Monday, August 16, 2010

Abbey Lincoln Dies at 80

Abbey Lincoln, a singer whose dramatic vocal command and tersely poetic songs made her a singular figure in jazz, died on Saturday, August 14, 2010 in Manhattan. She was 80 and lived on the Upper West Side.

Ms. Lincoln’s career encompassed outspoken civil rights advocacy in the 1960s and fearless introspection in more recent years, and for a time in the 1960s she acted in films, including one with Sidney Poitier.

Ms. Lincoln was born Anna Marie Wooldridge in Chicago on Aug. 6, 1930, the 10th of 12 children, and raised in rural Michigan. In the early 1950s, she headed west in search of a singing career, spending two years as a nightclub attraction in Honolulu, where she met Ms. Holiday and Louis Armstrong. She then moved to Los Angeles, where she encountered the accomplished lyricist Bob Russell. It was at the suggestion of Mr. Russell, who had become her manager, that she took the name Abbey Lincoln, a symbolic conjoining of Westminster Abbey and Abraham Lincoln.

Ms. Lincoln worked convincingly with a modern jazz ensemble that included the tenor saxophonist Sonny Rollins and the drummer Max Roach. In short order she came under the influence of Mr. Roach, a bebop pioneer with an ardent interest in progressive causes and married Mr. Roach in 1962. Ms. Lincoln was for a while more active as an actress than a singer. In 1964 she starred with Ivan Dixon in “Nothing but a Man,” a tale of the Deep South in the 1960s, and in 1968 she was the title character opposite Mr. Poitier in the romantic comedy “For Love of Ivy,” playing a white family’s maid. She also acted on television in guest-starring roles in the ’60s and ’70s.

After her divorce from Mr. Roach in 1970, she took an apartment above a garage in Los Angeles and withdrew from the spotlight for a time. She never remarried. She began to consider her calling as a storyteller and focused on writing songs. Moving back to New York in the 1980s, Ms. Lincoln resumed performing, eventually attracting the attention of Jean-Philippe Allard, a producer and executive with PolyGram France. Eight more albums followed in a similar vein, each produced by Mr. Allard and enlisting top-shelf jazz musicians like the tenor saxophonist Stan Getz and the vibraphonist Bobby Hutcherson.

When her album "Abbey Sings Abbey" was released in May 2007, Ms. Lincoln was recovering from open-heart surgery. In her Upper West Side apartment, surrounded by her own paintings and drawings, she reflected on her life, often quoting from her own song lyrics.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Authors & Me

Elizabeth Nunez

Wes Moore

Karen Hunter

Gary Hardwick & Jean Winborn

As a lover of books and a collector...the NBCC was a truly remarkable and intimate literary experience. I met a dozen new people and talked about the publishing world, health and other issues. I spoke with authors in a sit down, face-to-face setting. I'm so joyed that I attended this event and look forward to doing it again.

While at the Conference, I attended a panel discussion: Share Ourselves...Healing Starts With Us. An intimate and unforgettable conversation about how we're really doing.. Featuring Terrie Williams (moderator), Ntozake Shange, Wes Moore, Sybil Wilkes, Bernice McFadden, and more. This was a very emotional, engaging and enlightening discussion.
How Black Books Keep Rising In Economic Downturn panel discussion featuring Linda Duggins (moderator), Pamela McBride, Paula Renfroe, Karen Hunter, Gregalan Williams was educating and captivating. I gained a new role model of Karen Hunter, as the journalist that she is, she was very to the point.
The Red Carpet Entrance was fun. The mock red carpet entrance of the authors while we book lovers served as the Paparazzi, taking pictures and cheering from the sidelines.
You have to see the video on NBCC's website of the rap that actress/author, Victoria Rowell did at the Walter Mosley Author of Distinction Awards Dinner. GREAT Entertainment.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

New Author on the Rise

I met this aspiring artist while attending the National Book Club Conference in Atlanta, Georgia. He made a positive impression on me and it seems he has a lot to say. I wish him much success.

Sebastian K. Young is a successful entrepreneur and author from Beaumont, Texas. At the early age of two his mother was tragically murdered and he was sent to live with his grandparents. Although his grandparents were older in age, they possessed a wealth of knowledge. Anecdotal stories about relationships and life choices coupled with tough punishments carved out a determined leader, mentor, and parent.
Growing up, the death of his mother haunted him. He would hear voices at night, see her murder in dreams, and relent the days that he was unable to hug her as a teenager. Then, after his grandparents passed, he determined to turn his pain into motivation. Every trial and experience became a springboard. Sebastian has kept his family first throughout his life and made tough sacrifices to ensure they received all that they have ever wanted or needed. Success is not found in his bank account but in the smiles on his three daughter’s faces, Christian, Asia, and Alaysia.
Sebastian is a partner with Al Colbert and Ja Ja Ball of Colbert/Ball Tax services and Colbert/Ball Entertainment. Together they have toured Maze Featuring Frankie Beverly, The O’Jays, Gerald Levert, and several stage plays from writers such as David Payton, Je'Caryous Johnson, and Michael Matthews. Sebastian has also hosted events with Charlie Wilson, Steve Harvey, DL Hughley, Mo' Nique, Cedric the Entertainer, and Mike Epps.
Sebastian believes that writing this book is only the beginning of what God has planned for him and eagerly anticipates the future. Visit his website and purchase his book at