ChickenBones: A Journal

for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes

   

Home   ChickenBones Store (Books, DVDs, Music, and more)

Google
 

So we need to restore the people’s love that Bob Marley called

“ONE LOVE” so we can work together to survive in the current world

 

 

Books by Larry Ukali Johnson-Redd

My Deepest Affections Are Yours / Journey to the Motherland  / History To Destiny Through Afrocentric Poetry / Loving Black Women

History to Destiny Through Afrocentric Poetry

*   *   *   *   *

Interview with Larry Ukali Johnson-Redd

Author of Loving Black Women

By Rudolph Lewis

 

Rudy: I’ve just completed your new book Loving Black Women (2006). It’s packed full with a lot of heavy ideas and beautiful women. You have numerous photos of beautiful sisters, old and young ones, some big-legged gorgeous sisters. I wish you had put their names in captions. I get the feeling from the content of this book; you don’t know any ugly sisters. Or you just don’t care to consider them. Is that right?

Ukali: Hello Rudy. To answer your question I have about 200 female cousins in the San Francisco Bay Area, L.A., and Little Rock as well as across the country in my estimate. I contacted about 40 female relatives and those in the book are the responders. Thank you for the compliments for my mom, aunts, sisters, cousins, and nieces. Their names or relationship appear on the acknowledgment page in the front of the book. I truly believe every sister is beautiful from the beginning; however, some display ugly manners and that is the only thing that can make a sister ugly.  Thank you for the compliments of the Black Women I loved all my life.

Rudy: You lost your beautiful wife some years ago. Have you remarried or you just wandering in the garden, playing the field, so to speak?

Ukali: Chinwe was truly beautiful and passed on when we were 33 years old.  Much as I loved Chinwe I had to moved on to stay among the living. I got married to a sister from Pittsburg, Calif. Named Sharon C. in 1990. We married and divorced in 1990. Since that time I have been involved with several different relationships with sisters from the US and Africa. As always I look for the for-real love! However I am now ready to settle down with the sister I am engaged to hopefully within a month or two.

Rudy: Have you noted, or is it just my imagination, that more men and women are living alone and in separate households than at any time in the history of Black America? You sing about loving black women—but are black women really loving black men? Or are they sort of hung up on themselves and their Oprah problems?

Ukali: You have observed the same issue I have observed from the other coast. Many relationships between our sisters and brothers face challenges some because we are in a country where we are still treated like second-class citizens. Some sisters use the laws against brothers because they can. And sometimes brothers abandon their responsibilities because their money is not enough or shaky economics from the white supremacy state.

However, despite our situation as a people we have not had as much trouble staying together at any time as we are having now. Yet most of our sisters are and continue to love Black Men. And if brothers and sisters continue to nurture positive relationships we help make sure we continue to exist as a people in the USA and the world.

So Black Women love Black men in general. However, there are sisters and brothers who have issues. And we as a people and as individuals need to sort out our relationships and do our best to be great lovers to each other. As long as that happens we can face the challenges posed by white supremacy or the modern era with strong relationships.

I have written poems like “Love Your Smile” and “The Beauty of a Sister” to celebrate the love we Brothers have for our great Sisters! All of the poems in Loving Black Women  are written to encourage love among us as a people so we can work together better for our progress in our relationships and as a people.

Rudy:  We hear women using such language as “booty call” and “being serviced.” Where’s the love in such language? It seems for many black women the black man has been reduced to his penis or in these more liberated times, his tongue. So when you speak of “love”—are you speaking of “erotic” love? Or of some kind of fantasized revolutionary love? Can you speak to these troubling issues?

Ukali: This is a deep question that goes to the heart where we store our love. The language of “booty calls” and “servicing” speaks to the different types of relationships we are involved including single’s issues. Some ladies have decided to stay single! I know sisters would prefer the whole relationship including marriage when they are with the man they love. However, that is not always possible.

So when I speak of the love of a people the ethnic glue that holds a people together, we are losing it and in the cases where we kill each other in the street we have totally lost it.

So we need to restore the people’s love that Bob Marley called “ONE LOVE” so we can work together to survive in the current world we live in. One love that we need is not fantasized revolutionary love, but the love we need to see that will bring down the brother to brother killing we see in dramatic numbers in the San Francisco Bay Area, LA area and in the streets of the USA, the Caribbean, and Africa.

The other love you spoke of an erotic love must be nurtured as a part of a loving relationship to really be meaningful. I might have thought a little a few years ago. I have written “Black Women Dear” and “My Dream,” “Dialog with a Black Woman,” “Pay Attention” and more to provide readers with a chance to reevaluate and improve relationships.

Rudy:  My impression is that the love you speak of is infused with a kind of Black Nationalism that excludes other races. There are black women with white male lovers and white husbands and half white children. Does that disturb you? And there are black men with white female lovers and white wives and half-white children. Do you think that those kinds of relationships work counter to the “liberation struggle”?

Ukali: Clearly, at least to me, we as African people in America must reevaluate the love we are showing each other all over the world and all over this country we live in as a conscious priority, any people put in the vice grip of white supremacy like us in America will have strained relationships.

Police and prison guards who place Black Men and Women in prison cells help stir up tensions among us resulting in fights that go back out to our communities. If we had the strongest love we could have as a people, we could not be so easily manipulated against each other without the deadly results on the streets of our communities.

We see too much of and attend too many funerals of young brothers particularly. My approach is we as a people need to look inward first to seek solutions to brother - to -brother killings in the rural and urban areas of the USA and throughout the African World.

I am getting married shortly and resent anyone telling me whom to marry. I am not personally telling anyone personally who to marry. I, like many African Americans, have someone in the family in an inter-racial relationship or marriage.

The relationships that should be of primary importance to us as a people are our internal relationships with each other as a people.   A person that is so deeply involved in self- hate and political oppression needs to show self love as a conscious priority. If we can get through or to the establishment of ONE LOVE for ourselves we might even find it easier to love others. However, love like charity begins best at home!

Rudy: There are more Hispanic and Asian men and women who are digging on black men and women. Should they/we be ashamed of such liaisons? Is this too a betrayal of the “black revolution” you envision?

Ukali: Again the highest priority we as a people must be the self love and generating more love among us as a people serves our greater good and does not present a threat to anyone. So whoever someone chooses to love is personal. However, if we choose someone else because we hate ourselves, we will not be a good mate to any one including ourselves.

Rudy: In Loving Black Women  (2006) you call for an All African Peoples Conference. In your concept of “African,” you include peoples from Australia (Aborigines), Asia (Papua New Guinea), the Pacific Islands, the Middle East, as well as the Americas and Europe. Aren’t you stretching African identity beyond what it can hold in practice and reality?

Ukali: In the Middle East you have many Black-skinned people who choose their religion or national state as the focus of their identity. So an All African People’s Congress may or may not appeal to that group. The other areas mentioned have 

African People as residents who probably would want to participate in an All African People’s Congress as it is developed from an idea to a proposal.

I am speaking of African residents in European countries. New Guinea a country of Black-skinned people like the people of Fuji and other Pacific Islands, probably descended from Eastern Africa in some distant ancient time. It would be their decision to participate in an All People’s Congress or not.

But I feet the Melanesians should be included along with Africans and Afro Brazilians, African Americans as well as other Black populations throughout the West. This is a thought and a proposal. However, the African People throughout the world must embrace the concepts of an All African People’s Congress before it will ever become a reality.

I hope we will have an All African People’s Congress in 3 to 5 years or at some future point in time in Africa, like Nigeria or Ghana, to assess what we can do as a people to assist each other to improve ourselves, to trade with each other, to develop people-to-people, political, and cultural relationships.

Rudy: You seem to think that solving the identity question leads automatically to the resolution of larger problems like neocolonialism, poverty, ignorance, and disease? Do you think you are being rather fanciful? I mean isn’t all this rather a fantasy?

Ukali: When you travel to Africa as an African American you are immediately impressed with the power African people manage and exercise in Africa. I also feel that the young brothers and sisters in the streets and schools need to see how we can empower each other as well through seeing our leaders coming together from around the world as a realist empowerment model we can implement in our communities around the world.

Sorting out and establishing our identity is but the first step and you have listed other issues we need to sort out and solve.

I do not think ideas like these are fantasy but Marcus Garvey and Malcolm X expressed these types of ideas in their time. However, we as a people have the power to make our plans and dreams a reality if we want to.

Rudy: You worked four years in Nigeria as a teacher in the 1970s. Your Nigerian wife then worked for the government. It was your first time in a black country. You felt at home?  Except for some government bureaucracy problems, you play down any other criticisms of what was/is happening in Nigeria. There must be something wrong there for we are finding more and more Nigerians desperate to leave their country to come to America or go to Europe. Can you give us now the real deal?

Ukali: Nigeria is currently at once an independent country and a neocolonial state with progress and potential. The Nigerians battle the IMF and Western multinationals who try to take advantage of the high grade oil produced by Nigeria’s land and costal waters. However, the Nigerians are well educated and could be the first African country to break out of the neocolonial status by developing to their full potential their resources of oil and natural gas as well as other natural resources, and Nigerian people.

These western companies are welcomed but do not act like good corporate citizens because they are driven by profits. So there are corporate challenges to Nigeria’s independence. But the Nigerians are avid readers and very knowledgeable about their challenges and continue to make progress. Still there are many unemployed and uneducated hardworking young men and women in the country who want progress.

So Nigeria is the most populous African republic in the world. Nigeria is a third world country with first world potential and a dynamic population, As African Americans we will see hip hop and other types of African-American influence in current-day Nigeria. For that reason I hope as many African Americans as possible can experience the good, bad and ugly that constitutes Nigeria so we can observe their successes and learn from their failures and see our people in Nigeria and look beyond western stereotypes of our people living in trees. I want my people to see the magnificent houses and regular houses our people live in Nigeria.

There are many young Nigerians who might like to come to the USA to study and settle here or study and return to their country to build up their country. Nigeria has a range of school opportunities but not every Nigerian can be in all of their schools at the same time

Rudy: We know of three major tribal groups in Nigeria: Yoruba, Hausa, and Igbo. How much did you learn about these different peoples and the tensions that exist among them? Did your wife belong to one of these groups? Did you travel into all these regions? Make friends there in those regions?

Ukali: When I arrived in Nigeria in 1977 the first Nigerian brother I made friends with in Lagos was named Abu—and he was a Northerner living in Lagos—the southwestern area of Nigeria and the commercial capital of Nigeria. Chinwe, my late wife, was at home all over Nigeria but is of the Ibo family of southeastern Nigeria.

I lived in Kaduna in Northern Nigeria the first 9 or 10 weeks.   I traveled to the North, West as well as the South South area of Nigeria. I made the most and deepest friendships in the Benin City area. I traveled to Nigeria’s east and completed the Native Law and Custom Marriage of my late wife’s Ibo people.

I found it very easy to make friends all over Nigeria. However, there are internal issues that Nigerians must sort out for themselves. There are religious differences and tribal issues like there are problems all over the world. I traveled to Warri and Sapele in the Nigerian Delta like the American GULF where you find massive poverty and multinational oil companies side by side.

Rudy: You recently returned to Nigeria. You gave a half hour interview on Nigerian TV, talking mostly about the troubles blacks have in America. Was that the purpose of your trip? How did you find things different in Nigeria? Where did you go? Did you sell any books?

Ukali: I recently returned to Nigeria 24 years after I let Nigeria with my late wife Chinwe in 1981. I found customs to be easier this time and the customs officer increased my visa from 10 days to 2 to 3 weeks stating how you can’t see Nigeria in only 10 days.

 I was through customs so quickly I missed one of my friends who came to pick me up. There are many young Nigerians who might like to come to the USA to study and settle here or study and return to their country to build up their country. Nigeria has a range of school opportunities but not every Nigerian can be in all of their schools at the same time.

Rudy, I will always be grateful to you for publishing “Remembering Chinwe” in 2004, a short memoir that spoke about the last trip my late wife and I made to the North to spend with her family.

At the end of that essay I began remembering my Nigerian brother friends Ide Equator, Akhere and Magnus Ugbesia whom I had not seen or corresponded with for what was 24 years at that time.

That article was read in Nigeria and Britain by relatives of my friends. I got in touch with Ide, about five months before my trip. And when I traveled to Ubiaja the home village of Akhere, Magnus and Ide, with Ide, we bumped in on the twins Akhere and Magnus Ugbesia.

When Akhere and I met he was totally shocked and happy. We sat down and shared some beer and caught up on 24 years that beautiful night in Ubiaja, a village about 100 kilometers from Benin City. However, the primary reason I was in Nigeria in October of 2005 was to meet my fiancé and her family. I also looked for a Nigerian publisher. I am still looking for an Africa-based publisher.

Rudy: You seem to believe that black-on-black violence is the major problem of black cities. Others seem to think that the major problem is the capitulation of black elites to white middle-class values and callousness with regard to the concerns of the working poor. Why such a divergence in emphasis?

Ukali: I feel that both the brother-to-brother killing and the capitulation of some middle class African Americans are a part of the problem. The white supremacy status in America is the 800-pound gorilla. So our issues are very complex and yet there is more we can do to prepare to rule our world to rule our communities and to rule our destinies. May we all do more to reconcile ourselves, unite ourselves and liberate ourselves from the 800 pound gorilla.—White Supremacy—by working together to improve ourselves so we can develop ourselves until we are no longer victims of white supremacy.

Rudy: You seem to putting books out as fast as Marvin X. How do you do it? Why do you do it? Doesn’t your job as a professional educator keep you busy enough, already?

Ukali: Please buy my books because writers like me who invest our own funds to produce independent books free of American corporate support deserve the support of African People all over the world that informs us about our issues and come from a sincere heart!

My books and media are available at some bookstores and my e-commerce equipped web sites accessible at lovingblackwomen.com  and or journeytothemotherland.com . I have been busy writing Black Love Spoken Word, and presenting my Spoken word in the Bay Area, Sacramento. LA and any other community I receive an invitation from.

Please invite me and I will make a presentation in your venue. Buy your copy of Loving Black Women and Journey To The Motherland, From San Francisco To Benin City at my websites and I will send you autographed copies! I stay out of trouble by staying focused on working as an educator and completing my books and other media projects I have planned on for several years.

My books and media are my legacy. I appreciate and respect the work of our older brother Marvin X and appreciate being mentioned in the same breath by some one I respect like you Rudy! If you see Marvin X before I do please say ENOUGH RESPECT to Marvin for me!

Rudy: You have been a long time supporter of ChickenBones. Why? What influence is it having in the Bay Area. Is there anything comparable to it, anywhere?

Ukali: I am sure ChickenBones draws hits from all over the world including the Bay Area. I know that there are many new online magazines but ChickenBones is the most popular online magazine and many of our folks and others from all over the world visit and cruise ChickenBones and we are all better because ChickenBones is available for us all! I keep in touch with the Black Literary community by checking out the ChickenBones website and online Magazine.

Rudy: Thanks ever so much for your time and your support. We wish you the best as educator, author, and performer.

*   *   *   *   *

AALBC.com's 25 Best Selling Books


 

Fiction

#1 - Justify My Thug by Wahida Clark
#2 - Flyy Girl by Omar Tyree
#3 - Head Bangers: An APF Sexcapade by Zane
#4 - Life Is Short But Wide by J. California Cooper
#5 - Stackin' Paper 2 Genesis' Payback by Joy King
#6 - Thug Lovin' (Thug 4) by Wahida Clark
#7 - When I Get Where I'm Going by Cheryl Robinson
#8 - Casting the First Stone by Kimberla Lawson Roby
#9 - The Sex Chronicles: Shattering the Myth by Zane

#10 - Covenant: A Thriller  by Brandon Massey

#11 - Diary Of A Street Diva  by Ashley and JaQuavis

#12 - Don't Ever Tell  by Brandon Massey

#13 - For colored girls who have considered suicide  by Ntozake Shange

#14 - For the Love of Money : A Novel by Omar Tyree

#15 - Homemade Loves  by J. California Cooper

#16 - The Future Has a Past: Stories by J. California Cooper

#17 - Player Haters by Carl Weber

#18 - Purple Panties: An Eroticanoir.com Anthology by Sidney Molare

#19 - Stackin' Paper by Joy King

#20 - Children of the Street: An Inspector Darko Dawson Mystery by Kwei Quartey

#21 - The Upper Room by Mary Monroe

#22 – Thug Matrimony  by Wahida Clark

#23 - Thugs And The Women Who Love Them by Wahida Clark

#24 - Married Men by Carl Weber

#25 - I Dreamt I Was in Heaven - The Rampage of the Rufus Buck Gang by Leonce Gaiter

Non-fiction

#1 - Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention by Manning Marable
#2 - Confessions of a Video Vixen by Karrine Steffans
#3 - Dear G-Spot: Straight Talk About Sex and Love by Zane
#4 - Letters to a Young Brother: MANifest Your Destiny by Hill Harper
#5 - Peace from Broken Pieces: How to Get Through What You're Going Through by Iyanla Vanzant
#6 - Selected Writings and Speeches of Marcus Garvey by Marcus Garvey
#7 - The Ebony Cookbook: A Date with a Dish by Freda DeKnight
#8 - The Isis Papers: The Keys to the Colors by Frances Cress Welsing
#9 - The Mis-Education of the Negro by Carter Godwin Woodson

#10 - John Henrik Clarke and the Power of Africana History  by Ahati N. N. Toure

#11 - Fail Up: 20 Lessons on Building Success from Failure by Tavis Smiley

#12 -The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander

#13 - The Black Male Handbook: A Blueprint for Life by Kevin Powell

#14 - The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates by Wes Moore

#15 - Why Men Fear Marriage: The Surprising Truth Behind Why So Many Men Can't Commit  by RM Johnson

#16 - Black Titan: A.G. Gaston and the Making of a Black American Millionaire by Carol Jenkins

#17 - Brainwashed: Challenging the Myth of Black Inferiority by Tom Burrell

#18 - A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose by Eckhart Tolle

#19 - John Oliver Killens: A Life of Black Literary Activism by Keith Gilyard

#20 - Alain L. Locke: The Biography of a Philosopher by Leonard Harris

#21 - Age Ain't Nothing but a Number: Black Women Explore Midlife by Carleen Brice

#22 - 2012 Guide to Literary Agents by Chuck Sambuchino
#23 - Chicken Soup for the Prisoner's Soul by Tom Lagana
#24 - 101 Things Every Boy/Young Man of Color Should Know by LaMarr Darnell Shields

#25 - Beyond the Black Lady: Sexuality and the New African American Middle Class  by Lisa B. Thompson

*   *   *   *   *

Super Rich: A Guide to Having it All

By Russell Simmons

Russell Simmons knows firsthand that wealth is rooted in much more than the stock  market. True wealth has more to do with what's in your heart than what's in your wallet. Using this knowledge, Simmons became one of America's shrewdest entrepreneurs, achieving a level of success that most investors only dream about. No matter how much material gain he accumulated, he never stopped lending a hand to those less fortunate. In Super Rich, Simmons uses his rare blend of spiritual savvy and street-smart wisdom to offer a new definition of wealth-and share timeless principles for developing an unshakable sense of self that can weather any financial storm. As Simmons says, "Happy can make you money, but money can't make you happy."

*   *   *   *   *

The New Jim Crow

Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness

By Michele Alexander

Contrary to the rosy picture of race embodied in Barack Obama's political success and Oprah Winfrey's financial success, legal scholar Alexander argues vigorously and persuasively that [w]e have not ended racial caste in America; we have merely redesigned it. Jim Crow and legal racial segregation has been replaced by mass incarceration as a system of social control (More African Americans are under correctional control today... than were enslaved in 1850). Alexander reviews American racial history from the colonies to the Clinton administration, delineating its transformation into the war on drugs. She offers an acute analysis of the effect of this mass incarceration upon former inmates who will be discriminated against, legally, for the rest of their lives, denied employment, housing, education, and public benefits. Most provocatively, she reveals how both the move toward colorblindness and affirmative action may blur our vision of injustice: most Americans know and don't know the truth about mass incarceration—but her carefully researched, deeply engaging, and thoroughly readable book should change that.—Publishers Weekly

*   *   *   *   *

The White Masters of the World

From The World and Africa, 1965

By W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois’ Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization (Fletcher)

*   *   *   *   *

Ancient African Nations

*   *   *   *   *

If you like this page consider making a donation

online through PayPal

*   *   *   *   *

Negro Digest / Black World

Browse all issues


1950        1960        1965        1970        1975        1980        1985        1990        1995        2000 ____ 2005        

Enjoy!

*   *   *   *   *

The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan  The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll  Only a Pawn in Their Game

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Thanks America for Slavery / George Jackson  / Hurricane Carter

*   *   *   *   *

The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg

The Haitian Declaration of Independence 1804  / January 1, 1804 -- The Founding of Haiti 

*   *   *   *   *

*   *   *   *   *

 

 

 

 

 

posted 24 June 2006 / update 16 December 2011

 

 

 

Home  Larry Uklai Johnson Redd Table   Guest Poets