Book of the Month

Chicken Soup for the Soul: I’m Speaking Now

I have been privileged enough to have an article in this book.

Now more than ever, the strong, independent, courageous voices of Black women are being heard loud and clear. They share their truth about life, love, family, faith and hope in these 101 personal stories and 12 powerful poems. The world is listening.

Purchase I’m Speaking Now

She Paved The Way For Us

The movie Pinky was the epitome of her career.

Nina Mae McKinney played a supporting role in the movie Pinky, which was about a light skinned black woman who falls in love with a white doctor, though he is unaware of her race. McKinney played the jealous girlfriend to the light skinned African American woman who was played by a Caucasian actor, Jeanne Crain.

Nina Mae McKinney worked in a industry that chose to use Caucasian people to play African Americans for lead roles to tell stories ABOUT African Americans.

McKinney was born in 1912 in Lancaster, South Carolina. She moved to New York City at the age of 12 to join her parents who moved there to find better work like many others during the Great Migration. She loved performing an had been in plays at school. She debuted in the chorus line of Blackbirds of 1928 which starred Bill Bojangles Robinson. After that she landed a role in the movie Hallelujah by King Vidor, who was nominated for an academy award for directing.

She signed a 5-year contract with MGM after the success of Hallelujah. She did a few films after that, but the studio would not put her in a leading role which was frustrating after her success in the other roles. McKinney was stuck playing supporting roles. Like many actors of her hue, she found that the studio only wanted her in certain roles which were very career limiting. Imagine being called the Black Garbo, but not getting a chance to prove it. In 1935 she made Sanders of the River with Paul Robeson.

She and Robeson were promised the roles of the Africans in the movie would depict them respectfully, the film was later cut to change that. Even though McKinney was a triple threat because she could sing, dance and act, she was only offered roles as maids. She moved to Europe where she worked in nightclubs and theaters, doing an occasional movie. But eventually moved back to the United States in 1939 when Germany invaded Poland.

She played maids and sex workers because those were the roles offered to people of color during that time period. She would get an occasional role that was off that path. In 1949 she landed the role of the jealous girlfriend in Pinky starring Jean Crain, Ethel Barrymore and Ethel Waters.

In 1951, she performed her last role in summer stock. She moved back to New York City in 1960. She died in 1967.

She lived the best life she could and we are the better for it. In 1978 she was awarded a lifetime achievement in the Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame.

Book of the Month

Chicken Soup for the Soul: I’m Speaking Now

I have been privileged enough to have an article in this book.

Now more than ever, the strong, independent, courageous voices of Black women are being heard loud and clear. They share their truth about life, love, family, faith and hope in these 101 personal stories and 12 powerful poems. The world is listening.

Purchase I’m Speaking Now

Book of the Month

Privateers

A single young woman is tricked by modern day pirates losing everything she owned. As she tries to figure out what happened to her belongings, her world crashes around her as government and private agencies treat her as a suspect. Determined to find the man who did this to her, she stumbles onto a government top secret. Finding this modern-day pirate turns into a race against lethal forces.

Buy at Amazon or

Books2Read.com

Nostalgia I Don’t Remember

Imagine seeing something that you don’t remember. A brown beautiful chocolate man leading a television series that few people ever talk about.

The man is Georg Stanford Brown. The series is The Rookies. It is the trials and adventures of three young police officers. The show is from 1972. (granted I was just 7 years old at that time or this show would not have been on the list of anything I wanted to watch.) But here was an African American actor as a lead in a show.

Needless to say this show became my boyfriend for the weekend.

I thought the show was very cute looking at it from my 2021 brain. I mean attractive. George wore that afro. He looked good in the uniform and his street clothes were nice.

It was fun because of all the actors who guest starred on the show, like Jim Nabors, Tyne Daly, Richard Hatch, Annette O’Toole and John Saxon. And some even looked like me Margaret Avery, Kim Hamilton, Eric Laneuville, Louis Gossett, Jr and Teresa Graves. One of the co stars was Kate Jackson who later became one of Charlie’s Angels.

It reminded me of how simple life was back then. It is not a place I want to return to, but just interesting seeing what innocence looks like on a nation.

The best part of the Decades Channel is that they run weekend binges so that you can really get to know a show. As much as I hate to admit it, I watched more of Decade this weekend than any other channel. (I did cheat on my boyfriend with Hacks). I loved spending time in the 1970s.

Book of the Month

Privateers

A single young woman is tricked by modern day pirates losing everything she owned. As she tries to figure out what happened to her belongings, her world crashes around her as government and private agencies treat her as a suspect. Determined to find the man who did this to her, she stumbles onto a government top secret. Finding this modern-day pirate turns into a race against lethal forces.

Privateers

Book of the Month

Privateers

A single young woman is tricked by modern day pirates losing everything she owned. As she tries to figure out what happened to her belongings, her world crashes around her as government and private agencies treat her as a suspect. Determined to find the man who did this to her, she stumbles onto a government top secret. Finding this modern-day pirate turns into a race against lethal forces.

Buy at Amazon or

Books2Read.com

Sample Chapter

Winters pulled the car to the edge of a parking lot of the truck stop. It was a huge stop with a convenience store, restaurant and clean up station.

“This makes sense,” Zeped said as he got out of the car. “This is how they are moving stuff out.

Winters and Pete got and started following him. They saw Claire walking toward the store.

“Ain’t that that girl?” Pete asked.

“That is. Williams, you get her. We will check the buildings,” Zeped ordered and ran in toward the restaurant.

“They must have contacted her,” said Winters and followed Zeped.

“I’ll get her,” Pete replied, halfway joking because the two agents were gone.

Pete ran up on Claire who was waiting and watching for someone.

“Miss Moss!  Miss Moss! Claire! Claire!” Pete called.

“Officer Williams, what are you doing here? I was just… I…He called me at work,” she said feeling caught. “He wanted to explain.”

“He is a dangerous man.”

“You’re wrong. He is not…”

“Remember the woman who was by your car that day? She had been working undercover. They still have not been able to find her. You know why he’s here? To clean up everything.”

By the restaurant, Roger stood talking to a man who looks like a truck driver, Jason Mitchell. Roger has the emblem on the chain around his neck.

“This is our last go around here,” Roger said.

“Last?” the younger man questioned.

“Last here,” Roger clarified.

“Mr. Brown, you are wanted for questioning.”

Agent Zeped had managed to sneak up on Roger. He stood at the corner of the restaurant with his weapon pointed toward Roger.

“Mr. Zeped, it is a pleasure to finally meet you,” said Roger not surprised.

“The pleasure is all mine.”

“You boys get against the wall,” Winters said as she appeared on the other end of the store with her weapon drawn.

“Special Agents, I am not quite ready to go with you. As a matter of fact, I don’t think I will ever be ready to go with you,” Roger said.

“You don’t have a choice,” Winters replied.

Pete walked Claire back toward the car.

“He told you to meet him here? Pete asked.

“Yes. He is giving me my stuff back. He lives a little on the edge and cops are not his favorite people,” Claire confided.

“So which one of these rigs do you think is his?” Pete asked.

Claire saw the symbol from Roger’s neck chain on the back of a rig.

“I think it is that one,” she said.

Pete opened the back door of a big rig. Claire saw her belongings, her clothes, furniture, everything.

“My stuff! This is it? See he was going to give it back.”

“It looks like more than just your stuff.”

“It does.”

“There is one way to ensure he gives it back.”

Down the road, Pete drove the big rig, with Claire in the passenger seat.

“At least you got your stuff back,”

“Yeah,” Claire said. She was excited about this adventure.

“And before I turn the rest over to the feds, I am going to take a look through this stuff and see what all the fuss is about.”