Echelon Network Links

Thursday, January 28, 2010

A New Network For Christian Creatives


January 28, 2010 - - (Detroit, MI) - - Urban Christian Creative (UCC) is a new online social media network for christian creative-types.  As President of Echelon Entertainment, Tavares Carney saw the need to bridge the gap between Christian creatives.  Having established herself as a Christian book reviewer, Carney says, "I found myself promoting to book lovers, only.  I thought - how can I help the authors reach larger audiences?"  Now, Echelon Entertainment aims to cross-promote works of Christian creatives - authors, musicians/singers/songwriters/music producers, filmmakers/actors/actresses, production companies, record labels, marketing and PR professionals, publishers, fashion designers, graphic artists, radio and TV professionals and more. 

In coming months, Christian creatives and professionals from several industries will be recruited to the network.  If you or your business is related to Christian entertainment, UCC is the place to be.

To join UCC, please visit Urban Christian Creative.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Book Review: Wench by Dolen Perkins-Valdez

Wench by Dolen Perkins-Valdez
Amazon Rating: 5
Reviewed by Tavares S. Carney

A Fine Line of Favor

Dolen Perkins-Valdez delivers the gripping tale of primary characters, Lizzy, Reenie, Sweet and Mawu's, lives as slave maids and mistresses during the mid-19th century. Although from separate southern plantations, the mistresses vacation with their white masters to a free-state resort in Ohio each summer, forming a sisterly bond and developing relationships with each other.

Suffering emotional, physical and sexual abuse at the hands of their "owners," the women grow weary, often dreaming of their and their children's freedom. While each of the women has a unique relationship with her respective master, Lizzy, Reenie, Sweet and Mawu share the bond of slavery and mistreatment. Despite the seeming perks each wench receives over all the other slaves at their home plantations, each woman still finds herself living in misery. This story brings readers into the heart-wrenching decisions, painstaking moments and emotional turmoil endured by each of the women as they struggle to save themselves spiritually, physically and emotionally. They walk a fine line of favor with their masters. Should the women stay, or should they run, when the opportunity is staring them right in the face?

This story is unlike any other story I've read about slave women and children. Yes, I've heard the stories and knew these type things happened but never have I been drawn into the minds of the women that have lived this life. Themes of particular interest to me while reading this story were the relationship between the master's wife, Fran, and Lizzy. Lizzy's character is also of the most interest to me in that she was quite indecisive. I understood her indecision. I felt these women's pain and suffering. I also acknowledge the author's underlying message of the possible cause and evolvement of black-on-black prejudices.
After reading this story, I am even more deeply appreciative of the women before me. They suffered tremendously and if it weren't for them I would not be living the life I am today. Any time you read a story and you feel the emotions jumping from the pages, you've got a page turner. The history behind the Tawawa House and what the land is actually used for today is also quite interesting. I would have never known had I not read this book.

Based on this novel, I would read a second offering from Ms. Perkins-Valdez.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010



The 41st NAACP IMAGE AWARDS Airs Live Friday, February 26 On FOX

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif., (January 6, 2010) -- The 41st NAACP Image Awards nominees were announced today during a press conference at The SLS Hotel at Beverly Hills. Taye Diggs (“Private Practice” - ABC), Michael Strahan (“Brothers” - FOX) and “FOX NFL Sunday”), Wanda Sykes (“The Wanda Sykes Show” - FOX), Kyle Massey (“That's So Raven,” “Cory in the House” - Disney Channel), Chris Massey (“Zoey 101” - Nickelodeon) and Tatyana Ali (Young and the Restless – CBS) joined NAACP Image Awards Committee Chair, Clayola Brown, and Vicangelo Bulluck, Executive Producer of the telecast, to announce the categories and nominees. The 41st NAACP Image Awards will air live on Friday, February 26 (8:00 – 10:00 PM ET/PT Tape-Delayed) on FOX.

This year, over 1,200 entries were received. From those entries, a special committee of 300 industry professionals and NAACP leaders from across the country selected five nominees in each of the 53 categories. Any artist, manager, publicist, production company, record label, studio, network or publishing house could submit an entry to the NAACP Image Awards. The final selections are voted on by NAACP members, and winners will be announced during the live airing of the 41st NAACP Image Awards.

The ABC network leads with a total of 22 nominations, followed by NBC with 13, CBS with 12, and FOX, Lifetime and TNT with 9 each. “Grey’s Anatomy” received 6 nominations, followed by “Everybody Hates Chris” and "Tyler Perry's House of Payne" both receiving 4 nominations, followed by "Ugly Betty" with 3.

In the Recording Category, Columbia Records leads with 7 nominations, followed by Atlantic Records and Def Jam both with 5 nominations. J Records/MBK Entertainment received 4, and Interscope Records with 3. Jay-Z and Maxwell both received 5 nominations, followed by Alicia Keys with 3 and Mary J. Blige, Whitney Houston, and Rihanna with 2 each.

In the Motion Picture category, Lionsgate received 13 nominations. Warner Bros. Pictures follows with 7 nominations, Columbia Pictures with 4, and Overture Films with 3.

Returning event sponsors for the 41st NAACP Image Awards include Ford Motor Company, UAW/Chrysler, Sprint, and FedEx.

Founded on February 12, 1909, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) is the nation’s oldest and largest civil rights organization. Its half-million adult and youth members throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities, and monitor equal opportunity in the public and private sectors. For more information on the NAACP IMAGE AWARDS, please visit

NOW . . .  this is not the entire category and nominee list, but for purposes of sharing my hopefuls in the literary category, here are the nominees and my personal faves are bolded.


Outstanding Literary Work – Fiction

•“Basketball Jones” – E. Lynn Harris (deceased) (Doubleday)

•“Before I Forget” – Leonard Pitts, Jr. (Agate Bolden)

•“Life is Short But Wide” – J. California Cooper (Doubleday)

•“The Book of Night Women” – Marlon James Riverhead Books)

•“The Long Fall” – Walter Mosley (Riverhead Books)

Outstanding Literary Work – Non-Fiction

•“Brain Surgeon”: A Doctor’s Inspiring Encounters With Mortality and Miracles – Arnold Mann with Keith Black, MD (Grand Central Publishing)

•“Family Affair: What It Means to be African American Today” – Gil L. Robertson, IV (Agate Bolden)

•“Freedom in My Heart: Voices From the United States National Slavery Museum” – Cynthia Jacobs Carter (National Geographic Books)

•“In Search of Our Roots: How 19 Extraordinary African Americans Reclaimed Their Past” – Henry Louis Gates, Jr. (Crown)

•“Our Choice: A Plan to Solve the Climate Crisis” – Al Gore (Rodale Inc.)

Outstanding Literary Work – Debut Author

•“3rd Generation Country” – BeNeca Ward (Xlibris Corporation)

• “A Question of Freedom” – R. Dwayne Betts (Avery Books)

•“Black Water Rising” – Attica Locke (Harper)

•“Kiss the Sky: A Novel” – Farai Chideya (Atria Books)

• “Lime Tree Can’t Bear Orange” – Amanda Smyth (Three Rivers Press)

Outstanding Literary Work – Biography/Auto-Biography

•“Brother West: Living and Loving Out Loud” – Dr. Cornel West (SmileyBooks)

•“Michelle Obama” – Deborah Willis (W. W. Norton)

•“POPS: A Life of Louis” – Terry Teachout (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

•“Shooting Stars” – LeBron James and Buzz Bissinger (The Penguin Press)

•“Stormy Weather: The Life of Lena Horne” – James Gavin (Atria Books)

Outstanding Literary Work – Instructional

•“Act Like A Lady, Think Like A Man” – Steve Harvey (Amistad)

•“The Conversation: How Black Men & Women Can Build Loving, Trusting Relationships” – Hill Harper (Gotham Books)

•“Down to Business” – Clara Villarosa with Alicia Villarosa (Avery Books)

•“Start Where You Are” – Chris Gardner (Amistad)

•“Your Money or Your Life” – Alvin Hall (Atria Books)

Outstanding Literary Work – Poetry

•“Bicycles” – Nikki Giovanni (William Morrow)

•“Black Nature: Four Centuries of African American Nature Poetry” – Camille Dungy (The University of Georgia Press)

•“Cooling Board: A Long-Playing Poem” – Mitchell L. H. Douglas (Red Hen Press)

•“Mixology: National Poetry Series” – Adrian Matejka (Penguin Group [USA])

•“Roses and Revolutions: The Selected Writings of Dudley Randall” – Melba Joyce Boyd (Wayne State University Press)

Outstanding Literary Work – Children

•“Child of the Civil Rights Movement” – Paula Young Shelton (Random House Children’s Books)

•“Negro Speaks of Rivers” – Langston Hughes (Author), E.B. Lewis (Illustrator) (Disney-Jump at the Sun/Disney Book Group)

•“Our Children Can Soar: A Celebration of Rosa, Barack, and the Pioneers of Change” – Michelle Cook (Bloomsbury Children’s Books)

•“Peeny Butter Fudge” – Toni Morrison and Slade Morrison (Paula Wiseman Books/Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing)

•“Sugar Plum Ballerinas: Toeshoe Trouble” – Whoopi Goldberg (Disney-Jump at the Sun/Disney Book Group)

Outstanding Literary Work – Youth/Teens

•“Claudette Colvin: Twice Towards Justice” – Phillip Hoose (Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group/Farrar Straus and Giroux)

•“Just Another Hero” – Sharon Draper (Atheneum/Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing)

•“Mare’s War” – Tanita S. Davis (Random House Children’s Books)

•“Michelle Obama: Meet the First Lady” – David Bergen Brophy (Collins-An Imprint of HarperCollins Children’s Books)

•“Rock and the River” – Kekla Magoon (Aladdin/Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing)

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Follow Him!

I'd like to share today's devotional from God's Daily Word Ministries, as it speaks volumes to me and I hope it does the same for all of us :-) . . . Happy New Year!
Soon after entering the promised land of Canaan, the children of Israel forgot about God and all He had done.  They soon began to worship the false gods of Baal and the love-goddess, Asherah.  It seemed like every generation from that time forward was tempted into worshipping these false gods.

About five hundred years later, God rose up Elijah to be His chosen spokesman - His prophet.  The Israelites were still being enticed to worship other gods, and the time had come for a direct confrontation between Elijah and the many false prophets of Baal: "Now summon the people from all over Israel to meet me on Mount Carmel. And bring the four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal" (1 Kings 18:19).

Elijah and the false prophets were to pray to their respective gods, with the "winner" determined by how the prayers were answered: "You call on the name of your god, and I will call on the name of the Lord. The god who answers by fire - He is God" (1 Kings 18:24).  But prior to calling on the Lord, Elijah gave a challenge for the people of Israel to make a commitment.

1 Kings 18:21
"How long will you waver between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him; but if Baal is God, follow him."

Elijah prayed, and God answered with enough fire to remove any and all doubt.  The people clearly saw the hand of the Lord and readily made their choice: "The Lord - He is God!  The Lord - He is God!" (1 Kings 18:39).

We face the same challenge today.  However, instead of two or three choices, we now have many gods which continually entice us into worship - many gods who desire our time and energy.  The world offers a long list of "worthy" candidates - television, money, power, prestige, sex, drugs, food, sports, internet, education...the list goes on; "These gods, who did not make the heavens and the earth, will perish from the earth and from under the heavens" (Jeremiah 10:11).  Who (or what) is truly worthy of our worship?

The challenge today is simple.  If the Lord is God - follow Him.  If we have recognized our sinful condition, repented of our sin and asked Jesus to be our Savior, then we must continue by being transformed into His likeness - we must follow Him.  We cannot allow the "distractions" in life to become our god.  We must devote our heart, soul, mind and strength to loving our Heavenly Father, and commit ourselves to whatever tasks He has given us to accomplish.  Our choice is clear, and our response must be boldly decisive.  The Lord is God - Follow Him!

Have a Christ Centered Day!

Steve Troxel
God's Daily Word Ministries
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