Oprah picks Obama — book


Staff & Wire Reports

FILE - In this March 13, 2018, file photo, actress Oprah Winfrey poses for photographers upon arrival at the premiere of the film 'A Wrinkle In Time' in London. Winfrey has chosen Michelle Obama’s “Becoming” as her next book club pick, The Associated Press has learned. In a statement Monday, Nov. 12, Winfrey said the memoir was “well-written” and inspirational. (Photo by Joel C Ryan/Invision/AP, File)

FILE - In this March 13, 2018, file photo, actress Oprah Winfrey poses for photographers upon arrival at the premiere of the film 'A Wrinkle In Time' in London. Winfrey has chosen Michelle Obama’s “Becoming” as her next book club pick, The Associated Press has learned. In a statement Monday, Nov. 12, Winfrey said the memoir was “well-written” and inspirational. (Photo by Joel C Ryan/Invision/AP, File)

Michelle Obama memoir is next pick for Winfrey book club


AP National Writer

Monday, November 12

NEW YORK (AP) — Michelle Obama’s “Becoming,” already expected to sell millions of copies, now has the official backing of Oprah Winfrey.

“This book is everything you wanted to know and so much you didn’t even know you wanted to know. I believe it’s going to spark within you the desire to think about your own becoming,” Winfrey, who on Monday told The Associated Press in a statement that she had selected “Becoming” for her book club. “It’s so well-written I can hear her voice; I can hear her expressions; I can feel her emotion. What she allows us to see is how she was able to discover, define and then refine her voice.”

In “Becoming,” Obama shares such deeply personal revelations as suffering a miscarriage and sharply criticizes President Donald Trump for promoting the false “birther” rumor that Barack Obama was not a U.S. citizen. The former first lady’s book comes out Tuesday and is among the most anticipated political memoirs in years, topping Amazon.com’s best-seller list throughout the weekend. Winfrey, publishing’s most established hit maker, knows the Obamas well, to the point where Michelle Obama and Ellen DeGeneres once teased each other over who was closer to her. Winfrey was a prominent backer of Barack Obama’s candidacy in 2008 and has interviewed both Obamas over the years. She is scheduled to be onstage Tuesday night with Michelle Obama at Chicago’s United Center, the first stop on Obama’s promotional tour.

Winfrey has already taped an interview with Obama, which airs Thursday on the OWN network, and excerpts of the book will appear in O, the Oprah Magazine and in Elle. A two-part podcast will run Thursday and the following Monday, Nov. 19.

“Becoming” is Winfrey’s first pick by an author from the political world since she started her club in 1996, although Obama has said repeatedly she has no interest in running for office. Winfrey’s previous picks have ranged from novels such as Colson Whitehead’s “The Underground Railroad” and Tayari Jones’ “An American Marriage” to Anthony Ray Hinton’s memoir “The Sun Does Shine.”

The Hip Hop Nutcracker with MC Kurtis Blow Returns to the Palace December 6

A holiday mash-up for the entire family, The Hip Hop Nutcracker is a contemporary re-imagining of Tchaikovsky’s timeless music performed by a supercharged cast of a dozen all-star dancers, an on-stage DJ, and an electric violinist. Through the spell cast by the mysterious Drosselmeyer, Maria-Clara and her Nutcracker prince travel back in time to the moment when her parents first meet in a 1980s’ Brooklyn nightclub. MC Kurtis Blow, one of hip hop’s founding fathers, will open the show with a short set before rapping the introduction.

CAPA presents The Hip Hop Nutcracker at the Palace Theatre (34 W. Broad St.) on Saturday, December 8, at 8 pm. Tickets are $30-$60 and can be purchased in person at the CAPA Ticket Center (39 E. State St.), online at www.capa.com, or by phone at (614) 469-0939 or (800) 745-3000.

Directed and choreographed by Jennifer Weber, The Hip Hop Nutcracker uses the traditional classic Tchaikovsky score to complement the power moves of its 12 dancers, with transitional and incidental music re-mixed and re-imagined, helping to bring a beautifully surprising and contemporary vibe to the production.

“It’s been exciting to evolve the show over the last five years as audiences continue to come back to see the creative changes we make to the production,” says Weber. “The dancers continue to raise the bar each year which has taken the show to new heights.”

Just like the classic Nutcracker story, in The Hip Hop Nutcracker Maria-Clara and the Nutcracker prince go on a dream adventure battling a gang of mice, visiting the land of sweets and learning the lessons of the holiday season. Innovative digital graffiti and visuals transform the landscape of E.T.A. Hoffmann’s beloved story from traditional 19th-century Germany to the vibrant, diverse sights and sounds of a colorful and contemporary New York City. Through the modern, self-expressive gaze of hip hop culture, the dynamic performers of The Hip Hop Nutcracker celebrate the magic of the entire holiday season on the most inclusive holiday of them all, New Year’s Eve, a time for new beginnings.

About Kurtis Blow

A hip-hop legend, Kurtis Blow was 20 in 1979, when he became the first rapper to be signed by a major label. Mercury released “Christmas Rappin’,” and it sold more than 400,000 copies, becoming an annual classic. Its gold follow-up, The Breaks, helped ignite an international “Rap Attack.” He released 10 albums in 11 years—his full-length debut, Kurtis Blow; his second, Deuce, a Top 50 Pop album and a big hit across Europe; Party Time featuring a pioneering fusion of rap and gogo; and Ego Trip, including the hits “8 Million Stories,” “AJ,” and “Basketball.” In 1985, he released America, featuring “If I Ruled the World,” a Top 5 hit on Billboard’s R&B chart; Columbia/Sony recording artist Nas debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s Pop Album chart with a cover of the song in 1997. www.KurtisBlow.com


The Conversation

How World War I sparked the artistic movement that transformed black America

March 31, 2017


Elizabeth J. West

Professor of English, Georgia State University

Disclosure statement

Elizabeth J. West does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.


Georgia State University provides funding as a founding partner of The Conversation US.

Though we often discuss World War I through the lens of history, we occasionally do it through literature. When we do, we’ll invariably go to the famous trilogy of Hemingway, Faulkner and Fitzgerald – the authors most representative of America’s iconic Lost Generation. Their work is said to reflect a mood that emerged from the ashes of a war that, with its trail of carnage, left survivors around the world with a despairing vision of life, self and nation.

The anxiety and hopelessness of the Lost Generation has become embedded in literary and cultural history. But for black artists, writers and thinkers, the war meant something entirely different: It spawned a transformation of the way African-Americans imagined themselves, their past and their future.

With Africa as a source of inspiration, a “New Negro” emerged out of the ruins of the Great War – not broken and disenchanted, but possessed with a new sense of self, one shaped from bold, unapologetically black models.

Denying an African legacy

Before World War I, African-American literature depicted stoic, but constrained, black protagonists. They emulated European codes of class and respectability while rejecting any sort of African legacy or inheritance. In other words, they talked like white people, dressed like white people and accepted the narrative that white men were the source of America’s greatness.

From the most well-known 19th-century African-American writer, Frederick Douglass, to his less remembered contemporary, Alexander Crummell, literary black advocacy or racial uplift too often rested on this approach.

Still, in the years leading up to World War I, there were rumblings of the “New Negro” archetype. For example, in Paul Laurence Dunbar’s 1902 novel “The Sport of the Gods” and Pauline Hopkins’ serialized novel “Hagar’s Daughter,” we see restless, dissatisfied young people who have no desire to become shuffling, servile second-class citizens.

This defiance, however, would not become widespread in African-American literature until the end of the war.

A ‘New Negro’ emerges

Black soldiers abroad during World War I experienced a type of freedom and mobility unattainable back home. In cities from London to Paris, many, for the first time, could travel without the worry of being denied equal lodging accommodations or admission to entertainment venues.

Once they returned stateside, they became increasingly impatient with Jim Crow laws and codes of racial discrimination. Life, they realized, didn’t have to be this way. In a nation that was now half a century beyond slavery, the fever spread among a new generation of blacks.

In the war’s aftermath, racial tensions heightened – a reflection of this mood. The summer of 1919 was known as the “Red Summer” for the number of race riots that erupted around the country, with one of the worst in Chicago, where 38 people died.

And in black literature, African-American characters no longer looked to the white man – or his nations – as models of civilization. In his 1925 anthology entitled “The New Negro,” writer, philosopher and Howard University professor Alain Locke has been credited with marshaling in the era we now know as the Harlem Renaissance. Locke, in his text, called on a generation of emerging black writers, artists and activists to look to Africa and to black folk culture in the United States and the Americas as a way to mine and explore a new strand of humanity.

We see this in Langston Hughes’ poetry; in “The Negro Speaks of Rivers,” he heralds Africa as source of creativity and cultural grounding:

I built my hut by the Congo and it lulled me to sleep.

I looked upon the Nile and raised the pyramids above it.

Two Jakes – one black, one white

Unlike the emerging literati of the Lost Generation, blacks, for the most part, weren’t angst-ridden over a post-war world devoid of meaning: they had never internalized the myth of America as a shining “city upon a hill.” For them, the war brought no end or loss, no disillusionment or void.

We see this difference if we compare Hemingway’s protagonist Jake in “The Sun Also Rises” (1926) to Claude McKay’s protagonist in “Home to Harlem” (1928), also named Jake. Unlike Hemingway’s lost, sullen and impotent hero who can’t find his way home, McKay’s Jake happily traverses Europe for a period after the war until he realizes he yearns for home.

While life is still a struggle and racism persists, McKay’s hero looks to the future with hope; he returns to Harlem where he relishes the many shades of black and brown beauties that he missed in Europe. McKay’s Jake immerses himself in a black world of love and laughter – a place that loudly celebrates life. He becomes inspired not by the readings and ideals of white thinkers and writers, but through black prototypes in and beyond America. His West Indian co-worker introduces him to Toussaint L’Ouverture and Jean-Jaques Dessalines, the black heroes of the Haitian Revolution, and to the history of great African empires dating back to antiquity.

In the literary works of black women, a new ethos also emerged. In Zora Neale Hurston’s 1937 novel “Their Eyes Were Watching God,” the main character, Janie, is daring in her quest for freedom: She leaves the confines of her restrictive community to take up with a younger man.

Black musicians, artists and writers of the Harlem Renaissance are celebrated as leaders of this transformative era in black history. But Harlem wasn’t alone. Cities such as Kansas City, St. Louis and Chicago also became hubs of black cosmopolitanism.

Above all, the African-American literary works born out of the ashes of World War I went on to spur the bold spirit of resistance of the African-American protest movement into the 21st century.

We also see that American literature is not a monolith of interpretation and experiences: In the case of post-World War I literature, even though one generation was lost, another was found.


Julie Biddle, logged in via Facebook:

As I read about how visiting Europe led to the realization that there were different ways to live I remembered a song, written in 1914 and how true it was for these young men – How You Gonna Keep ‘em Down on the Farm After They’ve Seen Paree?

I’m sure the song was written about white farm boys, but the word “boys” was also applied to black men in those days. It adds an interesting twist to the lyrics!

Reuben, Reuben, I’ve been thinking/Said his wifey dear/Now that all is peaceful and calm/The boys will soon be back on the farm/Mister Reuben started winking and slowly rubbed his chin/He pulled his chair up close to mother/And he asked her with a grin

Chorus (sung twice after each verse): How ya gonna keep ‘em down on the farm/After they’ve seen Paree’/How ya gonna keep ‘em away from Broadway/Jazzin around and paintin’ the town/How ya gonna keep ‘em away from harm, that’s a mystery/They’ll never want to see a rake or plow/And who the deuce can parleyvous a cow?/How ya gonna keep ‘em down on the farm/After they’ve seen Paree’

Rueben, Rueben, you’re mistaken/Said his wifey dear/Once a farmer, always a jay/And farmers always stick to the hay/Mother Reuben, I’m not fakin/Tho you may think it strange/But wine and women play the mischief/With a boy who’s loose with change

Chorus (sung twice after each verse): How ya gonna keep ‘em down on the farm/After they’ve seen Paree’/How ya gonna keep ‘em away from Broadway/Jazzin around and paintin’ the town/How ya gonna keep ‘em away from harm, that’s a mystery/Imagine Reuben when he meets his Pa/He’ll pinch his cheek and holler “OO-LA-LA!/How ya gonna keep ‘em down on the farm/After they’ve seen Paree’?

Terrence Treft: thanks for the interesting article.

when writing on the events of the past, using appropriate language is paramount. for example, black and african-american. while african-american is an authentic (though not reliable) term, i set the term black in italics, because it is not. it is a contemporary, ubiquitous idiom that is neither scientifically nor historically correct.

certainly, the term black was used as a reference to african people and their descendants well before ww1, but it was not the preferred term of use by people in the historical movements you describe. negro was (yet it has taken a recent pejorative interpretation). because negro is grounded in the pseudoscience taxonomies of the 18th and 19th centuries, i italicize it, too. however, when using the word as a reference within an historical context, it may be used without.

italics or prefaces (perceived as, once thought to be, as historically used, etc.) serve to alert the reader as to the use of words with racial connotations. otherwise, contemporary meaning or implications filter into the historical aspects of the topic, changing the facts and the understanding.

the term black is today a preferred racial reference, but genomic science clearly demonstrates that race is not a biological truth. there are no black or white or any other skin color races, just one, homo sapiens. race is a social construct. using a contemporary term, like black, to describe historical events, creates a skewed perspective of history and the truth, as it may be.

i understand that the casual use of racial terms is a convenience, both for writers and readers, but it is not authentic, only a continuation of the indoctrination of biological race to which we are all subject from our birth.

it is time for academics to deconstruct race and to create a new paradigm and lexicon that examines the human experience in ways that employ science and reason and not the archaic superstitions and pseudoscience of our nation’s dreadful past. not until every child is taught from birth that race is not a biological reality will we all have the opportunity to truly realize our individual potentials.

France seizes jet at takeoff after Ryanair doesn’t pay bill


Associated Press

Sunday, November 11

PARIS (AP) — Storms, strikes, computer failures — you can now add “your plane has been seized by the government” to the list of things that can delay your flight.

In France, 149 passengers were preparing to take off for London late Thursday when French authorities ordered their Ryanair Boeing 737 impounded.

The budget carrier owed money and it was “regrettable that the state was forced” to evacuate the plane, the civil aviation authority said.

The passengers had gone through passport control and security and were about to walk on the tarmac to board the plane when airport authorities told them to turn around, passenger Boris Hejblum said.

“The airport staff told us there was an issue with the plane,” he told The Associated Press in an email.

No Ryanair staff members were available, and the only communication from the airline was two text messages saying simply that the departure was delayed, and a 5-euro ($5.75) voucher for food — “less than what a sandwich cost at the airport café,” the 30-year-old Frenchman said.

“I found it strange that the police were the only ones giving us information,” he said.

The passengers were put on another flight that finally brought them to London’s Stansted airport — five hours late.

The multi-million dollar jet, meanwhile, was released only Friday after Ryanair paid a bill of 525,000 euros ($610,000).

The scene unfolded at the Bordeaux-Merignac airport in western France, where authorities say the airline was ordered to pay back funds that the European Union had declared to be illegal subsidies. Ryanair did not publicly comment on the seizure.

French aviation agency spokesman Eric Heraud said regional authorities who originally gave the subsidies had been trying since 2014 to recover the money, and sent its final legal warning in May. After six months without a response from Ryanair, it decided to act Friday.

The standoff with French authorities will not help Ryanair, which more than most carriers, has come to symbolize budget airlines’ relentless focus on the bottom line at the cost of customer service.

Ryanair has become Europe’s largest airline by number of passengers by persistently offering some of the cheapest fares available. That ensures its planes are packed.

It then makes extra money with add-on fares. Besides charging for seating choice and food — now standard practice on budget flights the world over — it also has travelers pay for any carry-on bag that’s larger than a purse.

It manages to keep its costs down by flying to out of the way airports at odd hours to get cheaper airport slots.

Its CEO, Michael O’Leary, personifies the airline’s brash approach, sparring with unions and EU authorities. And despite conceding in 2013 that “we should try to eliminate things that unnecessarily piss people off,” the airline retains its reputation as something to be endured for the sake of flying cheaply around Europe.

“I would say we just took it as another Ryanair problem, having no information from them,” Hejblum said of Thursday’s incident. “When we found out about the seizure, I would say the general sentiment was to blame Ryanair for not complying with the law.”

Piovano reported from London.

Kroger Columbus Associates

Ratify New Contract with UFCW Local 1059

Contract pulled forward from August 2020 to invest in wage increases

COLUMBUS, OHIO November 12, 2018 — The Kroger Co.’s (NYSE: KR) Columbus division today announced associates working at stores in the region have ratified a new labor agreement with the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW) Local 1059.

The Columbus division agreement raises starting wages to at least $10 per hour and accelerates wage progressions to $11 an hour after one year of service. It also includes a premium increase for night shift work.

“A key driver of Restock Kroger is talent development and we are committed to investing in our associates. We are investing significantly in wages in certain markets across the country,” said Tim Massa, Kroger senior vice president of human resources and labor relations. “Our Feed Your Future educational assistance program is another way we are investing in our associates. Nearly 2,000 associates across the company have taken advantage of this program since its launch earlier this year. Kroger is a place where you can come for a career with promise.”

The Columbus contract was set to expire in August 2020. Kroger is accelerating its previously announced $500 million invest in associate wages, training and development as part of Restock Kroger, the company’s plan to serve America through food inspiration and uplift. The new Columbus agreement is one of several contracts recently ratified.

The Local 1059 contract covers more than 13,000 associates working at 83 stores in Columbus and surrounding areas.

“UFCW Local 1059 is pleased to have negotiated a new contract in mid-term that secures better wages, continues to provide affordable health care and provides a voice for our hardworking Kroger members,” said Randy Quickel, president of UFCW Local 1059.

“This new contract provides significant pay increases, maintains affordable Kroger-sponsored health care and a pension to support associates’ retirement,” said Dan De La Rosa, president of Kroger’s Columbus division. “This agreement comes after thoughtful and productive work by both the company and union bargaining committees. I want to thank our dedicated associates for supporting this agreement and for the excellent, uplifting service they provide to our customers every day.”

At The Kroger Co. (NYSE: KR), we are dedicated to our Purpose: to Feed the Human SpiritTM. We are nearly half a million associates who serve nine million customers daily through a seamless digital shopping experience and 2,800 retail food stores under a variety of banner names, serving America through food inspiration and uplift, and creating #ZeroHungerZeroWaste communities by 2025. To learn more about us, visit our newsroom and investor relations site.

FILE – In this March 13, 2018, file photo, actress Oprah Winfrey poses for photographers upon arrival at the premiere of the film ‘A Wrinkle In Time’ in London. Winfrey has chosen Michelle Obama’s “Becoming” as her next book club pick, The Associated Press has learned. In a statement Monday, Nov. 12, Winfrey said the memoir was “well-written” and inspirational. (Photo by Joel C Ryan/Invision/AP, File)
https://www.sunburynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/48/2018/11/web1_121758185-c04f412a7979452789b4979b1d445f11.jpgFILE – In this March 13, 2018, file photo, actress Oprah Winfrey poses for photographers upon arrival at the premiere of the film ‘A Wrinkle In Time’ in London. Winfrey has chosen Michelle Obama’s “Becoming” as her next book club pick, The Associated Press has learned. In a statement Monday, Nov. 12, Winfrey said the memoir was “well-written” and inspirational. (Photo by Joel C Ryan/Invision/AP, File)

Staff & Wire Reports