A passionate, inspiring collection that will especially speak to Black readers around the world.

BLACK ≠ INFERIOR

A Nigerian poet reacts to the racism and despair he sees in today’s world.

“Black Voices,” “Black Excellence,” and, of course, “Black Lives Matter” are the titles of some of Akinyemi’s first poems in his collection. Born in Nigeria and currently residing in Britain, the author lays out his raw emotions in responding to the stories of oppression and injustice that have recently gripped the global media. His verses are often addressed to other Black people, celebrating their tenacity in calling out racism and reminding them to not discount themselves. At the same time, he does not understate the powerful, systemic forces they face. Akinyemi also confronts White readers, demanding that they reexamine their own actions: “Don’t counter this with All lives matter!” he says to those against the Black Lives Matter movement. “Black Lives Matter isn’t a mantra for your lying lips.” And for those looking to gloss over the issue, he writes: “Don’t adorn me with the shenanigans of diversity…don’t turn my volume down–– / this black boy won’t be your poster boy.” The author’s most stirring poems come out of his perspective as a Nigerian, amplifying the global scale of the racism he sees. “They said African Time is killing Africa,” he writes of the stereotype that Africans are lazy. “But Africans have endured more killings than time can count.” The shorter second half of the collection widens the scope of its subject matter but remains both topical and tinged with anguish. Akinyemi writes of the need for better understandings of sexual consent and “a novel virus,” which has “swallowed all in sight.” Despite his fiery anger against injustice, discrimination, and other problems many face, the author’s poems also deftly deliver moments of hope through his faith in God and, most importantly, by returning to the theme that his Black readers must remember their own beauty and strength: “I wish you can see the uniqueness of your black skin, / its glory shining like a dark armour.”

A passionate, inspiring collection that will especially speak to Black readers around the world.

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-913636-06-7

Page Count: 67

Publisher: The Roaring Lion Newcastle

Review Posted Online: Nov. 13, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2020

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Everything about Sabathia is larger than life, yet he tells his story with honesty and humility.

TILL THE END

One of the best pitchers of his generation—and often the only Black man on his team—shares an extraordinary life in baseball.

A high school star in several sports, Sabathia was being furiously recruited by both colleges and professional teams when the death of his grandmother, whose Social Security checks supported the family, meant that he couldn't go to college even with a full scholarship. He recounts how he learned he had been drafted by the Cleveland Indians in the first round over the PA system at his high school. In 2001, after three seasons in the minor leagues, Sabathia became the youngest player in MLB (age 20). His career took off from there, and in 2008, he signed with the New York Yankees for seven years and $161 million, at the time the largest contract ever for a pitcher. With the help of Vanity Fair contributor Smith, Sabathia tells the entertaining story of his 19 seasons on and off the field. The first 14 ran in tandem with a poorly hidden alcohol problem and a propensity for destructive bar brawls. His high school sweetheart, Amber, who became his wife and the mother of his children, did her best to help him manage his repressed fury and grief about the deaths of two beloved cousins and his father, but Sabathia pursued drinking with the same "till the end" mentality as everything else. Finally, a series of disasters led to a month of rehab in 2015. Leading a sober life was necessary, but it did not tame Sabathia's trademark feistiness. He continued to fiercely rile his opponents and foment the fighting spirit in his teammates until debilitating injuries to his knees and pitching arm led to his retirement in 2019. This book represents an excellent launching point for Jay-Z’s new imprint, Roc Lit 101.

Everything about Sabathia is larger than life, yet he tells his story with honesty and humility.

Pub Date: July 6, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-13375-0

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Roc Lit 101

Review Posted Online: May 12, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2021

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A forceful, necessarily provocative call to action for the preservation and protection of American Jewish freedom.

HOW TO FIGHT ANTI-SEMITISM

Known for her often contentious perspectives, New York Times opinion writer Weiss battles societal Jewish intolerance through lucid prose and a linear playbook of remedies.

While she was vividly aware of anti-Semitism throughout her life, the reality of the problem hit home when an active shooter stormed a Pittsburgh synagogue where her family regularly met for morning services and where she became a bat mitzvah years earlier. The massacre that ensued there further spurred her outrage and passionate activism. She writes that European Jews face a three-pronged threat in contemporary society, where physical, moral, and political fears of mounting violence are putting their general safety in jeopardy. She believes that Americans live in an era when “the lunatic fringe has gone mainstream” and Jews have been forced to become “a people apart.” With palpable frustration, she adroitly assesses the origins of anti-Semitism and how its prevalence is increasing through more discreet portals such as internet self-radicalization. Furthermore, the erosion of civility and tolerance and the demonization of minorities continue via the “casual racism” of political figures like Donald Trump. Following densely political discourses on Zionism and radical Islam, the author offers a list of bullet-point solutions focused on using behavioral and personal action items—individual accountability, active involvement, building community, loving neighbors, etc.—to help stem the tide of anti-Semitism. Weiss sounds a clarion call to Jewish readers who share her growing angst as well as non-Jewish Americans who wish to arm themselves with the knowledge and intellectual tools to combat marginalization and defuse and disavow trends of dehumanizing behavior. “Call it out,” she writes. “Especially when it’s hard.” At the core of the text is the author’s concern for the health and safety of American citizens, and she encourages anyone “who loves freedom and seeks to protect it” to join with her in vigorous activism.

A forceful, necessarily provocative call to action for the preservation and protection of American Jewish freedom.

Pub Date: Sept. 10, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-593-13605-8

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Aug. 22, 2019

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