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I'm working on a few things, but in August a collection of short stories

about superheros of color is coming out. . . .

The Darker Mask: Heroes From the Shadows (Tor Books).

 

 

An Interview with Michael A Gonzales

By Invisible Woman

 

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

I came across a blog called Blackadelic Pop....don't remember how I found it. But the words and imagery were so wonderful, that it inspired me to come out of my cave and write again. I received some comments and emails that stated how wonderful the blog was too. I thought to myself "dang, that brother should try to write for a living" (Invisible Woman).

Since I've started blogging, I've met some pretty interesting folks. The latest is a Cali lady who blogs about films and politics, and refers to herself as the Invisible Woman. What really attracted my attention was Invisible's statement that the negative reviews directed at the 2005 film Shadowboxer, which my friend Lisa Cortes produced, was the reason she started the blog in the first place. Well, one thing led to another and next thing she's offering to interview me for the site. Below, you'll find a link to the site...thank you, Invisible Woman (Michael A. Gonzales).

Invisible Woman:  I know that you are pretty much a music writer, but what films have had the greatest impact in your life, both past and present? If you could write to the world about one film, what would it be?

MG: Films have always been a big part of my life as well as a part of my creative process. If I'm stuck while writing an article, short story or my novel, I'll put in a movie to get the juices flowing. Being a native New Yorker, directors Spike Lee, Woody Allen, and Martin Scorsese are my cinematic holy trinity. Still, I am a fan of many genres and styles. This might be cheating, but if I had to write to the world about TWO films they would be Annie Hall  and Mo' Better Bluesboth New York stories that document the ups and down of being an artist in this crazy city of mine.

Invisible Woman: What book or other media form do you think would make a great Black film? Do you agree with the sentiment that a lot of the readers here have that Hollywood should start making films that are not specifically "Black," but all types of stories and subject matters that just happen to have a black cast?

MG: I read this cool book last year by Martha Southgate called Third Girl From the Left about three generations of women and their relation to movies; I'd love to see that. I would love if some cutting edge animator created a feature film based on the Parliament-Funkadelic album covers of Pedro Bell and Overton Lloyd. As much as I like the urban camp of Beat Street and Krush Groove, I'd love to see a film about hip-hop that was as powerful as Citizen Kane.

My good friend Barry Michael Cooper, who wrote New Jack City and Sugar Hill (see Stop Smiling Online), and I often have these discussions about where we want black film to go. Both of us are influenced by David Lynch, but don't bet on Hollywood ever investing in a Black director with that kind of bizarro vision.

Barry has been experimenting with film and different technologies, but I could only imagine what he could do with a few million dollars. I just wish Black filmmakers like AJ Fielder (who shot Daughters of the Dust and Crooklyn) and Malik Sayeed (director of photography on Clockers and Girl 6) were allowed to tell their stories too.

I had this crazy idea for a script about my family, but I'm sure if it was ever made it would be more like Martin Lawrence than Wes Anderson.

Invisible Woman: I have a pretty sizable amount of readership that are bloggers as well. Some of them aspire to be culture writers. What advice would you give them?

MG: My problem with some younger culture writers is that they limit themselves by not reading more, seeing different kinds of films or opening themselves up to different experiences. If you want to write about hip-hop and R&B, that's cool, but you should read up on jazz, old school soul, punk, etc. I'm not saying you should be an expert, but as a music writer you should know the difference between Monk, Miles and The Clash.

The cultural critics I admired when I was starting out, most noticeably Carol Cooper, Greg Tate, Nelson George, Barry Michael Cooper, Bell Hooks, Michele Wallace and Frank Owen all knew a little bit about a lot of things: old novels, films, paintings, poetry, art galleries and museums, playwrights and small theater, comic books, rock music, etc. It's all good to specialize, but don't be afraid to enrich your mind with something new. It can only make one a better writer.

Invisible Woman: I ask everyone this one question. A subject that comes up here quite often is the dissatisfaction with what "The Hollywood Machine" is producing in the way of Black Cinema. What, in your opinion, can the public at large do to change things?

MG: Yes, I agree. I'm not going to pick on anybody, but it seems that only certain kinds of Black films are made. Truthfully, the public is partially to blame, because when a different kind of Black film comes along, we don't support it. I'm not talking about the handful of folks on both coast, I'm talking about the rest of the country. As for the Hollywood machine, well, where do I begin. I've met Black folks involved in the Cali film world (lets not even talk about the inflated egos) and I'm not impressed. Creating for a certain audience is too easy, and I hope to one day see films based on the works of: J. California Cooper, John Edgar Wideman, Walter Mosley, Samuel R. Delany, Octavia Butler and others. There should be more to movies than black men in dresses.

Invisible Woman: Some of the readers have commented that many singers and especially rappers, are taking a lot of work from Black actors who have trained in the craft most of their lives. Some feel it is unfair, and these actors careers are languishing. What is your take on this?

MG: Well, this is a tricky question, because some singers and rappers are good actors. My only problem is when the actor is obviously a wack choice. Since Friday is one of my favorite films, I'm proud of the success of Ice Cube. And really, Method Man always plays himself, but that's coolCheese still lives as far as I'm concerned. But, thinking back to Nas in Belly or Q-Tip in She Hate Me, makes me very sleepy.

Invisible Woman:  What upcoming projects do you have popping up in the future?

MG: I'm working on a few things, but in August a collection of short stories about superheros of color is coming out. The book is called The Darker Mask: Heroes From the Shadows (Tor Books). Edited by Cali crime writer Gary Phillips and Chris Chambers, the book feature a new fiction piece from me called "The Whores of Onyx City," and introduces my fly female superhero Sage Steele.

Ms. Steele is based in part on my fascination with blaxploitation queens Pam Grier, Tamara Dobson and Judy Pace; my personal soundtrack while writing the story was Cree Summer (Street Faerie), Erykah Badu, Jill Scott, Martina Topley-Bird, Stephanie McKay ("Tell Like It Is"), J-Dilla, DJ Shadow and Portishead. Needless to say, the story is funky and strange. Darker Mask also features powerful stories from Walter Mosley, L.A. Banks, Ann Nocenti Gar Anthony Haywood and Jerry Rodriguez.

Currently I have a cover story coming out in Uptown magazine about the cast of "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof," an upcoming Ne-Yo feature for Stop Smiling magazine and my wild styled South Bronx noir short story "boogie down inferno" has just been published in a Shannon Holmes ghetto-lit collection Hood 2 Hood.

Invisible Woman: Any thoughts and/or pop culture recommendations you would like to relay to the readers?

MG: My only thought is directed at those who want to writers. Me and my friend (and sometimes editor) Miles Marshall Lewis, like to proclaim, "Writers write." Which means, if you have a good idea you should write it instead of talking it. I know a lot of writers who talk a good game, but rarely produce. Of course we all need to pay bills, but don't wait for somebody to give you loot before you write screenplay, novel, short story or whatever...simply strive to be the best.

Source: Blackadelicpop and  Invisible-Cinema

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michael a. gonzales--Harlem native -- has written cover stories for Essence, Giant, Latina, XXL and Stop Smiling. A former writer-at-large for Vibe magazine, Gonzales has also been a staff writer for The Source, columnist for New York Press and a frequent contributor to the New York Daily News, the New York Post and NY Metro. He has also contributed articles to Spin, the Village Voice, Ego Trip, Trace and Entertainment Weekly.

Gonzales co-wrote the book Bring the Noise: A Guide to Rap Music and Hip-Hop Culture (Random House, 1991).

Praised by writer/director Nelson George as “evidencing the mastery of detail required of a subject that is all about mastery of detail,” the book was a groundbreaking text in hip-hop literature.

Currently Michael A. Gonzales writes a regular music column called “On the Corner” for Popmatters.com  and has written liner-notes for reissue collections including The Hip-Hop Box Set, the O’Jays, the Gap Band, the Crusaders and Al Green. Having written for MTV and BET, he also served as a consultant to the Experience Music Project’s (Seattle) inaugural Hip-Hop/Rap exhibit. He also contributed the essay “From Rockin’ the House to Planet Rock” to their catalogue Crossroads (2000).

In addition, Gonzales’ essays have appeared in Best Sex Writing 2005 edited by Violet Blue (Cleis Press), Beats, Rhymes & Life edited by Kenji Jasper (Harlem Moon, 2007) and Best Sex Writing 2006 edited Felice Neaman and Frederique Delacoste (Cleis Press). A 1999 Code magazine feature on Prince was reprinted the following year in the landmark music criticism collection Rock and Roll is Here to Stay edited by William McKeen (W.W. Norton & Company, 2000). “My Father Named Me Prince” appeared alongside pop culture pieces by Tom Wolfe, Joan Didion and Lester Bangs.

Gonzales has published fiction in Brown Sugar 2: A Collection of Erotic Black Fiction edited by Carol Taylor (Simon & Shuster, 2001), Bronx Biannual 2 edited by Miles Marshall Lewis (Akashic Books, 2007), Uptown magazine, Brown Sugar 3: When Opposites Attract edited by Carol Taylor (Simon & Shuster, 2003) and the upcoming superheroes collection Darker Mask edited by Gary Phillips and Christopher Chambers (Tor, 2008).

Gonzales’ short stories have also been published in France and England. Like Gypsy Rose Lee, Norman Mailer and Spike Lee before him, he lives in Brooklyn. 

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Generation Soul: Can Dru Hill Revive The Vocal Group?

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02_My_Story,_My_Song.mp3 (24503 KB)

(Kalamu reading "My Story, My Song"

Featuring blues guitarist Walter Wolfman Washington)

Audio: My Story, My Song (Featuring blues guitarist Walter Wolfman Washington)

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AALBC.com's 25 Best Selling Books

For July 1st through August 31st 2011
 

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

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Greenback Planet: How the Dollar Conquered

the World and Threatened Civilization as We Know It

By H. W. Brands

In Greenback Planet, acclaimed historian H. W. Brands charts the dollar's astonishing rise to become the world's principal currency. Telling the story with the verve of a novelist, he recounts key episodes in U.S. monetary history, from the Civil War debate over fiat money (greenbacks) to the recent worldwide financial crisis. Brands explores the dollar's changing relations to gold and silver and to other currencies and cogently explains how America's economic might made the dollar the fundamental standard of value in world finance. He vividly describes the 1869 Black Friday attempt to corner the gold market, banker J. P. Morgan's bailout of the U.S. treasury, the creation of the Federal Reserve, and President Franklin Roosevelt's handling of the bank panic of 1933. Brands shows how lessons learned (and not learned) in the Great Depression have influenced subsequent U.S. monetary policy, and how the dollar's dominance helped transform economies in countries ranging from Germany and Japan after World War II to Russia and China today. He concludes with a sobering dissection of the 2008 world financial debacle, which exposed the power--and the enormous risks--of the dollar's worldwide reign.  The Economy

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Sex at the Margins

Migration, Labour Markets and the Rescue Industry

By Laura María Agustín

This book explodes several myths: that selling sex is completely different from any other kind of work, that migrants who sell sex are passive victims and that the multitude of people out to save them are without self-interest. Laura Agustín makes a passionate case against these stereotypes, arguing that the label 'trafficked' does not accurately describe migrants' lives and that the 'rescue industry' serves to disempower them. Based on extensive research amongst both migrants who sell sex and social helpers, Sex at the Margins provides a radically different analysis. Frequently, says Agustin, migrants make rational choices to travel and work in the sex industry, and although they are treated like a marginalised group they form part of the dynamic global economy. Both powerful and controversial, this book is essential reading for all those who want to understand the increasingly important relationship between sex markets, migration and the desire for social justice. "Sex at the Margins rips apart distinctions between migrants, service work and sexual labour and reveals the utter complexity of the contemporary sex industry. This book is set to be a trailblazer in the study of sexuality."—Lisa Adkins, University of London

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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)

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Ancient African Nations

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Negro Digest / Black World

Browse all issues


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

Enjoy!

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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

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The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg

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

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updated 25 March 2010 

 

 

 

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Related files: Why Chesiel Matters  Barry Michael Cooper  Shaft: Isaac Hayes' Revolutionary Soundtrack  Why Greg Tate Matters  / An Interview with Michael A Gonzales 

Such Sweet Thunder  / Boogie Down Inferno / Slow Down Heart / Soundtracks of Quincy Jones  / White Boy MusicReturn Of The Ankh by Erykah Badu