Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Another Exciting Monday Night

If you look hard enough, there are things to do on a tight budget. Last night, DH & I went to The Shrine of the Black Madonna Cultural Center and Bookstore to listen to Hill Harper speak about his book, Letters to a Young Brother. The book is an inspirational non-fiction work aimed at young Black men in America. Now, before last night, I had no idea who Hill Harper was. Apparently, he's a famous actor and has a current role on CSI:NY. I had no idea, but a lot of other ladies knew who he was. The room was filled with more women than men. Being neither black, male, or even American for that matter, I came away having learned a little more about this country that I have adopted as home. It's hard enough learning about America, Americans, and being American, I have to learn what it's like to be a black person in America (thanks DH).

He talked about his motivation for writing the book but also, interestingly, the struggle that he went through to get the book published. He met with publishers, all of whom were all very excited to publish a book for him. Just not the book that he had written. "We'll put your face on the cover, how about a cookbook? Or a book about CSI? Or a book about dating!" and so on and so forth. He was able to find a a company to publish the book that he had written and he went on to explain briefly that in the publishing world, it's really difficult to get books of this nature published as hardback. It's more expensive and the publisher wants some sort of guarantee of return before making that type of investment. It was very interesting. He stuck to his guns and got the book published, hardback, colour inserts, embossed type on the cover and $20 sticker price. Alright! I'm looking forward to reading the book.

After he spoke, there was a Q & A followed by a book signing. DH got the book for him to sign. I didn't know it when we first got there, but [gratuitous bragging] DH had already met Hill Harper at the PAFF in Los Angeles when he was screening his documentary. [/gratuitous bragging] ;)

The other interesting thing was the location that the book signing was held in. According to their website, The Shrine of the Black Madonna Cultural Center and Bookstore's
"...purpose has been to contribute to the strengthening of Black People’s identification with the Black experience. In carrying out this mission, the Cultural Centers help us to build a positive Black identity by maintaining our connection to our African heritage and culture."
We visited the Black Holocaust Museum which was eye opening and heart breaking. I would definitely recommend visiting it. It's historical, educational, inspirational and free-of-charge. I didn't get to browse through the books in the bookstore, so I'll have to come back for that. The sanctuary is essentially a room with a dropped ceiling, fairly simple with amazing paintings hanging on the wall. They did happen to have a Hammond B3 and a Leslie, so I can only imagine that the service on Sunday is jamming.

The Hammond.

The Leslie.

All in all, I rate the evening a 7 out of 10, mainly because my stomach was acting like a fool throughout the evening. I blame the leftovers we scarfed down before the event.

Listen to an interview
on NPR.

Gratuitous MLK Blvd. shot.

Green means go.


Blogger mini said...

sounds like an educational evening all round with an added bonus of getting to meet the author. just did a google search. hill is hot! :)

3:53 PM  

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