09 8 / 2012

"To be sensual, I think, is to respect and rejoice in the force of life, of life itself, and to be present in all that one does, from the effort of loving to the making of bread."

Some fine ass man on my Facebook friends list posted this James Baldwin quote yesterday. iSwooned hard. lol

05 1 / 2012

"But it had been from the first her great mistake — to meet him, to marry him, to love him as she so bitterly had. Looking at his face, it sometimes came to her that all women had been cursed from the cradle; all in, one fashion or another, being given the same cruel destiny, born to suffer the weight of men."

Go Tell It On The Mountain by James Baldwin, pg 78

03 1 / 2012

Continuing with my desire to read what I consider classic novels by African American authors from previous generations, I added Go Tell It On The Mountain to my reading list. Baldwin tells the story of fourteen year old John, son of two devout Pentacostal Protestant Christians: Gabriel, an abusive father who doubles as a talented preacher with a deceptive past; and Elizabeth, a quiet, loving mother searching for level ground in an explosive household. John has been labeled a future minister by the parishioners in his church, but as a teen, he grapples with many sinful desires: notably the hatred that he has for his father, and the attraction that he has to the Holy Ghost filled organ player, Elisha.

Other notable characters are Florence, John’s aunt who threatens to reveal secrets from Gabriel’s past; Roy, John’s defiant and violent younger brother who wants nothing to do with the church, but is still considered by Gabriel as the son who will continue their lineage of God’s messengers; and Deborah and Esther, two women from Gabriel’s past who have tremendous impact on the novel.

Baldwin’s description of the Black church was spot on: steeped in tradition, but mired in contradiction; run by men, holy, broken and unapologetic;  and overpopulated by women, meek and accepting of their plight. He presents a cast of multidimensional characters, fully human, that many will be able to identify with.

I had a few issues with this book, though. The beginning was extremely slow, and Baldwin’s use of descriptive language failed to keep my attention multiple times while narrating John’s thoughts. It wasn’t until the story delved into the past of Florence, Gabriel, and Elizabeth, did my eyes perk up and demand my attention. Even then, the story was filled with peaks and valleys. There were some very interesting parts, but they were all surrounded by yawns and boredom. The highlight of the novel was Gabriel’s life story, filled with edge of your seat, jaw dropping drama and suspense. Had Baldwin focused completely on Gabriel and his transgressions, I may have loved this story.

This is my second Baldwin book. Although I believe him to be exceptionally talented, I am starting to believe that his writing is just not my cup of tea.

I’d recommend this for those who are interested in Baldwin’s writing, or those who are interested in novels from the Harlem Renaissance.

Grade: C+

01 12 / 2011

29 11 / 2011

Take This Hammer from SF Bayview on Vimeo.


KQED’s mobile film unit follows author and activist James Baldwin in the spring of 1963, as he’s driven around San Francisco to meet with members of the local African-American community. He is escorted by Youth For Service’s Executive Director Orville Luster and intent on discovering: “The real situation of Negroes in the city, as opposed to the image San Francisco would like to present.” He declares: “There is no moral distance … between the facts of life in San Francisco and the facts of life in Birmingham. Someone’s got to tell it like it is. And that’s where it’s at.” Includes frank exchanges with local people on the street, meetings with community leaders and extended point-of-view sequences shot from a moving vehicle, featuring the Bayview and Western Addition neighborhoods. Baldwin reflects on the racial inequality that African-Americans are forced to confront and at one point tries to lift the morale of a young man by expressing his conviction that: “There will be a Negro president of this country but it will not be the country that we are sitting in now.” 

(via chocol8luv-deactivated20120308)

23 9 / 2011

The role of the artist is exactly the same as the role of the lover. If I love you, I have to make you conscious of the things you don’t see.
- James Baldwin

The role of the artist is exactly the same as the role of the lover. If I love you, I have to make you conscious of the things you don’t see.

- James Baldwin

(via justeby)