Tag: Terry McMillan

U.K.’s Positive.News Publishes Good Black News Feature – “Black News Matters: the Website Dedicated to Positive News about People of Color”

Good Black News Founder and Editor-in-Chief Lori Lakin Hutcherson (photo: Atsushi Nishijima)

interview by Lucy Purdy via positive.news

Lori Lakin Hutcherson was shocked when she was unable to find a website dedicated to positive news about black people. So she started one 

Why did you start the Facebook page that became the website, Good Black News?

I actually started Good Black News by accident. It was 2010 and, in my work as a film and television writer and producer, I was collaborating with author Terry McMillan on the film adaptation of her new book. Before our writing session started one morning, she was telling me about a story she’d barely come across in the news: at an all-black academy in Chicago, 100 per cent of the seniors were accepted to college. Terry was wondering why there was no major news media coverage of this great achievement, and lamenting that the mainstream media primarily focused on negative news about African Americans. I figured that there must be a site dedicated solely to positive African American news, so searched the internet. To my shock, I couldn’t find one. In that moment I decided I had to create it, even if just a page on Facebook. So I did. And it slowly grew from there.

How do you think the mainstream media is biased towards people of colour? What damage can stereotypes do?

The media bias reflects the bias intrinsic in US culture and society. People of colour are often seen as threats or exceptions, but not commonly enough as typical human beings. More often than not, you’ll see adjectives or nouns that refer to someone’s ethnicity or skin colour rather than their name or age, or you will see images that are dour or intense instead of happy or light. The damage these micro-dehumanisations can do is reinforce prejudices about people of colour, as well as teach and perpetuate them. So every time I put up a positive story, I am conscious that I am combatting all of that, as well as offering a bit of uplift for anyone who comes across it.

What steps do you take with your stories; for example with headlines and photos, to make them more representative and balanced?

First of all, I make sure that they are accurate and informative, and properly credited and sourced. Secondly, I like to find the best image possible to represent the person or the subject of the story; if all anyone sees is the photo or the headline, I want to make sure either or both offer a story, as well as positive impact. Lastly, I like to put names in headlines. A person’s name offers individuality and acknowledgement that I think impresses on readers a level of humanity that descriptors just don’t. It may seem subtle, but to me, it’s not. Imagine, for example, the differing impact of The Autobiography of a Black Muslim v The Autobiography of Malcolm X or The Diary of a Jewish Girl v The Diary of Anne Frank.

What reactions have you had to Good Black News? Have any surprised you?

The majority have been positive, which isn’t surprising as much as it is heartwarming. It’s humbling knowing that what myself, my fellow editor Lesa Lakin and our volunteer contributors do is helping so many people access information and stories they might not otherwise have heard of. What has surprised me – even though, thankfully, it’s not a large number – is that there are people who spend their time trying to troll and mock and denigrate a site dedicated to sharing positive stories about people of colour. Each time I come across a wayward comment, reply or tweet and block it, I think ‘Who has time for this kind of vitriol in their life?

People of colour are often seen as threats or exceptions, but not commonly enough as typical human beings

Which sorts of stories are most popular?

Education stories. Whether it’s a boy or girl genius graduating college at 14, or a formerly homeless teen going to the Ivy League, or senior citizens finally getting their high school or college diplomas, education stories are always popular. Education has been the most accessible and democratic way people of colour have been able to improve their lives in the US. To go from it being a crime to learn to read and write, to earning PhDs and running universities – yeah, those stories always resonate.

To read rest of article, go to: Black news matters: the website dedicated to positive news about people of colour

‘Hidden Figures’ Tops ‘Rogue One,’ With $22.8M #1 Debut at Box Office

(PHOTO COURTESY OF FOX 2000)

article by Scott Mendelson via forbes.com

With the always present caveat that “rank doesn’t matter,” it turns out that Hidden Figures was the top movie of the weekend, not Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. As you probably know, the weekend box office that everyone reports on Sunday is comprised of estimates and when the rankings are close the order can sometimes shift when the final numbers drop. So yeah, Hidden Figures earned a terrific $22.8 million, about $1m more than estimated, which is a sign that the film is building on its buzz and word-of-mouth.

Meanwhile, Rogue One had to settle for a $22m fourth weekend, bringing its domestic total to $477.3m. The story though, isn’t necessarily that Hidden Figures, which stars Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, Janelle Monáe, Mahershala Ali, Kirsten Dunst, Jim Parsons and Kevin Costner, bested the fourth weekend of Star Wars (or the third weekend of Sing) in its wide release debut. No, it’s that Hidden Figures, a historical drama about female African-American NASA mathematicians whose skills were essential to putting Americans into space, earned $22.8 million on its opening weekend, bringing the domestic total for the $25m Fox 2000/Chermin release to $24.7m.

At the risk of stating the painfully obvious, the triumph of said Allison Schroeder/Ted Melfi-written studio programmer, based on Margot Lee Shetterly’s book, is a huge win for the notion that movies about women, women of color no less, can be not just critically acclaimed and award-worthy but also multiplex-friendly box office hits. This shouldn’t be a surprise. We should know this by now. The Help earned $169 million domestic in 2011, more than X-Men: First Class ($146m), and earned about as much worldwide ($216m) as the 3D/$200m+ Green Lantern ($219m).

Back in 1995, Waiting to Exhale made about as much domestically ($67.4m) as Bad Boys, Outbreak and Heat. The entire Tyler Perry media empire is built on audiences (black women and otherwise) going to movie theaters to see mainstream melodramas about African-American women. Hell, we forget about it now, but Steven Spielberg’s The Color Purple earned $94.1 million domestic in 1985 ($216m in 2017 dollars). That doesn’t mean every Baggage Claim is going to break out, but if you treat movies like Hidden Figures like an event, the audience will show up.

To read more, go to: Box Office: ‘Hidden Figures’ Topped ‘Rogue One,’ But Its Real Victory Was That $22.8M Debut

AALBC.com’s 50 Favorite African-American Authors of the 20th Century

(photo via aalbc.com)

article via aalbc.com

1,826 readers cast votes back in 2001 for their favorite African-American authors. Here we share the 50 authors who received the most votes ranked in the order of the total number of votes received.  Below are the top 15.  To see the rest, go to: http://aalbc.com/authors/top50authors.php?

# 1 — (6.24%) Toni Morrison # 2 — (5.42%) Zora Neale Hurston # 3 — (4.82%) Maya Angelou # 4 — (4.71%) J. California Cooper # 5 — (4.33%) Alice Walker # 6 — (3.94%) Langston Hughes # 7 — (3.72%) E. Lynn Harris # 8 — (3.56%) James Baldwin # 9 — (3.23%) Terry McMillan # 10 — (3.18%) Bebe Moore Campbell # 11 — (2.74%) Richard Wright # 12 — (2.57%) Walter Mosley # 13 — (2.52%) Eric Jerome Dickey # 14 — (2.41%) Sheneska Jackson # 15 — (2.19%) Octavia Butler —Copyright AALBC.com.

Source: AALBC.com’s 50 Favorite African-American Authors of the 20th Century

Books by Black Authors to Look Forward to in 2016

2016_books
Black Deutschland, by Darryl Pinckney; Fuchsia, by Mahtem Shiferraw; Hunger, by Roxane Gay (MACMILLAN; NEBRASKA PRESS; HARPERCOLLINS)

article by Hope Wabuke via theroot.com

It is no secret that “African-American women are the largest group of readers in the country,” states Dawn Davis, head of Simon & Schuster’s 37 Ink imprint. It is also no secret that the publishing world is very, very white, with books by black authors published at an abysmal low, never rising above 10 percent of the industry’s output. Indeed, a recent survey by Lee & Low publishers found that “just under 80 percent of publishing staff and review journal staff are white,” with “Black/African Americans [at] 3.5 percent.”

But even with such conditions, key figures such as Chris Jackson, Dawn Davis and others have shepherded books by black authors through their fellow gatekeepers and to the public. Other organizations, like Cave Canem, the Kimbilio Center for African American Fiction and the African Poetry Book Fund, support black literature by offering writing retreats, workshops and small-press publishing opportunities. Here are some of the wonderful titles by black authors that readers of all tastes can look forward to in 2016.

In fiction, Darryl Pinckney offers Black Deutschland, the story of a gay African-American man who escapes his troubles in Chicago to seek refuge in 1980s Germany. The Castle Cross the Magnet Carterfrom playwright and TV writer Kia Corthron, is an ambitious, brilliantly executed tale of race and family across generations. There is also the latest installment of Rachel Howzell Hall’s Los Angeles-based Elouise Norton mystery thriller series, Trail of Echoes, which comes out in May.

Literary legend Terry McMillan publishes a new book in June titled I Almost Forgot About You, the story of Dr. Georgia Young, who one day decides that there’s more to life than what she has been doing—and decides to go find it. There is also The Underground Railroad, a novel from acclaimed author Colson Whitehead, which will be published in September. And in April, Diane McKinney-Whetstone is giving us Lazaretto, her fictional account of race, lies and murder that rock the close-knit community of the island-based Lazaretto quarantine hospital. In May, from Afro-Caribbean British writer Yvette Edwards, comes the riveting novel The Motherwhich explores how one mother copes with the murder of her son—and the courtroom drama of the trial that follows.

Six strong fiction debuts from black American women are a high point of 2016. In June, Los Angeles-based writer Natashia Deon gives us Grace, a tale of the love between a mother and daughter set against American slavery and emancipation. Desiree Cooper’s Know the Mother, out in March, explores race and motherhood in a series of interconnected vignettes. Jamaican-American writer Nicole Y. Dennis-Benn crafts a tale of unforgettable Jamaican women fighting for selfhood and independence in Here Comes the Sundue out in July.

Cole Lavalais pens a tale of love, redemption and self-discovery on the campus of a historically black college in Summer of the Cicadas due in the spring. In We Love You, Charlie Freemanout next month, Kaitlyn Greenidge has created an absurdist social commentary on race in the form of an African-American family paid to adopt a chimpanzee as a member of their family and be observed by a scientific research institute during the process. And Fabienne Josaphat’s novel, Dancing in the Baron’s Shadow, is the riveting tale of a man trying to save his brother from unjust imprisonment during the brutal regime of Haitian dictator François Duvalier in 1965.

Nonfiction is equally strong. Memoirs from literary powerhouses Roxane Gay and Kiese Laymon, both meditating on blackness and the body, arrive in June. In Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body, Gay discusses her relationship with food, body image and self-care, a memoir couched in her usual honesty, vulnerability and depth of observation that have endeared her to so many readers. Laymon’s memoir, titled Stank: A Fat Black Memoir, is replete with his trademark wit and astute analysis. Out now is All Jokes Aside, a memoir by Raymond Lambert and Chris Bournea, which explores the rise of the African-American comedy scene centered at Lambert’s club.

To read more, go to: http://www.theroot.com/articles/culture/2016/02/books_by_black_authors_to_look_forward_to_in_2016.html

Watch Trailer for Terry McMillan’s “A Day Late and a Dollar Short” Starring Whoopi Goldberg (VIDEO)

Day late Dollar Short

Just in time for Easter, the Lifetime Channel will air the small screen adaptation of Terry McMillan‘s bestseller A Day Late and a Dollar Short. The film stars Whoopi Goldberg (who also executive produced) and Ving Rhames as an estranged couple, with Anika Noni Rose, Kimberly Elise, Tichina Arnold, and Mekhi Phifer playing their adult children.

The synopsis:

In A Day Late and a Dollar Short, when irascible matriarch Viola Price (Goldberg) learns that her next asthma attack will likely kill her, she is determined to fix her fractured family before she leaves this world, from her relationship with her husband (Rhames), to the lives of her four children and grandchildren. While on this quest, she must contend with sibling rivalry, teen pregnancy and prescription drug addiction – and that is only one child. Additionally, her jailbird son (Phifer) needs to learn how to be a better father, her granddaughter is in bigger trouble than her daughter is willing to admit and her estranged husband needs saving from his scheming younger girlfriend. It’s the kind of meddling that the Price family hasn’t experienced from Viola in decades, and she won’t have an easy time bending her loved ones to her will.

The film was adapted for television from McMillan’s novel by Shernold Edwards and directed by Stephen Tolkin.  It will premiere on April 19 at 8/7C.

Watch a clip from the movie below:

article by Lori Lakin Hutcherson

 

Happy 62nd Birthday, Acclaimed Novelist Terry McMillan

terrymcmillan13Born on October 18, 1951 in Port Huron, Michigan, University of California, Berkeley graduate Terry McMillan‘s life-long interest in books and storytelling led her to publish her first book, Mama, in 1987 and her follow-up effort, Disappearing Acts, in 1989.

Her work is characterized by relatable female protagonists, received national attention in 1992 with her third novel, Waiting to Exhale, which remained on The New York Times bestseller list for 38 straight weeks. In 1995, Forest Whitaker directed a film version of Exhale starring Angela Bassett, Loretta Devine, Lela Rochon and Whitney Houston. In 1998, another of McMillan’s novels, How Stella Got Her Groove Back, was made into a successful movie starring Angela Bassett and Taye Diggs. McMillan’s novel Disappearing Acts was subsequently produced as a feature on HBO, starring Wesley Snipes and Sanaa Lathan. She also wrote the bestseller A Day Late and a Dollar Short, soon to be adapted into a Lifetime movie starring Whoopi Goldberg.  The Interruption of Everything was published on July 19, 2005. Getting to Happy, the long-awaited sequel to Waiting to Exhale, was published on September 7, 2010, and her latest novel, Who Asked You? was recently published this fall.  To learn more about McMillan and her work, visit her website, terrymcmillan.com or follow her on Twitter at @MsTerryMcMillan.

article by Lori Lakin Hutcherson

Celebrating Famous Black Lefties on International Left-Handers Day

dekAccording to Time.com, today is International Left-Handers Day.  So in honor of this occasion, Good Black News is celebrating a few of the famous African-American southpaws who have made their mark on the world (so to speak):

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA

In the past hundred years, the U.S. presidency has veered more and more to the left — not in policy, but in handedness. Barack Obama is the latest to join a long list of left-handed presidents from the 20th century: James Garfield, Herbert Hoover, Henry Truman, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton were all southpaws.

What makes lefties so electable? Some experts think left-handed people have a greater aptitude for language skills, which may help them craft the rhetoric necessary for political office.  And as for the bout of recent left-handed presidents, some think it’s because teachers only recently stopped working to convert lefties to righties at an early age.

OPRAH WINFREY

dek

The talk-show maven doesn’t need much more to set her apart from the rest — with her estimated $2.7 billion fortune and ever-expanding media empire — but she also has the distinction of being a member of the left-handed club. Since men are more likely to be left-handed than women, that makes Oprah doubly impressive. She’s in good company: Other show business titans of the southpaw persuasion include Julia Roberts and Angelina Jolie (FYI, Brad Pitt is also a lefty).

JIMI HENDRIX

Jimi Hendrix learned to play in Nashville blues clubs before touring as a back-up musician for the Isley Brothers and Little Richard. He broke out on his own in 1966, but his career was cut short by a drug overdose in August 1970. Hendrix’s use of distortion and wah-wah effects warped and extended notes in ways no other player could quite achieve; for years,

dekright-handed guitarists have tried to emulate his sound, going so far as to put left-handed necks on their own guitars.  There was one technique not impacted by Hendrix’s lefthandedness: setting his guitar on fire. For that, he used both hands. 

WHOOPI GOLDBERG

Whoopi GoldbergThis Academy-Award winning actress and current “The View” co-host is as eclectic as they come, so it’s no wonder she is also a leftie.  From her dazzling debut on Broadway in the 1980s with her one-woman show, to directing a documentary on comedic pioneer Moms Mabley to her upcoming turn as the matriarch in Lifetime’s adaptation of the Terry McMillan novel “A Day Late and A Dollar Short”, Goldberg always keeps it fresh and interesting, as lefties often do.

BABYFACE

KennethBabyfaceEdmondsHWOFMay2013Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds not only has the distinction of looking much younger than his years, but this multi-platinum award-winning producer, composer (“I’ll Make Love To You”, “Take A Bow”, “Change The World”, “When Will I See You Again”) and musician, like Hendrix, also belongs to the small group of successful and talented left-handed guitarists.  Martin, one of the world’s premiere guitar makers, designed a special model named after Babyface in 2000 and in honor of him, made both left and right-handed versions.

article by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (full disclosure; also a proud leftie)

Whoopi Goldberg to Star in Terry McMillan TV Movie for Lifetime

Whoopi Goldberg (PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES)

Whoopi Goldberg will star in and executive produce the film adaptation of Terry McMillan’s best-selling book, A Day Late and a Dollar ShortAccording to the Hollywood Reporter, the film is slated to begin shooting this summer and will air on Lifetime in 2014. Goldberg is no stranger to Lifetime—she was the executive producer for Strong Medicine from 2000 to 2006. 

The project also reunites McMillan with Goldberg, who co-starred with Angela Bassett in McMillan’s How Stella Got Her Groove Back. The Oscar winner and View co-host will play Viola Price, a woman who realizes that her next asthma attack could claim her life, so she sets out to fix her broken family.

“Terry McMillan is one of America’s most beloved writers and A Day Late and a Dollar Short combines her signature emotional storytelling with the complex characters viewers identify with and love,” said Lifetime General Manager, Rob Sharenow. “We are thrilled to be working again with Whoopi Goldberg, who will be emptying her enormous talents both in front of and behind the camera.”

article by Derrick Bryson Taylor via essence.com

Black Authors Thrive Through Business of Black Book Clubs

Shutterstock

Over the last 20 years, the channels for discovering new books, especially books by first-time and emerging authors, have shrunk or disappeared. Newspapers and magazines dedicate mere slivers of arts sections to book reviews — if at all. Those papers like the New York Times that do devote more space to book coverage rarely review debut authors. Likewise, bookstores prefer to invite already established, bestselling, or celebrity writers to do readings and signings. That leaves Oprah — and the Queen of Talk has endorsed only 72 books since she started her eponymous book club in 1996, including the two she has recommended since her 2.0 reboot.

It’s even more difficult for black authors — new and established — to get their books on readers’ radars. As it is, African-American interest books receive a mere fraction of the coverage noted above, and with the closing of more than 100 black-owned independent bookstores in the last 15 years, as well as the shuttering of Black Issues Book Review there are even fewer places for black authors’ work to gain visibility. MosaicAfrican Voices, and the new Spook can only review so much.  “The last [issue of] Essence covered the same book Oprah covered,” observed Troy Johnson, founder of the African-American Literature Book Club better known as AALBC.com.

In this landscape, black book clubs offer authors a valuable — albeit extremely competitive —promotion and sales channel. “[Book clubs] have advanced far beyond the small get-togethers in someone’s living room,” says Carol Mackey, editor-in-chief of direct-to-consumer book club Black Expressions.

Continue reading “Black Authors Thrive Through Business of Black Book Clubs”