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29 April 2009 10 Comments

Right now I am more overwhelmed with life than ever. I just found out that I’ve been accepted to a graduate writing program at USC (thanks to my work/your support of WWTD, might I add), and my head is spinning daily with unanswered questions about how I’m going to pay for it, how to get there, where to live, how to splash down in LA looking cute, what to do with my car, and how to say goodbye to Philly so I can proceed with this dream. Until I get my feet back on the ground and my head together posting will have to slow a bit because I’d way rather write than deal. But I should get it together soon – I feel really excited and fortunate and just cannot wait for this new chapter in life!

But while I have your ear, a few other “transitions” have gone on this week. We lost one of my favorite entertainers ever, the amazing Bea Arthur. This woman literally taught me the issues of the seventies through Maude (if you didn’t know, Maude also played a role in black entertainment history by serving as the spin-off vehicle for Good Times) and as Dorothy Zbornak in Golden Girls. She had such a strong female presence, unique deadpan delivery, and really pushed the envelope in all that she did. I’ve spent the days since her death looking at old clips and stumbled upon this really random one featuring Bea Arthur and a few other nostalgia nuggets singing “We Are a Family,” from Dreamgirls.

Ernie Barnes, former football player and extremely talented painter, also died this week. His rhythmic depictions of black life defined his style, and he is especially well-known for “The Sugar Shack,” the cover of Marvin Gaye’s album I Want You and the painting from the closing credits of Good Times. Incidentally, this random Jewish boy I kicked it with in college who thought he had soul called his dorm room “The Sugar Shack,” and until very recently I had no idea where he’d gotten that from. Needless to say his room looked nothing like the painting below, which should make you break out into the Good Times theme song at first glance.


Last but not least, one of my favorite bloggers has decided to hang up his hat. David Mills aka Undercover Black Man was one of the first readers I ever had and has encouraged me to come back and write every time I was ready to throw in the towel, which has led me to have a sort of friend in my head/what would UBM do?/I wanna be you when I grow up type of admiration for him. His blog has been one of my few regular reads since I learned what a blog even was (I’m really gonna miss the Random Japaneseness). In fact, many of you found my lil’ site through his in the first place, so instead of selfishly harassing him to keep blogging I’ll respect what is clearly a well thought out decision and wish him the best. I mean dude has Emmys for Jehovah’s sake, and I really can’t wait to see what he does next.


  • Jess Hartopp said:

    First- This video is bleeping AWESOME. Second- Congratulations on being accepted to USC! I’ve been enjoying your blog for a while now and you are fantastic!! I actually grew up in Olney and graduated from USC in 2002– so I’m REALLY looking forward to reading of your observations once you move out here. You’re in for serious culture shock! It’s funny but in an awesome way. GO THEMBI!! WOO!

  • Thembi (author) said:

    Wow, Jess, thanks so much! I spent a summer in LA so I kind of know what to expect, but nothing compares to knowing u may end up westside 4 life! And I love how that video is the gift that keeps on giving, one old school sitcom star after another!

  • Tweet said:

    Congrats on USC!!! Can’t wait to see (read) all the great things that this new step will bring!

  • Marvalus said:

    Congratulations! I’ve enjoyed your wittiness, and wish nothing but good things for you!

  • LaJane Galt said:


    Don’t forget us


  • justjudith said:

    CONGRATULATIONS!!!!! good for you, girl! i don’t know what i can do to help, but just ask!

  • Marty said:

    Wow, nice redesign of the site. It’s been a while since I checked it out.

    So what is the new dream you’re pursuing at USC?

  • tracy said:

    Congratulations! Remember: “Be careful of nothing”….You will be fine. Blessings and peace

  • Regina said:

    WOW!! Congrats to you!! Many, many blessing to you!

  • jazzfan360 said:

    Oh, what cheese the ’80s wrought lol.

    “Sugar Shack” is GREAT. Whenever I look at it, I actually hear “What Does It Take” by Junior Walker and the All Stars…I dunno why, but the first time I saw that painting out of the Good Times context, I imagined that was what song the dance hall was filled with. Makes me happy.

    DUDE! USC! CONGRATS!!! I got people in L.A. who can show you some fun stuff and give you some fun folks to roll with. Hit me up!

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