June 27, 2013

By Zenitha Prince

Special to the NNPA from the Afro-American


African-American poet Natasha Trethewey has been reappointed to another term as Poet Laureate of the United States, “the nation’s official lightning rod for the poetic impulse of Americans,” according to the Library of Congress.

Trethewey, the Robert W. Woodruff Professor of English and Creative Writing at Emory University in Atlanta, is also serving a four-year term as the poet laureate of the state of Mississippi.

“The Library and the country are fortunate Natasha Trethewey will continue her work as Poet Laureate,” Librarian of the U.S. Congress James H. Billington said in a statement. “Natasha’s first term was a resounding success, and we could not be more thrilled with her plans for the coming year.”

The poet laureate is appointed annually by the Librarian of Congress and serves from October to May. In making the appointment, the Librarian consults with former appointees, the current Laureate and distinguished poetry critics.

When Billington announced Trethewey as the 19th poet laureate in June 2012, he praised her as “an outstanding poet/historian” whose poems “dig beneath the surface of history—personal or communal, from childhood or from a century ago—to explore the human struggles that we all face.”

Born in Gulfport, Miss. in 1966, Trethewey graduated from the University of Georgia followed by earning master’s degrees in poetry from Hollins University and from the University of Massachusetts, according to Poets.org.

The English and creative writing professor is the author of four collections of poetry. Her first, Domestic Work (2000), was selected by former poet laureate Rita Dove as the winner of the inaugural Cave Canem Poetry Prize for the best first book by an African-American poet and won both the 2001 Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Book Prize and the 2001 Lillian Smith Award for Poetry.

Dove wrote in Domestic Work’s introduction: “Trethewey eschews the Polaroid instant, choosing to render the unsuspecting yearnings and tremulous hopes that accompany our most private thoughts—reclaiming for us that interior life where the true self flourishes and to which we return, in solitary reverie, for strength.”

Her later works included: Thrall (2012); Native Guard (2006), which received the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry; and Bellocq’s Ophelia (2002). She is also the author of Beyond Katrina: A Meditation on the Mississippi Gulf Coast (2010).

In her first term as Poet Laureate, Trethewey made her mark with her “Office Hours” during which she met with the general public in the Library of Congress’ Poetry Room—harkening back to a tradition established by her predecessors in the post from 1937 to 1986.

For her second term, she plans to travel to U.S. cities to examine how Americans are exploring and expressing societal issues through poetry, and report on her discoveries in a regular feature on the PBS “NewsHour Poetry Series.”

Parent Category: Lifestyle
Category: Arts & Culture

June 20, 2013

7th Annual Leimert Park Book Fair pays Homage to the 1960’s

By Troy Tieuel

LAWT Contributing Writer


“It was books that taught me that the things that tormented me most were the very things that connected me with all the people who were alive, or who had ever been alive,” said the American novelist, playwright, poet and social critic James A. Baldwin, the 2013 Legacy Honoree for the 7th Annual Leimert Park Book Fair, occurring June 29 in the Vision Theater’s back lot.

The Leimert Park Book Fair, founded in 2006, promotes literacy in the African American community.  Cynthia Exum, Founder and Executive Director of the Leimert Park Book Fair, has prepared a quality line up of events for this year’s fair, which includes celebrities, well known authors, and outstanding political officials.  This year’s book fair also pays homage to the legacy of the 1960’s featuring the music, politics, and of course notable writings and writers of that era.

Among this year’s Featured Authors are actress Victoria Rowell, Judge Mablean Ephriam, Associate Professor of Economics at Loyola Marymount University Robert Singleton, author Gary Phillips, and Rev. James Lawson who will speak about “Martin Luther King Jr.’s Legacy in the Era of Obama.”

The Fair will host five literary pavilions that will feature poetry performances, writers, publishers and a storytelling stage along with the Memphis-based “Stax Museum of American Soul Music” that will provide the sound track of 1960’s that helped inspire the Civil Rights Movement.

Panels include “From Page to Screen: Adapting Books Into Screenplays” moderated by Janice Rhoshalle Littlejohn, journalist, author and producer.  The panel is designed to offer tips to aspiring and established writers on how to transform novels, non-fiction books and articles into scripts for television and feature films.

“This panel is a very unique one for the book fair this year as it focuses both on the creative process of writing as well as the business end of Hollywood” added Littlejohn. “I am very excited to have author Mishna Wolff on the panel. Her bestselling memoir, ‘I’m Down’ was one of my favorite summer reads a few years ago.”

For additional information on this free event call 323.730.0628 or visit the website at www.leimertparkbookfair.com.

Parent Category: Lifestyle
Category: Arts & Culture

June 20, 2013

Shannen Hill

LAWT Intern 


Black Entertainment Television (BET) is partnering with Bakewell Media’s ‘Taste of Soul’ franchise to bring the biggest weekend in live entertainment to downtown Los Angeles on June 28-29.

BET will be hosting their first ever BET Experience at L.A. Live to precede the annual BET Awards show on June 30. Now the event is more than an awards show, it’s an experience.

The BET Experience is about connecting with the fans, so they have created BET Fan Fest, a festival full of free daytime activities on Friday and Saturday. Some of the best entertainers in the music industry will be at the festival, which will start at 10a.m. – 7p.m. While activities are free and open to the public, online registration is required.

Taste of Soul, which will continue to host its annual Family Festival on Crenshaw Blvd. on Oct. 19th has attracted nearly a million patrons in less than a decade. Presented by Bakewell Media, A Taste of ‘Taste of Soul’ will bring local food vendors with the best flavors to the BET Experience.

‘Taste of Soul’ is the largest food festival in Los Angeles, bringing the community’s favorite food vendors to one place.

Introducing ‘Taste of Soul’ in a limited form at the BET Experience with a taste of ‘Taste of Soul’ for the weekend, bringing L.A.’s favorite food vendors and community performances out to L.A. Live.

The smells of Harold and Belle’s, Chef Marilyn’s Soul Food Express and Cobbler King will fill the air along with 25 other Los Angeles vendors. Some of the performers that will grace the BET & Taste of Soul Community Stage, include Debbie Allen’s Dance Academy, the Crenshaw Elite Choir and Jada Grace, one of Berry Gordy’s latest music acts. ‘Taste of Soul’ is showcasing to BET and the people flying in from across the country the local Los Angeles community has to offer.

While ‘Taste of Soul’ highlights community acts, the BET Music Matters stage will present artists such as Marsha Ambrosius and Big K.R.I.T. along with some up-and-coming artists that are taking the music industry by storm. 106 & Park will also be broadcasting live from the festival and there will be celebrities throughout L.A. Live all day.

For the people who are into being part of the show, instead of watching, Sprite is having a Sports Court where there will be a dance-a-thon with the one and only Chris Brown. The Sprite Court will also have other activities including a slam-dunk competition, celebrity basketball game and high school drum line competition with celebrity judges.

Throughout Fan Fest, there will also be a free film festival and celebrity panel discussions. The panel discussion speakers will include Snoop Dogg, Pharrell Williams, MC Lyte, Laila Ali and many others. They will be discussing topics such as sports, gun violence, finances and marriage. For more of a BET Connection, the Grammy Museum will have an exhibit of all of the winners of BET’s Lifetime Achievement Awards throughout the years.

BET Fan Fest activities are completely free and open to the public, but participants are required to register online at bet.com. There will be on-site registration at the L.A. Convention Center as well, but BET highly recommends registering online because space is limited.

Aside from the free, daytime activities, there will also be concerts of big name celebrities, which require a ticket purchase. Some performers include Beyoncé, Miguel, J. Cole and Kendrick Lamar. Other artists that can take you back to the old school will have concerts as well, including New Edition, The Roots and the Jacksons. Sunday’s Best Live, hosted by Kirk Franklin, will also be broadcasted during the BET Experience at L.A. Live. Along with musical concerts, funny men Mike Epps and Cedric the Entertainer will have comedy shows. To purchase tickets for these concerts and find out more information about who’s performing, go to bet.com.

Not only will there be daytime and evening activities. The BET Experience at L.A. Live is partying with us in Los Angeles. There will be exclusive after-parties at the Conga Room in Downtown Los Angeles, in which a Diamond VIP Package must be purchased.

The BET Experience at L.A. Live will provide an experience like no other award show. There will be free events and concerts all weekend leading up to the 2013 BET Awards show on Sunday, June 30 at 8:00 p.m., hosted by comedian Chris Tucker. Some of the performers will include Chris Brown, R. Kelly and honoree Charlie Wilson. For more information, visit bet.com

Parent Category: Lifestyle
Category: Arts & Culture

June 20, 2013



Anybody may occasionally have a week when their energy feels low. Your natural good health will see you through a possible down time if you just go with the flow and let yourself relax. Rest if you have the chance and you’ll feel like your wonderful self in no time flat!  Soul Affirmation: I calm my emotions by forgetting about the past.



You are the center of attention this week and while you’ll be very busy you’ll love every moment. Enjoy your time in the spotlight! You may want to indulge yourself with some emotional theatrics this week. Add up the costs and benefits before acting out. If you can afford it go for it! If not count to ten and smile, smile smile! Soul Affirmation: All vibes are good, and good for me this week!



Stay flexible this week especially where a partner is concerned. While they may be moody there’s no need for you to join them in their attitude unless you really, really want to! Stay positive and go with the good vibrations that surround you. Soul Affirmation: I exercise to lower tension this week.



Ding-dong! Destiny is at the door. Let it in and enjoy the change of pace. You’ll be happy to make a few adjustments for this most welcome guest. Follow through on instincts and hunches! Soul Affirmation: My spirit makes all things new.



Stay on course with your current decisions and dreams . You may doubt your progress this week but you really are moving toward a better tomorrow with your determined attitude. Soul Affirmation: I enlarge my happiness by forgetting about myself this week.



You feel great ! Your shining spirit attracts many seekers this week so let your best wisest self answer questions that are put to you by those who want advice. You’ll smooth over a sticky situation at work with ease.  Soul Affirmation: Distant love is sometimes sweeter.



Busy week. You’ll want to get up with the birdies and you may even want to whistle a happy little tune. You’ll be very much in demand for your expertise and positive attitude. Way to go!  Soul Affirmation: I enjoy the act of adoring.



Happiness arrives and sits on your shoulder like a bright butterfly this week. A relationship can make significant progress if you stay open to love. Keep your evening free for romance in a social setting.  Soul Affirmation: I give thanks for who I am this week.



Take charge of a project at work and get it finished up. It’s been languishing on someone else’s shoulders and desk for way too long. A sensible outlook will get you far this week.  Soul Affirmation: My hunches work well for me this week.



You may find yourself faced with many distractions this week but you’ll sail through and accomplish much if you stay focused on each task and take them one at a time. You know you can do it this evening.  Soul Affirmation: Money opens doors for friendship to enter.



Creativity is favored and yours is especially favored with some project that you’ve been working especially hard on. For the next few days watch for a romance that will bring special gifts.  Soul Affirmation: I care deeply about the feelings of others.



Your new ideas combine well with your will and skill. You get a lot done at work this week. Be soft and forceful. Make time for family life tonight. Your rewards come from those who are related to you by blood.  Soul Affirmation: I let positive emotions carry me through the week.

Parent Category: Lifestyle
Category: Arts & Culture

June 20, 2013

(AP) — Lil Wayne says he wasn’t intentionally stepping on the American flag when shooting his latest video.

Video of the rapper from his music video shoot for the song “God Bless Amerika” hit the Web on Monday. In it, he appears to be stepping on top of the American flag. But he said in a Facebook post Tuesday the flag on the ground will not appear in the clip.

He writes it was never his intention “to desecrate the flag of the United States of America.”

He says the flag will reveal a group of people behind him in the video.

The New Orleans-based rapper says in the statement his environment helped shape the way he views America and his song and video represent the people he grew up with.

Parent Category: Lifestyle
Category: Arts & Culture

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