By Lavenia Chappel
A diverse group of authors presented about the books they had written on President Obama’s accomplishments, breaking into Hollywood and how news of a lynching affected black women at a bridge party at the 10th annual Literary Luncheon on Feb. 25. The luncheon, sponsored by the Nashville chapter of Les Gemmes was attended by over 300 people.
Les Gemmes is a national organization that provides cultural and educational opportunities, positive role models and boosts the self esteem of teenaged girls who are referred to as “Jewels.”
Michael Days, Pulitzer Prize winning editor of the Philadelphia Daily News and the author of “Obama’s Legacy: What He Accomplished as a President, “was the first of three authors to address the book-loving audience.
Days’ book highlights the accomplishments of the 44th President and discusses how Obama transformed the economy and stopped the country from sinking into a deeper recession. At the time the book idea was pitched to Days, he originally declined but after a little persuasion he dedicated nearly a year to writing the book.
“I was at a place in my life where I was looking for change, never did I think that a book will come of it but there were a lot of things I felt needed to be documented,” said Days. His book documents Obama’s eight years as the most important man in America and on the planet. It was the perception people had that Obama had done nothing for the country that persuaded Days to write the book. Days said that Obama represents humanity, gender and culture and didn’t differentiate based on race, sexual preference or religion. Obama is a man of value and generosity and that made it even more of an honor to acknowledge his accomplishments, he said.
Sandra Seaton is an American playwright and librettist and also the author of “The Bridge Party.” As her first play, The Bridge Party depicts a group of African American women who dealt with racism while maintaining dignity and sense of self.
Her play was an attempt to acknowledge unrecorded history. She based the play on family stories describing the way of life of middle-class blacks before the civil rights movement.
“In a world with legal racism it was a significant accomplishment to build a life with rituals affirming the importance of friendships, families and our own personal lives,” Seaton said.
Angela Hutchinson, casting director and author of “BreaKiNG iNTo Hollywood,” talked about her personal journey of driving across the country to pursue her entertainment career in Los Angeles. It is an adventurous memoir. Hutchinson attributes her success to trusting her instincts.
She shared a personal story with the audience about how she was kidnapped for a short period of time when she was six-years-old. Even as a child, she trusted her instincts to open the car door of her kidnapper and jump out of a moving vehicle. She had bruises but her physical injuries were not too serious.
Hutchinson said her instinct allowed her to be present at the luncheon, her instinct led her to having the successful career she has as the author of six books, producing two movies and having a loving husband and three kids. “Trusting your instincts can determine whether you live a mediocre life or a life of abundance,” Hutchinson said.
Hutchinson challenged the audience to not chase after their dreams but to live them and doing so by trusting their instincts. She left the audience with a quote from her six-year-old daughter, “You shouldn’t want your foot in the door. You need to be either outside of it or inside of the door.”
Other authors who also displayed their books for purchase and signing included Karen Sloan-Brown, Allyson L. Young and 13-year-old Robyn Gordon. In addition, Jewel Tate’Anna Thompson performed a solo dance.
The annual luncheon is the major fundraiser for scholarships for the students. Les Gemmes provides scholarships for each year of college to graduating seniors and follows a program of lighting the path for girls.