Hollyhood Book Cover

"A daring, realistic and unapologetic depiction of how it is to be black in "La-La" land.

“In Hollyhood, Valerie Joyner delivers all the juice that's fit to print. She craftily untangles the lives of Hollywood's rich and so-so famous with enough sass, smarts and savvy to make you care for these sometimes twisted souls from beginning to end.”

"Hollyhood is a masterfully told story about Hollywood from a unique African America perspective. Valerie Joyner takes you into the world of being a sitcom writer with an unforgiving honesty and truth filled memorable characters. I dig it!"

My Reading List for 2016

The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace by Jeff Hobbs

Fire Shut Up in My Bones by Charles Blow

Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson

Ruby by Cynthia Bond

Black Man in a White Coat by Damon Tweedy

The Fisherman by Chigozie Obioma

The Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalantithi

I Do Not Come to You By Chance by Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani

American Dervish by Ayar Akhtar

Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue

My Beloved World by Sonia Sotomayor

Homecoming by Yaa Gyasi

Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

Born on a Tuesday by Elnathan John

Run Jesse Run!

On Sunday 6/26/16 actor/activist Jesse Williams received the Humanitarian Award at the BET Awards. Here's is his acceptance speech.

JESSE WILLIAMS: Before we get into it, I just want to say, you know, I brought my parents out tonight. I just want to thank them for being here, for teaching me to focus on comprehension over career, that they made sure I learned what the schools were afraid to teach us. And also I thank my amazing wife for changing my life.

Hollywood Goddam!

Every so often a biopic role of a lifetime comes along and if properly executed can change the trajectory of an actors career and we forever see them as that character. Think Jamie Fox as Ray Charles, Joaquin Phoenix as Johnny Cash, Denzel Washington as Malcolm X. Halle Berry as Dorothy Dandridge. (I know, I’m stretching it here.) Diana Ross as Billie Holiday. Ben Kingsley as Ghandi, Liam Neeson as Schindler. I won’t bore you longer. You get the point.

The Carter's: Holly Repping the Hood

During Black History Month I watched a lot of documentaries and was reminded of the roles artist played in the Civil Rights movement. Nina Simone, James Baldwin, Sam Cooke, James Brown, Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, Mahalia Jackson and so many more. Black artist were compelled to lend their voice to the cause.

So, it's easy to understand why Harry Belafonte would call into question the lack of activism of todays artist. In a 2103 interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Belafonte said, “And I think one of the great abuses of this modern time is that we should have had such high-profile artists, powerful celebrities. But they have turned their back on social responsibility. That goes for Jay-Z and Beyonce, for example.” Ouch.

Surprise! Oscar Lacks Diversity

My uncle once told me, black people can get a false sense of belonging. They become high earners, their circle of business associates and friends are white and their color no longer seems as prevalent as their money.

The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete

The title of this film tells you the characters are going to lose, that whoever Mister and Pete are they would not win the lottery or ride off into the sunset. Yet, none of this prevented me from rooting for Mister (Skylan Brooks) and Pete (Ethan Dizon) throughout the film. It didn’t stop me from hoping against hope, crack, poverty, neglect and abuse that these kids would somehow, some way win.

Oprah is Back to Black

Few people would have predicted Oprah’s newly established OWN Network would not be an instant success. After all, her show, production company, magazine and school were extremely successful. Who could doubt her Midas touch?

For decades Oprah dominated talk show television and enjoyed exceedingly high ratings. Her core audience, white females, welcomed Oprah into their homes every afternoon like an old friend. Her crossover success transcended race, morpihing Oprah from Black to money green as she aggressively courted and pandered her white audience.

How to Raise a Holly-Hood Baby

Dear Kim Kardashian,

Congratulations! You will soon be the mother of a biracial baby. Raising a Holly-Hood child is a great responsibility , so here are a few suggestions that might help.

1. Buy some grease. Your hair doesn’t require this secret ingredient but your child’s will. Grease and a little bit of water goes a long way on curly hair. May I suggest Carol’s Daughter products or Kinky Curl’s. Buy wide tooth combs and maybe a pick. If the hair grows too big and puffy, try not to panic and Lord, don’t take her to a Beverly Hills salon. This will make matters worse. Call Bey or Solange. They’ll know exactly what to do. Again, call Bey or Solange. Not Venus and Serena.

Beauty and the Beast

Whenever I see photos of Rihanna with Chris Brown together, I am eerily reminded of my cousin, Crystal. As a young lady in her teens, Crystal was in love with a young man who beat her, leaving her body bruised and battered many times in the same manner Chris brutally handled Rihanna. Crystal was very good looking, confident and smart and though her boyfriend had a history of violence (he beat his other girlfriends), no one could convince her to give him up, let him go.

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