J.Allen's blog

Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature

This year's winner of the “Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature for Adult Fiction” is Ruth Ozeki’s A Tale for the Time Being.

The novel involves a mysterious diary belonging to Nao Yasutani, a sixteen year old girl living in Tokyo. Nao is bullied by classmates and plans to escape her sense of loneliness by taking her own life. Before she does she makes a commitment to write about her 104 year old Grandmother’s life as a Buddhist nun.  

Dear Marcus: A letter to the Man who Shot Me

Author and teacher, Jerry McGill, presents an intimate memoir which discusses the events that led to his becoming a quadriplegic.

His life, like several others, Christopher Reeve and Joni Eareckson Tada, took a different road when circumstances changed the course of their lives forever.

On New Years Eve of 1981, thirteen year old McGill was walking home with a friend, when he was struck by the bullet of an unknown assailant, leaving him a quadriplegic for life. This memoir is a personal letter to his unknown assailant, who McGill calls Marcus.

The data surrounding violence and youth is alarming.

JUSTIN BUA CAPTURES THE ESSENCE OF HIP HOP

The Legends of Hip Hop "Tupac Shakur" - Justin Bua

Listening to Planet Rock - Afrika Bambaataa, The Message - Grandmaster Flash, Roxanne Roxanne - UTFO (Untouchable Force Organization), I felt like break dancing but did the calculations: age + height + gravity = 911. The urge to "boogie" hit me while I was reading the book The Legends of Hip Hop by Justin Bua.

I would describe him in the most literal sense as an "Hip Hop Artist." Justin Bua brings us an excellent critique of some of Hip Hop's greatest. His discourse on Hip Hop's Legends instantly took me back to that place we called the Student Union at Metropolitan State College talking Hip Hop over slices of pizza and soda.

Justin incorporates a Hip Hop narrative while reflecting on the affects of Hip Hop on his life. His colorful portraits of Hip Hop's great artists appeal to that "inner Hip Hop" in all of us who grew up during that era.

Desert Flower

Desert Flower - The life of Waris Dirie

What an award winning performance by, Liya Kebede, as she portrays the life of Waris Dirie. Waris Dirie is a famous model who became outspoken about the practice of Female Genital Mutilation.

The story of Ms. Waris is both thought provoking and inspirational, as she tenaciously beats the odds against her through a cultural practice of the life she was born into. Desert Flower portrays a 13 year old Somali who left her home to avoid an arranged marriage to an older man. The journey through the deserts of Somalia leads her to London where she struggles through various trials eventually leading to her discovery by British fashion photographer Terence Donovan and becoming one of the world’s most famous fashion models.

I remember hearing stories about families moving "up north" from what we called "down south"

The Warmth of Other Suns

In her book The Warmth of Other Suns, Isabel Wilkerson gives a thorough account of the Great Migration (the mass exodus of over six million African Americans who migrated from the southern regions of the U.S. to the northern).

The "Black Exodus" was motivated by several factors and is a crucial element in America's history and culture. Wilkerson's investigative research presents a multifaceted approach to understanding the reasons blacks migrated from the south to the north.

Ms. Wilkerson spent fifteen years working on her book and had interviewed over a thousand people before settling on three key individuals who reflect the different waves of the migration period.

I just need something Soulful!

Amazing Grace, featuring James Cleveland and songs by Thomas Dorsey

Some say music calms the nerves. Sometimes you just need something soothing and inspirational or maybe something jazzy, or a little bit of Rhythm and Blues, and at times you just want to hear the powerful, vibrant voices of gospel's greatest.

 

Have you been in the mood for an inspirational song? Maybe you're going through a difficult time and just need a pick-me-up, something soulful and uplifting.

Hearing Aretha sing "Oh Mary don't you weep" will send chills down your spine. Aretha sings it with such passion and feeling it's like you're jolted back into time, standing in between the pews clapping your hands and stomping your feet.

Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention - Captures the hearts of critics

Manning Marable, the noted History professor at Columbia University and the Founding Director of IRAAS (Institute for Research in African American Studies) at Columbia University, opens the platform for dialogue concerning the life of Malcolm X and his membership in the Nation of Islam.

Recently I read Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention, a book written by the late Manning Marable, who unfortunately died days before the book was released.

 

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