LGBT authors discuss their books and provide an insight to their motivation as well their inspiration for writing. Each author will do a short reading from their book and all books will be available for sale.
Hankins is the author of the novels K-Rho: The Sweet Taste of Sisterhood and SBF Seeking... and the short story Three Is the Magic Number. La Toya serves as co-chair of Shades of Pride–organizer of the annual Triangle Black Pride. She’s an active supporter of LGBT issues and health disparities that affect her community. Her literary influences include Zora Neale Hurston, Walter Mosley, Anne Rice, and Pearl Cleage. Her motto, borrowed from Hurston, is “I do not weep at the world, I am too busy sharpening my oyster knife.” La Toya is a North Carolina native currently residing in Raleigh. A graduate of East Carolina University in Greenville, NC, she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism with a minor in Political Science. In college, she became a member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority and later served as second vice president for one of the largest graduate chapters in the state. She divides her free time between being a proud pet parent of a terrier named Neo and volunteering in her community.
Khafre K. Abif, community organizer, Southern AIDS Coalition, is an Atlanta-based AIDS & Bisexual activist, writer, editor, blogger and artist who has been thriving with HIV for 27 years. Khafre self-identifies as a Bisexual man. Khafre is the founder/executive director of Cycle for Freedom, Inc. Khafre has been honored with The 2015 POZ 100: Celebrating Long-Term Survivors. Khafre was among the Bisexuals at The White House in October 2015 As a writer, Khafre has contributed the AIDS literary history as editor of the anthology Cornbread, Fish and Collard Greens: Prayers, Poems & Affirmations for People Living with HIV/AIDS, AuthorHouse 2013. His new publishing imprint, Ubuntu Press, has several forthcoming works including Raising Kazembe: A Memoir, a collection of journal letter written by an HIV positive father to his son. Sistah’s Speak (voices of HIV positive women) is the working title for a collection of short fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, personal narratives, critical essays and visual art from women living with HIV/AIDS.
Rashid Darden is a novelist. His works include Lazarus, Covenant, Epiphany, and Birth of a Dark Nation. His 2016 short story "Smith & Jones: Young Americans" was included in the David Bowie memorial anthology "47-16." Rashid is also a writing teacher, speaker, photographer, mentor, and National President of Gamma Xi Phi Professional Arts Fraternity.
Life's Journey: Love, Life, & Spirituality is the first of many titles to come from him through the publishing division of his company - Healing For The Soul (H4TS) Media, LLC named H4TS Publishing. He's currently working on writing the stage play, "In My Father's House: His Hidden Truth," as well as "Shattered Innocence: Abandoned & Alone" (the first of a trilogy of novels).
Ben Robinson III is a blogger, poet and actor from Philadelphia. A graduate of Temple University's school of Broadcast, Telecommunications and Mass Media, Ben has enjoyed success as a radio host, content producer and presenter. But his first love will always be writing. 2016 marks his first year as a published author with two books, "The Buckleys" and "Shane's Story Volume I: Illusions."
In 2014 while trying to figure some things out about life, Tavion Scott discovered he had a passion for writing. Although the Northern Virginia native previously never felt compelled to become an author, he couldn’t shake the attraction between him and the craft. Eventually that nagging feeling led him to begin writing down some ideas. Following the traditional path of many legendary writers that came before him, Tavion allowed the words to flow from his pen to the paper. Literally. Inspired by the genius of James Baldwin, the authenticity of Maya Angelou, and the freshness of Rashid Darden, Tavion focused on composing stories that needed to be told and that would impact readers that ventured to ride along on his journey of creativity.
Out of his passion and inspiration came along his first novel "Majoring in Me (Acceptance)," the tale of a young black man in college that struggles to accept his own sexuality. While fiction, this first book of the "Majoring in Me" series draws from some personal experiences of Tavion. As a collegiate student at a predominately white institution, he wrestled with his own sexuality and trying to merge it with his strong Christian faith. The series also draws from some stories of others as well as an active imagination. With the first installment, Tavion hopes readers will be able to identify with the main character’s complicated journey of self-acceptance in trying to marry his identity with his religion; all while, navigating through some hatred of his heterosexual counterparts via a black fraternal organization.
While creating the story that unfolds in his first novel, Tavion developed According to T. A blog where people can go and ask advice about whatever is troubling them. Whether it’s a question about dating, or an annoying best friend, or an aggravating boyfriend, or just about issues that affect the LGBT community, he’s available to offer a distinct opinion. His idea was to have an anonymous space where members of the LGBT community, especially black gay men, could go to get unbiased answers to questions they may have. The site is reminiscent of Steve Harvey’s “Strawberry Letter” or the renowned “Dear Abby” column.
Beyond his desire for writing his own projects, Tavion is captivated by the art of great story telling. Hence his love of all things Shonda Rhimes. From "Grey’s Anatomy" to "Scandal," he’s a fan. In addition, to know Tavion is to know that he always has a song in his heart and head. Whether it’s a prolific verse from Kendrick Lamar, a catchy melody from Beyoncé, a throwback rhyme from Lauryn Hill or a chorus from Kirk Franklin, Tavion is constantly jamming out to something.
As a single mother of two children, Antoinette White comes from humble beginnings understanding the task of motherhood and work-life balance. Antoinette possesses a passion for helping others and has often inspired them with her story because she never allowed life challenges to stop her from achieving her goals.
She is the Vice President of Education for Toastmasters International at her local club. She completed her Bachelors in Computer Science and MBA in Business Management. Antoinette is an energetic Motivational Speaker, Life Coach, Poet and Author of her memoir, "Who’s Protecting Me."
Antoinette zeal for helping others stay resilient and conquer challenges has placed her in demand by numerous women’s groups and civic organizations. She has also been a featured keynote speaker at conferences. She was hopeless and homeless, but now determined to help others. She lives by this motto: “If you change your mind, you can change your destiny.”
Marcel Emerson is originally from Seattle, Washington but has been living in DC for the last sixteen years. He has a bachelor's of science degree in Biology and Master's in Business Administration. He has always been an avid reader and showed an early interest in writing as a youth. However, his first novel took years to write and publish, due to life's challenges and demands. Emerson is currently a self published author with five novels under his belt. Marcel's latest book is entitled "What About Your Friends." Emerson has masterfully cultivated an underground following of readers that want stories that aren't being sold in bookstores or found in public libraries. What sets Emerson a part from his contemporaries his thought provoking tales of love, betrayal, lust and success that captivate readers from the beginning to the end. Emerson's characters are as dynamic and unique as those very readers turning the pages of his novels. You won't find anything like a novel from Author Marcel Emerson, and you may just find a character that resembles you. Emerson also enjoys writing songs and has several of his songs on iTunes, TiDAL and Apple MUSIC.
David Maurice Parker is a native of Washington, DC and graduate of the prestigious Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Vocal Music. With a love for writing, he won numerous poetry contests between 2004-2005 with his poems "If My Heart Could Talk," "I'm Attracted To You," and "When You Leave This World. He was a featured poet in The International Society of Poets' publication Twilight Musings in 2006 with the poem, "Turmoil."