It’s important to take time and pay homage to those who have gone before us.
The writers who have broken down barriers, inspired us, and opened doors for future writers. We all know of the GREATS, Zora Neale Hurston (my Soror!), Toni Morrison, and James Baldwin (just to name a few). However, I’ve been blessed with live within a time where a surge of black fiction writers created and released great works!
One of my fav authors, Eric Jerome Dickey tells a story like no other. His creative genius has pumped book lovers to dive into his world of love, lust, suspense, mystery and so much more. An author of my generation, I'm fortunate to have been able to experience his genius release and release.
Writing short stories weren't enough for Dickey, and I'm glad b/c a few pages from him would not be enough. Me and other fans of his work would def been left wanting more.
"I'd set out to do a ten-page story and it would go on for three hundred pages."
It took him three years of writing and sending query letters until he found an agent. The blessings of his door opening was a blessing for us as well. We were introduced to one of the greatest urban fiction writers of our time.
My all time favorite book is Chasing Destiny. I remember going to the bookstore in college and finding that new release; excited about what visual ride Dickey was going to take me on. Many book releases later, this New York Times Best Selling Author is continuing to give more than just a read, his words ensures a great experience.
So lets take time to salute this great writer, whose words have entertained, inspired, and taken us on a fantastic journey.
Thank you Eric Jerome Dickey!
Share Your Favorite Black Fiction Writer(s) Below!!!
My night at an Inspirational Rock-Doc, Bohemian Rhapsody
I have a thing for 70s and 80s rock stars. The whole idea of letting go and laying it out on the stage. Being free to just be… One band who is amazingly legendary is Queen. A British four piece band of misfits, responsible for the classics of “Bohemian Rhapsody”, “Killer Queen” (my personal fav), “The Show Must Go On", "Another One Bites the Dust", “We Are the Champions”, and so much more to name. Queen pushed the envelope in music, showing that you don’t have to be one thing to fit the formula of the music industry. The band’s front-man, Freddie Mercury, was one of a kind. The way he put on a show was like none other. His voice was impeccable and can’t be duplicated. One look at him and you know he was born to do it!
On to Freddie.
You couldn’t tell me, Rami Malek, wasn’t Freddie Mercury. Hair and make-up did their part however, he brought it to life! You can tell thorough research was done and he was exceptional in re-creating Freddie’s life and performances. I hope he wins an Oscar for this one because this wasn’t some impression. Freddie was reincarnated right before our eyes!
We even got a glimpse into the genuine love story with him and Mary Austin. Although their engagement was broken off, they remained in each other’s lives and she was loyal to the end. He even left her a good portion of his estate to her after his death. (My exes only left me alone, but I wrote a book series about it so I’m good lol.)
Throughout the movie, I was left with nuggets of inspiration. To live the life you want to live, break barriers, and DO what they say you can’t. That’s how you become legendary. Not by silly antics for attention. Bohemian Rhapsody inspires me to keep going and to be the person I was meant to be and for that, I’ll always be grateful to Mr. Mercury. Thank you for your gifts, your voice, and your live out loud performances that I can watch, share, and cherish. You can’t watch this movie and NOT be inspired. This is a movie you MUST see!
Thank you Mr. Mercury!
Accomplishment: My first New York Stage Play.
I set many goals in moving here. I didn’t want to move to a new place and fall into doing the same things I did back in GA. In moments of trying to elevate yourself, you have to take the opportunities as they come. One opportunity I had my eyes on was hitting the stage in the NYC theater scene. To conquer a stage in the city known for performing arts, Broadway, and theater galore, I needed to challenge myself in this arena to see if I had the chops to do the work and execute successfully.
Submission after submission, audition after audition; I landed a role in the stage play Precious Metals: Beauty in Brokenness. This play centers on women and their stories of overcoming hardships, addiction, and finding the beauty within. All the while creating a sisterhood of support showing that no matter what we go through in life, there’s always someone out there who can relate, understand, and help you heal. The play was written by C.E. Harrison and directed by Tabitha Matthews. The play did its run for the NY Summer Theater Festival at the Hudson Guild Theater.
In the beginning, I almost didn’t make it in the cast. Life happened, dealing with my obstacles of the constant adjustment to New York as well as other areas that weren’t going right. I felt down and defeated. But luckily when God has a plan for you, there’s no way to venture away from that plan and purpose. I thought I’d missed the audition deadline and one day an email came in saying that I was able to still submit my video. I took that second chance and worked tirelessly to create the best audition tape to submit. Hours of setting up the camera phone, doing different takes, and trying to remember what I need to say.
After packaging up the finished product, I submitted and let it be. That’s one thing I’ve learned in the audition process. Once it’s done, you have to let it go and let it be.
About a week or so later, I receive the news that I was cast as the character Winsome in the play. Winsome is a young woman, feeling abandoned and abused by her mother Loretta. But after growing and learning, she realized that she missed out on so much love, fun, and the beauty of life with her mother who died at a very young age.
Working full-time, finishing a book, studying lines, rehearsing the lines can be a lot! But I felt that as long as I stayed committed to the process, it would pay off. I needed this exposure to the NYC market. Being that this was something I’ve always wanted to break into, I couldn’t let myself or anybody involved with the production down. Throughout rehearsing, I was able to challenge myself with learning various monologues while placing different emotions, pulling from other emotions, and taking lessons I’ve learned from different acting classes. It was a great process as my cast mates and team were very supportive and fun to “play” with. I was able to build relationships that I feel will last a very long time. Along with building my acting brand with this new credit and the overall acting experience which can/will take me to higher levels.
With three shows, I was very nervous about how this was going to play out. Will people understand my character? Will they even like me? Will I remember my lines? EVERYTHING was racing through my mind. For opening night, the crowd really came out to support the show which added to the nerves, along with judges from the festival. There was a time when I had a mini-meltdown backstage as I was the last one to come out. The wait got to me, stepping into the unknown. However, once I stepped out on stage, feeling the energy I knew I was READY! My preparation paid off! After the show, I received so many compliments from strangers giving me kudos on my performance. This was really helpful as my family and friends weren’t able to be there that night. Second show was a breeze, I was able to just let go and have fun. The crowd loved it and it set us up for closing show. For the closing show, I had friends from GA and my NYC friends in the crowd. This was their first time seeing me in this element and I wanted them to be proud of me.
Afterwards, I felt such a relief however it was bittersweet because the journey was complete. We ended on a high note, and I was able to share it with my loved ones.
Being part of Precious Metals only amped me up to do more. Although I’ll miss the dynamics of my first NYC stage fam, I’ll always take the lessons and the joy with me. Now I KNOW I was born to do this. I can officially change the title from “Aspiring Actress” to “Actress”.
Staying on Task. Going for your Dreams in the NYC
Walking through Manhattan, busy streets, people moving quickly, buildings on top of buildings filled with art, business, beauty, fashion, and God only knows what else. Passing through places like Brooklyn and Queens admiring the murals, small businesses, and the various cultures who all had a hand in building these boroughs. Experiencing these wanders first-hand, how can you NOT get inspired to want something for yourself?
We all know that NYC is a hustle city.
You must hustle to survive financially, spiritually, and even emotionally during the MTA mishaps, awkward encounters with people, and the weather that will leave you shell shocked if you come from the south.
The spirit of NYC ignites a fire within the dreamers who relocate here looking for more opportunities or to start over. I don’t see how anyone could move here just to be here. There’s always another door to knock on, and more pavement to pound. However, it doesn’t come easy. That’s where the hustle has to kick into over drive.
Staying the course.
Now, it is easy to come here and get caught up in the nightlife, people, and events. If you’re not careful, you can lose focus. This is why it is imperative to always have a reminder of why you came here in the first place. Enjoy the town but understand that while you're sleeping, out partying, or just getting taken away from the views, there are thousands more who are moving past you to get things done.
Here’s a few tidbits I’ve picked up on how to stay focused within a city that has so much going on:
What do you do to stay focused? Comment below!
"I just like to write and create stuff. These are the diaries of how I'm living in NYC with sprinkles of life lessons I've learned along the way!"
- The Blakk Dahlia