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.

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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,...

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