massacre definitely takes precedence.
Not only that, but there are too many individuals out there today who feel that if they talk to someone (besides family or friends) about their issues that something is extremely wrong. They fire back, “I’m not crazy!” But we tend to forget that we are our worst enemies.
Finally, i think that asking a student to take a hiatus before reentering school is not in the educational system’s best interest. We may be here to learn, but they are here to make money.Not that every student and even faculty member walking around all campuses are walking time bombs, but many students neglect the issues in their personal lives just to get that piece of paper after four years. The occasional out-burst at a friend or passer-by is mistaken as just someone having a bad day, and not someone having a bad year or life.
So, Professor, I think that the ideas you’ve considered are good ones. But everyone would have to work together to make it happen.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: eisa718 [Member] DATE: Wed, 18 Apr 2007 18:15:48 +0000 URL:

It’s funny, I’ve also been thinking of 9-11. I wonder if most people know that there probably isn’t really a plan in place at their children’s schools if a similar attack - God forbid - should take place. I feel like my friends who work on Wall Street rec’d better preparedness materials and information than I, or any other teacher I know, received after 9-11.

You’re right, I think, about the corporatization of schooling, especially at the college level, but in grade schools as well. Meanwhile, who among us feels safe these days?

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Amanda Insall [Visitor] DATE: Wed, 18 Apr 2007 18:04:59 +0000 URL:

Being a College Professor and a writing teacher, one is often the first authority in the College to know that a student is seriously mentally ill. One sees how the student interacts with others, and we read the student’s writing. In my years teaching I have run into this problem of having a mentally ill person in my class several times.

I have feared an ill student. Other students in class have also been afraid. Being on the front-line, a captive audience, so to speak, we must be believed when we try and engage the administration to help us in dealing with an unstable personality.

Part of the problem is that many colleges are run like businesses. Colleges are large bureaucratic organizations. Administrations fear legal repercussions, and litigation. There is a shrugging off of personal responsibility because of these vague fears of getting into legal difficulties. In addition, there is no protocol about what to do if there is a problem with security in the class room.

It is indeed unfortunate that events like these have to come about for us to begin to think practically.

I agree Eisa, there needs to be a protocol that Professors and other students can engage when there is a person who is clearly unstable in class. Among the sheer number of students going to college, statistically one is bound to encounter mental illness a number of times in a teaching career.

My thoughts too are with the families in Virginia.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: eisa718 [Member] DATE: Sun, 15 Apr 2007 08:01:08 +0000 URL:

It seems most of us are looking for a zero-tolerance policy on hate-filled speech but are concerned about free speech and policing thought. How do we begin to change attitudes and eliminate hate speech without stepping on civil liberties?

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: eisa718 [Member] DATE: Thu, 12 Apr 2007 08:19:41 +0000 URL:

By the way, I love how sisters are connecting over this hurtful event. I’ve gone from anger to an energetic new feeling of power and hope - and women’s words have gotten me there.

Thank you, all of you!


----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: eisa718 [Member] DATE: Thu, 12 Apr 2007 08:13:32 +0000 URL:

Hey, Peoples -

I think maybe I wasn’t clear about natural and unnatural. Sorry! Anger is a natural human emotion. However, the violent social systems that have been constructed, including white supremacy, are innovations built by man. Race-based stratification within the human community is unnatural. Indeed, we are learning that there is no biological basis for race at all. Biologically speaking, there is no such thing as race. It is purely a social construction - one I believe must ultimately be dismantled.

And this is the other thing: I have a unique vantage point at Hunter, as the school is incredibly diverse. As I’ve posted in earlier blogs, I am blessed to learn so very much from my students, who literally come from all over the world. I have students from different countries who have been in the US for a relatively short time who tell me they have no idea that the n-word is racist. They don’t know the history of the word, or our country, enough to get that. They are, in fact, surprised to hear that this is a word they should never use, and they don’t understand simply because they hear it spoken so very much. So what may be happening, is that you have to take the extra step in your everyday life to shield yourself from violent language, and pity the speaker, when they have no idea the word they spoke has caused this response in you. It has become that normalized. N-word brown furniture? Come on!

I think we need to voice our experiences as Black women and men in the public realm, re-educate folk, engage the emotion that conjures the word and the emotion that the word itself conjures - what it does to the speaker and what it does to the hearer. And I think Sister Yvette is so right on in putting this issue in an historical context, particularly the Black women’s club movement of the late 1800s and early 1900s. I’ve been talking a bit about honoring our future descndants; I think Yvette is right in suggesting we remember to honor our ancestors, women who gave so much - sometimes their own lives - for our relative privilege. I don’t think our grandmothers want us to just sit back and chill on this.

Love to you all!

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Yevette [Visitor] DATE: Wed, 11 Apr 2007 17:34:18 +0000 URL:

I’m glad to see Imus taken to task for his racist sexist slurs. At the beginning of the 20th century black female leaders spoke out against similarly offensive remarks against their characters. They were assumed to have no morals in large part because under slavery and for a long time thereafter any white man could rape or otherwise take sexual advantage of black women at will. Women in general were responsible for keeping men’s sexual proclivities in check. But black women were not deemed capable of having any moral fiber. It is due to this rampant abuse of black women that most black people in the US today have some white ancestry. Ida B. Wells, Fannie Barrier Williams, Nannie Helen Burroughs and Anna Julia Cooper were among the most outspoken on these issues of the utter lack of protection and respect accorded black women. Their voices were mainly ignored.

For years black women and their allies in groups and individually have spoken out against misogynist rap music and video productions. Again they have not done much better than their foremothers in garnering the media spotlight. We must note too that the music industry pushes this kind of music over better more uplifting talents and that the main consumers of this music in terms of dollars spent are whites.

I think it is a disservice for the mass media to only turn to Sharpton or Jackson to discuss these issues partly because many people will not listen to valid points they make because these two have some character flaws of their own. But more importantly, the mass media perpetuates the idea that there are few people who can speak to this subject with authority and historical insight. I know dozens who can, who are black, white, Native American and of Asian ancestry. Many people of diverse backgrounds could enlarge the conversation and this may lessen the defensive posture on the part of some whites and provide much needed education particularly for those who have the tendency to dismiss these remarks as no big deal.

I believe another part of the context that is missing from much of the Imus discussion in the national news is the larger cultural issue of how women are judged in our society. Sure women have made great strides, but there are still great deficits in pay and in how they are evaluated. And these two issues reinforce one another and are complicated by race and ethnicity.

Overwhelmingly our culture through advertising and other mass media forums tells women it’s how you look that counts most and really you can never measure up, so spend your money buying beauty products, going on guaranteed to fail fad diets, and getting plastic surgery. Prices are going down! So there’s no excuse for not going under the knife. The emphasis is not on health.

So while at the same time we have women advancing we also have women insecure about their looks, judging themselves and each other as many men judge them. Advertising, the foundation of mass media, preys on this insecurity, manufactures it and reinforces it. And this is really a global problem. After armaments, drugs, and oil, cosmetic sales account for the fourth biggest global money maker.

On college campuses disordered eating is particularly acute, and represents a conscious or unconscious desire on the part of these young women to fulfill these ideals and thereby gain value from society.

So here you have a Rutgers team, not fulfilling the narrow and mostly unattainable ideal of beauty and then subjected to ridicule. Only 5% of white women fulfill this ideal by being born into it. Unfortunately through globalization the ideal of beauty is narrowing all over the world to incorporate more European features. Wealth and power of the West and advertising are behind this trend. If white women here in the US feel bad when they measure themselves up to this narrow ideal, it becomes easy to see how women of color can feel the weight of this judgement more profoundly.

Still the vast majority of women or all races, colors and sizes need to reaffirm our uniqueness and demand a more diverse representation of what it is to be human and considered a person of value.

And men, particularly those who are most privileged to be represented in the mass culture, need to speak out against this constant dehumanization of females.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: eisa718 [Member] DATE: Wed, 11 Apr 2007 08:16:04 +0000 URL:

Thank you, all of you, for your powerful responses to Imus and the furniture label. Thank you, especially, Sister Sabiyha, for articulating a powerful Black female voice on Hardball last night. You represented well, sis.

We are assaulted on all sides and, yes, angry. However, I don’t think any of us have allowed our anger, which is, I believe, natural and human, to overwhelm us in our responses to violent verbal assault, which is, I believe, unnatural and a certain vector of death -not life. The constructed racialist thinking that has fueled White Supremacy and nearly all forms of worldwide social violence for the past several hundred years must be dismantled. I am so glad that on that issue, it seems, we agree.

I believe that ultimately the challenge is to love. That even the Massa, the Overseer, the Paddy Roller, the one who lynched our uncles, raped our grandmothers, and terrorized the generations, must be loved. Yes, I believe that. But I am not going to suggest, because I do not believe, that this kind of mass reconciliation and love-fest will happen in our lifetimes. Indeed, I think that to do that now is actually dangerous, not becuase loving thy enemy renders us vulnerable to his hate, his pain, and his confusion, but because, unchecked, those emotions, his emotions, will continue to impact our descendants, making our children vulnerable to his emotional and physical violence. I think our anger, constructively employed, will liberate our future.

I do hope we can all sing freedom songs together some day, that we can link arms with the former lyncher-rapist-terrorist in reconciliation and peace. I simply understand that we, the dispossessed, right now, have no power, in our arm, with which to link.

I am pumping iron now, not so much for us, but for our daughters and our sons. They are the ones I struggle for. May my anger become a distant echo when they open their mouths to sing. But for now, they are the ones, the only ones, to whom I can sing this song: “If I ruled the world - imagine that - I’d free all my sons… I love em, love em, baby…”


----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Sabiyha Prince [Visitor] DATE: Wed, 11 Apr 2007 07:24:49 +0000 URL:

Below is a letter I sent to Imus and a shout out letter I sent to a student out of frustration:

Well, you have shot your ugly mouth off again. I know you don’t care but
>your stupid remarks hurt people. Is it in your ability to think before you talk
>or is this what you are being paid to do? I realize there are plenty of
>Americans who agree with you and who have little affection for such things as
>diversity, human dignity and factual information but people like you are helping to
>push this country over the edge in terms of global standing, respect for
>others, and general intelligence. Regarding the last point, I am guessing that
>you share Harriet Miers’ view that George Bush is a genius?
>When should we expect the next empty and meaningless apology from you for
>another of your profoundly ignorant remarks? I don’t ask for censorship - just a
>modicum of common sense and awareness. This is what most of us in and
>outside of the public eye do each day. Stop abusing people with your mouth - it
>may help you as an individual and the country as a whole. At the very least,
>read something about the African American experience. You may just learn
>something about the young women you so cruelly vilified last week.
>Written with extreme restraint,
>Sabiyha Prince

Imus has received a slap on the wrist and it is not enough. He appeared on NBC the other morning talking out of the proverbial two sides of his neck. He is apologetic in one breath while attempting to escape blame and denigrate Al Sharpton in another. He says he is sorry but he is also quick to mention that, hey, he’s no dummy; he knows that African American men say these same things about their women every day. Apparently, this is where Mr. Imus learned of these phrases and I don’t doubt that. Imus also offered in his defense that he is not a journalist; that his show does comedy and he was attempting to be funny. With all of these excuses he doesn’t sound very sorry to me and as I told David Gregory on Hardball yesterday, he wasn?t even funny.

Is he sorry for insinuating, through his “comedy,” that Venus and Serena Williams should be in National Geographic or that, PBS journalist, Gwen Ifill is a cleaning lady, or for digs against Maya Angelou, etc. etc. etc. It is obvious to most of US that Imus is sorry he hit a nerve that has reverberated in this way - he is. Apparently so are his powerful, white male friends, supporters and/or sympathizers like John McCain and alleged liberals like James Carville, Tom Oliphant, hosts of Air America’s The Young Turks. They have either been quick to come to his defense or to, now, insist it is time to move on; especially since this show will be suspended NEXT WEEK. Imus still had today to defend his words, work up support over the airwaves, and direct venom toward those who criticize him. What kind of punishment is that? I am also forced to ask, what if a black host on a major corporate-funded radio show insulted the women of a white ethnic group in this way - REPEATEDLY! It wouldn’t happen because one infraction would have led to his or her dismissal. There is a glaring double standard operating here.

Thanks to Marsha Jones for getting to the issue of corporate culpability. Boycotts, letters and pickets worked in the past and they can work now. Yes, I may have to miss Heroes and Keith Olberman but I am just angry enough to do it - it is the least. I am also offering my energies, words, and deeds to a reinvigorated black feminist movement that continues to encourage African American women of all ages, classes, colors and locales to speak out against gender discrimination, misogyny, and the abuse of women and girls everywhere and by every and anyone. We shouldn’t accept it from the power structure and we shouldn’t accept it in our own communities. Let us eliminate the factors that encourage Imus to blame black men for the language he so crudely appropriated. But let us also be reminded of the University of Chicago (2006/2007) study that found African American youth are, overwhelmingly, tired of the violence and sexual degradation of corporate hip hop. They want a change but who are the primary consumers of the hip hop generated by major record companies? This would be young, white males - something Imus was once.

Let’s join together to fight the power for in the battle against sexism we will also make strides to eradicate racism, classism, ageism, homophobia, environmental destruction, and all forms of inequality.

Yours in struggle,

Sabiyha Prince

Sabiyha Prince, Ph.D
Assistant Professor
Department of Anthropology
American University
4400 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20016

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: eisa718 [Member] DATE: Tue, 10 Apr 2007 18:34:24 +0000 URL:

Here’s word from a brother, Julia - what you were looking for in your post…

This comment comes from Gabe Tolliver, a co-author of the recently published book, Bling. ( He was having trouble connecting to the site earlier, and he gave me permission to post his comment for him:

Yes. Its crazy but until we start some community therapy and there’s a
> mental paradigm shift toward self esteem ascension and knowledge of
> self. Then maybe folks will think twice about calling us out. Hell
> motherfuckers profit off portions of the community who revel in
> commodifying ignorance and that is considered cool. All this hype of
> Imus’s ignorant ass is warrented to a degree but we need to address
> the source but since he’s a high profile target, it makes good news.
> If we go after him, then let’s hit up every rapper who puts out a
> degrading tune, then let’s hit up the coonshows on BET like comic
> view, then onto the next. It’s easy to hit big targets. Just my
> thoughts while rolling the hood.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: elise [Visitor] DATE: Tue, 10 Apr 2007 15:20:16 +0000 URL:

oh my God! i could not believe (but could VERY MUCH believe, you know what i mean) the article about the sofa!!! being married to a canadian who is always telling me that racism is an “american” sickness, this article just proves what black folks all over the world already know . . . prejudice against us exist everywhere (even in “oh, canada!") the insane part is my in-laws used to live in brampton and i know the exact street where that vile sofa was sold. the reaction from the store manager was seriously coo-coo for coco puffs. from his surname i gathered he was of south asian descent. how would he like it if a sofa was described using a slur against his ethnicity? and the description had to be on some kind of stock list at the store. for him to act like it was news to him and then said news was not his problem?!?! un- f-ing-believable!!! there is no way i could live with that couch in my house!

on to the imus rant, i’m pleased that so many people are discussing what happened and taking up this cause which is about all women of color and especially black women. for too long we have been subjugated and villified. enough is enough. and all this talk about freedom of speech being raked over the coals is nonsense! being able to say whatever you want is overrated. a baby says whatever they want to say. that’s no big deal. adults - truly educated, considerate, compassionate, opened mind folks THINK before they speak. in this so-called God fearing nation we rarely recall that the “god” of most religions calls for compassion . . . consideration. that golden rule of treating others the way you would like to be treated. and if you’re going to spit some dumb ass crap out of your mouth, don’t be surprised or offended by what is being spit back at you (including calls for your butt to be fired!). as a white man (and a cranky, old white man to boot) imus feels entitled to make a mean spirited, humiliating, racist comment and expect not to be questioned about it. i say let’s turn up the heat and let americans know you can have freedom of speech but it doesn’t mean that the rest of us will sit back and remain victims of it.

last thing, i take issue with the person that wrote about the n-word: “but then, hip-hop and rap are the outrage of the ignorant so what else can you expect from a group who choose to glorify their limited intellect and lack of ambition?” that may be the current state of hip hop (and by current i mean since 2000) but not all hip hop comes from ignorant people. first off, you would have to have some kind of intelligence to be outraged because ignorant people i would think would be more complacent. and these rappers are ambitious. maybe the issue for debate is what drives their ambition. hip hop like most of us has been many different things in it’s lifetime but if you look at the true foundation of it, you will find an art form and a way of life that i believe came from the best intentions and was inclusive of many types of people (race, class, gender, etc.) the fact that so many young people and not some not so young people (have you ever heard russell simmons talk?) choose to use the n-word is way more complicated than just the hip hop music that they listen to. and that control issue you wrote about with white people and the n-word . . . well, who do you think is really CONTROLLING hip hop?

easy everyone!

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Jane [Visitor] DATE: Tue, 10 Apr 2007 14:24:37 +0000 URL:

Thanks, Eisa. Imus’ comment was straight up ignorant!!! As a former athlete, I’m personally sick of men commenting on the physical attributes of female athletes. I find it sexist and equally degrading (no female sportswriters comment on how good terrell owens looks nor do male athletes get endorsements based on how good they look in a swim suit, etc.). It has no place in journalism. However, I’m questioning how racist it may have been. I think he was just using the accepted vernacular of our day. To begin, I have no problem with anyone referring to my hair as nappy - this is not an insult. Most black folks have nappy hair we try to cover up with weave, perm and wigs. This speaks to the inability for many of us to truly love ourselves (but that’s another dig for another day). Now, black men call black women bitches, hos, etc. on the regular. So, when you take his comments in full context - he said, the Tennessee girls were “cute” (Tennessee’s line up is predominatel
y black as well) and the Rutger’s girls were “nappy headed hos". Was this racist or just his pathetic attempt at “black man’s” humor!? If Chris Rock had said it - would it be funny? Hell, I have to admit, if Chris Rock or one of our black comedians had said this, I’d probably be chuckling. So, why not chuckle at Imus? It’s because we still (no matter how far we’ve come) are in no position to allow others to make fun of us. We can do it within our own group, but the wounds of slavery and injustice are too fresh and still present. It hurts. Hell, if Chris Rock had said it, we know he’s laughing and crying with us NOT at us. Further, folks like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton should boycott CBS everyday for putting out records glorifying these base terms about women. Why don’t we boycott Hot 97??! They call women hos and bitches everyday. These double standards have to stop. Don’t get me wrong - Imus is a loser and his show stinks and should be pulled because this type o
f humor perpetuates the lowest denominator in our social functions. That being said, we can’t have it both ways.


----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Julia Chance [Visitor] DATE: Tue, 10 Apr 2007 13:48:12 +0000 URL:

Author Lori Tharps spoke on the topic and the roots of nappy hair, on the Brian Lehrer show. Check it out on the broadcast:
It’s about 15 minutes long with folks calling in to make some good points.

Lori Tharps, co-author of Hair Story: Untangling the Roots of Black Hair in America and writer of the blog My American Melting Pot, takes on the Don Imus flap.

Hair Story: Untangling the Roots of Black Hair in America is available for purchase at

I also hope some brothers step up regarding this dis. Fools like Imus need to know they can’t spew out crap about black women and not be called on it.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Julia Chance [Visitor] DATE: Tue, 10 Apr 2007 13:43:30 +0000 URL:

Even Al Roker is calling for Imus to step down, and they belong to the same GE/NBC/MSNBC family. And you know All never causes waves. Check it out:

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Mia [Visitor] DATE: Tue, 10 Apr 2007 13:18:21 +0000 URL:

The furniture label……………..Unbelievable! Thanks for keeping me informed.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Amanda Insall [Visitor] DATE: Tue, 10 Apr 2007 12:58:05 +0000 URL:

Every day it appalls me how we are continually confronted with racial hatred, still. In a relatively short period of time we’ve seen our administration’s blatant disregard for the welfare of our citizens in New Orleans in the face of a terrible disaster. We saw the people of NO go without water, food and shelter in the aftermath. We’ve seen the media’s negative characterizations of those citizens as they waded through the water to higher ground.

We’ve seen a desperately failing comedian break down hysterically on stage into a rage which included a lynching among the images he thrust into the national spotlight.

And we’ve seen a physically weak old man assault young vital women with vitriol, when they should be celebrating their team’s incredible victory.

In these cases, I see this expression of hatred as a sign of pathetic weakness, of failure.

I agree with you Eisa, that hateful words are the first step towards violence. Language is the human way of categorizing things. Any categorization of a perceived group of people as good or bad leads to very very dangerous situations. We’ve seen it here in our violent history, we see it in Bosnia, Chechnya, Iraq, Rwanda, the Sudan.

How could this be? How could this ever have been?

But it is…

With the recognition that humans are capable of appalling hatred and violence, we see that we also have a choice. We have a choice not to categorize, not to be lazy and stupid and hateful. We have a choice not to do these things. It is within this choice that I see the future evolution of human society.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: kendra [Visitor] DATE: Tue, 10 Apr 2007 12:27:55 +0000 URL:

okay, what???! the furniture label was desribed as… okay, why you make my blood pressure shoot up this morning???!!!

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Seradin Engram [Visitor] DATE: Sat, 07 Apr 2007 22:54:38 +0000 URL:

It’s nice to see hip-hop artists who actually have something to say. I don’t know about any one else, but I don’t know anything about having bling, and pimped-out cars, nor do I objectify women. I can’t relate to that. And I don’t know how many “real” people can actually relate to that. However, this new revolution speaks to everyone. Not just black people. People from all over the world. Its sad because some people think they have carte-blanche on hip-hop. Its theirs and no one else can take it. But, hip-hop started out as a movement to stir up pride, no? So, who says pride only comes in black.
Though I can’t relate to this sickening commercialized element of hip-hop that promotes and condones conspicuous consumption, promiscuity, hate, violence, greed, stupidity and a whole host of other things, this underground element of hip-hop is real and speaks to me. Listening to artists like Meshell Ndegeocello, A Tribe Called Quest, and even Common and Mos Def helps me to realize and proves to others that hip-hop does not have one face and that it a voice used to speak to everyone.
This revolution will thrive.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Tara Roberts [Visitor] DATE: Thu, 05 Apr 2007 06:49:48 +0000 URL:

A nice reminder that it is about more than the bling…and that the music and expression and power is global and multicultural. Sweet.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: eisa718 [Member] DATE: Wed, 04 Apr 2007 14:35:22 +0000 URL:

Amen, Brother Soto. Amen.

A luta continua - for us all!

That’s why I liked this video. It celebrates and empowers the community - crossing borders - on an international level.


----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: eisa718 [Member] DATE: Wed, 04 Apr 2007 14:29:03 +0000 URL:

Brooke -

I have not read Cora’s book yet, though I intend to soon, but you have really given me something to think about with the issue of control. How powerful. I have to pick up Jabari’s new book, too. He’ll be at Hue Man Books in Harlem on April 10th, and I intend to be there. This issue of power and control over the word is something I’ll be thinking about, and probably be sharing with my Hunter students, for a while. Thanks for your comment!

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Brooke Stephens [Visitor] DATE: Wed, 04 Apr 2007 14:19:57 +0000 URL:

No, I agree with Jabari Asim in his book, The N Word. Yes, it’s ugly it’s heinous and horrible but it needs to still be in our lexicon to keep reminding us of how truly racist America is. Otherwise, all this soft-talking and “white” washing plays into the dumbing down of the country as which is becoming fashionable as a social pattern of behavior.

Black folks used to have some standards of excellence and we were “better” than white people in our goals, ambitions and efforts for self-improvement. Now ignorance is a lifestyle choice. Yes, I think the young rappers are silly and disgusting for not being able to find anything else to demonstrate their “friendship and affection” for each other but then, hip-hop and rap are the outrage of the ignroant so what else can you expect from a group who choose to glorify their limited intellect and lack of ambition?

The other aspect of this that no one is discussing is that the control issue for white people. We choose to use it within a context which they do not understand and we prohibit them from using it which is what it really is about for them. Power and control — How dare we choose to exercise such and put them out of (or in their) place on this. They started it as a means of denigration, now they should have to live with it and not control how and why it is used.

Read the new book, GHETTONATION by Cora Daniels. She explains it very well.

Brooke Stephens

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: eisa718 [Member] DATE: Wed, 04 Apr 2007 10:16:41 +0000 URL:

I think it’s important to remember that the relationship is symbiotic. People do say what they think and feel, but they also - and this is where it gets interesting - people also feel what they say. Words impact, reverberate, channel, burrow, bury themselves in our flesh, in our organs, in our soul. Word is power. Word is bond. In the beginning, there was the word. And challenging words, dismantling them, that powerful act of confrontation with spoken word, that changes everything else.

Love, sister.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Seradin Engram [Visitor] DATE: Wed, 28 Mar 2007 22:41:50 +0000 URL:

Ann Coulter…what can I say? She’s just bad. Personally, I think that she uses hate speech like this just to get even more publicity. She will attack any and everyone just to be seen.
I once read an article she wrote entitled, “How can I make your flight uncomfortable?” Here, she basically is hoping to god that all the blasted Muslims go back home where they came from. Isn’t it sad that we have such people leading our country? Where’s the positive influence?

Oh, and I have to agree with Ralph Richardson. You usually point out the things you don’t like in others that you find in yourself. So, Ann, you’re expressing your own internalized homophobia towards others. Thanks a lot.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Michelle Herrera Mulligan [Visitor] DATE: Sun, 18 Mar 2007 20:06:36 +0000 URL:


It was truly an honor for me to share the stage with you last Thursday. Thanks for being so honest and thoughtful in your responses to all of the audience’s questions–It’s wonderful to hear authors answer young women’s questions thoughtfully, without ever talking down to them or discouraging them in any way.

I can’t wait to get a copy of your book. I’ll definitely be buying it within the next week, and I’ll be sure to let you know how wonderful it is when I’m done. :-)


----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: eisa718 [Member] DATE: Sun, 18 Mar 2007 16:48:36 +0000 URL:

That’s a great question, Mia. You can generally trust that magazine editors won’t steal your ideas. One reason, frankly, is that with magazines, the pay is very low. Most agents won’t even handle freelance contracts. When submitting complete articles on-spec (on-speculation), simply craft a great letter to go with your article. If you haven’t written the piece yet but have a great idea, send in a solid query. Whether an on-spec article or query letter, make sure your work is professional-looking and follow each magazine’s guidelines for submitting queries and on-spec work.

When the stakes are higher, and the money greater, as in books publishing, it’s best to use an agent. Finding an agent is really the best way to insure an editor will even read your book proposal at all, and a good agent protects your interests through all stages of the book publishing experience.

If you ever submit ideas for television and film, the company itself will provide you with a contract - one that basically protects them from you if they reject your idea but later develop a product that is similar to yours. Again, it’s a good idea to get an agent before trying to have your work produced by a film or television company.

Make sure you try to nework with editors and other professionals as much as possible. Having a personal connection to the people who will make decisions about publishing your submission is always a plus. Check out your local National Association of Black Journalists chapter, and see if you can make the NABJ convention in Vegas this year.

Make sure you let me know if you have any other questions. Good luck with your writing career!

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Mia [Visitor] DATE: Sun, 18 Mar 2007 16:28:56 +0000 URL:

Hi Eisa,

Keep it up girlfriend. You are paving the way for others to follow you.

Yes, I agree that handling the business end of things is soooo important. I am learning my way each day. In general, I try to really trust my instincts. I have found that I am usually right.

Intellectual property is simply a funny thing.

Do you have a standard contract that you use when submiting articles for magazines? Do tell! I am open to anything you might suggest.


----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Uncle Lance [Visitor] DATE: Sun, 18 Mar 2007 15:46:13 +0000 URL:

Sounds like a wonderful and fruitful time. Its really great you are sharing and learning the business side of the business. More of this type of information needs to be available to more of our people. Not enough of us are educated about the business side of business. Keep up the great work, luv ya.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Pittershawn [Visitor] DATE: Sun, 18 Mar 2007 15:16:45 +0000 URL:

Seems like it was an enriching event.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Charles Rice-Gonzalez [Visitor] DATE: Sun, 18 Mar 2007 12:44:13 +0000 URL:

We were all truly excited by the event and are still feeling the beautiful energy. The talents of all you four panelists are only matched by your sincerity, willingness to give and share, and love.
I reported to the Executive Director of the Bronx Council on the Arts (, our co-sponsor of the evening, and shared with him the evening’s success. The surveys we handed out all had glowing comments about the panel, and the young women from Odyssey House have mentioned the evening during their return visits. Thanks and continue to spread your words, stories, talent and genorisity with our worlds.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Elisha Miranda aka E-Fierce [Visitor] DATE: Sun, 18 Mar 2007 08:55:37 +0000 URL:

It’s always amazing to be in the presence of talented, warm and embracing ‘manas! Last night sharing the stage with Sofia, Eisa and Michelle was contagious in it’s good energy and positive vibe! I also got Eisa’s new book which I can’t wait to open and read (i have Sofia and Michelle’s already and they’re great). I loved hearing everyone read their own words, from their own voices. Powerful!

What was also touching was the young women who came from Odyseey in the Bronx and how many young writers’s want are out there. I can’t wait to post the video blog that Sister Outsider produced for the event (my company with Sofia) to share the amazing wisdom of all the panelists and audience members.

But, what really started this was the amazing energy at BAAD! So folks got to check what these BAAD! gente are doing at

Looking forward to the next BAAD! panel and of course, once again joining my ‘manas where we can share about the borders we cross to write as women of color.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Sofia Quintero aka Black Artemis [Visitor] DATE: Sun, 18 Mar 2007 08:22:59 +0000 URL:

Eisa, it was such an honor to meet you, and I hope we all continue to build the sisterhood. I think one of (many!) great things about that panel was the way we were able to be real about the industry while still inspiring the writers in the audience to pursue their dreams. It can be tough to say things that need to be said about the corporate context in which attempt to create art that matters yet still be encouraging about finding and using one’s voice. But the way folks flocked to the table afterwards showed that we had achieved that delicate balance.

And thank you so much for the love and solidarity you demonstrate Thursday night and here on your blog for your Latina sisters. I remember Elisha acknowledge the trails that African Americans have blazed in publishing for us and now to have you acknowledge our contributions to field here, well, it just fills myh heart with joy. This kind of sisterhood should be the norm not the exception. Unfortunately, there are folks in the various fields of entertainment who benefit from pitting us against each other, and too many sisters capitulate to it. And for what? Just to be objectified and exoticized. I was so proud to be among a panel of women who modeled for a large audience of mostly younger sisters the power that emerges when we resist.

Elisha and my company Sister Outsider is working to get a video podcast of the panel uploaded on the internet so we can share their the information far and wide! We will let you know when and where it’s available to view.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: eisa718 [Member] DATE: Fri, 16 Mar 2007 17:43:46 +0000 URL:

you are hilarious, simone!

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: eisa718 [Member] DATE: Fri, 16 Mar 2007 14:45:15 +0000 URL:

she should lose advertising. just shameful. really. thanks for this update, keli!

and, chris - dang! thanks for the history lesson.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: eisa718 [Member] DATE: Sun, 11 Mar 2007 10:16:12 +0000 URL:

Lets bring back the ‘fro!

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Simone [Visitor] DATE: Sat, 10 Mar 2007 17:11:01 +0000 URL:

register to vote!

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Keli [Visitor] DATE: Wed, 07 Mar 2007 17:58:21 +0000 URL:

Clearly we are not alone in finding her comments deplorable since Coulter’s site has now lost 3 major advertisers. (See: Companies to pull ads from Coulter’s Web site on
One of these days she is going to FINALLY catch on to the fact that there IS such a thing as BAD publicity…

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Chris Chambers [Visitor] DATE: Mon, 05 Mar 2007 12:41:22 +0000 URL:

Possibly, yet I’ve seen brothas hit on her at the bar at the Capital Grille here in DC. For real–you had to see this sh*t. But that’s for another post hahahaha

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Chris Chambers [Visitor] DATE: Mon, 05 Mar 2007 11:54:33 +0000 URL:

Actually it doesn’t surprise or shock–neither her comments or the audience reaction. The thing is that no one’s upped the ante on her. Given her a taste of her own medicine; she’s usually chickenshit and avoids direct debates unless it’s on Fox with some lightweight like Colmes.

Frankly, if I were gay I’d seize upon the imagery in the upcoming fantasy flick “300,” based on the very real 300 gay men: Sparta’s elite king’s guard, who laid down their lives at the pass in Thermopalyae, essentially saving the very western civilization these right wing loons say gays are destroying. The letter “L” was bonded to their bronze shields, and it’s no coincidence gay advocaxy groups use that lambda as their logo. If you saw that “L” it meant your ass, and I don’t mean figuratively hahahaha (pardon the humor, but come on lighten up for a split second). I would use the f-word proudly in that circumstance. 300 faggots stood with bravery and sacrifice Anne. Let’s get in a time machine and see what they have to say about your boney ass. I’m sure nothing, as the word “laconic” is dervied from the word for Spartan. They didn’t say much. They’d just toss her off a cliff…

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: eisa718 [Member] DATE: Fri, 23 Feb 2007 06:28:55 +0000 URL:

there are 27 million slaves in the world today; 10,000 of them live in this country. for more info on these statistics and what you can do to help, contact “free the slaves,” which Bloomberg Markets calls the US arm of the oldest human rights organization in the world.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Simone [Visitor] DATE: Wed, 21 Feb 2007 17:26:35 +0000 URL:

melt the guns

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Simone [Visitor] DATE: Wed, 21 Feb 2007 15:37:07 +0000 URL:

Buy Eisa’s book!

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: eisa718 [Member] DATE: Tue, 20 Feb 2007 08:41:45 +0000 URL:

Let all US companies know that slave labor is unacceptable.