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Charleston Books & Brews Celebrates Black Literature With For The Culture Book Club

CHARLESTON CHRONICLE — Latisha Bradley is sharing her love of books with the Lowcountry.

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By Damion Smalls

Latisha Bradley is sharing her love of books with the Lowcountry through her nascent creation Charleston Books & Brews, an online book shop featuring Black authors and literature. With Charleston Books & Brews, Bradley has established the For The Culture Book Club.

The club has announced an interest meeting for fellow Black bibliophiles in the Charleston area to gather, connect like-minded individuals, discuss ideas for the club, and pick the first book of For The Culture’s monthly meetings, which will start in March and be held on the last Sunday of every month.

The interest meeting will be held Sunday, February 24 from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at Exquisite Enterprises Inc. (5524 Dutton Avenue, Unit B3, North Charleston). Bradley hopes to gain a better sense of the community with this upcoming interest meeting.

Bradley is attempting to foster a welcoming environment for both Charleston’s Black authors and readers. By providing an outlet for authors to sell books, hold book signings and readings, and interact with readers, Books & Brews can potentially accommodate a growing market with access and proximity. Promoting local Black authors is essential, Bradley states.

Local Black authors of all ages have found success in recent years. Whether it is the historical works of The Citadel professor Damon Fordham, poetry offerings from Ill Vibe The Tribe’s Asiah Mae and Charleston poet laureate Marcus Amaker, business advice for millennial entrepreneur Kimberly Bowman, speculative fiction novels by Eden Royce, or a cocktail culture guide from the Cocktail Bandits, books covering various genres are shining examples of the diversity within Charleston’s Black community. Additionally, “Black Ink: A Charleston African-American Book Festival” has become a popular annual event, which began in 2016.

Charleston Books & Brews will intentionally support African-American women by designing itself as a safe space for Black women. Through interactive workshops, spiritual support, being an advocate for women’s empowerment, Books & Brews aims to utilize an impassioned approach to gain its following.

Bradley would like to partner with coffee shops or breweries in the future to host events. An activist at heart, she has a strong belief in the value of reading in the Black community and is driven to champion Black literature by making it more accessible locally.

More information on Charleston Books & Brews and the For The Culture Book Club can be found on Facebook (@charlestonbooksnbrews) and at charlestonbooksandbrews.com.

This article originally appeared in the Charleston Chronicle

Art

BIPOC Writers to Showcase Live Readings of New Anthology ‘Essential Truths’

The free, virtual event will begin with an invocation by Berkeley Poet Laureate Rafael Jesús González and will feature 18 BIPOC writers and poets in lively readings and presentations.

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Essential Truths the Bay Area In Color/WriteNow! SF

Oakland Asian Cultural Center in partnership with Write Now! SF Bay will host an East Bay Showcase of its latest anthology “Essential Truths on Thursday, July 22. 

The free, virtual event will begin with an invocation by Berkeley Poet Laureate Rafael Jesús González and will feature 18 BIPOC writers and poets in lively readings and presentations.

Among those performing and reading are: Avotcja, Clara Hsu, Danny Ryu, Darzelle Oliveros, Dianne Leo-Omine, Elmaz Abinader, Kelechi Ubozoh, Karen Seneferu, Kimi Sugioka, Sandra Bass, Shirley Huey, Shizue Seigal, Sridevi Ramanathan, Susana Praver-Pérez, Tiny (aka Lisa Gray-Garcia), Tony Aldorondo, Tureeda Mikell, and Wanda Sabir. 

To register for this event, which begins at 7:00 p.m., visit https://oacc.cc/event/essential-truths-east-bay/. A complete list of Oakland Asian Cultural Center readers’ affiliations can be found here: OACC READERS

Write Now! SF Bay, an organization that has helped 350 writers and artists create with their free and low-cost programs and provided a safe community where BIPOC feel free to express themselves, has published its fourth anthology.

“Essential Truths, The Bay Area in Color,” is its fourth anthology. The collection of 130 Bay Area BIPOC’s poems, musings, and art was edited by Siegal, the founder/director of Write Now! SF Bay.

“Our work is not always polished, but it arises from the lived experience of grappling with real issues of the day,” Siegal said. “We may write in the vernacular or English may be our second or third language. 

“If our rhythms are unfamiliar, ask yourself why—is our work inflected by other tongues and vernaculars, rusty from disuse, scattered by stress or trauma, struggling out silence, or hastily scribbled on borrowed time? 

“Old ways are dissolving, and change is in the air. BIPOC arts and activism have been here all along. Now we are stepping into the light,” Siegal said.

The contributors are Black, Brown, Indigenous, People of Color, and LGBTQ communities along with a few white allies who run the gamut from poet laureates to high school students to college professors and beyond. 

Since 2015, Write Now! SF Bay has been led by and for BIPOC Bay Area writers and builds multicultural solidarity around their unique identities as people of color and reclaim their culture and history, personal and community well-being as well as civil liberties and social justice.

“Essential Truths, The Bay Area in Color” is published is available for purchase at $17.95 by visiting https://www.writenowsf.com/essential-truths

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Books

Gregory Taylor, from East Oakland Police Officer to Taiwan Post writer, publishes book of his (non-gullible) travels as an adventurous drifter

He has worked as a police officer, a military officer, and a jazz pianist.

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Tales of A Drifter Book Cover

Gregory K. Taylor was born in Berkeley, California and attended public schools in Oakland, California. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Studies with a minor in Asian Studies and a BA degree in Chinese. He has worked as a police officer, a military officer, and a jazz pianist. He has written articles for a Bay Area newspaper, conducted podcast interviews, and traveled extensively where he is currently a Covid-19 refugee marooned in Taiwan. He has a pilot’s license and a previous yacht and ship broker’s license. His hobbies have included piloting aircraft, sailing sailboats, scuba diving, horseback riding, tickling the ivories, and now nonfiction writing.

Tales of a Drifter is available for $9.99 on Kindle:  https://www.amazon.com/Gregory-K.-Taylor/e/B097K97K4Z/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

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Book Reviews

‘The Book of Obsidian: A Manual for the 21st Century Black American Gentleman’

The 450-page reader focuses on Black dating and male and female relationships, a subject that has been a large focus for his weekly podcasts over the past four years. He believes the situation between Black men and women is dire.

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Book of Obsidian/Amazon

Based on everything he puts to paper, the prolific novelist and essayist Ishmael Reed has been called a writing pugilist. Social media personality and DJ Mumia Obsidian Ali can be viewed in that same light. Ali is a fighter for the everyday Black man in his radio shows and on his YouTube platform.

The 52-year-old Philadelphia native is one of the most influential voices online as one of the co-founders of Black Manosphere, the African American section on YouTube, which deals with helping uplift Black men. The Black Manosphere has content creators who deal with self-improvement, popular culture, family development, hip-hop culture, history and mating and dating.

The first manifesto of the Black Manosphere is Ali’s recently released book, the ‘Book of Obsidian: A Manual for the 21st Century Black American Gentleman.’

The 450-page reader focuses on Black dating and male and female relationships, a subject that has been a large focus for his weekly podcasts over the past four years. He believes the situation between Black men and women is dire.

“Successful Black men and women just can’t get along, especially when you consider that when Black Americans were under the heel of Jim Crow itself, more were married then whites,” writes Ali.

Ali’s book is comprised of new essays and others written for the Negromanosphere, an online web publication started by Oshay Duke Jackson, another founder of the Black Manosphere.

Like Ali’s witty and combative talking style on the microphone, in his writing Ali paints a complicated picture of how Black relationships are marred by the old paradigm of the negative Black male image.

This image dates back to the 1980s and 1990s when Black men were portrayed in the media and in song as irresponsible, in prison, on drugs, unemployed or unambitious. This has led to many Black women asking, “where are the Black men at?” One of the first things he does in the book is to dispel this myth.

“Not only do more Black men attend and graduate from college today,” writes Ali. “There are actually more of them doing so than at any other point in American history.”

He writes that the negative perception of Black men makes Black women feel they do not have suitable mates when this is far from the truth.  More than 52% of Black men have never been married and are childless. Of those that are married, 85% have Black wives and that Black men are more likely to be married then Black women.

The book has two parts. The ‘Macro’ takes a newspaper story or contemporary look at dating topics with Ali’s commentary on the issues and news article. The book then takes a ‘Micro’ examination of issues in which Ali deals with mating and dating.

At times the book drags on as it’s probably 100 pages too long, but you get the point that Ali has a lot to say and get off his chest. So much so, he has stated, the ‘Book of Obsidian,’ will be the first in a trilogy of books.

Ali’s ‘Book of Obsidian’ will give you an overview on how we got to where we are and where things are going to go. He said there needs to be re-examination of how Black men and women relate to each other as we move on with the rest of the 21st century.

The Book of Obsidian can be purchased online at Amazon, Barnesandnoble.comBooksamillion.comBookbaby.com and various other online and book stores across the country.

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