Valerie Harper Dead at 80

Photo credit: CBS Photo Archive from CBS Worldwide Inc.

I am saddened by the death of actress Valerie Harper at the age of 80. I saw this on Twitter. My heart is heavy by this. I remember watching syndicated reruns of RHODA (1974-1978) on WPIX – Channel 11 in New York from 12 Noon to 1 PM during the early 1980s. I never understood who Rhoda Morgenstern was but I always enjoyed watching her before my daily dose of ALL MY CHILDREN on ABC. I was amazed to see Nancy Walker on there because she was on the BOUNTY commercials as the Quicker Picker Upper Lady.

I would not learn until many years later that Rhoda originated on THE MARY TYLER MOORE SHOW as the self-deprecating Jewish-American best friend of Mary Richards (Mary Tyler Moore) when watching wee-hour late-night reruns on WNBC – Channel 4 around 3:30 AM. I did not fully understand until watching both shows on Nick At Nite during the late 1990s. I would learn how the one-hour episode “Rhoda’s Wedding” of RHODA was one of the top-rated television moments of the 1970s. Millions saw her marry boyfriend Joe Gerard (David Groh) with special guest appearances by Mary Richards, Lou Grant (Ed Asner), Murray Slaughter (Gavin MacLeod), Georgette Franklin Baxter (Georgia Engel), and frenemy Phyllis Lindstrom (Cloris Leachman). Rhoda raced from being stuck in Manhattan, taking the subway, and running through the Bronx across Grand Concourse in her wedding dress to make her own wedding. Phyllis forgot to pick Rhoda up and got a new one by all of the wedding parties with the exception of Georgette, who forgave her! I still watch and cry in anticipation at the scenes when Rhoda runs down the Bronx streets and the wedding bells rang off.

Valerie made a return to sitcom television when she starred as Valerie Hogan on the NBC sitcom VALERIE (late retitled VALERIE’S FAMILY and THE HOGAN FAMILY) in 1986. She was unjustly fired by Lorimar Productions over contractual dispute issues, so she sued Lorimar and NBC with the assistance of her husband, Tony Cacciotti, and received a countersuit and a settlement of $1.82 million in damages from the production company. Valerie Hogan was killed off in a car accident. She was replaced by Sandy Duncan as Aunt Sandy Hogan, the sister of Valerie’s widower, airline pilot Michael Hogan (Josh Taylor), and the aunt of David (Jason Bateman), Willie (Danny Ponce), and Mark (Jeremy Licht).

I was excited when Valerie made another return to sitcoms with the short-lived CBS sitcom CITY. Her on-screen daughter, Penny, was played by LuAnne Ponce, the sister of her former TV on-screen son, Danny Ponce (Willie Hogan from THE HOGAN FAMILY). I watched maybe one or two episodes before making it up in my mind that I was bored.

Valerie even guest-starred on the FOX prime-time soap opera MELROSE PLACE as Mia Mancini, the mother of Dr. Michael Mancini (Thomas Calabro) and Jennifer Mancini (Alyssa Milano), in 1998. I was used to her doing comedy and never dramatic television.

I confess that I always wanted a TV reunion of Mary Tyler Moore and Valerie Harper on THE ARSENIO HALL SHOW and envisioned his band performing “Don’t Be Cruel” by Bobby Brown. It never happened, of course! They eventually reunited on the 2000 ABC-TV movie MARY AND RHODA as their iconic characters, Mary Richards and Rhoda Morgenstern, being career women and mothers of two adult daughters.

Valerie ended up running for the President of the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) in the 2001 election but lost to Melissa Gilbert. She served on the Hollywood Board of Directors of SAG.

She portrayed Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir in the United States national tour production of GOLDA’S BALCONY from 2005 to 2006.

In 2013, Valerie announced she had leptomeningeal carcinomatosis – a rare condition in which cancer cells spread into the meninges, the membranes surrounding the brain. She was given three months to live by her doctors. The mainstream corporate commercial mass media acted as if Valerie was going to pass away then with a week or two of TV tributes to her on ENTERTAINMENT TONIGHT, EXTRA, ACCESS HOLLYWOOD, and other mass media celebrity outlets. I could not take the hastening of Valerie’s death. During her chemotherapy treatment, she danced on the 17th season DANCING WITH THE STARS with Tristan MacManus during the Fall of 2013. They were voted off early in the competition.

Valerie made it to Thursday, August 30, 2019, eight days after her 80th birthday.

RIP Valerie Harper (1939-2019)!


Donald Peebles

Friday, August 30, 2019

11:05 PM

If you would love to read and learn more about Valerie, then feel free to purchase her books TODAY I AM A MA’AM AND OTHER MUSINGS ON LIFE, BEAUTY, AND GROWING OLDER (with Catherine Whitney) and I, RHODA: A MEMOIR:

The 1619 Project

(Photo courtesy of the Department of Historic Resources, 1994)

Yes, last Tuesday (August 20, 2019) was the 400th anniversary of the ENGLISH account of the first supposed African slaves in this nation (formerly the Thirteen Colonies) 400 years ago, so hence the 1619 Project.

African people (free and those who BECAME enslaved) were ALREADY in the Western Hemisphere (the Caribbean and the Americas) WAY BEFORE Christopher Columbus (Cristoforo Colon) and Jamestown.

Read, learn, research, and teach ALL, ALL, and ALL of OUR story.

This is NOT negating African-Americans (aka Black Americans) at all and I say this as an African-American and a PROUD one at that.

The special commemorative issue of the NEW YORK TIMES MAGAZINE featuring the 1619 Project – to commemorate 400 years of African-American life, culture, history, and society with the appearance of 20 African PEOPLE who became enslaved – either indentured or lifelong.

I argue they were recorded under ENGLISH historiography and therefore dismisses earlier histories prior to 1619 of African women, men, and children in the Western Hemisphere – the Americas and the Caribbean as free and enslaved people.

African-American lives began in AFRICA and slavery/enslavement was an interruption in the timeline of humanity. Slavery/Enslavement was and is NOT the origin of African-America or Black America. It is part of the story.

Did yall know that Sir John Rolfe, the husband of Pocahontas (later Anglicanized into Rebecca Rolfe), was the first one to record the so-called first 20 African enslaved people as “Negars” (later popularized as niggers, niggas, niggahs, nuccas, niccas, etc.) in August 1619?

The next time you allow your daughters to watch the sanitized Walt Disney version of the POCAHONTAS story, just know that her husband, Sir John Rolfe (NOT Captain John Smith), was a slave trader and slaveholder.

For more information, please feel free to purchase these books and magazines from Amazon by pressing onto the images.

It’s A Donald Thing

Donald Peebles

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

1:26 AM

A Black Vegan No Thanks to Popeye’s and Chik-Fi-La’s Chicken Sandwich Contest Craze

I am still wondering what is the fascination behind this week’s American popular culture food craze with fried chicken sandwiches at Popeye’s and Chik-Fi-La. It is a debate about what the best fried chicken is: Popeye’s or Chik-Fi-La! I have been seeing people go in on social media like Facebook and Twitter and in real-life time about this.  Co-workers asked if I wanted to go to Popeye’s to get the $3.99 spicy chicken sandwich with pickles, special sauce, and a shiny-looking golden brown bun.

As a Black male vegan and plant-based person, I have to say no thanks to Popeye’s or Chik-Fi-La’s fried chicken craze. I would have cared for this two years ago. I no longer look at food in the same way like many people. I do not judge other people’s foodways and their relationship with food. I have a different relationship with food now that I am living this vegan and plant-based lifestyle. I do not miss meat. I do not crave meat. I abhor the smell and taste of meat. I care about all of the chickens who lost family members, friends, and associates to the meat industry’s inhumane slaughter of them and other animals just for people to eat them wherever. I realize that many people do not look at animals as living things with lives and intelligences. Many people are ethically, morally, and spiritually disconnected and removed from animal/human/nature relationships. I do not want to contribute to the senseless slaughter of animals for the sake of mass production and gluttonous consumption of meat and animal products.

There is a long and complicated relationship between African-Americans and fried chicken and it goes back to slavery and Jim Crow. I understand and overstand all of this. I am conscious of how impacted African-Americans are in our approach, connection, outlook, and perspectives to food. I am not saying that because I am a Black male vegan and plant-based person that all other Black people have to stop eating whatever and become all vegan and plant-based. That would be great and monumental but you cannot force people to do what they do not want to do and you have to meet people where they are at. However, I do feel that Black people ought to begin the process of loving ourselves and treasuring our physical bodies as spiritual temples, but every Black person is not there. There is a disconnection between most Black people and healthy lifestyles and it goes back to slavery/enslavement and other oppressive systems in the African Diaspora.

I wonder if all of these Americans who are going IN about the best fried chicken sandwich craze at Popeye’s and Chik-Fi-La will have the same energy to vote in the 2020 Presidential elections, fill out 2020 U.S. Census forms, change their eating, improve their health/wellness/fitness, advocate for better quality of life in neighborhoods and communities, and demand for less food deserts and more affordable healthier options in the ghetto, the hood, the barrio, the trailer park, and other marginalized and disenfranchised locations in America.

It is not that serious for all of these to line up at Popeye’s and Chik-Fi-La, only to find out that the chicken sandwiches are sold out to capacity. It is not like Popeye’s and Chik-Fi-La cares about people and their health. They care only about the bottom line of making money and profit and selling out their fried chicken sandwiches and other meals filled with sugar, salt, and fat. Chik-Fi-La has a long history with homophobia against the LGBTQ communities due to the Christian beliefs of the owners and I am very sure the original owners felt certain ways against African-Americans during the Jim Crow South. Many people who crave fast food (aka FAT food) do not care about corporations’ issues and isms with customers. They just want what they want whenever, wherever, and however.

I have to say no thanks to Popeye’s and Chik-Fi-La’s fried chicken sandwich contest craze as a Black male vegan and plant-based person.

It’s A Donald Thing!

Amen, Ache, Namaste, and So It Is

Donald Peebles

Friday, August 23, 2019

2:37 PM

Note: The above photo is courtesy of USA Today

GENERATIONS: 30 Years Later

I have to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the premiere of GENERATIONS, the first daytime soap opera to have joint core African-American and White families from the beginning, on NBC. It aired on Monday, March 27, 1989 after THE MARSHA WARFIELD SHOW at 12:00 Noon.

It starred Taurean Blacque, Joan Pringle, Kristoff St. John, Sharon Brown, Lynn Hamilton, Jonelle Allen, Rick Fitts, Patricia Crowley, Gail Ramsey, Kelly Rutherford, Nancy Sorel, Barbara Rhodes, George Deloy, Anthony Addabbo, Vivica A. Fox, Richard Roundtree, Smokey Robinson, George Duke, Marla Adams, Kathleen Freeman, Jack Betts, James Reynolds, Debbi Morgan, Randy Brooks, Janet MacLachlan, Mina Kolb, Dorothy Lyman, Ron Harper, Andrew Masset, Linda Gibboney, Stacy Nelkin, Ian Ogilvie, Robert Gentry, Gina Gallego, Robert Torti, Joseph Whipp, Gerard Prendergrast, Tonya Lee Williams, Myles Thoroughgood, Sheila Wills, Butch Hartman, and others.

It was created by Sally Sussman Morina and the head writing team included Thom Racina, Elizabeth Harrower (the mother of soap opera royalty Susan Seaforth Hayes), Michele Val Jean, and the late Judi Ann Mason. The theme song was performed by the late musician George Duke, who had a recurring role as Johnny, a friend of Doreen Jackson (Jonelle Allen).

I watched it off-and-on as a 12-year-old boy but still remained devoted to my ABC TV soaps. I was not conscious quite yet about soap operas with many Black people on them at one time because I grew up watching mostly Caucasian people on the daytime and prime-time soap operas. I kept abreast of GENERATIONS from reading my numerous issues of Soap Opera Digest and Soap Opera Weekly.

I was saddened that NBC cancelled the soap two years later in 1991 when it began getting good. Some insiders claim low ratings. Some insiders claim racism. Some insiders claim its inability to beat THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS in many markets. Many people labeled it “a Black soap” but it was not “a Black soap”. It was the first soap to have 50 percent of the cast Caucasian and the other 50 percent of the cast African-American.

I felt GENERATIONS was way ahead of its time in its storytelling with Blacks as core family characters with an extended/inter-generational presence and the issues of race and class involving the Marshalls who ran an ice-cream empire in Chicago, the upstairs-downstairs relationship between Vivian Potter (Lynn Hamilton), the matriarch of the Black Marshall family, and her former employer, Rebecca Whitmore (Patricia Crowley, Dorothy Lyman), the matriarch of the White Whitmore family, and the intersections between the Marshalls and Martin (Rick Fitts) and Doreen Jackson. It should have aired for many years but many in America were NOT ready for a soap opera to show Blacks in a fashion out of the 1980s soap opera Black Story ghetto where Blacks were marginalized and pigeonholed into certain characterizations.

BET (Black Entertainment Television) agreed to air the reruns of the entire run with the intention of picking it up with an original run but it did not go any further than that.

I want to get the entire run on DVD and watch it.

Things happen for a reason but GENERATIONS is not forgotten to the many fans who still love it. Happy 30th Anniversary, GENERATIONS!



My Review of DOPE

I am still watching the movie DOPE (2015). It is an innovative movie with a trio of geeks of color (two African-American and one Latino) but I am having issues and isms with the N word over-written in the script. I know many young people of all colors use the word as a term of endearment because mainstream corporate commercial hip-hop allows it but I am not feeling that as an African-American/Black man who knows the painful history of the word stemming from John Rolfe, the husband of Pocahontas (later Rebecca Wolfe) during the 1620s in the American Colonies, and its vile usage to denigrate and dehumanize enslaved African people throughout slavery. I am not feeling the colorism when it comes to the two females in the life of the protagonist, a dark-skinned Nigerian/African-American teen named Malcolm (Shameik Moore). The two females are Nakia (Zoe Kravitz) and Lily (Chanel Iman). Zoe is of African-American/Caribbean/Jewish descent and Chanel is of African-American/Korean descent. There are NO dark-skinned Black girls in sight. The only browner-than-a-paper bag woman is Malcolm’s mom, a bus driver played by Kimberly Elise. Even Malcolm’s lesbian AG friend, Diggy (Kiersey Clemons) is light-skinned. is Maybe it is me. Am I a fuddy duddy or am I making sense? I am going to finish watching it but I am bothered with the heavy dose of the N word uttered by Malcolm, Diggy, Jib (Tony Revolori), and the other characters (mostly African-American and a White guy named Will (Blake Anderson), who is slapped by Diggy for saying the N word), the colorist casting of two light-skinned/Biracial/Multiracial actresses/models as the objects of Malcolm’s desire and the objectification of Black women as sexpots (model Chanel Iman showing her breasts in most of her scenes and urinating in front of a bush and the footage being used in a meme. This film is produced by Forest Whitaker and executive produced by Pharell Williams and Sean Combs. It is directed and written by Rick Famuyiwa, who happens to be Nigerian-American. I am not surprised.



The Kardashian-Jenners are NOT America’s First Family


COSMOPOLITAN needs to be ashamed of itself of claiming the Kardashian-Jenner family as America’s First Family. It is disrespectful and racist. I always thought the President’s family was the First Family as long as I can remember but I guess that respect were reserved for the 43 White U.S. Presidents. I guess the first African/Kenyan-American/Black/Biracial President, his dark-skinned African-American wife, the two African-American daughters, the African-American grandmother and two black dogs do NOT count to COSMOPOLITAN. Instead, they elect Mama Pimp Kris Jenner and her MEDIA REALITY WHORE daughters. I am so sick and tired of hearing about them like the news anchor who walked off the news. Kim Kardashian West became famous after having interracial sex with ex-boyfriend Ray J. on the now-infamous sex tape which was orchestrated and leaked by Mama Pimp Kris to Vivid Video and was made a STAR. She ran through celebrity, musician, rapper and athlete Black men since she was taken to her prom by boyfriend T.J. Jackson of the Jackson family and her current marriage to narcissist media whore nutty wannabe U.S President Kanye West. Khloe Kardashian was the one who married the crackhead Los Angeles Laker Lamar Odom who cheated on her and disrespected their marriage. She went on to lose weight and shown the world she was into chocolate like big sis Kim by making tabloid rounds with The Game and French Montana. Kourtney Kardashian was never into the chocolate like her sisters and became pregnant with her baby’s daddy. Kylie Jenner is having her media fun too with the chocolate by going out with and doing Jaden Smith and Tyga. She knows she has no business with Tyga who was in a hip-hop influenced porn called RACK CITY XXX which starred him, Eva Angelina and transgendered Mia Isabella, whom Tyga was and is sexually linked to and with. Kendall Jenner may be a model and socialite but she is the boring one. Yet they are chosen as America’s First Family? Oh please! This is a slap in the face to Malia and Sasha Obama, who ought to be examples of well-mannered and polished teen-aged American girls but since they are Black, they are not considered virtuous to many in racist and NOT post-racial America. Mama Pimp Kris Jenner has PROSTITUTED her daughters for years yet got an HONORARY Mother’s Day appearance in the defunct print JET MAGAZINE under the editorship of Mitzi Miller and she was and is NOT Black. Kris only got boughzee cred because Kim and Khloe were into Black men and that was it. It was not like Kris was a Black woman who deserved that spot in JET. I will state how it was the African-American community who adopted these Kardashians once they gave Kim, Khloe, Kylie and even Mama Pimp Kris street and JET Magazine cred in the first place! Now COSMOPOLITAN considers them America’s First Family. This is a shame because it has shown how America’s moral and spiritual values have been compromised and dumbed down to the gutter. The first Black American First Family are RACIALLY disrespected once again in favor of the ex-wife of one of O.J.’s Dream Team and now Olympian athlete-turned-transgendered celeb Caitlin Jenner and her media reality whore daughters who are NOT doing anything for the world but spend their socialite money on BS and bombard the media with all of their excess and narcissism. Thank you very much, COSMOPOLITAN, for showing us how racist you are!

3rd Anniversary of Donna Summer’s Death

Today, May 17, 2015 marks the 3rd anniversary of the death and transition to the Ancestors of Donna Summer, the Queen of Disco. I cried that day when I heard the announcement on WBLS 107.5 FM by Shaila and Jeff Foxx. I could not believe she passed away. I still get emotional when I think of her because she grew up listening to her music as a 1980s kid and 1990s teen/young adult. My grandmother Sally always told me how she won so many music awards during the 1970s and the 1980s. I am still upset with many in the African-American community when it came to her tribute or lack of because she was not considered sistergirl to many of them because she was the first African-American music star to get fame without their support although the only Donna Summer songs African Americans like are “Bad Girls” “Hot Stuff” and “She Works Hard for the Money” because those were the songs Black radio played or play of her discography. She was MUCH MORE than those songs. Black radio played these particular ones because they had that funky urban beat the Black radio station executives felt their Black audience wanted to listen to certain kinds of people. The mainstream magazines EBONY, ESSENCE, JET and SISTER 2 SISTER gave Donna minimal to lack of printed space. The print version of ESSENCE boxed her tribute into ONE SMALL PARAGRAPH. When I asked then-Editor-In-Chief Constance White why Donna did not receive the PROPER tribute she should have received, she gave me a generic response that the online version gave her the tribute. That was cute but not everyone could afford a computer nor had access to one to see the online version tribute to Donna. The digital divide is another issue but the Black magazines went way out for Whitney Houston, whom the African American community considered more sistergirl for three reasons: (1) Whitney married R&B bad boy Bobby Brown so she got street cred, (2) Whitney had a Black daughter who was wildin out, (3) Whitney had drug issues and (4) Whitney was GHETTO despite the pop princess image America wanted her to have. Even Dyana Williams from the hit TV-One documentary UNSUNG had the nerve to state how Evelyn Champagne King was more of a sister than Donna Summer when she gave her two-cents on the Evelyn Champagne King episode. Her comment has since been edited due to public outcry from Donna’s fans. Donna and Evelyn were TWO different Black female singers in their own right. Donna did not get a widespread tribute from the Black community because (1) she was STILL married to Bruce Sudano, the SAME husband for over 30 years and he happened to be a Brooklyn Italian, (2) Donna’s children, Mimi Sommer Duhler, Brooklyn Sudano and Amando Sudano, who happen to be Biracial, NEVER wilded out in the media and are living successful lives, (3) Donna did not have a drug problem and (4) Donna had legions of LGBT fans despite her being accused of making a false comment regarding homosexuality and HIV/AIDS (it was proven that she did not make that comment). Donna paved the way for Whitney but she did not get the same fanfare she did when she died. I bet Black people will start loving her if and when Kelly Rowland or Tasha Smith would play her in a movie. I am still waiting for a biopic of her to be made. Donna Summer is one of my favorite female musicians of all-time and I do not care what people say and think of it. Donna’s music still lives on through her family, close friends and associates and her worldwide legion of fans. RIP Donna Summer (1948-2002)