So if you couldn't make it through the video, here's a little sum-up of the panel that I wrote for the website of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund The Defenders Online, edited by the estimable Stacey Patton. That big, honkin' picture of me? Didn't mean to bogart. That was the art director's call--I sent 'em a few things, not all of which featured me.
Founded in 2007 by a group of writers, editors and booksellers,
ringShout: A Place for Black Literature
is dedicated to recognizing, reclaiming and celebrating
excellence in contemporary literary fiction and nonfiction
by black writers in the United States.
Why the name ringShout?
One of the first dances created by
Africans brought to America as slaves
in the 1700s, the ring shout was a
sacred circle dance of salvation that enabled
a community to find perserverance,
provided solace and rejuvenation,
and sheltered many early nuances of
Africanist culture and practice. (Adapted from Thea Nerissa Barnes,
The Association of Dance of the African Diaspora Dictionary 2005-2006)
We hope that our ringShout can be the same for serious, skilled black writers creating ambitious fiction. We also want to assert our centrality to all facets of the American experience, literary and otherwise.