Art Sanctuary hosts J. California Cooper

A group gathered at Art Sanctuary located at 628 South16th St. in South Philadelphia, to watch a video of a full-length interview of J. California Cooper. — TRIBUNE PHOTO/JARID A. BARRINGER

As a way to kick off the “Meet the Author Book Club” series, the folks at Art Sanctuary held their first meeting, highlighting author J. California Cooper.

A group gathered at Art Sanctuary located at 628 South16th St. in South Philadelphia, to watch a video of a full-length interview of Cooper. Former ABC news reporter conducted the interview with Cooper and the group at Art Sanctuary glued their eyes to the big screen to hear one of their most respected authors speak.

Cooper was the recipient of the 2011 Lifetime Achievement Award during Art Sanctuary’s Celebration of Black Writing this past May.

Her interview was honest, humorous and full of personality, as she discussed her life and what it’s like to be a Black author. She talked about love and how we all need to learn to love one another.

“The one thing you need for love — every woman, every man — you need to be respected,” Cooper said.

As the video came to a close, the lights flicked on and the group shared their thoughts on the interview.

Veteran broadcaster Denise James joined the group to discuss what it was like interviewing Cooper.

Other members of Art Sanctuary, Tarana Burke and Debra Wright shared their cherished personal experiences with the author.

Among those present was Robin Muldor, who came with her favorite J. California Cooper book in her hand, “Family.” Muldor is a writer herself and the book, “Family” resonated with her the most because family is very important to her. She is now currently reading the book for the second time.

“It is a beautiful treat that I was able to read ‘Family’ by J. California Cooper, “ she said. “She made the characters in the book so intelligent and I will forever have this book.”

The crowd was mixed with both men and women and with devoted Cooper followers and those who have yet to read one of her books.

The few attendees who have not yet read a book by Cooper, expressed feeling enthused to start reading.

Jermaine White attended the event to learn more about the author and what Art Sanctuary has in store. He felt this event motivated him to engage in her books and to attend more events at Art Sanctuary.

“I’m all about Black unity and knowledge,” he said. “I loved being apart of this event and I will definitely tell all of my friends.”

Kevin Williams, who lives just blocks away from Art Sanctuary, always sees interesting events at the venue and decided to stop by last week, to take part in the book club meeting.

“I’ve been moved, I think J. California Cooper is awesome,” he said. “I know everything happens for a reason and being here tonight is what I really needed to propel to the next level in my personal, spiritual and mental life.”

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