Eric J. Chambers Releases New Book

New Celebrity-Driven Black History Coffee Table Book, "Dining With the Ancestors" by Dr. Eric J. Chambers Coming Soon 

by VERGE Staff | Entertainment and Culture | Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Eric J and Actress Meagan Good NAACP Awards

If you could have dinner with anyone from our illustrious Black History past, who would it be? And what would you want to talk to them about?...These are the guiding questions more than 200 African American entertainers, professional athletes and notables have answered including: Gladys Knight, Ne-Yo, Tyrese, Bishop TD Jakes, Yolanda Adams, Sheryl Underwood, Taraji P. Henson, Israel Houghton, Colin Kaepernick, Lolo Jones, John Wall, Donnie McClurkin, Charlie Wilson, India.Arie, Sheryl Lee Ralph and Cedric The Entertainer.

These survey questions are the brainchild of Dr. Eric J. Chambers, a 4-time Emmy Award winning Hollywood red carpet reporter, as he is now turning the questions and answers into a new coffee table- Black History literacy picture book entitled, "Dining With the Ancestors: When Heroes Come To Dinner."  

Chambers first asked these questions in 2004 while interviewing his late friend, Yolanda King, the eldest child of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Mrs. Coretta Scott King. Yolanda sang the praises of her own mother during the interview that aired on an episode of Chambersʼ The Jazzspel cable television show which ran nationally on The Word Network.

When the religious network unexpectedly canceled his wildly popular show in March 2012, Chambers struck a deal with another TV station, TCT (Total Christian Television). “They called me the day after my birthday, December 11, 2012 and said theyʼd pick up my show. It was great news,” said the New Orleans native from his Southern California office. At that point, Chambers began preparing a Black History episode for his anticipated February 2013 debut on TCT. 

Chambers recalled how in 2000, Mrs. Mamie Till Mobley, the mother of Emmett Louis Till, an African American teenager who was murdered in Mississippi at age 14, for reportedly flirting with a white woman, visited Chambers in San Diego and became a “surrogate grandmother” to him. 

In December 2012, while looking at pictures of himself at dinner with her and friends, the idea of the “dining with heroes” episode was born. So, Chambers began asking the questions again, but this time, on the red carpets of Hollywood. The responses by some celebrities included: “What a great question! What a great concept for a book!” exclaimed pop star Brandy. Rap star Kendrick Lamar said, “Thatʼs a good one.” In reference to the questions: 'If you could have dinner with anyone from our illustrious Black History past, who would it be? And what would you want to talk to them about?' 

Chambers also learned that one distinguished entertainer is a cousin of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., while another celebrityʼs dream dinner guest would be O.J. Simpson (readers can find out which celebrities said these answers in the book).

Although Chambers later learned that executives at TCT decided not to move forward with the deal for his television program, he continued asking the questions to celebrities during interviews for his newly formed CUT Network (Chambers Urban TV). It was then the idea to publish the coffee table book was born.

“This is such a unique way to teach Black History,” said Professor Alazar Tesfamariam, the Black Studies Department Chair at San Diego City College in San Diego, CA. “Iʼve never seen anything like it. This is going to be a one-of-a-kind, fun way to learn about Black History heroes, past and present.” 

"Dining With the Ancestors: When Heroes Come To Dinner" is set for release in December 2014 at a celebrity gala in Hollywood. Chambers is offering fans a unique opportunity to win dinner with him and a celebrity or two. He is also planning a book tour visiting elementary and high schools, community colleges, HBCUs, state universities and Ivy League schools, bringing along a surprise celebrity hero to some events.

A portion of the proceeds will go to The Harvest Of My Dreams Foundationʼs H.A.M. Program (History, Art & Music Literacy) which will teach and inspire African American youth and young adults, as well as offer scholarships for higher learning and artistic project completions.

For more, visit: www.DiningWithTheAncestors.com and watch the video trailer with entertaining and inspiring interview clips from some of the celebrities featured in the upcoming book.

Photo caption: Eric J. Chambers with Actress Meagan Good at the 44th Annual NAACP Awards.  Photo credit and source: Eric J. Chambers. 

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