Saturday, February 24, 2007

Black History Month...

Is almost over...and I don't want to miss my chance to talk about one of my all time favorite writers. This month I treated myself to Toni Morrison's Song of Solomon. (other great reads: Beloved and The Bluest Eye. I hope to read all of her work at some point...she's that terrific.)

I finished reading Solomon just a few minutes ago, and the tears are not quite dry. It's simply beautiful. The way she twists a plot together, the tiny links that make you go aha! and flip back 100 pages. Secrets and shimmers...and it all plays so well. Her language kills me. Toni, I love you because you write like this:

The calculated violence of a shark grew in her, and like every witch that ever rode a broom straight through the night to a ceremonial infanticide as thrilled by the black wind as by the rod between her legs; like every fed-up-to-the-teeth bride who worried about the consistency of the grits she threw at her husband as well as the potency of the lye she had stirred into them; and like every queen and every courtesan who was struck by the beauty of her emerald ring as she tipped its poison into the old red wine, Hagar was energized by the details of her mission. She stalked him.
Takes your breath away, doesn't it?

Who are some of your favorite African-American artists? Painters, singers, actors, authors...who inspires you?

12 Comments:

Blogger Kern said...

Charley Pride is often overlooked as an early pioneer in his field. He abandoned a promising baseball career in the late fifties to pursue a career in country music of all things. Fifty years later, there are few if any African American performers on the country music charts, and Charley is still heard. "Kiss an Angel Good Morning" is my personal favorite among many. Charley was, and is, top class at all times.

4:35 AM  
Blogger Kern said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

8:17 AM  
Blogger Britta Coleman said...

I absolutely love that song. Didn't know about the baseball career. Interesting transition.

For singers/performers: also love B.B. King, Aretha Franklin,Marvin Gaye, Ella Fitzgerald, Lou Rawls, and Mahalia Jackson. Her "O Holy Night" is unmatched.

For contemporary performers, I think Prince's superbowl performand proves he's still a (freaky little) genius. I saw him live back in the eighties and the man knows how to work a crowd. Corinne Bailey Rae is on frequent rotation in my CD player, Aaron Neville for background party smooth, Lenny Kravitz when I'm driving, and I'll be honest and say I don't mind a little Beyonce every now and again.

"To the left...to the left..."

8:22 AM  
Blogger ScottM said...

Wow, someone got deleted?

It's the 28th, so I'm just getting in.

My three favorite actors for February:

Here's a surprise candidate, but like Kern's submission, an athlete turned actor, I am partial to Carl Weathers. I think he did a lot to make the Rocky movies as good as they were, and they are my favorite movies.

From the old days, I really like Sidney Poitier. He was great in many roles but seems to stand out in my mind in a Raisin in the Sun.

And, with apologies to Britta, Denzel Washington is greatness. Oh yes he is, too. I can't understand how anyone could think otherwise.

My favorite black actress used to be Halle Barry, but only because she is hot. Then she made Catwoman, and I'm done with her.

12:45 PM  
Blogger Britta Coleman said...

I'd like to say there was a wild-hair comment from a stalkerazzi fan, but the truth is I posted the wrong thing and deleted myself. It's all about self-censorship.

Scott, I can see you're whipping up a little controversy. I'll pass on the Denzel jab (I have my reasons) and go right for Halle Barry. Her level of gorgeousness transcends any number of Catwoman misfires. The woman is smokin'! Plus, her turn in Monster's Ball earned her every accolade and more. The scene at the end...I won't spoil it, but it's simply one of the most beautiful portraits of grace and forgiveness, ever.

1:10 PM  
Blogger ScottM said...

Some day when the world gets blown up by a nuclear bomb and all that's left are a few videocassettes of Halle Berry and Denzel Washington movies, we can split them up. Then in about a week you will call our house and say that you have seen Monster's Ball about fifty times and you really would like to trade one of your X-men movies for Glory or Philadelphia and we will say no way!

4:53 AM  
Blogger Britta Coleman said...

Will the VHS recorders have survived the blast?

6:14 AM  
Blogger ScottM said...

Yes, there would still be VHS players. VHS technology was originally designed for military use during the cold war. Although the tapes are flimsy, the players themselves are extremely durable. I have a bomb shelter under the house where I keep granola bars, bottled water, guns, ammo, and Denzel Washington movies. My VHS players I leave above ground because they can survive a direct nuclear blast.

(This might be another good time to use your power as the blog administrator to delete a post)

12:04 PM  
Blogger Britta Coleman said...

I like that "VHS players" is plural. Because one just isn't enough.

12:22 PM  
Blogger ScottM said...

(I'm glad we could honor black history month by extending our discussion well into March.)

At our home we have three VHS players to only one DVD player. I don't think most of our TV's are DVD compatible. I like to stay anywhere from 5 to 10 years behind current technology to maximize the value I get for my dollar.

It really may be time for me to convert, though, since even at garage sales the VHS section is getting overtaken by the more popular DVD area.

7:16 AM  
Blogger dee said...

I'm almost embarrased to say I don't own a DVD...and the only movies I watch are on cable...like I have time!!! when i'm posting on blogs instead of writing the latest nip, tuck, suck book....(the suck was for lipo not that the book actually sucked, but you know what I mean). i had to comment on Toni Morrison. The reason I like her stuff as opposed to what I think of as 'literary' is that it is so real. her alalogies are earthy and not the etherial wispy crap of literally lofiness. The example you used of the bride and the grits is a perfect example of that. Lofty but to the darn point. I love that

8:01 PM  
Blogger Caprock Cruisers said...

I like Sidney Poitier...but I ADORE Tyler Perry. :) He is so inspiring, and his stories include it ALL. Comedy, drama, faith, family. He's a genius.

April

9:20 PM  

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