Spirit of Writing Week Six: Edit and Revise…Now and Forever

Spirit of Writing

This weekend, especially with a long holiday coming up and the end of National Novel Writing Month, respect your accomplishments but commit yourself to EDITING in December. So, by the start of the new year, you will have a project (or two, or three) ready to go…End 2014 writing, not planning to write again in 2015. The Spirit of Writing: 12 Weeks of Practice. Continue reading

My Mike Nichols Favorites


It is a miracle and luck when any work of art, creative piece or cultural manufacture reaches out and touches those like it depicts. However, it is supernatural and magic when a work of art, creative piece or cultural manufacture so far beyond an aesthete’s race, class, gender and experience arrives to inspire and introduce new lives to them. The handful of works I know from Mr. Nichols all do that for me. Continue reading

I Am Waiting: The New Primetime


Will it happen exactly at 7:00 p.m.? On what channel? Should I give up on watching the Dancing With the Stars championship? Should I pop popcorn for it?

This all began when Harvard University professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr., one of the most hardworking professors alive and a man responsible for much approach to African-American studies today, was harassed and arrested in his own Cambridge mansion after he came from a vacation– and a bigoted White cop was so disbelieving of all signs nothing was wrong he drove Dr. Gates to such stress about explaining himself until a reason to handcuff Dr. Gates was created artificially; this prejudiced behavior was excused as “no big deal,” and even celebrated with good ole boy beers at the White House. “Beergate” was the first sign of this escalated revival of lynch law.

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Laboring a novel online…

61 South

Because of information, images, stories and archives on the Internet, I was able to massage those old memories from the comfort of my own home (as opposed to daylong stints in the library, which I still love to have). I am quite sure I was able to go deeper into some topics and subjects because of online archiving. Furthermore, I was able to publish parts of the work online in outside venues, to cement the idea the book was real and not just a whim of my imagination. Continue reading

Harsh History: A Gem of Our Libraries

Vivian Harsh

The Vivian G. Harsh Research Collection, housed in Chicago’s Carter G. Woodson Library, is an invaluable display of the flowering of Black history and culture within a Northern, urban environment galvanized by the energy of hundreds of thousands of post-war Black migrants from the South. Continue reading

The New College.


The Wall Street Journal has reported that the number of “college” students who need a remedial (or high school repeat) course funded by the U.S. government had risen a staggering 160% in the last 12 years. This means that students are now arriving on campuses in America so poorly prepared and scarcely educated they must redo a version of pre-school in order to prepare for professions. Continue reading

*On The Color Purple and Beloved film adaptations…


I remember when The Color Purple movie came out in 1986. To have a beautiful and serious movie, that was not about Blacks killing each other or acting stupid but truly featured the story and amazing acting, was a big event. Oprah Winfrey … Continue reading

10 Black Women’s Book-to-Film Adaptations*


This gallery contains 11 photos.

Here are Black women’s book-to-film adaptations you may be able to appreciate…enjoy! I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou (book 1969/tv miniseres 1979) The Color Purple by Alice Walker (book 1982/film 1985) Waiting to Exhale by Terry McMillan (book … Continue reading

Spirit of Writing Week Four: The Secret Of Getting Ahead is Getting Started…

Spirit of Writing

You really don’t have time to be worried about other people and wasting energy to criticize others’ ideas. The purpose of this post is to help anyone push past limitations of walking around with just your idea because you believe it … Continue reading

To Confess or Not To Confess?

Sylvia Plath

The 1950’s and 1960’s confessional poetry movement grandfathered by Robert Lowell, and carried on by Anne Sexton and of course Sylvia Plath (easily the most famous of all confessional authors), extinguished the very capable words “What should I write about?” as effective scapegoats to writing nothing at all. Continue reading

On the Channon Christian and Chris Newsom losses of life*, and Vanessa Coleman’s impending parole

Channon and Chris

I only learned of the rapes and murders of Channon Christian and Christopher Newsom because of the national and international media blitz from George Zimmerman’s trial and acquittal last summer. I was under a high workload and I packed away … Continue reading

This Is Not About Ferguson (But Could Be)

Paul Robeson High School is in Englewood, one of Chicago's most dangerous neighborhoods. The area is also one of the poorest neighborhoods in the city, with a median income of $18,955.  In Chicago Public Schools, only around half the freshmen who enter high school will earn their diploma.

In April of 2008, at approximately 11:00 pm, a family of three was found slain in a house in Chicago’s Englewood neighborhood, across the street from a school where I had just spoken to middle schoolers about my writing career … Continue reading

Marion Ettlinger’s Author Photos: Black Writers Shot by Famed Literary Photographer

Author April Reynolds

 About Marion Ettlinger: Marion Ettlinger graduated from the High School of Music and Art and The Cooper Union in New York City. She has been photographing writers since 1983. Her book Author Photo, containing more than 200 black-and-white portraits shot exclusively in natural … Continue reading

Ruby: New York Times Obituary

Ruby: New York Times Obituary

Photo by G. Paul Burnett/The New York Times

Tulsa Race Riot miniseries to come to OWN.


In 1929, race riots tore down the little-known area of America once known as “Black Wall Street,” where hundreds of middle-class and upwardly mobile African-Americans sheltered for their own version of the American dream. The community burned to the ground, … Continue reading

“You May Sit Beside Me”: Visual Narratives of Black Women & Queer Identities


You know how you go to the grocery store checkout counter and leave with not only your bags of food, but all those annoying tree-killing printouts from the register and a bunch of coupons for stuff you don’t even eat? … Continue reading

A Few of My Favorite Things Now (Just a Few…)

Raisin in the Sun

Top Video: The trailer for the reprise of one of my favorite movies of all time, Annie, with more than just one Black guy playing Punjab this time! Clockwise from top left: David Boykin’s Soul Sessions in Chicago every Sunday … Continue reading

Carrie Mae Weems: Three Decades of Photography and Video

Carrie Mae Weems: Three Decades of Photography and Video.

Black Butterflies

Nia Long

This gallery contains 20 photos.

The ongoing conversation about Black Americans in Hollywood ties a new knot: currently, forasmuch as we are proud and excited for our recent successes in Black film productions and critical acclaim, it is talent from the entire African diaspora that … Continue reading

Black Woman Gossip (Or, Ten Great Black Women’s Story Collections)

White Rat

If nothing else, Black women can certainly tell a story. And where others are more subdued or might strain unto artificial performance and nearly-rehearsed expression, such embellishments to a tale are attributes we can’t help but deliver automatically. While the privileged classes … Continue reading

Black History Month


This gallery contains 42 photos.


The Way We Will Celebrate Them Today

Martin Luther King

Today, January 15th, 2014, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. would have been 85 years old.  It is arguable that, in this age of globalization and its increased emphases on the heightened role Americans should play in African diaspora nations and … Continue reading