Chris Rock’s “Good Hair” Is Back: My 40 Second Hollywood Debut

Invitation to 2009 DC Screening of Chris Rock’s “Good Hair”

Chris Rock’s comedy doc, “Good Hair”–and my 40 second Hollywood debut–are back on HBO for a summer run from July 12 through August 19.

Check out the  trailer and the schedule for HBO West, East and Latino on July 12, 17 and 27 and August 9, 14, 16 and 19

In 2008, I was invited to sit down with Rock at HBO’s New York headquarters to talk about my great-great-grandmother, Madam C. J. Walker, an early twentieth century pioneer of the modern hair care and cosmetics industries.
      During my hour long interview we covered everything from the history of black women and hair to the dwindling number of black-owned hair care manufacturers. In the movie, though, you’ll see that all my carefully accumulated expertise ended up being condensed into two 20 second soundbites. But, hey, as a long time producer myself, I’m just glad I didn’t end up on (more…)

July 13: Columbia University Alumni & Student Career Panel in DC

     I’ll be moderating the annual Columbia University Alumni and Student Career Panel at K&L Gates LLP, 1601 K Street, NW in Washington, DC on Wednesday, July 13 from 5:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. if you’re a Columbia alumni, please  Click here for registration information.
   We have a great line up:  Michael Steel (Press Secretary for Speaker John Boehner), Alma Cadenas-Molina (Legislative Aide for DC Councilmember Michael A. Brown), Mira Resnick (Congressional Liaison, US State Dept) and Levon Bagramian (Legislative Asst, US Senate)

  Hope to see you there!

Happy July 4th: Celebrating ALL of America’s Forefathers and Foremothers

July 4, 2011 Washington, DC

To be in Washington, DC on July 4th–and to be surrounded by the monuments and documents of American government–is to be at the center of the nation’s commemoration of the 1776 Declaration of Independence. Today we celebrate with parades and picnics, but 235 years ago the colonists were serious–and not particularly festive–as they presented their grievances against the tyranny of the King of England.

3rd U.S. Infantry “The Old Guard” Fife and Drum at the National Archives, July 4, 2011

I heard the first fireworks in my neighborhood two nights ago and have been eating barbecue and hot dogs all weekend. I love a parade and I admit I am sentimental for the kind of patriotism that celebrates World War II veterans like my dad and embraces recent immigrants who still believe in the American dream.

Young vendors

But to be black and a woman complicates the day. (more…)

Woodlawn Cemetery–Burial Place of Madam Walker–Designated National Historic Landmark

Burial site of Madam C. J. Walker and A’Lelia Walker at Woodlawn Cemetery in The Bronx

June 30, 2011:  Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today announced that The Woodlawn Cemetery in The Bronx–where entrepreneur Madam C. J. Walker and her Harlem Renaissance arts patron daughter, A’Lelia Walker, are buried–has been designated a National Historic Landmark, the highest recognition accorded to the nation’s most historically significant properties.

There are two other National Historic Landmarks associated with the legacy of the Walker women: The Madam Walker Theatre Center, a cultural arts organization in Indianapolis, and Villa Lewaro, the home Madam Walker built in Irvington-on-Hudson, New York in 1918. Villa Lewaro was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1976. The Walker Theatre was added to the National Register in 1991.

Madam Walker died on May 25, 1919 at Villa Lewaro, where her funeral was held on May 30. Among the pallbearers were New York Age publisher Fred Moore, composer J. Rosamond Johnson, and Alpha Phi Alpha founder Vertner Tandy, Villa Lewaro’s architect.

Pallbearers for Madam Walker’s 1919 Funeral (Madam Walker Family Archives/

A’Lelia Walker,who held a private ceremony for her mother at Woodlawn on June 3, 1919, was herself buried there in August 1931. (more…)