Celebrating the word. Celebrating the reader.
Vol. VI, Issue VI 2011
Written Reads | Celebrating Change Leaders
Inside Written Celebrating the word 8
Our reading list
ATL honors drummajor
10 Movies, Music & More
Celebrating the reader
Written Celebrating the word. Celebrating the reader.
Vol. VI - Issue 4 Written Magazine. © 2008, ISSN 1931-9029, Zipporah Publications, P.O. Box 250504, Atlanta, Georgia 30325. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part of any article without permission is prohibited. Address all editorial contributions to Written Editorial, Zipporah, P.O. Box 250504, Atlanta, Georgia 30325. E-mail: editor@ writtenmag.com. Letters may be edited and published or used in any medium. All submissions become the property of Written and wil not be returned.
Music for your playlist
And so it is…
Getting our due
With Friends Like These
Our latests pics
For Better Book Clubs
A letter for you
Publisher/Founder Michelle R. Gipson
Marketing Demetria L. Sharp
Advisors Elisha Gipson
C.O.O. Tosha Link Bitho
Publicity Audra Cunningham
Research Assistant Marquez Summers
V.P. Business Development Mary Sharp Gipson
Sales Director Rockelle Henderson
Creative Director Natalia Griffin
Sales Manager Sabrina Walker
Photography Tara Surrat Earl Flippen Jr.
Editors Trina Love Sheronda K. Gipson
Sales Manager - West Coast Roger Waiters firstname.lastname@example.org
Columnists Phill M. Branch, Jr. C. Elayne Harper
Sales Manager - Washington D.C. Ron Burke
Interns Jasmine Keys LeJoi Lane Shyniqua Stallings Turquoise Mosley
Distribution Yulonda Sharp-Flippen
Follow us on Facebook & Twitter: WrittenMag
Editorial Assistant Michelle Chester celebrating the word
Accounting Veronica Parker
Cover Image: © Sharahn Thomas
celebrating the reader
And so it is… Letter from the publisher
Getting our due The first time I read, Why we can’t wait, by Dr Martin Luther King Jr., I was in high school and I found the book on my teacher’s bookshelf and asked if I could borrow it. Prior to then, my thought of Dr. King was surrounded by images of fire hoses, crosses burnings, and being assaulted by dogs and angry men and a march on Washington DC and a violent death in a Memphis hotel. As I read his elaborate word choices and became enthralled by his cadences, I realized that the most powerful weapon during the civil rights era was not the images of the era, but the words of movement. Men and women of change have long known that inspiration to act comes from the whispers of words. Those words ignite faith of mind, heart and spirit that evolve into action that has changed the world. As a young adult in high school, I was restless. I initiated Black history messages over our school’s intercom, without permission, when Black history week started. When the first Black paper the Nashville Pride began, I volunteered at the age of 12. So as I flipped through the pages of Dr. King’s book, I felt my spirit connecting with an army of people who believed that now was better than later. That the urgency of immediacy far outweighed the option of eventually. When we began Written five years ago, there were many that said I was too young or that I should wait until this happened or that began. Looking back, the arrogance of youth helped to drown those voices. I now know it was also the guidance of God that has delivered us to where we are today. In this issue, we celebrate a woman of remarkable change, Xernora Clayton. Her work as a drum major for change was recently acknowledged by the City of Atlanta Council with an honorary street and park dedication. Ma Harper has a lot to share with children and parents and a new guest writer Makonnen Weaver shares his playlist of songs that every one should have in rotation. Don´t miss the “Written Reads” section and if you will be traveling to Atlanta in October, do not miss our Alien Encounter symposium celebrating people of color who have contributed to fantasy, speculative and alternative genre books, movies and music. I want like to thank Sharahn Thomas for this great cover photo and would like to encourage a first read or a reread of Why we can’t wait. Dr. King changed the world with words. Written celebrates people doing the same. And so it is…
Publisher / Editor Michelle’s photo by Phill Branch celebrating the word
celebrating the reader
With Friends Like T hese…
For more pictures of our friends join our on-line community on our website www.writtenmag.com.
Written Magazine hosts Actress, Activist, Author Ruby Dee pictured center with Hammonds House Museum director Myrna Fuller (left) and Written publisher Michelle Gipson.
By Trina Love, Angela Reid & Shyniqua Stallings
All the Wrong Moves
I honestly can’t claim to have any type of exciting life, so when I picked up Nikki Carter’s All the Wrong Moves I was prepared to live through the story. The story follows Sunday Tolliver, a high school senior from Atlanta. Sunday has so much going on in her life that I’m surprised she can keep track of it all. From writing songs for her cousin, Dreya “Drama” Tolliver, to recording for her own album this girl has to keep it together. With tuition at Spelman, her college of choice, being what they are Sunday is happy to go on a music tour to help promote her music. As is normal for people in the spotlight problems arise throughout the story that keeps everyone on their toes, and whether its boys, family, or just life in general Sunday always keeps her cool. I like celebrities as much as the next person, but reading this story really gave me some insight into what a small part of their life might actually be like. Everything that goes down feels true to life and Carter does a wonderful job of drawing you in and making sure that you stay with it until the very end. Not only is the story beautifully written but the characters sound as if they could be people that you know. The family aspect of the story really hits home and allowed me to connect with it even more. I love being able to connect with the story as well as the characters and with this book it was the easiest thing to do and made it that much more enjoyable. –By Shyniqua Stallings
When I saw ReShonda’s name on the cover I knew that the story was going to be an attention grabber without even having to read the summary on the back. This book shares the lives of three friends, Coco, Audra and Juanita. Each woman has a story to tell and Billingsley tells it well. From single motherhood, to abusive boyfriends to pure aggression on the hunt for a man these ladies only want a good man. The idea of visiting a pastor’s conference to find one didn’t seem such a great idea at first but as each woman warms up to the idea they all find themselves meeting a guy. All three find their lives spiraling in new directions as they struggle to with their relationship with God and their personal relationship with themselves. The pure dysfunction in this story reminded me a little of my own family and how no matter how crazy they are those close to you will always be there for you. What really worked for me was how emotionally charged each woman’s life was without being too dramatic. They each had all different problems and different ways to solve them that worked in the story. I never felt like I was being sidetracked or felt like what I was reading wasn’t possible. As with all of ReShonda’s novels I closed the cover wanting more but feeling satisfied that I had
Nikki Carter ISBN 9780758255570
ReShonda Tate Billingsley ISBN 9781416578055
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Continued on page 7
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Dream Almost Realized for King Memorial
Few Americans were as focused on the 82nd birthday of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. as Harry E. Johnson Sr., head of the decades-long drive to build a memorial to the slain civil rights leader on the National Mall. Even before the three-day weekend began, Johnson spent part of an afternoon last week escorting top Washington officials around the four-acre site under construction near the Tidal Basin between the Lincoln and Jefferson memorials. Among the visitors were Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, whose department oversees the project through the National Park Service; new Washington Mayor Vincent Gray; Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C.; and Lisa Jackson, administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. All seemed delighted that the memorial, conceived not long after King was assassinated in April 1968, was finally taking shape. A long, sweeping wall inscribed with quotations from King is complete, as is a 28-foot-tall statue of him, though it remains under wraps. Other parts of the memorial are being built, and landscaping and support buildings are months away, but doubts and controversy that have beleaguered the project for years have all but disappeared. The dedication and formal opening of the memorial is now scheduled for August 28, the anniversary of King’s “I Have a Dream” speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. “Exuberance,” Johnson replied when asked by a TV reporter for his feelings on the eve of King’s birthday weekend. “How can you not have exuberance over this?” he said, standing in the middle of the site in the face of a biting wind on a frigid day. Johnson, a Houston attorney who is spending more and more time in Washington, said he had a full schedule of weekend events planned, including an international salute to King with ambassadors from around the world and nonstop interviews Monday evening on the federal holiday celebrating King’s birth. The story of the King memorial hasn’t always been so upbeat. The Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, a black leadership organization that King joined in the 1950s, suggested a national memorial soon after King’s death, but it took until 1996 for Congress to approve the project, with groundbreaking contingent on $120 million being raised. Johnson said the foundation has so far put together $109 million, including $10 million in federal funds. Money wasn’t the only hurdle, though. Members of the King family, who have fiercely protected the rights to use King’s words and images, demanded and received $800,000 in fees from the foundation, provoking some resentment even among black leaders. A Chinese sculptor, Lei Yixin, was selected to create the statue, leading to criticism that an American artist wasn’t chosen. Then there were disputes between the National Park Service, the National Capital Planning Commission, and the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts about details of the memorial’s design. The issues were finally resolved and Salazar signed a permit for construction to begin in October 2009. “It’s been a struggle,” Johnson acknowledged. “But let’s put it this way: Nothing with any value is ever done without problems.” Johnson, 56, was born and raised in St. Louis and has degrees from Xavier University of New Orleans, Washington University in St. Louis, and the Thurgood Marshall School of Law in Houston. He was president of Alpha Phi Alpha in 2004 when the foundation came calling. It has been a full-time job for him ever since, but Johnson’s enthusiasm for the project is unbridled and infectious. He gets especially excited when looking forward to the August dedication, expected to be attended by the King family and civil rights leaders from Andrew Young to the Rev. Jesse Jackson. “This is a culmination of what they strived for,” Johnson said. “This is a crowning moment.” Photo: © Sharahn Thomas
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I Just Wanna Testify
Continued from page 5
Pearl Cleage ISBN 9780345506368
been told a great story and learned some valuable life lessons all along the way. –By Shyniqua Stallings
Vampires in West End, Atlanta? Blue Hamilton, the keeper, enforcer, and patriarch of West End could hardly believe it himself. Statuesque, thin, beautiful, sexy, and deadly, they masqueraded as models, but Blue knew they had ulterior motives, and he vowed to find out their motives. He knew he had his hands full with the “Two Fine Five” from New Orleans who arrived on the campus of Morehouse College for a photo shoot. These obscure vamps, yet high-profile models seemed harmless, able to squelch their blood thirst with tomato juice; however, in his several reincarnations, Blue knew that the undead always has an agenda. –By Trina Love
Blood on the Moon Jennifer Knight ISBN 9780762441174
There is almost no world I love more than the supernatural, so when I snuck a peak at the summary for Knight’s book I couldn’t stop the little happy dance I did around my room. Blood on the Moon is about Faith Reynolds, a freshman in college. A life of mistrust and running both literally and figuratively are the only ways that Faith stays sane as she deals with best friends that want more and classmates with strange lives. As Faith and Derek, her best friend, pull further away she finds herself falling into a world she never knew existed and all because of one school project. I have read and seen a lot of books involving vampires and werewolves and I am always afraid that the next book I read is going to make me cringe. That is not the case with this book. Knight shares a familiar world without making the reader feel as if they have been there before. The mystery of the characters and the way she reveals information about their lives is saved for those until the crucial moment, which marks the character of a great author. I love romance, sometimes even love triangles and this story has plenty of both. Knight provides a story that touches that slightly darker side that lies deep within everyone and shows us that sometimes it all right to let that otherworldly part of ourselves out, at least for a little while. –By Shyniqua Stallings
Mary Monroe ISBN 9780758238610 Mary Monroe’s first novel, The Upper Room (1985) first introduced her readers to the unforgettable beer-guzzling, Bible-quoting, enemy-killing Mama Ruby and her then, best friend Othella. Now in 2011, readers get to know the origins of Ruby Jean Upshaw, as she grows up with family and friends in Shreveport, Louisiana, beginning even then, to make a reputation for herself. After reading Mama Ruby, you will definitely go back to reread The Upper Room. Monroe’s stories remind us of the folklore Zora Neale Hurston collected and recorded in her anthologies allowing readers to experience the ways of Black Folks in the South. This is the fifteenth novel from the creator of the “God Don’t Like Ugly” Series. We all hope that Monroe continues to entertain us with her stories. –By Angela Reid
HOPEWELL GENERAL A PRESCRIPTION FOR PASSION Secret affairs, big drama and scandal are all on call at prestigious Hopewell General Hospital.
THE SURGEON’S SECRET BABY Ann Christopher IN THE DOCTOR’S BED Brenda Jackson
On Sale August 30, 2011
ROMANCING THE M.D. Maureen Smith
On Sale September 27, 2011
CASE OF DESIRE Jacquelin Thomas
On Sale October 25, 2011
On Sale July 26, 2011
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(from left to right) Atlanta City Council President Ceasar Mitchell, former Atlanta mayor/president, Buckhead Coalition Sam Massell, Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, honoree Ms. Xernona Clayton, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, retired Judge Paul Brady, husband of Ms. Clayton, former mayor/U.N. Ambassador Andrew Young, Councilman C.T. Martin and Xernona Clayton Commission Chairman Joe Hindsley. Photo collage design by John B Smith Jr.
s the Founder, President and CEO of the Trumpet Awards Foundation, Inc. and Creator and Executive Producer of the Foundation’s Trumpet Awards, Xernona Clayton has been a pioneer and drum major for change for more than 30 years.
apparent than in 1968, when the Grand Dragon of the Ku Klux Klan denounced the Klan and credited Xernona’s influence with his change. Xernona and her late husband Ed Clayton co-authored The Peaceful Warrior a biography of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Xernona Clayton’s autobiography, I’ve Been Marching All the Time, was published in 1991.
Ms. Clayton began her television career in 1967 and became the south’s first Black person to have her own television show. The Xernona Clayton show was a regular feature on WAGA-TV, CBS affiliate in Atlanta.
Ms. Clayton was recognized for a lifetime of contributions to community and humanity with the dedication of an honorary street and park plaza. Baker Street, N.W. between Piedmont Avenue, N.W. and Centennial Olympic Park Drive, N.W., was named Xernona Clayton Way; and the plaza at Hardy Ivy Park was named Xernona Clayton Plaza.
Xernona moved to Atlanta in 1965 where she accepted a position with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and worked closely with the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Ms. Clayton also traveled extensively with Mrs. Coretta Scott King on her nationwide concert tours.
“I am extremely honored by this gesture from the mayor and the City Council. To have a street and a park dedicated in my name gives me joy beyond expression. This is a significant moment for me and I am delighted with this honor,” said Ms. Clayton.
Dedicated to promoting racial understanding, Xernona Clayton has been a leader in civic projects and civil rights activities for several years. In 1966, she coordinated the activities of Atlanta’s Black doctors in a project called Doctors’ Committee for Implementation, which resulted in the desegregation of all hospital facilities in Atlanta. This project served as a model and a pilot for other states throughout the country and received national honor from the National Medical Association for its impact.
In private life, she is married to Judge Paul L. Brady. She is a member of Ebenezer Baptist Church , formerly co-pastored by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Dr. Martin Luther King, Sr. and a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority.
Her persistent fight against the dragons of prejudice and bigotry was never more celebrating the word
celebrating the reader
Heart Healthy Eats!
Sponsored by The American Heart Association
Broiled Salmon with Plum Salsa Serves 4; 3 ounces of fish per serving Cooking spray
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1-pound 4-ounce salmon fillet with skin,
1 medium red plum, diced
rinsed and patted dry, cut into 4 pieces
2 tablespoons chopped red onion
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 tablespoon snipped fresh cilantro
1 teaspoon cumin
1 small fresh jalapeño, seeds and ribs
1/2 teaspoon light brown sugar
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Lightly spray an 8-inch square baking pan with cooking spray. Place the fish with the skin side down in the baking pan. In a small bowl, stir together the chili powder, cumin, brown sugar, and salt. Sprinkle over the fish. Bake for 11 to 12 minutes, or until the fish is cooked to the desired doneness. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, stir together the remaining ingredients. Serve spooned over the fish. This recipe is reprinted with permission from Recipes for the Heart, Copyright © 2010 by the American Heart Association. Published by Publications International, Ltd. Available at grocery-store checkouts mid-February and at ShopGoRed.com starting March 2, while supplies last.
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Nutrients Per Serving Calories
Saturated Fat 0.5 g Trans Fat 0.0 g Polyunsaturated Fat 1.5 g Monounsaturated Fat 1.0 g Cholesterol
Fiber 1 g Sugars 3 g Protein Dietary Exchanges 1/2 carbohydrate, 3 lean meat
Movies, Music & More… ByMakonnen Weaver
When They Reminisce... I’m often asked the question: “Do you listen to ANY music from the 21st century?” The answer is yes, but the number of albums released in the aughts that I would consider potential future classics can be counted on one hand. As the saying goes, there are only two types of music - good and bad, and it always seems to be more personally fulfilling to uncover good new OLD music. So, check out these three albums that I love, and remember that classic music is always new to someone. Leon Ware - Musical Massage Serving largely as the musical foundation for Marvin Gaye’s borderline epicurean 1976 album ‘I Want You’, Musical Massage was not only the template for Gaye’s mid-70s post-modern hedonism, but has influenced an abundance of contemporary soul artists from D’Angelo to Maxwell - the latter tapping Ware to collaborate on his debut album ‘Maxwell’s Urban Hang Suite’. From the warm strings of the title track, to the dulcet seduction of ‘Turn Out The Light’, this album is an overlooked, indisputable soul classic.
- from confident kiss-off in the ballad ‘Stay Gone’, to the danceable empowerment of ‘You Are The Universe’. Sonically, it stands alone in their catalog (not in a bad way) and might be their most cohesive work to date. Key tracks: Crying Water, Feels Like Right Doyle Bramhall II - Doyle Bramhall II The Austin, Texas guitarist released his first solo album to little fanfare outside of the music industry. With a long history of playing the blues, including a stint with the band Arc Angels, his debut marked an evolution of the contemporary blues sound. Featuring songwriting and production contributions from Wendy & Lisa, (yes, that Wendy & Lisa), much of the album has a decidedly polished feel - with some blistering Bramhall guitar solos sprinkled throughout. While the quasi-instrumental track ‘Time’ can be considered the backbone of the album, ‘Part II’ with it’s arena rock percussion and “...all I wanna do is to make you feel better” refrain, brings some punch halfway through. Overall, it’s an incredible piece of work that every lover of music should have in their collection.
Key tracks: Instant Love (with Minnie Riperton), You Are What You Are The Brand New Heavies - Shelter The follow-up to their 1994 album ‘Brother Sister’ finds the Heavies moving away from the groovy, funk/jazz of their earlier work to a more traditional R&B palate - thanks in large part to the addition of new lead singer and songwriting stalwart Siedah Garrett. The album kicks off with the feel-good call and response lounge anthem ‘I Like It’, whose lyric, “...me and the boys we’re jammin’ - I hope you don’t mind...”, belies the meticulously crafted, smooth soul vibe of the rest of the album. Conceptually, the album touches on a host of themes
Key tracks: Song From The Grave, Stay A While
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Handwritten By C. Elayne Harper
Back to school & not just for the children Dear Readers, Summer vacations are over and by now, all of our nation’s schools are in full swing. As reflected in each of my back to school columns, it has been emphasized that we must instill certain skills in our children from pre-school to post grads.
respect for each other and the arts, as well as an openness to being taught and willing to accept the challenges that come with private music instruction. Assignments must be completed, practice is a must and of course, that parental support is necessary. They have found that their students who have parental support and involvement tend to fare better than those who do not and they also have a better grasp on weekly improvement.
Just to re-iterate a few: always travel in pairs or groups, be aware of your surroundings at all times, DO NOT talk to strangers, NEVER, EVER travel alone at night, always park in a well-lighted area when running out on a quick errand, report bullying immediately, there is nothing too bad for you to share with your parents or guardians. Of course, the list goes on and on.
So parents, please help our teachers reach and teach our children. Don’t just go to the school when you have a problem or to “tell that teacher a thing or two.” Go to scheduled parent-teacher conferences. Drop in unexpectedly just to show the administrators that you are interested in your child’s well-being. Most, if not all systems now have electronic procedures in place so that you can track your child’s progress and grades online. Even if you do not have a computer, all public libraries have them and those fancy phones that most of us have (and some of us can actually operate – I’m still learning how to operate my Droid ) allow internet access – use it to keep up with technology, as well as your child’s school work.
This year, we are incorporating input from both parents and educators alike – as our children are our most valuable resource. Now this is not a forum for parent or teacher bashing; however, there is always room for improvement. Having been blessed to work with our children in religious, as well as secular settings, we have many more wellbehaved children than you might think. The flip side of this is those who are not wellbehaved often have great influence on the others.
Let us remember that children live what they learn so we must be mindful to set good examples to reap good rewards. Let your precious ones know how proud they make you – put a little handwritten note where they can find once or twice a week and see what a difference it makes. Just like letter writing, parental involvement does a body good!
Teachers, you cannot approach your parents in a high-handed manner – that sends the message that you are there for a paycheck, not to help mold the children who are dependent on your instruction and guidance. Parents, do not expect the teachers to do your job. Please continue to teach your children that they do not have to follow the crowd, especially when it involves their education being hampered by the proverbial “class clown.” Remind them that basic courtesy is always in order. “Yes ma’am,” “yes sir,” “no ma’am,” and “no sir” are not “old fashioned.” This is still considered a form of respect. We won’t even discuss “please” and “thank you.”
Have a question for Ms Harper? Email her at email@example.com
After speaking to several teachers and parents from different school systems within the metropolitan area where I live, I found the teachers to be more concerned and open to keeping the lines of communication open between themselves and the parents proving that their number one concern - the lack of parental support is truly a valid one. The instructors, to whom I spoke, range from department heads to the founders/owners of a school of the fine arts and include elementary, middle and high school teachers, as well as supply teachers and one completing his student teaching requirements. The parents represent a cross section of professions – nurses, teachers, stay-at-home Moms, custodial Dads, business owners and a few who recently lost their jobs. So my little research was not biased.
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Karina B. states that many times when a child is lacking in a specific area, parents are not concerned enough to work with the teacher to resolve the deficiencies and just do not follow up with the teachers to get and keep the child on track. There is a lack of consistency. Ann D. agreed with the lack of parental support and went on to state that too much time has to be spent on behavior and/or discipline issues and getting her class to follow directions – eating into valuable instruction time.
Andrea P. wants to see her children exhibit an eagerness to learn and see their parents show concern about their children’s education and not become complacent with mediocre performance after the child reaches a certain level. Many of her students are below basic reading levels, a problem that could be rectified by including a summer reading schedule in their activities. Many libraries have fun reading programs that not only challenge young readers, but also help to improve their skills.
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Jason F. wants to see community involvement, as well as parental support. Those communities that take an active part in what is going on in their schools, whether or not they have children in attendance, have a tendency to produce more well-rounded students. For Gloria S. having her students come to class focused and prepared are high on her list of expectations. That includes bringing in homework assignments, text books, notebooks, pens and pencils – in other words come to class ready to learn. Extracurricular activities have their place, as the social aspect is important for self-esteem; however, academics should take precedence.
Our goal is to edit your work to the best of our ability while striving to maintain your unique voice and style. For more information, contact Michelle Chester at 469-222-3418 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Husband and wife team, Liz and Kevin H., see the creative side of our children in their school of the fine arts, but often the level of commitment is lacking. They emphasize celebrating the word
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Daring, Sexy & Unrivaled!
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