Energetic and Talented Bruno Mars

I feared for the talented and energetic Bruno Mars and his Hooligans dancing outside on top of the Apollo Theater marquee in Harlem, New York, when I saw their 24K Magic Live at the Apollo show on CBS November 29, 2017.  After all, the building is 77 years old.

They did the Apollo proud with their stylish singing, dancing, and playing musical instruments.  I saw Bruno Mars sing a love ballad on an award show a couple of years ago.  Who knew that he would blow up!   My favorite song of his is the ironic love ballad “Grenade” in which he sings about the great lengths to which he would go to save his loved one (taking a grenade, train, bullet, etc.), but his loved one wouldn’t do the same for him.  I love the line– “…Tell the devil I said hey when you get back to where you’re from.”

I also saw Kathy Bates do a great impression of his 24K Magic song on the Lip Sync Battle television show recently.



Written by Rosa L. Griffin





Did you know? Escarpment

I found out that an escarpment is “a steep slope or long cliff that forms as an effect of faulting or erosion and separates two relatively level areas of differing elevations.”  There are escarpments in Niagara, Southern Africa, Caprock, Catskills, Bandiagara, Helderberg, and Knobstone, to name a few.

Guess where I heard the word escarpment?  In a Tarzan movie, “Tarzan’s N. Y. Adventure” (1942) in which Tarzan and Jane’s “adopted” son, Boy (Johnny Sheffield), is kidnapped by hunters who work for circus people and were given a deadline to leave by Tarzan.   So, Jane (Maureen O’Sullivan), Tarzan (Johnny Weismuller), and Cheetah (chimpanzee) get to go to America.

Tarzan is based on a character created by Edgar Rice Burroughs.  And, in spite of 12 movies, Tarzan still never learned to speak more than a 2-3 word sentence, i.e. “Jane go”, “Boy no go”, etc.   Yet, he knew the word “escarpment”.

Johnny Weismuller was “one of the world’s fastest swimmers in the 20s, winning five Olympic gold medals and one bronze for water polo.  He won 52 U.S. national championships and set more than 50 world records.   His character’s distinctive Tarzan yell is still often used in films.”  A heartbreaking fact is that he had a heart condition that was revealed when he broke a hip and a leg in 1974 causing declining health, but he got a 21-gun salute at his funeral in 1984.

That’s where the sexy comes in—right?  You want a relatively muscular man who’s scantily clad, can rescue you if you are drowning, can keep the “animals” in check, brings home the “bacon”, and protects his home.    And, if you can’t have a kid in the plot because the studio says you are already living in sin, you can always wait for a kid to survive a plane crash in one of the movies, so you can “adopt” him or her.




Rotten Tomatoes


Written by Rosa L. Griffin

Review of Odessa Rose’s BOOK Water in a Broken Glass

Tonya Mimms, an up-and-coming young sculptor, meets Malcolm, the man of her dreams, after a series of bedding and discarding other young men to avoid her attraction to women that she discovered in high school.  Tonya and Malcolm begin a sexual relationship.

Then, blink!  Tonya’s head is turned just like that by a beautiful, sensual woman with some of the same attributes as Malcolm.  Malcolm and Satin’s voices, scents, and complexions assault Tonya upon meeting them. Each potential lover has their own business, is physically fit and attractive, owns their own home, drives a great car, and would be devoted to Tonya if Tonya would allow it.

Tonya is like a kid in a candy store whose been told that she can have whatever she wants.  She splits her affections between the two rather than switches them to Malcolm or Satin exclusively. Is it possible to be in love-at-first-sight with two different people, even two different genders, in the same month?  Who will Tonya choose?

What if you are the one who is so afraid to be different that you will verbally abuse or beat up anyone who threatens others’ perceptions of your “normalcy”?  There are also families involved in each relationship. “People don’t like it when you’re not who they need you to be.”  Ms. Rose’s novel explores the confusion of adolescence and sexual identity—a theme that is artfully interspersed throughout the book.

Ms. Rose has written a powerful novel rivaling James Baldwin’s Giovanni’s Room in the intensity of issues that it brings before the reader.  Like Baldwin’s David, Tonya is insensitive to the people that she is hurting while finding herself.  However, Tonya is also tortured by her own selfishness, unlike David.

I fell in love with Ms. Rose’s lyrical rhythm of writing and intelligence of expression.  Her book is one you won’t want to put down while reading and won’t want to end when you have finished it.

Written by Rosa L. Griffin

Published on Amazon 2/6/11


Review of MOVIE Water in a Broken Glass by Odessa Rose

Baltimore City, Maryland, is one of the stars of Ms. Rose’s brand new movie, Water in a Broken Glass which premiered at York Road’s Senator Theatre on Thursday, March 1, 2018, at 7 p.m.    Those familiar with our city will certainly recognize the beauty of some of its neighborhoods and streets with which Director Jamelle Williams-Thomas surrounded the audience.

The movie was extremely true to the book except for Tonya’s occupation.  In the book she was a sculptor, but in the movie she is a painter.   Tonya, as portrayed by Billie Krishawn, kept her love life at a distance since the young woman’s love she would not acknowledge in high school.   Tonya has to build a showing of her paintings to earn a monetary contract.   So, of course, love comes along to disrupt everything.   Her potential love life will become a big distraction to her work.

She meets handsome, larger-than-life accountant, Malcolm, who is looking for love after a break-up, played by the dimpled, reasonably muscled and tattooed Wes Hall.   Malcolm is fun to be with and quietly magnetic and Tonya thinks she’s in love.

Who comes into Tonya’s life next but the cultured and sophisticated older woman, Satin, played by Toni Belafonte.  Satin is a bookstore owner who knows about art, and is on her way out of her current relationship with Robin, played by Lee Avant.    To complicate matters further, Meyoki, an old flame from high school who Tonya refused to acknowledge comes back into her life for one evening of dancing.    Meyoki is portrayed by Shani Ashley Francillon.   Tonya has to wrestle with old yearnings that she thought were out of her life.   By this time, Tonya probably thought she was in love with three different humans.

Billie Krishawn was absolutely believable as Tonya.   She played the confused young woman who doesn’t know who she wants with compassion.  In a way, Tonya hopes to keep both Malcolm and Satin.

Tonya’s Aunt Jo, played by veteran and award-winning actress, Victoria Rowell, was wonderful in helping Tonya see what she was doing in her love life.    Best friend, Nikki, played by Candiace Dillard, also had Tonya’s back.   By the time Tonya realized what she really wanted, she felt she couldn’t have it because it had been taboo all her life.

The audience was laughing and talking back to the screen often in nearly a standing-room only crowd.   I dare say that many in the audience could identify with Tonya’s dilemma of confusion in finally deciding who to stay with.   I’m also glad that Wes Hall’s character Malcolm did not have to hit a wall breaking his hand like his character did in Ms. Rose’s original book after Tonya broke up with him.

I was also fascinated with the variety of natural hair styles and interesting outfits that Toni Belafonte’s character Satin wore in the movie.

I would love to see the movie again.   Ms. Rose’s movie was worth coming out for on a cold and rainy night.

Written by Rosa L. Griffin


Review of book Same Kind of Different as Me, by Ron Hall, Denver Moore, with Lynn Vincent

This is the eye-opening true story of Ron Hall, a white Plantation owner’s son, and Denver Moore, a black present-day slave who are brought together by Ron’s wife.   Both sides were told in this story–each man has their own alternating chapters.

Denver was raised in Red Parrish, Louisiana.   His grandmother, who raised him, died in a fire when he was a little boy.   Denver was also dragged with a rope by 3 white boys when, as a teenager, he stopped to help a white woman change her tire.   She did nothing to stop the attack except to stand still and look pretty.

In the 1960’s, Denver was a Louisiana sharecropper who owned only one set of clothes—the ones on his back—and had been working unpaid for 20 years since he was a child.  All food, clothing, animals, equipment, seeds, etc. were bought on credit—enough to get you through a year–so a black sharecropper would owe the plantation owner for the rest of his life.

“That ain’t no bad life if the labor is for your own land,” Denver said.  He couldn’t read, had no radio, car, telephone, plumbing, nor electricity.   Sharecroppers lived in corrugated shacks with no windows.   Holes in the floors were covered with boards and tin can lids.  Women made their own dresses out of flour sacks.  Denver wasn’t even aware that there had been a World War II, the Korean War, or the Vietnam War.

Denver was not paid except for maybe a few coins and a lunch meat sandwich at the end of the day, but the white sharecroppers were paid and fed at the plantation owners’ table.   Denver received a few dollars maybe 5-6 times per year and two hogs.   With progress and inventions, plantation owners didn’t need as many workers, so they put some of the blacks off the lands they had been working all their lives.   He wasn’t told that he had the right to attend colored schools, learn a trade, join the army, own money, or respect.   Denver was in that class of people who were never given civil rights.   Denver finally got free of the system by hopping a train bound for California and lived by any means necessary.

Ron Hall was basically raised by his grandfather because his father was a drunk.   Ron was a white plantation owner’s son who went to college (where he met his wife) and worked in investment banking.  Then, he discovered art dealing which made him rich.   His wife, Debbie, feared missing the calling of God, so she convinced her husband to start going to missions to feed the homeless in Fort Worth, Texas—where they met and eventually became friends with Denver and many other homeless people.

If not for this book, I would never have known what a Louisiana sharecropper in recent decades went through.  It reminds me of the movie, Sounder, where black poverty abounded in a similar situation.

Same Kind of Different as Me: A Modern-Day Slave, an International Art Dealer, and the Unlikely Woman Who Bound Them Together, co-written by Ron Hall and Denver Moore, with Lynn Vincent, published by Thomas Nelson, 2006.  Was made into a film in 2017 by Michael Carney.

Other sources:

7/17/07 histclo.com/cwa/rcon/rec-share

Sharecropping—Slavery by Another Name—Bento—PBS

Written by Rosa Griffin