My family. My Newark.
The story of three generations of Black women, one extraordinary friendship, and a not-often recalled history of the city that made them.
In Force of Beauty, Mikki Taylor, editor-at-large of Essence magazine and longtime activist, introduces us to her gifted grandmother, Bessie, her glamorous mother, Modina, and how Modina's friendship with the legendary Sarah Vaughan shaped Mikki's childhood. Taylor's mini-memoir is a tribute to Newark in the '50s and '60s, of cool jazz clubs and close-knit neighborhoods, a handsome house on Avon Avenue, and one family's tale of perseverance and ingenuity in a city they all loved.
At a time when Black women were marginalized, disrespected, overlooked, and unseen, Bessie and Modina showed Mikki how beauty and style can be a force for good.
The recording includes an introduction by Newark Mayor Ras Baraka and a reading by Mayor Baraka of the poem his father, the esteemed Amiri Baraka, wrote about the Newark rebellion, which Taylor discusses living through as a young girl.