A captivating narrative on an authentic life of passion and purpose in an era when Black love and pride reigned and neighbors as extended family was a thing, When Blackness Was Golden takes readers on a journey into the life of Pemon Rami, an architect of the Black arts movement. Rami’s memoir captivates, taking the reader from his coming-of-age in the streets of Chicago to social and political climates when he was involved in the making of highly acclaimed feature films and televisions movies, such as Blues Brothers, Mahogany, Cooley High, Uptown Saturday Night, and The Spook Who Sat By The Door. He shares what it was like to be a young Black man finding his way behind the scenes in an industry where so many others were striving to be in the spotlight instead.
Rami shares memories of meeting and working with such legends as Richard Pryor, Berry Gordy, Cab Calloway, Morgan Freeman, Cicely Tyson, Redd Foxx, John Belushi, Dan Ackroyd, and countless others on films that became classics. At the same time, he recounts projects he rejected becoming involved with because they negatively portrayed Black people, showing himself to be a man of great integrity. He further redefines the meaning of Blaxploitation, arguing that certain films should be reclassified—and with good reasons.
Pemon Rami presents a window into a shining example of what a fulfilling, purpose-driven, love-filled life looks like, with his lifelong best friend and wife alongside him every step of the way. I enjoy editing these types of memoirs best of all—the kind where I reach “The End” either applauding the valuable contributions the author has made to society and the lives of others or emerge enlightened in some aspect of society, culture, or history. It could be context behind some historical fact with which I may have been familiar to a degree but lacked the first-hand perspective to put two and two together. It might expose situations or relationships I knew nothing about at all. Pemon’s memoir offered all of the above on top of being entertaining, making it a pleasure to keep turning pages. He DID PLENTY in his grand life! I’m thrilled I got to be part of it as his editor. I grew up watching all the films he was involved with, marveling at this fact as I edited the manuscript for this book.
When Blackness Was Golden goes on sale everywhere next week. Order your copy!
“A front-row seat [to a] … who’s who of literary, political, and civil rights activists who have changed the course of history for Black people in this country.” – Robert Townsend