Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Book Readers Review


Book Blurb:
Flashes of Emotion is a book of romantic poetry with a classical edge but feels current in its raw energy. Both timely & timeless, it allows the reader to tap into the poet's insights on a wide variety of topics from life and love to death and drudgery, highlighting a lively, refreshing, and innovative style. A 'must have' for anyone who has ever experienced love, pain, defeat, or joy...

Reviewed by Lit Amri for Readers' Favorite

Flashes of Emotion is romantic poetry that looks into a vast array of subjects: love, pain, death and other life matters that evoke our sentiments. Having read Sam's previous work, Take Back the Memory, I was curious to get to know him as a poet. I wasn't disappointed. His poems are written in a vivid and refreshing style. This makes the collection easy to relate to even by the casual readers of poetry like me. The compilation is pleasurable to read and to reread. Sam knows how to put across emotions and thoughts, and they resonate from every poem. 

Book Readers Review

Flashes of Emotion is a book of poems written to reflect life, love, death, pain, joy and many kinds of emotion.  The author is eloquent and has a subtle use of language.  The poems are reasonably short and easy to read conveying meanings that may be interpreted by the reader.  It is definitely a book of poems to be savored and returned to on many occasions. 
Augustine has captured the essence of an emotion and relayed this in beautiful language.  If you are a poetry lover you will cherish this book and experience.  I have read most of the poems twice and still marvel at the range of feelings elicited by these wonderful words.
The author provided me with a copy in return for an unbiased review.  My rating is a five plus stars and recommend those who love poetry to have a copy in their library.  If you are not a frequent reader of poetry Augustine’s poems will change your view. This is a rare collection. 

From the Author

"Literature must be relevant to its times. It must be both timely and timeless. It must resonate with the people and the period in which it is set, and contribute to the discourse, political or otherwise, as well as put events in their proper historical and social contexts."

Augustine Sam [poet]
About the author:    
Augustine Sam is a bilingual journalist and an award-winning poet. A member of the U.K. Chartered Institute of Journalists, his poems have been published in two international anthologies: The Sounds of Silence & Measures of the Heart. One of his poems, Anguish & Passion, was adjudged winner of the Editors' Choice Awards in the North America Open Poetry contest, USA.

This collection of poems was the 2015 International Book Award Finalist. Augustine is also the author of Take Back the Memory, a contemporary women's fiction & The Conspiracy of Silence, a mystery/thriller. The first part of his mystery trilogy is expected to be published later this year.

Friday, May 6, 2016

The N-Word Controversy

At the White House Correspondents' Association dinner


Long before the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner on Saturday, April 30 in which the host, Larry Wilmore was said to have broken a taboo, many hypocrites and polemicists were, and remain, fascinated with the controversy over the use of the N-word. That fascination, interestingly, stems from, and thrives on ignorance. No matter, it was not surprising that Wilmore’s n-word quip stoked concerns about possible implications of such usage, particularly in reference to the first black president of the United States.

Piers Morgan
Not one to pass up a chance to wade into a controversy so tempting and so contemporary, especially when baited by a tweet that said, “Piers Morgan’s next troll piece just wrote itself,” the British polemicist came out swinging in a Daily Mail opinion piece. “By calling the first black president of the United States a ‘n***er’ on national TV, Larry Wilmore let down Barack Obama, and himself, and only guaranteed one thing: its longevity,” he wrote.
To make the point, Piers Morgan quoted Wilmore’s quip (or what he believed was Wilmore’s quip): “Yo, Barry, you did it my n***er!”

He was wrong and this is why. Aside from the hypocrisy of hiding behind three asterisks, it is important to understand that when black people, specifically black Americans, use the so-called n-word, they do not say “nigger” even if it sounds that way, they say “nigga” and there is a huge difference between the two.
Wilmore explained the usage and context of the word on his show, The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore, as follows:
“[Morgan] quoted me as saying ‘Yo, Barry, you did it my n***er.’ Now hold on, are you saying that I called the president a n***er? Ok, that’s horrible. I would never do that. ‘N***er’ is what white people use to denigrate, demean and dehumanize black people and ‘n***a’ is a term of endearment some black people use between each other to take back that power.”

In his Daily Mail piece, Morgan alluded to the fact that Wilmore’s quip was a publicity stunt. “Wilmore’s a smart guy who knew exactly what he was doing,” he wrote. “He was center stage on national TV at an event attended by many of the most powerful people in America, and watched by millions around the world. He planned that N-word quip to Obama very precisely because he knew it would spark an instant twitter firestorm and get him global media attention.”

Piers Morgan, of course, knows a thing or two about courting controversy for relevance—from Susan Sarandon’s cleavage to Kim Kardashian’s nude selfie to netting a petition for deportation (signed by over 100,000 people) for expressing his opinion on American gun issues louder than Americans.
Richard Pryor
To buttress his argument against the use of the N-word, he quoted the late black comedian, Richard Pryor, who dramatically changed his view of the N-word after a visit to Africa. Morgan wrote, “He [Pryor] explained to Ebony magazine: ‘While I was there [Africa], something inside of me said, “Look around you Richard. What do you see?” I saw people. African people. I didn’t see any ‘n***ers.’ I didn’t see any there because there are no ‘n***ers’ in Africa. Can you imagine going out into the bush and walking up to a Masai and saying, ‘Hey n***er. Come here!’ You couldn’t do that. There are no ‘n***ers’ here in America either. We black people are not ‘n***ers’, and I will forever refuse to be one. I’m free of that, it’s out of my head. I realized that terms like ‘n***er’ and the word ‘bitch’ that so many black men call our women, are tricks, like genocide on the brain.’”

Great quote, except that Piers Morgan missed one interesting point - until he went to Africa, Pryor always saw black people with the eyes of whites. In Africa, and for the first time, he saw black people for who they really are: humans, short and simple, not the way many whites see them: black first, then humans, maybe.
With that sudden awareness, Pryor decided that he'd start seeing blacks with his own eyes, not with the eyes of those who see them from a position of superiority; so, in the statement Morgan quoted above, Pryor was liberating himself of the demeaning slur ‘nigger,’ not the black term of endearment ‘nigga.’

Larry Wilmore
Now, Larry Wilmore, in an interview with Fresh Air, a radio show distributed by NPR, told Terry Gross that while acknowledging that using the N-word might upset some people, his intention was to recognize and honor Obama’s significance as the first black president. “What Obama means to me as a black person, and to many black [people], really is hard to quantify,” he said. “...I wanted to take the opportunity to turn that [word] upside down and to use it in the way that we’ve used it inside the community...as that show of affection that only we can understand.

Though President Obama said through press secretary Josh Earnest that “he appreciated the spirit of the sentiments that Mr. Wilmore expressed,” some people still make a big deal of it. Gregory Clay, in an opinion piece in the Dallas Morning News, said that Larry Wilmore’s n-word liberation was Richard Pryor’s imprisonment. He then wondered what would happen if Paul Ryan uttered the n-word as a speaker at the annual spring dinner. That, in the first place, is an ignorant argument because Paul Ryan, being white, does not understand the difference between ‘nigger’ and ‘nigga’ and even if he does, he possesses not the cultural experience and/or sentiment that impels one black man to refer endearingly to another as ‘my nigga.’   

President Obama & Larry Wilmore
It seems that many critics, in pontificating on the inappropriateness of the n-word, lack an insight into the cultural significance of the word as used by those who understand that the context in which ‘nigga’ is used cannot, and should not, be confused with the hurtful context in which the word ‘nigger’ is used. People do not necessarily have to use and/or create controversies around race-based expressions or ethnic slangs that have a cultural import of which they are not equipped to understand. 

Every race, after-all, deals with its history its own way. And should be free to do so on its terms.