Black Expressions
Official Newsletter of
International Black Writers & Artists / Los Angeles

P.O. Box 43576, LA, CA 90043- USA- (213) 964-3721
July-August-September '98

Third Quarter Calendar

Pamela Miller will facilitate The Artists' Forum at Affordable Black Art, 4700 Crenshaw Blvd., Los Angeles, Sat., July 11 at 5:30 p.m. The discussion will focus on the pros and cons of gallery showings and related topics as introduced by participants. Info 213.299-8082. Free.

Persons interested in participating in the 1999 July Conference Committee to plan and implement the 25th Anniversary Conference Celebration are asked to meet Sat., July 18,11:30 - 12:30(following the Board of Directors meeting), at the View Park Library, 5425 W. 54 St. in Los Angeles. Topics will include scope, theme and site. Please RSVP by calling the voicemail, 213-964-3721.

To apply for an IBWA-sponsored UCLA Extension Scholarship, applicants must submit a writing or art sample (up to 3 slides or repro 8"x10" or smaller), a written statement of need, and a statement detailing applicant's artistic goals and how this scholarship and/or courses will be used to further those goals. The postmark deadline to apply for classes which begin in the Fall quarter is Sat., August 1, 1998. Recipients may enroll for any writing or arts courses. For more information please call L. A. Hughes at 213-964-3721.

Saturday, August 29

Pamela and George Miller of Affordable Black Art announced the initiation of their new Poet's Corner the first Friday night of each month, beginning August 7, in the gallery at 4700 Crenshaw Blvd., Los Angeles. Activities, including open readings in an artistically inspired environment,will take place from 7 to 9 p.m. with sign-ups beginning at 6:30. Admission $5. Info 213.299-8082.

The deadline to register for the Maui (Hawaii) Writers Conference's "Manuscript Marketplace" is Sept. 15. The Marketplace is a unique forum where manuscripts are reviewed by participating agents and editors, helping writers avoid the "slush piles" (where unsolicited manuscripts normally go). The 9/15 deadline is for the October Marketplace. Cost for "marketplace" is $159 for those not attending the Sept. 4-7 conference. For further information phone 808.879-0061.

IBWA/LA will participate in the Bay area's Visions & Words,A Celebration of African American Art & Literature, Sat. Oct. 24, 10-5 at Preservation Park in Oakland, CA. For booth information ($75 for authors and artists) contact Cheryl Garner-Shaw, 510.891-9728.

Conference Corner
L. A. Hughes

It's here! You can register now for Mini-Conference '98, IBWA's twenty-fourth annual milepost event.

We've put together a full menu of workshops representing the best resources and knowledge available on publishing and getting published, all in one place all in one day!

Publishing: Mind, Art & Media is a symposium packed with inspiration from prolific, prestigious authors like Octavia Butler (Parable of the Sower),...a full menu of workshops representing the best resources and knowledge available on publishing and getting published, all in one place all in one day!

Additionally, the conference committee has endeavored to bring representatives from nearly every aspect of the publishing process. So bring your questions about manuscript preparation, editing, agents, design, illustrating, production, marketing and distribution. Get information and be enlightened on everything from the creative process (mind) to forms the product can take (art and media) to how to get the product into the hands of the "consumer." Participants won't miss a single detail because all sessions will be consecutive. Using a team presentation approach, workshops will include dialogue, Q&A, lecture and panels. Handouts will be provided at a nominal charge. If you have attended trade or professional meetings, you'll agree with the economics. Virtually nowhere else can you find workshops for $35 (member early registration). And other workshops don't address the special needs, concerns and issues of today's international black writers and artists (yes, we do still have them.).

Get out your checkbook - beat the August 1 early registration deadline, and ensure your spot in this career-making event. See you there!

Of Interest to Artists

b.j. spoke gallery (New York) announces its 18th annual national juried competition, EXPO 18 Deadline for submission ($35 for 6 color slides) is Nov. 13, 1998. For prospectus, send SASE to b.j. spoke gallery, 299 Main St., Huntington, NY 11743. Info. 516.549-5106.


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Members Matter

The illustrious founder and national president of IBWA, Edna A. Crutchfield, remains active with the Atlanta chapter. At 80 she may be slowing down physically, but mentally she is active as ever plotting challenges which should take the organization well into the twenty-first century.

About the twenty-fifth anniversary conference she says, "I'm looking forward to it!" Due to her failing eyesight, all written communications, including the return address, should be mailed in large print to 2625 Piedmont Rd., #56-156, Atlanta, GA 30324.

Twenty-one-year-old Zerline A. Hughes, a former youth board member, in August will begin her senior year at Howard U where she majors in print journalism. The winner of local and regional Society of Professional Journalists scholarships and a Scripps-Howard award, Ms. Hughes is spending the summer in the Bay area as a Chips Quinn intern with the Freedom Forum Foundation working as an Oakland Tribune reporter and correspondent.
"I love it!" she says, due in part to the generous weekly stipend and shared housing on the island of Alameda.

Emma Denmon Clark, who penned the most notable poem I Am Woman, underwent major surgery recently and is recovering in her home. Ms. Clark, a loyal and supportive member of IBWA for 20-something years, celebrated her 83rd birthday in May. Cards, letters or flowers are appreciated and can be sent to 5334 Second Ave., L. A., CA 90043.

Back again to the Bay area where IBWA Local 5 President Richard Moore recently resumed publication of the chapter's newsletter, the Afrometropolitan Daily News (ed. note: It's not a daily publication). Richard aka "Paradise" teased readers with the headline What was Paradise doing at Angela Davis' house? He attended a fundraiser there recently and included photos of Ms. Davis and himself in his account of the impressive opportunity. Richard wrote, "I wondered whether the party was going to be in her home or in the back yard somewhere. It was both! Making sure to represent, I brought a 'Thank you for welcoming me into your home' house gift a gift-wrapped collec- tion of about six books of my poetry." The friend who had arranged the visit later told him Angela said she was going to put the books " her bedside!

New Books on the Horizon


Anthony Stith
Breaking the Glass Ceiling
Warwick Publishing, paperback, $14.95
ISBN: 1-894020-20-0.

Breaking The Glass Ceiling: Racism and Discrimination in Corporate America, The Myths, The Realities & The Solutions, written by former Fortune 100 executive Anthony Stith, is a powerful, no-holds-barred account of the racial and discriminatory barriers African Americans, other minorities and women face in corporate America today.

Stith uses true case histories to reveal policies that "reflect the internal attitudes and discord that many leading employers today refuse to acknowledge or address."

The book provides solutions to resolving racial tensions among co-workers, sexist practices, lack of equal opportunity for advancement, and prejudicial treatment at all levels. Also addressed are timely issues such as the current move to repeal affirmative action programs.

Eric Dickey
Milk in My Coffee
Dutton, $23.95 ISBN: 0-525-94385-4

For the legions of fans who crowd Eric Jerome Dickey's bookstore signings and demand to know when they can get their hands on his next book, the wait is over Sept. 1 when, Dutton has announced, Milk to My Coffee hits the stands.

All of Dickey's excursions have dealt with black male-female "relationships" with humor and panache. His latest delves into interracial intimacy in a way that won't disappoint his fans and is sure to make new ones.

Dickey's debut novel Sister Sister (Dutton, 1996) and his second effort Friends & Lovers (Dutton, 1997) were #1 on Essence Magazine's Blackboard Bestseller List.

Shari Randolph
A Writer's Place, $12.95
ISBN: 1-889210-03-X

Trademarked by her sassy style and barefoot performances, elocutionist Shari Randolph invites audiences to a riveting poetic journey through life's experiences in Raw, her first book of poetry.

Confronting such issues as race, beauty, the education of black youth and the roots of black inspiration, Shari Randolph explores the heart of a people in the daily battles and circumstances of being black in America, of being a woman in America...of just being in America.

Kudos to a sister who has fought long and hard to produce a volume that is the soul and heart of Shari Randolph.

Vernice Watson & Milton Allen
You Can't Get There From Here
(Verlen Press)

You Can't Get There From Here is a historical and entertaining account of a dynamic, colorful, black female promotional executive's 25 years in a world of glitz, glamour, dirt and soul.

From Baltimore to Philly to Hollywood and back again, Vernice Watson's story enlightens the reader about music radio and deejays from payola to Kweisi Mfume's rise from local Baltimore radio to international leadership, to the Winans' "crossover" into mainstream markets.

Add to all that Watson's story about butting heads with corporate "giant" AT&T over the "True Voice"-Whitney Houston campaign, and you've got a blockbuster.

Editing for the book was handled by two veteran IBWA associates from WordWrite. You Can't Get There... will be available in September.

Staff Wanted for BE Expansion

IBWA's Black Expressions needs copy editors, writers and ad sales staff for quarterly publication and expansion to magazine format. A special need also exists for upgraded desktop publishing capabilities.

With a view toward expanding BE into a literary magazine format, the Board of Directors has approved a plan that would take the publication beyond the present millennium. The newsletter is already being posted on IBWA's own web site, thanks to associates Butch Berry and Valiant Robinson.

To help as a commissioned salesperson or volunteer staff member (stipends will come later), call L. A. Hughes on the voice mail, 213.964-3721.




Small Los Angeles-based independent African American publisher has openings for qualified individuals to work within the well established company.

Full-time Assistant

To be right-hand person for publisher. Duties include critiquing manuscripts, participating in brainstorming sessions, working with media, distributors and authors; general clerical.

Must have excellent writing and proofing skills, computer proficiency on MS Word & Excel, type 55 wpm. Creativity important, graphic skills a plus. Writing test will be given.


Seeking person to research and compile jump rope rhymes for book to be published in Spring 1999. Intern will receive editorial credit and $1500 stipend upon completion.

Interns (Summer & Fall)

Seeking two (2) persons with skills/experience in public relations / marketing to promote three titles. Must have ability to write press releases, pitch sheets and bios. Intern will work on political, children's and novelty genres. College credit and small monthly stipend. Must be available 2 to 3 mornings and at least 1 afternoon each week (12-14 hours).

Specify position applied for in cover letter and fax with resume to 213. 295-3880. Open until filled.

W r i t i n g s


The Most Provocative Event in US History

Where, O where, is Madalyn Murray O' Hare;
Where can this fornicatrix be?
Is she out outer space...somewhere;
or, maybe...she's been buried in the deep blue sea;
perhaps she's buried somewhere in the deep blue sea.
Tell me where can this ungodly creature be;
this subtlety, Queen of Immortality? This foxy fornicatress
who delighted in diabolic strategy to conquer every soul
with her shrewd provacative-infidelity!
Madalyn with her sadistic life-style and her anti-God spirituality;
diabolically captivated eight magistrates of the US judiciary.
Alluringly with demonized atheistic bewitchery,
she beguiled our Honorable Justices, men of the highest degree;
political representatives of America's democracy.
They were partakers in her spiritual adultery;
of outlawing prayer recitation and Bible reading
in public schools.

Her atheism seductive charm enravished all the Justices;
she ravished all...but one, he alone most Honorable Potter Stewart.
God's faithful minister, Justice Stewart was not mesmerized,
neither would he compromise with Madalyn and her ungodly adulterous web,
the web of high treason against Creator God and his beloved people.

This mischievous web was designed to over-throw Creator God,
and all humanity. Purposely it was devised to annihilate Christianity;
and that includes you and me, undeniably, I am included. This
strange woman of hatery and spiritual harlotry
is out to destroy you, and she's out to!

In the early sixties, Madalyn O'Hare went to and fro,
in the city of Baltimore.
She presented her petition to the Superior Court; however,
that was to no avail. Therefore, she took her plea to the Court of Appeals expressing her civil rights to dethrone God,extinguish His Golden rules,
and to outlaw prayer recitations in the US public schools.

Her request there was also denied;
The Courts of Baltimore refused to be partaker of Madalyn's devilish scheme.
Consequently, militant Madalyn had to seek out a higher authority, if her plot was to materialize.
She wanted people who were fearless of God and weren't concerned about His power, or His wrath.
In the year of our Lord, in 1963;
an atheist militant Madalyn went to Washington, DC,
and there she filed suit against the City of Baltimore
which resulted in the US Supreme Court's decision to outlaw
Bible reading and prayer recitation in public schools.

Edwina Jones Gaines

ed. note. Edwina Gaines submitted the poetry on this page in honor of the the twenty-fifth anniversary of the US Supreme Court's decision to prohibit prayer in pubic schools (June 18, 1963), an outcome fought for by Madalyn Murray O'Hare, a woman with a less than respectable personal history and who,to this day, is "missing."

All writings printed by permission of the authors.

Three poems from Raw, Shari Randolph.

family feud

momma's sisters were always mean!
I wanted to replace them with
nancy or
billy jean

grandmothers two

had two grandmothers honey and babe
one was a hustler one was a maid

i opened my legs wide

i cant look you eye to eye
'cause you might recognize me
you may see
that i'm your mother
the original one
caught sleeping with the enemy
by force
then by habit
now by greed

i wanted someone to come in and behead the beast
i wanted to be with you

and he promised me i could
he said he wouldn't lynch or tar and feather you
he said he wouldn't sell our babies
but he did
then i was giving suck to her babies
trying to appeal to their conscience
but they had none
and i became use to living without you
and i was accustomed to his trinkets
that you could not afford
for we were slaves
then he hired me as his maid


Three poems Jamarra Afi


the night asked,
"have you ever really been in love?"
erzulie laughed.
legs spread eagle across the moon
stars dancing nasty in her hair
the night inquired again,
"why do you have so many lovers?"
erzulie's eyes twinkled
full of moon dust

* A Haitian love goddess


is that the coat
ausar & aset
gave you?
with a blazing ankh
gold & silver sparks flying
on the prowl
crashing through doors
laughing in the face of time
shimmering in the rain
eating up the sun
ripe and bursting like
a bird-of paradise
tell me,
is that the coat?


her dead red lipstick
reminded me of autumn
brown suits/shoulder pads
joan crawford flicks
lady day's side, "i don't cry over you"
dinah washington's pearl handled colt
tenor/alto saxophone solos
that left audiences
nina simone pleading,
"i loves you porgy"
ivan dixon and abbey lincoln
in "nothing but a man"
being hungry/lonely/being so cold
yanking the wind by the collar
long legs dashing
arms/hands swinging
bust/butt rising/falling
head bobbing
she got on the bus


Happy Birthday

My lover gave me a long, warm bath...
With special towels he washed me slowly.
He massaged my body afterwards with fine oil from

Music and songs of love played softly in the background.

Then, he lay my body on several soft pillows.
By candlelight he fed me fruit he had picked and washed himself.

He kissed me deeply, with a hunger I felt too.

He loved me over and over with the tenderness and urgency
of a man very much in love.

Then, before we slept, he wrapped his arms around me and
sang Happy Birthday to me...

from the book Love Dance 1993 by Tonya Richardson


it is a source of beauty i have never seen before...
there's a calm and unassuming feel to an ocean bluer than the sky.
i stood upon a well-traveled bridge admiring small children
playing in the sand. their feet were bare and brown,
their faces aglow with excitement, their voices a joyous hum...
their exploits were my afternoon's delight...

Excerpt from Paradise, a poem in the upcoming volume of poetry
This Life, Tonya Richardson

Sibylla Nash

Recently we compiled the results of the survey taken during the last IBWA mixer. We've discovered that members and non-members alike are thirsty for more information and more exposure to the publishing industry as well as the art world. Networking and book-signings seemed to be the events of preference. Seminars and conferences came in at a close third.

As we approach our 25th anniversary, we are taking measured strides to meet the needs of our members. Our upcoming conference, "Publishing: Mind, Art & Media" promises to enlighten and inspire writers and artists.

As writers, we are all struggling to have our voices heard. That's why organizations like IBWA are so helpful. IBWA provides a forum for writers and artists to share information, tips, advice, and encouragement. IBWA can and will meet your needs, but you have to get involved.

Let us know about events you think we should be involved in. If you read a book and write a review that may be of interest to other writers, send it in. Please e-mail us your accomplishments, your ideas, your events and your suggestions for publication in the newsletter. Send your messages to or We want to hear from you. Meanwhile, we'll continue trying to serve you the best way we know how!

The New IBWA Web Site
Butch Berry

The new International Black Writers & Artists web site is up and running. The address is


Be sure to input this address in EXACTLY as you see it. Tripod is case sensitive. (Yes, that 'IBWA' is supposed to be in all caps.)

The web site features membership information as well as newsletter excerpts and links of interest to writers. It's a work in progress, but it looks great! All we need now is more "hits" more people logging on. Please tell all your friends and sign the guest book. There will be more items of interest as the page evolves.

Persons interested in posting their writings and art work should contact IBWA at the e-mail address. Writings for inclusion online must be in textfile form and must include the appropriate copyright info. All art work should be scanned in and presented via disk or e-mail in tif, gif or jpg format and should be reduced to 75 dpi.

NOTE: If you are one of those few folks in the world who do not have an e-mail address, (even inmates have e-mail now! ) why not get one for free from Hotmail ( com) or Yahoo (www. yahoo. com). These sites may be accessed anywhere as long as you can get onto the Internet via friends or the computers at work or in the public library. Special note to those who use the computers at work: You might want to consider having your own free e-mail address as an alternative to storing your personal e-mail on the company computer! For details on obtaining free e-mail addresses, contact the addresses listed above or speak to Valiant Robinson at IBWA (213) 964-3721.


Black Expressions is published quarterly by IBWA/LA
P O Box 43576, Los Angeles, CA 90043
Voice mail(213) 964-3721
Web Site:

L. A. Hughes & Sibylla Nash, Editors

Interim Board of Directors 1998
Randy Ross, Chair
Gale Madyun, Secretary
Hazel Harrison
Carol Crutchfield
Linda Hughes
Sibylla Nash
Valiant Robinson
C. Jerome Woods