That Obama Issue Of Ebony And Other 2016 Highlights From Adriennewrites


2016 was a great year. I gave birth to my second son, I worked as the senior editor of Newcity (a Chicago-based arts magazine), I started an entertainment column at Forbes and I was the special managing editor of Ebony’s special commemorative Obama issue. The Obama issue came together in a beautiful way, and I’m grateful to all the celebs and politicians who responded to my call and came through with quotes and essays and photos. Magnifique!

Other editorial highlights include:

  • A fun chat with Joseph Sikora, star of Power, for Chicago magazine. Sikora, who is from Chicago, swears to me that he didn’t really throw up a pitchfork gang sign in a photo. Of course, after I wrote this article, plenty of people contacted me to say they still don’t believe him. Ah well. Power returns in the summer of 2017.
  • I wrote about one of Chicago magazine’s most influential Chicagoans, Tamar Manasseh, for this extra special issue celebrating the denizens of the Windy City. It’s not everyday that I get to be a featured writer for such a special issue.
  • My Forbes column is fun. You will read about everything from binge-watching hot television shows to understanding why some stars make a ton of cash hawking wigs. 

An Evening of DST

I was the Jabberwock Scholarship Ball speaker this past Friday night at my alma mater: Northwestern University. The Theta Alpha chapter of Delta Sigma Theta was gracious enough to invite me to converse with them on this evening. It was a good time. The Gibbsman accompanied me (meaning that #brownbaby stayed at home with his Auntie.) I got to put on a pretty silk dress and end the week on a high.

It was really nice to come “home” to my chapter, Theta Alpha, for fellowship and sistershood. OO-OOP!

Below, some of the DEVASTATING divas of DST!



Mary Mary Covers June’s Ebony mag and the story is by yours truly

It’s been quite some time since I blogged. Mostly that’s because my mom passed away in January, and I had a baby last October. Lots of life changes, and I do appreciate your thoughts and prayers. I’m back in the saddle now and feeling more normal, I suppose.

I’m also really excited about my first Ebony cover story since my return from maternity leave: Mary Mary! Erica and Tina Campbell opened up to me about their decision to take a break until 2015, Erica’s solo career and Tina’s attempt to stab her husband about a bout with infidelity.

Lots of juice in this story, and a healthy dose of what/who makes it all work out in the end: GOD


Red Tails: Behind the scenes of an Ebony cover story…

Need something to do this weekend? I, ahem, humbly submit that you check out my cover story on the Red Tails, the George Lucas-produced and Anthony Hemingway-directed story of the Tuskegee Airmen. I got to hang out with the entire cast (Cuba Gooding Jr., Terrence Howard, Nate Parker, Michael B. Jordan, Leslie Odom, Tristan Wilds, Method Man, Elijah Kelley, David Oyelowo and many, many more, including Lucas and Hemingway.) I had a ton of fun too – and learned a lot in the process.

Lucas spent $93 million of his own money to make sure this film was made. Read more about that in February’s EBONY right here. (The movie opened this weekend, so I hope that you see the movie as well as buy the magazine to supplement the movie-going experience.)

Two weeks ago, the guys of Red Tails came to Chicago for a special screening at the AMC River East downtown. It was a swanky affair – sponsored by some of the city’s largest financial firms, and of course, Ebony mag. The read Red Tails came too, and they were given a tearful standing ovation at the end of the movie. Most of them are in wheel chairs and are so very happy to finally see this movie made. To celebrate the occasion, I donned a zebra-print dress and toasted with a lemon drop with my two favorite guys Anthony Hemingway (who also directs Treme) and Cuba Gooding Jr. (Yes, that’s Cuba below kissing me on the forehead.) Fun times.

We’re at Lucky Strike after the movie and Cuba, for some reason, grabbed my purse. Fun Times.

Also, here is a slide show of what it was like to be at the Ebony photo shoot.

And, here’s another one! I really enjoyed talking with Tristan Wilds, Leslie Odom Jr.,  Nate Parker, Method Man and Michael B. Jordan. Of course, interviewing George Lucas wasn’t too shabby either.

Now… Even though there is a snow storm in Chicago, I know a ton of people who have already seen the movie. Have you? Hit me back with your thoughts.

A Listening Party, Chicago-style, with Tyrese

Tyrese stopped through Chi Town last week on his multi-city listening tour. He played five songs off his new album for a packed, yet select, crowd at the Hard Rock Hotel. I heard part of the album before I interviewed Tyrese (earlier this summer) for his turn as the July cover boy for Ebony mag. The brother hasn’t lost his swag or his singing voice. The album features plain ol R&B and one or two club bangers. Tyrese said he wants there to be a distinctive difference between his love-making music and his dance music, hence the two easily discernible sounds on the album.

Free Heinekens made the rounds. I appreciated the beer, even though I don’t drink it. I also appreciate the Bulls player who shall go unnamed who let me and my fractured toe self (wearing a boot, to boot) crash his VIP table for the night.

As always, a picture (more tk once my cell phone charges back up.) And big ups to my friend Kev Ross, the EMI rep who pulled this swank event together.

Hanging with Zoe Saldana…

I know. I know. Some of you aren’t happy with Zoe telling me that she won’t be complaining about a lack of roles for Black women in Hollywood. And yes it’s true that other actresses, in other cover stories, have told me that there IS a problem.

Before you casttoo much more judgment, why not read the entire piece? Find it in September’s Ebony.

And to answer some of those Twitter questions: yes, she’s fun; yes, she’s tall; and yes, we really did talk about birth control. #newlywedchat


Ebony magazine: Taraji and Tyrese

Yep, this is shameless self promotion. I wrote the cover story for the July issue of Ebony. I had a good time too, hanging with Taraji and then later with Tyrese. This is one of the many things that I love about my job: being able to write about people that I respect.

That’s the best.  I hope you pick up a subscription today. Otherwise, you can find Ebony, well, just about anywhere.

Tyrese is white hot for Ebony’s 50 Finest list, story by Adrienne Samuels Gibbs

For a sneak peek at the story, hit up

From the mouths of babes: Community versus neighborhood

Lessons lie around every corner.

Just ask Mike, the Lindblom High School student who had the lucky dog privilege of working with artist Mark Bradford during Bradford’s residency in Chicago. Mike, a big guy with an easy smile, sat in a semi circle before a group of arguably Chicago’s most important arts patrons and very simply answered questions about his journey into art with the help of Bradford.

What is art? How does it affect him? What is community? How can art affect the community?

These and other questions were answered by Mike and his classmates as they sat on stage at Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) wearing gym shoes, baggy pants, mini skirts and rain boots.  Most profound was Mike and his analysis of community versus neighborhood.

Your community, he argued, is the place you choose. The place where you belong. On the other hand, your neighborhood is the place where you just so happen to reside.Community and neighborhood are not synonyms.

Mike’s thoughts got a lot of people in that packed auditorium thinking – myself included – about community versus neighborhood. It also got me thinking about what I am doing to help turn my community into a real ‘hood. The thought process is a good exercise.

This was all within the context of a conversation about the impact of art and what can happen to kids once they are exposed to the tools that lead to great art. Mike, for example, decided to take pictures of the soles of shoes. His exhibit shows clean shoes, dirty shoes and shoes all between. The point, he says, is that you can learn somewhat of a person’s social class by the bottom of their shoes.

Some of the kids walk through gravel and train tracks and mud to get to school. Others get dropped off by their parents. Some shoes are worn through. Others are barely worn. Some are years old. Others are brand new.

The soles of shoes. From the mouths of babes.

Shifting Faith: Paying folks to go to church?

My Shifting Faith story (found in April’s Ebony) has a lot of folks talking about why mainstream churches are losing members. The numbers don’t lie. More people now are “non denominational” than are Baptist or Methodist or Catholic. They love God, but not the old-time religion. There are lots of reasons for that, and you can read my article for more details on that. (Or find my other postings about Shifting Faith.. use the search bar please.)

But I just listened to a radio show that used my article as the basis for the discussion. Many people said that where two to three come together, there is God. Others disagreed, saying that a church is very specific and not as easy as just a gathering of worshipful folks. But the most interesting thing to come out of the story was this: there is a church in Ohio that is PAYING people to attend Easter service.

They did it last year and they’re doing it this year. The pastor says it’s his way to bring people to God’s word.

Whoa. What do you think of it? Read more here. Then get back at me here or on twitter @adriennewrites.

Shifting Faith: United for God but not always in church

I wrote a piece for April’s EBONY that discusses the latest trend amongst churchgoers: lots of them are no longer going to church. These unchurched folk love God but aren’t too keen on the human failings that go along with attending a church and as a result, people are leaving traditional denominations in scads.

You can actually read the beginning of the story Shifting Faith right at that hotlink. It’s garnering a lot of response from the churched and unchurched alike.

Take a read and tell me what you think. Also feel free to send a note to It’s a big issue. Let’s figure it out. Do you need church? Or are you better off worshiping on your own, with just a few friends.