Tag Archives: television

Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person by Shonda Rhimes

Simon & Schuster
November 10, 2015
Hardcover

In this poignant, hilarious, and deeply intimate call to arms, Hollywood’s most powerful woman, the mega-talented creator of Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal and executive producer of How to Get Away with Murder reveals how saying YES changed her life — and how it can change yours too.

She’s the creator and producer of some of the most groundbreaking and audacious shows on television today: Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, How to Get Away with Murder. Her iconic characters — Meredith Grey, Cristina Yang, Olivia Pope, Annalise Keating — live boldly and speak their minds. So who would suspect that Shonda Rhimes, the mega talent who owns Thursday night television (#TGIT), is an introvert? That she hired a publicist so she could avoid public appearances? That she hugged walls at splashy parties and suffered panic attacks before media interviews so severe she remembered nothing afterward?

Before her Year of Yes, Shonda Rhimes was an expert at declining invitations others would leap to accept. With three children at home and three hit television shows on TV, it was easy to say that she was simply too busy. But in truth, she was also afraid. Afraid of cocktail party faux pas like chucking a chicken bone across a room; petrified of live television appearances where Shonda Rhimes could trip and fall and bleed out right there in front of a live studio audience; terrified of the difficult conversations that came so easily to her characters on-screen. In the before, Shonda’s introvert life revolved around burying herself in work, snuggling her children, and comforting herself with food.

And then, on Thanksgiving 2013, Shonda’s sister muttered something that was both a wake up and a call to arms: You never say yes to anything.

The comment sat like a grenade, until it detonated. Then Shonda, the youngest of six children from a supremely competitive family, knew she had to embrace the challenge: for one year, she would say YES to everything that scared her.

This poignant, intimate, and hilarious memoir explores Shonda’s life before her Year of Yes — from her nerdy, book-loving childhood creating imaginary friends to her devotion to creating television characters who reflected the world she saw around her (like Cristina Yang, whose ultimate goal wasn’t marriage, and Cyrus Beene, who is a Republican and gay). And it chronicles her life after her Year of Yes had begun — when Shonda forced herself out of the house and onto the stage, appearing on Jimmy Kimmel Live, and giving the Dartmouth Commencement speech; when she learned to say yes to her health, yes to play and she stepped out of the shadows and into the sun; when she learned to explore, empower, applaud, and love her truest self. Yes.

This wildly candid and compulsively readable book reveals how the mega talented Shonda Rhimes, an unexpected introvert, achieved badassery worthy of a Shondaland character. And how you can, too.

The Hippest Trip in America: Soul Train and the Evolution of Culture & Style by Nelson George



William Morrow,
March 25, 2014,
Hardcover
An authoritative history of the groundbreaking syndicated television show that has become an icon of American pop culture, from acclaimed author and filmmaker Nelson George, “the most accomplished black music critic of his generation” (Washington Post Book World).

When it debuted in October 1971, seven years after the Civil Rights Act, Soul Train boldly went where no variety show had gone before, showcasing the cultural preferences of young African-Americans and the sounds that defined their lives: R&B, funk, jazz, disco, and gospel music. The brainchild of radio announcer Don Cornelius, the show’s producer and host, Soul Train featured a diverse range of stars, from James Brown and David Bowie to Christine Aguilera and R. Kelly; Marvin Gaye and Elton John to the New Kids on the Block and Stevie Wonder.

The Hippest Trip in America tells the full story of this pop culture phenomenon that appealed not only to blacks, but to a wide crossover audience as well. Famous dancers like Rosie Perez and Jody Watley, performers such as Aretha Franklin, Al Green, and Barry White, and Cornelius himself share their memories, offering insights into the show and its time — a period of extraordinary social and political change. Colorful and pulsating, The Hippest Trip In America is a fascinating portrait of a revered cultural institution that has left an indelible mark on our national consciousness.

The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross by Henry Louis Gates Jr., Donald Yacovone



Hardcover
October 1, 2013
SmileyBooks
The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross is the companion book to the six-part, six hour documentary of the same name, airing on national, primetime public television in the fall of 2013. The series is the first to air since 1968 that chronicles the full sweep of 500 years of African American history, from the origins of slavery on the African continent and the arrival of the first black conquistador, Juan Garrido, in Florida in 1513, through five centuries of remarkable historic events right up to today—when Barack Obama is serving his second term as President, yet our country remains deeply divided by race and class.

The book explores these topics in even more detail than possible in the television series, and examines many other fascinating matters as well, such as the ethnic origins — and the regional and cultural diversit — of the Africans whose enslavement led to the creation of the African American people. It delves into the multiplicity of cultural institutions, political strategies, and religious and social perspectives that African Americans have created in the half a millennium since their African ancestors first arrived on these shores. Like the television series, this book guides readers on an engaging journey through the Black Atlantic world — from Africa and Europe to the Caribbean, Latin America, and the United States — to shed new light on what it has meant, and means, to be an African American.

By highlighting the complex internal debates and class differences within the Black Experience in this country, readers will learn that the African American community, which black abolitionist Martin R. Delany described as a “nation within a nation,” has never been a truly uniform entity, and that its members have been debating their differences of opinion and belief from their very first days in this country. The road to freedom for black people in America has not been linear; rather, much like the course of a river, it has been full of loops and eddies, slowing and occasionally reversing current. Ultimately, this book emphasizes the idea that African American history encompasses multiple continents and venues, and must be viewed through a transnational perspective to be fully understood.

Luther: The Calling by Neil Cross




Touchstone
9/4/12
A brilliant crime novel and prequel to the acclaimed BBC series by the show’s creator and sole writer

Meet Detective Chief Inspector John Luther. He’s a murder detective with an extraordinary case-clearance rate. He’s obsessive, instinctive, and intense. Nobody who ever stood at his side has a bad word to say about him. And yet there are rumors that Luther is bad—not corrupt, not on the take, but tormented. After years of chasing the most depraved criminals in London’s gritty underworld, he seethes with a hidden fury that at times he can barely control. Sometimes it sends him to the brink of madness, making him do things any other detective wouldn’t and shouldn’t do.

Luther: The Calling, the first in a new series of novels featuring DCI John Luther, takes us into Luther’s past and into his mind. It is the story of the serial killer case that tore his personal and professional relationships apart and propelled him over the precipice—beyond fury, beyond vengeance, all the way to the other side of the law. Is Luther a force for good or a man hell-bent on self-destruction? Edgar Award–winning writer Neil Cross has created one of the most compelling characters in modern crime fiction. Luther: The Calling is a compulsively readable novel by the writer hailed by The Guardian as “Britain’s own Stephen King.”

The Oprah Winfrey Show: Reflections on an American Legacy by Deborah Davis

The Oprah Winfrey Show came to an end on May 25, 2011, after 25 years on television. Arguably the most influential television personality of all time, Ms. Winfrey and her show have had an impact on American culture that cannot be overstated. This beautifully illustrated book will explore and celebrate the legacy of the show using essays and tributes from a stellar group of contributors including Maya Angelou, Bono, Ellen DeGeneres, Nelson Mandela, Toni Morrison, Julia Roberts, Maria Shriver, Gloria Steinem, John Travolta, and more. The book will feature photographs from the Harpo archive, spanning the 25 years the show has been on the air, including the farewell season.

Essays within the book will be dedicated to different themes (e.g., personal growth, social action, and literature) and will explore how the show has touched people’s lives and impacted the conversation around those issues. The essays will be followed by narrative text, which will guide the reader through the history of the show’s involvement with each topic and will include stories about the events, people, and organizations that have acted as touchstones or provided insights along the way. Accompanying the essays and narrative text will be images from the show, behind-the-scenes photographs, as well as signature portraits of the contributing celebrities taken by noted photographers.

The book will allow Oprah Winfrey Show fans to understand the broad cultural impact of the show, while revisiting favorite guests, episodes, and stories.

News: NBC bringing Walter Mosley’s ‘Easy Rawlins’ to TV

September 13th, 2011

NBC bringing Walter Mosley‘s ‘Easy Rawlins’ to TV

Walter Mosley‘s private investigator Ezekiel “Easy” Rawlins is moving from fiction to primetime.

According to Deadline, NBC is developing a project called “Easy Rawlins,” based on Mosley’s best-selling series.

The novels feature a self-taught black detective who finds himself solving crimes amidst the changing social landscape of Los Angeles from the ’40s to the ’60s, but NBC will narrow the show’s focus to the latter decade. The character is one that moves easily between the segregated worlds of L.A.

See http://marquee.blogs.cnn.com/2011/09/13/nbc-bringing-walter-mosleys-easy-rawlins-to-tv/

The Next Big Story by Soledad O’Brien

Celebra Hardcover
Available November 2, 2010 in Hardcover

An intimate look behind the CNN journalist’s most compelling reporting moments and how it has shaped her perspective on America’s future.

“Story is our medium. It’s how we connect emotionally with our viewers. And it’s how we make sense of our world…When we talk about a ‘big story,’ we’re really talking about what resonates with people, what matters to them…And I think when it comes to our national narrative, what we need to realize is that we’re all contributing to the story, that we can affect where this country is going.”

From top CNN anchor and special correspondent Soledad O’Brien comes a highly personal look at her biggest reporting moments from Hurricane Katrina, the tsunami in Southeast Asia, the devastating Haiti earthquake to the historic elections and high profile interviews with everyday Americans. Drawing on her own unique background and consciousness as well as her experiences as a journalist at the front lines of the most provocative issues in today’s society-and particularly from her work as host of the acclaimed series Black in America and Latino in America-O’Brien offers her candid, clear-eyed take on where we are as a country and where we’re going.

What emerges is both an inspiring message of hope and a glimpse into the heart and soul of one of America’s most straight-talking reporters.

The Next Big Story: My Journey Through the Land of Possibilities
by Soledad O’Brien with Rose Marie Arce

Secrets of a Soap Opera Diva: A Novel by Victoria Rowell

Calysta Jeffries is the hottest black actress in daytime and the diva of the soap opera world, known for her role as Ruby Stargazer on television’s most popular soap opera, “The Rich and the Ruthless.”

After fifteen years, three returns from the dead, two failed pregnancies, one alien abduction, and overcoming retrograde amnesia, Calysta still hasn’t managed to snag the biggest award in daytime drama: the Sudsy. Now is supposed to be her moment. But Calysta’s onscreen/offscreen rival Emmy Abernathy wins the award for the fourth time. The drama begins when journalist Mitch Morelli asks Calysta for a quote after the award show and her true feelings for her costar slip out.

Ripped from the headlines of Soap Opera Digest and straight off of the television screen, Secrets of a Soap Opera Diva will give readers plenty to talk about as they try to guess where the real world ends and Rowell’s imagination begins

Atria
Available May 4, 2010 in Paperback

Killing Willis by Todd Bridges

Killing Willis: From Diff’rent Strokes to the Mean Streets to the Life I Always Wanted
by Todd Bridges, , Sarah Tomlinson (Contributor)

Touchstone
Available 03/16/10 in Hardcover

The former child star—best known as Willis Jackson on Diff’rent Strokes—shares the shocking but inspirational details of his struggles with addiction, brushes with the law, and fierce fight to carve a path through the darkness and find his true identity.

For Todd Bridges, early stardom was no protection from painful childhood events that paved the road to his own personal hell. One of the first African-American child actors on shows like Little House on the Prairie, The Waltons, and Roots, Bridges burst to the national forefront on the hit sitcom Diff’rent Strokes as the subject of the popular catchphrase, “What’chu Talkin About Willis?” When the show ended, Bridges was overwhelmed by the off-camera traumas he had faced. Turning to drugs as an escape, he soon lost control.

Now, for the first time, Bridges opens up about his life before and after Diff’rent Strokes: the incredible reversals of fortune brought on by fame and the precipitous—and very public—descent that followed; the persecution from police; the drug addiction that nearly consumed him; the criminal charges that almost earned him a life sentence; and his successful legal defense led by Johnnie Cochran. Through it all, Bridges never relented in his quest to fight his way back from the abyss, establish his own identity—separate from Willis Jackson—and offer his ordeal as a positive example for those struggling to overcome similar challenges. His triumphant story of recovery and redemption is recounted here as well.

Todd Bridges has lived a life of remarkable twists and turns—from the greatest heights to the lowest lows imaginable. In this shocking but ultimately hopeful memoir, he proves that what he was really talking about was survival.

Never Make the Same Mistake Twice by Nene Leakes

Never Make the Same Mistake Twice: Lessons on Love and Life Learned the Hard Way
by Nene Leakes
Nene Leakes (Author), Denene Millner (Contributor)

Touchstone
Available 08/11/09

Outrageous, captivating, and unafraid to tell it like it is, Nene Leakes shares her wild journey from a scandalous past to the pinnacle of reality television stardom. Lauded by her fans for her refreshing honesty, infectiously genuine style, and clever sense of humor, Nene is an empowered, self-made woman who has not forgotten where she came from and knows exactly where she wants to go.

In this straight-talking and provocative memoir, Nene charts her journey from family black sheep to single mother to making good and realizing her dreams. With her charm and bold, self-possessed voice, Nene tackles her painful childhood; the abuse she suffered at the hands of a violent boyfriend; her struggle to support her firstborn son; and her path to true love, self-acceptance, and pride.

In Never Make the Same Mistake Twice, Nene dishes on her cast mates; takes on the rumors about her past; and shares hard-earned and inspiring life lessons in her fierce, no-nonsense, and irreverent style.