Beauty, even in Death

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A person I loved died on Monday. The burial was yesterday in Uganda where she was from. She’d battled cancer for over a year, and just when it seemed she had overcome it, the doctors treating her exhausted the options to save her life. Though she’d lived in London for over 25 years, she chose to spend her final weeks …

Pamela Brown-PetersideBeauty, even in Death

So Long New York…

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I flew into JFK 26 years ago this month from London with 2 suitcases. Tonight I fly out of JFK and back to London. I take another 2 suitcases (+ 22 boxes that are on a ship somewhere in the middle of the Atlantic). I leave behind a varied and rich tapestry of friends and neighbors. Incredibly, some of these …

Pamela Brown-PetersideSo Long New York…

Maria Sharapova’s Tennis Lessons

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Wimbledon, the third grand slam tennis event of the year, started today. But at least one recent former champion won’t be playing there this year. And perhaps not next year either. The International Tennis Federation has banned Maria Sharapova from competing on the professional tennis circuit for two years though she’s likely to succeed in getting this reduced. The ITF …

Pamela Brown-PetersideMaria Sharapova’s Tennis Lessons

Sacred Selma

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This past weekend, I had the privilege of visiting Selma. I’d seen the film and mulled over some of its history but wasn’t sure quite what to expect. My friend Linda and I traveled there by Greyhound from Montgomery in a white shuttle bus. Besides the female driver, there were only two other passengers (also women) with us. Apparently the …

Pamela Brown-PetersideSacred Selma

Familiar, Funny & Fantastic

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(First posted on my blog on March 4, 2016.) It may be the first time that 10 black female actors are appearing on Broadway (Eclipsed @ the Golden Theatre on 45th) or off-Broadway (Familiar @ Playwrights Horizons on 42nd) at the same time in the space of 3 blocks. We have the award-winning Zimbabwean American actor (The Walking Dead) and …

Pamela Brown-PetersideFamiliar, Funny & Fantastic

My Funny Valentine

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(First posted on my blog on Feb 15, 2016.) Yesterday, I took my friend Cherie to lunch at the local diner. I first met Cherie 3 or 4 years ago when she began to appear on the benches in the mezzanine level of my subway station. One morning I sat down beside her and instead of dropping a dollar into …

Pamela Brown-PetersideMy Funny Valentine

Surviving Ebola: One Nigerian Doctor’s Terrifying Experience

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I continue to find myself gripped by the events surrounding the Ebola outbreak that continues to devastate Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. As 2015 begins, there are now 20,000 reported cases and 8,000 deaths – and counting. I also keep reflecting on how thankful I am that the disease was successfully contained (at least so far) in Nigeria, Africa’s most …

Pamela Brown-PetersideSurviving Ebola: One Nigerian Doctor’s Terrifying Experience

Nigerians Don’t Get Depressed…oh really?

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The details came out in pieces. First I learned that a young woman in an elite public high school in Manhattan had taken her life. She was a junior (15 or 16 perhaps?) and the inciting incident appeared to have been that a teacher caught her cheating on an exam. The press had vilified the teacher, publishing both her name …

Pamela Brown-PetersideNigerians Don’t Get Depressed…oh really?

Lead Us Through This Crisis

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Nigeria, where I was born, is in crisis. In the space of a few weeks, 200+ secondary (high) girls have been kidnapped and abducted from a school in the northeast of the country (by men dressed as soldiers) and this unprecedented horror has been sandwiched by two bombs in Abuja the capital, which have killed almost 100 people between them. …

Pamela Brown-PetersideLead Us Through This Crisis

“Afraid to Speak, I Learned to Write”

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Pulitzer-prize winning writer Katherine Boo chose these seven words – “Afraid to speak, I learned to write” – to describe herself when she was being introduced at the NY Public Library on Wednesday night. Several writer friends on different occasions mentioned Boo’s book, Beyond the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity, which prompted me to finally …

Pamela Brown-Peterside“Afraid to Speak, I Learned to Write”

Toni Cade Bambara: Paying it Back

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This weekend, I had the wonderful pleasure of attending a launch of the latest issue of Black Renaissance Noire (www.nyubrn.org) an artsy literary journal, which the Institute of African-American Affairs @ NYU puts out three times a year. I’d never heard of Black Renaissance Noire, edited by the esteemed writer and poet Quincy Troupe, until my friend Linda was contacted …

Pamela Brown-PetersideToni Cade Bambara: Paying it Back

My ‘Americanah’ Story

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  My favorite Nigerian writer, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is in New York to promote her latest novel, Americanah, which just came out in paperback. Last night she spoke to a packed house at the Tenement Museum (www.tenement.org), today she’ll be a guest on the Brian Lehrer show on WNYC and next week she’ll be at the Schomburg in Harlem. That …

Pamela Brown-PetersideMy ‘Americanah’ Story

New Birth, New Life

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This week I had the privilege of visiting a leader of one of our community groups who’s become a friend. In the last several months, she’s taken a hiatus from her group because she’s become the mother of a sweet little girl called Hannah! Hannah is a miracle birth.  Her parents married later in life and had been trying for …

Pamela Brown-PetersideNew Birth, New Life

Friendship with Alicia

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In a church with an average age of 33, it’s rare to attend a memorial service for someone who was her early 30s. Yet I recently found myself in the sanctuary of 150 W83rd – I’m yet to attend a wedding there – remembering Alicia, along with her friends and family. Less than a year ago, doctors discovered a cancerous …

Pamela Brown-PetersideFriendship with Alicia

Whose Story?

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Last night I attended a discussion at the Schomburg, a research library in Harlem that’s part of the NY Public Library. My favorite Nigerian author, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie was headlining the panel along with Siddharta Deb (Indian cultural critic). Romain Bertrand (French historian), and Farah Griffin (African-American historian @ Columbia.) The event was facilitated by the not-so-new Director of the …

Pamela Brown-PetersideWhose Story?