Interview with Ella Curry | Sound Authors Radio
December 13, 2008
Dr. Kent: Welcome back to Sound Authors. Today is August 29th, it’s the anniversary of many things today but of course this week has been very interesting as it was the anniversary of women’s right to vote and the I have a dream speech yesterday. My next guest on the show is the host of the black authors’ network radio and has done many other things, including web design and other creations. Welcome to the show Ella Curry.
Ella Curry: Hello, how are you?
Dr. Kent: Very good. Give me a nutshell of what you do for the world.
Ella Curry: Okay; I’m the CEO and president of EDC Creations and that’s a graphic design firm in Maryland. I’m also the founder of the Literary Society Bookclub and I’m the founder of the black authors network radio show. That pretty much covers all 24 hours of my day!
Dr. Kent: I’ll bet it does. Now tell me a little bit about how important to you is this week in history?
Ella Curry: This week in history is very important for me because I guess you can tell from my accent that I’m from the south. My family worked years in the civil rights movement and actually we have four generations to watch Barack Obama accept the nomination to run for the presidency last night and that was phenomenal because two generations were very active in civil rights and never thought they would be living to see this day.
Dr. Kent: I watched the entire speech last night and it was so well choreographed with the fireworks and the music beforehand and just it was amazing to see that every time they panned to faces, everybody in the audience, all of those thousands of people were just transfixed watching the stage.
Ella Curry: Yes, I think everyone there and I don’t even think it was the décor; it was just soaking in the fact that there is this many people here to see an African American man accept this kind of honor. I think they were just really soaking in the vibe, the feel of the event. I don’t even think it had anything to do with the glamour of the stage. It was the message that he was bringing about change.
Dr. Kent: People really had tears in their eyes, it was good to see. Now you’ve got some radio shows, you work with this graphic design firm; what drives you?
Ella Curry: I have a love for literature. I’ve been reading ever since I was a small kid and I have a collection that’s phenomenal of books. And I worked at the ### Bookstore before they went out of business as a buyer and a lot of people submitted their books to the bookstore for review or sought placement on our bookshelves. I was the head buyer’s executive assistant and it was my job to turn these people down. I wasn’t allowed to tell them why, I was supposed to send out a form letter. It was heart-wrenching because a lot of times they would email me back because I was the only contact they had or they would call me and it’s like I had just killed their dream. So I turned my marketing company around and focused primarily on the literary world so I could help these people see where they went wrong.
Dr. Kent: Give me an example of that.
Ella Curry: We had a certain protocol for submitting books. You had to download our submission form and you had to send all the required items and one of those items was a professionally prepared press kit. A lot of people never researched ### bookstores to know that we had guidelines on submission so when they didn’t follow them, that said that they didn’t really take interest in what they were trying to put out. We didn’t spend a lot of time researching for them and another thing was a lot of the people that submitted books didn’t know what a press kit was or didn’t take the time to prepare one and that said a lot about them. They weren’t industry savvy. So with EDC Creations I started reaching out to authors to teach them how to come across as a professional industry savvy individual.
Dr. Kent: Have you ever thought of getting in there yourself and writing a book?
Ella Curry: You know I don’t think I have the heart to write one. Now that I’m on the promotions side of it and I’ve been on the retail dividing side of it. Its kind of a tough industry, I don’t think I ever want to write one, because it’s not writing that’s hard, it’s actually promoting it and getting it out to the reading public.
Dr. Kent: I’d like to sit here and talk some more about Barack Obama if that’s okay with you. I feel like the whole world should be abuzz about this thing and I was actually kind of amused. I always watch CNN and CNN sometimes has a little bit conservative approach but last night they were just like kids in the candy store, they loved it. I really loved that too. What network did you watch?
Ella Curry: I watched I think Fox network. I watched it on channel 7 so I’m almost certain that’s Fox News Network.
Dr. Kent: Was it pretty much the same?
Ella Curry: We were a few minutes ahead of CNN for some reason because I was watching it and my family in Alabama was on the phone and we were all watching it and it came on here in DC before it did there.
Dr. Kent: Wow. When he talks about a message of change, they said he really needs to and if we thought about Barack Obama as an author with that incredible speech, did he pass the grade? Did he fit the bill?
Ella Curry: I think so and I’d read his other books and he has a new one that’s going to release. So I think he did incredible. He did a fantastic job because there was some doubt in a few peoples minds if he had the political maturity to hold this position. He came across very confident and the one thing right now in this society we need to hear is that somebody understands us and where we are. The one thing that stood out the most for me and it almost had me teary eyed was when he said his mother was lying in the bed dying of cancer and she was on the phone fighting with the insurance company. That broke my heart because there’s a lot of people in the south, that’s where I’m from and know the most about, that have no healthcare. And a lot of them die from tragic death because they don’t have money to get their medications or to have surgeries that they need and that kind of thing, so that was what brought tears to my eyes. I’ve had people dear to me to die because they didn’t have healthcare.
Dr. Kent: It was such a moving thing for him to say in a public speech like that. I can’t imagine not tearing up talking about personal stuff like that about myself. I was really moved by the speech, I’m really moved by a candidate. I don’t usually come out and talk about it on the show, but it was really a special night last night. I feel like my grandchildren are going to be watching that speech.
Ella Curry: I had my 13 year old watching it and she was very nonchalant because she’s grown up in a time and place where there’s not much racism in her life. She’s not affected by it or nothing tragic has been brought to her attention about racism. She attends school here in Maryland and African Americans and Caucasians are the minority in the school. There is all sorts of races, I’m serious, it’s all the Asians, India, Latinos from different countries, so she is not really, this doesn’t mean a lot to her now at 13 because she’s grown up with it. She doesn’t see black or white, she doesn’t see any of the different prejudices that I see at 43. I’m thinking that when she looks back at this at a later date as an adult, it’s going to have a significant bearing on her at that time.
Dr. Kent: Oh I think so. You also have black author’s network radio so it is important to you to focus in on black authors. It’s fascinating in the industry there are a lot of authors, something like hundreds of thousands every year. How is it to focus on black authors?
Ella Curry: Well you know when I started black authors network radio, I wanted to give the self-published and the new authors a platform because the publishing houses they get a lot of energy, they have a lot of publicity, but I wanted to give the people who were just entering the industry a fighting chance to get their work out there. Over the past month, we don’t always have just African American authors on the show. We have American community leaders, educators, and people in the media, but we also bring in people that aren’t African American because we need to know their perspective, their take on what we are saying. a lot of times with black people, we blame everything that’s happened to us on the government or white people or anybody but ourselves and a lot of times when we have shows like radio shows, we beat up other races and the government but no one is ever there to speak out for the other side. So doing my show, I sometimes bring on non-African Americans so they can stand up and answer these challenges.
Dr. Kent: It is such a fascinating time. I grew up partially in the south in Louisiana and Shreveport and it was such a divided city, and just a horrible thing to see how divided people were. Now I live out on long island and I teach here at the university. It’s so diverse and again the kids don’t see a different race when they look at each other but where I grew up in Louisiana you sure did. It was a big issue. What’s your take on that; the difference between north and south with respect to race?
Ella Curry: Let me tell you, back in the day my mother was the first African American woman in my county that openly dated a white man so I have to say my childhood was very difficult. Black people didn’t like us and white people didn’t like us. Where I lived there was a clear divide. There was white people in their section and black people in their section. And I don’t care how affluent the black person was; they didn’t cross that line and live anywhere but in our section. So I had issues that arised with the KKK and a number of other things in our community. So I grew up I have to admit quite a bit racist. I had some hard opinions about white people, but they were formed due to things that I had been through.
I worked in the textile industry as a manager and I was one of the few black people to be a manager. I am sure I was not paid half what my white counterparts were paid. So I had reasons to be racist but I’ve moved to Maryland and I brought my daughter and my child introduced me to another way of thinking. She now has white friends and Indian friends and I didn’t want to teach racism, I didn’t want to teach her to have these hard feelings I had. So these people started coming into my home and therefore I had to meet their parents. So now I seen that some of them had the same challenges that I had.
Dr. Kent: That’s what’s so fascinating about last night looking at all the faces watching Barack Obama, you know?
Ella Curry: I’m now I don’t guess you don’t really call Maryland the north, but it’s northern for me coming from Alabama. Its different mindset where I’m at now. My neighbors are its like I live in the United Nations. I have people from all nationalities living in my community and I have to intermingle with all sorts of races because of my child. I don’t have any of those hard feelings I had when I was in Alabama because I was continuously exposed. It was in my face every day that people didn’t like me because I was black. But here I feel like I stand a better chance here. I own my own company, three companies and they are very productive and we offer a lot to the community. I could never run the business I run here in my hometown in Alabama. And that’s sad.
Dr. Kent: I think that’s what I see a great deal of hope in Barack Obama. What do you see possibly happening if he’s elected president? I sure think that he will be but what do you see happening for healthcare and for human rights and those things?
Ella Curry: The main thing with healthcare, he may not be able to get the universal healthcare passed, and I’ll be okay with that. But if we can just get help, supplements for people who cant get their medicines. If he can just get insurance; you know during Hillary Clintons reign, she got the first kids and that most of all the kids in the rural America was able to have health insurance. It didn’t pay everything, it was based on your income, but it was more than we had. The kids were being taken care of.
If Barack Obama can get something on that level, lovely. But the one thing I see that’s going to change for the African American community if he’s elected president is this: All African American kids now have hope. Our young black men can see another black man as president, that means that anything is possible and that’s the most powerful thing for me is now we have young black men in droves registering to vote. They have hope now, they can see it happening.
Dr. Kent: I sure do hope if the whole African American population comes and votes, man that’s going to be a wash. It would be amazing. Even in Florida I heard that if the African American population comes out, that might decide Florida.
Ella Curry: If he gets that crew, that’s phenomenal.
Dr. Kent: Well this has been a real honor speaking with you. We can find you on the web, the marketing work you do and the design at edccreations.com. Where else can we find out about you?
Ella Curry: Actually its edc-creations.com and you can also find my work, my book club and the literary work at the sankofaliterarysociety.org.
Dr. Kent: I really hope you continue to do what you’ve been doing for authors. It’s a rough world out there for authors and of course hosting a radio show is the best thing in the world so I love that you’re doing that as well. Gosh, I sure hope Barack Obama wins this election.
Ella Curry: Oh most definitely; he’s going to win. And when he does, I’m going to put it on the front page of the Sankofa literary society – all over.
Dr. Kent: Well it’s been a real honor speaking with Ella Curry. We can find out about her on the web at edc-creations.com or sankofaliterarysociety.org. Talk to you soon, thanks for being on the show.
Ella Curry: Thank you.
Dr. Kent: My next guest after the break is going to be Leonard L. Berry. He’s the co-author of Management Lessons from the Mayo Clinic: Inside one of the world’s most admired service organizations. There’s a lot of insight in that book, especially how to run businesses and so forth. Come on back for that.