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My last straw was when Essence started using any excuse to erode Black women’s

 sense of strength, especially when it came to romantic relationships, in their so-called

 “columns.” Like this article that included a professional Sister talking about how happy

she had been in a (now-defunct) relationship with a broke Brother . . .

 

 

Books by Honorée Fanonne Jeffers

The Gospel of Barbecue  / Outlandish Blues  / Red Clay Suite

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Tell Me How Long Has the Essence Train Been Gone?

By Honorée Fanonne Jeffers

 

I found out from cultural critic Michaela Angela Davis (a Facebook friend) that Essence Magazine has hired Fashion Director Elliana Placas.  The issue, of course, is that Placas is White, and Essence is a magazine that has been focused on Black women since 1968.

Davis is very upset, and since she is also a writer, I can understand her concern; Essence is one of the few places that has consistently provided employment to Black female journalists–and Black stylists and designers. Davis was quoted in Clutch Magazine as saying that “I feel like a girlfriend died.”  (Click on this to read the article.)

However, I have to tell you that what has made me so sad was not Essence’s hiring of a White Fashion Director, but that I really don’t care in the least anymore what happens to Essence magazine and I haven’t for a long, long time.

Like all of the African American women I know—and also, all the biracial women of African descent that I know, too—I grew up on Essence. It was lovely seeing all those super-fine, super-bad Sisters in cute, fly outfits, faces beat to perfection, and hair that was natural yet impeccably coifed. “You don’t need chemicals and you don’t need to be light-skinned to be pretty, either, though our beauty comes in all shades and hair textures”—this is what Essence said to Sisters each month. 

The only other magazine that featured Black women on such a scale was Ebony, but let’s face it, Ebony wasn’t slick like Essence, which was just as classy as Glamour, Elle, or Vogue—magazines that might have a Sister on the cover every two or three years. Ebony, on the other hand, featured staged and sometimes, well, cheesy photo essays.

And Ebony clearly wasn’t about a Black woman’s point of view. It  was invested in a traditional view of the Black family: Brother in the front, Sister and children to the side or the back, looking up at The Black Man adoringly and always deferring to him.  Which is the way it was ‘sposed to be, right?

Always, Ebony let Sisters know that if they would just get on board the Patriarchal Man-As-Head train, everything would be great in the Black community. Meanwhile, there was a woman’s liberation movement going on with White Women AND Black Women.  But, Ebony implicitly stated each month, this movement was for lesbians, straight man-haters who didn’t have daddies, and ugly women with buck-teeth who couldn’t get no man in the first place.

Essence, on the other hand, started off as a publication supporting “Strong Black Women.” In fact, Marcia Ann Gillespie was editor-in-chief of Essence for nine years. Gillespie used to be editor of Ms. Magazine, a mainstream “official” feminist magazine.

So, in the beginning, Essence was about putting black women first. Then, came the nineties.

I remember the first time I picked up Essence and saw a beauty advertisement with a White woman in it. Not a White woman AND a Sister. Just a White woman. This was supposed to be a magazine that let me know that I was the finest thing around. Me: a Black woman. I was at the top of the beauty pyramid, at least once a month. But instead, what this ad told me was, “Sorry–psych.” This was about eighteen or nineteen years ago, and still remains a traumatic experience for me.

Then, in the middle of the 90s came the Million Man March and all the articles in Essence focusing on how Black men had it so bad, much worse than we Sisters had it—and don’t we ever forget it.

Sidebar: Looking back, the Million Man March doesn’t bother me as much as it did then. I still think it was a classic “bait and switch” march. I mean, why couldn’t Farrakhan simply say, “We want to get the Brothers together without Sisters so they can fellowship”? I would have been fine with that.

But billing the March as a “National Day of Atonement” was false advertising. You do not get on a bus, train, or plane and travel AWAY from the woman you want to say you are sorry to. You STAY at home and say, “Baby, I’m sorry.” You throw a barbecue out back or get a bucket of chicken so a Sister doesn’t have to cook. You give her a foot massage, and if she wants to make love, you put the baby down for her and let her get a nap first, so she’s full of erotic energy that you will be happy to help her expend.

Or, like, a Brother could do some community service, too, after the barbecue or chicken run.

But here’s my point. It was a Million MAN March, right? So why was it taking up all that space in Essence, a WOMAN’S magazine? I mean, couldn’t we Sisters have a place all our own?

And then, after Time Warner bought the magazine, it just went from a supposedly serious Sister’s magazine with only a couple of ads with White women—because some fashion and beauty companies couldn’t even be bothered to think about Black women in their advertising budget, don’t you know—to a half-serious Sister’s magazine—with even more ads featuring White women—to a fluffy Sister’s publication informing me of fashion, make-up, and the many, many different ways to wear a hair weave. And lots and lots of ads featuring White women, including a White lady nearly every month on the back cover.

And also, featuring Black men on the front cover—for example, Terrance Howard, who starred as a pimp in Hustle and Flow, and used the word “bitch” too many times to count in the movie—and why wouldn’t that be very empowering for us Sisters?

Yes, there were a couple of serious articles each month, but these were buried inside, after all the fashion stuff, and these articles tended to be shorter than the fake exposé articles on stars who appeared on the front cover.

Sidebar: I mean, even the poetry was in the back. Which is why I never sent Essence my work, because I was not going to be a Black woman poet in the BACK of a Black women’s magazine. Talk about some negative symbolism. That doesn’t mean I am throwing shade on my Sisters who sent in poetry. I am just saying that it is insulting to include someone’s artistic blood, sweat, and tears on the page before sexual dysfunction advertisements, ok?

My last straw was when Essence started using any excuse to erode Black women’s sense of strength, especially when it came to romantic relationships, in their so-called “columns.” Like this article that included a professional Sister talking about how happy she had been in a (now-defunct) relationship with a broke Brother who had to borrow bus fare from her. She was really, really happy in that relationship, she said.

She gave a Brother bus fare—frequently. Not her husband or the father or her children. Just some random brother who she is no longer in a relationship with.

I just kept repeating the phrase “bus fare” over and over.

And that is when I decided to let my subscription to Essence go the first time. Then, I broke down and I subscribed again. Then, I read another article advising Sisters to leave even more of their pride to the side in romantic relationships, and I let my subscription lapse. Then, I broke down and I subscribed again.

You get the picture.

The last time I let my subscription lapse, I just decided, Essence wasn’t ever going to get better; it was only going to get worse, and it was only going to keep riding that same male-chauvinist Ebony train, advising Black women to hold their tongues, demand less and less from their relationships with Black men, but oh yes, keep the weave tight, the make-up flawless, and the outfits together.

It didn’t matter if there were pictures of pretty Black women in the magazine, I told myself, because there are also really pretty Black women in porn magazines. And not that there is anything wrong with reading porn magazines—if you are grown—but I wouldn’t buy those magazines to get my female self-esteem going or to find out about serious social issues impacting the Black community. And at this point in my emotional and social development, a thick book of tame or naughty pretty pictures isn’t quite getting it–not for me.

So, this latest piece of information about Essence hasn’t really upset me in the least, because I stopped viewing Essence as an advocate for the Black woman a long time ago. And so, when I am finding out that some Sisters want to boycott Essence over its hiring of a White Fashion Director, I’m rather bewildered as to why it has taken us so long to get angry at this magazine. Maybe now it is finally time that we leave Essence, but in case we Sisters haven’t noticed, our relationship with this so-called Black Woman’s Publication has been over for quite some time.

27 July 2010

Source: Phillis Remastered

*   *   *   *   *

Honorée Fanonne Jeffers, Associate. Professor of English, is the author of three books of poetry, The Gospel of Barbecue (Kent State University, 2000), which won the 1999 Stan and Tom Wick Prize for Poetry and was the finalist for the 2001 Paterson Poetry, and Outlandish Blues, was published by Wesleyan University Press in 2003. She has won the 2002 Julia Peterkin Award for Poetry, and awards from the Barbara Deming Memorial Fund and the Rona Jaffe Foundation. Prof. Jeffers' work recently has appeared in Black Issues Book Review, Black Warrior Review, Brilliant Corners: A Journal of Jazz and Literature, Bum Rush the Page: A Def Poetry Jam (Crown, 2001), Callaloo, Dark Matter: A Century of Speculative Fiction from the African Diaspora (Warner/Aspect, 2000), Indiana Review, The Kenyon Review, The Massachusetts Review, Ploughshares, Prairie Schooner, Role Call: A Generational Anthology of Social and Political Black Literature and Art (Third World, 2002), and These Hands I Know: Writing About the African American Family (Sarabande 2002). Jeffers' third book of poems is titled Red Clay Suite (2007).

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If She Hollers, Call Her A Reverse-Racist—August 7, 2010—But what has been tripping me out—I can only say it that way—is how the valid statements of [Michaela angela] Davis and [Esther] Armah and others concerning the forced invisibility of Black women in the fashion industry—which mirrors the forced invisibility of Black women in the society—have been twisted and thrown back in their faces as “reverse racism.”

Here is version number one of the “reverse racism” accusations: Black women are starting a race riot by wanting a Black magazine to have an editorial board that reflects the demographic that the magazine serves—that would be BLACK WOMEN. And why are we starting a riot? Because supposedly, we Sisters hate White people, and especially White women, so we just want to grind that White-hatred ax.

Or “reverse racism” accusation version number two—the well-mannered, calm version: “Yes, we hear you Sisters about the fashion industry. We sincerely hear you, but if you want to teach us White folks a lesson about racial tolerance, this lesson begins at home. So lead by example and hire a bunch of White folks at your TWO magazines, and then, in a few years, we will hire a couple of Black folks at the DOZENS of mainstream magazines we run because you have shown us your moral superiority. This is what Martin Luther King, Jr. would want you to do, after all. And don’t you remember that whole ‘I have a dream’ speech? Because I can recite it verbatim.”

What’s up with people getting attacked and then, when those people turn around and defend themselves—even in a classy, ladylike manner like Davis and Armah—suddenly, the attacked are accused of starting the fight?  This classic bait and switch is happening with this Essence controversy. And further, not only are certain White folks going on the offensive in order to confuse the original issue about Black women in the fashion industry, they are using other Black folks to do it.

We have seen this bait and switch against Black women take place quite recently when well-known media outlets like Oprah, and ABC News Nightline wanted to find an  “expert” to talk about marriage in the Black community, and specifically, why Black women are having “such a hard time” finding mates. When really, what these outlets wanted to do was go on the attack against Black women.

Though I have my suspicions, I have no proof that these media attacks were fueled by the sustained media appearances of Michelle Obama, a tall, good-looking, physically fit, Harvard-educated, dark-brown-skinned woman in The White House, a woman who does not conform in looks or actions to the images of Black women that America previously has seen.—NetworkedBlogs

*   *   *   *   *

Outlandish Blues

By Honorée Fanonne Jeffers

Jeffers derives her form and jaunty, deal-with-it attitude from the blues, an American tradition that beats back despair with wit, élan, and grace. Artfully distilled, Jeffers' musical and forthright lyrics cut to the chase in their depictions of self-destructive love, treacherous family life, and sexual passion turned oppressive or violent. She calls on her mentors, soulful musicians such as Dinah Washington, James Brown, John Coltrane, and Aretha Franklin, for guidance, then, sustained by their voices, segues into vivid imaginings of the inner lives of biblical figures such as Sarah, Hagar, and Lot's wife; a man about to be lynched; and a former slave bravely attending college. And whether she's singing the "battered blues" or critiquing Hollywood's depiction of slavery, Jeffers is questioning the nature and presence of God.— Booklist

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Red Clay Suite

By Honorée Fanonne Jeffers

 

In her third book of poems, Honorée Fanonne Jeffers expresses her familiarity with the actual and imaginary spaces that the American South occupies in our cultural lexicon. Her two earlier books of poetry, The Gospel of Barbecue and Outlandish Blues, use the blues poetic to explore notions of history and trauma.  Now, in Red Clay Suite, Jeffers approaches the southern landscape as utopia and dystopia—a crossroads of race, gender, and blood. These poems signal the ending movement of her crossroads blues and complete the last four “bars” of a blues song, resting on the final, and essential, note of resolution and reconciliation.

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A Sea of White Faces—By Luso Mnthali—Monday Aug 2, 2010—If we look at the sea of White faces on magazine stands worldwide, we realize that the struggle for Black women to be accepted as equals in the world of fashion and beauty continues. The gains that generations of women have made become almost symbolic, and not at all concrete, when we still must talk about such issues.

Every time a Black editor, writer or stylist is hired by a magazine, no matter if it is a Black-centered or a mainstream magazine, it feels as though we might be on the right track. We think we’re gaining momentum, but the sad truth is that is not the case. Are Black women getting hired in the ever-so-competitive world of magazine publishing? And by hired we also mean getting a magazine cover. It would seem that no, they are not. And because there are so many things that rightly concern us so much more, we have not been making as big a deal out of this fact as we probably should. Indeed, no other group of women are being told what to do, think, or say (and when) as much as Black women. With the “whitewashing” of magazine covers, we are effectively being told to back down, shut up and put up with whatever it is the ”powers that be” dish out. Even Black women sometimes seem to give up, and continue to buy magazines that for decades have not honored them.

By continuously putting the crossover cover stars (you know who they are) on major glossies, we are being told that the girls who do not visibly have White ancestry are not good enough. That beauty is being White or light-skinned. Even light-skinned is not enough, as when was the last time you saw an Asian woman, let alone a Black one, on a major magazine? Is Rihanna seriously the only Black girl out there? Or Beyoncé? These are the two women that South African magazineswho do not overtly cater to the Black women market, peddle to their readers, year in and year out. Like a tired dishcloth wrung too many times. In fact, when I was an intern at one of the most well-known magazines here (with an international name), I once suffered a mild shock to my entire system. 

The editor at the time stated that “This is a White magazine.” So that was the reason their hiring policy has always been non-inclusive, and the few Black faces are there for “color interests,” “Black economic empowerment,” or more accuratelywindow-dressing. If they had a full complement of staff, that they respected and took seriously, we would not need to call it that. And we would not still be angry over their cover choices.

The magazine cover that infuriated me most this year was Elle South Africa’s cover with Alek Wek. I should have been joyful, right? She’s a dark, African girl on the cover of the world’s style bible, albeit with a South African touch. But I was not. One of the cover-lines was, in my opinion, an absurd placement next to an internationally renowned cover star. A Black writer, one of the few that has written for this magazine in recent years, dared ask the question: “Do Black covers sell?” Rising up from my spluttering indignation, I tripped over the elephant in the room. I looked straight at what was then only a teaser on a media website, and asked Alek’s image out loud: “How could they do this to you?” I was angry and mystified. She is a fabulous African woman, and more representative of where we are than anyone they have put on their cover for a long time, yet they dare to ask this question.ClutchMagonline

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Essence Hires White Fashion Director—Leaves Loyal Readers Asking Why—By Geneva S. Thomas—Monday Jul 26, 2010—Fashion media personality Najwa Moses has her own set of qualified Black women who should have received a call. “I can think of a few qualified Black women, and men too.” Najwa says. “My picks would be celebrity stylists Patti Wilson, June Ambrose, Kithe Brewster, Memsor  Kamaraké, and Sydney Bolden.” Najwa also says that Michaela angela Davis herself would have been a good pick.

Najwa, a dominant force in the world of fashion media—particularly new media–also shared her immediate reaction: “I was blown away—in shock really.” Najwa tells CLUTCH. “I mean, how could such a prestigious title who is deeply rooted in its target audience let someone who is not even apart of the African Diaspora detonate our image?”

Offering further thoughts on the popular Black women’s brand’s very first White Fashion Director, Najwa reveals she doesn’t really look to Essence for fashion anyway. “I only look inward for fashion to be upfront, but I do look to Essence to continue to inspire and enrich the Black woman’s experience.” 

Najwa questions, “How can a White woman dictate and decide what style and beauty is for the Black woman?”

But in a ‘post-racial’ world, some people call Michaela and Najwa’s point of view on the hiring reverse racism. One commenter on Facebook wrote, “I’m surprised that everyone assumes this is terrible news simply because the new person is White. We know absolutely zero about them besides that.” Another commenter stated, “What’s makes her not qualified? I hope that beauty can be found in every woman.” The commenter advised us all to consider her performance first.

Still, media insiders are not buying it. Joan Morgan, an award-winning journalist, author and long-time writer for Essence says she could care less how qualified the brand’s new white Fashion Director could be. “This is about the fact that the publishing industry, particularly when it comes to mainstream women’s magazines remains just about as segregated in its hiring practices as it did in 1988.” Joan referenced a 1988 Folio article about Blacks who are discouraged by the publishing industry’s “laissez-faire attitude toward recruitment.” Joan says, “When these same institutions (naming Conde Nast, Hachette and others) start to employ hiring practices that allow Black publishing professionals the same access to their publications, that’s when I can get all ‘Kumbaya’ about Essence‘s new fashion director.”

For many, the magazine’s bold step of hiring a White Fashion Director signals a new era—or the end of one. When we asked if this is an attempt to broaden the print’s demo, Michaela said, “Having worked at Essence, Vibe and Honey, I know all too well how incredibly difficult it is to get ad sales support. This is such a treacherous time for print.” But Michaela also says that Essence‘s long time cultural standpoint is the brand’s strongest selling point. “The greatest asset a brand can have is a unique promotable position. There is so much brand value there for Black and non-Black readers.” Michaela says if Essence forgoes its Black women’s posture, what would make its fashion pages any different from Vogue, In Style, or even O: the Oprah magazine?

photo left: Elliana Placas

Loyal Essence readers and media insiders are eagerly awaiting an official announcement from the publication on the shocking decision, or better an explanation.How will a White Fashion Director affect the 40-year-old Essence brand—the publication that has become a formidable Black American institution? How will long-time subscribers respond—many who include aspiring Black female writers and editors? Najwa says only time will tell. “For the insider’s insider like myself, I’m planning to peep through the issue to see where it goes–but I won’t be buying it.”—ClutchMagonline   

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NBM Saturday Edition—The ‘Essence’ of Our Blackness?—By Mark Anthony Neal—I first started reading Essence Magazine as a 16-year-old living in the Bronx. Of course I was initially drawn to the magazine because of the pretty black women within its pages, but the magazine, then under the direction of Susan Taylor, offered so much more for my burgeoning political sensibilities. Building on an editorial foundation laid out by Marcia Ann Gillespie—who would later edit Ms. Magazine—the Essence Magazine that existed in the early 1980s was where I would be first introduced to Audre Lorde, via a published conversation between Lorde and James Baldwin. It was in the pages of that Essence that I got updated on the political exploits of Kwame Toure (Stokley Carmichael) and provided a portrait of Louis Farrakhan before the controversies associated with Jessie Jackson’s first presidential campaign in 1984. I came of age thinking that Essence Magazine in contrast to Ebony magazine, was my magazine—Black America’s magazine. That the magazine was black owned and black directed only added to its allure. That Essence magazine hasn’t existed for a long, long time.—NewBlackman

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Charley Patton (1891-1934)

Grandfather of Rock 'n' Roll

Charlie Patton born Mississippi, April 1891 was an experienced performer of songs before he was twenty years old and was first recorded (Thankfully) in 1929. His influence is everywhere and was arguably the first of the greats. An influence on Son House, Tommy Johnson, Bukka White and without doubt Howlin' Wolf. We have to thank archivists, the likes of Harry Smith, that we can hear these inimitable songs today.

Some people tell me, oversea blues ain't bad

It must not been the oversea blues I had

Everyday seem like murder here

(My god, I'm no sheriff)

I'm going to leave tomorrow,

I know you don't bid my care

I ain't going down no dirt road by myself

If I don't carry my rider, going to carry someone else

*   *   *   *   *

I'm going away to where I'm known

I'm worried now but I won't be worried long

My rider got somethin' she try to keep it hid

Lord, I got somethin' find that somethin' with

I feel like chopping, chips flying everywhere

I've been to the Nation, lord, but I couldn't stay there

Charlie Patton was the first great Delta bluesman; from him flowed nearly all the elements that would comprise the region's blues style. Patton had a coarse, earthy voice that reflected hard times and hard living. His guitar style—percussive and raw—matched his vocal delivery. He often played slide guitar and gave that style a position of prominence in Delta blues.

Patton's songs were filled with lyrics that dealt with issues like social mobility (pony Blues), imprisonment (“High Sheriff Blues”), nature (“High Water Blues”), and morality (“Oh Death”) that went far beyond traditional male-female relationship themes. Patton defined the life of a bluesman. He drank and smoked excessively. He reportedly had a total of eight wives. He was jailed at least once. He traveled extensively, never staying in one place for too long.

Charley Patton was "the" delta blues man of course, his playing was raw and expressive, a distinctive style, rather dissident to the other blues players of the time. A monument !

The Dockery farm was the sawmill and cotton plantation where Charley and his family lived from 1900 onwards.

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Charley PattonSpoonful Blues (A song about cocaine, 1929)

Spoonful Blues

(spoken: I'm about to go to jail about this spoonful)
In all a spoon', 'bout that spoon'
The women goin' crazy, every day in their life 'bout a . . .
It's all I want, in this creation is a . . .
I go home (spoken: wanna fight!) 'bout a . . .
Doctor's dyin' (way in Hot Springs !)
just 'bout a . . .
These women goin' crazy every day in their life 'bout a . . .
Would you kill a man dead? (spoken: yes, I will!) just 'bout a . . .
Oh babe, I'm a fool about my...
(spoken: Don't take me long!) to get my . . .
Hey baby, you know I need my . . .
It's mens on Parchman (done lifetime) just 'bout a...
Hey baby, (spoken: you know I ain't long) 'bout my. . .
It's all I want (spoken: honey, in this creation) is a . . .
I go to bed, get up and wanna fight 'bout a . . .
(spoken: Look-y here, baby, would you slap me? Yes I will!) just 'bout a...
Hey baby,
(spoken: you know I'm a fool a-)
'bout my . . .

Would you kill a man?
(spoken: Yes I would, you know I'd kill him)
just 'bout a . . .
Most every man (spoken: that you see is)
fool 'bout his...
(spoken: You know baby, I need)
that ol' . . .Hey baby,
(spoken: I wanna hit the judge 'bout a)
'bout a . . .
(spoken: Baby, you gonna quit me? Yeah honey!)
just 'bout a . . .
It's all I want, baby, this creation is a...
(spoken: look-y here, baby, I'm leavin' town!)
just 'bout a . . .
Hey baby, (spoken: you know I need)
that ol' . . .
(spoken: Don't make me mad, baby!)
'cause I want my . . .Hey baby, I'm a fool 'bout that...
(spoken: Look-y here, honey!)
I need that...
Most every man leaves without a...
Sundays' mean (spoken: I know they are)
'bout a . . .

Hey baby, (spoken: I'm sneakin' around here)
and ain't got me no . . .
Oh, that spoon', hey baby, you know I need my . . .

 *   *   *   *   *

Charlie Patton—Shake it and Break it  / Charlie Patton—Revenue Man Blues' (1934)

Charlie PattonGoing To Move To Alabama (1929) / Charlie Patton and Bertha Lee—Yellow Bee (1934)

Charlie PattonPoor Me (1934) / Charlie PattonI'm Goin' Home

Charlie Patton—Some These Days I'll Be Gone (1929) / Charlie Patton—When Your Way Gets Dark (1929)

Charlie Patton—You're Gonna Need Somebody When You Come to Die (1929)

The Slave Ship

By Marcus Rediker

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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

*   *   *   *   *

Blacks in Hispanic Literature: Critical Essays

Edited by Miriam DeCosta-Willis 

Blacks in Hispanic Literature is a collection of fourteen essays by scholars and creative writers from Africa and the Americas. Called one of two significant critical works on Afro-Hispanic literature to appear in the late 1970s, it includes the pioneering studies of Carter G. Woodson and Valaurez B. Spratlin, published in the 1930s, as well as the essays of scholars whose interpretations were shaped by the Black aesthetic. The early essays, primarily of the Black-as-subject in Spanish medieval and Golden Age literature, provide an historical context for understanding 20th-century creative works by African-descended, Hispanophone writers, such as Cuban Nicolás Guillén and Ecuadorean poet, novelist, and scholar Adalberto Ortiz, whose essay analyzes the significance of Negritude in Latin America. This collaborative text set the tone for later conferences in which writers and scholars worked together to promote, disseminate, and critique the literature of Spanish-speaking people of African descent. . . . Cited by a literary critic in 2004 as "the seminal study in the field of Afro-Hispanic Literature . . . on which most scholars in the field 'cut their teeth'."

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Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America

By Melissa V. Harris-Perry

According to the author, this society has historically exerted considerable pressure on black females to fit into one of a handful of stereotypes, primarily, the Mammy, the Matriarch or the Jezebel.  The selfless Mammy’s behavior is marked by a slavish devotion to white folks’ domestic concerns, often at the expense of those of her own family’s needs. By contrast, the relatively-hedonistic Jezebel is a sexually-insatiable temptress. And the Matriarch is generally thought of as an emasculating figure who denigrates black men, ala the characters Sapphire and Aunt Esther on the television shows Amos and Andy and Sanford and Son, respectively.     

Professor Perry points out how the propagation of these harmful myths have served the mainstream culture well. For instance, the Mammy suggests that it is almost second nature for black females to feel a maternal instinct towards Caucasian babies.

As for the source of the Jezebel, black women had no control over their own bodies during slavery given that they were being auctioned off and bred to maximize profits. Nonetheless, it was in the interest of plantation owners to propagate the lie that sisters were sluts inclined to mate indiscriminately.

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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

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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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posted 26 August 2010 

 

 

 

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