Sunday, November 21, 2010

New Strategies for Mastering 'The Game'

In a world where everything is neat, pristine and without blemish it’s the perfect type of environment to feel that a favorable existence would be most desirable. It would be par for the course not to assume that the races are not bonding and getting along the way God intended in such a scenario. All of the aforementioned is fine and perfect, and the way it should be...but if you are a person of color you would not believe any of this is possible now, and surely you have no reason to believe it wouldn’t be attainable in the foreseeable future if change wasn’t eminent. Now comes authors Randal Pinkett and Jeffrey Robinson who has answers and devised how the game should be played, and how you can stay in place and THRIVE! Their new book, Black Faces in White Places not only has a plan of action, but it comes intact with ten game changing strategic gems to achieve long-lasting success where greatness isn’t a second thought to destiny. As an African American you may have done all you can feeling that you are ready for the world, ready to ascend corporate American and show her what you can do and what you’re made’re credentialed and well-learned; and you feel that you’ve arrived -- been there, done it and certainly ready to prove that you belong.

Alas, along the way to reality there’s a few obstacles in your way. In your mind you would know that strategies and a viable plan would definitely be needed because things just haven’t gone right with you stumbling every now and then and feeling that it’s no fault of your own. Or is it? “Why am I not looked upon with the same accolades as my white counterparts, some whom I consider peers, even”, you may say. Sure, you’ve put yourself in these shoes because they are real and it may have already happened to you. And you also ask yourself, “what can be done to turn the can we stay in place without having to prove that we can hang with whomever has been deemed the ones we should emulate”?

This is no ordinary ‘how to’ book with rudimentary precepts that cannot be used with a sense of continuity. Black Faces in White Places is a mindset written and designed for Black folk to change the game and score repeatedly. I feel that there’s greatness in all that apply and are able to persevere against all odds. The ten strategies are well-placed and thought-provoking to elicit challenges and changes. The book is divided into four parts with each strategy interspersed in subcategories with its own topical subjects. The authors’ voices are vociferous with all of the analogies and objectives loud enough as if to jump off the pages to keep you rooted to the cause. The ‘game’ is all about living, learning and listening. There’s homilies on learning the game, playing the game, mastering the game, and redefining the game. Would you be effective and respected if you don’t establish strong identities and purposes, or not obtaining broad exposure to create branding operatives? What about the need to build diverse and solid relationships while seeking the wisdom of others...and if there’s strength in numbers, then can we collectively allow entrepreneurial fortitude to bolster self, family and community? The key would be to give back generously for sustained synergy for solid scale and scope. All of these questions are answered in-depth with applicable initiatives to use and expand the idea of ethnicity as an asset in lieu of liabilities that have always plagued Blacks in America.

I loved this book, and as a matter of fact, is one of the best books I’ve read this year (2010). I’m partial to this book for many reasons, but the main ones are the ones where comfort zones are challenged to recognize how the search for excellence is not a moot point, but a point of contention. As a Black man myself, I’m not immune to what needs to be done for me to be accepted and assimilated in the icons of respectability. I’m concerned about not being able to beat people of other persuasion at their own game. I want to be able to master ways to balance scales and plant seeds for positive practices and lasting legacies of strength. You should too. Moreover, reading this outstanding book gave me hope that there’s a method to the madness, and ways to build beneficial relations and powerful networks. In closing, social responsibility is ours to exact ways to diffuse inferiority complexes that we have allowed ourselves to operate from. For sure, Black Faces in White Places is a ‘must read’ tome for us to redefine the rules, narrow gaps (real or imagined), and to master the inherent 10 strategies to navigate the authors’ roadmap to respectability. I’m more than ready, what about you? Buy this book , do an about face and create your own space in the place!

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Going Home Again is Not All Bad!

More often than not we experience life and feel that we have all the answers, and we feel we're ready to fly the coop, leave the nest and do it on our own -- until we come face to face with reality, and acknowledge that the school of hard knocks are common ground for redemptive value. Redeeming truths merely states that you can always come home, pick up the pieces and start over again. Nobody knows that better than best-selling author, Wanda B. Campbell who gave few talented authors a chance to do just that. Her anthology, HOME AGAIN is a testimony for accountability to manifest those truths. She gave me the opportunity to write the Foreword to the book and my introduction says in volumes what I think of this effort. This is the complete unedited version, and you're getting it firsthand from me!

I have one word to describe this book: Poignant! Publisher and author, Wanda B. Campbell has assembled an interesting coterie of stories that are at the center of timing and a place to come back to for redeeming value demonstrating the power of love restoring broken relationships and accountability as part of the process. Coming home always has special meaning when amends are made and the better part of valor are allowed to be in place to save face. How do you define that particular ‘place’? Is it home, perhaps? Home is an institution where we are loved and cared for...a place of genuine affection and security. Ironically, it can also be the source of our greatest heartaches and biggest disappointments. With God’s love and guidance we are always susceptible to be circumstantial in relationships and predicaments learning to love again.” Now comes this volume of short stories and creative endeavors featured in this book to offer eloquent forays of erring misfortune and the chance to get it write! The authors in this set have something to say and refused to let the ink dry before writing it down. At their best, and behind such compelling fare help illustrate in convincing fashion just how truly diverse, urgent and haunting the stories are. “All we want to do is to be able to come home to make our wrongs write!” -- so says the authors with their shared stories all in one volume.

I shared moments with Ms Campbell as she gave me the impetus behind this project. I got the sense that with the myriad of success we’re apt to garner in life, there’s equal amounts of angst and disappointment that colors our landscapes. These colorful stories bridges gaps between redemption and salvation tinting the forefront and backdrops from her ‘friends’. I blatantly asked what was the premise behind this literary effort when there’s so much instability and uncertainty due to an economy out of control? Undaunted and unfazed, she answered, “every author has a story and these stories are just components to getting where one needs to be to come home for restoration...for this project, relationship is not limited to male/female romance, and ‘home’ is not limited to a physical building. Besides romance, we’re looking for stories in which the parent/child relationship is mended, sibling rivalries are dissolved, and friendships are restored.”

The opening statement has a lot to do with the 9 writers chosen to give accounts of restored relationships ready for the healing process. I believe in the publisher, the authors and their stories therein. When asked to write the Foreword, I never hesitated because I know what it means to come back to repair a relationship. If there were methods to the madness willing to expose broken relationships and how they affect those that believe that home is where the heart is, I wanted to be the one to tell why these writers were willing to bear their souls, and why you should read their stories. Yes, you SHOULD read these stories! There are stories that tug at your heartstrings, where passion and sensitivity are the genesis for wanting to be accountable, and stories with the audacity to render you spellbound under the shroud of intrigue.

Who are some of these talented writers who dug deep into the inner spectrums to give us something to think about? Each author brings diverse writing acumen as I introduce them to you and let you read the rest. Tyora Moody’s Birthing Pains’ is a story with excellent ebb and flow. She allowed the premise of her story to mesh with intrigue and contrast to embellish her characters. A Graphic Designer and Book Promoter, her story is not only graphic but designed to be a page-turning delight. Likewise for Shenette Jones! ‘Uncovered’ is not one to be hidden without discovering why committing adultery can have devastating consequences with reciprocal repercussions. This beautiful story resonates with a theme of ‘if you can do it, I can too! Ms Jones, a multi-talented singer, dancer and writer bared it all in her portrayal of what it means to be faithful with a purpose. Pastor Bernard Boulton gives us the story of Jake and Eric.’ He delves into reasons why we’re still our brother’s keeper and why sibling rivalry will always be central to it needing an intercessor to be par for the course. In it, there’s the immovable object against the irresistible force -- Carnality vs. Spirituality. Dr. Linda Beed, the erudite and gifted voice of reason comes to us with ‘Flavorful’ and a good taste to digest. She previously published Business As Usual and follows it up with a warm and intrusive narrative about forgiveness through the eyes of a young clairvoyant girl and the essence of replanting seeds for better growth. Her story told in first person is one that you wished would have add more.

When I read Maurice Gray, Jr, and Dijorn Moss, I recall the words I use for authors who get their ideas from countless sources and parlay them into vignettes near or far to what inspired them in the first place. Mr. Gray gives new meaning and an interesting take on dealing with familial (dis)order. Read ‘Family Matters’ and see why this author has gotten rave reviews for earlier published projects. ‘Journey to the Throne’ gives good analogies to the fight game and real-life references to beating back the demons attributing to alcoholism. Moss takes you to the arena and don’t leave you hanging on the ropes. Trinea Moss (yes, she’s the wife of Dijorn) brings us ‘Couple On Trial’ along with other tribulations attributed to marital life with the story of James and Ebony. Tavares S. Carney, a book reviewer, educator and social media promoter felt that there’s a story that had to be told in herConfidential Relations.’ In it, she delves into foster parentage and a revealing mother/daughter relationship that comes full circle after much soul searching. Alas, we come to Ms Wanda B. Campbell, publisher extraordinaire and literary maven with a story poignant and provocative with a sense of urgency where sensitivity and familial fortitude gives new meaning to forgiveness.

These, indeed are the stories that you will come home to, want to read them and get a sense that the authors will be trust-worthy enough for a subsequent following. With this book we want to whet your appetite and present a generous sampling of creative personalities and the stories that color the canvas for the hue and cry of balanced writing. No matter your taste, there’s bound to be that story or two that brings you full circle...we want the lot of them to be committed to making work of the highest caliber. Coming back to the roost to regroup is not bad at all and at the very least, coming home again will be worth your while! Buy this book, read it and DO enjoy!