When You Need a Break
When You Need a Break

I don’t do it often, and I’m far from being an expert, but gardening is in my blood. My father was a gardener for most of his working life, before he retired. Now, his full-time calling is working with those working the twelve steps. We all have a calling. Something we eat, breathe, and yearn

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Black Television in the 90’s
Black Television in the 90’s

The 1990’s are sometimes referred to as a “Golden Age” of black television. We’re all abuzz, as we should be, about current sensations like “Black-ish” and “Empire,” but that doesn’t mean we should forget our history. On shows like “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air,” “Roc,” “Living Single,” “In Living Color,” “The Sinbad Show,” “South

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Bridging the divide
Bridging the divide

A few years ago, as new demographic reports were flush with a growing wave of multiracial youth, I revisited the topic of my roots. My African-American mother and grandmother raised me at a time when identifiable biracial children were still just a fraction of the population. As a child, I had no contact with my

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Revolution #ImNotAlone
Revolution #ImNotAlone

Thank you all for following The Girl in the Yellow Poncho, a blog about my forthcoming family memoir. Your support is appreciated! In case you weren’t aware, the blog is also connected to a larger campaign called #ImNotAlone for multiracial youth, their families and friends, and anyone interested in this important demographic shift in our

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My Multiracial Miami
My Multiracial Miami

She doesn’t know it yet, but my daughter Olivia lives in a world that is deeply and intensely global and multiracial. Miami. Once, while passing through Little Havana, I stopped at a drive-through Subway and was in the process of ordering a turkey sandwich (in English) when the cashier turned and made a comment to

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Big Hair
Big Hair

Last month New York’s Commission on Human Rights declared that it’s no longer okay to discriminate on the basis of hairstyle. Meaning, employers and other authorities can no longer force people to get rid of their dreadlocks, cornrows, box braids, Afros, or otherwise curly, biggish, non-white hair. The city’s groundbreaking decision has been a long

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Venice Beach
Venice Beach

Mom dressed me up and took me to a Venice Beach motel to see my father for the first time. Or at least, it was the first time that I could remember.  I was four or five and over the moon with excitement. My father was an alcoholic and drug addict. He was white and

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Happy Birthday Grandmommy
Happy Birthday Grandmommy

March 5, 1921 – October 26, 2018 It’s a very special day for us as we launch #ImNotAlone. Happy birthday to my beloved grandmother who is here with us every step of the way. @ImNotAlone2019 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house

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The Girl in the Yellow Poncho
The Girl in the Yellow Poncho

A few years ago I decided to revisit the topic of my roots and childhood in this Washington Post essay. One thing led to another and soon I had a memoir on my hands…one that took surprising twists and turns that even I never would have expected. I was raised by my African American mother

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Professor Zook challenged us all to reach the level we were capable of…The time she took after class each day to call myself or another student over and really urge us to take that next step towards reaching our potential made a world of a difference.

Max SassHofstra University

What distinguished Professor Zook from my other professors was the investment in her personal time she made with me. Even after I was no longer her student she reached out to offer me help and guidance…Now I’m working part-time at NBC and as a staff writer for an online magazine. I am truly grateful she was there for me during such critical years of my life when someone my age is trying to find themselves.

Vania AndreHofstra University

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

I have not come across a professor who puts so much of herself into the class and the university. Not just for class-related matters, but as an advisor, as a link to the world of Journalism, and as an inspiration for future journalists.

Rocío UngríaHofstra University

I wanted to thank you first and foremost for this entire semester. I never felt so accomplished in any other class. You pushed me to do my best, and I am forever grateful for that.

Samantha AbramHofstra University

Dr. Zook is a woman who has helped me grow from student, to graduate, and now, to a prominent position at a national magazine. She is more than a professor to me but a mentor, someone I have continually reached out to for guidance during my evolving career…Currently, as the assistant to the creative director at O, The Oprah Magazine, I still find myself recognizing techniques and applications taught and reaffirmed by Dr. Zook.

Nadeen NakibHofstra University

Thanks for giving me the confidence not to quit on this. It’s actually led to other writing opportunities and talks

Anthony Christian Ocampo, Ph.D.Assistant Professor of Sociology, Cal Poly Pomona and Ford Foundation Fellow, UC Riverside School of Public Policy (An Op-Ed Project mentee)

Kristal is blessed with genuine intellectual curiosity, along with the instincts and drive of an old-fashioned reporter. Both her and her work are truly special.

Eugene RobinsonColumnist and associate editor, The Washington Post

Professor Zook herself played a key role in my success. She guided me through my internship at Forbes, she offered me wonderful learning opportunities as her research assistant, and she challenged me as her student in the classroom. She has not only mentored me throughout my three semesters here as my advisor, professor and supervisor – but she has acted as a role model to me and my peers.

Jacquelyn SmithHofstra University

Your workshop was one of the most engaging and interactive…an informative analysis!

Debbie HinesTrial attorney and founder of legalspeaks.com

I thoroughly enjoyed the workshop. It introduced me to the process of writing for a larger audience. The concepts, though not necessary new, were framed in such a way by Kristal to really push me to seize on and tell important stories. The targeted and clear hand-outs provided excellent guidance and the activities really scaffolded the editorial writing process. I already recommended to my chair that Kristal come and talk to the SOE! We need her to help us get our voices heard!

Catherine DiMartino, Ph.DAssistant Professor, Doctoral Program Co-Director Educational & Policy Leadership, Hofstra University

I love to see great teaching, and Dr. Zook has the expertise and enthusiasm of a great teacher….not only did I benefit, but my students did as well.

Cindy ButosSenior Lecturer, Trinity College, Hartford, CT

Kristal is one of the best journalists in the business. I have hired her a number of times to write articles for ESSENCE. Each time she delivered. The stories are always well-reported, beautifully crafted and well-received. Kristal has an eye for good stories and spends time making sure her articles are factual. Like most talented journalists, Kristal is a pro who takes good direction from her editors.

Tatsha RobertsonNews editor, People magazine

Kristal Brent Zook is a brilliant, creative thinker … She was able to answer more questions than I knew I had about transitioning from academic to trade publishing. Thank you for the invaluable faculty workshop!

Linda R. Young, Ph.D.Senior Staff Psychologist, National University, Seattle University

Many thanks for your excellent seminar yesterday. It was informative, stimulating, insightful and even fun. Without being overwhelming, it revealed a wealth of information and some critical perspective on writing for a wide audience.

Stanislao G. Pugliese, Ph.D.Professor of History and Queensboro Unico Distinguished Professor of Italian and Italian American Studies, Hofstra University

We value her commitment to taking on even the most difficult stories in the interest of serious journalism.

Diane WeathersFormer editor-in-chief, Essence magazine

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

My first article about The Hispanic Initiative was picked up by Long Island Wins. The online editor emailed me asking if I want to do freelance work for them. This is probably my first ounce of recognition as a writer, so I’m thrilled. You motivate us to seek stories and get them out there. Without you, I probably wouldn’t have done it. I just wanted to say thank you!

Eleni PetrakosHofstra University

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

Kristal has a good ear, a calm manner, and high expectations. She knows exactly what works on the page and why.

Jill KirschenbaumEditor, Wall Street Journal

Dr. Zook’s From Ivory Tower to Breaking News workshop offered me practical tips in getting my voice heard and my future Op-Ed works considered in nationally recognized publications. I am confident that the tools of the trade discussed in this workshop will enable me to translate my research into mainstream markets.

Anthony J. Santella Assistant Professor of Health Professions and Public Health, Hofstra University

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 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

An informative and engaging workshop [that] sparked a nuanced dialogue with students around race, gender, class and journalism.

Nuala CabralCo-founder of FAAN Mail

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