Dádìsì Speaks

Archive for the ‘Authors’ Category

Happy 88th Birthday to James Baldwin. You continue to inspire

In Authors, Culture, Philosophies and Opinions, Politics, the World on 02/08/2012 at 11:58

James Baldwin was born on this day in 1924. He was a public intellectual, a civil and human rights freedom fighter and a literary giant.  In his honour here are a few of his quotes:

  • “American history is longer, larger, more various, more beautiful, and more terrible than anything anyone has ever said about it.”
  • “Any writer, I suppose, feels that the world into which he was born is nothing less than a conspiracy against the cultivation of his talent.”
  • “Children have never been very good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them.”
  • “Everybody’s journey is individual. If you fall in love with a boy, you fall in love with a boy. The fact that many Americans consider it a disease says more about them than it does about homosexuality.”

R.I.P. good brother. You spirit, wisdom and intellect is sorely missed.

Advertisements

A Harlem Landmark Closing After 10 Years In Business – Hue-Man Bookstore

In Authors, Business, Thinking Africa on 18/07/2012 at 09:42

 

COMMUNITY PSA: I’m deeply saddened by news of the closing of the largest Black American owned bookstore in the U.S. Just finished listening to an interview on NPR with the owner Marva Allen about the state of her industry and why she had to make a tough business decision to close the store.

Simple answer, the “business model was no longer sustainable.” She said that while at the same time indicating that her gross profit margins were 37%. Bottom line, her store didn’t have enough traffic to boost sales to a point where they would allow for a more sustainable model.

One other note, the largest Black American owned company is not as large as the smallest Fortune 500 company. According to Allen this is largely because Black American owned business don’t have the same access to funding and investment that White owned businesses in America. Just something to seriously consider people.

We’ve got work to do.

FOR THE BOOKSHELF: SPOILED ROTTEN: Why do kids rule the roost?

In Authors, Culture, Parenting on 30/06/2012 at 18:55

It almost seems as if we’re trying to raise a nation of “adultescents.”

In 2004, Carolina Izquierdo, an anthropologist at the University of California, Los Angeles, spent several months with the Matsigenka, a tribe of about twelve thousand people who live in the Peruvian Amazon. The Matsigenka hunt for monkeys and parrots, grow yucca and bananas, and build houses that they roof with the leaves of a particular kind of palm tree, known as a kapashi. At one point, Izquierdo decided to accompany a local family on a leaf-gathering expedition down the Urubamba River.

A member of another family, Yanira, asked if she could come along. Izquierdo and the others spent five days on the river. Although Yanira had no clear role in the group, she quickly found ways to make herself useful. Twice a day, she swept the sand off the sleeping mats, and she helped stack the kapashi leaves for transport back to the village. In the evening, she fished for crustaceans, which she cleaned, boiled, and served to the others. Calm and self-possessed, Yanira “asked for nothing,” Izquierdo later recalled. The girl’s behavior made a strong impression on the anthropologist because at the time of the trip Yanira was just six years old.

While Izquierdo was doing field work among the Matsigenka, she was also involved in an anthropological study closer to home. A colleague of hers, Elinor Ochs, had recruited thirty-two middle-class families for a study of life in twenty-first-century Los Angeles. Ochs had arranged to have the families filmed as they ate, fought, made up, and did the dishes.

Izquierdo and Ochs shared an interest in many ethnographic issues, including child rearing. How did parents in different cultures train young people to assume adult responsibilities? In the case of the Angelenos, they mostly didn’t. In the L.A. families observed, no child routinely performed household chores without being instructed to. Often, the kids had to be begged to attempt the simplest tasks; often, they still refused. In one fairly typical encounter, a father asked his eight-year-old son five times to please go take a bath or a shower. After the fifth plea went unheeded, the father picked the boy up and carried him into the bathroom. A few minutes later, the kid, still unwashed, wandered into another room to play a video game.

In another representative encounter, an eight-year-old girl sat down at the dining table. Finding that no silverware had been laid out for her, she demanded, “How am I supposed to eat?” Although the girl clearly knew where the silverware was kept, her father got up to get it for her. (cont … New Yorker)

FOR THE BOOKSHELF: Black Men: Obsolete, Single, Dangerous?

In About Me, Authors, Culture on 12/06/2012 at 19:30

Today I was friended on facebook by Haki Madhubuti formerly know as Don Lee.  When I posted on facebook that he accepted my friend request, I also indicated what a profound impact his poetry, prose, lectures and publishing company Third World Press had on me and many in my generations.

His writing is so prolific that it’s difficult to name one piece that is my favourite.  But when it comes to his works of prose I would have to say that this book, BLACK MEN: Obsolete, Single, Dangerous? had the most impact on me.  I typically reread it every two to three years or so just to see how apropos it is with contemporary times.

Suffice it to say, the book never gets old and unfortunately much of what he wrote 22 years ago remains relevant today.  I’d just like to take this time to suggest his works with all who read this blog.  Especially this book.

This is from his appearance on Def Poetry Jam:

I end by saying, thank you Brother Haki Madhubuti for the legacy of work he has left our world.  Thank you good sir.

Congratulations to the new U.S. Poet Laureate, Natasha Trethewey

In Authors, Culture, Poetry on 08/06/2012 at 18:05

(WASHINGTON) Natasha Trethewey began writing poems after a personal tragedy.

While Trethewey was a college freshman, her mother was killed by a stepfather Trethewey had long feared.

“I started writing poems as a response to that great loss, much the way that people responded, for example, after 9/11,” she told The Associated Press. “People who never had written poems or turned much to poetry turned to it at that moment because it seems like the only thing that can speak the unspeakable.”

Trethewey, 46, an English and creative writing professor at Emory University in Atlanta, has been named the 19th U.S. poet laureate Thursday.

The Pulitzer Prize winner is the nation’s first poet laureate to hail from the South since the initial one — Robert Penn Warren — was named by the Library of Congress in 1986. She is also Mississippi’s top poet and will be the first person to serve simultaneously as a state and U.S. laureate.

Trethewey won the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for her book of poems, “Native Guard.” They focused partly on history that was erased because it was never recorded. She wrote of the Louisiana Native Guard, a black Civil War regiment assigned to guard white Confederate soldiers held on Ship Island off Mississippi’s Gulf Coast.

The Confederate prisoners were later memorialized on the island, but not the black Union soldiers.

A stanza reads:

“Some names shall deck the page of history
“as it is written on stone. Some will not.”

Librarian of Congress James Billington, who chose Trethewey after hearing her read at the National Book Festival in Washington, said her work explores forgotten history and the many human tragedies of the Civil War.

“She’s taking us into history that was never written,” he told the AP. “She takes the greatest human tragedy in American history — the Civil War, 650,000 people killed, the most destructive war of human life for a century — and she takes us inside without preaching.” (cont … AP)

Ray Bradbury, your presence is missed

In Authors, Culture on 07/06/2012 at 19:48

The Martian Chronicles did it for me and the rest of his works speak for themselves.  R.I.P. good sir.  Your wonderful story telling will be sorely missed.