Gil’s Goodwill!

 

Gil Robertson

The “Book of Black Heroes” Interview

with Kam Williams

Gil’s Goodwill!

For nearly three decades, writer/author Gil L. Robertson, IV has used the written word to enlighten, empower and uplift. The one-time political organizer initially made his mark in entertainment journalism, penning over 50 national magazine covers and contributing bylines to a wide range of publications that include the Los Angeles Times, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, USA Today, Billboard, Fortune, Essence and Ebony.

Gil is also the founder and creator of the nationally-syndicated Arts & Lifestyle column, The Robertson Treatment, which began a couple of decades ago with an interview with Samuel L. Jackson for EVE’S BAYOU. Today, The Robertson Treatment has a reach of nearly two million.

As an author, Gil has specialized in books that empower his readers, beginning first with the self-published “Writing as a Tool of Empowerment” (2003), a resource guide primarily aimed at young people interested in journalism. From there, he edited the groundbreaking 2006 anthology “Not in My Family: AIDS in the African American Community” where he gathered a diverse mix of voices that include Oscar-winner Mo’Nique, Congresswoman Barbara Lee, legendary singer Patti LaBelle and former U.S. Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders, all addressing one of the most pressing public health and social challenges of our time.

His subsequent anthologies—”Family Affair: What It Means to Be African American Today” (2008) and “Where Did Our Love Go: Love and Relationships in the African American Community” (2013)—ignited a national conversation about identity and love and relationships in the 21st Century. In addition, Robertson has been a regular contributor to The African American Almanac (Gale Press). Accolades for his work include “Pick of the Week” selection by Publisher’s Weekly for “Family Affair” and NAACP Image Award nominations for “Not in My Family” and “Family Affair”.

His latest  offering is “Book of Black Heroes: Political Leaders Past & Present” from Just Us Books. The opus represents a full-Gil Robertson, Book of Black Heroes, Interview, Kam Williams, writer/author,  political organizer, AAFCA co-foundercircle moment for Gil who began the first phase of his career in politics. This collection of biographies on game-changing elected political leaders like former President Barack Obama, pioneering Los Angeles mayor Tom Bradley, current U.S. Senator Kamala Harris and Reconstruction era governor Pinckney Benton Stewart Pinchbank is intended to introduce young readers especially to not only dynamic personalities but to the concept of individual and political leadership.

Never one to sit on the sidelines of any pressing issue, in 2003, Gil rolled up his sleeves and got to work as the co-founder of the African American Film Critics Association (AAFCA), the largest collection of Black film critics in North America. As the organization’s president, he oversees the annual AAFCA Awards, which has become a recognized fixture of the Hollywood awards season. In addition to highlighting African-American achievement behind and in front of the camera, AAFCA works with the industry to usher in and support African-Americans in the Hollywood community, uniting consumers, creators and gatekeepers.

He also serves as a public ambassador for diversity within the industry, appearing on numerous shows on networks like CNN. With a B.A. in Political Science from Cal State Los Angeles, Gil is a professional member of the National Press Club, National Association of Black Journalists, The Recording Academy, The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences and the Motion Picture Association of America. And he lectures nationwide on issues ranging from diversity in the entertainment industry to personal and community development.

Kam Williams: Hi Gil, thanks for the interview.

Gil Robertson: Thanks, Kam. It’s always a pleasure speaking with you.

KW: What inspired you to write Book of Black Heroes?

GR: Following Obama’s election, I was astonished to discover how little most people knew about the contributions of African-Americans in politics. When most people think of blacks in U.S. politics, they usually fall back on the same group of leaders who came into prominence during the Civil Rights Movement. So, I wanted to do my part in expanding people’s level of awareness of black people who have been active participants in national politics since Reconstruction, and that their contributions continue to this day. Black political leaders make enormous contributions to the quality of our lives, and I simply wanted to provide readers with an introduction to who these people are and, as a by-product, stimulate aspirations among young people to consider a career path in political leadership.

KW: Who’s your intended audience?

GR: People who are curious about contributions that African-Americans have made to the political and social landscape in America. This book offers an amazing tapestry of leaders, both past and present, who have fascinating back stories, but who all stepped up to the challenges of leadership.

KW: What’s the appropriate age group for the book?

GR: The target age group for Book of Black Heroes are young adult readers in the 10 – 14 age group. But I believe it will have an appeal to all teen readers and even adults. Readers will discover political leaders that they’ve never heard of who are creating great opportunities both within black communities and beyond.

KW: How did you decide which icons to include?

GR: Well, that was a challenge. At the onset of the project, I was only going to write bios on individuals who were a part of the new wave of African-Americans in politics: people like Kasim Reed, Kamala Harris and Corey Booker. However, when I completed those bios, my publisher felt we should include leaders from the past as well to provide readers with the full scope of accomplishments that have been made by black elected officials.

KW: Did you include Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas? I know that some people have complained that he doesn’t have an exhibit in the National Museum of African-American History and Culture in Washington, DC.

GR: No Clarence Thomas, but not for the reasons you might think. The book only includes elected officials, and Justice Thomas was appointed to his seat on the Supreme Court.

KW: What message do you want children to take away from the book?

GR: I want them to understand that being a leader is something that is attainable. I hope the book provides readers with an appreciation for African-American political leaders and motivates them to do their part in harvesting their skill sets to improve the lives of others.

KW: Ling-Ju Yen asks: What is your earliest childhood memory?

GR: The love and generosity of my parents.

KW: Who loved you unconditionally during your formative years?

GR: Throughout their lives, my parents loved me completely with no conditions.

KW: What advice do you have for anyone who wants to follow in your footsteps?

GR: The best advice that I can give others is to be truthful to themselves about their abilities and to also live their lives with purpose.

KW: Thanks again for the time, Gil, and best of luck with the book.

GR: My pleasure, Kam.

For more information about Gil Robertson, visit www.robertsontreatment.com

To purchase a copy of “Book of Black Heroes,” visit:  https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1933491213/ref=nosim/thslfofire-20

                                                                                                                     

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Author Expounds on Labor of Love

 

Peter Brav

The “331 Innings” Interview

with Kam Williams

Author Expounds on Labor of Love

Peter Brav is not much of a baseball player but he’s written three novels where the diamond provides a setting for triumph over adversity in one way or another. Sneaking In (set during the 1999 Yankees championship season), The Other Side Of Losing (set during a Chicago Cubs championship season) and now 331 Innings (set in a small Nebraska town). Add in Zappy I’m Not, a memoir of a cranky middle-aged man reincarnated as a small dog, and you have a literary celebration of all manner of admirable underdogs.

Peter Brav, 331 Innings, Interview, bullying, war, life, Lincoln, Nebraska, Princeton, NJPeter has written several plays including South Beach, African Violet, Later, The Rub, Good Till Cancelled, and Trump Burger which have all been performed in staged readings. A a graduate of Cornell University and Harvard Law School, he resides in Princeton, New Jersey with wife Janet and three Papillons.

Kam Williams: Hi Peter, thanks for the interview.

Peter Brav: Totally my pleasure, Kam.

KW: What inspired you to write 331 Innings?

PB:Well, first of all, it’s not a baseball book. That plays a very small part of it. It covers ground I’ve become comfortable with. Trying to understand why we’re all here for such a relatively short time and yet make it harder on each other and ourselves than it should be. I was thinking about bullying and war, specifically, and how they’re linked. And what a better world we’d have, if we could minimize both of them.

KW: How would you describe the novel in 25 words or less?

PB: It’s a pretty powerful 16th year in the life of John Schram, an undersized, underappreciated underdog. Anger’s getting the best of him and he’s most certainly heading in the wrong direction. Hopefully, he’s going to turn things around before it’s too late.

KW: Was the book’s narrator, Jack Schram, based on a real-life person?

PB: John’s Uncle Jack is a fictional 84 year-old lifelong Nebraskan. But Jack’s an amalgam of many older people I’ve met, whether they be relatives or folks at my father’s assisted living center. Like Jack, they’ve made livings, raised families, fought in wars, and watched loved ones and friends pass on. And if they’re like Jack, they marvel at how the younger generations around them keep making the same mistakes they did. I’ve always felt comfortable with older people, perhaps an old soul and all that. It remains to be seen whether that continues now that I’m getting there more rapidly than I’d like.

KW: How much research did you have to do in order to set the story in Nebraska?

PB: I drove through Nebraska four years ago and spent a wonderful week in Lincoln. I know there are significant differences from the Northeast and they’re highlighted on a daily basis on CNN with red and blue colors. But for my time there, on a closeup and personal level, I encountered nothing but personal warmth. And beautiful landscapes. The story wrote itself when I got back.

KW: What message do you want readers to take away from the novel?

PB: Well, some of what I just alluded to. We’ve got no shortage of underdogs in this world, battling whatever adversity comes their way to try and make a good life for themselves and others. What we could use a little more of is leaders, let’s call them overdogs, with a conscience. And that’s pretty much what happens near the end of the novel. Something brings the high school in-crowd and outcasts together, for one really long game anyway, and the rest of the world comes along for the ride. In my 2009 Chicago Cubs fantasy, The Other Side of Losing, I had a very protracted week-long rain delay during the World Series where people come together. This is a bit of the same thing, taking a break from “winning” to maybe show a little love.

KW: Are you already working on your next opus?

PB: Well, as you know, this lawyering thing keeps getting in the way, especially in the spring and summer. But I’ve finished a play called Propriety I’m hopeful about and I’ve started a new play set in the pre-war tumult of the late Thirties.

KW: AALBC.com founder Troy Johnson asks: What was the last book you read?

PB: Great question, Troy. I wish I had more time to read but I’m getting better. I’ll mention two. The Berlin Boxing Club, a great young adult novel by Robert Sharenow.

https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/006157970X/ref=nosim/thslfofire-20

And I’m just finishing War Against War, a terrific nonfiction book about the years before World War I by Michael Kazin.

https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1476705909/ref=nosim/thslfofire-20 

KW: Ling-Ju Yen asks: What is your earliest childhood memory?

PB: Thanks, Ling-Ju. My beloved mother Adele, a survivor of the Holocaust who passed away two years ago, schlepping my sister and me on subways to see a matinee of Carousel in Manhattan. I believe I was 4 years-old.

KW: What is your favorite dish to cook?

PB: Cooking’s never been one of my strong suits, Kam. But my kids would say my scrambled eggs are perfectly edible.

KW: Craig Robinson asks: What was your last dream?

PB: Hi, Craig. My night dreams are gone shortly after I wake up. There are nights I’m pretty dream-prolific, too. But my daydreams hang around forever; they’re in 331 Innings.

KW: Sherry Gillam would like to know what is the most important life lesson you’ve learned so far? 

PB: That’s such a good question, Sherry, and I want you to know I learned it very early on. It’s to evaluate everyone I meet on the basis of individual character only. No wealth, race, religion, nationality, age, popularity considerations, or anything else. And I’ve been the beneficiary of that lesson, with a diverse group of friends enriching my life on a daily basis.

KW: When you look in the mirror, what do you see?

PB: I don’t know, give me a minute, and I’ll get back to you with a quite pained response. I see someone super blessed to have had the love and encouragement of my incredible wife Janet and the rest of my

family and friends.

  

KW: What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done?

PB: I’m going to assume you mean intentionally. Most of the “crazy” things I did only look that way with hindsight. But I’d say naively taking my MGB without snow tires into the mountains of Vermont in the winter of 1981 ranks right up there.

KW: If you could have one wish instantly granted, what would that be for?

PB: For the powers that be throughout the world to have a collective Moment of Zen, to borrow from Jon Stewart, in which they realize they have more power and wealth than could be consumed in multiple lifetimes. And then actually do something about it to reduce war, oppression, inequity, ignorance, and the planet’s deterioration. It shouldn’t take the arrival of a worse species as happened in Tim Burton’s Mars Attacks! to bring people together.

KW: The Tavis Smiley question: How do you want to be remembered?

PB: That’s tough since most of us will be remembered by very few. But I hope it’s for more than those scrambled eggs.

KW: Finally, what’s in your wallet?

PB: The usual I’m sure. Five dollars and a completely illegible idea for a new novel scrawled on a napkin.

KW: Thanks again for the time, Peter, and best of luck with the book.

PB: Thank you, Kam, I hope folks enjoy it. Writing it was a joy for me.

To order a copy of 331 Innings, visit: https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1544237944/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20 

Read more of Peter’s work at www.peterbrav.com

and follow him at: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3299307.Peter_Brav

and: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorPeterBrav/

and: https://twitter.com/PGBistroPG

 

 

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331 Innings

 

331 Innings

by Peter Brav

Zappyness Media

Paperback, $7.25

164 pages

ISBN: 978-1-544237947

Book Review by Kam Williams

“331 Innings is a powerful tale narrated by elderly, Nebraska native Jack Schram, a lifelong witness to the folly of war and hypocrisy. Jack tells of the bullying encountered by his nephew’s teenage son, John, born with physical disabilities. It hasn’t been any easier for John’s close friend, Sarah Jenkinson, harassed at school since moving to the area a few years ago…

Will John continue to cast his lot with two older ne’er-do-wells… or find a better path? In a time when people ask what is going wrong with our children and ourselves and tragedies abound all over the globe, this is truly an inspirational story.” 

— Excerpted from the Bookjacket

331 Innings  is the latest offering from Peter Brav, the gifted author of a number of baseball-themed novels, including “Sneaking In” and “The Other Side of Losing.” His new book represents a bit of a departure in that it is a coming-of-age tale which only makes occasional references to America’s pastime.

The opus’s title was inspired by Brav’s creation of the longest game ever played in Nebraska, a weeks-long contest attended by Jack Schram. The 84 year-old widower is the omniscient narrator of an engaging bildungsroman revolving around his late brother’s grandson, John.

At the point of departure, we learn that Jack has been serving as the 16 year-old’s surrogate father for about a decade, ever Jack Schram, inspirational, Peter Brav, Nebraska, bullying, book review, physical disability, powerful talesince the day his immature dad skipped town with another woman. John was more than a handful for his mom, Becky, between his  learning disabilities and a spinal deformity that not only left him a head shorter than his pals but with a cranium oddly cocked off to one side.

All of the above left the lad an easy target for bullies at school. But John considers himself lucky to have forged solid friendships with several classmates: Steve, the North High Lions’ pitching star, computer geek August, slacker Aaron, and Sarah, the girl of his dreams he harbors a secret crush on.

Trouble is, he also associates with Ted and Jake, a couple of delinquent dropouts four years his senior. They tempt John to venture to the dark side, much to the chagrin of the impressionable teen’s great-uncle.

The action unfolds in a humble, Cornhusker community littered with colorful characters who frequent down-home haunts like Mom’s Diner and the Sun Don’t Shine saloon. The plot thickens when a traumatized Sarah takes down her Facebook page after being mercilessly teased. Will John prove that chivalry is not dead and come to the aid of his beleaguered BFF-in-distress? And will her anonymous tormentors ease up or further escalate their tactics?

A sobering, modern morality play contemplating the degenerating state of human interaction in the 21st Century.  

To order a copy of 331 Innings, visit: https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1544237944/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20 

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Rising Star: The Making of Barack Obama

 

David J. Garrow, Barack Obama, Book Review by Kam Williams, Genevieve Cook, Pulitzer Prize-winnerRising Star
The Making of Barack Obama 

by David J. Garrow

William Morrow

Hardcover, $45.00

1472 pages

ISBN: 978-0-06-264183-0

Book Review by Kam Williams

“Barack Obama’s speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention instantly catapulted him into the national spotlight and led to his election four years later as America’s first African-American president. In this penetrating biography, David J. Garrow delivers an epic work about the life of Barack Obama, creating a rich tapestry of a life little understood, until now…

In Rising Star, Garrow has created a vivid portrait that reveals not only the people and forces that shaped the future president but also the ways in which he used those influences to serve his larger aspirations. This is a gripping read about a young man born into uncommon family circumstances, whose faith in his own talents came face-to-face with fantastic ambitions and a desire to do good in the world.” 

— Excerpted from the Bookjacket

For some reason, presidential biographies by Pulitzer Prize-winners tend to be rather lengthy. Consider David McCullough’s on John Adams (752 pages) and Harry Truman (1120 pages), Doris Kearns Goodwin’s on Abe Lincoln (1,341 pages) and FDR (760 pages), and Robert Caro’s continuing series on LBJ (3,180 pages and counting).   

Now, another Pulitzer Prize-winner, David J. Garrow, has published an epic opus of 1,472 pages on the life of Barack Obama, focusing on the years prior to the presidency. And it’s a safe bet that Garrow just might eventually write a sequel about about POTUS 44’s time in the White House, too. 

Any Obama fan is likely to find this in-depth portrait fascinating, as it is filled with plenty of little-known factoids and anecdotes about him. For example, it chronicles a childhood spent mostly on Hawaii where he was basically raised by his maternal grandparents in the absence of both his mother and father.

Garrow also documents “Barry’s” use of marijuana in high school and of cocaine in college, when he started preferring “Barack.” And the author reveals the identity of the woman Obama lived with for a couple of years during his stint in Chicago as a grassroots organizer.

We also learn that Obama not only worked with a lot of Bible-thumping sisters during his initial stint in the Windy City, but that he was already planning to become president of the United States way back then. And there’s the blow-by-blow of his strained relationship with Genevieve Cook, the rudderless white woman he dated during his tenure in New York City.

Everything you always wanted to know about Barack Obama but were afraid to ask, and then some!

To order a copy of Rising Star, visit: https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0062641832/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20 

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Cop under Fire

 

David Clarke, political correctness, controversial, Cop under Fire: Moving Beyond Hashtags of Race, Crime and Politics for a Better America, Cop under Fire
Moving Beyond Hashtags of Race, Crime and Politics for a Better America

by Sheriff David Clarke, Jr.

with Nancy French

Foreword by Sean Hannity

Worthy Publishing

Hardcover, $21.99

272 pages

ISBN: 978-1-617-95857-1

Book Review by Kam Williams

“David Clarke refuses to bow a knee to political correctness, and he refuses to give his party over to the hands of black activists whose politics would destroy America. That’s why I have Sheriff Clarke on my show so frequently… Some of my colleagues at Fox have said he’s too controversial. But I keep inviting him back…

I think Sheriff Clarke makes people uneasy because he defies easy easy categorization. He’s black, but he’s against Black Lives Matter. He ran as a Democrat in Milwaukee, but he spoke at the Republican National Convention.

He’s from an urban area, but he’s more conservative than an Alabama Tea Party member. It’s easier for people to stereotype than deal with the actual man and his actual beliefs.

In this book, Sheriff Clarke writes about how his traditional upbringing in the housing projects of Milwaukee improbably David Clarke, political correctness, controversial, Cop under Fire: Moving Beyond Hashtags of Race, Crime and Politics for a Better Americamolded him into the cowboy hat and boots-wearing sheriff we know and love today… Here’s the truth: the principles Sheriff Clarke stands for are the same principles this nation was built on.” 

— Excerpted from the Foreword (pages xi-xiii)

David Clarke has become a familiar face on the network news channels in

recent years, thanks mostly to his many appearances on Fox where he routinely trumpets arch-conservative positions on popular issues while sporting his trademark, ten-gallon cowboy hat. Much of his appeal undoubtedly rests in the fact that he is a confident black man articulately advancing an array of right-wing ideas.   

For instance, he’s very pro-cop, which only makes sense, since he’s the Sheriff of Milwaukee County. However, he’s also an outspoken opponent of the Black Lives Matter Movement, which he derides as “nothing more than an AstroTurf operation… of community organizers and leftists who specialize in fostering rebellion in ghettos.” Furthermore, he indicts it as a “hate group” with an “anti-cop ideology” whose real goal is anarchy.

Clarke became a national figure after he accepted an invitation from Donald Trump to address the 2016 Republican Convention during prime time. He received the loudest and longest ovation of the week when he opened his speech with, “Ladies and Gentlemen, I would like to make something very clear. Blue Lives Matter in America!”

The Sheriff is pro-gun , too, and explains why in a chapter entitled, “The Second Amendment Isn’t Just for White People.” His basic thesis there is that “There simply aren’t enough of us to protect all of you,” and “when seconds count, the police are minutes away.” He asserts that “survival is the first law of nature” before concluding, “Sometimes that means fighting off criminal predators.”

In addition, Clarke is pro-charter school, anti-abortion and a defender of the criminal justice system who says that prison is supposed to be unpleasant, not a country club. Despite leaning so far to the right, he has been re-elected Sheriff four times by his predominantly Democratic constituency.

Check out his entire, incendiary platform in Cop under Fire: Moving Beyond Hashtags of Race, Crime and Politics for a Better America, a combination memoir/position paper from a charismatic iconoclast likely to be working in the White House before long. 

To order a copy of Cop under Fire, visit:

https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1617958573/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

 

Source:  GIG News

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The President’s Kitchen Cabinet

 

https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1469632535/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20The President’s Kitchen Cabinet
The Story of the African-Americans Who Have Fed Our First Families, from the Washingtons to the Obamas

by Adrian Miller

University of North Carolina Press

Hardcover, $30.00

292 pages, Illustrated

ISBN: 978-1-4696-3253-7

Book Review by Kam Williams

“[This opus] vividly tells the stories of the African-Americans who worked in the presidential food service as chefs, personal cooks, butlers, stewards and servers for every First Family since George and Martha Washington. [The author] brings together the names and words of 150 black men and women who played remarkable roles in unforgettable events in the nation’s history…

A treasury of information about cooking techniques and equipment, the book includes 20 recipes for which black chefs were celebrated. Surveying the labor of enslaved people during the antebellum period and the gradual opening of employment after Emancipation, The President’s Kitchen Cabinet highlights how food-related work slowly became professionalized and the important part African-Americans played in that process.” 

— Excerpted from the Bookjacket

In 2013, Lee Daniels released The Butler, a biopic loosely based on the life of Eugene Allen, who worked in the White House for 34 years. Serving every president from Truman to Reagan, he worked his way up from pantry man to maitre d’ by the time he retired in 1986.

All the First Families’ meals have been prepared by a predominately-black staff, and that little-known legacy is the subject Adrian Miller / Photo by Tim Ryanof The President’s Kitchen Cabinet. The book was written by Adrian Miller, author of “Soul Food: The Surprising Story of an American Cuisine.” Miller also served as a special assistant to President Bill Clinton.

This new opus is a compelling combination of history and cookbook, as it is not only filled with fascinating anecdotes and photos, but includes a score of mouth-watering recipes you just might like to try out yourself. Besides the aforementioned Allen, among the dozens of White House waiters and chefs revisited here is Daisy McAfee Bonner who prepared a cheese souffle for FDR on the day he died.

Among the dishes this critic found tempting were Grilled Salmon with Farro, Hawaiian French Toast, Baked Macaroni with Cheese, and Jerk Chicken Pita Pizza. A veritable treasure trove chock full of enough top secret culinary fare to whip up a state dinner for your friends and family.

To order a copy of The President’s Kitchen Cabinet , visit:

https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1469632535/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

Source:  GIG News

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The Meaning of Michelle

 

Michelle Obama, First Lady, 16 essays by a variety of admirers, priceless keepsake, role model, book review by Kam WilliamsThe Meaning of Michelle
16 Writers on the Iconic First Lady and How Her Journey Inspires Our Own

Edited by Veronica Chambers

St. Martin’s Press

Hardcover, $24.99

236 pages

ISBN: 978-1-250-11496-9

Book Review by Kam Williams

“Michelle Obama is unlike any other First Lady in American History. From her first moment on the public stage, she has challenged traditional American notions about what it means to be beautiful, to be strong, to be fashion conscious, to be healthy, to be First Mom, to be a caretaker and hostess, and to be partner to the most powerful man in the world. What is remarkable is that, at 52, she is just getting started.

A rollicking, lively, dinner-party conversation about race, class, marriage, creativity, womanhood, and what it means to be American today, The Meaning of Michelle offers a parting gift for a landmark moment in American history.” 

— Excerpted from the Bookjacket

Barack Obama made history by becoming the first African-American President of the United States. Of almost equal significance was Michelle Obama’s becoming the first black First Lady.

Just as her husband undoubtedly inspired a generation of marginalized youngsters to believe that they could achieve anything they set their minds to, Michelle was a transformative figure in her own way, including the way she helped the world appreciate black beauty. Because of the high visibility of her position, almost single-handedly, she managed to successfully challenge the culture’s narrow definition of beauty based on European features.            

For this and myriad other reasons, Michelle was embraced by fellow black females. And many of them are delineated in The Meaning of Michelle, a reverential retrospective acknowledging a debt of gratitude owed to a much-beloved icon.

Edited by Veronica Chambers, the book is composed of 16 essays by a variety of admirers, each accomplished in their own

Michelle Obama, First Lady, 16 essays by a variety of admirers, priceless keepsake, role model, book review by Kam Williams

Veronica Chambers

right. One, Chirlaine McCray, is even a First Lady, being married to New York’s Mayor, Bill de Blasio.

The diverse list of contributors includes luminaries from all walks of life, including filmmaker Ava DuVernay, Harvard professor Sarah Lewis, mezzo-soprano Alicia Hall Moran, and best-selling novelist Benilde Little, to name a few.   Consider this offering by DuVernay who waxes romantic reflecting upon a “First Lady with pride, panache and polish.”

A priceless keepsake positioning for posterity Michelle Obama as a positive role-model for the ages.

To order a copy of The Meaning of Michelle, visit:

https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1250114969/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

Source:  GIG News

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Tears We Cannot Stop

 

Tears We Cannot Stop,  A Sermon to White America,  by Michael Eric Dyson, history, race, Donald TrumpTears We Cannot Stop

A Sermon to White America

by Michael Eric Dyson

St. Martin’s Press

Hardcover, $24.99

202 pages

ISBN: 978-1-250-13599-5

Book Review by Kam Williams

“America is in trouble, and a lot of that trouble–perhaps most of it–has to do with race. Everywhere we turn, there is discord, division, death and destruction.

When we survey the land, we see a country full of suffering that it cannot fully understand, and a history that it can no longer deny. Slavery casts a long shadow across our lives…

Black and white people… seem to occupy different universes with worldviews that are fatally opposed to one another… What, then, can we do?

What I need to say can only be said as a sermon… I offer this sermon to you, my dear white friends… I do so in the interest of healing our our nation through honest, often blunt, talk… Without white America wrestling with these truths and confronting these realities, we may not survive.

To paraphrase the Bible, to whom much is given, much is expected. And, you my friends, have been given so much. And the Lord knows, what wasn’t given, you simply took, took, and took, and took.

But the time is here for reckoning with the past… and moving together to redeem the nation for the future.” 

— Excerpted from the Chapter 1, “Call to Worship” (pages 3-7)

Michael Eric Dyson teaches Sociology at Georgetown University, and is the prolific author of 20 best-sellers and a popular face on the TV talk show circuit. Many might forget that Professor Dyson got his doctorate in Religion from Princeton University.

In his new book, Tears We Cannot Stop, he reminds us that, “Although I am a scholar, a cultural and political critic, and a social activist, I am, before, and above anything else, an ordained Baptist minister.” That helps explain the profusion of captivating, flowery rhetoric whenever the brother’s been handed a microphone.

While his previous works were aimed at a black audience, this is his first intended to be read by whites. It is also written in a unique literary style, namely, as a sermon designed to keep Caucasians standing on their feet like an inspired  congregation of holy rollers.

The chapters are even laid out like a church service, starting with the “Call to Worship,” followed by “Hymns

Tears We Cannot Stop,  A Sermon to White America,  by Michael Eric Dyson, history, race, Donald Trump

Author: Michael Eric Dyson

of Praise,” an “Invocation,” and the “Scripture Reading” leading to the “Sermon,” and concluding with the “Benediction.” The meat of the message can be found in the Sermon section which opens with the iconoclastic suggestion that there is no such thing as a white race.

Professor Dyson’s point there is that whiteness is an arbitrary (as opposed to a scientific) construct which affords one group advantages and privileges at the expense of others. He argues that “whiteness is made up, and that white history disguised as American history is a fantasy, as much a fantasy as white superiority and white purity.”

If I were Dyson, I wouldn’t be holding my breath for a positive reception from his intended audience, given the ascension of Donald Trump and the celebration of rednecks in the runaway best seller, Hillbilly Elegy. He might be better off redirecting his sermon to the African-American community and changing his incendiary opus’ subtitle to “Preaching to the Choir!”

Can I get an “Amen!”

To order a copy of Tears We Cannot Stop, visit: https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1250135990/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

 

Source:  GIG News

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