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OWN’s Got Plenty Good Loving on Friday Nights With New Season of ‘Black Love’

OWN’s popular series, now in its fifth season, takes viewers inside the joys and challenges of married couples.  From co-creators Codie and Tommy Oliver, the famed husband-and-wife filmmakers have a sure hit on their hands with this four-time NAACP nominated docu-series.

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Keith David and Dionne Lea Williams

A riveting collection of relationship chronicles will have you tuning in every Friday night to glean lessons learned and lived experiences of celebrities and everyday people on “Black Love.”

OWN’s popular series, now in its fifth season, takes viewers inside the joys and challenges of married couples.  From co-creators Codie and Tommy Oliver, the famed husband-and-wife filmmakers have a sure hit on their hands with this four-time NAACP nominated docu-series.

“Black Love” is a veritable bounty of romantic perspectives from the Black community. A perennial favorite, “Black  Love” was ranked No. 1 in its time slot across all cable with African American women age 25-54.  The ground-breaking expose airs 10:00 p.m. ET/PT.

The hour-long weekly snapshot posits itself as a presentation of real, honest, emotional, and transparent love stories.

The new season features Chance and Tabitha Brown, R&B singer Kenny Lattimore and Judge Faith Jenkins; Grammy-winner Ledisi and  husband Ron Young; singer/songwriter Tank and Zena Foster; “Greenleaf” actor Keith David and his wife Dionne; stylist Jason Bolden and interior designer Adair Curtis, plus others who will discuss topics from navigating finances, religious differences, parenting and the unexpected twists that are part of every couples’ journey.

Personally, “Black Love” is one of my favorite shows on television.  I spoke with Season 5 cast members Keith David and his wife of 20 years, Dionne Lea Williams, about the back story of their love story.

David and Williams describe their relationship this way–

We protect our marriage, as much as we can, from the scrutiny of outsiders. We avoid negative feedback because we’re trying to do something positive for ourselves, for our family, and for younger couples who need to see longevity in marriage.  It’s also about acceptance of each other and the things that make you, you.  Sure, there are little annoyances, but are you going to nitpick all the time? Are you going to pick each other apart over the little things?  The answer is, ‘No.’ It’s about acceptance.

Regarding the impact COVID19 had on the marriage, the couple articulated challenges of being in each other’s presence for extended periods, which was quite an adjustment.

David describes himself as a workaholic, working mostly away from home for the last 15 years.  Williams said, “I had to get used to him being home. … Keith has a large personality and takes up the space in a room.  I, on the other hand, like quiet.  He’s a star and used to people doing everything for him.  When he’s home, I expect him to help out around the house.”

They confess that their three children help to balance the family household dynamics.  “They keep us accountable and we are dedicated to keeping our family together.”

Each episode seeks to answer the burning question, “What does it take to make a  marriage work?” Here’s a clip from the show.

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Bay Area

Vice Mayor: Business Group Wants to Buy Coliseum, Attract WNBA Team

The group will provide additional details of its effort at a news conference at 11:00 a.m. Friday at a site to be determined.

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Oakland Vice Mayor Rebecca Kaplan.

Oakland Vice Mayor Rebecca Kaplan said a local business group has made serious inroads to buy the city’s 50% stake in the Oakland Coliseum complex and to bring a WNBA team to the city.
Kaplan’s office shared a news release Monday about the effort by the African American Sports and Entertainment Group.

Kaplan said the group is in negotiations with the Oakland-Alameda Joint Powers Authority, has submitted a formal proposal to WNBA officials, and has submitted a term sheet to the city, which the City Council’s rules committee recently voted to advance to the full council for a vote.

The group will provide additional details of its effort at a news conference at 11:00 a.m. Friday at a site to be determined.

“I am pleased that there is such great interest in doing an important development at the Oakland Coliseum that will provide jobs, revenue and community positivity,” Kaplan said. “My goal is to help this process move forward before the summer recess.”

Kaplan said the group has the backing of more than 30 community groups of faith-based institutions, labor organizations, civic leaders, and job development organizations. She did not name the groups

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Books

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.

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Art

In Colorizing the Characters in ‘Hamilton,’ Playwright Lin-Manuel Miranda Whitewashes History

But he should also make sure we all know Hamilton was no hip-hop hero, just another founding slave holder. Miranda’s color change doesn’t change history, nor make it less distasteful.

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Photo of Lin-Manuel Miranda as Alexander Hamilton courtesy of cinemablend

Is there any doubt that Ishmael Reed is Oakland’s writer of conscience and consequence?

He was my teacher in graduate school at Washington University in St. Louis, MO. From him I learned a number of truisms about writing. Like, for me, when in doubt, put in the Filipinos. Don’t take them out!  Another one was career advice. The more money you make, the less you get to say. Conversely, the less you make, the more you get to say. And that brings me to the topic of this column.

Lin-Manuel Miranda, the creator of “In the Heights,” opened the movie version of the musical last week. It’s a gushing hydrant of diversity. It should make a lot of money. But when I talked to him a few weeks back I wanted to talk about his other monster hit, “Hamilton,” where Miranda applied what I call a little affirmative action. He put the Black and the Brown actors in the white parts.

The Founding Fathers got “Hamiltoned.” Revolutionary?

“Well, it’s interesting,” he said. “The idea when I picked up the book was it’s an R&B hip-hop musical so, of course, Black and Brown actors would play those roles. As I’m reading the book the first time, I’m picturing which of my favorite hip-hop artists should play Hercules Mulligan or George Washington. They were always people of color, and the music reflects that…I was sort of more surprised that everyone was surprised when we finally came out.”

“I think it kicks open the door,” he added. “Why are we so literal when it comes to this stuff? And you know, I see Shakespeare with people of every ethnicity playing the roles. Why can’t that be the case with our founders? We know what they look like – they’re on our f***ing money. So, like, let’s move forward here. But I think once you see a show that has had the diversity that we have on stage, it’s very hard to go back to sort of these all-white productions because you’ve got to ask why, what stories aren’t we getting when you see that?”

You still have to ask what you’re getting. Miranda got comfortable enough to cuss and didn’t like the term “affirmative action.” But was he rehabbing Hamilton, making him and the others better than they were by applying the hip-hop beat?

It was the perfect opening to ask a question about Reed, the MacArthur ‘genius’ award-winning novelist, satirist, and playwright who last year wrote  “The Haunting of Lin-Manuel Miranda,” a play that takes Miranda to task for the failure to highlight the real history of Hamilton.

Hamilton and his in-laws, the Schuyler family, were slave owners.

Miranda may have given the actors some tone, but the historical soul remains the same. Just obscured. Reed sees Miranda as duped by the Hamilton biography by Ron Chernow, which Miranda used as the main source for his skin-deep musical that glosses over our racist founders.

“I think seducing thousands of children and even the inaugural poet Amanda Gorman into believing that Hamilton and the Schuyler girls were ‘ardent abolitionists,’ must rank as a cultural crime,” Reed said to me.

As I asked Miranda my question about Reed, the PR rep cuts in: “We are actually out of time.”

Then Miranda says, “I got a long schedule, sorry. Thank you.”

It would have been interesting to hear his answer, with “Hamilton” beginning a new tour in August.

But this is megabuck showbiz, and the PR juggernaut must go on.

So, Miranda wiggled his way out. He could have answered. I gave him a shot.

Then again, Miranda’s got this new property to sell that’s a lot more cleansing and joyful. “In the Heights” is the feel-good movie of the post-pandemic, you know. All the fire hydrants are gushing.

But he should also make sure we all know Hamilton was no hip-hop hero, just another founding slave holder. Miranda’s color change doesn’t change history, nor make it less distasteful.

In fact, the 2021 tour for “Hamilton” is coming to San Francisco, Sacramento and San Jose for multiple-week runs in August through October.

Will he come clean by then? Or come up with a new song? In the meantime, you should read Reed’s “The Haunting of Lin-Manuel Miranda.”  There’s no music to wash away the truth.

Emil Guillermo is a veteran Bay Area journalist and commentator. He vlogs at www.amok.com Twitter @emilamok

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