Submitted by Nicole Duncan-Smith
The Arts and Letters Committee of the Brooklyn Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. hosted its 40th Annual Black Book Fair on Saturday, Feb. 11 and Sunday, Feb. 12 from 12 to 4 p.m. The theme was “TECH LIT: The Brooklyn Bridge to Books and New Media” and the chapter focused on how technology amplifies the voice of the author.
For 40 years, starting in February of 1983, the chapter has hosted a Black Book Fair to help authors of African descent reach the diasporic audience. Throughout the decades, the event has shifted to a virtual platform and used technology to promote Black and Brown books to the community.
This year, they welcomed four outstanding guests.
Bruce Jackson, the associate general counsel at Microsoft and the managing director for strategic partnerships out of the office of the president at Microsoft, shared days after its release, his new book, “Never Far From Home: My Journey from Brooklyn to Hip Hop, Microsoft, and the Law.” His testimony of sacrifice and endurance inspired all, but also served as the personification of fortitude.
Lande Yoosuf, a filmmaker who transferred her film “Second Generation Wedding” into the novel “Ko-Foe: The Story of a Nigerian, Muslim Family in the New York Diaspora,” shared what it is like to be an independent balancing the complexity of being first generation Nigerian American and the nuance of her lens.
Taiia Smart-Young, one of the outstanding chapter sorors, released her second book titled, “Love You, Mean It: A Self-Love Journal.” During her conversation, she spoke about her journey from being a shy young lady to a bold writing coach and pulling out of others their magic. She shared how writing a book is more than just putting words to paper, but about creating industry around the book that drives revenue through a myriad of ways. For her, it is coaching, workshopping, editing, and more.
Miles Marshall Lewis, a Baldwinite immersed in Hip-Hop culture, shared his journey as one of the first music critics to concentrate on rap. From Prince to Jay-Z, he has pulled out magic from some of the world’s more dynamic stars, and as the author of “Promise That You Will Sing About Me: The Power and Poetry of Kendrick Lamar” unpacked through a socio-political eye the brilliance of the Pulitzer Prize-winning emcee.
The event also gave space for members of the Arts and Letters Committee and chapter to talk about the history of the Black Book Fair, stretching back over four decades, and the need for technology, literacy, and the access to be an action issue for our community going forward. Highlighting the disparity within classrooms, kindergarten through the university, especially with youth in transitional housing with no access to broadband.
As the world becomes more digitized, Delta must be committed to bringing everyone to the space with the tools to succeed.