Sunday, October 18, 2015

Atlanta's Alley Pat - Black Radio's Mouth of the South

Atlanta, if you have not seen the award-winning documentary on Alley Pat, the outrageous radio host who started in 1951 on the country's first black owned radio station Atlanta's WERD, as well as WYZE and WAOK, you are missing out! From his sparing with Hosea Williams to his unique local advertising, knowledgeable record spinning, skewering hypocrisy, and bailing out civil rights workers, he was such an authentic person. 

I remember my parents playing his a.m. radio show when I was in elementary school. He made you laugh, think and have pride about your community. I'm glad I'm old enough to remember when this type of local radio was vibrant and powerful. 

There are some great (and even hilarious) stories about the night before Dr. King died, Pat's trips to racist Georgia towns to bail out civil rights workers and his banter with his radio public. Even if you are not from Atlanta, if you appreciate soul, blues and jazz, and a wild personality who had some purpose in his mischievousness, you will LOVE this documentary: #BlackHistoryMatters #MouthOfTheSouth


Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Help! Vacation Read Suggestions Please

Help! I need a book to read. I'm going on vacation and I want to be swept away. If I had my choice I'd finish Ntozake Shange's Some Sing, Some Cry, which I got about a third of the way into a couple of years ago before life interrupted. I loved that book, and was desperately looking for my personally signed copy, when I came across all these others (pictured above) that I remember like loving friends. Douglass' Women by Jewell Parker Rhodes, Tayari Jones' Silver Sparrow & Bridgett Davis' Shifting Through Neutral are a few others that left a lasting impression on my soul. 

Even though I read some of these novels more than a decade ago, they are stories I want to go on - characters whose lives I wish would not be so finalized. I still drag out reading the end of a book I'm relishing, praying it will never end, and having the nerve to be almost angry at the author when it does. All but one of these are works of historical fiction and have complex black women as leading characters. The writing is lush and literary - and as soon as I saw or thought about each, I remembered the decisions the characters made, its impact on their lives, and how those situations resonated with me so deeply that I felt connected and empathetic to them.

I only get to disappear totally into an engrossing novel about once a year, so I'm gonna be selfish with this choice. I don't want to read anything related to the news or my profession, or that's informed by social media or pop culture. I want to physically & mentally go away. So if you've got any recommendations for some wonderfully written historical fiction, I'd appreciate a heads up. Even if I find Some Sing, Some Cry, I'll be elated to have a list - and I may even try to get in a few more during the year! 

I'm thankful when talented writers share their gifts and I have nothing but gratitude for of all the authors highlighted in this post, including Kuwana Haulsey, Denise Nicholas, Margaret Cezair-Thompson, Florence Ladd and Rosalyn Story.  

Keep on Enjoyceinglife - it's incredible!

Sunday, January 4, 2015

My Late Night Vow for 2015....

It was midnight when I decided to look for my copy of "The Vow," the fabulous novel written by my girls Denene Millner, Angela Burt-Murray and Mitzi Miller - because, of course, I must re-read it before the film adaptation "With This Ring" starring Jill Scott airs on Lifetime in about two weeks. 

After scouring every bookshelf in my house and even scrounging through at least five huge boxes of books I haven't opened in at least three years, all I could come up with was like every OTHER book these talented three wrote - from "The Angry Black Woman's Guide to Life" to their "Hotlanta" series and even Denene's first one "The Sistahs' Rules."

Sigh... So, with a nod to book publicist extraordinaire Gilda Squire's earlier Facebook post today, I'll be at a bookstore tomorrow happily purchasing another copy of "The Vow." Because my friends and their work are worth it.

Now, I did unearth a few finds that I could not leave in the boxes: Paula Giddings' "When and Where I Enter" changed my life in college. Just thumbing through the portions I'd underlined made me realize that revisiting this gem would definitely help me in my current book projects. "Reaping the Whirlwind" includes important information about my revolutionary grandfather - a passion project. "Mystery of the Dark Tower" by the talented Evelyn Coleman will be great to read to my big girl. And I was so intrigued by "When Washington Was in Vogue" when I received it a decade ago - as it was lost for more than 75 years before it was published - that I always knew I wanted to read it. Plus historical fiction is definitely my thing.

So, I hope you're starting off the year with some good reads - and some satisfying writing (if that's your thing). Here's to book loving and more Enjoyceinglife in 2015!

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