Yes, I am Thinking and Saying Things, Just Not Here

9 07 2010

Oscar Grant mural in downtown Oakland on 17th and Telegraph

As a person of color, a writer, an activist, as a long-time resident of Oakland and someone who is Bay Area born-and-bred, I have some strong opinions and feelings about yesterday’s verdict in the Johannes Mehserle trial re: the murder of Oscar Grant. Unfortunately, I don’t have time to blog about it now because I have other writing to do, but if you’re interested in finding out more about what I think, please visit my Twitter feed, which is the main way I’ve been communicating with folks about what’s happening here.

And special shout out to Max Elbaum, fellow activist, writer and Oakland resident, whom I ran into at the rally last night downtown. He told me he's been following my blog (not sure which one) so just want to give him special thanks!





A Great Day for Writers of Color: Congrats Geoffrey Fletcher!

8 03 2010

Geoffrey Fletcher Accepting His Oscar

I was already pumped last night watching the Oscars because I knew that Mo’Nique was a shoo-in (and deservedly so) for the Best Supporting Actress award, for her portrayal of Mary Jones in Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire. But I was pleasantly surprised and thrilled when, before Mo’Nique had her turn on the stage (where she KILLED it, by the way, on so many levels—but I’ll let the rest of the blogosphere write about that)—‘Precious’ screenwriter, Geoffrey Fletcher won the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay. What a win! Not just for Fletcher, who has now made history as the first African-American writer to ever win an Oscar, but also for Sapphire, whose novel Fletcher adapted for the film. She looked ecstatic when Fletcher won—I saw her in the audience, standing up and applauding with the rest of the ‘Precious’ crew, who all wore some shade of sapphire, I’m guessing in her honor, and I have to say as a writer I could feel her joy. Even if it wasn’t ‘her’ award per se, it was originally the story she wrote, and without that story, ‘Precious’ wouldn’t exist.

As for Fletcher, he seemed as surprised as everyone else was when he won, and his acceptance speech was one of those sincere, spontaneous and emotional speeches that make the Oscars worth watching. And while his award isn’t getting nearly as much press coverage as Kathryn Bigelow’s first-female Best Director win for ‘The Hurt Locker’, as a writer of color, I feel the impact of Fletcher’s win—for a movie about Black folks directed by a Black man, based on a book by a Black woman—more than anything else.

Congratulations, Geoffrey Fletcher, and thanks for giving all the rest of us writers of color something to be hopeful about and proud of today.





Upcoming publication in “Are We Born Racist?”

18 01 2010

It seems appropriate to announce today, on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, that one of my essays will appear in the book, Are We Born Racist?, forthcoming in August 2010 from Beacon Press. My fellow writer and friend Jeremy Adam Smith was the lead editor (working with co-editors Jason Marsh and Rodolfo Mendoza-Denton) who approached me to write the piece. The book is a project of Greater Good Magazine, a cool publication that looks at the science behind positive human attitudes like compassion and altruism.

My essay (not sure what the final title that will appear in the book is) is about the complexities of being a person of color in a multi-racial world. Sign up for email updates (see the button to the right) and I’ll let you know about any book release parties or readings that may be happening later this year.