UPDATE: FEBRUARY 2015 PAN AFRICAN FILM FESTIVAL
I had a great time as a VIP guest at Opening Night of the PAFF on February 5, which included a screening of the film The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution, fresh from the Sundance Film Fest 2015. It’s directed by Stanley Nelson, one of America’s premier filmmakers, who has been making documentaries about the American and African-American experience for nearly three decades. I liked the film, although I had a few criticisms. So much material to cover in such a short time, hard to cover it all. I get it. The cool part was that there was a lot of footage and photos that I’ve never seen before. The screening was followed by a lively Q&A period with Stanley Nelson, and, of course, the afterparty. I got to see many friends, including some former Panthers like Hank Jones, still a tireless activist for civil rights. Karin’s daughter Ashley (Ajae) Jackson walked the red carpet. (Follow her on Twitter, catch her tunes on YouTube.) What a great night! Sorry, no pictures of me from that night; they all came out too dark…I know, I know, that’s what I get for not having an iPhone.
UPDATE: JANUARY 2015 DYNAMICS OF COLORISM TALK RADIO
Join me for a lively and uplifting discussion on the friendships girls and women of color make amongst and between themselves — especially focusing on friendships between light-skinned and dark-skinned girls/women. Girls and Women of Color Embracing and Celebrating Each Other, hosted by Dr. Donnamaria Culbreth and Dr. Julie Jung-Kim, on Dynamics of Colorism Talk Radio — originally aired on Thursday, January 22, 2015 at 8pm EST, showing the world that girls & women of color can and do form bonds and friendships with other girls & women of color — who may possess either lighter or darker skin. We debunk the negative stereotypes perpetuated by the media: the idea that girls & women of color continue to fight, dislike, and treat each other disparately because of skin color (i.e., light girls don’t get along with dark girls and vice versa).
UPDATE: DECEMBER 2014 DJERASSI
I am thrilled to say that I have been accepted to the Djerassi Resident Artists Program with N Y Times Bestselling author, Heidi Durrow, coming up in February 2015. Heidi’s fantastic and important book, The Girl Who Fell from the Sky, was chosen by Barbara Kingsolver as the winner of the PEN/Bellwether Prize for best fiction manuscript addressing issues of social justice. This story is about a mixed-race girl growing up in the 1980s–but with a twist. You’ll have to read it to find out–I won’t spoil it here; but in common with my book, the protagonist learns to confront her identity as a biracial young woman in a world that wants to see her as either black or white. The Girl Who Fell From the Sky has garnered rave reviews since its February 2010 publication. I’m so excited to work with Heidi! Stay tuned.
UPDATE: NOVEMBER 2014 LITTLE WHITE LIE
What a thrill to attend a film screening of Lacey Schwartz’s Little White Lie at Laemmle’s Music Hall 3 in Beverly Hills. The documentary tells Lacey’s story of growing up in a typical upper-middle-class Jewish household in Woodstock, NY, with loving parents and a strong sense of her Jewish identity — despite the open questions from those around her about how a white girl could have such dark skin — and ultimately a story of how a biracial woman could grow up believing she was white. Little White Lie is a personal documentary about the legacy of family secrets, denial, and the power of telling the truth. A New York Times Critic’s Pick, I highly recommend it. Go. Experience it. You won’t be sorry!
As a bonus for me, the film screening was co-sponsored by Heidi Durrow, founder of Mixed Remixed Festival–the nation’s premiere cultural arts festival celebrating stories of the Mixed experience through films, books and performance. Heidi is also author of the N Y Times bestseller The Girl Who Fell from the Sky, which means that not only did I get to meet and speak with Lacey Schwartz, but I got to meet Heidi, one of my favorite authors!
UPDATE: JULY 2014 NINE LIVES OF A BLACK PANTHER
Here at the first book signing for Nine Lives of a Black Panther: A Story of Survival, a book which I was thrilled to have had the opportunity to edit, with Wayne Pharr and co-author Karin L. Stanford. Wayne spoke to a standing-room only crowd at EsoWon Bookstore in Los Angeles, on July 11, 2014. The book signing for Nine Lives of a Black Panther brought out new friends and old comrades, including veterans of the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense.
Bottom right photo: The crew of writers, editors, and researchers who helped Pharr make Nine Lives of a Black Panther a reality: L-R, back row: Me, Thandisizwe Every-Twentyeighthours Chimurenga, Karin L Stanford; front row: James Simmons, Wayne Pharr
UPDATE: JUNE 2014 RELAY FOR LIFE, BALDWIN HILLS
Finished with our survivor’s lap around the track. I was just over a year past my surgery and radiation. Left to right, below, friends and fellow survivors: Najee Ali, Karin L. Stanford, and me. Funny, I don’t know why I never really wanted to participate in this worthy event. Thanks for talking me into it, Karin (as usual!). Just simply being there was energizing — visiting with old friends, meeting new ones, reveling in the camaraderie of other fellow cancer survivors, and being surrounded by all the community support was, like, WOW!