Month: May 2016

Death By Comb by Camari Carter (Book Review)

  With a few paint cracks in the cover, my autographed copy of Death by Comb is in excellent, used condition. To me, it looks worn and ragged, but I’m sure no one else would even give it a second thought. I have carried this book on my person daily since I acquired it a week ago. It has moved with me from room-to-room as I complete my daily tasks. You never know when you’ll have a spare second to read. I don’t even break the spine on my books, but that’s another story. This story (review) is about my week on Camari Carter’s journey. Plant (a haiku)  the living room plant forgotten, dry, and withered we are much alike Not that this has anything to do with the content of her work, but I didn’t like the cover art. By the time I had held a book in my hand, I had already heard her perform some of her poetry and had a very brief chat with her. This cover art was not her. I mean, yes, it is a picture of her. But …

Death by Comb Book Signing at The World Stage in Leimert Park Village (Event Review)

I’m a yes person. I’ll agree to participate in almost any kind of experience, and at 31, it’s been a pretty good way to grow and learn more about the world around me. “Hey, wanna listen to this album?” Sure. “Wanna see this movie?” Of course. “Wanna go to a book signing and release party?” Yes, sign me up! When you have an open mind and see newness as an opportunity, your walk through life is a series of exciting adventures. This mindset leads me to a meet up with friends in Leimert Park of South LA. A friend of a friend, LA local Camari Cater was celebrating the recent publishing of her book Death By Comb. None of this meant anything to me a week ago, but now, I can’t get the uplifting experience out of my head. Although I have lived in the Los Angeles area for almost 10 years, I haven’t ventured far from my home. I don’t live close to the downtown area. People unfamiliar with LA topography don’t understand how big Los Angeles County is. Sometimes a long drive …

Nigger: The Strange Career of a Troublesome Word by Randall Kennedy (Book Review)

Congratulations on making it past the title of this post and into the review. That’s the first step, but I warn you, not the last time you will have to encounter the n-word. Nigger. There. I said it. But do you say it? Is it a part of your vocabulary? Do you embrace it as a phrase of respect for others, or disown it, a heavy word of the past? Or do you whisper it when you hear it in songs or read it in texts, speaking just loud enough for you to hear in your own head? Is it a verb or a noun? An adjective? (Take a moment and sit with these questions.) In 2002, I received a book as a Christmas gift from some friends at school. That book was Nigger: The Strange Career of a Troublesome Word by Randall Kennedy. I can only imagine the horror my parents must have felt. What kind of friends did I have that would buy this? (They knew exactly what kind of friends- white friends.) At 17, I didn’t have the understanding …

“What Does Blackness Mean?” at the Getty (Event Review)

I am no stranger to panel discussions on race. Generally, the talks can center around race relations, cultural aspects, and history of the US. I even attended a lecture in college presented by Jabari Asim on his research in regards to using the N-word. I love lectures and panels, and I find discussions on culture and history fascinating. Over the weekend, I had a bookish afternoon and attended the panel discussion “What Does Blackness Mean?” at The Getty Center in Los Angeles. The panel consisted of Sarah E. Lewis, a Harvard professor of Art History; John Harvel, the author of The Story of Black; and Katrin Trautwein, the founder of a paint company called kt.COLOR. I was unfamiliar with their background and appreciative that each guest had a chance to introduce their work, not just their names. Katrin Trautwein’s company had recently created 12 shades of black paint by mixing various color densities and materials. John Harvel gave us a condensed version of his book, a historical look at how people interacted with the color black in …