C & B Book Industry News

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Harlem Book Fair 2005 Is A Success!

THE LITERARY DISH: Harlem Book Fair 2005 Is A Success!
By Heather 'The Heat of the Literary World' Covington

July 26, 2005

The Harlem Book Fair in Harlem, New York on July 23 draws a jam packed crowd from 5th Avenue to 7th Avenue. The event is a major success. Every popular author is present, book lovers come out from around the world in droves, and Harlem residents say, this is by far one of the biggest turnouts ever. The mastermind behind one of the greatest outdoor events in history celebrating Black African American literature is Max Rodriguez (http://www.qbr.com/). The team responsible for making it happen, the renown Harlem Book Fair Advisory but you'll have to wait for details.

I am just getting home by 4:45am the next day on a Sunday morning, July 24, 2005. I drove back into the city after venturing to Manhattan, New York and past Harlem which is virtually quiet this morning. As soon as I reach the Bronx,

I notice a victim laying on the grounds of the Grand Concourse, NY with police cars and bystanders around him. The young man is dead and perched in a fetal-like position. I can smell the stench of raw blood as just a passerby in my vehicle. Crime has significantly gone down in New York, but this is one of those hot and humid weekends and when the youth have nothing constructive to do all day, the results are unpredictable. I wondered if only these youth had a place in the Bronx like the Harlem Book Fair to attend that bring so much happiness and peace to the Harlem Community when it arrives each year.

I hear the police telling me, “Lady you have to keep driving.” However, I am frozen and in deep shock. All kind of thoughts are running through my mind as tears flow down my face. The victim is not my child or a child of anyone I know but still, my emotions are enveloped with immediate sorrow and sympathy for the boy. The cop seems to await patiently for me to proceed onward. He senses that I am in distress and does not interrupt my train of thought for a full 2 minutes and even with cars beeping behind me.

My reality check causes me to swerve out of control two blocks away from the scene of the crime when two virulent youth obviously stirred up by the incident and on their way home, take small bats and chase a car ahead of me as if to randomly hit the vehicle. I think about what could have happened if I had not waited just two minutes longer.

Another thought comes to mind about how most people will say that when little kids see violence, they seem to become filled with furor and act violent as well, but on the other side of the street were some kids walking nicely and calmly away from the scene. They were not acting violent and actually had on what society labels as gang- like attire. My own personal biases would not have led me to foretell that I was in danger among the youth on my side of the street, and who dressed with casual wear. My reality check becomes a lesson of grace this morning.

Just 7 hours earlier, Producer; Rosette M. Union, Film Editor; O’neil Miller and Technical Director; Mitchell Moreau and myself have all parted after a rigorous week of comprising, producing, and providing full media coverage of The Phillis Wheatley Awards on July 22nd at the Schomburg Center, and QBR: The Black Book Review’s Annual Harlem Book Fair. It is an event that is also, televised to millions on C-Span TV and eventually archived on www.booktv.org. You will witness Part 2 next week reflecting on The Phillis Wheatley Awards, and Part 3: Reflecting on the Harlem Book Fair the week after. This is Part 1, so join me as I write backwards in time. By then, everyone will be safely back home and restored to their normal lives enough to venture on line at www.EURweb.com to read The Literary Dish.


We head on over to BBQ’s in Manhattan and after eating, role play scenes outside for more Literary Dish TV Shows edited by FuentTV & Cine Seven Entertainment producers such as the Amber Books Documentary at Book Expo America featuring (Chief Executive Producer, Tony Rose, www.Amberbooks.com). I am giddy and silly for a rare moment as Mitchell is instructed to sit between Rosette and I outside BBQ’s Restaurant and role play as an author while we pretend to be the former film critics team Siskel & Ebert. We have family member teenagers among us who assisted with accepting flyers and business cards all day long of Harlem Book Fair authors. Our acting efforts are a riot, and stomach turning hilarious. We’re totally unaware that people eating inside of BBQ’s are watching all of us. We continue to use a BBQ menu posed as the author’s book whom I will leave anonymous, and literally tear it to pieces while fighting for ownership like true book fans would do.

A homeless victim coincidentally approaches us after our relived humorous “Saturday Night ‘Literary’ Live” moment as we complete the skit and switches his fingers to beg for money. The homeless victim has does not appear to be homeless at all. In fact, he is well dressed! His face looks angelic as he walks away. He reminds me of the homeless man’s character in C.F. Hawthorne’s ( www.Cfhawthorne.com ) book, “Homeless Love.”

We all go to Loew’s Theater on 42nd Street aka “The Deuce,” for the 12:15 showing of “Hustle & Flow,” and are less than exacerbated to sit among John Singleton and 20 of his comrades he generously purchased front mezzanine tickets for the day after the premiere screening of his box office hit.

Obviously by the crowds reaction, “Hustle & Flow” is the best movie of the year for its tenacity to show the authentic moments rappers experience before cutting an album or how women get caught up in the music industry and confronted with power decisions in desperation to make it like pulling publicity stunts and stepping on people’s toes when they don’t get their way. Furthermore, the initial trigger effect of circumstances that may not have been if Terrence Howard’s character had used better judgement is deserving of top honors. I applaud John Singleton, a young visionary producer.

It is in my nature to promote, and I am wishing I had the business flyer of the Arts Sanctuary www.artssanctuary.org to hand to John Singleton. This program is joining film makers Morani Sanchez and Louis Massiah for a discussion of the full length film in progress on Black Arts Movement ( B.A.M.) and following with a panelist discussion featuring Sonia Sanchez, Amiri Baraka and Haki Madhubuti moderated by Dr. John H. Bracy on February 10th & 11th 2006.

Upon leaving the theater, the notion of coming face-to-face with people who on the outside are either greater than they appear or not what they seem from the surface becomes a theme over the past few days as a tall teenager with a Do- rag suddenly stops in front of me. He has the kind of look most New Yorkers would run across the street without probable cause or a sign of any crime brewing due to bias over one’s appearance. He steps back to check me, I step forward and embrace him with a big ol’ teacher hug. It is Theodore, one of my students from my first year of teaching in the South Bronx. He stands at 6 feet.

He yells without shame and all humbleness, “Ms. Covington!!!!!” His other friends are like, “Is he kidding? She can’t be his teacher.” Theodore wastes no time telling me that he is attending Temple University, is on the basketball team and already a hopeful for an NBA draft pick. I forget that I began teaching the day after I was graduated from college so as young as I am to be a veteran teacher, it hit me that many of my students are of college age now.

All of these sentimental recollections of laughter, sadness, joy and humility escort me into the heavenly alcoves of a place I call home. It is my sanctuary and security blanket. My home is human, and beckons me to not leave out of its parameters each day as the door that used to easily open becomes harder to unlatch each day. My white outfit that afforded me complete comfort is still white after a long day. I have made it back safely and immediately look through all of the free books I was generously given by my literary peers.

One was “Miss My Time With You” (A Memory Book) written by Sandra Hall and illustrated by Quiana J. Carter. It is in a keepsake box along with a pen from Memory Lane Publishers. The book must cost $20 dollars to make just one. I beseech the talented author to send one to Oprah Winfrey (www.OprahWinfrey.com), someone the literary community treasures and inspires many African American writers to write lately and more so than ever.

I know it is too beautiful to keep for myself and on Sandra Hall’s behalf, I will send her book to Ruby Dee in loving memory of her husband, Ossie Davis, a gift just as endearing as Ms. Beverly Black Johnson’s poem, “Ossie’s Home Coming,” who Mrs. Davis wrote a note to the gifted author of an upcoming anthology, “Gumbo For the Soul” (www.gumboforthesoul.com). I never give away my gifts, but Sandra has created a book that must be placed in the hands of someone who will resonate good luck and the determination for her to make this book America’s number one gift item in gift shops.

The magic moment arrives at 12pm on a beautiful and peaceful Sunday afternoon, where I sit at my computer to recollect the memories of Harlem Book Fair Day on July 23, 2005, and then backwards in motion one more day to the Phillis Wheatley Awards on July 22, 2005. Please bear with me. This is very difficult. In front of me are over 1000 business cards, 100 pages of notes, 300 or more postcards and 500 flyers. Don’t forget all of the books, and over 1,000 photos on a memory card. There are those sentimental moments no one would ever know unless someone writes it down.

I am procrastinating right now as I listen to my messages. It’s Lettice Graham, Essence Magazine (www.Essence.com ) Golden Diva who appeared in the January 2004 issue featuring Angela Basset on the cover. You can find her photo feature at the Kennedy Center. She has coincidentally called me bright and early before Harlem Book Fair Day. Her voice rushes tears to my eyes. She was the first person who ever gave me an interview! I look through my e-mails, and find Wendy Malliet’s message. She is my inspiration and taught me how to plan large scale events. The busiest lady on the planet who I tell folks could run this country, has offered to help assist as a volunteer for the Harlem Book Fair in response to Mr. Troy Johnson’s invite and CEO/Founder of the renown (www.AALBC.com) who I am in stitches because he sat right next to me at the Phillis Wheatley Awards.

I check more e-mails, and Donna Hill (www.DonnaHill.com) has just contributed to F.O.S.P. (Fingertips of Success Program For Education of Youth ) and will make many children on Disilgold Fall Jamboree Back to School Day very happy with very much needed supplies. She’s been a YOUnity Guild Awardee for years, and for the most celebrated lady of the literary world to take time to support youth the day before planning her own tour is a historical moment. It’s just as I have said all along, those who make it to the top always find the time to support youth.

Now I am ready to write I guess, but not after eating my very own secret recipe I will be contributing to Kim Robinson’s The Roux of Gumbo featured at www.kim-robinson.net . I am not sure why my mind is not functioning well this morning.

I find Ray Berdant’s and Michael M. Brauer’s mix tape of original recordings produced by Luther Vandross (RIP) and Marcus Miller. Almost an hour has passed, and I have done absolutely no writing at all. I flip on the extraordinary Ebony Passion Poetry CD by Denise Campbell (www.DeniseCampbell.com). It is explicit, but this is the writing personality of the literary diva poetess and master novelist.

It is 1:00 am, Monday morning. I have no idea where the time went. I browse through more books added to Disilgold Soul August Book Marathon Month like Secret Dramas by Angela Wallace, Vigal by Gina C., Stilettoed Roses Bleed by Stephany Rose, Leslie Esdaille’s Keeping It Real, and Crossroads: A Publication of Second Sanctuary Opportunity Schools Offsite Suspension Centers. It is a Sunday thing for me, and trust, I cleaned, cooked for my family, talked on the phone some more, and even tried on my Stiletto101: A Novel by Lenaise Meyeil (www.lenaisemeyeil.com)T-shirt that fits me like a glove. Love my t-shirt. Everyones’ business cards are organized and alphabetized. It will take many authors I met to call, send press kits and photos to match to help me generate what I am about to do within the next few weeks as I reflect on the Phillis Wheatley Awards & Harlem Book Fair.

It is incumbent of me to apologize to the literary community, but as “The Mother of the Literary Movement of the Millennium” please understand I am in no rush for fame, fortune, and what society considers success. However, it is my quest to be original and do things to support the literary community that are unique and needed. Whatever is not needed, I have no problem eliminating from my priority list. History is needed and must be handled with care. This time lapse is not procrastination after all.

It’s one o’clock in the evening, and the news about the mysterious youth who I now understand was shot and murdered is 23 year old Mohammad Singleton (R.I.P.). I finally decide to await the upcoming weeks to reveal part 1 and 2 of this Literary Saga because I also, wanted to document and meet the Harlem Book Fair Advisory again who worked behind the scenes to make the Harlem Book Fair 2005 one of the biggest fairs ever! There are people in awe of the Harlem Book Fair’s success. Even Legends Wear sent t-shirts for all of the Harlem Book Fair Advisory members. Greatness recognizes greatness, and the Harlem Book Fair is larger than life! I am proud to be a part of its history as many aspiring authors and book lovers! I began this literary journey at Book Expo America as media correspondent for the Amber Book Documentary. Watch the promo video of the all new Literary Dish TV Online in progress and provided by Mitchell Moreau. Just visit www.Disilgold.com. I will see everyone right here next week.

Heather Covington is an educator, the host of the of the annual YOUnity Guild Awards, journalist for the literary industry, Editor-in-Chief of Disilgold Soul Magazine Online and author of 4 books available at www.perSOULnalities.com , www.HeatherCovington.net and www.Disilgoldbooks.com . She was recently signed to www.AmberBooks.com to compile a historical book of some of the greatest people in the nation from all arenas. She owns and operates www.Disilgold.com , home of the YOUnity Reviewers Guild, Disilgold Literary Network Association and A YOUnity Book Club. She may be reached by email at Disilgold@aol.com.


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