Color By Fox: the Fox Network and the Revolution in Black Television

My first book, Color By Fox: the Fox Network and the Revolution in Black Television, was published by Oxford University Press in 1999. Documenting an important era in black-produced television, it was most recently cited in The New York Times Sunday Magazine in August of 2015, and in both The New Yorker and on TV One in April of 2016. In it, I go behind the scenes of popular African American television shows such as “In Living Color,” “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air,” “Martin,” “New York Undercover,” “The Sinbad Show,” “Living Single,” “Roc,” and “South Central” to interview more than 65 mostly African American producers, directors and television executives about race and television representation.

The Girl in the Yellow Poncho

The Girl in the Yellow Poncho is Zook’s coming-of-age tale about what it means to be biracial in America. Throughout, she grapples with in-betweenness, childhood sexual assault, economic insecurity, and multiple generations of alcoholism and substance abuse on both the black and white sides of her family. Her story is one of strong black women—herself, her cousin, her mother, and her grandmother—and the generational cycles of oppression and survival that seemingly define their lives.

Black Women’s Lives: Stories of Power and Pain

Black Women’s Lives: Stories of Power and Pain, published by Nation Books in 2006, has real-life, personal portraits of women that I find absolutely fascinating: an organic dairy farmer in Bakersfield, Vermont whose son was killed in the first Gulf War; a high-powered corporate executive who adopted twin girls; a principal in Georgia who started the first sugar-free elementary school in America; a filmmaker and television director who created “Love and Basketball”; and others. This book went into its third printing within the first year of its publication and is my personal favorite.

I See Black People: The Rise and Fall of African American-Owned Television and Radio

I See Black People:The Rise and Fall of African American-Owned Television and Radio published by Nation Books in 2008, is a collection of frank and intimate conversations with owners of radio and tv stations, large and small. Through their recollections, the book examines the mystery of why so few minorities and women own media outlets in America.

I See Black People makes a powerful case that ownership does matter. When the media fails to reflect the diversity of its audience, it is inevitably the voices of the least powerful that vanish first from the airwaves.

Thank you for writing the book Black Women’s Lives and sharing the stories of these phenomenal women with us. This book opened my eyes…Although I am African-Canadian, I identified with so many of the women.

Anonymous ReaderChicago

Upon reading her article I heard the echo of my own voice calling beyond the wilderness…Zook acknowledges the necessity for introspection about our individual [and] collective needs, as women within a patriarchal society in general and as women of color in particular.

Cassandra V. MiahNew York

I recently finished Black Women’s Lives…All of the women had truly dynamic stories, and I like the way you were able to let the subjects and their circumstances really shine through. Even when you were walking with them, I’ll be honest I forgot you were even there. I envisioned these stories as if they happened right next door to me.

C. LevyPittsburgh

I actually met you a couple of weeks ago in K-Mart. I had stopped you to tell you how much I loved your book Black Women’s Lives. I appreciate writers like yourself because you are informing us about us….I grew up in a small area in Virginia and not many people have heard of it. We all deal with important issues but the majority of us only hear about the mainstream organizations or people; so it was very interesting to read about different black women and their beliefs or struggles. I picked up your book and I couldn’t put it down so I had to buy it. I just want to say thank you for writing…it meant a lot to me.

Ronica WynderNew York

I stumbled upon your book [I See Black People: The Rise and Fall of African American-Owned Television and Radio] a few weeks ago, and it serves as a prime tool in my research efforts. My goal is to help bring forth a more positive and balanced image of African Americans in the media. I thank you for already being a change agent in the field!

Empress VarnadoNew York

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