Genma Speaks

Entrepreneur/ Writer/ Radio-Host

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Caroline V. Clarke on Living Your Best Life with Genma Holmes

 Update: Audio of the show can be found here.

For several months, I have shared with anyone who would listen about the book, Postcards from Cookie: A Memoir of Motherhood, Miracles, and a Whole Lot of Mail. I fell in love with this amazing story from page one and have read it several times. I highly recommend reading it for several reasons. Tune in to Living Your Best Life Radio to hear why I as well as many women in my life loved reading it as well.

On Saturday, August 30, 2014, Caroline V. Clarke, author, award-winning journalist, and the host of Black Enterprise Report, will join us to share her journey to find her birth mother. Listen as Caroline shares how her initial inquiry about her adoption with Spence-Chapin Adoption Services was because of concerns about her health that could be hereditary. Concerned about the unknowns that could affect the health of children, she made an appointment to meet with a social worker at the agency.

Only expecting a few general answers, hear Caroline share that she was given a file that was several pages single typed that gave her clues to who her mother could be. Her journalistic background lead her to realize she knew her birth family. Caroline V. Clarke's birth mother was Carol "Cookie" Cole, the daughter of Hollywood's legendary crooner Nat King Cole. Caroline will share several stories that she did not discuss  in the book. Listen as she talks about the journey of others who have opened up to her about their own adoption stories. She also shares about her own vulnerabilities as she sought to build a relationship with her birth mother without hurting her mother and father who raised her to be the woman she is today.

This show promises to empower, inspire, and motivate you to live your BEST life!

 Living Your Best Life Radio can be heard on 760 AM in the Middle-Tennessee Region, Tune In, military bases, and streamed live on U-Stream.TV from 9-10AM CST. This show will also air on WTST, a member of the HBCU radio network (XM 142)

More About Caroline V. Clarke

Caroline V. Clarke hosts the Black Enterprise Business Report, a weekly, nationally syndicated television show that offers unduplicated reporting on black business, careers and lifestyles to today’s consumer. Black Enterprise Business Report reaches 80% of black households, in 52 broadcast markets and 145 cable markets; it can also be seen online via Prominent business leaders and newsmakers interviewed by Clarke include RUSH Communications' Russell Simmons, NBC Universal executive Paula Madison, Chicago City Treasurer Stephanie Neely, Teen Nick CEO Nick Cannon, and Secretary of Labor Hilda Soliz.

An award-winning journalist whose experience spans print, digital and television platforms, Clarke is also Executive Editor of Black Enterprise, influencing the production of content across all platforms, including her blog, Winging It: Work. Life. Balance? for In addition, as co-editorial director of the Black Enterprise Women of Power Summit, she determines the editorial direction and theme of the nation’s largest annual conference targeting African American women executives. She was instrumental in creating this event and has held this position since the inception of the Summit, in 2004.

In more than 20 years with Black Enterprise, Clarke has served in a number of other key roles including senior editor and editor-at-large, Black Enterprise magazine; editorial director, Black Enterprise Books; and general manager, interactive media, where she helped to run as well as launch other digital platforms for Black Enterprise content delivery.

Clarke is the author of Take a Lesson: Today’s Black Achievers on How They Made It & What They Learned Along the Way. Her second book, entitled "Postcards from Cookie," debuted from Harper Collins in March.  Prior to Black Enterprise, Clarke worked at The American Lawyer and several newspapers.  She has a bachelor’s degree in English from Smith College and a master’s degree with honors from Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.

Photos: Caroline V. Clarke

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Dr. Marvin Dulaney Talks History of Police and the Black Community on Living Your Best Life with Genma Holmes

As the events in #Ferguson continues to dominate the news cycle on all networks and cable outlets, many have commented on the ever revealing conduct of the police in the area. It is safe to assume that every police chief and police department do not behave in the manner that has been on display in St. Louis but when we have seen makes us pause to examine the history of police and the role they have in community.

On Saturday, August 23, 2014, Dr. W. Marvin Dulaney, Chair of the History Department at the University of Texas at Arlington and author of the, Black Police In America, will address the police and the mistrust of the police that is often whispered about and strikes dread in the Black community. Dr. Dulaney will share insights from his research of the topic for several decades and from building relationships with police organizations around the country. He will give commentary on what is being played out in the media and why it has become so contentious in the small community of Ferguson, Missouri over the last two weeks. Dr. Dulaney will also discuss the origins of the militarization of the police departments and share ways the community can address the discord that has brewing for years.

Dr. Dulaney's book represents the first complete history of blacks in policing, examining black experiences in and influences upon American police departments from Civil War to modern times. From the early black pioneers to the rise of black unionism in the ranks, this presents an excellent social commentary.
 Living Your Best Life Radio, radio that empowers, inspires, and motivates you to live your BEST life, can be heard on 760 AM in the Middle-Tennessee Region, Tune In, military bases, and streamed live on U-Stream.TV from 9-10AM CST. This show will also air on WTST, a member of the HBCU radio network (XM 142).
 More About Dr. W. Marvin Dulaney
Dr. W. Marvin Dulaney is Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of History at the University of Texas, Arlington. He earned his Doctor of Philosophy degree in American and African-American history at Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio. He has published scholarly articles and reviews in the Journal of Negro History, Civil War History, Southwestern Historical Quarterly, The Houston Review, The Historian, Pacific Historical Review, Texas Journal of Ideas, History and Culture, Legacies, Encyclopedia of African-American Civil Rights, Locus, The Georgia Historical Quarterly, The New Handbook of Texas, Our Texas magazine, African Americans: Their History, the South Carolina Encyclopedia, The New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture, The African American Experience in Texas History: An Anthology, Lone Star Legacy: African American History in Texas, and The Chronicle of Historical Studies. He is the editor of Charleston’s Avery Center: From Education and Civil Rights to Preserving the African-American Experience; Born to Serve: A History of the Woman’s Baptist Educational Missionary Convention of South Carolina; The Avery Review; and the book, Essays on the American Civil Rights Movement. He is author of the book, Black Police in America.
Previous show on Ferguson with Professor Jelani Cobb can be found here.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Dinner and Discussion Book Club: Postcards from Cookie

I received a copy Postcards from Cookie in March and fell in love with the author's, Caroline Clarke Graves, journey. I recommended the book to the book club I am in, to listeners of Living Your Best Life Radio and several friends in women groups. I have read the book several times since March and with each sitting, I felt as if I was turning the pages of the book for the first time.

I knew the book was a hit when I got an email from Diane Hines who simply stated "I loved Postcards From Cookie." I immediately called her and we spent the afternoon sharing our favorite stories from the book. A few days later, Joyce Searcy emailed me from London and said, "I read the book while I was on the plane." I also recieved a postcard from her which I thought was a great lead up to our book club meeting. When Cathy Ramsey called she said, "I have something to share but will wait until we see each other."

With so many positive comments, I could not wait for our meeting to hurry up and get here. The anticipation to fellowship with fellow book lovers and natural story tellers and hear their feedback had me counting down the days until I could see the ladies of club share more of their thoughts about Postcards from Cookie. While waiting to meet with them, I sent emails to the Caroline, letting her know the popularity of the book and how I could not wait to see her in person soon.

The Dinner and Discussion Book Club met at Sunset Grill to discuss Postcards From Cookie.
The afternoon spent together over diner and drinks was truly a special time. Cathy put our discussion questions on postcards that she made from photographs of student life at Palmer Memorial Institute. During dinner, Cathy revealed that she had attended the school at one point and understood the mindset of many of the women like Maria Cole who graduated from the school.

As usual, Cathy's questions were thought provoking and lead to follow up questions and sharing of individual stories that mirrored some of the family dynamics that were told in the book. As Veronica and Anessa shared from chapters of their lives, I felt the strong pull of Postcards from Cookie bringing women closer together as we read Caroline peeling back layers of her life one page after another while giving readers a glimpse of how life was in the inner circle of Black Royalty through Cookie's life.

Postcards from Cookie is rich with history, heritage, and mayhem that have helped shaped African American communities from North to South and East to West over several generations. It mingles the past with the future while having you reaching for your latest issue of Black Enterprise. After my first reading, I reached out to old friends that I met at BE Conferences and Events over years. Several places mentioned in the book during Caroline's travels regarding BE, I was there with other entrepreneurs. Oh, the fund memories. Those calls to friends had me searching for thank you notes from Mr. and Mrs. Graves that I saved. I was reminded of the power of sending notes and thank you cards and how special I feel when I receive one for any reason.

As Caroline reveals in Postcards from Cookie and my biggest take away from reading it, God does not make mistakes and we are all "uniquely and wonderfully" made.

Photo Credits: Genma Holmes, Harper Collins

The Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Selection Committee held its annual selection meeting today and elected seven individuals to the Class of 2014. Bringing the total number of members in the Hall of Fame to 287 are linebacker Derrick Brooks, punter Ray Guy, defensive end Claude Humphrey, tackle Walter Jones, wide receiver Andre Reed, defensive end Michael Strahan, and cornerback/safety Aeneas Williams. - See more at:

The Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Selection Committee held its annual selection meeting today and elected seven individuals to the Class of 2014. Bringing the total number of members in the Hall of Fame to 287 are linebacker Derrick Brooks, punter Ray Guy, defensive end Claude Humphrey, tackle Walter Jones, wide receiver Andre Reed, defensive end Michael Strahan, and cornerback/safety Aeneas Williams. - See more at:

Dying While Black Because You Were Walking, Talking, Breathing While Black

On Saturday, August 9, 2014, eighteen year old, Michael Brown, was killed by Ferguson, Missouri’s police officer, Darren Wilson. The cries of outrage at the lack of details after the shooting led to mass protests in the Ferguson area and around the country. As the week progressed, the protestors’ peaceful daylight marches turned into riots at night where businesses were looted on multiple occasions.

The tone death police department introduced distrust with the way they handled the investigation. They helped heighten racial tensions even more with a show of military grade equipment that were aimed at protesters that many veterans say were not used in firefights in Iraq. The events surrounding the death of Michael Brown has pulled the Band-Aid off the wounds of racism that oozes over every time a questionable shooting by the police who seem to protect their own over protecting the people they vow to serve.

For many, the shooting of Michael Brown brought back memories of Trayvon Martin who was shot by a wanna be cop, George Zimmerman. Many believe that Trayvon Martin was tried by society’s perception of young black men in hoodies who are considered a threat to humanity and to the neighborhood that Zimmerman lived in. Nine months after Zimmerman shot and killed Trayvon Martin for walking while black, Jordan Davis was shot by Michael Dunn who was listening to loud music while black. The idea that just being black while standing, walking, or talking deems one’s life invaluable is mind blowing but is becoming an accepted reality to many young black males.

To add to our complex racial divide on dying while black at the hands of law enforcement is what young black men think of themselves and do to each other. Black on black crime rates are at an all-time high. Chicago weekend murders have been as much as eighty in one weekend. Young black males’ consumption of violence has become so numbing that posting videos of dead black teens and young adults on social media sites have become the norm rather than the exception. Our country and our community have reinforced the notion to our young black sons that they do not matter that many have bought into that concept and show it by their disregard for each other lives, their families, girlfriends, and community.

Young black boys are more likely to be sent to the principle office as early as kindergarten than their peers. They are more likely to be put into detention in junior high and expelled in high schools. The school system is the first “system” that young black males are introduced too. Once they enter one system, they become a pipeline for other systems including prison. Encounters in school is the beginning of various encounters that last most of their young lives.

The words of Michael Brown’s mother will be forever etched on my heart, “Do you know how hard it was to get him to graduate?” A mother’s moment of grief was occupied with thoughts of her struggle to get him through school…high school. Ms. Brown mentioned several times in interviews over the last few days that her son was about to start college. In the midst of the most trying time of a mother’s life, preparing to bury a child, she mentions the struggle to get him educated and promises of what were to come through an education. Ms. Brown viewed an education as a way to ensure her son a future. It is ironic that because of the unrest in Ferguson, the start of the school year has been delayed.

Getting an education is not just about learning from a book. As a community, we must get back to the basics of being in and supporting a community that educates our youth about the role of community. That  includes the role of the police in the community. We must look more deeply at the community of young black males; the good, the bad, and the ugly. We must get back to educating our communities about the systemic struggles that we must overcome and remind ourselves that promises of a united country does not stop with the election of the president. As a matter of fact, the election of President Obama has shown us how much more ground we must cover and continue to a country. Waiting on government programs will not cut it. Remember how we fared without them? We have to become each other keepers and remind our families that one success is just one. But that one can make a difference to thousands even millions.

As we continue to watch the events in Ferguson unfold, look in your area and see if it is a Ferguson waiting to explode. Are we having conversations with real and imaginary leaders in our 
communities? Are we holding them accountable? Are we being liable to our children and for them? Are we addressing issues that are obvious or are we waiting for a “moment” to let frustrations boil over? Lastly, are we seeing our youth as our future of tomorrow or as our problems of today that we do not address?  We must be willing to look in the mirror.  

It may sound redundant but I do believe we have to stay faithful while implementing change for the greater good. And please, let our sons and young men know they are valued in our communities.

Photo credit: Time Magazine, Trayvon Martin Foundation, Getty Images, 

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Jelani Cobb Gives Updates on Ferguson on Living Your Best Life with Genma Holmes

The eyes of the world have been on a small suburb of St. Louis for the last week. Since Saturday, August 9, 2014 millions have been watching their televisions and monitoring social media for updates on details regarding the shooting of an unarmed Ferguson, Missouri teenager Michael Brown that has led to escalating racial tensions, protesters being tear gassed, mounting military like presence of the local police, a string of press conferences that were head scratchers and the revelation that Michael Brown may have been involved in a robbery only minutes before being shot multiple times by officer Darren Wilson.

On Saturday, August 16, 2014, Professor William Jelani Cobb will join us to share what he has seen firsthand in #Ferguson. Professor Cobb, an Associate Professor of History and Director, Institute for African American Studies at Rutgers, has written several posts for The New Yorker about actual events in Ferguson, Missouri.

With stories changing quickly, it is important to not only hear from trusted individuals with no agendas but to help break down events day by day. Many are asking what happened out of camera views that made the atmosphere so charged throughout the week and how did the protests go from peaceful assembly on Friday (Aug 15) to looting in the early morning hours on Saturday? How did Captain Ron Johnson win the trust of the people of Ferguson so quickly and other questions will be answered.

Text your questions for Professor Cobb to INSPIRE to 99000.

 Living Your Best Life Radio, radio that empowers, inspires, and motivates you to live your BEST life, can be heard on 760 AM in the Middle-Tennessee Region, Tune In, military bases, and streamed live on U-Stream.TV from 9-10AM CST. This show will also air on WTST, a member of the HBCU radio network (XM 142).

More About Professor Jelani Cobb

Jelani Cobb has been a contributor to The New Yorker and since 2013, writing frequently about race, politics, history, and culture. His most recent book is “The Substance of Hope: Barack Obama and the Paradox of Progress.” He’s an associate professor of history and the director of Africana studies at the University of Connecticut.

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