Monthly Archives: September 2008

Reply to Letter to My Daugther by Dr. Maya Angelou

Letter to My Daugther by Dr. Maya Angelou

Here is a very heart felt reply to Dr. Maya Angelou’s new book Letter to My Daughter.

Listen to the interview that inspired this poem.
Ella Curry has an Intimate Conversation with Dr. Maya Angelou

A Reply From A Daughter

This is a daughter in search of her mother
Whom she never had the pleasure to greet
But longing to erase that void in her life
On the day when their paths meet

I inherited a gift of poetry
But have no-one or where to turn
And it’s my sincere prayer
That one day I may sit with you and learn

I saw you on TV
And heard your voice on a radio
But still I was left
With no direction on where to go

Although we are like strangers
Only connected by a gift
I need wisdom spoken into my life
So that this gift can be shifted

Shifted to another level
So that It may grow
And to what height
Only God knows

I hope to one day meet you
Maybe even to hold a pen, you wrote with
That carries your touch
I know that may seem like nothing
But to this daughter- it’s much

I write this with pureness
Not asking for material or monetary things
Just asking a mother to help
Her daughter spread her poetic wings

Love your daughter, 9/25/08
Written by Lue Renae Jackson
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Posted by on September 30, 2008 in #StorytellersBookTour


Re: Building Sasha by Renee Bess

Can Sasha Lewis, an executive with a Philadelphia home construction company, overcome the vindictiveness of her partner and find the woman who will heal her heart? Category: Entertainment

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Posted by on September 30, 2008 in Book Spotlights


[Straight From The Maverick] Don’t Let Pastor Guilt-Trip You!

It is my opinion that Sen. Barack Obama, barring some unforeseen blunder within the next five-plus weeks, should and will be elected as this country’s next president. My only admonition to my fellow black voters is not to let your pastor, who may ascribe to the conservative and Republican Party’s core ideology, guilt-trip you should you vote for him.

The Republican Party knows historically the Civil Rights movement was born out of the black church, but it caught on to something leading up to the 2000 and 2004 elections when the George Bush campaign managed to steer away about 10 percent of the black vote. My desire is to see blacks make informed decisions and not those derived by means of spiritual manipulation.

For example, sixteen years ago while I lived in Richmond, Va., a prominent pastor and his assistant at the church I once attended took opportunity during the service to speak critically of those of us who supported and voted for Bill Clinton. The assistant pastor said that we had sinned for backing a candidate who would defend abortion rights, and he went as far as to say he questioned some of us who professed to be Christians. I remember there was silence and uneasiness that permeated throughout the sanctuary.

I would venture to say that there were members who did feel guilty after the assistant pastor’s comment; I for one was enraged by it, and it was not long after I stopped attending that church. That occurred when the pastor reiterated in a later service that he believed members of his church sinned if they voted for Clinton, and he went on to make accusation that Clinton was a pedophile.

During the Clinton presidency, I also took issue with another pastor who made derisive comments from behind his pulpit about Clinton and the media (which I was a part of at the time). He backed down from that rhetoric only after I became quite vocal about it, proving in the latter argument that there are members of the media who are saved yet also have a sense of responsibility and commitment to Christ.

Now it’s 2008. I’ve seen more and more black pastors who have presumably found a political and dare I say economic sanctuary by pledging their allegiance to the Republican Party. They may not come outright and say they’re Republicans, but they’ve flaunted their allegiance by pontificating to their church members that they don’t care who is elected in office, that God is sovereign, but that they will vote as God leads them to vote. They’ll say they cannot, in clear conscience, vote for a candidate who supports abortion, gay rights or gay marriage, and then openly question those who support affirmative action. Then they’ll dare their members to make bold stands for God in a similar way, or be seen as a coward for the faith.

Recently, a notable pastor spoke in that same tenor in an interview with the Washington Post. T. D. Jakes said he supported Obama, but would not go as far as to say he endorsed Obama, claiming that he does not endorse candidates. (That’s a tax and constitutional issue all to itself.)

He said he understood why some people in his crowd would not support Obama altogether, adding, “I’m very definitely pro-life. I understand why [Obama’s] pro-choice . . . but I really do believe life begins at conception.

“And while it’s not the only issue that I’m concerned about; and because this is what gets me some ridicule, because some people vote purely on that one issue alone; I do have a tendency to look at a wider range of issues . . . and balance that against other concerns like global warming, like health care, like feeding the babies . . . I don’t think in a box like that.”

Jakes went on to say that he has to listen to candidates talk about a plethora of policy issues, and he maintained that his vote is a very private decision. He said he was not sure who he would be voting for in next month’s election.

When he was asked to elaborate, he said it’s a stellar moment for Obama that he’s gotten this far in the process. He also mentioned that it was also a stellar moment for Sen. John McCain’s running mate, Sarah Palin, because she’s risen to this level of prominence in history. He went on to say, “I think you can congratulate that without being conflicted in your personal interests.”

Because I’ve been in the company of pastors of visibility like a Jakes, I interpret his comments on Obama and Palin as a way of not alienating his pastor colleagues “black and white” who may be more vigorously outspoken in their support of a socially conservative Republican candidate.

While it may be honorable for them to make such declarations, I maintain black church members must make voting decisions that best represent their interests.

The black church, despite its historically conservative inclinations, is also historically guilty for what I call brain washing its members. And one of the ways pastors have gotten by with it is heaping guilt on its members. Hint: When was the last time your pastor took a second and dare I say a third offering?

It is my opinion that these pastors ” many of whom you see on television or may be members of their church ” are sellouts of the worst kind. They use their position to influence people in a way that has continued to be our peril. Many of these same pastors were bought off by the current administration in exchange for their vote with their form of welfare called faith-based initiatives.

Some pastors have seen thousands, and in some cases millions of dollars, channeled into their revenue stream — all in the name of God. I cringe when I see these well-dressed and sometimes eloquent, so-called men of integrity and godliness profess the gospel, yet they follow another gospel.

I hope the next time when you hear these people try to intimidate you into a voting decision that goes against your very essence that you’ll also cringe, but stand up for yourself.

Posted By Sam B. Redd to Straight From The Maverick at 9/26/2008 05:41:00 PM


[Straight From The Maverick] It’s Still the Economy, Stupid!

I’m sure there will be people who support John McCain that say that he did a fine job representing himself in tonight’s presidential debate in Oxford, Mississippi, against Barack Obama. The same thing will also be said by those who support Obama.

I think what tonight’s debate did was firmly establish the distinct contrast in the two of them: McCain has a very narrow and near-sighted approach to dealing with this nation’s problems both domestically and abroad; Obama is willing to have a much wider perspective on dealing with the same problems that confront us, making emphasis that the problems of this world requires a 21st century solution to 21st century problems.

For that reason, Obama may have kept his challenge from his Democratic Party convention speech that if McCain wants to talk about who has the disposition and judgment to serve as commander in chief of this country, that would be a debate he’s ready to have.

Point well taken, point well served. The question is whether the rest of the country saw the same thing that I did?

I will not get into many specifics on the topics that were discussed, but one thing that I did notice throughout the debate was that McCain never looked in Obama’s direction when making any points or rebuttals the entire 90 minutes.

By his actions, Obama did take the debate as he needed to by not only making eye contact with the moderator, Jim Lehrer, but also looking in McCain’s direction when articulating his points. The fact that McCain would not look his rival’s direction was an obvious sign to me that he’s intimidated by Obama. If this country is to elect a new leader, it needs somebody who is willing to confront his rivals and enemies.

It was clearly obvious that McCain tried to paint Obama by being inexperienced and naïve when it comes to all facets of being a leader, particularly on foreign policy. He advocated experience meant something. He freely dropped names of political leaders abroad and the cities. He reached back into his vast knowledge of history of specific world affairs.

The one thing, however, that bothered me was the fact he held fast that Iraq is linchpin to dealing with many of the problems in the Middle East, this country’s fight against Osama bin Laden and his Al-Queda operatives in Afghanistan, even when it has long since been proven that the Iraq was never the place that harbored weapons of mass destruction, and it never should have been the focal point of this country’s military efforts for much of this decade.

Obama managed to hold ground by making assertions about judgment and proper strategy for entering into the military situations the United States is now fighting. He noted this country’s spent $600 billion over in Iraq and what has it produced? That more than 4,000 Americans are dead. That more than 30,000 soldiers have been wounded. A world standing that is not the same as it was a decade ago. Bin Laden’s yet caught. Al-Queda has re-tooled itself. And this country is now dealing with its own economic issues. The only thing that he didn’t mention was this country operating in a $500 billion deficit; he did mention that this country is probably indebted to China by borrowing at least $600 billion and soon approaching $1 trillion.

I think because of the immediacy of media news cycles we’ll probably forget about this debate in a matter of days. I think what remains on the minds of people across this country is the economy.

Posted By Sam B. Redd to Straight From The Maverick at 9/26/2008 11:10:00 PM

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Posted by on September 30, 2008 in Political Opinions




Xpress Yourself Publishing, LLC

P.O. Box 1615
Upper Marlboro , Maryland 20773
Contact: Erica Hart, Public Relations
Phone: (301) 390-3645
Web Site:



Upper Marlboro, Maryland, September 26, 2008 — Xpress Yourself Publishing, LLC received the Independent Publishing House of the Year Award from the African American Literary Awards Show, the most comprehensive awards show ever to recognize, honor, celebrate and promote the outstanding achievements and contributions of the publishing, arts and entertainment industries. The ceremony was held at the HarlemStage Gatehouse in Harlem , New York on September 25, 2008.

Xpress Yourself Publishing is an English-language publisher headquartered in Upper Marlboro, Maryland . The house of ESSENCE® national best-selling authors Bill Holmes, author of One Love and Kenda Bell, author of For Every Love There Is A Reason was founded in 2001 by Jessica Tilles, who launched the company as a self-publishing venture, publishing her national best-selling titles: Anything Goes, In My Sisters’ Corner, Apple Tree, Sweet Revenge, Fatal Desire, Unfinished Business, Erogenous Zone: A Sexual Voyage. Xpress Yourself Publishing publishes 10 to 15 titles per year.

“Xpress Yourself Publishing continues to mold the literary careers of 35 talented authors, which includes two ESSENCE® Best Sellers, award-winning authors, several award nominees, and a finalist for the 2008 NAACP Image Award nomination in the Best Debut Novel category,” said Jessica Tilles, CEO and Publisher. “I sincerely wish to thank the Xpress Yourself Publishing authors, for without them, this award would not have been possible. One person cannot build a publishing house alone. It takes a team, and I do indeed have a great team!”

Company Overview:

Today, Xpress Yourself Publishing, with 40 titles in print, is a broad-based publisher dedicated to publishing thought-provoking literature and commercial fiction, business books, mystery, romance, erotica, spiritual, and contemporary. In fiscal year 2007, Xpress Yourself Publishing had ESSENCE® Best Sellers including One Love by Bill Holmes and For Every Love There Is A Reason by Kenda Bell, and D.L. Sparks, author of All That Glitters, made the master list for to be nominated for the 2008 NAACP Image Awards. The 2007 Alternative Soul Award was awarded to Bill Holmes, author of One Love and ESSENCE best-selling author.



[Straight From The Maverick] A Presidental Case for Affirmative Action

It’s too bad that Sen. Barack Obama, when he is elected as this country’s next president, cannot remove Clarence Thomas from the Supreme Court bench. But Obama’s election as president will serve as an effective counterargument why affirmative action remains necessary.

Affirmative action, if used correctly by the intended beneficiary, justifies the spirit of its intent: when given the opportunity to enter into an arena, a person can author his or her own destiny and not allow someone else to dictate what that destiny may behold.

Whether Thomas, or any of those who espouse his ideology, is willing to acknowledge it or not, is a man scorned by his failure to successfully launch his legal aspirations following his graduation from Yale University. His own arguments and legal opinions are nothing more than vitriol against the very legal landmark that made possible for him to pursue higher education more than three decades ago.

Thomas has articulated in speaking engagements and in his published memoir that he felt belittled and inferior when he went on job interviews. It’s apparent to me that Thomas’ assumption was that his degree from Yale was all that was needed to get him a job a many of the law firms that he applied to. I suspect that Thomas simply did not convince his interviewers that he was worthy of employment; that’s a problem that still haunts him to this day as a sitting Justice.

Conversely, while Obama’s admission to Harvard’s law school may be construed as being a beneficiary of affirmative action, his success is marked by being elected as president of the school’s prestigious Law Review. His academic success merited internship opportunities at prestigious law firms. And upon graduation, he had his choice to work at any law firm that he applied for, but he turned them down in favor of pursuing community organizer work in Chicago.

My life experience has taught me that no matter what the preconceived opinion might have been against me, it’s my responsibility as a black man to prove that I am more superior to those opinions. There may be those who may who have reacted to my exuding confidence as arrogant, and thereby they did not hire me. But there were those who embraced it as an attribute and appreciated it. Hence, in my own small way, I also believe the successes that I’ve attained in my professional endeavors only confirm Martin Luther King’s hope that I’ve ultimately been judged by the content of my character and not by the color of my skin.

Obama’s election as president would be an argument that also confirms King’s dream. It also would confirm the legal victories achieved by Thurgood Marshall and the legislative victory of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that signed into law by Lyndon Johnson. It also is a reminder that affirmative action still serves a necessary instrument to keep in check those individuals who hold fast to discrimination on the basis or race and gender.

It is clearly obvious that Thomas has proven to be a man void of character and content. His career is an example for those who decry why affirmative action should not exist. Thomas has rejected affirmative action out of his own failure to prove his superiority when given the opportunity; and when given the opportunity, he’s sought every legal argument possible to reverse it.

In turn, Thomas’ actions imply that he rejects being black, the dreams and struggles of King, Marshall, and those before him, just as every other black person who shares in his opinion.

Posted By Sam B. Redd to Straight From The Maverick at 9/28/2008 04:06:00 PM


Intimate Conversations Showcase with Linda Mayfield-Hayes

SLS Intimate Conversations Showcase with author Linda Mayfield-Hayes

Recently Ella Curry, CEO of EDC Creations ( and founder of the Sankofa Literary Society ( had the opportunity to talk with the author of book Afroetry, Linda Mayfield-Hayes.

SLS Intimate Conversations Interview Questions

Tell us your latest news?
I haven’t been very active lately, but this past summer, I was invited to be the featured guest at a poetry event held in Greenville, South Carolina. After the event, the church pastor asked me to read a few of my poems at his church, and set up a table and chair for me to sell a few books. Not only did I sell all 50 copies I had carried with me, but I received several more orders through the mail. This was very exciting experience, and I met so many wonderful people.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
My father died of a brain tumor when I was 14 years old. Shortly after, I retreated into my own little world. There, the only thing that comforted me was writing poetry. I found it to be very therapeutic.

What inspired you to pen your first novel?
I haven’t written a novel yet, but I have published three books of poetry. I was inspired by a group of co-workers. My place of employment was celebrating Black History Month, and various employees were being asked to participate by reading the poems of famous black poets. When I was asked, I said that I would rather write a poem of my own for the occassion. That’s when I wrote a poem entitled, “Freedom Torch”. After reading this poem for the group, they encouraged be to continue writing and I eventually was encouraged me to publish my poems in the form of a chapbook. That’s when I wrote my first book, “Life is a Roller Coaster”.

Who or what has influenced your writing, and in what way?
I used to love listening to the poetry of Nikki Giovanni on the radio years ago, but my writing style is my own. I enjoy wrting acrostics and rhyming poems. I especially like the challenge of writing acrostics that rhyme.

How has your environment/upbringing colored your writing?
Well, my first book. “Life is a Roller Coaster” is about various situations that I have personally lived through in one way or another. My last book, “Afroetry” is basically about the black experience.

What are your current projects?
I’m not working on any new projects at the moment, but I have been knocking around the idea of publishing a children’s book.

Do you feel that the explosion in African-AmerDo you feel that the explosion in African-American writers is a fad or another renaissance?

No. The African-American writer is here to stay!

Do you feel more African-Americans are reading? If not, how can we help increase this?
I think African-Americans have always been reading, only now more African-Americans are writing thanks to the internet and self-publishing.

Linda Mayfield-Hayes (Salter)
Afrocentric Poetry that Educates & Motivates

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