Thursday, December 4, 2014
Monday, December 1, 2014
Ten years ago, Tasha Martin started a movement wrapped in a book club.
Tasha Martin joins me to talk about ten years of SistahFriend Book Club!
Today, there are chapters of SFBC across the country; from Columbia to Atlanta and in cyberspace. Known for their support of black authors.The SistahFriend Book Club is a women’s empowerment group that celebrates African-American voices in literature. Founded in November 2004 by Tasha Martin, the sisterhood began with four members in Columbia, South Carolina. Currently, a branch exists in its founding city and in Atlanta, Georgia. Members bond as sisters (affectionately called “sistahs”) and discuss literary works in intimate settings at least once a month. Our Sistahs also gather annually for an empowerment retreat to celebrate the SFBC’s anniversary in January, and commit to community outreach throughout the year. Our mission is three-fold:
- women empowerment
- increase the awareness of quality literature written by and about African-American identities
- community outreach
|Sistahfriend Book Club members with author Rhonda McKnight|
|Founder Tasha Martin|
1. What was the Inspiration to start the SishahFriend Book Club?
I started the SFBC right after college. I'd lost touch with a few family and friends, and I was searching for a connection with like-minded women: those who enjoyed reading and believed in women empowerment.
2. Your club is regional and virtual, were you surprised that so many women wanted to join your movement?
Yes! I mean, I knew we were doing a good thing -- it just felt good -- but the tremendous response we've experienced over the last ten years has been nothing short of amazing. I still get excited when talking to potential members, and I'm forever grateful for the connections.
3. Reading isn’t all you ladies do, what are some other thing that the Sistahfriends do?We are also active in the community. A few of my favorite past experiences include walking/running pink marathons, journal drives for sexual assault victims, cooking and serving dinner to children who reside in group homes, care packages for girls, couponing workshops for domestic violence victims. As a women's empowerment group, we also relax outside of our standard once a month meetings in social gatherings or mini-summer retreats.
4. Who was the first author that your group hosted?Cheris, I am embarrassed to say I do not remember (I know, horrible, right?). The past ten years are really blended together in my head in this pretty cool mirage of smiling faces, good books, and good food. (Seriously, I'm beating myself up for this one.) I'll go on the record and say everyone (especially the repeaters :-) are and have been awesome.
5. I see that SistahFriend Book Club has been nominated for several awards over the years, how does that make you feel about how the literary world sees you?
It's a beautiful thing to see and feel. I am overwhelmed (in a good way) every time I experience one. The nominations help validate for us that we are helpful in our literary community. I'm eternally grateful for the love.
6. How can someone join the SistahFriend Book Club?
Thursday, November 27, 2014
Thanksgiving gets no love. Somewhere between Halloween and Christmas, this holiday that's all about food, family and thankfulness get nothing. There are never retailers who want to take this day away from their employees for the almighty dollar.
Well, today we're showing Thanksgiving some love. I reached out to some ladies who I'm thankful to know and asked them to share their favorite memories of Thanksgiving.
I'll admit it, I never bothered to learn how to cook Thanksgiving dinner. My mom could throw down in the kitchen. I mean the kind of eating that sent you straight to the sofa afterward with a bad case of the 'itis.' So, I never bothered to learn because she was just going to doctor up whatever I did anyway. Fast forward to my first Thanksgiving ever away from her. I was married and living in Oklahoma City, hundreds of miles away from my mother in Houston. I was working as a television news anchor/reporter, and I was the low man on the totem pole so I couldn't get the holiday off. My producer came up with the bright idea to have me cook Thanksgiving dinner on the morning show...with my mother's help via phone. Long story short, my dressing was flat, literally, like a pizza flat, my turkey was nice and crisp on the outside and still clucking on the inside (something about blood oozing from the bird made the viewers lose their appetite). And oh yeah, my mother cursed on live TV...told me "That's why your lazy ass should've been paying attention all those years." I immediately reprimanded her, reminding her that we were live, to which she replied, "I can't say lazy on TV?" I ignored her sarcasm, told her this was a family show, and we were doing a family activity. She told me, "Dammit, you called me. You know how I am. Eat your bloody turkey, I'm going back to bed." Then, she hung up the phone.
Yes, all of this was live on the air.
I was embarrassed beyond belief. The viewers loved it. (I just thank God that was before YouTube). After tossing back to the anchors in the studio, who were laughing so hard they were crying, I called my husband and told him we'd be heading to Luby's for Thanksgiving dinner. Dinner wasn't exactly what I was accustomed to, but it was decent...until the staff started pointing my way and the cook finally came over and said, "Are you that reporter whose mama cussed her on TV today?" I guess my mother was with me that Thanksgiving after all.
My favorite Thanksgiving was when I introduced my boyfriend to my family for the first time. That boyfriend became my husband.
Victoria Christopher Murray always knew she would become an author, even as she was taking quite an unlikely path to that destination. A native of Queens, New York, Victoria first left New York to attend Hampton Institute in Virginia where she majored in Communication Disorders. After graduating in 1977, Victoria attended New York University where she received her Master of Business Administration in 1979.
Victoria spent ten years in Corporate America before she decided to test her entrepreneurial spirit. She opened a Financial Services Agency for Aegon, USA where she managed the number one division for nine consecutive years. However, Victoria never lost the dream to write and when the "bug" hit her again in 1997, she answered the call.
Since Temptation, Victoria has written fifteen other adult novels, including: JOY, Grown Folks Business, The Ex Files, The Deal, the Dance and the Devil, her newest novel, Never Say Never and the popular Jasmine Cox Larson Bush series. In 2012, Victoria joined ReShonda Tate Billingsley to write two collaborations, Sinners and Saints, and Friends and Foes which pits Victoria's Jasmine character against Rachel Adams, a first lady created by ReShonda.
Victoria has received numerous awards including the Golden Pen Award for Best Inspirational Fiction and the Phyllis Wheatley Trailblazer Award for being a pioneer in African American Fiction. Since 2007, Victoria has won six African American Literary Awards for best novel, best Christian fiction and Author of the Year - Female. Her 2013 NAACP Image Award nomination for Destiny's Divas was her second Image Award nomination.
In 2008, Victoria’s first novels in her Christian fiction teen series - The Divine Divas – were published and were optioned to become a television series. She is currently in negotiations for her novel, The Ex Files, to become a movie.
With over one million books in print, Victoria is one of the country's top African American contemporary authors.
My favorite memory of Thanksgiving would definitely be when my grandmother was living, Rosetta Dixon Hood. She passed when I was 13 years old but I can still see her kitchen to this day, vividly with the aroma of homemade dressing, hen, duck, turkey, dumplings, cheese mastering the melting process between the elbow noodles while the potato salad chilled and the savory smell of chocolate and vanilla made the pitter patter of little feet ready to lick the bowl. Family laughing and engaging down memory lane as the sweet sounds of I’ll Be Home for Christmas sang from her Hi-Fi. I had the privilege of being the eldest grandchild and I was my grandmother’s favorite so with that said I had my own personal pan of mac and cheese. We would laugh as the elders told the stories of old until our eyes watered. Everyone would pile up at grandma’s house and there was nothing for anyone to bring but what they wanted to drink. The loving part about this memory was she fed everyone regardless if they were kin or not and to be exact she did not mind you taking a plate home because there was always enough to do so. The saying no one can take my mama’s place is true but no one can touch what my grandma created during the Thanksgiving holiday and for that I am thankful. Memories.
DeVondia Regina Roseborough is “The Traveling Advocate” who is a loving mother of two daughters and grandmother to one grandchild who is determined and motivated to publicly express the effects on HIV/AIDS globally. Born and raised in Charlotte, North Carolina, Ms. Roseborough delivers a heartwarming message based on facts from her personal experiences in life. Directed by her faith in God, DeVondia chose to take action against her December 9, 2003 diagnosis. Handed the news that her T-cells were a count of nineteen, she soon learned that she had AIDS. Letting nothing stop her, not even a twenty-three day stay in the hospital, Ms. Roseborough healed spiritually and closed her mind to the world of negativity and decided to convey God’s love for all; including those with HIV and AIDS. She is the author of My Last First Kiss, Put It On Paper and Changed Woman . . .Unchained: Life After AIDS.
My favorite Thanksgiving memory is 2012, the last one with my father. We traveled to Asheville to spend Thanksgiving with my mom’s family. As we often do, our family ends up playing cards or some other game. My dad’s jokes and overall personality, despite his sickness, made everyone enjoy that special holiday, as usual. None of us knew it would be the last one we’d spend with him. Even still, we all remember how much fun we had playing Wii games, eating, and laughing about stories from the past.
Dr. Nicki Washington was the 2000 valedictorian of Johnson C. Smith University, receiving a B.S. in computer science. She received a M.S. and Ph.D. from NC State University in 2002 and 2005, respectively, becoming the first African-American female Ph.D. in computer science from the university, and the first Johnson C. Smith computer science graduate to obtain a Ph.D. She is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Systems and Computer Science at Howard University.
Dr. Washington has been a featured guest on radio and television shows such as Fox5 Morning News, "The Daily Drum," and "The Ernest Burley Show." She has also been a featured writer and speaker for institutions and organizations such as Google, USA Today College, Bennett College for Women, Johnson C. Smith University, The DC STEM Summit, National Coalition for Women in Information Technology, and the National Society of Black Engineers. She is a native of Durham, NC.
What's your favorite Thanksgiving memory? Share it below in the comments and Happy Thanksgiving!!