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Marcus Books at 60, the Oldest Black Bookstore in the U.S.

You can check out the titles they have in stock by visiting https://www.marcusbooks.com/ The store is open Monday-Saturday from 10:00 a.m.- 6:00 p.m. and Sundays from 12:00-4:00 p.m.

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Image provided from Marcus Book Store Facebook page

Marcus Books is a Black-owned bookstore located at 3900 Martin Luther King Jr Way, Oakland, CA 94609. Named for United Negro Improvement leader and author Marcus Garvey, the store was founded by Tuskegee College graduates Julian and Rae Richardson in 1960. In the ensuing decades they have sold books produced by Black, independent publishers, authors, poets, and artists and hosted talks by a who’s who of Black writers ranging from the late Toni Morrison, to Michael Eric Dyson and Sistah Soldier. There is a substantial collection of books for children as well. Online shopping is also available. You can check out the titles they have in stock by visiting https://www.marcusbooks.com/ The store is open Monday-Saturday from 10:00 a.m.- 6:00 p.m. and Sundays from 12:00-4:00 p.m.

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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