Friday, July 22, 2011
Yesterday I had the pleasure of discussing chapters 7, 8, and 9 of Manning Marable's biography of Malcolm X. In the studio with me were two readers of the book, Abdul-Aliy Muhammad and Christopher D. Weaver. We discussed the changes in Malcolm and the changes happening to Malcolm throughout 1961, the year of the Freedom Rides. These three chapters chronicle Malcolm's life from January 1961 to November 1963. We talked about Malcolm's effort to have an interfaith dialogue with African American Christians. And we discussed his Malcolm's serious issues with Elijah Muhammad's orders not to retaliate against the LAPD for their 1962 murder of Rodney X Stokes.
In the second hour of this discussion, we talked with labor activist Bill Fletcher Jr., author of SOLIDARITY DIVIDED and former editor of the BlackCommentator.com. He wrote what I thought was THE BEST review of Manning Marable's biography at the following link:
We discussed how a lot of the controversy with Marable is based in the fact that Marable in his extensive research tampered with the icon of Malcolm X. What was most refreshing in Professor Fletcher's review and discussion yesterday, was that more than anything, Marable shows Malcolm as a man for whom answers were not black and white but included some grey. Fletcher's review is as important as Marable's biography. Both are a must read. To hear our conversation, click the play arrow below.
Friday, July 15, 2011
Yesterday I had the pleasure of talking with Kathy Perkins, Professor of Theatre at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, about a book she edited called SELECTED PLAYS: ALICE CHILDRESS. Published by Northwestern University Press. To me, Alice Childress (1916-1994) along with Lorraine Hansberry is one of the most important mentors to me as a playwright. Her artistic vision in all her plays fearlessly confront racism and sexism in powerful ways that I try to emulate as a playwright. Before we interviewed, I had the phenomenal opportunity of reading this entire book including Kathy Perkins' introduction where she describes Childress as a writer who is "resilient, vocal, no nonsense...uncompromising." We discussed each play in this book in-depth, starting with FLORENCE (1949), GOLD THROUGH THE TREES (1952), TROUBLE IN MIND (1955), WEDDING BAND (1966), and WINE IN THE WILDERNESS (1969). Professor Perkins is so familiar with each of them and what enhanced this interview was hearing her personal experience with Ms. Childress herself, and hearing her work on some of these plays, most recently WINE IN THE WILDERNESS. I also loved reading an excerpt with Professor Perkins of Childress's most popular play TROUBLE IN MIND where I read the role of Al Manners and she read the role of Wiletta Mayer. I hope this interview enhances our appreciation and understanding of the incredibly bold and relevant artistic vision of Alice Childress. I hope more of her plays are read and produced as a result of my interview with Professor Kathy Perkins here. Thank you Professor Perkins for editing this book, and for personally making a fulfilled promise to Ms. Childress to write an anthology dedicated to just her. -RF.
Thursday, July 7, 2011
Today I had a powerful interview with Jerrell Johnson, minister and rap artist extraordinaire. I believe he is an anointed rap artist and anointed minister of the Word. I appreciate Jerrell's teachings on a lot of topics. In this interview we chopped it up about each track (except the Outro which I wish we had more time for) on his 2010 album PEANUT BUTTER AND JEALOUSY, available at http://jerrelljohnson.tumblr.com. Some powerful messages are in each track, mainly THE BACKGROUND which is a song that encourages listeners to tune out the background music or anything we substitute as background music in our life--specifically anything that prevents us from hearing clearly from God. I appreciate Jerrell trying to live for God and using his music to get others to hear from God clearly. I truly appreciated this interview.
Friday, July 1, 2011
Yesterday I talked with Cynthia McKinney about the reality on the ground of U.S. policy in Libya. While we spend millions and billions of dollars on military occupation of Libya and Afghanistan, we neglect the public education of our own communities. I appreciated the knowledge that former Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney shared in this interview. -RF.
This interview took place on Thursday, June 30, 2011 on WPEB radio. I had a very important talk with Cheril about her book KEESHA AND HER TWO MOMS and her holiday coloring book called MY FAMILY! These works recognize children of same sex loving parents of color. We later talked about the importance of more media that recognizes children of such partnerships. -RF.
This discussion took place on Thursday, June 23rd, 2011 at WPEB West Philadelphia Community Radio. It features fellow readers of the new biography of the Malcolm X biography: Abdul-Aliy Muhammad, Christopher D. Weaver, and Anthony Thomas. In this interview we discussed chapters 4 through 6 of this very important biography.