Sunday, December 31, 2017

New Year's Eve 2017, the real meaning of the practice of WATCH NIGHT in the Black Church that the congregation doesn't even know

Image result for new year's eve 2017

Thank you, and glad tidings, to all who have visited this mishegas of a blog this year. I'll continue to post this coming year about my WIPs and new releases, snapshots on Black life in the USA and the continuing nonsense rampant in the romance industry that passes for "progress."

Now, onto the topic of this post - WATCH NIGHT.

WATCH NIGHT is a practice that many Black Christian churches hold at night of every December 31st. It is supposed to be the congregation waiting on the Lord to help them bless the new year but that is only HALF the meaning. The rest of the story (asder is staggeringly different than the simple service observed by the faithful. Plus, it is cultural and NOT religious by any stretch of the imagination. Read the true, whole explanation of WATCH NIGHT below.

So friends. Do have a wonderful evening. Be safe. Don't drive drunk or buzzed. Live to greet January 1st, 2018 in one, healthy piece.


Saturday, December 30, 2017

The Once and Possible King - Wilson Frost and his stolen right to be Chicago's major

After the sudden demise of Mayor Richard J. Daly of Chicago, in December 1976 from a heart attack, a Black alderman and President Pro Tempore of the City Council was according to rules the next mayor of the city. That man, Wilson Frost, understood the rules but the powers-that-be decided to re-write the rules to suit the situation. And the situation was what? C'mon. One guess.In 1976, Chicago was a VERY racially divided burg. Truth be told, it still is. Uncovered the one guess yet? I'll spill. The White population wasn't ready for a non-White person to assume the mantle of "Mayor" even though the rules would make him such.

Frost did try to fill the seat but was LOCKED OUT. Literally LOCKED OUT of the office. Frost, wise man that he was, stepped aside. The city GAVE the job to White alderman Michael Blandic.

Just another day at the office. Ho-hum.

Frost went on to remain in public service, continuing to be an alderman and in other positions until he retired in 1988.

The city finally elected its 1st Black mayor in 1983 - Harold L. Washington

courtesy of Black America Web

Wilson Frost

Harold L. Washington

Sunday, December 24, 2017


No. This will not be a puppy dogs' tails kind of post. Yeah. It's Christmas time but...Is it really? Yes. Yes. I loved Christmas as a child. I mean what child wouldn't? No matter the faith of the family the kid hails from, ain't no way a kid would dislike free gifts. I still get misty-eyed as a adult when midnight rolls around early Christmas Day. Christmas Eve was my holiday. I belonged to the church choir and midnight Mass with all those high-holy day smells and bells grabbed this wide-eyed kid. by the throat. No. I no longer go to Mass, or practice Catholicism but it did it's duty. It left a dent in me. The spectacle of Christmas, as practiced by the Catholic Church, can still mesmerize me. Hymns, carols, incense, flickering candles, the scent of balsam, etc.. They can turn it out. Not as full throttle as their Protestant counterparts but still, the Catholic Church in holiday mode...No prisoners taken.

Which leads me to the ruler who is responsible for the fashion in which a vast majority of Christians celebrate this holiday of "Christmas." Let me present Emperor Constantine of the Roman Empire, showman. I'll leave it at that so as not to offend folk. But this man...Phew! The Donald could take notes from him.. Read the article below about what this man's plan blossomed into.

Also, read another article on the truth behind the Christmas myths that many have been sold, and that have been ruffling clerical collars for years.

What have I taken from all this? I've come to  see Xmas as a time for self-reflection. No more. No less. I sit and collect myself and see what I've accomplished in the current year, and what I'd like to accomplish in the coming year. I also appreciate, greatly, all Spirit has blessed me with in the current year, and I give thanks all for all I'm going to receive in the coming year. Don't get me wrong. I still love the sights and sounds of  manufactured Xmas. No one does over-the-top Xmas like the USA except possibly Germany. But for the rest of the Constantine-created madness?  I've come to see "Xmas" as a reason for retailers to have huge clearance sales to push out old merchandise you didn't need to to make room for new merchandise you still don't need but will buy because you think you do. Personally, unless you count in my life, you get a "Happy Holidays" and maybe a card. I stopped shopping for gifts 30 years ago.

So, after I have a yummy meal, have some hot chocolate and watch "A Charlie Brown Christmas" and "Meet Me in St. Louis" and "All Mine to Give" and "I Know Where I'm Going" (to name a few of my favs), I'm going to thank the Divine for a good day and go to bed.

Do enjoy whatever you do. Just know WHY you do it.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Virginia teen is 1st Black female speed skater to make the Olympic team - Maame Biney

Maame Biney, the Ghanaian-born 17 year old from Virginia  has qualified for the United States Olympic speedskating team! She will compete in the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea.

She came to the USA at age five and credits her father for her success in a sport that sees few pigmented people participate. She rules when it comes to the 500-meter short track.

Go, Maame and congrats!

Friday, December 15, 2017

Dr. George Franklin Grant - The golf tee's best friend!

Image result for george franklin grant golf tee

Play golf? Know anybody who does? Well, thank this man for making it easier to smack that ball around the course. Dr. George Franklin Grant didn't invent the golf tee but he sure as hell improved on that sucker. In the late 1870s, the dentist, and faculty member of the Harvard Medical School, liked playing golf but was no champ at the game. Still, he sought to ameliorate the sport, hence his improvement on the tee.

Yes. Yes. Let me rush in to diffuse any ruffled feathers or protestations. Yes. Butt-hurt historians have argued back and forth (people with nothing to do I say) about the Scots and English inventors who fashioned tees before Grant. They did that. That is true. Grant didn't invent golf, or the golf tee, but he sure as Hell modernized the tee. So much so that the golf world recognizes him for that task, and no one has come up with a better device since.

A doctor and golf. A combo even waaaay back then. I wonder if Dr. Grant took Wednesdays off?


info courtesy of Black America Web

Image result for george franklin grant golf tee

Thursday, December 7, 2017

A reboot for "Cleopatra Jones?"

Image result for tamara dobson

Look. I'll be the first to admit that not all of the 70s trends were meaningful or enlightening. Take fabrics (early polyester) that didn't breathe and looked like furniture upholstery to hideous platform shoes that held goldfish in their see-through heels. BUT...I still adore the 70s and all its loopiness. Say what you will about blaxploitation in 70s films but those films were GOLD to my teenage eyes and soul. To see BLACK folk in starring roles, wearing fashionable clothes and talking back to da man without consequence?  Sign me up.

One of the pioneers in those films was Tamera Dobson. A gorgeous, long, tall drink of water from Baltimore. A former fashion model, who like Pam Grier, was snapped up for her "otherness" as it was a hot commodity at the time. Her contribution to blaxploitation was the portrayal of Cleopatra Jones a model-slash-spy who solved international crime. A sort of female James Bond. the series comprised two films, Cleopatra Jones and Cleopatra Jones and the Casino of Gold. The second film didn't do as well as the first so the plug was pulled on subsequent ones. Much in the same way the series Get Christie Love! with Teresa Graves (which was a TV version of the Cleopatra Jones franchise) was given the boot after a short stint. The treatment mirrors the romance writing industry's in that a gazillion mediocre "mainstream" writers will luck out and pen one popular book, but then each one AFTER the "hit" will be a mediocre miss but they STILL continue to be published by their publishing house AND get reviewed by romance book blogs. I see it all the time. BUT non-White writers only get ONE shot at it, and that shot better go supernova or else they get cut.

But people see no bias in that. OOOOkay. Back to Tamera.

Anyhoo, due to the lower box office receipts of the second film to series was axed. Ms. Dobson returned to modeling, retired and then fell off the radar. Sadly, she passed away in 2006 at the young age of 59 from complications from several ailments.

A reboot of the film is in the works. Helmed by some folks from UNDERGROUND fame and others. I miss Ms. Dobson. Having her do a walk on would have been dynamite. Can't wait to see what this second chance will present and if a breakout star emerges.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Hear Ye! Hear Ye! Hear Ye! - Meghan Markle and her subtle, quiet road to becoming a princess? A dutchess?

Now, almost a week out and I can barely hear anymore crying and rending of clothing by blonde, pale, female members of the the nobility the world over. Prince Harry is off the market and a Markle got him. I'm happy to see the young man find love like his brother has. Let's face it. Harry is the spare, and with almost 5 folks in front of him before he would even get a smell of the throne...He's lucky. He can live his life as he sees fit as he'll never be king and have to kowtow to tradition like William. I do not keep up with every English royal family story, but i did like Diana. Even little, ole, young me back in 1980 thought, "Guuuurl. You makin a mistake. That man don't love you. You will be a broodmare and be paid in tiaras and ball gowns.  Run!" Well, Diana didn't. She tied the knot, had the kids, and got the fabulous wardrobe. She smartened up but too late in the game. Well, she did have her freedom for a bit before her death.

Which brings me to her children. I like William and Henry (his gov't name) too as they SEEM to be not as stuffy as their elders. But I'm certain they know how to pull rank when needed. I am truly happy for this couple.

Miss Meghan Markle. She's an outsider too like Diana except she is not 19 and hasn't been raised on Harlequin romance novels. Megham is an unwrinkled 36. No shy retiring flower. A divorcee. A worldly woman. A seasoned actress who knows how to deflect rude, stupid questions and remarks and how to navigate shark-infested waters, no matter how gentile. Her Crenshaw California side gave that to her. Life at Windsor Castle, or whereever she and Harry end up, should be a piece of cake. I believe she'll do well in "The Firm" as its members have been handsomely paid actors for centuries. I applaud her that she is not insulting Black woman around the globe by saying she is Black. Good for her. She is biracial and claims it. No shame in that. She's not denying any side of her lineage. She's gone on record to say she is "mixed race" or "biracial." She claims it all. I wish that truth would sink into the brains of the Black women who label her Black only..I mean c'mon. Are we that desperate? That thirsty? Living that vicariously through another that we put a biracial woman ABOVE us as an example? No. Let her alone and think more of yourself. She and we wear different crowns. They are not interchangeable. She knows that. Why not us? Stop it.

That is the debate going on in a zillion think pieces, written by Black women,  tearing up the internetz. Like I said Meghan Markle is biracial and has stated so. I follow her lead on what she calls herself. But Black women of the blog -o-sphere? Have some pride.Stop putting her in the "Black" box with you. It's not fair to her or us. Let her be her. You be you.

P. S. I do see her "blackness" breaking through at times. Her edges were a tad crispy. That rainy weather was wreaking havoc with those edges. And I bet her kitchen was screaming too. Pointblank: Her relaxer needed a touch-up. As those Sunken Garden engagement pics were testifying. But I see in today's snaps that girlfriend has got that hair relaxed and flat-ironed and slayed within an inch of its life.

I wish Harry and Meghan all the best. I ain't mad at her. I respect game.

Remembering those not here on World Aids Day

Image result for world aids day 2017 theme

Another year. Another image. This needs to end. But before it does it needs to be understood. Something that I STILL believe eludes many. Number one. You do NOT have to contract the virus. Okay? Read some info. Get informed. Slow your roll. Number Two. If you do contract it, you can live for many years IF you KNOW and have access to, and take the protocol implemented today.

Personally, I take the day to remember my uncle Cy and his friends who were like extra uncles to me. George, Tracey, Calvin. Beautiful men. Beautiful souls. All gone. No. I have not left out women. It is just that I have not listed any women because I do not know any myself who have been cut down by this virus. But, unfortunately, Black and Hispanic women in the US, behind bisexual men, lead the pack in new infections. 

No one. No one should be getting infected, or losing their life to this disease in 2017. But people are. Why? I can only speak on the Black community. In it, it is a mix of shame, denial, recrimination, and non-support from friends and family, the Black church and and let us not forget the price of the treatment that prevents the infected person from seeking help.

A cure any time soon? Who knows? All I know until then: SAFE SEX. SAFE SEX. SAFE SEX. And SLOW YOUR ROLL WITH FOLK SEXUALLY. Geez! Not everyone who grins at you is worthy of, or should have access to, your parts. GET CHECKED AND KNOW YOUR STATUS.

Now, I know you got your panties in a twist, muttering, "Who does she think she is?"Who am I? I'm someone sick of the devastation the virus brings. My advice might not be the answer you wanna hear, but get real, it's part of the solution.

So, today I'll light a candle for my lost ones. I'll wish they were here. I'll shed some tears but I'll smile and tell them their deaths were not in vain.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

The onlinebookclub reviews DISSENT and loves it!

The previous is a link to a pretty darn-good review of Dissent. It was written by katiequilts a reviewer at She was fair and balanced (unlike that news channel), and adored the not-your-usual-suspects main characters, and the HISTORICAL DETAIL in the book. Something I was jazzed about 'cuz the book is a HISTORICAL! A reviewer "got it!" She actually got it! A historical romance with equal parts of romance and HISTORY! Thank you, katiequilts! Your other disappointments with the book I can live with. Believe me. After "professionals" griped about "not understanding" a lot of the motivation behind the characters and plots in "multicultural" historicals, you, my dear, are a breath of fresh air. Again, thank you for hunkering down,, opening your mind,  immersing yourself in another culture and time (ATTENTION! This historical is NOT set in the REGENCY and has Black people in it who ain't servants!), and enjoying, a new take on an old experience.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

It's lonely in the Black 1% - Welp!

This is something I didn't expect because, hey, the few that there are, if they are lonely...Hang together! Anyhoo, The mimi-interviews offered in the segment affirm the nasty, little open secret that floats through the world of the stinking rich.

The nasty open secret? It's terribly segregated. That even in that supposedly-learned, intelligent, color-blind cocoon, the Whites there can be, and are, as rabidly racist as their poor or working-class counterparts. They just do it with a rye-and-water in one hand as they smirk and ring for Jeeves.

This tiny CNN Money segment highlights financier Eddie C. Brown and his wife Sylvia, and Sheila C. Johnson. Let's just say that they could buy and sell Guam a few times BEFORE breakfast. That's how loaded they are. But as they recount, no matter how rich, they will ALWAYS only be seen as Black.

See. I'm so weird that that wouldn't bother me. Number One? It's true! Number Two? I harken back to the words of my late grandfather. "I don't want to eat with no folk who might poison my food!"

So, I say, Black 1%? Make that money. Be comfy. No crime in that. Give back to where you came from. As for the rye-and-water drinkers? Do business. Be civil. Keep your dignity but under your breath tell 'em to go kick rocks.

P. S. my personal experience with the uber-rich came when I attended college. Little, old, poor, scholarship me (you know the students who weren't 'legacy'; the ones who couldn't afford to coast on the fumes of prior wealthy generations who'd attended; the students who HAD to study) went to this all-women's college in the NE. A place as idyllic as the brochure. A place where some students return to campus came in the form of a stretch  limo, an entourage and a flurry of professional movers. Oh, yes. The first few Septembers during my attendance, the campus grounds were awash in beehived, chain-smoking "Millicents" swathed in pearls and twinsets; the "Rogers" were in tweed and bourbon breath.

I discovered then, as I stood gripping my best, vinyl Woolworth handbag, and watched the Return-of the-Spawn -of-the-Masters-of-the-Universe,  that the rich, oh man, they really are different.

Mr. Eddie C. Brown - From moonshine runner to financial wizard

Talk a bout a success story. I am sure when Mr. Brown was a little kid, he didn't think he was going to be a 'shine runner, let alone a money maven. But when fate,destiny, determination collide, anything can happen. I adore these kinds of life histories. It just flies in the face of "experts' who live by nature over nurture.

Mr. Brown owns and runs Brown Capital Management, a Baltimore-based firm, with holdings of over 8 billion. Son, I said, 8 billion, son! This man worked his butt off to get his as the now popular "come-up" didn't exist then. Plus, he doesn't seem the IG attention-hound type.

Through his wealth, he and his wife have given back to the city of Baltimore's troubled youth by funding and establishing empowerment programs and providing monetary assistance to the gifted of little means.

Read up on his accomplishments at

info courtesy: blackamerica web

Friday, November 10, 2017

Fighting on all fronts for what? For whom? Honoring Black U. S. service men and women this Veterans' Day 2017

As Veterans' Day, November 11th, falls on Saturday this year for the U. S., the holiday is being celebrated today. Since this blog's emphasis is on seeing the American Experience in all things in this land through African-American eyes, today, I salute the brave, Black service members who fought on two fronts in almost every friggin' war, conflict, battle, skirmish, you name it, for America's freedom, while never having that same afforded them at home.

I salute my ancestors who fought in the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, WW1, WW2, the Korean War, the Vietnam Conflict, and on and on. An on-and-on presently which appears to be pushing deeper into Black Africa as ISIS and Al-Qaeda flee the Middle East. Ugh. Incursions which leave them dead and left behind. Think Niger and Sgt. LaDavid Johnson. All harrowing missions carried out without questions from these men, and with scant thanks, and boatloads of denials from the country that sends them there as fodder.

Okay. Got that off my chest. Just had to say it because I had family members who saw action and were NEVER the same after it. Meanwhile, the armed services whistled and twiddled their thumbs. But from what I see now that same shoulder shrug is offered to ALL who served and are hurting.

Anyhoo, back to this post's topic.

PBS is broadcasting an excellent series called, FIGHTING ON BOTH FRONTS; THE STORY OF THE 370TH. It chronicles an all African-American regiment who fought during WW1. The 370th consisted of men from Illinois, mostly from Chicago's Bronzeville neighborhood . Fighting on two fronts? Yes, the Germans and racism and inequality back home (I'm certain in basic training too. I always used to wonder why basic always took place down South). Consult PBS listings for dates and times.

These scenarios of disrespected, brave men have repeated themselves throughout U. S. history. But consult a number of "history" books, and it looks like the rescue was all White. There are a number of books African-Americans and their struggle when fighting in 'Nam.

In any case, this weekend, I chose to honor them with a phrase that is pretty inadequate, and has become rather trite, but I mean it from the bottom of my heart.

"Thank you for your service! "

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Oh man. Say it ain't so - Bunny and Keith?

Well, I can see that this year is sizing up to end just like last year as far as the music world goes. Two giants gone in two weeks. Now, if you read this blog with any regularity, you are familiar with the fact that I love 70s funk bands and soul singers from the period. Sadly, two men who represented those two loves have passed.

1 ) Bunny Sigler (March 27, 1941 - October 6, 2017), a record executive who along with Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff, created the "Philly Sound" known as "The Sound of Philadelphia" and the MFSB (Mother, Father, Sister, Brother) musicians in the early 70s. He was a talent on many levels so besides being a producer he was a performer too. He was known for his artistry in either singing the following songs, or for engineering their "sound" -  That's How Long I'll Be Loving You,  By the Way You Dance,  Love Train (an O'Jays classic)  In later yeas, he connected with the younger generation by co-writing The Ruler's Back, the opening track on Jay-Z's 2011 album, The Blueprint.

One of Bunny's engineering masterpieces :The O'Jays Love Train

2) Keith Wilder of one of my fav funk bands, HEATWAVE, is gone at 65. This is another blow to the group as his brother Johnnie Wilder, Jr. passed in 2006 after years of living paralyzed from a car accident. They used to switch places on certain songs in the lead spot. Johnnie's beautiful falsetto is heard on the recording of Always and Forever (an amazingly beautiful song. Requested at lots of weddings to this day), but Keith could sing it too.  Wilder was still on the road doing his thing until a few weeks ago. He'd been the survivor of several strokes which had left him with limited mobility, and warranted his use of a stool when performing. his family said he'd simply laid down for a nap on the Sunday afternoon  of October 29th and didn't wake up. This group lost its other mega-talent,  Rod Temperton,  just last year too. Though no longer performing with them, he was still a part of HEATWAVE. Known for those signature hits of the late 70s/early 80s, Wilder's voice , and the other, will be missed.

Keith Wilder


My girlhood music innovators are leaving this planet fast.

Goodnight, gentlemen.

All of HEATWAVE'S songs were gold (Groove Line, Boogie Nights) but Always and Forever is platinum. Listen, kiddies, to perfection. Take notes. It won't pass this way again.

Monday, October 30, 2017



This freakin' wonderful book (if I do say so myself) is now $1.99 FOR THE EBOOK through the holiday season! That's half price!

Plus, if you got the ducats and want a matched set, purchase the pricier paperback version (it's keepsake quality if you ask me), and pick up the ebook for an additional .99 cents!

Have it your way.

(A little nod to the "Burger King" ad of old there)

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Happy Birthday, Bootsy!

"The name is Bootsy, Baby."

That famous line from a 1996 cartoon with the singer as a character. The cartoon didn't make the cut for mass distribution but by the magic of the internet, it lives.

William Earl "Bootsy" Collins, native of Cincinnati, OH. Mad bass guitar player. Owner of that unique voice that sounds like across between those of the cartoon character Yogi Bear and the late actor George Sanders. My FAVORITE Funkateer in first, George Clinton's P-Funk Collective, and then in Parliament-Funkadelic, is 65 years old today (October 26th, 1951). I admire staying power and stamina and musician ship. Will Drake, Bey, Nikki or Chris Brown still be bouncing around the stage in 30 years? I do not think so. I kinda shutter to think. Hence, the make up and perfume  empires et al popping up. But that's just my opinion. Anyway, back to Bootsy.


The guy is a music genius. He collaborates with musicians of all genres. The session that blew me away was the one he had with bluegrass biggies Doc Watson, Del McCoury and Mac Wiseman to form the GroveGrass Boyz. Their effort was a fusion of bluegrass and funk..He was a 1997 Inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame along with Mr. Clinton and Parliament-Funkadelic. Below, watch the late, great Prince bestow the honor on the group:

Never stopping, never resting, Mr. Collins is on tour now with a new album called, WORLD WIDE FUNK.. A star-filled collabo with artists from many different music styles. Give a listen to an NPR segment called, "First Listen" to partake of the magnificence that is Bootsy Collins.

He also gave an interview i August to Pitchfork magazine on how anyone can reach one's "funk potential." Gotta love it.

Thank you, Mr. Collins. The world needs this now. Funk On, my man. Funk On. 

Saturday, October 21, 2017

If you can't beat 'em, throw the rock and hide your hand anyway

A short rant brought to to by those-who-are-peeping-the-game.

Well, the tug ‘o war is still happening in romance writing. Especially when it comes to, -  here comes that word – “multicultural” romance writing. Yanno, when at least one of the main characters is NOT White.  A whole lot of shaking has been going on since, I really can’t remember, but it’s been going on awhile. The whole “Who can write whom? Why does who want to write whom? Will who write whom in a real way?” And on and on. Romance writers who are White, by and large, write whatever the hell they want. As they should. What is the argument then? The 800-lb. elephant in the room has never been, “You shouldn’t write a non-White or non-binary character!” Nooooooooooo! The issue has ALWAYS been, “Why are y’all the default, go-to writer to pen everything that readers might express an interest in reading?” Okay. Now that that is cleared up, let’s follow the trajectory. The first “multicultural” romances were seen as such because they usually depicted a White heroine discovering another culture through the non-White, or half-White hero. Recall those sappy Westerns from the 70s, 80s? A hero so stupidly smitten by her “alabaster skin” that he lost all reason from the second he laid eyes on her. Blah. Blah. Blah. He either kidnapped her to get her, or would leave his own people to have her. Multicultural was so vaguely defined that men from Italy, Greece and Spain were labelled “exotic.” As for the thoughts of the heroine about the guy, she usually compared him “wild, untamed, unfamiliar” land he came from. I could say that about Greek yogurt. Oy.

Now, I am not sure but the first romance writers in the LBGTQ+ community were from those communities, but the offerings were not viewed as romances. They were memoirs or coming-of-age stories as opposed to mass-market romance fiction. Time marched on and the readers of the Liberated White Heroine school devoured the “multicultural” books with that brownish hero. Readers could scratch their itch safely by reading about “forbidden love” with the other. “Wow! It’s so real! I feel like I’m in Barcelona!” LBGTQ+ memoirs or fiction stayed with that community more or less. Then the romance market changed. A new influx of readers wanted to read about the imaginary romantic lives of people not often written about. To answer the call, White writers to the rescue again. Mainly female writers. But this time writers who were from the actual marginalized communities desired to have their voices heard. They had story ideas where the characters sounded more authentic and were not in the story for titillation. Get my drift? A few got their manuscripts accepted, and the view of the non-White and LBGTQ+ in love changed. It also sold. But miracle of miracles, without much help from their publishers, the new authors sold. So what happens when success is achieved and others want some? You guessed it. Already established White writers stewed because, hey, they wanted even more of the pie they were already bogarting.

So, White writers started studying the romance books written by non-White writers and LBGTQ+ writers to see what was making them stand out. They were looking to reproduce the success. Well, they learned and before you knew it, those writers became the go-to writers for ANYTHING in non-White or LBGTQ+ romance, in addition to all things White in romance writing. Déjà vu all over again. Imitation is supposed to be the highest form of flattery? Um, er, um, no. It’s stealing. They like to call it borrowing. Okay. But I see you. Five, well-known, White writers come to my mind immediately who have worked “borrowing” to their advantage. They latched onto the rhythm of “others,” ran with it, and cashed in big time. They were lauded up and down the halls of romance for creating such “refreshing, edgy, innovative, authentic” characters. Yeah, Rock stars. Billionaires. Military themes. All done by "others." All “borrowed.”

That disingenuous, sleight-of-hand doled out by publishers and most White romance writers who pen “multicultural” romance has lasted and has made their pockets bulge. But with criticism coming fast, deep and sharp from romance writers from the communities these White writers think they are depicting so accurately, that crown the chosen few were given has gotten quite uncomfortable. Most recent flack has been for their abysmal depictions of the non-White heroines. I can only speak on non-White heroines in hetero romances. I am not an authority on LBGTQ+ romances other than that most folk who are from those communities sort of detests the ones written by non-LBGTQ+ people. Back to non-White heroines though. Specifically, Black ones. I have blogged about this mess before and it has not gotten any better. The Black heroines most White writers create are pitiful. Oh, the ones by some non-White writers suck too but usually due to scant character development not outright bias. I’ve wondered sometimes when I’ve read a “multicultural” by a White author if they have even spoken with, or met, a Black woman. Their ouvres contain stereotypes in mannerisms, speech and background out the wazoo. Non-White romance writers who have created humane, multifaceted non-White characters can’t even get a manuscript read, let alone accepted.  But trash submitted by a lot of White romance writers gets through. Oh, trust and believe. It’s trash. It’s like their heroines are the amalgamation of every Black female they ever heard or saw on Fox News. I’ve tried to read trash so insulting that I swore my I. Q. dropped before I DNF’ed it.  The criticism continued, and does, ‘til this day. So, what was the defense mechanism used against the criticism? The writers circled the wagons and doubled-down!

The lauded writers, and their wannabes-in-waiting, did not like having their omnipotent view challenged. They did not, and do not, take kindly to being told their portraits of “others” suck. Several have taken to romance book blogs, and to Twitter to lament that they “tried to write a Black or Asian or whatever heroine but the response was too harsh. “ Waaa! And that they “won’t do it again because even after having several beta readers” their masterpieces got trounced!” Waaa! My take? Suck it up, honeys. No one told you to write a non-White heroine. You chose to for 1) the quick money, 2) the recognition, 3) because you thought you had it on lock, and did I mention 4) the quick money? But Romancelandia is small. Word gets out when something has an odor. Especially when it’s one of insincerity. People wait to critique these books when written by a White author. Why? Because lots of readers believe White authors do it better. And because you, White author, believe you can do no wrong. The truth is people, who probably have a better, different view of a heroine who looks like them, NEVER get the chance to present that view. Comprende? Capisce? I have always said, “Write what you want. But be prepared to have it analyzed and critiqued when you leave your lane.” Sentiments most White writers DO NOT heed when forging ahead into territory unknown. Then they get all butt-hurt when people eye-ball it.

So, these butt-hurt special snowflakes have decided to get around that troubling problem of being called on the carpet for piss-poor depictions of non-White heroines. Oh, they still write the “multicultural” but these women have gone RETRO. I noticed this trend about a year ago. It was slight trickle then but now it’s become a steady flow. Retro how, you ask? They’ve gone back to the “multicultural” of old. The tried-and-true plot where the focus is on the White heroine going to another land, or simply another part of town, to find herself through shagging a non-White, half-White hero. The old 360. Like the writer of old, the writer of today only has to stick to describing, or depicting, the White side of things. Things like the White heroine’s rising ardor for the non-White/half-White hero. It’s all about her. No pesky thinking about how to pen a non-White woman and how to explore her feelings in a love affair. No having to create a profile for a character not like her. Nope, that woman is not part of this story. Unless of course, she is the mother or sister to the hero who hates the heroine’s guts. The writer can then make these women as shrewish as she wants to contrast the gentility of the heroine. Making it plain that she is sooo not them. Same goes for the heroine’s view of the hero. You see him though her eyes and he’s this hot, “exotic” man she’s discovered that she’s always wanted to bone. He doesn’t have to be too developed. He doesn’t have to have a complex personality. He’s there for one purpose. The mainstream reader can still say they read a “multicultural.” That they enjoyed it and most importantly, it was something relatable! “Wow, this place holder is just like me! I felt he was talking to me when the hero spoke to the heroine! Golly Gee, I like ‘multicultural’ now!”

Just another ingenious, subtly bigoted way to recapture the top spot in the market in general romance 
AND in “multicultural.”

Oh, I could tick off more examples of subtle bigotry hiding behind a balance sheet that gets sanctioned by the industry, but I’d be here all day. But for this particular, peculiar occurrence, don’t take my word for it. Check out the new releases post on the major romance book review blogs. They are posted on Tuesdays. Scan those suckers. First, one can count on one hand, with two fingers missing, the covers with NON-WHITE faces in these “new release” posts. Some weeks there is not a one. And non-White authors? It would be easier to find ears on a chicken. New Releases my eye. Might as well call it business as usual. Sneakily but surely, this new breed of “multicultural” romance shows up in the new releases post with a bare-chested, non-White male on a book cover all by his lonesome. It is only when one searches on Amazon for details, does one discover the book is a “multicultural” romance with a White heroine. Written by a White female author.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

The 1965 American Football League boycott and ny take on the Colin Kaepernick injustice

Read about the courageous act executed of the players of the 1965 AFL All-Star Game. The league was scheduled to play at Louisiana's Tulane University's stadium. The AFL was a new league in direct competition with the NFL at the time. It is now defunct but it had a heyday. The sixties were a time of racial upheaval (like now) and the culmination of the Civil Rights Movement started years earlier. Tensions were high and in the South, and regardless of what the Federal gov't might decree about ending discrimination, White southerners often did as they pleased; laws be damned..

Promises were made that the Black players would be treated according to the Federal laws on the books. Translation? Fairly. Like effin human beings. Like anyone else. Well, turns out that was not the reality they met when they arrived. Restaurants still refused to seat and serve them. Cabs would not pick them up. I'm certain the hotels didn't want them within their walls either.

The 21 Black players, led by Cookie Gilchrist of the Buffalo Bills and Abner Haynes of the Kansas City Chiefs, banded together to send a message. They voted to NOT suit up and play. Two White players backed the move - Hall of Fame inductee Ron Mix and Jack Kemp (future Republican politician).

They won their protest in a round-about way. The game was moved to Houston's Jeppesen stadium.

Athletes taking a stand for what is right. Gee. Could it happen again? Maybe. But they'd have to grow a set first. Yeah. I said it. Grow a set.. But I'll be waiting a bit, won't I? Unfortunately, the Keyrones and LeJohns who make up the NFL today are painfully young and immature. They are highly-paid plantation property and the owners know it. These young players, my Grandfather would have said, "are distracted by the shiny possessions they owe on." They got a huge mortgage on Big Mama's brand new house. They got wives, ex-wives, children, levels of side-pieces, side-pieces' children and a large overhead. They owe their souls to the company store so to speak. So, on game days when the anthem is played, what you'll see from them is a mish-mosh of half-standing, half-kneeling, the locking arms with the owner "in solidarity." Whatever that means. But what you're really gonna see is FEAR. They want to back Colin but, hey, those bills come every month. This is the line in the sand,. There is no going back from here. Either they stand with their hands over their hearts, or they kneel, or boycott. This is the defining moment. No praying. No wishing the unpleasantness away. No in-between. Nope. The sad thing is I know what each of these young ones will choose. It should be their manhood but they won't. They will stand and be owned 'cuz "look at what happened to Kap."

Mister Kaepernick's career is over. Plantation massahs love to make examples out of their errant property..Lord, I hope this guy has saved his money because his peeps have left him to twist in the wind. But he made his point at the expense of his job. It takes guts to put one's money where one's mouth is. I support Colin Kaepernick in his protest BUT let me clarify WHAT his protest was about. So many have twisted his intent to rule the narrative. His protest was NOT about disrespecting vets/troops/military/flag, or whatever else a certain demographic wants to pull out of their collective asses. He knelt because of the clear police brutality that had, and has, been going on. Kaepernick knelt because obviously out of order law officers, ones seen ON FILM assaulting and killing unarmed Black/Brown people were not even being indicted for blatant abuses. He did it every game he was in to SHOW the disinterested that people were dying. He wanted the spectators, and viewers at home to know that.. THAT is WHAT his beef was/is. Not the stars-n-stripes, pseudo-patriotic bullshit that the draft-dodging, Man In the High Chair In The White House, or some Massah/Team owner, has whipped it up to be. Got that? 

My uncles went to war too. They got wounded too. They were Veterans too. They fought so people like Kap could be able to have his protest. It's freedom of expression. It's freedom of speech. They fought to defend a land that when they came home from war, denied them the comforts of the G. I. Bill. A land that, to this day, would erase their efforts from the history books if it could. Watch any WWII movie from the last 60 years. See any Black/Brown/Asian G. I.s? Didn't think so. The first time I saw any acknowledgement of a person of color having been in WWII was on "Hogan's Heroes" So, please. Check the jingoistic, flag-waving BS at the door. Last time that was a hit James Cagney was the movies' box office draw.

America, you've been played.

info courtesy of blackamericaweb

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Sarah Lou Harris Carter - Once the first African-American model featured in a national campaign for "Lucky Strike" cigarettes, she added the title "Lady" to her resume

Sarah Lou Harris born in Wilkesboro, North Carolina  (July 4th, 1923) went to the HBCU Bennett College, graduated and moved to New York City to teach. Once there, in addition to teaching, she took more courses and acquired a master's degree. Curious about other avenues of improvement, she became a radio host and a dancer. These fields led to signing to with the Branford Modelling Agency, an agency created for Black models only. She and her colleagues broke barriers and changed minds about the concept that models could only be blonde and White.

Modelling took her around the globe. On one of her assignments she met John Carter. No. Not that John Carter. This John Carter was a Guyanese attorney. A prominent barrister who in 1944 had successfully gotten the death penalty, which had been handed down from the US military court for a a rape charge to an African-American soldier, commuted. Kismet struck when the couple met. Smitten, they wed. Years later, Queen Elizabeth II knighted Carter et voila! Sarah became Lady Sarah Lou Harris Carter, wife to a lawyer who happened to be an ambassador and a politician

Not too shabby for a girl from Wilkesboro, NC.

Lady Carter continued to model, When she quit the bright lights, she opened her own charm school in Guyana.

Predeceased in death by her husband, Lady Carter died on December 16, 2016 at the age of 93.

Sarah in her heyday

Sir John Carter

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Octavius V. Catto - Homeboy finally acknowledged!

Octavius V. Catto. Orator. Educator. Intellectual. Military man. Cricket player. Activist. Martyr.

A Philadelphian by way of Charleston, South Carolina. Born free to freewoman Sara Isabella Cain on February 22, 1839 and itto the prominent mixed-race DeReef family, a family that had been free for decades. His father, William T. Catto,  had been a slave millwright and had gained his freedom. Once free, his father, now a Presbyterian minister, took the family North. First to Baltimore, then to Philly. He dedicated his life to educating black folk and rallying them to vote. A big fat no-no in Philly of that day. Actually, it's still an uncomfortable affair to be a black voter in Philly. Oh, the stories I could tell. Anyhoo, Catto lost his life organizing black people to get out the vote in 1871 on October 10th. A nasty business involving police and the immigrant Irish community who were mainly part of the Democratic machine and who fought constantly with Blacks who were Republicans. No, not THOSE kind of Republicans. This was the time just before the parties switched ideologies literally. Before that, Blacks had been Republicans and most Whites had been Democrats. The kind of Democrats who espoused the platform that present-day Republican do now. Get it? It's a long, sad story. Basically, a flip flop in thinking happened and we have what we have today. Wanna read more about the big upheaval in the parties? Google it. Catto had a vast and varied background too extensive to relate here. See the provided links below.

Again, tensions in the city were high as immigrants (mainly Irish) had been up in arms concerning their having being drawn into the Civil War. Many were still fuming over their conscription into a matter they felt had nothing to do with them. They'd come to a land for freedom, not to fight for somebody else's. Somebody they felt below them. They saw Blacks as a problem and did not want them organized in any manner, or gaining any power. Who know were that could lead? LOL.LOL. Possibly, solidarity, idiots.

My take? I felt they should have taken it up with the federal government. Not take it out on their Black neighbors. But that's par for the course. People always bitch about what favor their neighbor APPEARS to be getting when in actuality, while they fret, the gov't is taking them ALL for what they are worth and using them. It's laughable really. They thought themselves better than blacks when, if I recall, their names were right up there with Blacks and Jews on those signs proclaiming, "Stay Out. Not Welcome!" But back to Mister Catto.

He'd been rousing Blacks to vote on October 10, 1871. Election Day. A recognizable figure, he'd bought a gun for protection as he was always being accosted when out. While on his way to vote, he was confronted by one Frank Smith, an Irish immigrant. Catto was shot 3 times, dying of his wounds. An inquest could not determine if Catto had pulled his weapon though several depictions of the encounter depict it. In the end, Smith was not charged.

I chose him as a blog topic because growing up in South Philly this man's presence was palpable. As a child, I attended many an event at the O. V. Catto Hall in my neighborhood. Churches, families, and organizations held dances, meetings and socials there. The local fire department hosted Christmas parties there, giving out presents and money to us kids.  The hall was the place to hold all the events crucial to my neighborhood. I have fond memories of fun times at that space.

South Philly is not the same anymore. Gentrification has altered life there greatly. The wheels of time and folk with the money to buy up properties for next to nothing does that every time. I'm sure the hall is no longer there. And if it is, it's probably a coffee shop serving $10 avocado-toast-and-coffee combos to hipsters. The history is lost ut lives in the minds of the O. G.s. That is why I so happy that Philly is honoring the man that the hall was named for. Philadelphians, new and old, need to know of this man.

And it's happening on September 26th, 2017 A statue will be dedicated and erected outside City Hall. Protests will occur I am certain because a lot of people feel some kind of way about the removal of former mayor Frank Rizzo's statue from a public space. Oh, it's gonna get salty. But that is business as usual for Philly. I commend present mayor, Jim Kenney, for proceeding with the project. It was a brave move for a White guy of Irish decent to make  because...It's Philly. The installation will be covered by WURD Radio. Okay, Philly, are you ready for your close-up? Philadelphia. My wacky, nutty, racist hometown. You make me smile sometimes.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

The Harlem Cultural Festival in the summer of 1969 is often called the Black Woodstock.

The Harlem Cultural Festival was an event that comprised SIX FREE concerts filled to the brim with talent. The bill over the span of the shows featured Stevie Wonder, B. B. King, Sly and the Family Stone, Nina Simone, The Staple Singers, etc. The list went on and on. as you can see from the poster below. Sly and the Family Stone played BOTH venues that summer.

Listen to a 2009 NPR recollection at their website, or at  to get a feel of the event:

This is history. A videographer named Hal Tulchin, filmed and recorded the happening for posterity. I like the word happening. So '60s. Happening. All I can see are fringed vests, bell bottoms, bandanas and beads for days. Anyhoo, it seems posterity wasn't interested in the footage the man shot from the festival. That is until said languishing footage was uncovered. Et Voila! A documentary is in the making. At least 50 hours of performances were captured. 90-year-old Hal Tulchin passed but lived long enough to know that his work would be seen.

Well done, Mister Tulchin.

info courtesy and

Monday, September 18, 2017

Jimi Hendrix - Hail a guitar master!

A black and white photograph of a man playing an electric guitar.

Jimi Hendrix - Born 11/27/42 - Deceased 9/18/70

I've blogged about my love for '70s funk bands and their bass guitarists for a few years. The other type of guitarist I like are terrific rock guitarists.

Eric Clapton. Jimmy Page. Jeff Beck. Carlos Santana. Joe Perry. Duane Allman. Ernie Isley. Yes, Prince. Oh, the list goes on and on. I know I've left out a ton. But the one I listen to, to this day is Jimi Hendrix.

My youngest uncle who lived in the family home while going to college, introduced me to the music of this master. I recall being 8 years old, sitting on uncle's bedroom floor and listening to the needle drop on vinyl and commence to play Purple Haze, The Wind Cries Mary and Foxy Lady.  And my personal favorite: All Along the Watchtower. I was transfixed. My initiation into "The Experience" had begun. Uncle graduated and eventually moved away but Jimi's talent lingered.

Hendrix's style was unique to say the least. I like that reverberating sound he got from playing directly in front of the speakers. His breakout, breakthrough came at the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival. He and his group were the talk of the event. At Woodstock, he stole the show with his rendition of the Star Spangled Banner. Dying young like Janis Joplin and Jim Morrison was part of his continued mystique.

Hendrix was celebrated in a rather overlooked film in 2013: Jimi: All Is By My Side. It didn't do well due to not being able to acquire the rights to his music. Bummer because singer Andre 3000 of Outkast was STUPENDOUS as Jimi. Andre caught the essence of the guitarist. It's a shame the film bombed. It would have released Andre into acting more and boosted Hendrix even more. But thems the breaks.

Today is the anniversary of Jimi's death. This day in 1970, he passed. Go listen to some of his music to honor a riveting talent. .

 All Along the Watchtower:

A color image of three men standing together wearing psychedelic clothing.

Jimi All Is by My Side poster.jpg

info courtesy of blackamericaweb

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Beauty is in session and the industry just got taken to school - Fenty Beauty

Fenty Beauty. Fenty Beauty. Fenty Beauty.

Rihanna. Rihanna. Rihanna. Not just another pretty face.

I can take, or leave her music but I will definitely take her makeup. Definitely. RiRi's launch into the beauty biz showed wannabes like the Kardashians how it should be done. Kim, having 4 contouring kits is nothing. Kylie, Kendall or whatever K you are in the family, your announcement of the addition of something called "Brown Sugar" (conspicuously after the Fenty Beauty launch) to your makeup line was feeble at best. Anemic at worst. It's a tacky, lame attempt to appear "inclusive" in the beauty game. A game who you, and all large, mainstream cosmetic companies, LOST on September 8th, 2017 when Fenty Beauty debuted.

That large section of makeup wearers with very dark skin, or very pale skin. The ones with all that MONEY to spend but had nearly nowhere to spend it, found a place that Friday night. Through your big-company-willful-ignorance, through your business model that touts "medium" as the only shade that matters, you lost out. Oh, yeah, you might have gotten off your lazy duff to make two crappy foundation shades for ALL black or brown women, without acknowledgement of their differing undertones and the fact that we all come in varied shades! Those two shades were supposed to be enough for over half the world. How big of you. And just as bad is your poor representation of deadly pale skin with one shade of "fair" no matter the wearer's undertone.

I will admit a few major brands - MAC, NARS, Lancome, even Clinique - tried. But it wasn't because they cared. It was for the money. They understood business. Not to say that there are no Black-owned beauty companies, or companies that do not have cosmetics for Black skin. There were/are several small Black-owned beauty brands. I left a list below. But we all know how they get treated. Scant shelf space in stores. Low visibility even if they get space in a store. Just to get the endeavor off the ground is a miracle. "White beauty companies get funded on POTENTIAL; Black beauty companies get funded on PROOF!" A quote from Youtube beauty blogger Jackie Aina. Meaning: A White idea gets the moolah without question. A Black idea gets scrutinized out the wazoo, schematics are needed and SALES! Where dey do dat at? How the Hell are you gonna have a sales track record PRIOR to the effin thing being produced?

No thing. Fenty Beauty is here to take all you big boys to school and to tell you that it has it covered. This is not a flash-in-the-pan effort. This is a major effort to rival the biggies in the field. I believe Fenty Beauty is here to stay a while.

40 shades of gloriously different foundation. FORTY! Not 50 permutations of medium beige.

At least 7 of which serve the darkest skin with all its possible undertones. And don't fret pale girls. On the other end of the spectrum, there are at least 5 shades of  Wednesday Addams' complexion and the undertones to go around. And if you are anywhere in-between, you've got it made and will get giddy from the selection.

So while all you big beauty giants scratch your asses and wonder how you missed that YUGE boat and how RiRi didn't, do let me hear the clack of those stilettoes running to whip up the products you SHOULD have been making for years. I know you are in a rush but take your time to make a quality product, okay? Otherwise, you'll have to revisit square one and will have missed the boat TWICE.

Ah! I do love the smell of regret and checked bigotry in the morning!

My personal favs are: the primer, the foundation and the blotter for shine.

PS Here are some small Black-owned beauty brands that have been in the trenches for a bit:

Monday, September 11, 2017

Happy Birthday, Miss Lola Falana!

Born this day in 1942. Lola Falana. An Afro-Cuban Philly, PA girl by way of Camden, NJ. A woman of many firsts. A fixture on every late '60s through early '70s variety show. The one known for her perky "backside" before all the other Janies-Come-Lately. A recording star. A TV star. A dancer. A Las Vegas star before the concept of "residency" was even dreamed up. Vixen before the video age. Often casts as the temptress in films. Face of a major cosmetics campaign (Tigress perfume). Once wife to Feliciano Tavares of the '70s group, Tavares. The total package. Survivor of multiple sclerosis. Human. Lola Falana.

Happy Birthday, Lola! MUAH!

ps Rihanna vibe in the second pic? Or Rihanna is a tad Falana-ish these days? You know what I mean.