by Gloria Dulan-Wilson
Back in the day,The Impressions with Curtis Mayfield sang a song entitled “Too Much Love” which said in part, ‘never in this world can there be too much love.’ And I certainly felt that sentiment was expressed over and over again at the PHENOMENAL WOMEN IN MEDIA Awards ceremony held at the Eubie Blake Auditorium in Brooklyn’s, Von King Park. Wow! From the moment you stepped through the door, you were treated like royalty. Adults and youth alike were all there to make sure you had the best experience and most enjoyable time ever.
And so I did; and so we did!!
You see, I, along with 24 other Phenomenal Women (I really like the sound of that - PHENOMENAL) were honored by Our Times Press and Von King Park Community Center for our various roles in the realm of the media and its impact and influence we’ve had in keeping our base -- the Black Community, I.e. YOU, informed on issues of impact and importance to you -- in such a way that it doesn’t insult you, but (hopefully) inspires you to action, give you an alternative to the propaganda being spewed out at you via the mainstream market tabloids.
Each of the recipients was a diva in her own right. Each had a mark of distinction in the Black community. And, I daresay, we take the time to read each other because we respect each other’s work. You see, we don’t see each other as competitors; because Black news venues can’t afford to compete against each other, and at the same time try to deal with the onslaught of distortions, lies and disrespect routinely found in the mainstream media. We have to be collaborative in our approach, or you’ll never get the truth. We are not here to be a minature image of the same paper that’s been insulting you all these years. We take issue with the kinds of information, the tone of the article, the content. But we are likewise not here to criticize the mainstream press (that is unless they are so blatantly racist that something has to be said).
We are here to give you the NEWS about us as a people regardless of where we are and who we are. We don’t just cover the rich and famous, the gifted and talented, the super star artist, athlete, politician, we also write about issues that affect everyday African American men, women, children, workers, educators, ministers, homemakers, families.
So far none of us have won a Pulitzer -- doesn’t mean we can’t or that we don’t want to. There were also plenty of award winners amongst us, already recognized for their prodigious body of work.
I, however, must confess that this is the first time that I was so honored, by being feted by peers and people in the community. It was the first time that I was the subject of the award, instead of covering someone who was. It was the first time that I had to stand still for the paparazzi instead of being part of those who were taking the endless photos of everything I did, every move I made. Wow!!! So that’s what it feels like.
So, before I go any further, please allow me to say to Berniece Greene, David Greaves, Graham Weatherspoon, Mr. and Ms. Lemuel and Charlotte Renee Mial;, Our Times Press, Von King Park THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!! With all the heartfelt sincerity and love I can muster. You yourselves are such a blessing in this world, what an honor!
And I know that this appreciation is expressed, not just for myself, but for the women who were also so honored and revered on that Monday, March 29, 2010, listed below (These are very brief, for the full info, contact Our Times Press for the March 25-31 Edition of the paper.
MAITEFA ANGAZA (aka Judith Henry): Editor African Voices; author Kwanzaa From Holiday to Every Day; former editor of the City Sun (you remember that revolutionary Black publication, don’t you?)
NYABA ARINDE: Editor Amsterdam News; former Senior Reporter Daily Challenge (the City’s Only Black Daily); 3 time A. Philip Randolph Messenger awardee.
AMANISHA BLACK: Community activist; author of column “The Parent’s Notebook”, which currently appears in Our Times Press.
CAROLYN BUTTS: President of African Voices Communications, Inc., publisher of African Voices Magazine. Recipient of the National Endowment for the Arts, NYS Council of the Arts and Dept. of Cultural Affairs challenge Program grants.
JOANN CHEATHAM: Publisher Pure Jazz Magazine, the literary arm of the Central Brooklyn Jazz Consortion (CBJC), which covers stories that honors jazz artists contemporary and classical.
GAYLE DeWEES: Writes for the NY Daily News “Face:s & Places; “At a Glance,” “Faith in the City,” and “What’s On for The Weekend.” Gayle also worked for the late great jazz vocalist Betty Carter.
GLORIA DULAN-WILSON feature writer, who considers herself an Inform Actionist -- in other words she supplies you with the information that you can take action on. In addition to articles in the Daily Challenge and the African Sun Times, you can catch her blog, www.gloriadulan-wilson.blogspot.com Four of us had either written for or currently write for the Daily Challenge, started by Publisher Thomas H. Watkins: Naya Arinde, Maietefa Angaza, Janel Cross, and Gloria Dulan-Wilson. I laughingly called us "Watkins Women" (don't know if that went over so well, though).
FERN GILLESPIE: Radio producer, public relations executive who has worked with such greats as James Brown, Michael Jackson, the late Percy Ellis Sutton, John H. Johnson, among others. She currently heads public relations for the New York and New Jersey Minority Supplier Development Council.
STACY-ANN GOODEN: Jamaican-born nightly weather anchor for News 12 Brooklyn; former Good Day New York Traffic Authority; participant in Harlem USA’s Celebrity Read-A-Thon.
DR. BRENDA GREENE: Executive Director of the Center for Black Literature at Medgar Evers College, CUNY; chair National Black Writers Conference; weekly radio program Writers on Writing on WNYE 91.5 FM; professor of English at Medgar Evers College, and one of the most dynamic women you’ll ever meet --(she had just literally wrapped up the 4-day National Black Writer’s Conference the day before the award ceremony!! She did not look one bit tired; not one hair out of place - how does she do it????)
MONIQUE GREENWOOD: founder of Akwaaba House, Brooklyn’s first Black owned Bed and Breakfast; lifestyle director for Essence Magazine; entrepreneur and writer in various genre. If you have not had the pleasure of going to Akwaaba House, you must go.
JANEL GROSS: Managing Editor of the Afro Times, weekly arm of the Daily Challenge News, who takes pride in providing opportunities for local writers and photographers to be seen. Public relations officer for Jack and Jill of America.
VICTORIA HORSFORD: New York Columnist’s “What’s Going On” is published in the New York Beacon, Carib News, African Sun Times. The Public Relations specialist has worked with Spike Lee in She’s Gotta Have It, and Richard Pryor on JoJo Dancer, Your Life is Calling!
MARGOT JORDAN: Photojournalist who has worked locally and been recognized globally for capturing the moment on her lens. Former producer of KISS-FM Wake Up Club; and entertainment report for Wendy Williams (when she was on WBLS-FM).
CLAUD LEANDRO: Program Director One Caribbean Radion 97.9 HD2, the only 24-hour Caribbean-centric radio station; formerly with Radio Antilles in Monserrat.
SUSAN McHENRY: Founding Editor of Black Issues Book Review (BIBR); also instrumental in launching Emerge Magazine with the late Wilmer Ames.
ROSALIND KILKENNY McLYMONT: Editor in Chief to The Network Journal; partner in McLymont, Kunda & Co.; first Black managing editor of the Journal of Commerce, the oldest daily business newspaper in the US. Writes a monthly column entitled Africa Focus.
FAYBIENE MIRANDA: Producer of Global Medicine Review; she is a lyricist, poet, performer, having appeared with Kamau Brathwaite, The Last Poets, Mutabaruka, among others.
JEANNE PARNELL: City Lights host on WHCR-FM, former assistant principle with the NYC Board of Education; has been on-air personality for WLIB, WWRL, WNYE; and written for the Daily Challenge and Amsterdam News.
MARCIA PENDELTON: Founder and president of Walk Tall Girl Productions, a marketing, audience development and group sales company.
PAT STEVENSON: Founder and publisher of Harlem News Group, a Harlem based corporation that publishes four news papers, including Harlem Community News.
LUPE TODD: Vice President George Artz Communications, spokesperson for a variety of political and elected officials, including Congressman Edolphus Towns, City Council Rep. Albert Vann, Public Advocate, Bill De Blasio, Civil Court Judge Jaqueline Williams among others. Lupe is also currently serving as press relations specialist for Newark Mayor Corey Booker.
DR. TERESA WILLIAMS-TAYLOR: Owner/Publisher New York Trend Newspaper, the largest Black-owned paper in Long Island.
ESTHER COOPER JACKSON: Recipient of HATTIE CAUTHEN AWARD. To cap off this wonderful day, we had the honor of meeting and being photographed with the grand-dame of media and publiations, Ms. Esther Cooper Jackson, who served as editor of FREEDOMWAYS for 25 years from 1961 through 1986. The Alabama native, who is a delight to talk with, has a knowledge, understanding and love of Black history that goes far beyond just the publication of the quarterly publication into the very soul of what makes us who we are. I had the distinct honor to have an all too brief conversation with this esteemed, teenie little lady, who, at 92, continues to hold her own in the world of contemporary knowledge. She brought her best friend, who just celebrated her 95th birthday, as her special guest for the PHENOMENAL WOMEN IN MEDIA AWARDS CEREMONY. Inspirational to those who realize that if we do it right, we might just make it to that age, and look that good, as well.
Ms. TUPPER W. THOMAS: rounded out the list of recipients for her ongoing efforts to preserve the natural parklands in Brooklyn, most ostensibly Prospect Park. The HATTIE CAUTHEN AWARD, named for the lady who protected rare Magnolia Trees from being chopped down in Brooklyn, and started a generation of preservation of natural foliage, was given to Ms. Thomas. She is the co-chair of the City Parks Alliance of New York.
Those are the PHENOMENAL MEDIA WOMEN I had the honor of sharing the stage with. These are the women who have accomplished so much in their lives individually and collectively. Each of us received a statuette of a Black woman who depicted both our African and African American Roots (Routes); as well as a hand-cast “envelope” with each of our names on it; as well as some wonderful beauty products produced by Ambulant (you gotta try their stuff, it’s fantastic); as well as corporate products donated by Pepperidge Farms (thanks for their support).
A presentation by Ollie McLean's Sankofa School, whose three little Phenomenal Women in the making displayed their place in the future of Black history by totally knowing all the countries of Africa and the African pledge, was an example of what can happen when you design a program around respect for one's culture, coupled with educational excellence (one of the little ladies made an error on an African country, and her younger 6-year old counterpart took her to task -- too cute!)
Likewise, the significance of the double-duo husband and wife teams of Berniece Greene and David Greaves and Charlotte and Lemuel Mial was not lost on the recipients either (as noted by MC Graham Weatherspoon, whose wife, Irza, sat in the audience cheering him on).
However, while each has played roles in the enlistment of the Black community in their own right, who knew that Lemuel Mial had such a wonderful voice? He sings with a group called U4RIA, and nearly knocked the audience out of their seats as he serenaded us with a song he had written in honor of the occasion, entitled “Nothing Like a Woman”, which he co-authored with Larry Banks, musician and artist extraordinaire (available at www.U4RIA or 718-622-7638. In fact, from the response of the women in the audience, he compared favorably to Smokey Robinson, Teddy Pendergast and others (wow!)
Circling back to my opening statement, there can never be too much love for each other in the Black Community. In fact, an over abundance of love is exactly what is needed to offset what we’ve endured over the past 400 years and the most recent 40 coming out of the Civil Rights Era. We need more events such as these where we unabashedly celebrate the good we bring to each other in the community. Where, like the Japanese, we take the time to really celebrate each little victory, instead of waiting til the person has one foot in the grave and the other on a banana peel before we give them the accolades they deserve.
I would personally like to thank each and every individual who had anything to do with the ceremonies held at VON KING PARK, including the Culinary Center, for all you did to make that rainy day one of the sunniest and brightest days ever. And thank you for a gift-bag so heavy it needed an extra set of wheels to get it home! We are truly loving you for loving us so much.
Stay Blessed &