July 05, 2018 

By Lapacazo Sandoval 

Contributing Writer 

 

Based on the press image provided by book publisher Henry Holt and Company, author Tomi Adeyemi the 24-year old Nigerian-American author of “Children of Blood and Bone” favors natural hair.  In the photograph, she’s smiling but not in a cheesy and staged manner that is often favored (or forced upon) by authors.  You know that cliched press image, the one that suggests that perhaps the author wants to shout to the viewer—“I am an intellectual so take me seriously—dam it—”.  That’s not the case with Adeyemi's image. If you look closely there is something in her eyes that makes her look like she’s holding a great, big, juicy, earth-shattering secret and one that will be spilled by no one but Tomi Adeyemi.

 

Adeyemi's “The Children of Blood at Bone” is set in the magical land of Orïsha and is told through the eyes of a young woman named Zélie who goes on a quest to restore magic to her people. It’s a dark time for Zélie’s people with magic being banned from the land.  Prior to the events detailed in the book, Orïsha had been home to powerful maji, those individuals blessed by the gods with supernatural powers. Terrified by the unknown, an evil king outlawed magic and destroyed most of the maji. After having a chance run-in with Amari, a runaway princess who might hold the key to restoring magic, Zélie and her brother Tzain begin an action-packed journey that takes them all the way across Orïsha.

 

On her recent press book tour, Adeyemi's team found exactly 12 minutes for us to chat, via phone. I don’t want to sound bitter, I am not.  I am respectful of time, it is a precious element and unless you are one of the maji you can’t stop, rewind or fast-forward time—unless, again you are blessed by the gods.

 

Adeyemi is the middle child of three with a brother and younger sister.  Her father is a doctor, and in Chicago, her mother runs a group of hospices. Adeyemi studied English literature at Harvard before traveling to Brazil on a fellowship to immersive herself into West African culture and mythology. It was in South America that the seeds of Children of Blood and Bone, the first in a trilogy, were sown.

 

There are ten clans inside the Maji society.  IKU clan are the reapers, and their deity is Oya.  EMI clan are the connectors, and their deity is Ori.  OMI clan are the tiders (water) and their deity is Yemoja. INA clan are burners (fire) and their deity is Sango.  Afefe clan is are winders (air) and their diety is Ayao. Aiye clan are grounder+welder (iron and earth) and their deity is Ogun.  Imole clan is described as darkness and light, and their deity Ochumare.  Iwosan clan are healers+cancer, their deity is Babaluaye. Ariran clan are seers, maji of time and their deity is Orunmila. Eranko clan are tamers (animals) and their deity is Oxosi.

 

Strolling the wide streets of Harlem, I chatted with Adeyemi and this is what she has to say about what inspired Zélie's world and why she hopes that young girls, all over the world will read her book and connect with the spirit of the story. It’s almost a safe bet to say that her wish will come true, since along with the critical accolades for the debut novel,  Adeyemi also landed a three-book and three-movie deal with an all-Black cast of characters. Impressive.

 

L.A. Watts Times (LAWT):  I have 12 minutes. Question one — 24 is mad young. Congratulations, you are blowing up. Your thoughts on this?

 

Tomi Adeyemi (TA): Since the publishing of the book [“Children of Blood and Bone”] I’ve spent a lot of time thinking, is this for real?  It is. I’m working on the next one, right now, and OMG, you know … it’s a lot of work. I had a lot of different reasons for writing the book but at its core was the desire to write for black teenage girls growing up reading books they were absent from. That was my experience as a child. “Children of Blood and Bone” is a chance to address that. To say you are seen.

 

LAWT: In reading this book and learning more about the ten maji clans, I could not help but think this reminds me of today, circa 2018 and how America snatched language, culture, religion, and tradition from the Africans that they enslaved. Dare I say it, they tried to destroy our magic. Thoughts?

 

TA: I’d say that  Zélie’s quest to reawaken magic in the country of Orïsha – is an allegory for the modern black experience and it draws inspiration from both West African mythology and the Black Lives Matter movement.

 

LAWT: It’s an adventure and graphic.  The lead character, Zélie’ is a warrior and in the first chapter entitled —Zélie — we get a taste of it.

 

PICK ME.

 

It’s all I can do not to scream  I dig my nails into the marula oak of my staff and squeeze to keep from fidgeting.  Beads of sweat drip down my back, but I can’t tell if it’s from the dawn’s early heat or from my heart slamming against my chest. Moon after moon I’ve been passed over.

 

Today can’t be the same. — Zélie — “Children of Blood and Bone”

 

TA: Yes. It’s important that black girls see themselves strong.  In my perfect world, we’d have one black girl fantasy book every month.  We need them, and we need fantasy stories about black boys as well.

 

LAWT: It’s exciting knowing that your books will have a life on the big screen. The success of Marvel’s “Black Panther” has Hollywood in a mad dash to find the “next” voice, and we both know if it’s not with a Black film director the folks won’t support it — and nor should we.

 

TA: You’re right about the success of “Black Panther,” it has been so significant and empowering. Imagination is a funny thing – we sometimes need to see something before we can truly picture it.

 

LAWT: When did you know that you had found your career?

 

TA: I’ve been writing since 2016. That’s when the realization that I wanted to become a full-time writer hit me.

 

LAWT: What’s next? Silly question but I must ask it.

 

TA: The sequel to “The Children of Blood at Bone”! And after that, the final book in the trilogy!

 

But I do have a few secret projects but for now….

 

LAWT: …but for now, they will remain a secret.

 

TA: For now, yes.

Category: Arts & Culture

July 05, 2018 

By ANDREW DALTON 

AP Entertainment Writer 

 

Jackson family patriarch Joseph Jackson has been buried in the same Southern California cemetery as his late son Michael.

 

A source close to the family who is not authorized to speak publicly said Joe Jackson was laid to rest Monday in a private ceremony at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale.

 

Jackson died Wednesday in Las Vegas at age 89 and is survived by wife Katherine, eight children and dozens of grandchildren. 

 

Eldest son Jackie Jackson posted a photo of himself on Instagram Monday afternoon in a black suit and sunglasses while dressing one of his young twin sons in a similar suit. 

 

Michael Jackson was entombed in 2009 in the mausoleum at the opulent cemetery that is also the final resting place of Elizabeth Taylor and Walt Disney.

Category: Arts & Culture

July 05, 2018 

Associated Press 

 

A part owner of Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get It On” is suing Ed Sheeran for $100 million after getting blocked from a similar lawsuit brought by other copyright owners.

 

Both lawsuits say the British songwriter copied parts of the soul classic for his Grammy-winning hit “Thinking Out Loud.”

 

A lawyer for Structured Asset Sales said the new lawsuit's Thursday filing was necessary because a judge refused to let the company join a 2016 lawsuit by the family of a co-writer of Gaye's song.

 

That lawsuit, which is still pending in Manhattan federal court, seeks unspecified damages.

 

A lawyer for Sheeran and other defendants said in a letter to the judge in the original lawsuit that he will seek to have both lawsuits tossed out. He said they were baseless.

 

 

 

 

Category: Arts & Culture

July 05, 2018 

Aries 

MAR 21 - APR 19 

The emotional depth that is possible between you and your lover this week is mystical, sentimental, and oh so sweet. There will be an emphasis on watery energy this week, which will have you and everyone else capable of feeling all the feels. Happily, they will be directed in the right way. You and your love are likely to enjoy a true soul connection -- don't be surprised if you look into each other's eyes and feel like you've absolutely come home. If you're completely single, try not to push too hard if there is someone in your environment you're now talking to. Allow things to flow naturally. If it's meant to be, it'll be.

  

Taurus 

APR 20 - MAY 20 

Relationship bliss is yours for the taking, Taurus! Conversations with your partner this week center on the deep and truly beautiful emotional security you feel with one another. Thanks to Jupiter touring your commitment sector, you have done a great deal of shadow work this year when it comes to intimacy and partnerships. If you've confronted those depths, you are sure to feel the rewards of romantic expansion and happiness now. If you're not feeling it, then guess what? You get a second chance now. Go deep, sweet Bull. The grass is going to taste so sweet once you do.

  

Gemini 

MAY 21 - JUN 20 

Honest conversations with your lover might be uncomfortable this week but they are absolutely necessary. There needs to be a discussion about your spiritual perspective and any disagreements you might have concerning morals or beliefs. Another possibility is that you are dating someone who you now realize might not be on your level intellectually. If this is happening, the disappointment you feel may come crashing down on you and it's likely to take away from the attraction you feel for this person. Talk about it -- stat! And if you realize it's not working, it might be time to walk away.

 

Cancer 

JUN 21 - JUL 22 

You and your partner have all the makings of a beautifully romantic week ahead. The only trouble you might need to get past has to do with a serious disagreement about finances. There could be a situation concerning joint financial debt between you and your partner that is negating what may otherwise be a solid connection. One possibility is that you discover your mate has been spending money recklessly lately and because of this, you both have to pay the price and do some serious belt-tightening in order to address the debt incurred. Yes, that would cut into romance. Hash it out and try to move on. The love is still there.

 

Leo 

JUL 23 - AUG 22 

Love planet Venus is in your sign for one more week, so don't waste it! If you're single, there is plenty of attention coming your way from others. In fact, you are at your magnetic best with Venus in Leo, not needing to do much work at all when it comes to romantic prospects. Even so, Mercury will oppose Mars on Thursday. Since Mars is moving retrograde in your partnership sector, it seems like you will look and feel great but not have much luck getting your partner or a potential mate to do what you want. Hmmm ... what's a Leo to do?

 

Virgo 

AUG 23 - SEP 22 

One of your friends might comment this week about your relationship and just how blessed he or she feels that you are. You'll enjoy hearing your pal's perspective about your love life, because he or she will truly have nothing but positive things to say. In fact, your friend might remark that he or she feels you have finally found your true soulmate. As far as you and your lover go, you'll tend to agree. Single? Make peace with it for now. Your time will come. In the meantime, you are clearly surrounded by amazing friends. Be grateful for them.

 

Libra 

SEP 23 - OCT 22 

Oh, Libra, your love life might feel like a complete dud. Mars, the ruler of your partnership sector, turned retrograde last week in your 5th House of Romance and Pleasure. Something is off and there doesn't seem to be much you can do to make it right. Frustration when it comes to getting your physical and relational needs met is likely, and you've only just begun to put your finger on what has been wrong in your love life scenario. Maybe you're going after the wrong person, maybe you have unrealistic expectations with the right person, or maybe you've just hit a lull. The bright side? At least you and your lover will talk about it.

 

Scorpio 

OCT 23 - NOV 21 

If you're single, this might be a week you meet someone who instantly speaks to your soul. You're usually quite guarded and even controlling when it comes to how much you reveal to others about yourself. Typically, you have this way of finding out any and everything about the person you're interested in without allowing this person to penetrate you in any real way -- at least at first. This is because you need time to trust and open up to someone. This person, however, will have a way of cutting straight through your defenses and right into your heart. Don't be afraid.

  

Sagittarius 

NOV 22 - DEC 21 

It might be difficult for you to get any real satisfaction in your dating and sex life if you're not in a committed relationship. Now that Mars, the ruler of your romance sector, is retrograde, you might be ready to become a hermit for the next couple of months. While it's true that any brand-new dating or sexual relationship might not be as satisfying as it could be, that doesn't render you completely hopeless. What about taking things slowly? If there is someone on your radar who makes your heart beat faster, recognize that Mars is slowing down the progress for a reason. Good things come to those who wait.

 

Capricorn 

DEC 22 - JAN 19 

With the Sun moving through your partnership sector, you are absolutely shining a light on relationship matters now. The Sun will make happy links to both Jupiter and Neptune this week, which can only help fortify an existing love connection. You and your mate could spend time discussing a shared dream that you both have and how to make it come alive. This can be anything from a vacation you've wanted to take together to a business goal. Whatever the details, you'll have all the faith you need in each other to know that you'll eventually get there.

 

Aquarius 

JAN 20 - FEB 18 

If you're feeling flat in the love department, cut yourself some slack. Mars, the planet of motivation and libido, went retrograde in your sign last week. This week, as you adjust to Mars being in hibernation mode, you might feel dejected when it comes to the current state of your love life. Instead of resigning yourself to misery, make peace with the fact that this is a cycle that requires you to stop pushing and to start reflecting on why this stalemate has happened in the first place. This will allow you to actually change things. There IS a reason. Find it, Aquarius.

  

Pisces 

FEB 19 - MAR 20 

The Sun is shining a light in your 5th House of Romance and Pleasure, which bodes quite well for you in terms of love potential. If you're single, this might be a week when you feel extra optimistic and idealistic about someone special. You might even put this person up on a pedestal and refuse to see anything but his or her absolute divine qualities. The good news is there is no reason to suspect that this person is anything else but a dream come true, so go ahead and fall in love. The universe will catch you. 

Category: Arts & Culture

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