Full Story: HW Celebrates Harlem Lit
by Heather Covington
It’s 6pm. I am busy replying to my emails, anxious to complete Literary Dons, and wondering if I left anyone out. I’ve been meditating, occupying my mind with nervous energy. It’s apparent to everyone. These are mannerisms I am unable to hide to my base.
Call & Post Newspaper, a publication since 1916 just shouted me out for leaving out Connie Briscoe and Kimberla Lawson Roby in Literary Divas, but I could not ask for a bigger publication to represent me in a full article thanks to Rhonda Chowder, staff writer. Darn it. They are definately 2 of my favorite divas. Will I be able to face these divas if I see them again?
My conscious is eating away at me. There are other people I forgot to add like Dr. Milligan. I sigh because I know I am human, and not God. There are new divas….these thoughts are nerve wrecking. I got to get out of my house. How do I get to the River Room of Harlem? Ugh, I don’t drive anywhere. Not spoiled either, just use to being driven around, that’s all. Definately not helpless, but I get nervous about driving.
Hum, I am reading the flyer for the event by Daniel Tinsdale, owner of Harlem World Magazine. The NY Times says, “The River Room’s view is magic…” Okay, let me internalize where I am going. Where is the Riverbank State Park? Oh 145th street. That’s nice. The bridge has been taken down according to my resources. So I head up Allerton Avenue to the Grand Concourse and drive up to 161st street.
I turn left at the end of the hill and venture over the 155th street bridge to St. Nicholas. It’s 6:59. There is valet parking, but I am quizzing the patron and asking if I should trust leaving my whole set of keys. There are 20 in all. Don’t ask me why. I just know that I am on time and have reached The River Room on Riverbank State Park & 145th St., (www.theriverroomofharlem.com).
“Tonught is an exclusive celebration of Harlem literature and the hottest authors who define it hosted by Troy Johnson, Harlem World senior book editor and founder of the AALBC.com (African American Literary Book Club), and Malaika Adero, Simon and Schuster Editor and Founder of the UpSouth Book Festival. With HW Wedding Issue 2007 Cover Model Noella Coursaris. ”
I greet Malaika Adero, one of the best editors on the market period. I got a de’ja’vu moment having worked with Malaika on the Harlem Book Fair Advisory Board and heaving to her direction for mapping out a sucessful event back in 2005. It was Malaika who envisioned planting a Zane Tour bus right in the middle of the Harlem Book Fair. Zane brought out thousands of fans.
Malaika never told me she was an author. I researched the editor for my Editorial Divas section of Literary Divas, and well and behold, the editor is a critically acclaimed writer of a Zora Neale Hurston anthology, among other works. I am honored to be a guest speaker side-by-side this phenomenal literary great. We discuss hair issues before the event begins. I tell her I am going to let my hair lock soon if it keeps growing so rapidly. I can’t handle the length, but Malaika has a nice texture that handles long locks well. Someone calls us real life divas.
My heart begins to beat…. there’s Ghetto Hickson. The guy with a dimple on his left side of his cheek or is it the right? I just know he is the man the ladies have been talking about and the fab writer of Ghetto Heat. He is one urban poet who crossed over with an urban vibe and commanding the attention of the literary world. He has appeared on the cover of Harlem World Magazine and now debuts his next novella, Skate On. He’s poised, got clout, very confident and about to take over, but very laid back, crazy humble and poised for success.
I am looking for the other guest speakers tonight like Norma Jean Darden author of Spoon Bread & Strawberry Wine and owner of Spoonbread restaurant. It’s 7:10pm. There he is. Relentless Aaron effortlessly glides in the door with this aura that is powerful and commanding. He’s the author of PUSH and he’s got a new contract with St. Martins Press. Lately rumor has it, he’s an author with G-Unit Books. He talks the talk and walks the walk, has a tumultuous past, but is not this hardcore acting guy as perceived when you read his books and visit his website. He’s an entrepreneur, clearly focused and a reigning author with over 30 books to his credit and still has an empire of Relentless Content to produce from movies and assisting other authors with publishing to several franchises. He will never leave the streets. He’s the literati who knows how to connect to his base and stay grounded. Can’t say his deameanor at seminars is the same on the streets. Everyone respects him, people go up to him to shake his hand. The ladies tense up. Relentless has arrived. I have on a pen-striped blazer, and dig this, he has on a penstripe jersey. Now that is a big coincedence.
The evening begins with a full house. Very upscale folks trickle in and seats are comfortably filled. A warm setting with interchanging light settings are captured. Eventhough I am speaking, I never give up the opportunity to catch rising stars at their best with one of my numerous cameras. I respect folks because I know how hard it is to get to the top. What I admire is how the people guest speaking tonight chose a unique path and defied all obstacles. The house photographer, Julian Darwell, won a copy of Literary Divas I had signed by all guests.
I forget that I am an author and entertain my promoter side without fail giving shout outs to very familiar faces.
Don’t want to leave out anyone so I am going to have to return here and load on this information in a little bit.
I absorb words of wisdom by the guest speakers. So Hickson is launching other artists like Sha, author of Harder. I am impressed with her ability to sum up her book in one sentence right in front of myself, Troy, Malaika and Relentless Aaron at a dinner table. This is what it takes to stand out to media acting like guests. I am reminded why I am here and that is to support UpSouth Inc.’s event in September.
Her representation of Ghetto Heat Publishing leads me to read “And God Created Woman” by Mika Miller later on this week.
By 8:15pm, Troy introduces a Raffle. I learn about other authors in the house like Reggie James and Dave L. who has a serious disposition and hasn’t smiled yet all evening. I don’t think he knows I have issues with people who don’t smile. But I do check out his book, Not Over My Dead Body which begins like that hit book, Lovely Bones, and is so bone chilling to read, I have to put it down. I can’t check morbid tales like that right now. Sooo sorry Dave L, but I will add it to my August is Marathon Book Read. That is one scary book. Oooh, just got a chill and then the photo I took of Dave is on www.LiteraryDiva.com. The look works. Whew! What do you do when an author’s demeanor reminds you of thr character in a book? Just playing with Dave L.
I have to mark my calendar, Malaika Adero reminds us of another fab event presented by Upsouth, Inc and Hueman Bookstore entitled, Jammin ‘ for Baraka: A Tribute to Baraka. It will take place on MAY 30th so mark your calendars. VISIT www.upsouth.org for more information.
So I have about 50 photos I am posting soon on www.LiteraryDiva.com as part of the Heather Covington Legend’s Tour. Tonight gave me joy. On the way home, I listened to Relentless Aaron’s audio cd, ” I Did It, You Can Do it Too!” I got a chance to share how Relentless Aaron has been a mentor to many literary artists. He is a keynote speaker for many events all year long and unstoppable. In fact, noone can stop him. Visit his site at www.RelentlessAaron.com.
A portion of the proceeds from the event will be donated to the Up South Book Festival. Visit www.Aalbc.com weekly for monthly events hosted by Harlem World and a big shout out to Ena Escallier, event executive at the River of Harlem River Room.
This event received an impressive 5 stars from DisilgoldSOUL Literary Review.