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Book Review: The Fight (Drama High Book 1) by L. Divine

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Drama High The Fight

Source: Goodreads

Plot Summary (Taken from Amazon)Jayd just wants to start her Junior year of high school drama free. But wanting ain’t getting, especially at a place like Drama High, a predominately white high school in a wealthy part of Los Angeles, where Jayd and 30 other Compton kids get bussed to daily. Saying race relations aren’t what they should be would be putting it mildly, and that’s just the beginning of the drama. Jayd’s first day back to school, KJ’s new girlfriend, Trecee, steps to her wanting to fight. Egged on by Misty, Jayd’s former best friend-turned-nemesis, Trecee wants to make Jayd understand that KJ is off-limits–even if she has to do it with her fists. With the fight set for Friday, and the sistah drama at an all time high, Jayd is about to learn who’s really got her back and more importantly, when she’s got to watch it. But at least she can always count on Mama, and her mystical bag of tricks.

My Review:  One of the best things about this book is its main character, Jayd Jackson. She’s street smart because she lives in Compton and deals with drive by-shootings and people repeatedly breaking into her mom’s car. Yet, she is also book-smart because she is on the AP track at school, knowledgeable about Black history, and is able to debate about past and present issues affecting black people. One of the best chapters of the book is when she engages in discussion with a guy about the connection between sex and material things and how it impacts young girls and guys.

In addition, the author does a good job with weaving together Jayd’s magical life with her grandmother and her life with her mom and friends. It allows the reader to relate to Jayd’s experiences with boys, friends, and clique drama while hinting that they can be more than they realize. The reader may not have special abilities like Jayd, but they can be someone like Jayd by learning from their elders and their past and being themselves.

Besides the main character, some of the supporting characters are memorable. Surrounding Jayd is a good circle of family and friends. Her mother is a independent woman who is raising Jayd with Jayd’s grandmother, who is known as Mama. Mama is a wise, mystical woman who guides Jayd using Jayd’s connection to Yoruba deities and African culture. Jayd’s uncle Bryan is a DJ who has shown Jayd the musical roots of black people while listening to her problems.

When it comes to Jayd’s friends, they are diverse. Jayd belongs to the Drama club clique and has white friends from there, she also has friends in the black clique called South Central and the Hispanic clique called The Barrio.  Although it is the Drama club clique and the South Central clique that is the most prominently featured, the friends that Jayd has from both are loyal and fun.

Another notable aspect of the book is the realistic interactions with Jayd and her classmates. A memorable scene is a flashback to when Jayd was first introduced to South Central and was told “You should sound like us” because they found out she was book smart. Also, the contrast between Jayd and some of her classmates is very striking. While Jayd uses her outspokeness to debate about important issues and stand up for herself, characters like Misty and Trecee use their outspokenness to cause trouble.

The only flaw in the book is Jayd’s magical roots. While it is cool that Jayd has psychic visions with hot flashes and connections to African culture and deities through her grandmother, the author doesn’t explain why. As a result, the reader is forced to go with the flow and make their own assumptions.

Overall, this was a great start to The Drama High series. I recommend it to young black readers looking for something different from the typical inner city teen book. I also recommend it to fans of the television show That’s So Raven. 

 

 

 

 

Written by Serena Zola

September 21, 2014 at 5:00 PM

Movie Review: Pariah (2011)

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Movie Rating: R
Source: Wikipedia

Plot Summary:   To her family, Alike is just a regular seventeen year old girl. However, Alike has a secret. She is actually a butch lesbian who is caught between the person she wants to be and the person people expect her to be. As Alike slowly comes to terms with her sexuality, friendship and family relationships become at risk.

My Review:  One of the things I enjoyed about this film was how authentic it is. Despite being a pariah and a lesbian, Alike is also a smart and creative person. These qualities made her a well-developed character and someone to root for. Another thing that made the movie unique is using poetry to show Alike’s character development. Furthermore, the homophobia is realistically portrayed in the film, especially when it comes to strangers and family members. Lastly, the romance between Alike and her love interest was handled respectfully by showing love without being explicit.

Besides the authenticity, some of the acting was great. Adepero Oduye delivered a stirring performance as Alike. Likewise, Kim Wayans was powerful as Alike’s mother. Both actresses best scenes take place during the climax and resolution of the film.

Last but not least, the film’s soundtrack. It stood out because it was eclectic, ranging from hip-hop, soul, and rock. It also provided  a cool way for Alike and her love interest to connect.

Overall, this was a poignant film. I recommend this for anyone struggling to come to terms with their sexuality, especially if they are a minority. If you are in the GLBTQ community, this is an excellent film for celebrating pride.

 

Written by Serena Zola

July 4, 2013 at 10:00 AM

Book Review: Chicken Soup For the African American Soul

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For those of you not familiar with the Chicken Soup for The Soul series, it is a book series designed to inspire and encourage people with true stories. These stories have been submitted from everyday people as well as famous people. Each book targets different people from women to cancer survivors to teens.

One of the most amazing things about this book is the past meeting the present. There are stories about ordinary and famous people involved in the Civil Rights Movement and stories about people giving back to the community. Another notable thing about this book is the wide audience appeal. There are stories written for the young and old as well as black, bi-racial, or multi-racial.

A useful thing in the book besides the inspiration is the contributor’s section at the back of it. If you really enjoy a story, then you can use this section to find out more about who wrote it.

If you are a black person who wants to celebrate your history and community, this book is for you. If you are someone who wants to learn more about black history and black culture, this book is for you. If you are a person who appreciates different cultures and backgrounds, this book is for you.

Written by Serena Zola

February 20, 2012 at 8:08 PM

Black History Spotlight: Soul Train

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I’m a young person who has a mostly contemporary taste in music, but even I was shocked to hear about the death of Soul Train’s creator and host, Don Cornelius.

Why?  Even though I wasn’t around when Soul Train premiered in the seventies, I have some appreciation for the music and culture that was on the show.

The music that was on the show during its early years included some of the best black live performances of funk and soul, including James Brown,  Sly and the Family Stone, and Al Green.

 

 

In addition to having great black musicians and a huge amount of black viewers, there was also white musicians such as David Bowie as well as a hefty amount of white viewers.

 

 

Something else I appreciate about Soul Train is the dance crazes it started. Some of them include the pop, the lock, and the robot. These were either done by the Soul Train dancers or by various musicians. These dances are the background for the hip-hop dancing of today.

 

 

As you can see, young and old have a lot to appreciate and love about Soul Train. This show promoted blacks in a positive way and paved the way for future generations. I wish all Soul Train fans and Don Cornelius peace, love, and soul!

Written by Serena Zola

February 9, 2012 at 8:38 PM

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