Author Biographies

Shahrazad Ali

SHAHRAZAD ALI (born April 27, 1954, in Brooklyn, New York, US) is an author of several books, including The Blackman's Guide to Understanding the Black Woman. The book sparked controversy and furor bringing forth community forums, pickets and heated arguments among blacks in many parts when it was published in 1989.

Stories about the book appeared in the Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Washington Post, Newsday, and Newsweek. Ali appeared on 'Tony Brown's Journal', the 'Sally Jesse Raphael Show', 'The Phil Donahue Show', and 'Geraldo' TV programs, was ridiculed on In Living Color. The book reportedly "brought black bookstores new business" while other black bookstores banned it. It also provoked a book of essays (called Confusion by Any Other Name) "exploring the negative impact" of The Blackman's Guide.

Some passages of her book describing African American women—referred to as "the Blackwoman"—quoted in the media include: Although not lazy by nature, she has become loose and careless about herself and about her man and family. Her brain is smaller than the Blackman's, so while she is acclaimed for her high scholastic achievement, her thought processes do not compare to the conscious Blackman's. Her unbridled tongue is the main reason she cannot get along with the Blackman, ... if she ignores the authority and superiority of the Blackman, there is a penalty. When she crosses this line and becomes viciously insulting it is time for the Blackman to soundly slap her in the mouth.

Ali has stated she "wrote the book because black women in America have been protected and insulated against certain kinds of criticism and examination." Twenty-three years after sparking controversy with her book she has recently re-emerged in the media as a guest social commentator on the CNN/HLN program Dr. Drew on Call and has proclaimed in a recent phone interview: "I'm back and in living color."

Ali is a member of the Nation of Islam, the mother of 12 children, nine of them adopted.


Luenell Campbell

LUENELL CAMPBELL was born in Tollette, Arkansas, and uses only her first name. She is the youngest of eight children. She was raised in Northern California and attended Castro Valley High School. Luenell has one daughter, and lives in Los Angeles, California. In the early 1990s Luenell appeared regularly on Soul Beat TV on the Oakland, California cable station KSBT, along with prominent Bay Area African-American journalist Chauncey Bailey, an interview and talk show host on the program. Luenell's two-year tour and DVD appearances in "Katt Williams American Hustle" have created an almost cult-like following. In 2012 Luenell made appearances in three #1 feature films – Think Like A Man, the 3D animated hit Hotel Transylvania with Adam Sandler, and Taken 2 with Liam Neeson. She also co-starred in the comedy That’s My Boy with Adam Sandler and Leighton Meester. Luenell's recent television appearances include episodes of The Middle and It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia as well as stand-up appearances on “Snoop Dog’s Bad Girls of Comedy” on SHOWTIME and “Stand-up In Stilettos” on the TV Guide Network. Her TV and film credits include: So I Married an Axe Murderer (1993),The Rock (1996), Never Die Alone (2004), So Fresh, So Clean... a Down and Dirty Comedy (2005), Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan (2006),Divine Intervention (2007), American Hustle (2007), The Hustle (2008), Spring Breakdown (2009), All About Steve (2009), Head Case (2009), 35 and Ticking (2011), Budz House (2011), Think Like a Man (2012), That's My Boy (2012), C'mon Man (2012), Taken 2 (2012), Mac & Devin Go to High School (2012),Hotel Transylvania (2012), School Dance (2014), Nash Bridges (1996), The Tracy Morgan Show (2004), Hey Luenell (2009), The Tony Rock Project (2009), Californication (2009),The Boondocks (2010), Laugh Out Loud Comedy Festival (2011), Funny or Die Presents (2011), The Middle (2011), Breaking In (2011), It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia (2011), Comedy Underground (2012),Snoop Dogg Presents: The Bad Girls of Comedy (2012) and DTLA (2012)


Sheila M. Goss

SHEILA M. GOSS is a screenwriter, national best-selling author and a 2012 Emma Award Finalist. Her book, Montana’s Way, is nominated in the mystery category for a 2013 African American Literary Award. She has over sixteen books in print and over seven books as ebooks. She writes in multiple genres: Christian fiction, romance, women’s fiction, suspense, and young adult. USA Today says, “Goss has an easy, flowing style with her prose…”In February 2014, Shelia’s seventeenth book, The Joneses, published by Strebor Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, The Joneses is an intriguing novel full of drama and plot twists. .Some of her book titles are as follows: The Joneses, Ruthless, Delilah, Montana’s Way, My Invisible Husband, Roses are thorns, Violets are true, Paige’s Web, Double Platinum, His Invisible Wife, Hollywood Deception and Savannah’s Curse. Her young adult book series is The Lip Gloss Chronicles: The Ultimate Test, Splitsville, Paper Thin and Secrets Untold. She also writes under the pen name Sparkle and has a new young adult series: The Sweet Sixteen Diaries.Besides writing fiction, Shelia is a freelance writer. She’s also an Essence Magazine best selling author, the recipient of three Shades of Romance Magazine Readers Choice Multi-Cultural Awards and honored as a Literary Diva: The Top 100 Most Admired African American Women in Literature.


Richard Williams

RICHARD WILLIAMS set his mind to raise two of the greatest women champions in professional tennis well before they could even hold a racket. The father of Venus and Serena Williams had a grand plan for his daughters. The source of his vision, the method behind his execution, and the root of his indomitable spirit he held private. Until now. What he reveals about his success—his story of struggle, determination, hard work, and family—is told in the pages of this inspiring memoir, Black and White: The Way I See It.

Richard Williams, for the first time ever, shares stories about the poverty and violence of his early life in Shreveport, Louisiana, in the 1940s—a life that could have ended on the day he was born because of indifference, racism, and cruelty were it not for the strength of his mother and the kindness of a stranger. Williams's mother was his hero, just as he became a hero to Venus and Serena, who express in the book the lessons he taught them and how much they love their much-criticized and even maligned father. His critics claimed that he was "in the way" of his daughters' athletic success, that he was "destroying his daughters' marketing and advertising abilities," and even accused him of "abuse."

Richard Williams describes a family life held together by the principles that matter most: courage, confidence, commitment, faith, and above all, love. "When you're younger, as a female, you flock to your father. When you get older, you’re closer to your mother. I still feel really, really close to my father. . . . We have a great relationship. There is an appreciation. There is a closeness because of what we’ve been through together, and a respect," says Serena.

"Training started early for my kids, but it wasn’t only on the tennis courts. I used to take Venus and Serena to work with me so they could learn the importance of planning, responsibility, and a strong work ethic, even at their early age," Richard Williams writes. The self-made man saw the value of education and had the discipline to practice what he learned. He went so far as to write a plan for his family's future before his tennis champion daughters were ever born.

Richard Williams has walked a long, hard, exciting, and ultimately rewarding road for seventy years, fighting every hand raised against him while raising a loving family and two of the greatest tennis players who ever lived.