ESSENCE 50th Anniversary Issue

Happy to say I was one of the contributors to Essence’s 50th Anniversary Issue. My Essence Eats column charted the history of some classic restaurants that were around when Essence began in 1970. It also highlighted new eateries that are breaking ground and continuing to support the African American community.

Hamilton

If history classes were this entertaining, there would be lines around the block to get in.  For many, Hamilton is an enigma. It was the toast of Broadway. Attention-grabbing scenes were performed during the Tony Awards Show. But if you weren’t willing to spend a fortune for tickets, you‘ve probably never seen this groundbreaking musical.  What many […]

John Lewis: Good Trouble

“I feel lucky and blessed that I’m serving in the Congress… But there is a force that is trying to take us back to another time and another dark period,” warns congressman John Lewis. And he’d know.   Since age 17, this brave crusader has been at the forefront of the civil rights movement. Now at […]

The Last Tree

“She’s not coming to take you away.” It’s a hollow promise. An 11-year-old black boy is snatched away from his white foster mom. The life he knew ripped out from under him. It causes a bitterness that lasts well into his teenage years in this thoughtfully and emotionally charged coming-of-age drama.  Writer/director Shola Amoo’s semi-autobiographical portrait recaptures […]

Mr. Jones

Before there was fake news, distorting realty for evil purposes was called propaganda. That’s what the Russians did pre-WWII to convince the West that the Soviet Ukraine had economic prowess, prosperous citizens and full bellies. BS. The truth had to be told. In the 1930s, Gareth Jones (James Norton, Little Women and Belle), a young Welsh investigative journalist, […]

Miss Juneteenth

A small black neighborhood in the Fort Worth, Texas metro area. A former teenage beauty queen whose opportunities never panned out. It’s a microcosm. A blip on the radar. Just big enough to provide strong underpinnings for an earnest character-driven story. Juneteenth, aka Freedom Day, Jubilee Day or the Black Fourth of July, is an […]

Da 5 Bloods

Da 5 Bloods has the potential to be a timely, thoughtful allegory.  They fought together in Vietnam decades ago. Now they’re headed back to Nam to retrieve the body of their fallen commanding officer (Chadwick Boseman, Black Panther) and hunt for a pile of gold. The vets share a brotherly love: Paul (Delroy Lindo, Malcolm X) is high-strung, […]

The King of Staten Island

He’s the poster child for his generation. Tatted on the outside, emotionally scarred on the inside, aimless. Smoking a lot of weed for the duration. Millennials who are set adrift can relate  There’s something about Pete Davidson that’s weirdly endearing. The self-deprecating humor, his pride for blue-collar Staten Island, losing his firefighter dad in the […]