DC Livers Responds to Wooten
DC Livers handled herself lika a lady as she responded to Todd Wooten for admonishing Black Press Magazine for decision awarding Kwan Black Author of the Year.
DC Livers handled herself lika a lady as she responded to Todd Wooten for admonishing Black Press Magazine for awarding Kwan Black Author of the Year.
It ain't easy being who we are
Driven by my ambitions, desire higher positions
So I proceed to make Gs, eternally in my mission
Is to be more than just a rap musician
The elevation of today's generation
If could make 'em listen
Prison ain't what we need, no longer stuck in greed
Time to play and strategize, my family's gotta eat"
- Unconditional Love,
As a respectful courtesy, please do not copy the entire mailing list when you're sending email to the Black Press.
Ironically, I was listening to "Unconditional Love" by the late Tupac Shakur when I got a call about your email. He had just been singing the above lyrics when I listened to your message. It's ironic because I'd never heard that song before and it seemed like it held a special message for me.
That's why I am deeply troubled that your email message appeared to attack the merits of this year's winner K'wan Foye, who has published or been published in nine books in five years. As a freshman author, you are aware of how difficult it is to attract publishers. K'wan has managed to have two publishers. Subject matter should not matter. You should respect his method, his struggle, his accomplishments. That's an incredible feat.
As with all nominees for the 3rd Annual Black Press All Star Awards, we attempted to reach you on several occasions including emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Your business card does not include a phoneor fax number in order for us to have sent you correspondence. In addition, I copied Tony Rose of Amber Communications on the email in hopes that he might send something out to his list serv of authors.
The awards are designed to highlight people, publishers, authors, etc. who are doing things that are impressive on many levels. The obvious is excelling in their field, but the less obvious is usually the most important. Being involved in the community is the second largest factor in our award categories. Anyone can become a millionaire by selling books, CDs or products and services, but it's the people who are willing to give back that generally win the award.
"Give it up," as Quincy Jones said during his recent acceptance speech at the Congressional Black Caucus this past weekend in Washington, DC. You can hear the podcast by viewing our Black Press Africa Project at http://blog.blackpressafrica.com.
Past winners included Earl Sewell (The Flip Side of Money) and Black erotica author Zane (Addicted) who not only publishes some of the most read books in the U.S., but has single-handedly helped over three dozen Black writers to get published as well. As I'm sure you can imagine, their work in their communities coupled with their willingness to give back had to be rewarded.
In addition, we look at whether the nominees are thinking outside the box. With Zane, she readily embraced technology, sought to expand her brand outside of books to include a mini-series on Cinemaxx, upcoming movie projects, among other things. Earl also embraced technology and blazed a trail for other authors to follow.
In addition, his work with youth and his "Train the Trainer" educator workshops are groundbreaking. I hope you'll take a moment to see his workshop that is playing on YouTube.com. Needless to say he's driving a population to the web in mass numbers by forcing them to use technology to stay abreast of what he's doing. In turn, we're seeing more and more web saavy youth. Certainly, you find that cause to celebrate.
The titles of K'wan's books may appear troubling, but as author of an equalling controversial book title, you know how dangerous it is to judge a book by its cover. During our interview you told me why you chose the name. Your response isn't much different than what K'wan has to say.
K'wan's books attempt to attack stereotypes and provide kids who are considering living that lifestyle a fast-forward look into the downward spiral that thug lifestyle can cause. At the Girls Empowerment Brunch that took place on Sept. 15, 2007 in Washington, DC, authors like J.M. Benjamin told a heartfelt tales of reader backlash when they attempted to write about topics other than thuglife or topics that included real looks at Black life.
While the anger you feel may very well be justified and possibly felt by many, it is also misdirected. If the industry is turning books into the "new BET" or degrading our community, your concerns should be directed at the industry leaders, publishers and perhaps the Historical Black Press Foundation.
But, it is unfair or appropriate to direct the anger toward K'wan, who has more than 400,000 books in print.
K'wan has won 27 other awards for his work, which has been recognized by King, Essence, TIME magazine and set off a bidding war for his work according to Black Issues.
"K'wan, author of Gangsta (Triple Crown Publications; October 2002), and Road Dawg (Triple Crown, July 2003), has made a six-figure deal for three more books. His Street Dreams was sold by Vickie Stringer to Monique Patterson, St, Martins Press, along with two more novels, In My Father's Name and Rydaz," according to the March/April 2004 BIBR.
According to the critics, K'wan writing is remincient of early James Baldwin and Donald Goines at his height. Both wrote of topics that were deeply troubling to its reader and they faced intense criticism for it. K'wan is no different. His talent runs so deep that it will likely be years before we all truly understand it.
Consider what Urban-Reviews.com had to say about him.
"K'wan is without a doubt one of his generation's most talented and gritty writers. Born the only child of a poet and a painter, creativity was imprinted in him from day one. In the early years K'wan excelled academically, but like most youth of today he was sidetracked by the call of the streets. Through trial and error, K'wan learned the hard way that the fast life has nothing to offer."
From continued fallout from Katrina to the the Imus situation to the JENA 6, 2007 has been a year of great civil unrest in the Black community, so I echo your comments that it's time for our community to raise a new crop of civil rights leaders.
Not only do I stand behind every single won of the winners of the 3rd Annual Black Press All Star Awards, but
I wish you could have seen the way the people who attended the luncheon responded to K'wan. From David Parks, son of the late Gordon Parks, author of G.I. Diary and producer of the 70s hit film, "Superfly," to Wayne Hubbard, host of the incredible TV show Urban American Outdoors to Harlee Little, whose photographic career spans five U.S. presidents to some of the others, we all got to know a respectful, intelligent, deep-thinking man who isn't confused about who he is or what he's put on this earth to do.
Every year on the 3rd Friday and Saturday of September we hold the Black Press All Star Awards. It's never easy to pull off, but as long as there are people like K'wan who continue to succeed against the odds, we'll continue to have the event. I hope that next year we'll see you there so you can meet the nominees firsthand.
But you don't have to wait till next year to meet other Blacks in media and literary arts. On November 16, 2007 you can join us in Washington, DC for the Black Media Holiday Happy Hour. It's a great networking opportunity, but more importantly it's a wonderful chance for all to reminded that we're all in this together.
DC Livers, managing editor
Historical Black Press Foundation
1629 K Street, NW Suite 300
Washington, DC 20006 USA
To hear interviews with K'wan, Todd Wooten or others included in the BLACK AUTHOR PODCAST SERIES, visit http://www.blackpressradio.com and enter keyword: AUTHOR or PUBLISHER.
To hear K'wan's acceptance speech, visit http://blog.blackpressafrica.com
(BlackPressMagazine.com) - Bestselling author K'wan won the "Black Author of the Year" award at the 3rd Annual Black Press All Star Awards in Washington, DC. It was the first of many ceremonies planned to award the winners with their plaques.
K'wan, who has published or been published in nine books in five years, received his 28th award at a special ceremony from DC Livers during at a private event at the Hip Hop Culture Center in NYC in Harlem, NY.
"I had to leave the Congressional Black Caucus just as Obama was speaking in order to make it on time, but it was well worth it to see the look on K'wan's face and to see the love that everyone in the room had for him," said DC Livers, managing editor for Black Press Magazine. "I met people on the train, at the event and on the way to the party that had a story to tell about K'wan as he sold the books on the train, street corners and anywhere else he could as he was struggling to become the nation's bestselling urban fiction writer. He really deserved it."
Special guests included:
DJs from Hot 97
Authors Terry McMillan (Waiting to Exhale)
Black erotica author Anna J (Get Money Chicks)
urban fiction writer J.M. Benjamin (Down in the Dirty)
Dr. Sonia Houston of HarlemFriends.com
Literary publicist Nakea who also represents Tiphani Montgomery (Millionaire Mistress)
and Janaya Black (As Told By The Other Woman) and her husband drove from Detroit
Wearing triple black, K'wan accepted the award and thanked everyone who helped him climb to the top. He even brought his wife and publicist on stage with him for the photo session.
"It's a blessing that's all I can say about it," said Mrs. K'wan. "He stays up to all hours of the night tapping on that computer to create his masterpieces. I'm just glad that I can enjoy on the sidelines. I'm so proud of him."
The event was catered by Harlem Wings and Waffle and sponsored by Alize.
To hear the exclusive podcast of the ceremony, visit http://blog.blackpressafrica.com. It will appear there first to hightlight our one-year-old BlackPressAfrica next week.
The votes are in for 3rd Annual Black Press All Star Awards. See the "Best of the Black Press" winners: http://www.myspace.com/blackpress
Listen to podcasts interviews with nominees and winners at blackpressradio.com. Use the appropriate keyword.
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