Archive | April, 2015

I Can’t Hide Mine, Please Don’t Hide Yours: An Open Letter to Ben Affleck

24 Apr

I’ve been wanting to weigh in on the Ben Affleck/Henry Louis Gates stuff but didn’t have the energy to devote to it. This writer/chef sums up much of what I’d say about it. Affleck asked Gates not to reveal what Gayes had uncovered in Affleck’s past: slave owners. Clutch the pearls. This news is hardly shocking to Black folks & while I get he’s “embarrassed” we all have to face & own our past if we’re ever going to become “one country.” I used to have a friend, a very close friend, my first white friend. After about a decade of friendship we discovered that our mothers had the same unusual last name & came from the same tiny South Carolina town. This news initially elated her. It immediately made feel sick. She said, “this is amazing. We’re so connected, now it makes sense that we’re related.” I said: yes, perhaps we are but I can promise you that it’s not because of some kind of consensual relations. Details for another post and/or story but in the end our friendship didn’t survive her refusal to acknowledge that chances were that her family had owned mine. (This was typed on my phone so pls forgive typos, etc. I just needed to get this out right now). #welcometomybreakdown#edwardball #slavesinthefamily


Dear Ben,

Its unfortunate because of a massive internet hack we are in this particular place discussing your ancestral past. It’s horrible that your private matters were exposed because of something beyond your control. That’s untenable in any situation, but we need to address something right quick…this slavery thing.  You were embarassed, and that’s reasonable given the situation and the circumstances that produced it. But Ben Affleck, take it from a Black guy; with a platform like yours, don’t you dare be embarrassed to come from an ancestor who held enslaved people. Because….We need to know.

I don’t think many Black people really understand the profound guilt, shame or embarassment some white descendants of slave holding families feel. It’s not just that many assume personal responsibility for the past or that they grasp that their privilege or power is not just based on perceptions based on skin color.  Clearly these…

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Welcome to My Breakdown

21 Apr

Today’s the day — my memoir Welcome to My Breakdown is available today.

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20 Apr

As many of you probably know by now I have a new book coming out. I’ve been talking about it for some time now, even started this blog back when in hopes of talking up the book and introducing myself to you. I’ve had to learn how to be a publicist, a public relations person for myself. Not something I’ve easily embraced. I’m a writer. There are PR people. It’s rare that one person possess both traits. Writers tend to be introspective and need solitude. You’ve got to have that to create. PR people are often extroverts, you kind of have to be to be heard over all the noise that now makes up modern life. Now, I’m both.
My last book, Who Does She Think She Is? Was published in 2006. A lot has changed since then and the biggest one is the advent of social media. Facebook became available to all in 2006, but was not used by too many people older than 15 back then. (Now young people refer to FB as something for old people–at least that’s what my kids say.)
Many writers who published back then were mostly published by houses and had a PR person designated to get the word out. There’s still some of that, but much of it is left up to the author.

I’m amazed at people on FB, bloggers and such who no problem promoting themselves–my new book is fantastic; my blog is the ish, and so on. I cringe at the thought of doing this, but I understand I gotta get over it and if you’ve been following me on FB you probably see I’ve climbing the curve. My friend Linda Villarosa, also a writer, and I have talked about this phenomenon and decided that it’s an age thing. Some of these writers, some of whom we know, are a little younger than us and came of age when that kind of bragging is de rigeur, not seen as anything else. We see it as poor taste. But in this new world, I’m having to accept it, just like reality TV and selfies. I can’t imagine that I’ll ever be caught saying: “My book is the ish,” but as I’m push, push, pushing during this publication phase, I’m getting comfortable with the humble-brag.

For those of you who get slightly queasy at the notion of the push and all the notices you’re getting begging you to buy it and to tell your friends, please bear with me. Know that I’m gettin’ a little sick of it too, but as with motion sickness, if you wanna ride, you take a Dramamine and keep moving.

Thanks for bearing with me and your support. Tomorrow is publication day!!!