We did it!!! YOU DID IT! Together we won The Essence Magazine â€œStoryteller of the Yearâ€ Award! THANK YOU! Bless you folks! This was the magazineâ€™s debut literary event that they hope to turn into an annual function that may grow to the size of The Essence Music Awards one dayâ€¦ and you guys/gals put me on the mapâ€”HOT DANG! LOL!
No, Iâ€™m serious. I wasnâ€™t even on the initial ballot until VHL readers hit Essence with all the energy they had, in fact, I wasnâ€™t even aware that there was such a contest until you all kicked up a LOT of dust, ha ha ha! Then you raised Cain, literally, when the voting on-line didnâ€™t go according to Hoyle for the first couple of days, and then you pummeled the voting tallies until a sister got her foot in the door. And check it outâ€¦ of ALL the categories of nominations, â€œStoryteller of the Yearâ€ was the only one not decided upon by Essence judges. That was a Peoplesâ€™ Choice type of award, whereby votes were counted. You all weighed in, showed your muscle at the ballot box, and made it do what it doâ€”BIG SMILE. For that I am deeply honored and humbledâ€¦ it means so much more that this was done the old fashioned way, by reader selection and not politics. You all are simply amazing! BIG PHILLY HUG!
For the gala, I took my daughter. At 17, she was sooo excited! The publisher put us up at The Warwick a couple of blocks away from Le Parker Meridian in Manhattan where the event was held, and as you can see my boo has us playing around and mugging for the camera, LOL!
It was an awesome evening with authors, editors, publishers, marketing & PR types, mediaâ€¦ the virtual whoâ€™s who in the literary community. Bishop T. D. Jakes received the Presidentâ€™s Award for his stellar work on â€œRepositioning Yourselfâ€ and oneâ€™s lifeâ€”Iâ€™m gonna go get that book this weekend, believe me! Terri McMillan received the Lifetime Achievement Award, and was given special honors for her marvelous article on Jill Scott (a Philly sister whom I admire and adore!)
Actress Lynn Whitfield added some Hollywood panache to the opening of the envelopes, as did that fine hunk from the hot TV show The Wire, Jamie Hector (yeah, my kid got her photos on, LOL!) Appeals went out to save our community libraries and minority-owned bookstores amid the festivities to be sure that the opportunity to give back to oneâ€™s roots in reading were not overlooked. News anchor Hoda Kobt worked with Dr. Ian Smith (from The 50M Pound Challenge) to MC a fabulous event, with Essenceâ€™s own Patrick Henry Bass as head honcho
What can I sayâ€¦ I felt like Cinderella at the ball. Open bar, chi-chi hors d’oeuvres, the glitteratiâ€¦ and somehow, through some very dedicated reader fairy godmothers & godfathers, I wound up on â€œThe A List.â€ Wow. How cool was thatâ€¦ albeit with a size 11 shoe, it wouldâ€™ve taken some doing to find this chic a glass slipperâ€”but the powers that be improvised and gave me a crystal award, LOL! Moâ€™ betta in the long run. Any ole way, it was fun, I mean that in all sincerityâ€”thank you soooo much! Me and my agent, Manie Barron, his partner at the firm, Claudia Menza, and my daughter were sitting in the back of the room. I was just glad to get nominated, had no expectation that I might actually win. He and I were buzzing and chatting between clapping (about to get thrown out like bad little childrenâ€”you know when the teacher breaks up a pair, ha ha ha), and they called my name. For two seconds I didnâ€™t move. I was like, â€œHuh? Me? For REAL? OMG!â€
The St. Martinâ€™s row went up, my back row went up, and we CUT UP, just acted like we had no senseâ€¦ ahâ€¦ you would have been proud (or terribly ashamed at us hooting, ha ha ha!) But my daughter was the â€œtechnical digital oneâ€ who filmed it and showed me how to get it up on You Tube â€“ BIG GRIN. [I promise I'll have it up there by tomorrow, once that 18MB sucker uploads--laughing] She got the pics of me & Manie & Claudia & Monique Patterson (my editor) and some cool celeb pics and then blew my cell phone up and hers with the fast as lightening text messages to my sister, all my play daughters and family, who in turn blew up my cell (I donâ€™t wanna see next monthâ€™s bill, but it was worth it, chuckle!)
SO THANK YOU ALL AGAIN FOR A NIGHT TO REMEMBER, AN AWARDS TO CHERISHâ€¦ and most of allâ€¦ FOR ALL THE LOVE!!! What a NIGHT!
BIG PHILLY HUG, Leslie!