Detroit’s Freedom Weekend was a hit for NAACP

DETROIT _ I was honored to participate in the NAACP Freedom Weekend, which featured a powerful conversation “Being Black Is Not A Crime” and the annual Freedom Dinner, which filled Cobo Hall to hear Sen. Cory Booker. Two highlights: I was on the panel with Tiffany Dena Loftin, National Director for Youth and College Division of the NAACP, and I got to hang out with my friend, Pat Cole between speakers at the dinner.


Carmen Harlan launches her second act, and it’s fun!

She’s launched her Second Act as a designer and fashion mogul. The April 28 party to celebrate the arrival of The Carmen shirt was a star-studded evening with great food, drinks and a fashion show! Chuck Bennett described

As social chronicler Chuck Bennett reported, Carmen collaborated with New York-based designer PingPong Khumwan of Maison Khoomwan “on the rather impressive clothing collection. The style of the shirt is the same, but available in different colors, fabrics and patterns. They range in price from about $325 to $590. A diverse group of models strutted the runway to a live performance by Carmen’s son, Joey Cobb, who is a budding hip-hop artist. “Every Detroit woman needs one in her closet,” advises Carmen. “It’s one of those go-to pieces.” Approximately 200 people attended the event, including Florine Mark, Christina Lovio-George, Sue Marx and Carmen’s WDIV-TV successor Kimberly Gill.”

Carmen, the face of local news for three decades, now is the face of fun!


I was so honored to have been invited back to The Book Beat in Oak Park, Michigan on Saturday.I got the double bonus of signing, for a while, with Karen Dybis – who is on her third book, but is known for her scrumptious history of Better Made, yes the local company that makes the potato chips – and Rebecca McBrayer Scarcello, co-host of “The D Brief” podcast. The conversation was great, the learning was plentiful and yes, I left with a bag full of books!


LIVONIA, Michigan _ What a joy kicking off Bookstock 2018 at Laurel Park Place, which is now filled with more than 250,000 books, CDs and albums. The event, the largest used book and media sale in the state, benefits literacy. Come out during mall hours all week, especially 5 pm Wednesday when we announce the winners of the Cookstock Best Cupcake Ever contest!

See WDIV Local 4 coverage here!

Then, three days later, we celebrated the winner of the 2018 Bookstock Recipe Contest. Called Cookstock, this year’s contest was for amateur pastry chefs to make the “Best Cupcake Ever!” Felicia Haynes’ Pineapple Express Cupcakes won First Prize! Her treats will be featured at Good Cakes and Bakes, Detroit’s hottest new bakery, which is co-owned by April Anderson, pictured below right. And she got to make the cupcakes on “Live in the D” with Tati Amare (pictured below center). Felicia is at bottom left.

April said that she had already been receiving calls – even before Wednesday’s reveal asking when the cupcake would be available.

“I had to tell them that we hadn’t even announced the winner yet!” she said.


If you ever need affirmation that the fight for social justice will continue, just watch YWPs – young people working. I was honored to present “The Burden” to folks in West Bloomfield, a suburb of Detroit, where I once lived and where my daughter graduated high school. I was invited by the West Bloomfield High School’s African American Awareness Club (Triple A), and they were awesome! The students brought together residents from across the city for an open dialogue about race, a conversation that is so needed and not so frightening, once you actually begin to talk. We can do this!


DETROIT _ My longtime friend, Walter Middlebrook and I received Lifetime Achievement Awards from the Detroit Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists at its annual awards ceremony in an event filled with raucous laughter and deserved recognition of great achievement. (I also won for best columns for 2018. Who knew?)  I was so humbled by SPJ and was glad to have my posse on hand to see it. I was so proud of Walter and so grateful for the honors!


DETROIT _ I landed back in Detroit in time to host actress andforce of nature Mariska Hargitay at the screening of “I Am Evidence” at the Freep Film Festival. Mariska was the most gracious and vivacious star I’ve seen in a while, taking selfies, hugging everyone and preparing a pre-screening crowd for a powerful look at women victimized twice, first by their rapists and then by the system. This is a powerful documentary made by women about women for everybody to understand what happened when hundreds of thousands of rape kits done on victims were stored and sat abandoned in warehouses across America while the rapists went on to rape again. The film also is a tribute to prosecutors like Kym Worthy whose fight to get the kits tested led to the identification of more than 800 serial rapists. Do not miss this film!


NEW YORK _ Johann Calhoun, Aaron Morrison and their team of NABJ leaders put on quite the regional conference April 13 and 14 at the New York University Law School with spectacular workshops and a publish-worthy keynote from Kevin Powell. My panel was about covering the African diaspora from where you are – everywhere you are by paying attention to the immigrant communities where you live and using vacations as opportunities to freelance. (Thanks to Jarrad Henderson and other professionals for fantastic shots of what happened).


NEW YORK _ I was back in the city I love second-most for the NABJ Region 1 global diversity conference, which was amazing! I saw the future in the faces of young journalists like Madelynn Mitchell, Destiny Williams and Jamila Jacob — and I bumped into Newsday Editor Deb Henley, who was my editor years ago at The Courier Journal. She honored me by buying my book, “The Burden,” after my panel on covering the globe from home. Yes, you can write about world affairs where you are, as explained brilliantly by my co-panelists Melissa Noel and Frankie Edozien, an associate professor at NYU. We talked about connecting with other countries through the immigrants in your own town and covering ethnic festivals, without grumbling, to gain valued sources. Then the always-on-point Kevin Powell gave a powerful keynote and a charge to journalists of all ages to embrace and insist on excellence. Congratulations Johann Calhoun, Aaron Morrison and a stellar team for a great, great job!