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J. Herman Blake

Born John Herman Blake on March 15, 1934, Blake grew up in Mount Vernon, New York, as one of seven children raised by his single mother, Lylace E. Blake. Blake’s family lived in poverty, surviving only by welfare. Blake’s mother encouraged each of her children to participate and excel in school; all seven children completed high school; six received bachelor’s degrees; five achieved master’s degrees; and two earned doctorate degrees.

After serving in the U.S. Army during the Korean War, Blake continued his education with the assistance of the G.I. Bill; he enrolled in New York University in 1955, and received his B.A. degree in sociology in 1960. Blake went on to receive his M.A. degree and his Ph.D. in sociology from the University of California at Berkeley. In 1966, Blake, as the Assistant Professor of Sociology, became the first African American on the University of California Santa Cruz faculty. During his eighteen year tenure, Blake also served as the Founding Provost of Oakes College at the University of California Santa Cruz.

After leaving the University of California Santa Cruz, Blake served as the President of Tougaloo College until 1987; held positions at Swarthmore College; served as the Vice Chancellor at Indiana University; and served as the Director of African American Studies at Iowa State University. In 2002, Blake was named Iowa Professor of the Year and received an Honorary Degree from Indiana University.In addition to his career in education, Blake published several projects including Revolutionary Suicide, an autobiography of Huey P. Newton, which was the result of his research on black militants in urban areas.

Blake also researched many other topics; his work made him a leading authority on the Gullah culture. Additionally, Blake served as the Scholar in Residence and Director of the Sea Island Institute at the University of South Carolina, Beaufort, an institution whose primary focus is the study and promotion of Gullah Cultures. In 2008, the Medical University of South Carolina appointed Blake as the first Humanities Scholar in Residence. Blake served as an advisor to the University’s Humanities Committee and to the President and Provost on matters of cultural enrichment.

Accession Number

A2007.036

Sex

Male

Interview Date

1/31/2007

Last Name

Blake

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Herman

Schools

Northeastern Academy

New York University

University of California, Berkeley

First Name

J.

Birth City, State, Country

Mt. Vernon

HM ID

BLA12

Favorite Season

Spring, Summer

State

New York

Favorite Vacation Destination

Central California

Favorite Quote

Keep On Keepin' On.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

South Carolina

Birth Date

3/15/1934

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Charleston

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Sweet Potato Cobbler

Short Description

University president and sociology professor J. Herman Blake (1934 - ) was the president of Tougaloo College, and was a tenured member of the the University of California Santa Cruz faculty for eighteen years. Blake also authored the Huey P. Newton biography, "Revolutionary Suicide," and is a well-respected as a leading authority on Gullah culture.

Employment

University of California Santa Cruz

Tougaloo College

Iowa State University

Favorite Color

Sky Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of J. Herman Blake's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - J. Herman Blake lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - J. Herman Blake describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - J. Herman Blake recalls his childhood home in Mount Vernon, New York

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - J. Herman Blake describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - J. Herman Blake describes his paternal ancestry on Johns Island, South Carolina

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - J. Herman Blake describes his father, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - J. Herman Blake describes his father, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - J. Herman Blake describes his two oldest brothers

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - J. Herman Blake recalls the generosity of Lillian Tinsley

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - J. Herman Blake lists his siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - J. Herman Blake describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - J. Herman Blake recalls living with the family of Thaddeus Wilson, Sr.

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - J. Herman Blake describe his neighborhood in Mount Vernon, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - J. Herman Blake describes his early education in Mount Vernon, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - J. Herman Blake recalls his influences at Harlem Junior Academy in New York City, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - J. Herman Blake recalls his influences at Harlem Junior Academy in New York City, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - J. Herman Blake recalls learning about African American history

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - J. Herman Blake recalls attending New York City's Harlem Junior Academy

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - J. Herman Blake describes his early work experiences

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - J. Herman Blake remembers being drafted to the U.S. Army

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - J. Herman Blake recalls being stationed in France

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - J. Herman Blake recalls his marriage to Bessie Jefferson Blake

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - J. Herman Blake remembers attending New York University

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - J. Herman Blake recalls his graduate studies at the University of California, Berkley

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - J. Herman Blake describes his social activism in California

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - J. Herman Blake recalls testifying at Huey P. Newton's trial

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - J. Herman Blake remembers visiting Huey P. Newton in prison

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - J. Herman Blake recalls coauthoring 'Revolutionary Suicide'

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - J. Herman Blake remembers author Alex Haley

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - J. Herman Blake describes his civil rights activity in the 1960s, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - J. Herman Blake describes his civil rights activity in the 1960s, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - J. Herman Blake remembers his mother's death

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - J. Herman Blake recalls his mother's pride in his accomplishments

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - J. Herman Blake recalls founding Oakes College in Santa Cruz, California, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - J. Herman Blake recalls founding Oakes College in Santa Cruz, California, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - J. Herman Blake recalls designing a course for Oakes College

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - J. Herman Blake describes the significance of his lapel flower

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - J. Herman Blake describes his work with the Emil Schwarzhaut Foundation

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - J. Herman Blake recalls the service projects he implemented in the Sea Islands

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - J. Herman Blake recalls his students' interactions with the community of Daufuskie Island, South Carolina

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - J. Herman Blake describes Pat Conroy's interpretation of Daufuskie Island

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - J. Herman Blake recalls lessons from the residents of Daufuskie Island

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - J. Herman Blake talks about Pat Conroy's book, 'The Water Is Wide'

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - J. Herman Blake describes storyteller Thomas Stafford

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - J. Herman Blake recalls editing the journal of the National Black Law Students Association

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - J. Herman Blake remembers community activist Thomas Barnwell

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - J. Herman Blake describes the Penn Center on St. Helena Island, South Carolina

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - J. Herman Blake recalls founding Oakes College in Santa Cruz, California

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - J. Herman Blake describes the faculty of Oakes College

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - J. Herman Blake describes the students at Oakes College

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - J. Herman Blake remembers Alex Haley's Kinte Library Project

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - J. Herman Blake describes his friendship with Alex Haley

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - J. Herman Blake recalls watching the filming of 'Roots'

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - J. Herman Blake recalls Alex Haley's article about Daufuskie Island

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - J. Herman Blake recalls leaving Oakes College in Santa Cruz, California

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - J. Herman Blake recalls his presidency at Mississippi's Tougaloo College

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - J. Herman Blake describes the financial challenges he faced at Tougaloo College

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - J. Herman Blake describes the students at Tougaloo College

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - J. Herman Blake describes his philosophy of learning

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - J. Herman Blake recalls a conflict with the alumni of Tougaloo College

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - J. Herman Blake recalls an incident of sexual assault at Tougaloo College

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$8

DAStory

4$1

DATitle
J. Herman Blake recalls coauthoring 'Revolutionary Suicide'
J. Herman Blake recalls his presidency at Mississippi's Tougaloo College
Transcript
Well there was a time when his mother made a mistake and she came with two of her daughters, as I recall, on my day because you see, if you visited with Huey [Huey P. Newton], he wasn't in solitary confinement so we each came on a different day. There was one day when you couldn't visit, that's when his lawyers would come and they weren't on the list anyhow so it was keeping him out of solitary confinement. So on my day we're sitting there, Huey and I talking, and here comes Mrs. Newton [Armelia Johnson Newton] along with one or two of her daughters, there's several of us and they came in. So we were all there talking and in the course of the conversation Mrs. Newton got into talking about Gene Marine, who had written a book ['The Black Panthers'] about the Black Panther Party and this, that and the other and Ms. Newton said, "You know, that white man came and talked to me and then he went and lied on me." She did not like the book. She said, "He lied on me," and she's calling "Huerry"; she didn't say Huey, Huey--, "Huerry." She said, "Huerry, Huerry, why don't you write a book?" And Huey said, "I can't write a book, Dr. Blake [HistoryMaker J. Herman Blake] can write a book," and out of that interchange came the notion that Dr. Blake would do a biography of Huey Newton. There would be a, quote, authorized biography. So I picked up on the idea and started organizing my material, contacted Alex Haley for counsel and began collecting data on Huey Newton, mainly from him. We talked about a lot of things and he thought he was going to be in there for seventeen years and he told me a lot of stuff. Well what Huey would do was he would talk and then I'd come out of the prison [California Men's Colony, San Luis Obispo, California] and I had a tape recorder in my car and as soon as I came out, I would go over what he said and put it on the tape recorder. Now our style of working with, we'd talk about something for two hours and I'd review it. And we'd talk about something more and I'd review it and then before I left, I'd go down the list of issues and when I got in the car, on that tape, one of my students would be driving and I'd be talking on that tape, recording that account and that's how we began to do that. And then in August of 1970, as I recall, his conviction was reversed and he was released. It was at that time we decided to change it from an authorized biography to a first person account with me as, you know, Huey Newton as the author and me assisting but I wrote every line, every single word and I put it in the first person. Now let me say that was a task I would never do again because you have to give up your own personality and your own ego and step into somebody else's body and I was never comfortable with that being a scholar, because you're not doing scholarly work, you're essentially just channeling somebody else's material and ideas and Huey and I had some strong disagreements because I felt there had to be some analytical approaches in there but he did not want that but I don't know how you do this without being analytical. He just wanted it to be descriptive and he wanted it to be the kind of thing that would sell, he saw it selling like 'The Autobiography of Malcolm X' [Malcolm X and Alex Haley], things like that. It didn't but, I mean, it's not a good book but it's all right but that's how that came to be and I wrote it ['Revolutionary Suicide,' Huey P. Newton and J. Herman Blake], like I said, but we had real conflicts. I learned things about him and about his father that he had forgotten or didn't know but he didn't want that stuff in there. Oh, it was interesting.$You were going to tell me about your experience at Tougaloo [Tougaloo College, Tougaloo, Mississippi].$$Well, Clark Kerr, the quintessential college president of the 20th century was one of my mentors, and Clark and I use the same phrase when we talk our presidencies. That is, I left my presidency the same way I entered it: fired with enthusiasm. I went to Tougaloo really wanting to focus on building an academic, intellectual community that would provide upward mobility through intellectual achievement for Mississippi students. Tougaloo was on hard times, it had suffered serious declines in enrollment and it was literally trying to buy students to come to Tougaloo. I did not realize and did not understand that many people wanted me to come to Tougaloo from the University of California [University of California, Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, California] because they thought I would attract back to Tougaloo those outstanding, high achieving students who came to Tougaloo when they couldn't go to the University of Mississippi [Oxford, Mississippi]. That's not what I was interested in. My position was, if they can go elsewhere, they should be encouraged to go elsewhere and we should reach down in the well and bring out those who haven't been able to. This college has a historical contribution in that regard and we should reach those people and I was good at it. I had done it at Santa Cruz so that's what I wanted to do at Tougaloo. There were many people who had no interest in that kind of a mission or that kind of a vision. That was number one. I found myself up against serious financial constraints but even more, a cultural dynamic of negative self-perception that was willing to accept mediocrity, and I found that in key administrators, and I found that in the board of trustees. One of the first things I did when I got to Mississippi was I contacted the former, not the former president, the president of Alcorn State [Alcorn Agricultural and Mechanical College; Alcorn State University, Lorman, Mississippi], Herman Washington [sic. Walter Washington], who was a Tougaloo graduate and Herman Washington told me that my biggest problem at Tougaloo was going to be the believability barrier. People don't believe they can be good. Then I contacted William Winter, the former governor of Mississippi who had done so much to improve education in the state and I recruited him as a mentor with the hope, eventually, of recruiting him to join the board. He came and gave talks to my board at dinner meetings and the first thing William Winter said to me was, "Dr. Blake [HistoryMaker J. Herman Blake], your biggest challenge in Mississippi is the believability barrier," the same thing Herman Washington had said but William Winter was talking a broader context. I did not understand that, I did not understand that. If you have an opportunity to bring the resources and get people to grow, why would they not?

Terrie Williams

Author and public relations entrepreneur Terrie Williams was born in Mt. Vernon, New York, on May 12, 1954. Williams attended Pennington Grade School, where one of her fellow classmates was actor Denzel Washington, and graduated in three years from Mt. Vernon High School in 1971. Williams attended Brandeis University following high school, earning her B.S. degree in psychology in 1975, and then attended Columbia University, where she earned her master’s degree in social work.

After working for a number of years as a social worker, Williams founded the Terrie Williams Agency in 1988, after meeting Miles Davis in the hospital. Williams began representing Davis, and her next big client, Eddie Murphy; since that time, she has gone on to represent superstars such as Janet Jackson, Russell Simmons, Johnnie Cochran, Stephen King, and Sally Jesse Raphael, as well as organizations such as HBO and Essence Communications. The Terrie Williams Agency went on to become a division of PGP Communications, where Williams served as vice chair.

Williams authored three books: The Personal Touch: What You Really Need to Succeed in Today’s Fast-paced Business World, Stay Strong: Simple Life Lessons for Teens and A Plentiful Harvest: Creating Balance and Harmony Through the Seven Living Virtues. Stay Strong has been used nationwide in schools, and was the catalyst for launching the Stay Strong Foundation, a nationwide non-profit organization for youth.

Williams was a highly sought-after speaker, speaking at engagements with Fortune 500 companies, universities, and numerous other organizations. Williams is the recipient of several awards, including being the first African American to win the New York Women in Communications Matrix Award, and the Citizen’s Committee for the New York Marietta Tree Award for Public Service.

In 1998, Williams donated her papers to the Moorland-Spingarn Research Center at Howard University, making them the first gift of papers donated in the public relations field.

Accession Number

A2004.165

Sex

Female

Interview Date

9/17/2004

Last Name

Williams

Maker Category
Organizations
Schools

Mount Vernon High School

Pennington Grade School

Brandeis University

Columbia University

Search Occupation Category
Speakers Bureau

Yes

Speakers Bureau Availability

Any

First Name

Terrie

Birth City, State, Country

Mt. Vernon

HM ID

WIL18

Speakers Bureau Preferred Audience

Youth, Adults, Corporations, Colleges

Speakers Bureau Honorarium

Yes - $5,000 - $10,000

Favorite Season

Fall

Speaker Bureau Notes

Preferred Audience: Youth, Adults, Corporations, Colleges

State

New York

Favorite Vacation Destination

Beaches

Favorite Quote

Stay Strong.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

5/12/1954

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Lemon Cake, Vanilla Ice Cream

Short Description

Author and public relations chief executive Terrie Williams (1954 - ) was the founder of the Terrie Williams Agency, a public relations firm that has represented notables such as Miles Davis, Eddie Murphy, Janet Jackson, Russell Simmons, and Johnnie Cochran. In addition to her public relations work, Williams is also involved in youth social work; she has authored motivational books that are used by schools nationally, and co-founded the Stay Strong Foundation, a nonprofit aimed at helping teens.

Employment

Terrie Williams Agency

PGP Communications

Essence Magazine

Favorite Color

Quartz Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Terrie Williams' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Terrie Williams lists her favorite things

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Terrie Williams describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Terrie Williams describes her maternal grandmother's perseverance during the Great Depression

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Terrie Williams talks about her father and how he met her mother

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Terrie Williams describes her father's career and her early childhood education

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Terrie Williams talks about her ancestry

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Terrie Williams recalls her early childhood memories

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Terrie Williams describes her childhood neighborhood in Mount Vernon, New York

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Terrie Williams describes Robert Fulton Elementary School and Pennington Elementary School in Mount Vernon, New York

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Terrie Williams remembers her influential elementary school teachers

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Terrie Williams describes her childhood personality

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Terrie Williams describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Terrie Williams describes family trips to North Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Terrie Williams recalls her time at Mount Vernon High School in Mount Vernon, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Terrie Williams remembers being a high school exchange student in Colombia, South America

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Terrie Williams recalls her interests and activities at Mount Vernon High School in Mount Vernon, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Terrie Williams talks about battling depression

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Terrie Williams talks about decision to attend Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Terrie Williams reflects on lessons learned at Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Terrie Williams describes her experience working at a state mental institution

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Terrie Williams remembers influential people from Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Terrie Williams describes an impactful sociology course at Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Terrie Williams describes her social work training at Columbia University School of Social Work in New York, New York

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Terrie Williams talks about her entry into the public relations field

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Terrie Williams describes how Eddie Murphy became her first public relations client

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Terrie Williams talks about representing Eddie Murphy

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Terrie Williams talks about her many celebrity clients

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Terrie Williams talks about challenges she faced as a public relations representative

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Terrie Williams talks about representing Miles Davis

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Terrie Williams reflects upon the challenges of being a celebrity

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Terrie Williams talks about her foundation work and her publications

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Terrie Williams talks about the qualities needed for success in the public relations business

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Terrie Williams talks about speaking to young people through The Stay Strong Foundation

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Terrie Williams talks about her work with Project Believe

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Terrie Williams talks about her third book, 'A Plentiful Harvest: Creating Balance and Harmony Through the Seven Living Virtues,' pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Terrie Williams talks about her third book, 'A Plentiful Harvest: Creating Balance and Harmony Through the Seven Living Virtues,' pt. 2[EH1]

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Terrie Williams talks about the future of the Stay Strong Foundation

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Terrie Williams describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Terrie Williams reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Terrie Williams lists well-known people from her hometown, Mount Vernon, New York

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Terrie Williams describes how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Terrie Williams narrates her photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$3

DAStory

2$8

DATitle
Terrie Williams describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up
Terrie Williams describes how Eddie Murphy became her first public relations client
Transcript
What were some of the sights and sounds and smells of growing up?$$Got exposed to a lot, museums. I remember meeting--going to the Negro Ensemble Company [(NEC), New York, New York] plays. We would go as I said to museums and I remember going to the [Solomon R.] Guggenheim [Museum, New York, New York] and meeting Mike Wallace, I didn't know who Mike Wallace was but my mom [Marie Kearney Williams] was like '60 Minutes,' that's Mike Wallace, I just remember that. I remember the Guggenheim and meeting Mike Wallace.$$Was it a formal meeting of him or was he just there?$$He was just there, he was just hanging out at the museum like we were and I started being intrigued early on for some reason when I met celebrities, I started kind of collecting autographs even when we would go to the NEC productions--the Negro Ensemble Company productions being rather excited about meeting performers afterwards and getting their autographs or in Mount Vernon [New York] if city hall was having some kind of production or a concert, I would want to meet people afterwards who performed and kind of get their autographs or something like that. I was kind of intrigued by those things early on and I guess I mentioned that because my life became as an adult representing some of the biggest names in the business but it was just funny to me that early on I just had a little bit of intrigue about that but very early on. It was interesting the way you posed that question the sights and sounds and smells of growing up. Just early on my parents wanted to expose my sister and me to just as many things as possible and there was a girl that I'd met, her name was Judy Singer--Judith Singer who had five brothers. She lived on the north side of Mt. Vernon and very, very cultured family, they were always very, very interesting people coming in and out of her house all of the time and hung out with her and her family a lot. Her brothers would sometimes take her to the city and so we would do lots of different kinds of things with her and her brothers. So just venturing out to see the world and always being exposed to culture, art, poetry, photography, that's what my life was like--our life was like.$$So a lot of what happened outside of Mount Vernon impressed you in terms of culture and learning.$$And also my dad [Charles Williams] was really in to horses so we used to go to a ranch every summer and hang out and we'd meet people there. I would ride the horses but I was really scared of them, really scared. I think horses are absolutely exquisite animals, I love looking at horses but I was scared to ride those things, but we used to do that, too--$Did you have any prior experience in public relations?$$Just those two classes that I had taken and it was an amazing--the two classes that I had taken, the volunteer work and then Essence was really my training ground and it was there that I built the foundation of my business at Essence. They knew that I had a strong entrepreneurial spirit. I gave them 110 percent and then some. I honored my position there, I never shirked my responsibility but at the same time I always knew I was going to have my own. I had a very fiercely independent streak. There's that entrepreneurial thing in me. So they always knew that I was going to have my own thing and then during the time I was there, Cicely Tyson who was then married to Miles Davis had a birthday party for him and because Miles and I had stayed in touch, I was invited to the birthday party. Eddie Murphy was there with a friend and his cousin and so I established a rapport with them. Everybody always wants something from the celebrity. I would say to hey to Eddie but I was connected with those two guys and at the end of the night--it was on a boat and everybody was there. Those two guys invited me to come to a club where Eddie was going to be performing. So I went and took really good care of me and my guests and that was it. Sent them a thank you note and then I stayed in touch with them for the next year. Sent them articles that I thought they would find interesting 'cause I was reading five newspapers a day and several magazines and then I started to be invited to parties at Eddie's house. If he was shooting a movie, I'd be invited to the movie set and it just unfolded. I knew they weren't reading everything I was reading and then one day I went to a function that I didn't want to go to, dragged myself out of the bed to go and I get there and this woman who's kind of nosey 'cause I was like the only black person there and she wanted to know why I was there. We started talking and I realize that we had spoken on the phone before and she casually mentions oh I heard Eddie Murphy is looking for a PR [Public Relations] person. It was the third time I had heard it and I knew at that moment that I was supposed to represent Eddie. I got a little bit nervous 'cause I was like this is the third time I'm hearing it. I know that somebody else is on this too. So I went home, wrote a letter to Eddie. I had the home address and the home number because I had been closely in touch with those guys. I sent a note to the home and to the office. I said Eddie we've seen each other from time to time but you don't really know who I am and what I can do, this is what I've been doing at Essence, these are people who can vouch for me and my work and I just said I'd like to represent you. I sent it off, called the house one day a month later to talk to one of the guys, Eddie heard I was on the phone and he said I got your package and I would love to have you represent me just like that. Then I started crying, I was like oh what am I going to do now. You've got to be careful what you ask for, I didn't have any money, I didn't know how to run a business and certainly had never represented anybody of that magnitude, and I was still at Essence. He was the number one box office draw in the world. So I just have a strong belief in God, I should be able to launch a business with Eddie Murphy as your first client. That was a sign from the creator that that was what I supposed to do and even though I didn't know how I was going to do it, I just knew I was supposed to, and that's how it started.