What’s Everybody Reading?

These days there’s nothing wrong with a little escapism into literature to ignore the real world. I made an inquiry on my Facebook page asking what people were reading and was amazed at the response. I picked up several suggestions for my reading list and have already read; “Wrapped In Rainbows The Life of Zora Neale Hurston” by Valerie Boyd and “Down The River Under The Sea” by Walter Mosley as a result and have started “Barracoon” by Zora Neale Hurston. These were all a change of pace from my normal reading and I’m glad others lead me to these.

If you’re reading something fascinating or just finished a book you want to share? Make a comment and let the rest of us know what’s on your reading list? Be sure to include those guilty pleasures, we won’t judge! Try not to anyway.

Starbucks To Close Over 8,000 Stores For A Day To Conduct “Racial Bias Education Training”

Starbucks just announced they will close over 8,000 stores to conduct “racial-bias education training” in reaction to the backlash they’ve received since a store manager called the police and had two black men arrested for trespassing at a Philadelphia location while waiting for a third man without yet ordering.

Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson flew from Seattle to Philadelphia and spent time “listening to the community” and personally apologizing to the two men before announcing what he called, “the first of several steps.” The training will take place in stores across the nation on May 29 for its 175,000 employees. The curriculum is being developed in conjunction with input from local and national experts including; former US Attorney General Eric Holder; Sherrilyn Ifill, President and Director-Counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund; Bryan Stevenson, founder and Executive Director of the Equal Justice Initiative; Heather McGhee, President of policy center Demos; and Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League.

Videos of the incident have gone viral, the store where it happened was temporarily closed and a boycott of Starbucks is being organized. The fate of the white female manager is still unclear. She left the job while an internal investigation continues but whether she quit or was suspended is uncertain. A protester carried a sign outside the store yesterday, “Is She Fired or Nah?”

The closing of the stores is a dramatic step in reaction to the protests. Rosalind Brewer, the company’s Chief Operating Officer and a black woman, said as the mother of a 23-year-old son, she found the cellphone videos “painful to watch.” In a video message, CEO Johnson said, “I will fix this!” Let’s hope he does.

Discover Tamika Newhouse: Shadow Warrior

“You Don’t Know My Story

You Don’t Know the Things That I’ve Come Through

You Cannot Imagine…”

It is only fitting that the first “Shadow Warrior” since moving to the AAMBC Journal would be Tamika Newhouse. Shadow Warriors recognizes those who are doing outstanding work in the community and have yet to receive the national acclaim that is on their way. Tamika is already nationally known as an entrepreneur; her Delphine Publications has published over 200 books and she personally has written 16 novels. She founded the African Americans on the Move Book Club (AAMBC) and the AAMBC Literary Awards which is the only entertainment award show for black writers. None of that has anything to do with her selection. You don’t know her story.

You probably could know her story because she’s always telling it, if you could only keep up. Her story is to take every setback and turn it into motivation. Every obstacle is a challenge to overcome. Negativity is alternately ignored or used as a motivation.

“Regardless of what they say; all that matters is what you say!”

But this isn’t a story of how she overcame great odds and became a success. It’s a story of how she makes sure to bring people with her along the way. Showing them how to get out of the hole because she’s already been there and knows the way.

“Find people who have the same focus, the same ambition, the same consistency as you and link arms with them and see what you can get done TOGETHER!”

Tamika was the baby of her family, the “odd one” who always ended up alone. She experienced teen pregnancy and endured the mental abuse from her peers, yet she still had a dream bigger than herself. She still graduated with her class and had embraced writing which allowed her to pursue her dream. Then her mother, Delphine, passed away. She turned that grief into motivation and completed her first novel which won her the “Author of the Year,” at the African-American Literary Awards. She dedicated her life to reflect who her mother was by launching Delphine Publications. She signed other authors and helped them achieve their dreams as well. You might look at it as simply business, but her authors also reflect her dream, and she pours into them as she would her own child.

“I remind myself that I am going to win, because as tough as things get and as many challenges as I have had to face in my life. I have never stopped believing in myself and my dream.”

Ten years later, you can barely keep up with Tamika. Her sixteenth novel, “Plain Jane 2,” is dropping shortly. She’s beginning a National Tour with, “The Queen Pens,” featuring Jessica N. Watkins, Shantoinette Richardson (Myss Shan), Shonda Devaughn, and herself. Queen Pens is Tamika’s concept. The “Queens” are not authors from Delphine Publications but fellow publishers with their own companies. She could see them as formidable competitors but instead views them as part of the creative community with whom she can work with instead of oppose.

She recently took a long overdue vacation which lasted all of 48 hours. We probably need to talk to Tamika about the definition of vacation. She says, “I may allow myself a week after the Awards.”

By the Awards she means the AAMBC Literary Awards to be held June 7–10, in Atlanta, GA. The Awards will feature a stop of the Queen Pens tour, live performances, an Urban Book Bash, celebrities, parties, book signings and much more.

Included in the events is CreativeCon, a free conference bringing emerging literary creatives together with educators and skilled professionals in publishing and film. It includes tips on branding, self-publishing, screenwriting, a pitch fest to a Hollywood panel, a Head Shot Party and several speakers including of course, Tamika Newhouse.

Tamika has immersed herself in the AAMBC Literary Awards, except for the several other projects she’s juggling. While doing all this, she’s bringing others along, helping them achieve their goals and reach their dreams.

“Creating platforms for black creatives has been my life’s focus simply because we have to push our own. We have been conditioned for far too long for subpar support. I want us to be seen for the real stars that we are.”

The AAMBC Literary Awards will come and go. Tamika will be off soon on a different project and may well let that one-week vacation slip until another time. What she won’t do is stop believing in her dream, finding other dreamers to help achieve theirs, provided they have the drive and will to achieve them. Her nickname is, “Bosslady” yet she’s as down to earth and accessible as anyone you’ll ever meet. Tamika is indeed a Shadow Warrior!

Shadow Warriors will be published monthly at its new home in the AAMBC Journal. We are always looking for nominees and welcome your input in the comments. Discover previous Shadow Warriors at: Shadow Warriors

Kelly Hurst: Shadow Warrior (Founder and Executive Director; Being Black At School)

Kelly Wickham Hurst makes some people nervous. All her life people have responded to her either by challenging her to reach her obvious potential or resenting her for exceeding their ability to control. As a youth, she was an athlete. Taller than her peers, she was faster than most, stronger than many and played every sport imaginable. Not only was she good, she didn’t mind telling others about her athletic prowess. She was a member of a neighborhood all girls football team. When a boy threw a rock at her sister’s face because he wasn’t allowed to play with them. The whole team chased him through the neighborhood to make him pay for what he did. Her sister came away with a scar near her eye. Kelly came away invigorated from having acted when someone “did something vile to a girl.”

She was almost sidetracked when she became a teen mother. People looked at her differently. Expectations diminished, she had “ruined her life.” Kelly shrunk a little metaphorically. She no longer bragged of accomplishments, she still had goals but kept them to herself. Kelly finished college, and more or less stumbled into her future career.

She didn’t originally want to be a teacher. She was an English literature major and one day drove a friend to a student teaching position. She decided that day what she wanted to do with all her knowledge was “give it back to children.”

It took her a while to begin speaking up in faculty meetings and offering opinions. Early on she was recognized as “brilliant.” A tiny bit of reinforcement brought back the bravery and confidence she had as a girl, withdrawn no more. She became known as, “that opinionated teacher,” and hasn’t held back since.

A district representative asked teachers if they wanted to pursue administration and earn a Master’s degree. Kelly raised her hand. During her second year, she responded to a question as to “why she wanted to be a principal” in this manner. “Leadership found me,” and she “wasn’t going to shy away from it any longer.” She had started down a path that was going to make some people nervous.

Kelly moved into administration in a desire to help more children than she could in the classroom. She also saw how students, particularly those of color were treated by administrators and other teachers. She witnessed the disparity of suspensions and expulsions. The inequitable treatment and offering of resources. She sat on committees, raised her voice, and made people uncomfortable.

Her personnel record was spotless. There were never any formal reprimands. When she made people nervous by pointing out the systemic disparities. They never reprimanded her. They moved her instead, more than once to hopefully still her voice. Instead of quieting her, she got louder as she began to attain a significant online presence. She wrote about education, life, and race. It was when she wrote about race she made some people most uncomfortable.

There were small victories. One year her position was scheduled to be cut and she was told she’d be moved. Magically, her position was not cut and she remained at the school. A year later she learned that parents of color stormed the administration center and demanded she be allowed to remain for their kids. Her blog, Mocha Mommacontinued to grow and in 2014 she won the Iris Award for “Most Thought Provoking Content.” She started getting speaking engagements. In 2015, she received the Inspire Award given by students in a 4-H Program. Her following grew, yet in her homeland of Springfield, IL. The prophet was without honor.

Photo: 5 minutesformom.com

By 2016, as a Guidance Dean at a technology magnet school. She ran the school’s Problem Solving Team that brainstormed on how to keep kids from falling through the cracks. She had served on the Curriculum Council and served on the Minority Concerns Council. She attended a Truancy Review Board meeting monthly where she heard the individual cases and couldn’t help but notice the disparate treatment of minority kids. The District sought her input which was duly documented, yet rarely listened. Springfield had been operating under a consent decree regarding their past policies and was very interested in the appearance of being responsive to minority communities. It seemed the appearance alone was sufficient.

As the school year 2016–17 approached. Kelly was being sent to a new position. One where she would have less interaction with students which was her whole reason for choosing her career to begin with. The monetary incentives for staying were high. The frustrations of speaking but not being heard were greater. Newly married, the impact of a significant financial hit made it a family decision. Backed by the knowledge they would survive the transition and she had their full support; she made plans.

Over the years as an educator and blogger with national renown. She had accumulated friends who backed her, none including Kelly herself the exact direction her new venture would take. Her Board Members include Luvvie Ajayi — New York Times Best Selling Author, Denene Milner — New York Times Best Selling Author, Kristen West Savali — Assoc. Editor. Social Justice. Culture. Education. The Root, Dr. Camika Royal — Co-Director, Center for Innovation in Urban Education, Loyola University Maryland, Jose Luis Vilson — Teacher, Author, Activist, and other big hitters. She resigned from her position with the school system on faith without an announced plan. When she resurfaced, she came out with Being Black At School!

Photo: beingblackatschool.org

Being Black at School has huge goals. They strive to, “utilize data and policy analysis to foster a movement for making schools safer and more equitable for black students.” Their approach is “data driven, grass-roots focused, and concentrated at all the levels of decision making. In the community, in the classroom, and in the statehouse.” Their movement seeks to:

  1. Advocate for equitable schools
  2. Promote learning environments and professional development that embraces multiculturalism
  3. Protect Black students from racially charged discipline measures
  4. Challenge government policies to accommodate the diversity of American classrooms

For 23 years she watched Black students and other students of colors being marginalized in a public school environment. Instead of being held down and having her voice smothered. Kelly Wickham Hurst stepped up, stepped out on faith, and followed her dream of giving back to children.

Kelly Wickham Hurst is a true Shadow Warrior although I suspect she won’t remain in the shadows much longer. Being Black at School now has a growing staff and is preparing to announce the first several city chapters of Being Black at School. 26 communities responded to their initial appeal. You can support BBAS by Staying In The Know ,or Joining The Movement, and of course you can Donate.

Kelly has a new granddaughter nicknamed “Mugsy” that has stolen her heart. Her Facebook page is filled with Mugsy pictures, reports, and tales of visits. While there might be some inclination to slow down and spend more time with family. Mugsy is yet another reason that Being Black at School must succeed. Kelly was always driven to help children. Now it’s become just a bit more personal.

Photo: pininterest.com

Kelly is still making some people nervous. She addresses things head on they’d rather not talk about. She’s upsetting to comfort zones and demands change. The withdrawn girl begat the opinionated teacher that begat the confident administrator that begat the Founder and Executive Director of Being Black at School. Kelly Wickham Hurst… Shadow Warrior.

Originally published March 7, 2017

“Shadow Warriors” Moves to AAMBC Journal

On January 7, 2017 a new series called, “Shadow Warriors” was launched by William Spivey on his Enigma In Black blog. The goal was to highlight individuals and groups that were doing great things in the community that might not yet have gotten the national recognition they deserve. After a full year and having saluted some fantastic honorees. Shadow Warriors is moving to the AAMBC Journal where it will continue to honor those who are putting in serious work, whether you know who they are or not.

William Spivey said, “The move to the AAMBC Journal will give additional exposure to the “Warriors” which is the goal after all. I’ve been writing for the Journal since it’s inception and found it a natural platform for me and a lot of what I write about. The AAMBC Journal is hosted by Medium and articles tend to get noticed by additional sites. It’s a perfect situation and fits in with my overall goal to have my voice heard and make a difference.”

The first Shadow Warrior published by the AAMBC Journal will appear on March 7th and approximately each month afterward. Please feel free to submit any suggestions for honoree’s in the comments section or by email at spiveywilliamf@gmail.com.

William Spivey is a staff writer for the AAMBC Journal and a regular contributor to the Inner-City News where he writes about all manner of things socially relevant. He also blogs as “Enigma in Black” where he explores poetry, religion, and politics. He is the founder of the Facebook pages Average Citizen Forum, Enigma in Black, and “Strong Beginnings.”

Michelle Obama To Release, “Becoming” on November 13, 2018

In March of 2017, former President Barack Obama and former First Lady Michelle Obama announced a joint book deal to release both their memoirs through Penguin Random House in a deal reportedly valued at $65 million. The former President might have done well to have a joint agreement including Michelle because there may be more interest in her story than the first black man to serve as President of the United States. The title and release date has now been declared for Michelle’s book, “Becoming,” to be released worldwide, published simultaneously in 24 languages, on November 13, 2018.

Her memoir will share her experiences from growing up on Chicago’s South Side, being a mother of two, and serving as America’s first black First Lady. Michelle said, “Writing ‘Becoming’ has been a deeply personal experience. It has allowed me, for the very first time, the space to honestly reflect on the unexpected trajectory of my life. In this book, I talk about my roots and how a little girl from the South Side of Chicago found her voice and developed the strength to use it to empower others. I hope my journey inspires readers to find the courage to become whoever they aspire to be. I can’t wait to share my story.”

Michelle once famously said at the Democratic National Convention, “When they go low, we go high.” During campaigns with her husband and her two terms as First Lady. Michelle faced vicious and racist attacks but instead of succumbing, she blossomed. She was also the first First Lady since Lady Bird Johnson, not to be chosen as the Gallup Poll, “Most Admired Woman.” Her millions of fans across the world were at least slightly offset by those who despised her presence and color in the White House.

That Michelle LaVaughn Robinson Obama has an amazing story to tell is a given. She likely will continue to “go high,” but here’s wishing she goes low once or twice in describing those who deserve it.

Why HBCUs Are Like Wakanda, And Why We Need To Fight For Them!

Even more important than the fictional Wakanda sitting on a mountain of Vibranium, and having technology surpassing the rest of the world. It was a safe haven, where colonialism had taken no toll. Blackness was considered a gift and not a curse. Education was valued and excellence the norm. I submit that in America, Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) have served that purpose when the fictional Wakanda would not do.

I came to Fisk University from Minneapolis, MN where the high school I attended and the neighborhood I lived in were about 15% black. I crossed back and forth, in and out of worlds between my black church, white school, black family, white and black friends, being taught European history with the exception of one week when Toussaint L’Ouverture was taught every year along with singing the first two verses of the Negro National Anthem.

When I went off to Fisk and my mother and I landed in Nashville, we ate at a restaurant where the white waitress greeted us with what seemed the most exaggerated Southern accent I’ve ever heard, “Can I help, y’all?” That waitress was the last white person I saw for a month save for two white students at Fisk (hey Shawn and Snow) and several professors.

While Fisk was in the heart of the black community. It was still only a few miles from downtown in one direction and the younger Vanderbilt University in another. A mile down a different road was Tennessee State University which even then was fighting to save its identity and being forced to merge with a predominantly white institution, another State school.

At Fisk, my experience was being duplicated at more than a hundred other institutions in the nation. I was able to discover my identity rather than constantly adapting to multiple environments. Black history was expanded to include the Harlem Renaissance and Reconstruction and more than one black hero was allowed. We learned not only the politics of Martin but of Malcolm as well, and about the Freedom Riders including Fiskites Diane Nash and John Lewis. I needed only walk a block to buy a bean pie from a Muslim restaurant.

Because I played basketball, I was able to visit dozens of other HBCU campuses; Morehouse, Clark, Morris Brown, Alabama State, Miles, FAMU, Knoxville College, Lane, Stillman, Talladega, and Savannah State among others. They were all magnificent in their own ways and even with rivals, there was a commonality we understood and acknowledged. Some of those schools are no longer with us and others barely surviving.

When I came to Fisk at age 17, still in search of who I was. Many around me had no such uncertainty. They came knowing they wanted to be doctors, dentists, lawyers, teachers, musical artists, and scientists. They and I were given the support and encouragement to achieve our dreams and the respite from having to deal with racial identity on a daily basis. A disproportionate number of our leaders come from HBCUs which is not by accident but by design

The other benefit of attending an HBCU is that when you leave, there is a community of elders throughout the country, still extending a helping hand because you have had that same tribal experience. In the movie, one Wakandan could recognize another by exposing the underside of their lip. Fellow HBCU members recognize each other through their common experiences and histories. A loyalty exists that if you never attended an HBCU, you just wouldn’t understand. I was saying, “Fisk Forever,” long before I heard, “Wakanda Forever,” in the Black Panther movie. Because of my HBCU experience, I could identify with its meaning.

With Wakanda and its valuable resources now exposed to the world, it will come under attack from other nations and other forces in its fictional universe. HBCUs are under a real attack from a President and administration that wishes them ill, developers who want their land, and people who fail to understand the importance and relevance of HBCUs. We must fight for their continued existence in the same manner as Wakandans would fight for their nation. We need HBCUs now, more than ever before. Whatever your weapon be whether giving financially, volunteering, votes, or making your voice heard when the time comes. Fight for your HBCUs as if your children’s future depends on it. Their future just might.

Black Panther Movie Review: The Biggest, Bestest, Baddest, and Blackest Movie Ever!

My son saw the Black Panther movie at a special showing his organization put on, the night before the nationwide opening on February 16th which is when I went. I babysat his two children while he and his wife attended, garbed in African attire as was everyone else at the sold out showing. When he returned, he refused to tell me anything about the film, knowing I’d be seeing it the next morning. He described the spectacle and experience of the event. The only word he used to describe the movie itself was, “awesome!”

Now my son knows his superheroes and the entire Marvel Universe. He grew up reading the comics, watching the cartoons, discussing them with his father who had read the comics in his youth. He doesn’t throw out the phrase “awesome” lightly. He could and has dissected a movie, describing how it strayed from the original characterizations and where the filmmaker sold out for a joke or took a short cut to achieve an end. We’ve disagreed on movies before but not this time, other than “awesome” vastly understates the magnificence of this film and its potential for transforming the way people look at films forever. The film was all that I hoped for, more in fact. It was more than I ever imagined it could be. This was the best movie I’ve ever seen and had the later shows not already been sold out, I’d have watched it again on the spot.

Let me start by saying what the movie is not. It isn’t a film whose primary purpose is to advance the overall agenda of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) which has been building towards the Avengers: Infinity War for the last ten years. The movie is completely stand alone and while it references the death of Wakanda’s King T’Chaka which took place in Captain America: Civil War. It was only referred to in the context of this film and wasn’t promoting an outside agenda.

It was not apologetic for Africa, for blackness, and in no way suggested that Wakanda was inferior to any nation in the world. It highlighted the greatness of Wakanda, and while the moral struggles were a huge theme in the film. There were heroes throughout the film, black heroes not imbued with super powers who did the right thing when required, willing to sacrifice themselves for a greater cause. And it gave as much credit to #BlackGirlMagic as anything I’ve ever seen. None of the women had super powers yet they risked all for what they believed in. Your daughters will leave the theatre wanting to be like them!

The film was as African a thing as can be found outside of Africa itself. While a few scenes were set in London, South Korea, and Oakland, CA. Even those scenes were about Africa. Of the two major white characters, one disappeared in the middle of the film and the other was introduced as a “colonizer.” The settings were amazing, I’ve never seen a superhero film that I thought of in terms of Academy Awards other than those related to technology, and yet I can see this nominated for Best Picture, Best Soundtrack, Best and Supporting Actors, and more. There were a couple times I found tears rolling down my face because the majesty of a continent and its people were being portrayed as never before.

I had some fears before seeing the film that we were being set up for watching the brilliance of Wakanda and all it represents to those who have never heard Africa spoken of in other than negative terms; demolished in the next Marvel movie in less than three months. The Avengers: Infinity War film comes out May 4th and may well destroy the very nation which took my entire lifetime to come to fruition. Maybe it’s just too much for the existing power structure to allow for the greatest country in the world to be a small nation in Africa instead of the United States? For the next 76 days, Wakanda represents the best of what Earth has to offer. Let’s hope it survives. Now it’s time to have a conversation with my son that’s been a lifetime in coming.


Black Panther: Are We Being Set Up For The Destruction Of Wakanda? (Spoilers)

As the opening of the Black Panther movie arrives amidst special showings with red carpets, elaborate African attire, and massive ticket sales. I issue a warning; what Disney and Marvel Studios giveth, they can take away.

As essential as the allure of the character the Black Panther is, the Kingdom of Wakanda, the fictional African city from which he hails, is just as meaningful to many of those attending. Wakanda is a hidden African city, never conquered by Europeans, with the world’s only source of Vibranium and more technologically advanced that the rest of the world. It is alleged the source of the Vibranium is a meteor strike and that the meteor contained the Soul Gem, one of the Infinity Stones integral to the plot of Avengers: Infinity War coming out in May 4, 2018.

While we are basking in the glory of Wakanda in the Black Panther film, imagining what could have been had it not been for the raping of the continent by those desiring its resources. The future of Wakanda may be bleak when Avengers: Infinity War villain Thanos, come to collect the Soul Gem, despite all the heroes assembled to stop him.

One constant in the Avengers movies to date is that the cities in which they’v done battle do not fare well. New York City was greatly damaged, and Sokovia was destroyed when dropped from the sky. In the most recent Thor movie, Asgard, home of the Norse gods was obliterated at a whim of the director or a writer’s plot twist. We must remember that the fate of Wakanda is being determined by Disney and Marvel Studios and not by the people lining up to celebrate Wakanda and its majesty. It will be profits and not pride that determine the fate of Wakanda.

Surely, the character will survive and go on to star in Infinity Wars part II, and the Black Panther sequels. But what of Wakanda? Will it suffer the fate of Asgard and Sokovia? Will it’s legacy have lasted from February 16th to May 4th, to see Thanos destroy what took generations to produce. In Avengers: Infinity War, the fate of the universe is at stake. There will be casualties. Pray Wakanda won’t be among them.

Nate Parker Seeks A Way Forward, Mo’Nique… Not So Much

In August of 2016, Nate Parker was sitting on top of the world. The film project he co-produced, co-wrote, directed, and starred in, “Birth of a Nation,” had been a huge hit at the Sundance Film Festival, being purchased for a record amount. It was also a front-runner for the Oscar Awards, particularly in lieu of the #OscarsSoWhite campaign since the 2016 Oscar Awards which were almost a total whiteout in all the major categories.

Mo’Nique… won an Oscar for her performance in “Precious” in 2010, expecting it would propel her into perpetual starring roles and the kind of career that comes with the lead-in, “Oscar Winning Actress, Mo’Nique!”

For Nate Parker, news of a rape allegation from his college days at Penn State for which he stood trial and was found not-guilty, derailed all his hopes. Birth of a Nation ended up getting zero Oscar nominations and did poorly at the box office despite all the hype that preceded the revival of rape allegations. Nat himself almost disappeared from sight, publicly denounced by one of his co-stars, Gabrielle Union, who had been a victim of rape years earlier.

Mo’Nique, found herself not getting any of the types of roles she expected, not understanding why, until she got a call from director Lee Daniels informing her, “Mo’Nique, you’ve been blackballed.”

To be certain, despite the fact that Nate Parker was found, “Not Guilty.” He was not innocent. At best, the following was true of Parker:

1. Parker had sex with the woman the day before

2. Parker invited “Birth of a Nation” writing partner Jean Celestin and another man (who declined) to participate in a sex act with the woman whose level of impairment is in dispute.

3. After being charged, Parker and Celestin publicly named the alleged victim.

4. For years afterward, Parker and Celestin harassed the alleged victim.

5. The woman committed suicide in 2012 at the age of 30.

For all practical purposes Parker disappeared for almost two years but has now found what he hopes to be the road back.

Monique won her Oscar in 2010. Since then she’s appeared in films you’ve likely never heard of; Steppin: The Movie, Interwoven, and Almost Christmas. Among reasons Monique was given for being blackballed was that she didn’t promote “Precious” during Awards Season. She refused to fly to Cannes, France to do Sundance, she didn’t do interviews, she was difficult, making unreasonable demands. In response to being blackballed, she blasted Lee Daniels, Oprah, Tyler Perry, and she was just getting started. One might reasonably consider whether sexism and/or racism was involved in her being blacklisted. One might also wonder if she was stepping into the role of the angry black woman?

Nate Parker is coming back with a new project, “Baselines,” about a Los Angeles black family trying to protect a superstar high school basketball player with NBA potential from all the pitfalls surrounding him. Parker will be writing and directing the short-form digital series in hopes it will get picked up by a major network. He is currently casting the project and looks to begin filming this week.

Mo’Nique is still mad. She recently, unsuccessfully, called for a boycott of Netflix, claiming they lowballed her in an offer on a project, especially when compared to offers made to Amy Schumer, Chris Rock, and Dave Chappelle. When Schumer learned of Rock’s and Chappelle’s pay, she was able to negotiate an increase for herself. When Mo’nique attempted the same, Netflix said, “No.”

The approaches in their attempted comebacks is dramatically different. Parker still may find resistance from the #MeToo movement which may reject any attempt to return. Mo’Nique doesn’t appear to have much of a strategy other than getting even. Some suggest she’s being mismanaged by husband, Sidney Hicks. She might find her way forward would be easier emulating Parker. Find a project, promote it, let your talent shine through.

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