Friday, October 31, 2008

Gotta Keep on Tryin’ now in Paperback

We just got back from Grand Haven, MI where we were recording the audio for What Doesn't Kill You -Jan '09 (more on that to come)--but we wanted to make sure you know that voting isn’t the only thing you can do on Tuesday November 4—that’s the day that the paperback edition of Gotta Keep on Tryin’ hits the shelves of your local bookstore and the catalogs of your favorite online bookseller.

So if you didn’t get your copy last January when the hardcover was released (if you did, we thank you), and you’re looking for something to do while you’re waiting for the returns to come in, we hope you check it out!

Also, keep in mind it’s a great holiday gift for all the readers on your shopping list—especially if you know they read Tryin’ to Sleep in the Bed You Made and haven’t read the sequel yet. If you have friends, sisters, mamas, cousins or aunties who haven’t read that one either—you can make it a “twofer” since they’re both in paperback. And if you’ve already read Gotta, then you know all about the infamous Tiffani Alexander and her stylish, elegant TiffiBags, which are available at —they’re perfect holiday gifts –especially with a book inside.

When you get a minute, check out the website ( for a peek at the cover of What Doesn’t Kill You (January ’09). Look for lots more from us about What Doesn’t Kill You (including a contest), as well as the latest movie news (we’ve got things to tell you, but we have to keep our lips sealed, for now), in the next few weeks.

Vote as if your life depended on it—‘cause it does.


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posted by DeBerry and Grant at 12:02 PM 0 comments

Friday, October 24, 2008

No Is Not an Option!

This is another message from Sherri James the producer of the film of our book Far From the Tree...

Many of you know from the previous blog that Jessica and I have begun fundraising for Far From the Tree. Prior to starting what I call the "no-is-not-an-option" fundraising cycle, we invested 4 1/2 months of our time into developing an organized production plan that will ultimately deliver a product that is technically superior, dramatically compelling and financially profitable. A curious by-product of the "no-is-not-an-option" fundraising cycle is that it makes one incredibly self-reflective.

This self-reflection has caused us to unearth the fundamental motives behind our desire to turn Far From the Tree into a movie. After all, when no is not an option, you need some strong fuel to keep going after you get the obligatory no's that inevitably come with any fundraising process. Some of what I discovered was pretty basic. I want to create good entertainment. I need to continue fulfilling my dream of being a movie producer through making my third feature film. And, I enjoy doing work that feels like play.

But one of the drivers I uncovered was that I care deeply about the way Black/African American women are represented in cinema. These images travel all over the world as statements about who we are. And, I feel compelled to take some responsibility for which images get pushed out through cinema.

Now, don't worry…I'm not going to get on another soapbox. But, I do want to share with you why Far From the Tree is such an important story for me. As a child, I went to the movies a lot and my favorite films were E.T., Star Wars and Big. The fantasy in those stories was captivating and I remember wishing I could live out some of the things that were being shown to me on screen. But, no matter how much I loved those movies, it never made sense to me that not even one of the characters in these really fun worlds looked like me.

Of course, at ages 7, 8 and 9, I had no way to articulate the intricacies of race, discrimination and prejudice. I just knew that something wasn't right.

I didn't revisit this feeling until I was out of film school. Today, one of my favorite movies is Stepmom, which starred Susan Sarandon and Julia Roberts. I saw this film shortly after graduating from film school. What struck me most about Stepmom was that, except for the cancer storyline, that movie could have been my story. And, I began to wonder, "Why couldn't a story like that succeed with African American women in those roles?" The thinking in the industry is that stories like that with African American characters won't find an audience. But, clearly those stories happen in our world because it had happened to me. So, why wasn't I seeing those stories show up in our storytelling? That bothered me. And, you know when something bothers you, that's the universe's way of calling on you to do something about it.

Cut to ten years later. I now have the talent, resources and expertise to take responsibility and deal with the things that bother me. Far From the Tree has given me the opportunity to positively contribute to the images of Black/African American womanhood. We love the Frazier women – they are real and highly relatable. We know these women. They are our mothers, our daughters, our sisters, our friends.

For me, this story must be told. No is not an option.


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posted by DeBerry and Grant at 2:21 PM 0 comments

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Save the Ta-Tas!

We saw a woman wearing a pink, “Save the Ta-Ta’s” t-shirt. Hadn’t ever seen it put like that, but it sure got our attention. We know breast cancer is scary, but closing our eyes, covering our ears and hiding under the bed does not prevent it. In the last year Robin Roberts has shared her journey with us. Yesterday on The View she put it succinctly, “Feel the fear. Walk through it anyway.” Christina Applegate has also been open about her battle with the disease. We even wrote about breast cancer in a young woman in Better Than I Know Myself. Not the most pleasant thing to think about, but the good news is that knowing is powerful.

On October 18th check out award winning actress Regina King in the Lifetime movie Living Proof. It’s about women dealing with their diagnosis and treatment, and doctors determined to find a cure. Regina’s mom sent us this trailer so we’re spreading the word!

We know mammograms are uncomfortable, but tell the truth—you’ve worn shoes that hurt worse. Donna is going for her annual squish next week—that’s a whole lotta meat between two plates of glass, but you get through it. So take care of your ta-tas. Your body will thank you.

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posted by DeBerry and Grant at 11:02 AM 2 comments

Saturday, October 04, 2008

We Can See Clearly Now

There is a point in any project we’ve done, where we look at it, or read it and we can sense—That’s it! All of the tinkering, tossing, turning, sweating and re-imagining have led us to the place where whatever dream we had when we started with a blank computer screen, is suddenly visible, tangible, real. That doesn’t mean we’re finished, and can kick back and congratulate ourselves on another completed caper. Usually, there is still a long march ‘til the end, but we can at least see where we’re headed and we know we’re going in the right direction.

We had that moment this week with the script for Tryin’ to Sleep in the Bed You Made—The Movie. Our screenwriter, Desha Dauchan, has been working diligently to get the screenplay to a reasonable length (because this cannot be a movie marathon), while keeping the heart and soul of Pat, Gayle, Marcus and Ramsey. This is a Kilimanjaro-sized task. To play up one scene, you have to remove another. To strengthen one character’s dialogue you have to gyp another. It was a constant struggle to find the balance, make the most with the least, make every second count. A page a minute—the whole movie opening to closing credits has to be under two hours. From a 400 page book! Aargh!

But this week, when we sat down to read the latest draft, we could both feel it. We could see Regina King as Gayle, in that maid’s uniform, cleaning up Pat’s hotel room, or looking up and seeing Ramsey for the first time, standing beside her car after her ‘marry me or else’ showdown with Marcus. It gave us both shivers. There are several actors we have been talking about for the major parts, and we could hear them saying the lines, imagine how they would be with each other as Pat and Marcus in the basement, sharing that kiss, or as Ramsey sweating to convince Bessie he’ll come up with the money. There is still tweaking ahead of us, but we’re there, ready to proceed to the next steps, and all four of us who make up 4 Colored Girls Productions (that includes our partners, Tyrha Lindsey and Tracey Kemble) are very excited.

So, while we’re getting the script copied, bound and ready to go, let us know who you see in the parts of Pat, Marcus and Ramsey. We have our choices in mind and have made phone calls to let them know the screenplay is coming (that just gave us a shiver, too), but we’d like to hear who you imagined when you read the book. Maybe we can reach out to them too.

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posted by DeBerry and Grant at 1:01 PM 3 comments

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Help Us Barack the Vote

We know that many of you are as committed as we to electing Senator Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States of America—because he is the right man for the job. We wanted to find something concrete to do, and the one thing the campaign can use, in addition to our votes, is the money to continue both the grassroots and media outreach necessary to get people to the voting booths on November 4th, because that’s what really matters.

So in conjunction with Brett Deutsch, the photographer ( who took a great picture of us with Senator Obama at the Barack on Broadway event last September (and we fully admit right here that this was HIS idea), we have arranged to send you an 8X10 copy of the photo that has made our mamas proud. It will be autographed by us—sorry, we don’t know Barack that well—yet. All for a campaign donation of $50.00.

It’s a pretty painless process. Visit our Barack Obama/Joe Biden page. Click the Donate button, make your contribution, email a copy of your receipt to us at along with your mailing address and we will send you your 8X10 glossy!

We truly appreciate the support you have shown us for the past 11 years. And we know that Barack appreciates what the country is doing to put him in the Oval Office. Thank you for helping us help Obama and please feel free to forward this to anyone you think might be interested.

And, if you are a supporter of the other team—we apologize in advance for this solicitation.

Barack the Vote!

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posted by DeBerry and Grant at 9:31 AM 0 comments
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