All Articles Tagged "alice walker"

Celebrated Writer J. California Cooper Dies At 82

September 24th, 2014 - By Ann Brown
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via Amazon

via Amazon

J. California Cooper, 82, died peacefully in Seattle, Washington, on September 20th, with daughter Paris Williams by her side, reports Ebony.

Born in Berkley, California, Cooper was best known for her short stories and plays including Strangers. In 1978 she won a Black Playwright Award for that particular play. In all, Cooper authored six short story collections including A Piece of Mine, Homemade Love (winner of the 1989 American Book Award), Some Soul to Keep, The Matter is Life, Some Love, Some Pain, Sometime, and Wild Stars Seeking Midnight Suns. And her short story Funny Valentine was turned into a 1999 TV movie.

Cooper, originally a playwright, started writing short stores at the suggestion of Alice Walker, who told her short stories “were an easier path to a paycheck,” reports ABC News.

Cooper and Walker met after the Pulitzer Prize winner attended one of her plays.

“Her advice to my mother was you should write short stories or novels because it was easier to get paid. She went home and wrote 12 stories,” Williams said.

The relationship between the two writers grew. “When Cooper asked Walker to write an introduction to her first story collection, the writer who had just been honored for The Color Purple asked to publish the book at her own publishing house. Walker also helped Cooper get one of her stories published in Essence magazine and the book took off from there,” Williams told ABC News.

According to her daughter, Cooper worked a variety of jobs from a teamster on the Alaska pipeline to an escrow officer and a manicurist to pay the bills.

“My mother tried a lot of things when I was growing up,” she said. “Writing was something she always did. She just stuck them in a drawer.”

She died following a series of heart attacks over the past few years. Cooper moved from California to Seattle in 2013.

8 Famous Lesbian Women Who Were Married To Men

June 16th, 2014 - By Julia Austin
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Lesbians Who Were Married To Men


There are actually a number of famous lesbian and bisexual women who were married to men at one point and time. Here are eight.

Breaking Down Barriers: Famous and Prominent Queer Black Women

March 28th, 2014 - By Deron Dalton
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black celesbians,

Once again, it’s Women’s History Month and MadameNoire is celebrating women who aren’t typically recognized for who they truly are… even as celebrities.

So we’re acknowledging these women with a list of bisexual and lesbian black celebrities and famous public figures who have advocated for equal gender and sexuality rights. Many of these women may have struggled with coming out yet found a way to be themselves in a tough heteronormative society.

These 15 famous black women have had to face issues of race, gender and sexuality currently but they are truly trailblazers —  being part of a small club of black women in the entertainment industry as lesbians.

PBS Debuts New Alice Walker Documentary, ‘Alice Walker: Beauty In Truth’

February 7th, 2014 - By Rich
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From BlackVoices 

Alice Walker, who turns 70 later this month, is thinking about her legacy.

Over the past few years, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author has donated her papers to Emory University, permitted “The Color Purple” to be released as an e-book and reached a deal with Simon & Schuster to publish excerpts from journals she has kept for decades. Walker also participated in the documentary “Alice Walker: Beauty in Truth,” scheduled to air Friday night on PBS stations as part of the “American Masters” series.

“I don’t have this feeling that 70 is really old,” says Walker, who notes one ancestor lived to 125. “But I do feel it’s helpful if you’re thinking about the coming generations to leave your work in a form that people can relate to.”

Interviewed recently by telephone, Walker said one reason she agreed to appear in the film is because the director, Pratibha Parmar, is a friend. Parmar, also interviewed recently, said she was inspired to make the documentary a few years ago after viewing DVDs of other “American Masters” projects.

“It seemed crazy not to have a film on Alice, given the impact she’s had with her life and her writing,” said Parmar, who in the 1990s worked with Walker on the film and book “Warrior Marks,” about female genital mutilation in Africa.

As “masters” go, Walker is hardly an austere, Olympian figure. A longtime feminist and political activist, she has been denounced for not allowing “The Color Purple” to be translated into Hebrew (in protest of Israel’s treatment of Palestinians) and accused of demeaning black men in “The Color Purple,” but celebrated for fighting racism and sexism and writing candidly about abortion, incest and domestic violence.

Read more about Alice Walker at 

Alice Walker To Publish Private Journal Entries In 2017

October 15th, 2013 - By Lauren R.D. Fox
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Alice Walker



If you adore Alice Walker and her riveting writing then you are in for a treat!

Over the years “The Color Purple” author kept a diary, filling the pages with poems, stories, and essays on everything from the details of childhood poverty to her rise to literary fame. And the Associated Press reports that Walker is gearing up to publish select writings from her journal in 2017, thanks to a deal with Simon & Schuster imprint 37.

The published project will be titled: “Gathering Blossoms Under Fire” and will be edited by Valerie Boyd who also wrote Zora Neale Hurston’s biography. The Huffington Post credits Hurston  as one of Walker’s literary idols.

We’re excited to read the wisdom Walker will bless us with from her life’s journey — especially since she’s been writing in her diary for over half a century.

Will you check this book out in 2017?


‘The Color Purple’ Author Alice Walker Disinvited Then Re-Invited To Univ Of Michigan

August 19th, 2013 - By Ann Brown
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Pulitzer Prize-winning author Alice Walker’s  criticism of Israel may have led to the University of Michigan disinviting her to speak at the university.

Business Insider reports that Walker, who is  best known for her 1982 novel  The Color Purple, had been invited to speak at the 50th anniversary of the university’s Center for the Education of Women. And not she isn’t welcomed. “It is unclear why exactly the author’s invitation was rescinded,” according to

Walker, however, thinks it may because of her recent criticism of Israel. Walker supports a boycott of Israel and refused to allow an Israeli edition of The Color Purple to be published, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education.

In an email Walker posted on her blog, she wrote:

I’m saddened to write this because I’m a proponent of free speech and have been brought up to allow everyone to have their say. But I also realize that there are other considerations that institutions are faced with. This afternoon I was contacted by the University of Michigan instructing me to withdraw their invitation due to the removal of funding from the donors, because of their interpretation of Ms. Walker’s comments regarding Israel. They are not willing to fund this program and the university/Women’s center do not have the resources to finance this on their own.

A statement from the director of UMich’s Center for the Education of Women, however, said that money was that reason:

I want to apologize for how we handled our invitation to author Alice Walker to speak at the Center for the Education of Women.

Upon further research, I decided to withdraw our invitation because I did not think Ms. Walker would be the optimum choice for the celebratory nature of our 50th anniversary event.

Donors had no bearing on this decision. Our 50th anniversary funding is completely assured. All donations, for this and other events, are accepted with no provisos or prohibitions regarding free speech.

Then over the weekend, it was reported that she actually would be invited to speak. The provost of the school, Martha E. Pollack, sent an email to faculty saying that each department can use its own discretion about who they invite to speak and reiterated the apology that had been offered by the Center’s director. “am writing to reiterate the university’s firm commitment to free speech and to the expression of diverse viewpoints. The University of Michigan has a long history of hosting speakers who bring a wide variety of perspectives, and events that focus on challenging topics. Challenging and difficult conversations are the core of our academic mission and spur both individual and community growth. Indeed, we strongly believe that the best response to challenging discourse is more discourse.”

Now we’ll see if this invitation sticks.


Alice Walker Writes An Open Letter Begging Alicia Keys Not To Put Her Soul In Danger By Performing In Israel

May 29th, 2013 - By Brande Victorian
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Source: WENN

Source: WENN

If you are unfamiliar with the social politics of Israel, you may not be alone. Author and activist Alice Walker is giving us all a lesson on the struggles going on in the country by way of an open letter she wrote to singer Alicia Keys. Alicia, who is currently on her “Set The World On Fire” Tour is slated to perform in Tel Aviv on the fourth of July, but if Ms. Walker has anything to say about it the show will never happen due to the harsh treatment the people of Palestine have endured at the hands of Israelis. That conflict is the basis for the letter Alice Walker wrote Alicia, imploring her to rethink her scheduled concert. Here’s what it says:

Dear Alicia Keys,

I have learned today that you are due to perform in Israel very soon. We have never met, though I believe we are mutually respectful of each other’s path and work. It would grieve me to know you are putting yourself in danger (soul danger) by performing in an apartheid country that is being boycotted by many global conscious artists. You were not born when we, your elders who love you, boycotted institutions in the US South to end an American apartheid less lethal than Israel’s against the Palestinian people. Google Montgomery Bus Boycott, if you don’t know about this civil rights history already. We changed our country fundamentally, and the various boycotts of Israeli institutions and products will do the same there. It is our only nonviolent option and, as we learned from our own struggle in America, nonviolence is the only path to a peaceful future.

If you go to my website and blog you can quickly find many articles I have written over the years that explain why a cultural boycott of Israel and Israeli institutions (not individuals) is the only option left to artists who cannot bear the unconscionable harm Israel inflicts every day on the people of Palestine, whose major “crime” is that they exist in their own land, land that Israel wants to control as its own. Under a campaign named ‘Brand Israel’, Israeli officials have stated specifically their intent to downplay the Palestinian conflict by using culture and arts to showcase Israel as a modern, welcoming place.

This is actually a wonderful opportunity for you to learn about something sorrowful, and amazing: that our government (Obama in particular) supports a system that is cruel, unjust, and unbelievably evil. You can spend months, and years, as I have, pondering this situation. Layer upon layer of lies, misinformation, fear, cowardice and complicity. Greed. It is a vast eye-opener into the causes of much of the affliction in our suffering world.

I have kept you in my awareness as someone of conscience and caring, especially about the children of the world. Please, if you can manage it, go to visit the children in Gaza, and sing to them of our mutual love of all children, and of their right not to be harmed simply because they exist.

With love, younger sister, beloved daughter and friend,
Alice Walker

So far Alicia Keys hasn’t issued a response, but it will certainly be interesting to see if the show must go on or she pulls out based on this information.

What do you think about Alice Walker’s letter?

Out & Proud: Gay/Bi/Lesbian African American Celebrities

February 27th, 2013 - By Nicole Akoukou Thompson
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For years, there has been media speculation concerning the sexuality of celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey, Queen Latifah, Eddie Murphy, Johnny Gill, and more recently, Raven Symone. The trip out of the closet has been a long one for African American celebrities, evident by the fact there aren’t nearly as many out and open black celebrities as there are white. We don’t often see black celebrities walking around, publicly showcasing their love like Sex and the City’s Cythia Nixon and her girlfriend; Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi; or Elton John and David Furnish. That isn’t to say that there aren’t any out African American celebrities though. In fact, we’ve got an entire list of proud gay celebrities.



This comedian has been making people laugh since she began her  stand-up career in 1987 at a Coors Light Super Talent Showcase in Washington DC. She got her first big break opening for Chris Rock at Caroline’s Comedy Club, and since then she’s made a career of being an award-winning television and movie actress, stand-up comedian, and writer. Sykes publicly came out on as a lesbian in November 2008 after the passing of Proposition 8 in California.

Who’da Thunk It? 15 Black Women We’re Surprised Dated/Married White Men

December 12th, 2012 - By M A
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We did the men, now it’s on to the women. We scoured the interwebs and our own treasure trove of celebrity knowledge to bring you 15 women who shocked us just a bit when they stepped out with white men.

Doing The Right Thing: USA Network Tackles Hate With Program to Air Diverse Films

November 15th, 2012 - By Ann Brown
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Gasp! A television network is dedicating time to show “socially-conscious” movies! That’s what the USA Network says it’s doing.

According to the NBCUniversal-owned network, it is broadening its “Characters Unite” public service initiative by launching a quarterly Saturday film series on Nov. 17 with a special airing of The Color Purple. It is all part of a unique diversity initiative, with Purple’s airing coinciding with the United Nations’ International Day of Tolerance and the 30th anniversary of the publication of Alice Walker’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel on which the film is based.

The series is the brainchild of NBCUniversal Cable entertainment chairman Bonnie Hammer, who created the Erase the Hate campaign when she worked with USA nearly 20 years ago. More recently, she pushed through the Characters Unite campaign, which is intended to promote diversity. The idea was tested in April, when the network aired To Kill a Mockingbird on its 50th anniversary.President Obama introduced the 1962 movie about racial inequality, which went on to boost USA’s ratings by 20 percent.

“I’m a big believer that we’re not born knowing how to hate; we’re taught to hate,” she tells The Hollywood Reporter of her motivation. “We may be more sophisticated in how we hide it, but there are still so many phobias in this world, whether it’s Islamophobia, xenophobia or homophobia. I’ve been trying to do things that expose and help teach and draw attention to all of the ‘isms’ and how we do or don’t deal with them in our world. ”

And the project doesn’t stop with just the films. According to Hammer she hopes to organize panels, classroom applications and discussions with talent, producers or directors to accompany the socially-conscious films presented.

Other films for the quarterly series are to be determined, but Hammer revealed to THR she is considering Gentleman’s AgreementImitation of LifeMilk and Brokeback Mountain, among others.

Eventually, Hammer told the magazine she would like to also create a contest in which college and graduate students submit films about diversity, which could wind up airing on other NBCUniversal cable outlets such Syfy and E!