Tuesday, February 26, 2008

DID DID DID HE? DIDDDY THAT IS...

So...

Did you watch A Raisin in the Sun on NBC last night? And if you did what did you think of Diddy's performance as Walter? Did he pull it off? Can he act? Think there's an Oscar in his future or should he stick to ---uh-- the rest of the stuff he does?

Just curious--since years ago one of the "big Hollywood studios" suggested him for the role of Marcus in Tryin' to Sleep in the Bed You Made...

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posted by DeBerry and Grant at 9:21 AM 7 comments links to this post

Monday, February 25, 2008

Tavis vs Barack

There’s lots of chatter, huffing and puffing about Tavis Smiley’s “State of the Black Union” which happened this weekend in New Orleans. But the conversation isn’t so much about the SOTBU, as it is about Barack Obama’s absence from the Louisiana summit—and the fact that he was absent last year as well.

Seems to us that the timing continues to be an unfortunate Catch 22. Last year Obama was announcing his intention to run for the Presidency of the United States. This year he is trying to keep his unprecedented momentum, “Fired up and ready to go!” and at the moment, that requires his attention to be squarely on and in Ohio and Texas.

Does Barack Obama’s absence from the opportunity to talk about our problems mean that he’s not black? Does it discount or diminish in some way his blackness? Is that what Tavis is implying? Doesn’t doing something positive (like having the most successful Presidential campaign ever conducted by an African American) weigh a little more heavily than talking about doing something? Won’t Obama, should he win in November, be the American president, not just the President of black America to the exclusion of others?

Granted, we are biased and as you have seen from time to time on this page, unapologetically pro-Obama—but Melissa Harris-Lacewell asked some pointed questions in an article on TheRoot.com last week—


Who Died and Made Tavis King?
Does Tavis realize that Obama is trying to win an election?
By Melissa Harris-Lacewell
TheRoot.com
Updated: 10:42 AM ET Feb 15, 2008
Who put Tavis Smiley in charge?
Over the past two months African Americans have emerged as equal partners in a multi-racial, intergenerational, bipartisan, national coalition led by the most exciting political candidate of the past four decades, who also happens to be the first viable African-American presidential possibility in our history. So why is Tavis Smiley throwing a temper tantrum?
He is mad because Obama has not promised to attend Smiley's "State of the Black Union" next week in New Orleans. At last year's SOTBU Al Sharpton, Cornel West and others joined Tavis is roundly criticizing Obama for not attending. Where was Barack that weekend? Oh yeah, he was announcing his bid for the U.S. presidency. This year, Obama is busy trying to win Texas, which has emerged as the firewall state for the Hillary Clinton campaign. Obama wins Texas; Hillary goes home. But Tavis & Co. think Obama should spend precious hours chatting with them about their agenda?
(Jimi Izrael wondered the same thing about him and the other Popes of Blackness.) Let me be clear: I respect the importance of the SOTBU. Tavis performs an essential public service by creating and reproducing a critical black counter-public through this event. The event is decidedly democratic because it is open to a true variety of black voices. Every year it showcases black intellect, commitment and ideological diversity. All this is great, but it doesn't make Tavis the gatekeeper. It certainly doesn't give him the right to act as King-Maker, or in this case Queen-Maker.
Tavis and his guests have every right to criticize Obama if they have substantive disagreements with his policy, his approach to politics or his viability as a general election candidate. They do not have a right to create a false, racial litmus test. All these black leaders who spent the year telling us that Obama is not old enough, not black enough and not angry enough to earn African American votes must have noticed that Obama can deliver the black vote to himself, by himself, with little help from these self-proclaimed racial power brokers.
I can't quite figure out what motivates Tavis. At least I understand the old guard Civil Rights leaders. They are genuinely unwilling to cede power, believing that they have an authenticity claim based on their proximity to Martin Luther King, Jr. I also understand the frightened Democratic insiders who rely on the remnants of the Clinton machine for their bread and butter. But Tavis is not in either category. He is a part of a new generation of journalists who have carved out their own constituency. I am actually surprised to see Smiley join a pile-on led by his former boss Bob Johnson, who tried to silence him with such an ungracious termination a decade ago.
Maybe Tavis legitimately worries that the policy issues of black America will be lost in the excitement of the multiracial coalition. That is fair. But I wonder why Tavis does not trust us to vote in our own interests. Obama won the votes of the people of Louisiana last week. He stood at Katrina's ground-zero while Hillary blew off the state, assuming she couldn't win it. Now Tavis wants to act as a racial super-delegate by claiming he knows what the people need better than the voters.
Maybe Tavis is just jealous. Maybe it isn't deep at all, just a replay of the old adage about crabs in a barrel.
I do think that Obama should attend the State of the Black Union. I agree with CNN's Roland Martin (which is rare) that Michelle should go. She should listen to concerns, answer questions from the audience and take seriously the substantive concerns raised there. Barack should be in Texas. I don't think anybody in the room will claim that Michelle is not a good enough surrogate for Barack. If Hillary can claim Bill's presidency as her experience, I am pretty sure Michelle can talk to Tavis on the campaign's behalf.
I usually watch this event every year. It is fun, enlightening and inspiring. This year I will have to TiVo it. Why? Because I will be phoning Texas voters to remind them to head out to the polls on March 4.
Melissa Harris-Lacewell is is associate professor of politics and African American studies at Princeton University.

URL: http://www.theroot.com/id/44840

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posted by DeBerry and Grant at 10:29 AM 2 comments links to this post

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Book Tour Part 2: Scenes from Southern California

At Eso Won Books in LA

Tabahani Book Circle Brunch at The Grand in Long Beach

More at Eso Won

At Borders in Torrance


At Eso Won

Signing and talking after our reading at Eso Won

Answering two questions at the same time at Borders!

Making their very own Ell Crawford dolls at the Tabahani Book Circle Brunch


With the members of Tabahani Book Circle--now these women put on a GREAT event!

Showing off their Ell creations
Virginia got in the act with her own Ell (Donna took the pic)
More dollmakers!




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posted by DeBerry and Grant at 9:18 AM 0 comments links to this post

Monday, February 18, 2008

BOOK SOUP

Happy President’s Day to all who are enjoying an extra day of rest...or shopping!

You know how you make soup from lots of good stuff that’s leftover in the refrigerator. We do. Soup is a major food group, especially when we’re writing. Well, we’ve got a bunch of juicy tidbits to share, while you have a few extras moments to check ‘em out, so here goes :

First, thanks to Connie Briscoe who has included us among her interviewees at
Connie Briscoe Presents — Page One –our Q&A is posted now.


And in honor of Black History Month, some of your favorite authors are being featured on two websites:

www.Apooo.org
“29 Days of Wit, Wisdom and Perspective”
During the month of February, join us as each day we will spotlight a different author and recognize their contribution to African American Literature.

www.EDC-Creations.com Celebrating African-American History- It's Authors, Poets, and Leaders - Welcome
SLS Black History Month Online Book Fair

“Vision Driven by Some Higher Power”
February 1-29, 2008
Event entirely ONLINE
In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.Martin Luther King
Get Started with the Book Fair by clicking this linkhttp://edc1creations.squarespace.com/how-online-book-fair-worksNightly Panel

Discussions with Featured AuthorsBlack Authors Network Internet Radiohttp://www.blogtalkradio.com/Black-Author-NetworkListener dial-in number (646) 200-0402Chat live in the BAN Black Author Network BlogTalk Chat room

And our friend Eisa’s Blog, http://eisaulen.com/blog/ features two posts about writing awards from Go On Girl! Book Club—

They are sponsoring a fiction competition for unpublished writers with a hefty $500 prize. The postmark deadline is March 15, 2008. The other award is a $500 scholarship for an aspiring writer. Application details are on the blog. Sounds like a great opportunity!

Go On Girl! Book Club was founded in 1990 and now has 30 chapters around the country. We were fortunate enough to receive their New Author of the Year award for Tryin’ to Sleep in the Bed You Made in 1998.

OK—enough for now. We don’t want to take up the whole day. Later in the week we’ll share another bowl full—more photos from book tour, and more items of interest.
By the way, thanks for all of you who have watched our video on YouTube ( http://youtube.com/watch?v=W7zB01MdqEE)—we have almost a thousand views!!! Please tell all your friends to take a peek there, on deberryandgrant.com or bookvideos.tv. If you haven’t had a chance, and you find yourself with a spare 2 minutes and 21 seconds, please give us a peek—it’s a quickie look at where we write and how.

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posted by DeBerry and Grant at 12:56 PM 0 comments links to this post

Thursday, February 14, 2008

READIN' & WRITIN' : WHO? WHAT? AND WHY?

As we traveled on book tour we always mentioned that if there are authors you love, you need to support them or you won’t find them on the shelves any longer. Readers are generally horrified to find that we did not have an easy time finding a publisher—either back when Tryin’ to Sleep in the Bed You Made was published, or eleven years later for the sequel. We’ve even wondered whether Tryin’ or any of our other books would be published now at all, given the current climate. This always led to the hot topic—the prevalence of “street lit” and erotica in African-American fiction. Whether we’re talking with book clubs or solo readers—even booksellers—we hear concern about the direction of fiction written by and about Black folks. Where are the “good” books? they ask.

In an article in thedailyvoice.com written by Linda Villarosa (see excerpt and link below) discussing the formation of ringShout, “a group dedicated to "recognizing, reclaiming and celebrating literary fiction and non fiction by black writers," she hits upon the difficulty of defining “good”. And for us the even word “literary” sets off alarm bells, since we have been dissed and dismissed, more than a time or two by “literary” writers.

With any form of media—television, movies, music, the written word—the argument can be made that people buy what they want to consume. Does that mean that by and large readers are happy with the available offerings? Are they buying erotica and street lit because it’s readily available and fits in the budget? Because it’s an exciting escape from “real life”? Because it is telling some truth about “us” that is not being spoken elsewhere?
So we ask are you satisfied with the Black fiction you find on the shelves now? If not, what do you want to see more of?

Bookz in da Hood? by LINDA VILLAROSA

Posted February 12, 2008 1:00 PM

Novels like "Making Him Want It," "Crackhead," "Freak in the Sheets" and "Nasty Girls," are hip-checking literary superstars like Toni Morrison off the shelves. Other authors never make it into print, squeezed out by dirty girls (and boys) like Zane, Nikki Turner, Karrine Steffans and their lower rent offspring.

For more on author and journalist Linda Villarosa, go to http://lindavillarosa.com

A new group offers an alternative to "street lit."

A few weeks ago, publishing's Talented Tenth gathered at Random House to celebrate the launch of ringShout, a group dedicated to "recognizing, reclaiming and celebrating literary fiction and non fiction by black writers." The organization's founders--authors Martha Southgate, Eisa Nefertari Ulen and Bridgett Davis; Cave Canem 's Alison Myers and Random House editor Chris Jackson--call ringShout "a place for black literature."

But even as the night sparkled with writers, editors, booksellers and other black literati, a 10,000 pound elephant sat squarely in the center of the room: ghetto fiction, street lit or as one writer has called it "ho for dough books." --- (To read the rest of the article please visit http://thedailyvoice.com/voice/2008/02/bookz-in-da-hood-000079.php )

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posted by DeBerry and Grant at 11:29 AM 2 comments links to this post

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

US on YOUTUBE

Do book/author videos matter? Do they affect your decision to buy/read a particular author?

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posted by DeBerry and Grant at 10:45 AM 0 comments links to this post

Monday, February 11, 2008

Book Tour Oakland-San Francisco Style!

We're cheating today and posting pictures from the Oakland-San Francisco leg of our book tour. We'll post more photos tomorrow! And remember to check us out on YOUTUBE.
http://youtube.com/watch?v=W7zB01MdqEE


Our quirky hotel room in San Francisco. We loved it!!!!








Young readers hanging out at the historic Marcus Books in Oakland.


Donna doing email in our hotel while we were in San Francisco


We honored to be the special guests for the 10th anniversary the Marcus Book Club.

Showing TiffiBags which will be available on our website February 15. (If you read Gotta Keep on Tryin', you know what a TiffiBag is!!)


V&D with Blanche Richardson owner of Marcus Books Oakland, a family business for 48 years. (There's a store in San Francisco too.)


















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posted by DeBerry and Grant at 1:15 PM 1 comments links to this post

Thursday, February 07, 2008

WE’RE ON YOUTUBE!!!

We have arrived in the video village. Right after our deadline for the next book and before we hit the road, or the Tarmac as the case may be, to promote Gotta Keep on Tryin’, we spent a few hours with a videographer—graciously sent by our publisher, Touchstone/Simon&Schuster—who interviewed us in our “work environment” —which is usually the jumbled office at Virginia’s place. We cleaned up the lunch crumbs and a lot of the clutter for the occasion. We’re usually surrounded by papers, books, magazines, empty plates, soda cans, coffee cups—you get the picture. And we never look this pulled together on a serious work day—makeup, dangly earrings—nope, doesn’t happen. But that is the computer—complete with vintage monitor. OK, it’s really just old. The hard drive it sits on is about two hard drives ago—maybe three. Now it’s just there as a monitor stand. We’ve got some catching up to do technologically, but it still computes faster than we can think.

AND now we’re on YouTube!!!! (and SimonSays.com and we’re also working to get the video on our website, blog, MySpace page etc.) It’s a little freaky. We were just talking about how once a year—often at Christmas time—our families would set up the 8mm and the slide projector so everybody could look at old family movies and photos. Now we’re online and a whole lot more than our families can watch.

We were also on TV in Atlanta and have included that link too!

So take a look-let us know what you think!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Click here: YouTube - Gotta Keep on Tryin'


Click here: MyFox Atlanta DeBerry, Grant Return with Gotta Keep on Tryin

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posted by DeBerry and Grant at 11:53 AM 0 comments links to this post

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

VOTE: TWENTY FOUR STATES

TWENTY FOUR STATES:

Both parties: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Utah,
Democrats only: Idaho, Kansas, New Mexico
Republicans only: Montana, West Virginia

If you live in one of these states, today is the day for your primary or caucus. We’ve often heard people say primaries are not important—they wait for the general election to vote. Well, IT IS IMPORTANT. The primaries allow each of us to have a say in who will ultimately be the candidates in the general election. You can talk all you want, but if it don’t make time to get in that booth and vote, NOBODY WILL HEAR YOU.

You won’t melt in the rain. You won’t freeze. We manage to get to work or school in the snow or when we're tired or in a bad mood, or jammed for time or...you get the picture. So MAKE the time to get out and vote.

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posted by DeBerry and Grant at 9:45 AM 0 comments links to this post

Monday, February 04, 2008

We’re Baaaaaack!

. . .And we’re whupped. Seriously. Book tour is no joke. And it’s definitely not for sissies. It is in fact, a lot like the movie Groundhog Day—in different cities.

Typical 24hour Tour Day:

4:30 alarm for 7AM flight.
9AM meet your escort at baggage claim
9:30 AM Drive by stock signing
10:00 AM Drive by stock signing
10:30 AM Drive by stock signing
Munch on granola bar
11:00 AM Newspaper interview (after checking teeth for telltale leftover granola bits)
11:30 AM arrival for reading /signing event (and a bathroom yea!!)
12:00-2PM Bookstore signing event
2:30 PM Drive by stock signing on way to hotel check in
3:00 PM Hotel check in
3:15-4:30PM unpack, brush teeth, freshen up, check email, return calls
4:45PM Newspaper interview
5:30PM Drive by stock signing on way to evening book signing event
6:00PM Another drive by stock signing on way to evening signing.
Munch on string cheese and another granola bar
6:45 arrival for reading/signing event (and a bathroom yea!!)
7:00-9:00 Reading/Signing
9:30 depart event
10:00 back to hotel, or dinner with friends and/or family who came to see you. Hmmmm? Sleep or Eat? What a choice.
12:00 midnight back in hotel, pack for morning departure right after
4:30 AM alarm for a 5AM radio phone interview

But we had a BALL! Thank you for coming out to see us--it made crowded, uncomfortable planes, Whoppers for breakfast and sleep deprivation all worth it.

We’ll be back later in the week with pictures and stories to share.

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posted by DeBerry and Grant at 1:08 PM 0 comments links to this post

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