The Best of Black Literati Light Up Harlem
By Makho Ndlovu
The recent 7th annual African American Literary Awards, which were held in Harlem, featured a veritable who’s who of black literature.
The outstanding ceremony, which was supported by Simply Rides, honored African American authors and journalists who often go unrecognized in the mainstream media. There was no shortage of celebrities in attendance. Spotted on the red carpet: Essence Beauty Editor Mikki Taylor, video vixen Melyssa Ford, former America’s Next Top Model contestant Nik Pace and New York Times best-selling author Kimberla Lawson Roby.
The cutest moment of the ceremony was watching media power couple Danyel Smith (EIC of Billboard Magazine) receiving an award alongside her hubby Elliot Wilson (EIC of Rap Radar Magazine). I had no idea they were married until that night! Datwon Thomas let the cat out of the bag by saying, “I don’t know how y’all compete against each other then go home and share chicken.” How adorable!
I especially enjoyed the food that was catered in from Melba’s restaurant. My only complaint is that I wish the portions were larger, but that’s my fault because I like to eat! In all seriousness, the food was downright delectable. Excellent choice!
Rapper Nas was a no-show for the event, but the show proved to be extremely entertaining even without the presence of the Queens MC. One highlight for me was when author Kwan won for the book Welfare Wifeys: A Hood Rat Novel. Now, that is one heck of a title– I love it! It proves just how diverse the award ceremony is.
(Above: Nik Pace from ANTM. Can you believe she has a 2-year-old? Even on my best day my belly is not that flat and I have 0 kids! Work it out, Nik!)
Also spotted at the event was Tionna Smalls from VH1’s What Chilli Wants (right). Filling the entire room with her electric energy, Tionna told us she was getting her “Phyllis Hyman on.” She also jokingly threatened any of members of the press that posted unflattering pictures of her. Such personality! Kudos to Tionna for winning in her category of Breakout Author of the Year.
Also spotted adding their star power to the event were Dr. Michael Eric Dyson, media maven Harriette Cole, publicist Joy Doss, blogger Tamika Newhouse, and Power 105.1 radio personality Malikha Mallette.
All in all, it was a fantastic event. It was really inspiring to watch the best of black literati get honored by their peers. I can’t wait for next year!
Check the photo gallery, here!
Makho Ndlovu is a model, blogger and pop culture addict who loves good celeb gossip, exciting fashion tips, as well as sound fitness and financial advice. Oh, and she kinda likes authors and journalists too.