Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins: A Sick Life

Tionne "T-Boz" Watkins | A Sick Life: TLC 'n Me: Stories from On and Off the Stage

A candid memoir of fame, strength, family, and friendship from the lead singer of TLC

As the lead singer of Grammy-winning supergroup TLC, Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins has seen phenomenal fame, success, and critical acclaim. But backstage, she has lived a dual life. In addition to the balancing act of juggling an all-consuming music career and her family, Tionne has struggled since she was a young girl with sickle-cell disease―a debilitating and incurable condition that can render her unable to perform, walk, or even breathe.

A Sick Life chronicles Tionne’s journey from a sickly young girl from Des Moines who was told she wouldn’t live to see 30 through her teen years in Atlanta, how she broke into the music scene, and became the superstar musician and sickle-cell disease advocate she is today. Through Tionne’s tough, funny, tell-it-like-it-is voice, she shares how she found the inner strength, grit, and determination to live her dream, despite her often unpredictable and debilitating health issues. She dives deep into never-before-told TLC stories, including accounts of her friendship with Lisa “Left-Eye” Lopes and her tragic death. Tionne’s unvarnished discussion of her remarkable life, disease, unending strength, and ability to power through the odds offers a story like no other.

Appearances

September 25, 2017 at 7:00pm 189 The Grove Drive Suite K 30 Los Angeles, CA 90036

October 9, 2017 at 7:00 PMRich Auditorium 1280 Peachtree St NE, ATL GA 30309 This is a ticketed event.

 

 

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In the Midnight Hour: the Life and Soul of Wilson Pickett

wilpick

He was the Wicked Wilson Pickett, the legendary soul man whose forty-plus hits included “In the Midnight Hour,” “634-5789,” “Land of 1000 Dances,” “Mustang Sally,” and “Don’t Let the Green Grass Fool You.” Remarkably handsome and with the charisma to match, Wilson Pickett was considered by many to be the greatest, the most visceral and sensual of the classic 1960s soul singers, and as a man who turned screaming into an art form, the most forceful of them all. He was the living embodiment of soul.

More than that, Wilson Pickett’s journey reads like a guide to popular black American music in the late 20th century. From the gospel-rich cotton fields of Alabama to the pre-Motown metropolis of Detroit, and throughout his career at Atlantic Records–he was the first artist on that label to record at Stax in Memphis, Fame in Muscle Shoals, and Sigma in Philadelphia, and rehabilitated an exiled Bobby Womack and introduced Duane Allman along the way–Wilson Pickett led the shifts in Rhythm and Blues and soul music.

Pickett’s downfall, precipitated by the move towards softer soul and then disco in the 1970s, proved equally dramatic, leading to a heavy alcohol and drug addiction, a reputation for violence and gun use, a no-show for his induction into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame in 1991, and two jail terms later in the decade. Nonetheless, the “Wicked” Pickett climbed out of these depths to end his career with a Grammy-nominated album before his death in 2006.

For this first-ever accounting of Wilson Pickett’s life, biographer Tony Fletcher interviewed members of the singer’s family, friends and partners, along with dozens of his studio and touring musicians. Offering equal attention to Pickett’s personal and professional life, with detailed insight into his legendary studio sessions and his combative road style, In the Midnight Hour: The Life and Soul of Wilson Pickett is the essential telling of an epic life.

 

Appearances

Wednesday January 18, 7pm, the STAX MUSEUM OF AMERICAN SOUL, 926 E. McLemore, Memphis, TN

Tuesday January 31, 7pmBOOK SOUP, 8818 Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA

I Am Charlie Wilson

Appearances

June 30, 2015| 7:00 PM| 189 The Grove Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90036
323-525-0270

July 6, 2015| 6:00 PM|97 Warren Street
New York, NY 10007
212-587-5389

Herbie Hancock Signing Copies of New Memoir

Herbie Hancock: Possibilities

 

The long-awaited memoir by one of the most influential and beloved musicians of our time

In Herbie Hancock the legendary jazz musician and composer reflects on a life and a thriving career that has spanned seven decades. A true innovator, Hancock has had an enormous influence on both acoustic and electric jazz, R&B and hip-hop, with his ongoing exploration of different musical genres, winning fourteen Grammy awards along the way.

From his beginnings as a child prodigy to his work in Miles Davis’s second great quintet; from his innovations as the leader of his own groundbreaking sextet to his collaborations with everyone from Wayne Shorter to Joni Mitchell and Stevie Wonder; Herbie Hancock reveals the method behind Hancock’s undeniable musical genius.

Hancock shares his musical influences, colorful behind-the-scenes stories, his long and happy marriage, and how Buddhism inspires him creatively and personally. Honest, enlightening, and as electrifyingly vital as the man who wrote it, Herbie Hancock promises to be an invaluable contribution to jazz literature and a must-read for fans and music lovers.

 

 

Appearances

October 28, 2014 |7:00 PM| 2289 Broadway, New York, NY 10024

*UPDATED* Worth the Read: New Releases for January 2014

Black Stats: African Americans by the Numbers in the Twenty-first CenturyBlack Stats—a comprehensive guide filled with contemporary facts and figures on African Americans—is an essential reference for anyone attempting to fathom the complex state of our nation. With fascinating and often surprising information on everything from incarceration rates, lending practices, and the arts to marriage, voting habits, and green jobs, the contextualized material in this book will better attune readers to telling trends while challenging commonly held, yet often misguided, perceptions.

A compilation that at once highlights measures of incredible progress and enumerates the disparate impacts of social policies and practices, this book is a critical tool for advocates, educators, and policy makers. Black Stats offers indispensable information that is sure to enlighten discussions and provoke debates about the quality of Black life in the United States today—and help chart the path to a better future.  Get your copy here.

 

 

I'll Take You There: Mavis Staples, the Staple Singers, and the March up Freedom's Highway

This is the untold story of living legend Mavis Staples—lead singer of the Staple Singers and a major figure in the music that shaped the civil rights era. Now in her seventies, Mavis has been a fixture in the music world for decades. One of the most enduring artists of popular music, she and her family fused gospel, soul, folk, and rock to transcend racism and oppression through song. Honing her prodigious talent on the Southern gospel circuit of the 1950s, Mavis and the Staple Singers went on to sell more than 30 million records, with message-oriented soul music that became a sound track to the civil rights movement—inspiring Martin Luther King Jr. himself.

Critically acclaimed biographer and Chicago Tribune music critic Greg Kot cuts to the heart of Mavis Staples’s music, revealing the intimate stories of her sixty-year career. From her love affair with Bob Dylan, to her creative collaborations with Prince, to her recent revival alongside Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy, this definitive account shows Mavis as you’ve never seen her before. I’ll Take You There was written with the complete cooperation of Mavis and her family. Readers will also hear from Prince, Bonnie Raitt, David Byrne, Marty Stuart, Ry Cooder, Steve Cropper, and many other individuals whose lives have been influenced by Mavis’s talent.

 

Fake ID

Debut author Lamar Giles takes readers on a wild and dark ride in this contemporary Witness Protection thriller. Fake ID is a compelling story full of twists and turns—sure to appeal to fans of James Patterson, Harlan Coben, and John Grisham.

Nick Pearson is hiding in plain sight. In fact, his name isn’t really Nick Pearson. He shouldn’t tell you his real name, his real hometown, or why his family just moved to Stepton, Virginia. And he definitely shouldn’t tell you about his friend Eli Cruz and the major conspiracy Eli was uncovering when he died. About how Nick had to choose between solving Eli’s murder with his hot sister, Reya, and “staying low-key” like the Program said to do.

But he’s going to tell you—unless he gets caught first. . . .

(This is a Young Adult novel, ages 13-17)

 

 

The Blossoming Universe of Violet Diamond

Violet is a smart, funny, brown-eyed, brown-haired girl in a family of blonds. Her mom is white, and her dad, who died before she was born, was black. She attends a mostly white school where she sometimes feels like a brown leaf on a pile of snow. She’s tired of people asking if she’s adopted. Now that Violet’s eleven, she decides it’s time to learn about her African American heritage. And despite getting off to a rocky start trying to reclaim her dad’s side of the family, she can feel her confidence growing as the puzzle pieces of her life finally start coming together. Readers will cheer for Violet, sharing her joy as she discovers her roots.

Get your copy here.

(This is a pre-teen book, ages  8-12 years)

 

 

A Literary Celebration of Black Music Month

Here are a few upcoming and already published books in recognition of Black Music Month.

Black Broadway: African Americans on the Great White Way

Black Broadway provides an entertaining, poignant history of a Broadway of which few are aware. By focusing a spotlight on both performers long forgotten and on those whom we still hold dear, this unique book offers a story well worth telling.

The African-American actors and actresses whose names have shone brightly on Broadway marquees earned their place in history not only through hard work, perseverance, and talent, but also because of the legacy left by those who came before them. Like the doors of many professions, those of the theater world were shut to minorities for decades. While the Civil War may have freed the slaves, it was not until the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s that the playing field began to level. In this remarkable book, theater producer and historian Stewart F. Lane uses words and pictures to capture this tumultuous century and to highlight the rocky road that black actors have travelled to reach recognition on the Great White Way. Continue reading

Author Appearance: Singer and Actress Darlene Love Signing Copies of My Name Is Love

Love

Watch the trailer below for Twenty Feet From Stardom, a documentary film from award-winning director, Morgan Neville, that shines a spotlight on the untold true story of the backup singers behind some of the greatest musical legends of the 21st century. The film features candid interviews from Darlene Love, Merry Clayton, Claudia Lennear, Lisa Fischer, and Judith Hill—whose lives and stories take center stage in the film.