Author and journalist Eric Copage (Courtesy Photo)

His latest book continues in the theme of seeking out what it means to be Black.

Author and journalist Eric Copage has had his people on his mind for quite a while.

He grew up in Hollywood, in Beverly Hills, and attended Beverly Hills High School and California institute of the Arts where he studied composition and ethnomusicology. He eventually became interested in journalism.

“Basically, with journalism, you use other people’s expertise to satisfy your own curiosity and they pay you,” said Copage. “So, it’s right, this is a good deal.”

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He eventually moved to New York stating, “It’s the fast track of the fast track. I figured like if I didn’t make it in two years there, then I just go and do an academic like ethnomusicology.”

He became a copy boy at the Daily News and made it to the New York Times, becoming an editor.

“It’s like having the world at your fingertips because everyone will return your call,” said Copage on working at the New York Times. He worked there for at least a decade and then left for a short while.

The break from journalism gave Copage the opportunity to focus on his own writing. He wrote a number of pieces that included “Black Art of the 21st Century,” “Multicultural Jesus,” and “Hidden Art in New York City.”  Copage’s people, Black people, stayed on his mind and he recounted two stories that stuck with him through the years.

“I had a very good Jewish friend and, in his house, he had a book called ‘What is a Jew?’ and I don’t know what it was about that, but it made me think, what is the Black man?” said Copage.

“What is a Black person, what does it mean, what do we do that other people don’t? What do we not do that other people do? And not in a negative or positive, just what delineates, who we are.

“There’s this kid, that came to school in the middle of the term, [at] Beverly Hills High School. This kid, who came to school and we had an American history test, it was some kind of test.

“He kind of just popped in the class and he did really well. So, during lunch, I said to this kid, you know, just congratulated him, ‘good for you, good on you.

“‘You know, you just popped in here and you just you aced that test’ and he said, ‘What do you think, I’m Chinese.’

“What struck me about that is, as a question, if I did well on a test, would I say, ‘Well, what do you expect? I’m Black.’

“In other words, would I use my culture to say that I did well on a test, and I didn’t come up with an answer to that, but it struck me as an interesting question to pose to any Black person.”

He would go on to write books that included “Fruits of the Harvest: Recipes to Celebrate Kwanzaa and other Holidays” and the best-selling series, “Black Pearls.”

“That book did very well and I think that another book that people might know about, ‘Black Pearls,’ a series of books with meditations, affirmations and inspirations for African Americans,” said Copage.

“Between Fathers and Sons: An African American Fable” is a novella and his latest book where Copage is bringing all these experiences and conversations from his life together.

“It means a lot to me, this book, because it has to do with my childhood,” said Copage.

The story follows Miles Johnson, a middle class, Black boy and how a mysterious shopkeeper and a life changing answer to a riddle helps Miles become a Black man. Copage shared how he wanted this book and all his writings to reflect the power and depth of Black culture.

“I wanted my children to grow up feeling that Black culture is something to be lived up to, not to be lived down,” said Copage. “I strive to do well because I’m trying to live up to the standard of our culture.”

Copage continued, “The book is meant to be read and discussed by the entire family.

“At the very end of the book, I included a few prompt questions meant to stimulate conversation.”

“Between Fathers and Sons: An African American Fable” is available online through Amazon in various formats — paperback, hardcover, eBook, and audiobook.  When ordering the novella from local bookstores, readers should specify the title as “Fathers and Sons” (plural).