Monday, March 31, 2008

Vogue Cover Part II

From David Hauslaib’s Jossip

Here’s a World War I enlistment poster (via) from 1917, famous from its era, that encouraged men to sign up with the army to fight the German enemy. (Interestingly, the Germans found it so convincing, they Nazis used the same concept for their own World War II poster.)
So...was it an accident, an innocent, artistic, creative photo--or was it more sinister than that? In another world, where things were fair, objective and the playing field level (or at least more level) it’s a question we wouldn’t have to ask is it?

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posted by DeBerry and Grant at 3:50 PM 2 comments

Thursday, March 27, 2008

King Who?

LeBron James, Cleveland Cavilers forward, and arguably the new Mike, is on the cover of April Vogue—only the third man to make the cover (Richard Gere and George Clooney are the others). Great—right? Well, check the photo.

Not your typical, glamorous pose, is it? Can’t anything be simple? Some folks are offended. They feel King James looks a little too much like King Kong with Giselle Bundchen as Fay Wray. The photo is by Annie Lebowitz, who is known for placing her subjects in surreal settings—think Whoopi Goldberg submerged in a tub full of milk. Is Lebowitz provoking the viewer in her usual way? It’s the magazine’s shape issue and other athletes paired with models include Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps, speed skater Apolo Anton Ohno, and snowboarder Shaun White. But none of the other photos is as. . .intense.

So, is this a hot photo of a strong Black athlete doin’ his thing on the cover of Vogue? Or is this the Black man as noble savage—in case we were getting a little too used to looking at the guy in the slim suit and tie who is running for president.

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posted by DeBerry and Grant at 9:21 AM 2 comments

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

This is an audio interview we did with Monica from There are also interviews on her webiste with film director Bill Duke and former San Francisco Mayor, Willie Brown--along with many others!

Click here: Monica Medina w/ Virginia Deberry and Donna Grant

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posted by DeBerry and Grant at 12:22 PM 0 comments

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Together we stand, divided we'll fail

This is a repost from

Did you hear Barack Obama's incredible speech on race in America? It was honest and moving. You should definitely check it out—especially since the media soundbites really missed the point.

You can watch or read the whole speech here:
If you're busy, here's a highlight from the speech:

"We have a choice in this country. We can accept a politics that breeds division, and conflict, and cynicism. We can tackle race only as spectacle—as we did in the OJ trial—or in the wake of tragedy, as we did in the aftermath of Katrina—or as fodder for the nightly news. We can play Reverend Wright's sermons on every channel, every day and talk about them from now until the election, and make the only question in this campaign whether or not the American people think that I somehow believe or sympathize with his most offensive words.

"We can pounce on some gaffe by a Hillary supporter as evidence that she's playing the race card, or we can speculate on whether white men will all flock to John McCain in the general election regardless of his policies.

"We can do that.

"But if we do, I can tell you that in the next election, we'll be talking about some other distraction. And then another one. And then another one. And nothing will change.

"That is one option. Or, at this moment, in this election, we can come together and say, "Not this time." This time we want to talk about the crumbling schools that are stealing the future of black children and white children and Asian children and Hispanic children and Native American children. This time we want to reject the cynicism that tells us that these kids can't learn; that those kids who don't look like us are somebody else's problem. The children of America are not those kids, they are our kids, and we will not let them fall behind in a 21st century economy. Not this time.

"This time we want to talk about how the lines in the Emergency Room are filled with whites and blacks and Hispanics who do not have health care; who don't have the power on their own to overcome the special interests in Washington, but who can take them on if we do it together.

"This time we want to talk about the shuttered mills that once provided a decent life for men and women of every race, and the homes for sale that once belonged to Americans from every religion, every region, every walk of life. This time we want to talk about the fact that the real problem is not that someone who doesn't look like you might take your job; it's that the corporation you work for will ship it overseas for nothing more than a profit.

"This time we want to talk about the men and women of every color and creed who serve together, and fight together, and bleed together under the same proud flag. We want to talk about how to bring them home from a war that never should've been authorized and never should've been waged, and we want to talk about how we'll show our patriotism by caring for them, and their families, and giving them the benefits they have earned.

"I would not be running for President if I didn't believe with all my heart that this is what the vast majority of Americans want for this country. This union may never be perfect, but generation after generation has shown that it can always be perfected. And today, whenever I find myself feeling doubtful or cynical about this possibility, what gives me the most hope is the next generation—the young people whose attitudes and beliefs and openness to change have already made history in this election.

"There is one story in particularly that I'd like to leave you with today—a story I told when I had the great honor of speaking on Dr. King's birthday at his home church, Ebenezer Baptist, in Atlanta.

"There is a young, twenty-three year old white woman named Ashley Baia who organized for our campaign in Florence, South Carolina. She had been working to organize a mostly African-American community since the beginning of this campaign, and one day she was at a roundtable discussion where everyone went around telling their story and why they were there.

"And Ashley said that when she was nine years old, her mother got cancer. And because she had to miss days of work, she was let go and lost her health care. They had to file for bankruptcy, and that's when Ashley decided that she had to do something to help her mom.

"She knew that food was one of their most expensive costs, and so Ashley convinced her mother that what she really liked and really wanted to eat more than anything else was mustard and relish sandwiches. Because that was the cheapest way to eat.

"She did this for a year until her mom got better, and she told everyone at the roundtable that the reason she joined our campaign was so that she could help the millions of other children in the country who want and need to help their parents too.

"Now Ashley might have made a different choice. Perhaps somebody told her along the way that the source of her mother's problems were blacks who were on welfare and too lazy to work, or Hispanics who were coming into the country illegally. But she didn't. She sought out allies in her fight against injustice.

"Anyway, Ashley finishes her story and then goes around the room and asks everyone else why they're supporting the campaign. They all have different stories and reasons. Many bring up a specific issue. And finally they come to this elderly black man who's been sitting there quietly the entire time. And Ashley asks him why he's there. And he does not bring up a specific issue. He does not say health care or the economy. He does not say education or the war. He does not say that he was there because of Barack Obama. He simply says to everyone in the room, "I am here because of Ashley."

""I'm here because of Ashley." By itself, that single moment of recognition between that young white girl and that old black man is not enough. It is not enough to give health care to the sick, or jobs to the jobless, or education to our children.

"But it is where we start. It is where our union grows stronger. And as so many generations have come to realize over the course of the two-hundred and twenty one years since a band of patriots signed that document in Philadelphia, that is where the perfection begins."

You can watch or read the whole speech here:

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posted by DeBerry and Grant at 10:54 AM 0 comments

Monday, March 17, 2008

Funny Money?

Anybody think this mortgage and money business is kinda scary? Banks have loaned money they basically don’t have to people and corporations that are marginally qualified to receive it. Chase buys Bear, Stearns, the third largest US bank, for $240 million dollars—which is a lot of money in our world, but the Bear, Stearns headquarters in Manhattan is valued at a billion dollars. Their stock closed at $30 on Friday and had been as much as $152 per share last year. And the Federal government has guaranteed $30billion to Chase to do the deal. On the weekend. It was so bad it couldn’t wait until Monday? What the hell does that mean?

Whether we own stocks directly for investments, IRA’s or 401K’s, or work for publicly traded companies, or have pension funds that invest in stocks, this has got to seem pretty freaky. The dollar is falling like lead against other currency. Oil is trading at $105 a gallon. So, are you freaked out? Is it time to start hiding money in the mattress?

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posted by DeBerry and Grant at 6:06 PM 0 comments

Friday, March 14, 2008

NYC Book Party at B. Smith's Restaurant

Guess what? --We're facing yet another deadline. Our review of the copyedited manuscript for What Doesn't Kill You (Jan. 2009) is due Monday--quiet as kept it was due today--but you know how that goes. And we won't have tomorrow because we're doing a book event at the Phillipsburg Manor in Sleepy Hollow, NY. So, instead of going out and enjoying the lovely springish day, we are pouring over the copyeditors notes. Is a comma better than a dash here? Do we mean Froot Loops Marshmallow or Froot Loops Marshmallow Blast? How do we feel about a semi colon after_____ --you get the picture. But we were really happy to find several places where she wrote "ha ha!" because it's hard to make a copyeditor laugh! We'll get a chance for another look at the manuscript in another month or so, but the more we deal with now, the better. All of which means that we're kinda blog deficient this week. Although our little riff on Spitzer-gate did spark some interesting comments both here, on MySpace and in emails we've received.

So what we have today is a few pictures from the 2/19 Book Party at B.Smith's in New York.

V&D Signing early in the evening

Laughing and talking with our friend and party host, Ed DeVeaux. Our co-producer Tracey Kemble is to DG's left.

Nobi and Tuesday, Editors of Jersey Woman Magazine. We have an interview coming soon!

With Monique DuBosz--our new friend from France

With our host!
Virginia with good friends Gus (right) and Walter
And who's hand is that?

Virginia and our friend Bernard Donna in the foreground with good friend Dorian Swain (in pink) the best party helper in the world! Two for two!! Thanks Dorian. And on the right, our friend and fellow author, (Crystelle Mourning) Eisa Ulen
Was it really that funny?
Virginia far left and Donna far right flank Donna's friends from FIRST GRADE!!!!
Donna with her high school friends Scott Edelman, Editor of SciFi Magazine and Lorraine

Donna and her Mom Gloria
Virginia, author Gigi James, Donna
Us with Madaline Sparks--who was one of the very first plus size models in the industry. She was already there when we showed up! Now she does the gardening column at Real Simple Magazine
Us with our friend plus super model, Emme

With our co-producers from 4 Colored Girls Productions:Tyrha Lindsey & Tracey Kemble
Posing with fellow author (Playing by the Rules) and good friend Elaine Meryl Brown Having a good giggle with our buddy, actress Suzzanne Douglas--boy have we had some crazy, fun times together!
Fellow author Karen Siplin (His Insignificant Other, Whiskey Road -May 2008) and her husband Harris. A toast with our host!

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posted by DeBerry and Grant at 9:43 AM 2 comments

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

And for best politician in a cheating role, the award goes to:

NY State Governor Eliot Spitzer
New Jersey Governor Jim McGreevey
President Bill Clinton
Presidential Candidate Gary Hart
Reverend Jimmy Swaggart (OK not really a politician, but he definitely had a constituency and the people's trust.)
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich
Senator Larry Craig
Congressman Mark Foley
The list can go on and on and as far back as recorded time. After all, Caesar had a wife and Cleopatra too.

Is it power?
Is it ego?
What’s worse—
Lying about it?
Denying it? (which will depend on what definition is most convenient)
Paying for it?
Breaking the law?
Getting caught?
All of it?

And where are the powerful women on this list?
Did Margaret Thatcher have a Lord or two on the side?
Did Madeline Albright cross the moral line?
Does Condeleeza Rice secretly send salacious emails?
Did Hill pay Bill back with an intern of her own?
Does Queen Elizabeth step out on Phillip when he’s up at Balmoral hunting something or other?

What’s the deal?

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posted by DeBerry and Grant at 1:28 PM 6 comments
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