Throwback Thursday: TIA Talks

Clearly I have been living under a rock as I am just now bearing witness to the awesomeness of TIA Talks. If you too have been living in the dark ages, allow me to bring you to the light.

TIA Talks are book reviews done by TokenInAmerica. Her blogs and her videos are as hilarious as they are insightful. She has been on a Toni Morrison campaign where she’s tried to read all of Morrison’s novels by the end of 2014 (#ReadMorrison2014), which is enough for me to classify her as my literary best friend.

I was even more overjoyed to find a review on what is probably my favorite (if favorites are allowed) of Toni Morrison’s work, Tar Baby. My mother literally has a box (that I have more or less stolen) of works by Toni Morrison, and after falling in love with Song of Solomon I dived into that box like a ravenous fiend.

I read the book when I was a senior in high school, and though I knew I loved it I was kind of like “Huh?” and I needed to talk to someone about it. To my dismay, no one had read it! My mother, the hoarder of Toni Morrison paraphernalia, couldn’t even remember the novel well enough to engage in an analytical dialogue with me.

I read the book again as a sophomore in college and was able to really sort of sink my teeth into the themes of love, colorism, black femininity, but still had no one to discuss it with. So imagine my excitement when I found this TIA review of the book!

Though short, the review is done in TIA’s eloquent style: discussing the material in a way that is digestible for contemporary 21st century audience.

Check out TokenInAmerica’s review of, Tar Baby, below.

Vintage Black Glamour


(Nichelle Gainer, Vintage Black Glamour)

As a young girl, I was always fascinated by the beauty of Dorothy Dandridge, the courage of Josephine Baker, the confidence of Eartha Kitt. I often dreamt of a place where I could see these faces printed on posters, magazines, etc. I wanted their images and their stories to be as ingrained in our nostalgia for vintage Hollywood as Marilyn Monroe and Mae West (both stars in their own right). Thanks to Nichelle Gainer, I no longer have to imagine such a place–she has brought it to life with her encapsulation of the glamour of African-American female entertainers in her book, Vintage Black Glamour.

The book presents historic photographs of famous actors, dancers, writers and entertainers who worked in the 20th-century entertainment business, but who rarely appeared in the same publications as their white counterparts

This incredible collection includes women like:

  • Aretha Franklin
  • Lorraine Hansberry
  • Diana Ross
  • Donyale Luna

Not only are there rare pictures of these iconic women, but biographical text is included to tell the dynamic and inspiring story of each starlet. Gainer, who writes for: 55 Secret Street, Revenge of the Curves, and Anovelista, brings us an important archive of history with this book, one that I can’t wait to purchase.

Check out some of Gainer’s amazing work on the Vintage Black Glamour site  and order your copy of, Black Glamour, today.

Citizens Creek Available for Pre-Order

CitizensCreek___Latita Tademy

Lalita Tademy became a well-recognized name when Oprah inducted Tademy’s debut novel, Cane River, into her reverenced and devoutly-followed book club. Both, Cane River, and Tademy’s second novel, Red River, earned her spots on the New York Times Best Seller’s list, and now she is back with her latest novel, Citizens Creek. 

According to Tademy’s websiteCitizens Creek, is a tale about:

a once-enslaved man who buys his freedom after serving as a translator during the American Indian Wars and his granddaughter, who sustains his legacy of courage.

I can speak first hand of the genius and literary-talent that is Tademy’s work. She has a gift and a commitment to telling the diverse stories of African-American history that explore the bonds of family and the resilience of a people who, no matter the circumstances, refuse to give up their stride toward freedom. Her writing is so visceral you’ll feel as if you’re present in each word you read.

Tademy’s work is timeless; she tells the stories that need to be told in a way that is evocative and original. She is sure to continue such a reputation with her upcoming work, Citizens Creek.

Pre-Order your copy today.



Books have remained constant fixtures in my life. From childhood to early adulthood, I have always had my nose stuck somewhere in the middle of a book. Currently, I have eighteen books checked out from my university’s library–will I get to all of them by the end of the semester, probably not–and I just spent over twenty dollars at a discounted bookshop–did I need any of these of these books for any particular reason, not really. So why hoard an obscene amount of books that I know I haven’t the time to read? Because I’m obsessed with reading–have been since I read my first sentence. I remember when I got my first library card and would practically live in between the shelves—scanning the summaries of novels, piling them up high on the counter and taking them all home to divulge, some with ravenous intrigue, others with a close and slow analyzation. Most books I could never get to, but refused to part with them (resulting in a shameful accumulation of library fines).

There’s an excitement I feel when I think about a good story at home waiting for me to finish. I often rush through tasks, absent-mindedly, longing for the moment at which I and my current beloved book are reunited. It’s not as creepy as I’m making it sound, or perhaps the debilitating need to constantly have a book at the ready, be it in my bag, in my trunk, on my kindle, is a bit manic. Judge all you like, but I am not the only one.

Critically-acclaimed author, Zadie Smith (White Teeth, The Autograph Man, On Beauty) in her article for, has given a name to this addiction “bibliomania,” and has inducted herself into its solitary and obsessive club. 

She admits to:

“packing for a short flight between London and Belfast, with my Kindle, certainly, but also with four or five hardback books jammed into my hand luggage, just in case. Just in case we happen to fly through a wrinkle in time in which an hour expands to accommodate infinity.”

Though Zadie might not feel as if such an obsession is worth being boastful of, I find no reason to be ashamed of it (although it can be quite pathetic if you decline weekend plans with your friends to stay in and read).

If you’ve foud yourself overcome with the same disorder, read more of Zadie’s article.

Toni Morrison on Motivation for Writing

In this #throwbackthursday post, check out Toni Morrison talk about her motivation for writing her first and critically acclaimed novel, The Bluest Eye.

The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl: The Book!

She brought us The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl, She brought us The Choir, She just brought us three new pilot seriesand she just published a book entitled, The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl, now available for pre-order.

Isa Rae is a woman making noise in Hollywood and the internet. Her slew of popular web-series even helped her get a gig with HBO.

Will you be reading Miss. Rae’s new book?

If you still aren’t swayed, check out her hilarious book trailer:

LeVar Burton’s first Children’s Book!

I know I wasn’t the only one who jumped for joy when Reading Rainbow was revived. Who didn’t miss LeVar and his wonderful guests talking about the magic that is reading?

Reading Rainbow has relaunched with a new YouTube page that features new episodes and blasts from the pasts.

WARNING: you will experience extreme nostalgia.

But, did you know RR’s beloved host has a new children’s book out? Check out this video of Mr. Burton discussing The Rhino Who Swallowed a Storm, a book that will help children “cope with the difficult moments in everyday life.”

The Rhino Who Swallowed a Storm is available now. Click here for more info

Congrats Malala Yousafzai!

A huge congratulations is due to one of our generation’s most inspiring individuals, Malala Yousafzai who made history today as the youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize at just 17 years old.

At the age of 15, Malala suffered an attack on her life by the Taliban after courageously speaking out against education restrictions in her town in Pakistan.

Malala bounced back from the Taliban’s failed attempt at taking her life and continues to speak out louder and braver in advocacy for accessible education to children all over the world:

Let us remember: one book, one pen, one child, and one teacher can change the world. 

Malala said when addressing the UN’s Youth Assembly.

Watch Malala Yousafzai’s Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speak below:

Shonda Rhimes and the Power of Keeping your Head in a Book

Before Shonda Rhimes was dominating our television experience (TGIT, it’s a thing–if you aren’t in on the hashtag you’re missing out) with critically acclaimed shows, Scandal, Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice, How to Get Away With Murder, this powerful showrunner had her “head in a book,” according to the new article on Ms. Rhimes by The Hollywood Reporter:

“Her parents, both academics, encouraged her voracious reading habit, implementing a rule early on that their daughter could read anything she wanted. “I remember very clearly being 7 or 8 and reading The French Lieutenant’s Woman and asking my mother what the definition of something was and her being like, ‘Dictionary’s over there,’ ” says Rhimes, who often has described her younger self as a Tracy Flick-type with her hand raised at the front of the class.”

When speaking to the graduating class at her alma mater, Dartmouth, Shonda said:

“I wanted to be Nobel Prize-winning author Toni Morrison. That was my dream,”

That dream prompted Rhimes to quit her full-time job and attend USC where the rest has become television history. Grey’s Anatomy remains the number one drama among “that coveted 18 to 49 demographic,” and Scandal “is said to generate more than $200,000 for each 30-second ad” (not to mention Rhimes making history with Scandal having the first black woman lead a network television show since 1974).

Shonda is certain to continue such a profitable legacy with her new Shondaland produced show, How to Get Away with Murder, airing tonight at 10pm eastern standard time.

See how far reading can take you?

Check out more of what the most powerful showrunner in Hollywood had to say about race, gender, autonomy and the million dollar question “can one truly have it all?” in The Hollywood Reporter’s latest issue.