Aftermath of the African American Literary Awards

Whew where do I start? It took me a few days to be able to write this blog post simply because a sista was taking a break from her NYC trip. Besides for the rain that never stopped pouring down NYC was great as always. I find myself in the city several times a year and on this trip it was for the African American Literary Awards. The only premiere award show honoring African American literature is held in NYC every year. I had been in attendance since my 2009 win when I took home two statuettes.

This year I had plans to be one of the many presenters there at the awards from Emmy-nominated stage and screen actor Ruben Santiago Hudson, Essence cover editor Mikki Taylor, television personality and model Melyssa Ford, plus model Angellika Morton, William Beaty (NY Giants), Power 105 personality Malikha Mallette, Tobias Truvillion (One Life To Live, Brooklyn’s Finest), Today Show contributor and former Ebony EIC Harriette Cole, Tara Dowdell (Fox News and MSNBC contributor), media maven Amy Andrieux (CEO Aimstar Media) and I was teamed up with Miles Marshall Lewis .

The night was awesome the food was catered by Melba’s restaurant and it was so tastey that it had my toes curling in approval. I had the pleasure of sitting next to my great friend Carol Mackey as we chopped it up and laughed about various things. After I had presented my category I was surprised to hear the reading of the first category I was nominated in, Self Published Author of the Year. The same category I won my debut year out I was up for again for the third time. But it was bittersweet as my best friend Ni’Cola Mitchell and a close associate Rahiem Brooks were both nominated in the same category. Talk about a weird situation.

The whole voting process was nerve wrecking as I campaigned for my fellow nominees and not myself.  I figured let’s share the love and lets allow us all to hold a winning title but when my name was called as the winner, I felt my entire life slip beneath me. With my mouth held wide open and my knees barely holding me up; I walked toward the podium in awe. I did not expect to win this title. And it humbled me  to know that people voted for me. And that I thank my supporters for. Giving my fellow nominees a shout out, I didn’t know what to say or have a speech planned. I should have thanked the voters, I should have looked up and thanked God, I know I should have thanked my late mother, and all my close friends and family. But its true being surprised like that can take away your thought process.

All in all I grabbed my award and wobbled back to my seat being asked to take pictures in the process. After hearing Michael Eric Dyson give a powerful speech and witness a few more awards, I snuck back to the back to sit with my friends. I wanted to show them my award up close but to only be surprised with the announcement of the last category I was nominated in. My best friend Ni’Cola Mitchell and I were nominated for Bets Anthology for Between the Sheets as well as a host of many talents in the book. Again I did not expect to win anything else but that became a moot point when again I was announced the winner for Best Anthology.

Taking in the scene this time, I nodded toward Ni’Cola and told her to come on as we accepted our award. I strutted toward the front staying focused on my walk so that I wouldn’t fall and missing the jokes friend and fellow winner K’Wan was dishing out. At the podium I handed the microphone to Ni’Cola who said a quick thank you and invited fellow writer Michael McGrew up to bask in our win as he was a contributor writer as well.

On cloud nine at this point, I looked over the audience to take in this moment. A moment I know I would never forget and proceeded to walk back to my seat. I started to reflect on that night from being succumbed to the photographers on the red carpet for photos, to autographing copies of The Ultimate NO NO that were donated to the awards to being able to share the spotlight with my friends.

That night was magic. It was passion. It was surreal. It was a dream comes true. Whew I can’t wait till next year because regardless or not a sista will be there with bells on. And if Melba’s restaurant is catering I will have a doggy bag to go this time.

Congrats to all the winners you are all top notch writers 😉

Tamika

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