‘Moonlight’ Filmmaker Barry Jenkins to Adapt and Direct TV Series for Amazon Based on Colson Whitehead’s NYT Bestseller “The Underground Railroad”

Barry Jenkins (Photo: ROB LATOUR/REX/SHUTTERSTOCK)

article by Joe Otterson via Variety.com

“Moonlight” director and Academy Award winner Barry Jenkins will write and direct a one-hour drama series about the Underground Railroad currently in development at Amazon. The series will be based on Colson Whitehead’s best-selling book, “The Underground Railroad.”

“Going back to ‘The Intuitionist,’ Colson’s writing has always defied convention, and ‘The Underground Railroad’ is no different,” Jenkins said. “It’s a groundbreaking work that pays respect to our nation’s history while using the form to explore it in a thoughtful and original way. Preserving the sweep and grandeur of a story like this requires bold, innovative thinking and in Amazon we’ve found a partner whose reverence for storytelling and freeness of form is wholly in line with our vision.”

Published by Doubleday, “The Underground Railroad” has sold over 825,000 copies in the United States across all formats. An Oprah’s Book Club 2016 selection, New York Times bestseller, and the winner of the 2016 National Book Award for Fiction, the book chronicles young Cora’s journey as she makes a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South. After escaping her Georgia plantation for the rumored Underground Railroad, Cora discovers no mere metaphor, but an actual railroad full of engineers and conductors, and a secret network of tracks and tunnels beneath the Southern soil.

This will be Johnson’s first attempt at directing a TV series in its entirety. He recently directed an episode of the upcoming Netflix adaptation of the film “Dear White People,” and previously directed one episode of the PBS series “Futurestates.” Jenkins’ Pastel Productions will executive produce along with Brad Pitt’s Plan B Entertainment. Pitt and Plan B also produced “Moonlight.”

To read full article, go to: ‘Moonlight’ Director to Write, Direct Underground Railroad Series | Variety

Kerry Washington’s Simpson Street to Produce Film Adaptation of Bestseller “The Mothers” for Warner Bros. 

Kerry Washington (photo via variety.com)

article by Justin Kroll via Variety.com

Warner Bros. has optioned Brit Bennett’s debut novel and New York Times bestseller, ”The Mothers,” with Kerry Washington on board to produce. Washington will produce under the Simpson Street Banner, along with Natalie Krinsky. Bennett will write the script and executive produce.

Originally published in October 2016 by Riverhead, a division of Penguin, “The Mothers” is a story about young love, friendship, a big secret in a small community, and the things that ultimately haunt us most. At this time, Washington is just producing the project.

Simpson Street’s first production, “Confirmation,” earned critical acclaim as well as an Emmy nomination for best movie made for television. “The Mothers” will be their first feature project for Warner Bros. ‎Washington also received an Emmy nomination for “Confirmation” and continues to star in the hit ABC series “Scandal.”

To read more, go to: Warner Bros. Options ‘The Mothers’ for Kerry Washington | Variety

Author Chimamanda Adichie, the New Face of Boots No. 7 Make-Up, Speaks on Black Hair and Redefining Beauty

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. (Photo: Boots)

article by  via nymag.com

We probably don’t deserve Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. The author and feminist who inspired Beyoncé is now fighting America’s political battles, and man is she good at it.

But that’s not the only hat Adichie’s wearing as of late. She’s also the new face of Boots No. 7 makeup — a British drugstore retailer known for its cult serum that’s a best seller across the pond. (You can purchase the brand in the U.S. at Walgreens.)

The partnership between Boots and Adichie is a match that feels in sync. For years Adichie has been outspoken in asserting that feminism and makeup can co-exist, and the specific campaign she was tapped to lead for Boots hedges on the concept that cosmetics are more than tools to look pretty: They’re vessels to help a woman begin her day. The Cut talked to the author about her foray into the beauty business, the complex relationship she maintains with her hair, and the feminist lesson to be learned from the presidential election.

What frustrates you about the beauty industry? What gives you hope?

The beauty industry is more inclusive than it was ten years ago. There’s a slightly wider range of foundation shades, for example. What I find frustrating is that it should be even more inclusive. The definition of what is beautiful shouldn’t be so narrow. We should have different kinds of women — different body sizes, different shades of skin, and in a way that is consistent, not only occasional.

A note that struck a chord with me in your book Americanah is when Ifemelu, the novel’s protagonist, says, “Hair is the perfect metaphor for race in America.” What did you mean when you wrote that?

Hair is something we see, but we don’t understand what’s behind it, kind of like race. It’s the same way that something seems obvious, but it is really complicated and complex. For example, to see a middle-aged white woman who has highlights is not something everyone in the world necessarily understands, especially if it’s because she struggles to cover her grays. Or if you’re a black women, sometimes the way that your hair grows from your head isn’t considered “professional” by people who don’t know black hair. I don’t think it’s that people are malicious, I think it’s just some people don’t know what the hair that grows from the head of black women actually looks like.

To read full interview, go to: Chimamanda Adichie on Black Hair and Redefining Beauty

Author Paul Beatty Becomes 1st American to Win Man Booker Prize With ‘The Sellout’

Paul Beatty, who won the Man Booker Prize for “The Sellout,” a satire about race in America, at a ceremony Tuesday in London. (Credit: John Phillips/Getty Images)

article by Alexandra Alter via nytimes.com

Paul Beatty’s novel “The Sellout,” a blistering satire about race in America, won the Man Booker Prize on Tuesday, marking the first time an American writer has won the award.

The five Booker judges, who were unanimous in their decision, cited the novel’s inventive comic approach to the thorny issues of racial identity and injustice.

With its outrageous premise and unabashed skewering of racial stereotypes, “The Sellout” is an audacious choice for the judges, who oversee one of the most prestigious awards in literature.

“The truth is rarely pretty, and this is a book that nails the reader to the cross with cheerful abandon,” Amanda Foreman, the head of the judging panel, said at a press briefing in London before the winner was announced. “It plunges into the heart of contemporary American society.”

At a ceremony in London, Mr. Beatty said that writing “The Sellout” had taken an emotional toll.

“It was a hard book for me to write; I know it’s hard to read,” he said. “I’m just trying to create space for myself. And hopefully that can create space for others.”

A raucous tragicomedy that explores the legacy of slavery and racial and economic inequality in America, the novel felt deeply resonant at a moment when police violence against African-Americans has incited protests around the country and forced Americans to confront the country’s history of racism.

In a review in The New York Times, Dwight Garner wrote that the novel’s first 100 pages read like “the most concussive monologues and interviews of Chris Rock, Richard Pryor and Dave Chappelle wrapped in a satirical yet surprisingly delicate literary and historical sensibility.”

To read full article, go to: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/26/business/media/paul-beatty-wins-man-booker-prize-with-the-sellout.html?_r=0

Purdue Librarian Jamilla R. Gabriel Starts Call Number, a Subscription Service for Black Literature

Jamillah R. Gabriel (photo via Purdue University)

Librarian Jamillah R. Gabriel (photo via Purdue University)

article via jbhe.com

Jamillah R. Gabriel, librarian at Purdue University’s Black Cultural Center, has launched a new start-up subscription box venture that each month will send a newly released book written by a Black author to subscribers of the service. Subscribers also will receive four or five book-themed items with their new book that mirror prominent themes in the featured book as well as catalog cards and spine labels. The Call Number service, scheduled to debut in November, will start at $35 per month. Gabriel told JBHE that “I have selected the first book but I’m keeping that under wraps at the moment.”

Gabriel states that “These days there is a subscription box service for just about anything: fitness products, beauty products, even razors. However, after reviewing many literary subscription box sites I realized there were no book subscription boxes that highlighted Black literature. The lack of diversity in the publishing industry also spurred my decision to test the waters of entrepreneurship in an endeavor that would promote diverse literature in an easily accessible way.”

To read more, go to: https://www.jbhe.com/2016/10/purdue-university-librarian-starting-a-subscription-box-service-for-black-literature/

NFL Star Jarvis Jenkins Sponsors Reading Center for Kids at International Barbershop in Harlem

jarvis jenkins a lil positivity

NY Jets player Jarvis Jenkins reads to children at International Barbershop on Malcolm X Boulevard (photo via bossip.com)

article via bossip.com

New York Jets player Jarvis Jenkins hung up his cleats to pick up a book in order to show a group of Harlem kids the importance of reading.

The defensive end was at the International Barbershop on Malcolm X Boulevard in New York City’s uptown neighborhood Sept. 27, where he read the children’s book “The Adventures of Captain Underpants,” to students from nearby Alain L. Locke Magnet School For Environmental Stewardship. The Clemson alumni also donated a mini library of children’s books to the shop.

“The main thing I want to do is tackle literacy,” the athlete turned reading advocate told BOSSIP. “There’s more to life than just Instagram. There’s more to life than just Facebook. I wanted to give them a platform where they can learn, and still have fun.”

Jenkins, who has been in the NFL for six years, said he wanted the kids to see that reading outside of school was fun, and that they should take advantage of their idle time waiting to get their hair cut by reading for pleasure.

“When I used to go to barbershops with my dad, I used to bring a toy,” Jenkins said. “I used to bring a Game Boy and sit there. When you’re sitting there with this free time, why not pick up a book?”

Nonprofit Barbershop Books helps kids – especially young boys – become more active readers by creating reading spaces inside local barbershops, said founder Alvin Irby.  “We’re increasing boys’ access to engaging books, and we’re increasing the amount of time boys are reading outside school,” Irby, who has his own children’s book Gross Greg coming out next month, said.

Following the read aloud, Jenkins also gave the kids a few life lessons, but not before lacing the budding readers with some Jets swag.  “It took my dad to stay on me to understand education is important,” the South Carolina native, 28, told the children. “You can go far in life, but make sure you get your education. Education is key.”

To read more, go to: http://bossip.com/1359074/a-lil-positivity-ny-jets-jarvis-jenkins-sponsors-reading-center-for-kids-at-harlem-barbershop/

Tamara McNeil Creates Just Like Me!, A Book Subscription Box for Black Children

(photo via matermea.com)

article by Ashley Poag via matermea.com

Tamara McNeil loves reading to her son, and she’s not alone. It’s a daily activity that creates a bond between parents and infants as they learn the rhythm of language. Both parent and child find comfort in the cuddles shared while reading.Reading time can also come with its own set of challenges, like restlessness and a desire to find out what a book’s pages taste like. But for African-American children like McNeil’s baby boy, there’s an additional challenge—the lack of representation.

The Black community is bombarded with images of people who look like them experiencing extreme violence, sadness, and despair on an almost daily basis. The need for positive representations of African Americans in media, especially in early childhood literature, is increasingly important.

It’s why movements like #WeNeedDiverseBooks started in 2014—and it’s why McNeil decided to launch Just Like Me!, a subscription box service that sends families two to three books a month based on your child’s age. For $25 a month your child will receive African-American focused literature from award-winning authors, as well as up-and-coming writers. From Black history to finding the magic in our ordinary lives, the service seeks to bring the very best of African-American children’s literature to those who need it most.

To read full article, go to: A Book Subscription Box Created For Black Children — mater mea

To visit McNeil’s website, go to justlikemebox.com