Notes From a Fantasy/Romance Author: Why I Made My Heroine Really Dark and Really Feminine

Beautiful Feminine Sisters

Where are these Black women in movies, books and films?

Re-posted with permission from

The short answer of why I decided to make the female heroine of my fantasy/romance novel The Last King really dark and really feminine is because such a woman is a rarity to see in literature, film or television.

I mean, even if a heroine is Black, she’s likely brown-colored or light, and she is most certainly going to have straight hair and not her natural curls.

Not so with Emmy Hughes – I decided to make her everything this world insists should not be considered beautiful, lovely and worth perusing – dark-skinned with kinky hair  (okay, it’s BIG kinky hair for sure, no teeny weeny afro’s I admit, but that’s because I like BIG hair).

The main reason I did this is because I’m tired of seeing the same images played out in the media of what’s attractive. I specifically wanted to contribute, no matter how small, to the idea of Black women being seen as attractive and feminine.

Why feminine? Because Black women have traditionally been denied the right to be seen this way, and personally, I think this has hurt us in numerous ways.


We Are Beautiful-Affirming Our Self-Definition

Sisterhood Agenda features a picture of actress, Viola Davis, in its Black Girls Guide:  How to Transition to Naturally Beautiful Hair.  Davis relishes the opportunity to portray a character who is “sexy… complicated… mysterious” in Shonda Rhimes’ new hit television show, How to Get Away With Murder.  In a recent newspaper article, the New York Times calls Shonda Rhimes “angry” and Viola Davis “less classically beautiful.” Watch how we defy stereotypes and labels:


“It seems that other people, they don’t quite get it, which I find insanely amusing. The New York Times seem shocked, let me say it again, shocked, and called Shonda an angry Black woman and says you are ‘less classically beautiful’ than typical TV stars. Now isn’t beauty subjective?” Whoopi Goldberg, “The View” co-host.

“I think that beauty is subjective. I’ve heard that statement ‘less classically beautiful’ my entire life,” states Viola Davis. “Being a dark-skinned Black woman, you heard it from the womb. And classically not beautiful is a fancy term for saying ugly. And denouncing you. And erasing you. Now…it worked when I was younger. It no longer works for me now… It’s about teaching a culture how to treat you and how to see you… Because at the end of the day, you define you.”

In The Hollywood Reporter, Rhimes also addressed the issue:

“In this world in which we all feel we’re so full of gender equality and we’re a postracial [society] and Obama is president, it’s a very good reminder to see the casual racial bias and odd misogyny from a woman written in a paper that we all think of as being so liberal.”


Global Sisterhood (Medium)

FEATURED POST: Global Sisterhood Directory

Is your agency listed?  If not, JOIN today!

Click the maps below to find Sisterhood Agenda global partners,
plus links to programs and services:

Sisterhood in the US

Sisterhood in Africa

Sisterhood in Africa

Sisterhood in the Caribbean

Sisterhood in the Caribbean

Sisterhood in Canada

Sisterhood in Canada

Sisterhood in Europe

Sisterhood in Europe

Sisterhood in the United Kingdom

Sisterhood in the United Kingdom

Sisterhood in Central America

Sisterhood in Central America

Sisterhood in India

Sisterhood in India

Sisterhood in Asia

Sisterhood in Asia

I Am Worthy Logo

I Am Worthy- For Our Daughters Community Campaign

I Am Worthy LogoFour Girls in Birmingham Alabama 51 years , 250 girls in Nigeria four months ago. Are these two things linked? Absolutely. We are the solution to the issue. Come let us stand for dignity, safety and vision FOR OUR DAUGHTERS.

Saturday September 20, 4pm New Winston Museum 713 Marshall St. Winston- Salem, NC

Join us in a community discussion led by Oyesina Ogunmola as we discuss the problems surrounding the continual misuse of women for the entertainment and comfort of men. This worldwide phenomena create a hostile environment for women and girls to grow and flourish. Let us discuss our responsibilities to address this troubling issue.

This event is free and is a part of I am Worthy’s FOR OUR Daughters Community Campaign. For more information or questions you can visit . You may also send an email to

Out of the Binders Symposium


Sister with Pen and Eyeglasses
WAM logoFrustrated by the dearth of women writers being published in major magazines and literary journals, WAM! is proud to be sponsoring the Out of the Binders conference, a “symposium to empower women and gender non-conforming writers with tools, connections, and strategies to advance their careers.”

Inspired by the “Binders Full of Women Writers” Facebook groups, this conference will include a wide range of programming, including professional development and skills-building workshops; speakers from a wide range of disciplines; panels on things like women in the newsroom and starting your writing career after forty; networking opportunities for folks at every stage of their career, and more!

The conference will take place on October 11 & 12 in New York City, on the campus of New York University.
Reserve your spot today before they’re gone.

BWDW Ambassadors  Commitment Day

Black Women Do Workout Ambassadors & Commitment Day 5K

BWDW Ambassadors  Commitment Day

“We completely sold out last year which is why it is important for you to reserve your spot early with our promo code BWDW15!

My goal for Black Women “Do” Workout in 2015 is to be the largest group represented at Commitment Day 5K on New Year’s Day, so PLEASE make sure you enter BWDW15  code during registration and get your FREE T-Shirt and FREE registration for any child accompanying you under 12!  

Or, volunteer as a Chapter Ambassador for the walk/run race and FIND OUT HOW TO REGISTER FOR FREE! 

We can do this!  Just click the registration button and we will see you there!”   Crystal Adell

If Not Now, When?

While the Obama Administration is credited with the creation of the first ever White House Council on Women and Girls, Black girls are not included in the “My Brother’s Keeper” initiative which includes several million dollars in community-based funding initiatives for boys.  Funding for the program has recently been expanded.

“We cannot pass the burden of invisibility to yet another generation of our girls of color…  This erasure simply adds to the crisis that girls of color face, forcing them to suffer in relative silence.” Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw

Following the letter released last month from 200 Concerned Black Men addressed to President Obama, posted here is a letter from over 1,000 Girls and Women of Color calling for their inclusion in the President’s “My Brother’s Keeper” initiative. The letter is signed by girls and women of all ages and backgrounds, who range from high school teenagers, to professional actors and playwrights, to civil rights activists and organizers, to university professors and philanthropists. In writing the letter, they stress that any plan for uplifting communities of color must not compromise or come at the expense of the lives of girls and women of color, and they emphasize that any program designed to improve communities of color cannot target only half of its population.

Activist Angela Davis, author Alice Walker, and actress Rosario Dawson are reported to have signed the letter, along with numerous others.  You can sign it, too.

Read the entire article and letter HERE.

Sign on to the letter HERE.



More African Americans Moving to Ghana According to Report

Americans in Ghana


Africa evokes images of vibrancy and growth instead of poverty, war and struggle, Ezinne Ukoha reports in a story in The Grio.

In this context, Ghana is fast becoming a mecca for Black Americans who are looking for lucrative opportunities in a new environment. About 10,000 African Americans visit Ghana yearly, according to recent reports. Almost 3,000 African Americans live in the capital, Accra, the major hub of Ghana.

Read More

Working Women in the U.S.

Sister in Business in White

The percentage of women in the U.S. at work or who want to work is declining, according to the White House Council of Economic Advisers. As part of the problem, the Council’s report notes the U.S. is the only developed country that does not offer paid maternity leave as federal policy. The result? Europe now leads the U.S. in female labor force participation. As in so many areas, lack of a federal family friendly policy has led some states to act. California, the first state to offer paid parental leave in 2004, has seen new mothers more likely to return to work.

Reported by JustMeans


Are You Still a Slave? Liberating the Black Female Body


Responses to bell hooks’ comments at this event indicate that yes, many of us are still enslaved.  Earlier this week, The New School in New York City hosted a provocative discussion, titled “Are You Still a Slave? Liberating the Black Female Body” with bell hooks and other leading voices in Black feminism: author Marci Blackman (Tradition), film director Shola Lynch (Free Angela and All Political Prisoners), and author and activist Janet Mock (Redefining Realness).

This is a must-see for all women of African descent!  As bell hooks states, we can “free the Black girl body.”  See the entire video HERE.

P.S. If you are pressed for time, check video highlights at 31:50, 45:00, and 104:00.

Essynce Couture Event in New Jersey

Essynce Couture2      Essynce Couture1

Tween fashion mogul Essynce Moore will host the Essynce Couture University (ECU) Conference in New Jersey. The theme of the conference is “A Place Where Age Doesn’t Matter.”

Essynce Couture University hosts conferences and workshops that help empower and inspire children, tweens, and teens (ages 5-17) by teaching entrepreneurship and how to incorporate principals into their daily lives. ECU’s approach is taught by their peers focusing on motivating/teaching the youth how to act upon their goals and dreams. In addition, coaching them on organizational skills, how to start a business, how to raise money, branding/marketing, how to conduct themselves in a business environment, and how to speak with confidence.
The conference will take place, Saturday, April 26, 2014 at the Bethune Banquet Hall, 26 Washington Street, East Orange, NJ from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Learn more at

MAC’s Perfect Pitch

MAC Perfect Pitch

What would you do if you walked onto an elevator and found yourself alone with a ‘Bill Gates” or Oprah or an investor who could change the course of your business?

If you are a true entrepreneur, you would launch into your “elevator pitch” — a carefully rehearsed summary of who you are and what you do and why you do it better than anyone else. Incidentally, it’s called an “elevator pitch” because it shouldn’t be longer than the time it takes an elevator to rise or fall 20 stories, so approximately 30-45 seconds long.

How exciting is your pitch? Will it convey who you are? Will you be able to describe the salient features of your business plan? Will you get the listener excited about what you do, so that they want to hear more?

Well, maybe you won’t get caught on an elevator with a Bill Gates or Oprah but you can certainly meet your ideal client or potential investor in line at the grocery store or at a networking event. You want to be prepared, yet versatile and engaging in the delivery of your elevator pitch. After all, it is your WOW!! statement!

Ready to develop and learn how to pitch your business like a pro?

Join us on Thursday, April 24th at the 2014 MACsPerfectPitch!

Event includes:

▪ Networking Mixer

▪ Lite Dinner

▪ MACs Perfect Pitch

▪ Sponsored Mobile Marketing Presentation

Opportunities at Girls Write Now

Girls Write Now

Girls Write Now Future

Write Your Future With Us
Join Mentoring Programs and College Workshops
Apply by June 1

Be a Girls Write Now Mentee 

Ready to take your writing to the next level with the help of a professional writer? If you are a teen girl in grades 9-12 at a NYC public high school for the 2014-15 school year, join one of our year-long mentoring programs. Apply now

Be a Girls Write Now Mentor

Share your voice to empower hers. If you are a professional woman writer, digital media professional, teacher, or community leader passionate about sharing your craft, volunteer to become a year-long mentor. Apply now

Want college help? Register for Workshops

Girls Write Now offers FREE college prep workshops in the spring and summer. Students receive professional advice on how to write a compelling essay, prepare a resume for that perfect job, and talk to mentors about an academic future and beyond. Register now

Girls Write Now is a dynamic community of women writers and media makers on a mission: to inspire and support the next generation. Award-winning programs build one-to-one mentoring relationships between aspiring teen writers and their professional counterparts; together, we embark on a journey of creative writing and multimedia workshops, public readings and showcases, opportunities for publication, and more.
Girls Write Now Footer

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater Coming to Newark, NJ


Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, recognized by U.S. Congress as a vital American “Cultural Ambassador to the World,” brings to NJPAC’s Prudential Hall a program featuring three of the 14 ballets that Mr. Ailey created to celebrate the musical genius of Duke Ellington (Night Creature, Pas de Duke and The River), two season premiers (LIFT and D-Man in the Waters), and the iconic Revelations in its annual tour to the Arts CenterAlvin Ailey American Dance Theater is NJPAC’s Principal Resident Dance Company.

The company performs Saturday, May 10 at 8 pm, and Mother’s Day, Sunday May 11, at 1pm and 5pm in NJPAC’s Prudential Hall. Tickets range from $25 – $89 and may be purchased by visiting the NJPAC Box Office at One Center Street in downtown Newark, by telephone at 1-888-GO-NJPAC (1-888-466-5722), or by visiting NJPAC’s website at