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October 4, 2007

Etan Thomas Is So Much More Than An Athlete

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When I get bad news, I often ask myself “is there a greater good?” and “what is the higher purpose of what is happening”. I have to have something to hold on to, or some kind of hope that I will come out of the situation ok. Well today, my client and friend Etan Thomas, Center for the Washington Wizards, Author, Spoken Word Artist and Activist is dealing with some pretty devastating news. He is dealing with a heart issue that is potentially career threatening.

Anyone who has ever had the pleasure to meet Mr. Thomas knows that they are in the presence of greatness. I have to admit, I have never watched a Washington Wizards game, I was one of those who kind of lost track and fell by the wayside during the strike, was that in ’99? Anyways, a whole bunch of new players came in, people got traded here and there and I was lost. But lately Mr. Thomas has inspired me, not for what he does on the court, but rather his impact off of the court.

This summer I interviewed the incredibly down to earth Etan at the NAACP Author Pavilion. He stopped through to sign his book “More Than An Athlete” before he spoke as the Keynote Speaker at the Youth Luncheon (mind you, he left the Convention and took a flight on a mission to Kenya). He is Senator Obama’s NBA Representative and despite his celebrity status is not afraid to speak out against the War in Iraq or the Republican Party that engaged us in the war in the first place.

When I got the news of Etan’s health status, I immediately had a feeling of peace, knowing that everything was going to be all right. You see, God forbid he never plays professionally again, but with every fiber of my being I believe that God has a greater purpose for Etan. The NBA is just the platform for his voice to be heard. This brother is serious. He has something to say and has the power to engage and influence with his words. Yes, you listen at first because he is an “NBA Basketball Star”, but after hearing what he has to say, you truly realize that he is “More Than An Athlete”.

Etan my brother, keep you head up, we are praying for you and are with you. There is a greater good for your life, please believe that.

October 1, 2007

Alek Wek In The Cafe with Mocha

On Wednesday September 19th I had the utmost pleasure of hosting Ms. Alek Wek In the Café. We had a wonderful chat discussing her latest project “Alek, From Sudanese Refugee to International Supermodel. She was everything I hoped she would be, poised, witty, and very sharp. It was refreshing to speak with someone who lives such a privileged life, but still manages to be so down to earth and humble. Perhaps it is her memory of where she is coming from that keeps her grounded, or quite likely her vision of where she is going.

This Supermodel, Entrepreneur, Designer and now Author was simply radiant as she shared with us her humble beginnings, her love of family and the importance of following your own path. “Don’t let nobody tell you that you cant do something”, she said as she recalled being turned down for numerous jobs in her early years of modeling. She also spoke of having a meager “go-see” wardrobe while the other new models in the agency received wardrobe stipends to go to their appointments. To all of the hardships that she overcame, she credits having a strong family and great friends. “I don’t walk around thinking, oh I’m so beautiful and oh I’m so brilliant. That would be silly, I am just me and I am using my voice to help others and to make a difference”.

But beautiful and brilliant you are Ms. Alek and the pleasure was all ours. To see the Interview in its entirety please go to http://www.theoraclegroup.net and click on Book of the Month

Book Festival Weekend

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Maurvene Williams, Mocha, LOC Staffer & Selah

So I went to the National Book Festival this weekend. For the first time I was able to take in the event as media and not as part of the event planning committee, and I have to say that I enjoyed myself.

Authors of Color in attendance included Jan Spivey Gilchrist and Ashley Brian My America, Edward P. Jones All Aunt Hagar’s Children, Sheila P. Moses Baptism and my girl Victoria Rowell The Women Who Raised Me.

It was a beautiful Autumn day and it was amazing to see the thousands of booklovers converge on the National Mall, children, families, even Bullseye the Target Dog was there taking pictures with “whomsoeverwill”.

I got a chance to connect again with Maurvene Williams, the Program Officer for the Library of Congress’s Center for the Book. One of Maurvene’s many responsibilities include getting all of the authors to the National Mall. An amazing task when you think that this event usually includes 60-90 Authors speaking and signing within an 8 hour time period. She is definitely my “large-scale-author-event-mentor”.

If you needed a little more “color” to quench your literary thirst, Karibu Books helped in that area. While the National Book Festival was going on, less than 5 minutes away the Author Pavilion at the Congressional Black Caucus was in full swing. Authors like Victoria Christopher Murray, Eddie Levert and Lyah Leflore, Master P and Russell Simmons were in attendance. And if you still needed more, all you had to do was head down 95 and 40 minutes later step onto the grounds of the Baltimore Book Festival where Justine and Rev Run to the other extreme Kerrine Steffans were doing their thing.

Oh how I love DC in the fall!

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