Sunday, January 31, 2010

Sister's Uptown Bookstore & Cafe Celebrates Their Tenth-Year Anniversary!!!


The African gourd shaker will get any party started, whether it's part of a ceremonial dance or calling on the ancestors to bless the event. And a Black-owned bookstore surviving gentrification, the bling generation and a recession that continues to shut down africentered shops and community-based institutions is worth celebrating!...






If you need to add in a violin, then you bring that on too!...






Though it's the poet's words themselves that take center stage...




The songs of praise for the owner and her dedication to supplying Harlem and Washington Heights the kind of nourishment we need and don't get enough of...




Expressions of sincere gratitude for providing the space to breathe and flourish when the space outside is stifling and limiting...





Or like cooking gumbo, you add yet another secret ingredient-- The kalimba...



To bring forth the powers that will always be, no matter what they tell us...








Because celebrating who you are--natually and spiritually--is what you came here to do, in the first place...






With a lil help from your friends...









And this is when God Power begins stirring up things, through you and around you...



Old pirates, yes, they rob I;
Sold I to the merchant ships,
Minutes after they took I
From the bottomless pit.
But my hand was made strong
By the hand of the Almighty.
We forward in this generation
Triumphantly...



Won't you help to sing
This song of freedom
'Cause all I ever have
Redemption songs
Redemption songs...




Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery;
None but ourselves can free our minds.
Have no fear for atomic energy,
'Cause none of them can stop the time.
How long shall they kill our prophets,
While we stand aside and look?
Some say it's just a part of it:
We've got to fullfil The Book...




Won't you help to sing
This song of freedom
'Cause all I ever have:
Redemption songs
Redemption song
Redemption songs...




Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery;
None but ourselves can free our mind.
Have no fear for atomic energy,
'Cause none of them can stop the time.
How long shall they kill our prophets,
While we stand aside and look?
Yes, some say it's just a part of it:
We've got to fullfil The Book.-- Bob Marley




And let's not forget the cake and mama's potato salad...



And that Black children still smile!






















With Sister and House Griot



And father-minister, John Crocker who was the very first to purchase my books, simply out of Black solidarity (That means lookin' out for one another based purely on our collective struggle). Volume One of Before You Fly Off had just landed, and I was pitching it to Sister's. Joe was sitting in the back talking community-biz, as he typically does. At the time I hadn't yet perfected my pitching skills, so my baseball lacked rhythm and quickness. I came off like that kid in the Oliver Twist film-- Here's a book for you, please? Yet in his usual paternal flair, his big belly reminding me of a southern Santa Claus, "What'you got there, son?...You wrote a book, you say! What's it about?...Well, if it's gonna help Black parents reach their Black daughters, then alright. How much is it?..." And that's how my writing career began!

Thank you, John. You are loved and appreciated; and we need you around for continued guidance, wisdom and support!



Photos by Ocean Morisset

1 comment:

Ocean Morisset said...

yes, it was a great evening full of good spirit and vibes! Nice work in putting this piece together. Your words, my images... capturing the flava and reminding us why we need to celebrate!