Looking back, moving forward

The past several weeks have been busy!

November 2018 ushered in a visit to my alma mater, N.C. A&T State University in Greensboro, N.C. From 2011 until 2015, I served as the Greensboro News & Record/Janice Bryant Howroyd Endowed Professor of Journalism at A&T. I later served as a visiting professor at in the School of Media and Journalism at UNC-Chapel Hill before returning to Richmond, Va., where I first moved to 1981.IMG_9424

During my visit to A&T on homecoming weekend, I enjoyed seeing several of my former students who’ve taken on the world, as ‘Aggies Do.’ They included Ashleigh Wilson, of the Arizona Republic; Kourtney Smith, Google; Ziris Savage; CBS News 2 Greensboro; Courtney Henderson, A&T public relations. Also, in addition to catching up with former classmates, I toured my alma mater’s new $90 million student center where the interior steps are painted Aggie gold. The new center replaces the university’s former student union, a place where I hung out as an undergrad commuter student.

After returning to Richmond, the BND Institute began preparing for the holidays by presenting the Nov. 13, 2018  program, “Kitchen Talk: African-American Holiday Cooking. ”

This riveting program was inspired by the 2018 release of the book, “Edna Lewis: At the Table with an American Original.”  The book pays homage to Ms. Lewis, one of America’s beloved chefs who was born not far from Richmond in Freetown, (Orange County) Virginia.

9781469638553.jpgMs. Lewis, who died in 2006 at age 89, left a legacy and love of cooking that lives on in her seminal cookbooks that the New York Times says  “revived the nearly forgotten genre of Clarinex while offering a glimpse into African-American farm life in the early 20th century.” Her cookbooks include: The Edna Lewis Cookbook (1972), The Taste of Country Cooking (1976) and In Pursuit of Flavor (1988).

The BND institute’s November program featured local and regional culinary experts who discussed why chefs such as Ms. Lewis continue to inspire legions of novice and experienced cooks. IMG_0783Mikki Spencer, host, the Virginia Lottery Draw Show and a legendary Richmond, Va. radio and media personality, was the evening’s moderator. Guest chefs and culinary experts included  Herman Baskerville, chef, owner of Big Herm’s Kitchen; Betty Thompson Morton, kitchen culinary consultant, cookbook author (formerly of Reynolds Kitchens);  Keva Miller, chef and owner of FEEDSHINE LLC. Jeremy Carry, of Sun Path Family Farm located in South Richmond, also discussed how he and his partner, Alia Chambers, are diligently working their urban gardening skills to help provide nutritious vegetable to Richmonders far and near.

After the discussion, delicious fried turkey, sweet potato casserole and green beens were served by Big Herm and Leanne Fletcher, while Keva served up a tasty garbanzo bean mash up.

A special thank you to our sponsors, John R. Rich, Michael L. Harvey, MLH Assets LP, NDUTIME Youth and Family Services, and Vinara Mosby, Maxamus Insurance.

We also appreciate these volunteers for helping to make our program a success: Meldon Jenkins-Jones, Law Librarian, Richmond Public Library; Dexter Johnson, multimedia journalist; Kendall Johnson, photographer; Latika Johnson, public relations; Renee Johnson, Rebekah Pierce, Alphonso “Matt” Mathis, Robin Walston and  Morgann Williams.

Enjoy these photos of the program. A video will soon be posted.

December To Do’s

After many of us shared the blessings of Thanksgiving meals, family, friends and loved ones, in came December accompanied by its usual hustle and bustle. For friends of the BND Institute of Media and Culture, the hustle was real as we prepared for a Dec. 5 discussion of former First Lady Michelle Obama’s book, “Becoming.” Members of several Richmond, Va. -area book clubs met at Henrico’s Libbie Mill Library to discuss this mesmerizing book. IMG_9677What a perfect and timely gift for  young couples, young families, parents, siblings, African-American professionals, youth seeking to find their way (coming of age), close friends and grandparents. You heard it first from me: Virtually NO topic is left uncovered in “Becoming.”  This book is brutally honest, deeply personal and brilliantly executed. Thank you, Michelle Obama. (And Barry, too. 🙂 )

We enjoyed a fun, thought-provoking evening while discussing “Becoming.” Book club president and avid reader Renee Johnson led the discussion with questions that prompted attendees to share aspects of their lives similar to those detailed by Mrs. Obama about her own upbringing. One question we forgot to ponder: Will a movie of the book be made and if so, who should portray Michelle Obama. (Regina King MUST be somewhere in the lineup).

What’s next for the BND Institute of Media and Culture?

The institute is partnering with multi-published author Stacy Hawkins Adams to invite Richmond-area readers to read (or re-read) Shonda Rhimes’ memoir, “Year of Yes,” stacy adamsbetween December and early February, so that they can join Stacy on Feb. 9, 2019 for a reading and writing experience that involves the book. Attendees will discuss the themes in “Year of Yes,” then use their take-aways as prompts in a brief writing workshop led by Stacy.  Attendees will leave inspired and armed with a personally written manifesto to guide them through 2019.  The session is limited to 20 participants.

Date: Feb. 9, 2019

Time: 10 a.m.- 1 p.m.

Place: Homewood Suites, Richmond West,

 4100 Innslake Drive, Glen Allen, Virginia 23060

Cost: $25 (includes lunch)

Please register at Eventbrite.




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