KRWG

Karen Grigsby Bates

Karen Grigsby Bates is the Los Angeles-based correspondent for NPR News. Bates contributed commentaries to All Things Considered for about 10 years before she joined NPR in 2002 as the first correspondent and alternate host for The Tavis Smiley Show. In addition to general reporting and substitute hosting, she increased the show's coverage of international issues and its cultural coverage, especially in the field of literature and the arts.

In early 2003, Bates joined NPR's former midday news program Day to Day. She has reported on politics (California's precedent-making gubernatorial recall, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's re-election campaign and the high-profile mayoral campaign of Los Angeles' Antonio Villaraigosa), media, and breaking news (the Abu Ghrarib scandal, the 2004 tsunami in Southeast Asia and the execution of Stanley "Tookie" Williams).

Bates' passion for food and things culinary has served her well: she's spent time with award-winning food critic Alan Richman and chef-entrepreneur Emeril Lagasse.

One of Bates' proudest contributions is making books and authors a high-profile part of NPR's coverage. "NPR listeners read a lot, and many of them share the same passion for books that I do, so this isn't work, it's a pleasure." She's had conversations with such writers as Walter Mosley, Joan Didion and Kazuo Ishiguru. Her bi-annual book lists (which are archived on the web) are listener favorites.

Before coming to NPR, Bates was a news reporter for People magazine. She was a contributing columnist to the Op Ed pages of the Los Angeles Times for ten years. Her work has appeared in Time, The New York Times, the Washington Post, Essence and Vogue. And she's been a guest on several news shows such as ABC's Nightline and the CBS Evening News.

In her non-NPR life, Bates is the author of Plain Brown Wrapper and Chosen People, mysteries featuring reporter-sleuth Alex Powell. She is co-author, with Karen E. Hudson, of Basic Black: Home Training for Modern Times, a best-selling etiquette book now in its second edition. Her work also appears in several writers' anthologies.

Bates holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Wellesley College. Additionally she studied at the University of Ghana and completed the executive management program at Yale University's School of Organization and Management.

Dr. Sammy Lee, the first Asian-American man to win an Olympic gold medal, died over the weekend after battling pneumonia. He was 96. In the 1930s, Southern California had enough of the South in it that young Sammy Lee could only watch through the iron fence most days when other boys his age swam at the pool in Pasadena's Brookside Park. The pool, like the area's beaches and many other public facilities, was segregated. But not on Wednesdays. The park declared that Wednesdays were...

This week in race: Sports (dog) whistles, protection for Dreamers, a special book—and some hunky calendar men. Really. Now that the turkey endorphins have worn off, the leftovers are a distant memory, and the Obamas prepare for their last Christmas in the White House, we thought we'd put some of the things that happened over the holiday weekend (and this week) on a platter and offer them to you. No thank you notes required. Race and Immigration: The University of California system said no,...

Yep. President-elect Donald J. Trump. That's still a thing. So while you continue to process that, we wanted to catch you up on some of some things you ought to read, hear and watch around the world of race and culture. And — good news — not all of it is election-related. (Okay a lot, but not all.) So. The Post-Election Hangover Continues (pass the Alka-Seltzer) Never mind trying to understand the mindset of victors in last week's election, says Baratunde Thurston in a (long-but-worth-it) Vox...

Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act prohibits employers from discriminating against employees on the basis of several things, among them race. The law, however, doesn't define "race." It also doesn't say anything about hair. Which brings us to Chastity Jones. In 2012, Jones, who is African-American, was denied a job because she wouldn't cut off her dreadlocks. Jones sued, saying the company was guilty of race-based, disparate treatment. When the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against...

Actress Taraji P. Henson has played a lot of characters in her 20-year career, but it took only one role to make her famous: Cookie Lyon, the matriarch of an ambitious, dysfunctional family on the hit TV show Empire . Now Henson has a new memoir out called Around the Way Girl . Don't know what an "around the way girl" is? Henson explains: "Around the way is like saying from the neighborhood, like from the hood." Henson still proudly calls herself an around the way girl; she says the fame and...

In 1948, Atlanta added eight black men to its police force. This was at a time when, as author Thomas Mullen explains, a 1947 Newsweek article "estimated that one-quarter of Atlanta policemen were, in fact, members of the Ku Klux Klan." Those pioneer police officers were the inspiration for Mullen's new novel, Darktown, a blend of history, mystery and violence that explores racial tensions in post-World War II Atlanta. Today, the city is known as one of the most progressive in the South....

Ask Walter Mosley what he does, and he'll say, simply, "I'm a writer." And he's written a lot: 52 books, about 30 short stories and another 30 or 40 articles, he says. While most writers specialize in one or two types of books, Mosley refuses to be constrained. He has written mysteries, science fiction, erotica, young adult fiction, plays, opinion pieces and essays. He has even penned a slim book that instructs would-be fiction writers on how to get started. "I have all these things, I'm...

Charles Kinsey, a Florida health worker, was swept into the national debate about police and African-Americans after video of police shooting him went viral. Just over a week before, Alton Sterling and Philando Castile became familiar names and hashtags following their shooting deaths by police, and the videos of those incidents spreading across traditional and social media. But fewer people know about Delrawn Small, an African-American man was shot to death by an officer in early July. So...

The deaths last week of three African-American men in encounters with police, along with the killing of five Dallas officers by a black shooter, have left many African-American gun owners with conflicting feelings; those range from shock to anger and defiance. As the debate over gun control heats up, some African-Americans see firearms as critical to their safety, especially in times of racial tension. The Reverend Kenn Blanchard , who's known on social media as Black Man With A Gun, is an...

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Flags in New York City began flying at half-staff Monday, in honor of Roscoe C. Brown. He died Saturday at age 94 and was one of the last few "Red Tail" pilots, a subset of the Tuskegee Airmen. The Airmen were part of a grand experiment in racial integration that the Army reluctantly undertook. As a Red Tail, Brown was a pioneer. He was one of the first black pilots in the Army Air Forces. Back before Brown and his colleagues took pilot training, the common assumption among the U.S. military...

Terry McMillan's characters have grown along with her. So it's not surprising that her latest book — I Almost Forgot About You — is about middle age. Her protagonist, Georgia Young, is an optometrist. Dr. Georgia is attractive, successful and economically secure. But, McMillan says, Georgia's accumulation of fine things has left her wondering why she bothered.

"You do all that and then so what?" McMillan says. "You live in your little boring house, and you realize that every day...

Think of Etha Robinson as the Johnny Appleseed of pastry. Her mission, rather than planting apple trees, is to plant the idea of reviving the tea cake, a little cookie that has a lot of historical significance packed into it. "There's an old saying," Robinson offers as she unpacks a china plate from the bag she's brought to our interview. "If you don't progress, you'll regress." She places a batch of golden cookies on the plate. "So my thing is, is we can revitalize the tea cake, and allow...

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. STEVE INSKEEP, HOST: And now let's report on the sale of Ebony and Jet. ClearView Group, an African-American private equity firm, bought those historically-black magazines. Karen Grigsby Bates from our Code Switch team reports in the magazine's founder, Johnson Publishing. KAREN GRIGSBY BATES, BYLINE: For decades, Ebony and Jet magazines were on many black Americans' coffee tables and in the waiting rooms of black doctors and...

Muhammad Ali kissed me once. Don't be a dope — it wasn't like that. It was in front of a whole bunch of people and my then-boyfriend and Mrs. Ali. (And two of his future wives. I'll get to that in a moment.) I was lucky enough to meet him a few times over several decades, but the first time was the most memorable. It was my senior year in college. Ali was in Boston — probably on other business — and came to speak to Harvard's class of 1973. I didn't go to Harvard, but the boyfriend did, so I...

Over the past few days, we've seen image after image of Muhammad Ali: triumphant in the ring, joking on talk shows and shakily lifting the Olympic torch at the 1996 Atlanta games. He's remembered these days as an athlete and a humanitarian, and that was, definitely, Ali. But so was the defiant, incisive Ali. "I'm sayin' you talking about me about some draft, and all of you white boys are breaking your necks to get to Switzerland and Canada and London!" Ali once said. "I'm not going to help...

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Ah, the cardigan: your granny's cozy go-to used to be available year-round, but in limited quantities and colors. It was considered the sartorial equivalent of flossing: necessary, but not glamorous. "The cardigan used to be something to keep you warm in the work place," explains Teri Agins, who covered the fashion industry for the Wall Street Journal for years. "It was not really an accessory you left on—unless you wore it as part of a twin set." That look, sweater upon sweater, was...

One would think we wouldn't be needing to have this conversation right about now, but apparently we do. As you've surely heard by now, this time the peg comes courtesy of New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, whose appearance in a comedy skit during a black-tie dinner over the weekend culminated with a "surprise" onstage visit from Hillary Clinton and Hizzoner's use of the phrase "C.P. Time." For people unfamiliar with it, that's Colored People's Time — usually abbreviated, in the black communities...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aixV4KmAsb4 This is dating me, but I know this to be true: In the 1970s, black guys who wanted to be considered culturally serious always had some Miles to throw on the turntable. They might jam to Sly Stone, James Brown or Earth, Wind & Fire at a party. They often sang Stevie Wonder at the top of their voices while in the shower. But on quiet evenings, it always went back to Miles. Maybe they were alone after a long day. Often there was a girl they wanted to...

The night Cassius Clay beat Sonny Liston, the reigning heavyweight champion, crowds had squeezed into the venue, expecting to watch Liston beat the stuffing out of the young braggart. The odds were 7-to-1 in Liston's favor. The air was filled with testosterone and cigar smoke. Few people noticed the tall, quiet man at ringside, immaculately dressed in a dark suit and tie and crisp white shirt, watching the fight intently. The stranger was Ali's friend and mentor Malcolm X, and he was seen to...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cy6gjkICKfk http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rTJT3fVv1vU Among the countless ads airing during Super Bowl 50, there will be an anti-domestic violence spot from the group No More. It's the second consecutive year the organization's public service announcements air during the big game. Domestic violence and the NFL have been unhappily coupled more than a few times in recent years, perhaps no more prominently than in 2014. That's when a troubling video from a hotel...

The second mystery by Mette Ivie Harrison boasts details about contemporary Mormon life that most of us aren't privy to. NPR's Karen Grigsby Bates says His Right Hand is is her "one that got away." Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript MICHEL MARTIN, HOST: We're going to close out the program today by telling you about some good music that you might want to catch in the upcoming year. And we'll remember a musical icon who just passed away. But first, NPR's...

Kenya Barris sometimes looks at his five kids in wonderment. Private schools, professional parents who can give them things and open doors. No sense of privation. And the kicker is, he's responsible! "We're kind of taught to give your kids more than you had," Barris muses. "But in giving them more, what do they lose?" And that, friends, is the core of Black-ish , which examines the life of advertising exec Andre Johnson, his pediatrician wife, Rainbow (her parents were hippies), and their...

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript KELLY MCEVERS, HOST: Tonight is the final episode of ABC's hit comedy "Black-ish" before it goes on holiday hiatus. Although the show focuses on one upper middle-class family, the Johnsons, its storylines resonate with people of different races, ethnicities and generations. NPR's Karen Grigsby Bates reports. KAREN GRIGSBY BATES, BYLINE: "Black-ish" creator Kenya Barris said he did not intend for the show to be the TV...

A YouTuber named James Wright Chanel has been all over the Internet praising Patti LaBelle's sweet potato pies; a video he uploaded of himself bursting into song upon tasting the singer and cookbook author's name-brand concoction has been viewed over 2 million times. Chanel's endorsement created a tsunami of consumer demand, and Wal-Mart shelves around the country have been denuded of the pies in its wake. People have posted on Facebook about successfully waylaying delivery trucks to score a...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q8OH46SoyqA http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iCPZYsGGXfc http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nBdgpjnKInA Over the years, many of us women have heard or used lots of euphemisms to describe menstruation: My Friend. The Curse. Aunt Flo. The Crimson Tide. (Yeah, sorry, Alabama, but that preceded you.) But code words for menopause? Not so much. Menopause was a process that was shrouded in mystery, myth and misinformation. Somehow, the reversal of menstruation, tied as it...

There's been lots of talk over the past few years about the glaring lack of diversity in Silicon Valley's tech industry. Software engineer Leslie Miley made national news this week when he publicly explained his recent decision to leave his job at Twitter — a job he loved — citing frustration over the company's overwhelmingly white workforce and internal resistance to changing it. Miley was part of a wave of layoffs at Twitter last month, but as TechCrunch reports , he had informed the...

The hip-hop drama chronicling the ups and downs of record mogul Lucious Lyon and his family became the breakout hit of last year, and the breakout hit of the show was Taraji P. Henson's character, Cookie Lyon. Cookie is the ex-wife of drug dealer turned hip-hop mogul Lucious Lyon (portrayed by Terrence Howard), and the character is famous for speaking without a filter. Just out of jail, she makes a beeline for her grown son Jamal's apartment. Jamal is gay and, apparently, not the best...

"My parents are both Indian," Ravi Patel explains during an interview as he fixes a cup of chai for a visitor. "And we were born here. And while they grew up the Old School way, not dating, having family put them together, we're like, American . Even though in many important ways we're very Indian." Which is precisely the tension in Meet the Patels , the new documentary (or reality romance) featuring Ravi and filmed by his sister, Geeta. In a nutshell, the movie asks what happens when your...

Pages