Black Blogger Spotlight

20 Questions with Ife AKA Affrodite

Ife_affrodite_ifelicious[1]

Blogger:    Ife

Blogs:   Affrodite’s Adventures In Nappy Hair (affrodite.net) and Ifelicious Thoughts (ifelicious.com)

Maybe it was the screen name and maybe it was the whole accepting and celebrating the nappyness of our hair that was the connection; whatever the reason, I enjoy reading this young lady’s blogs. She has a wonderful blogging spirit and voice. It’s also apparent that her wonderful evolution continues as she shares what’s on her mind through her blogs.

Enjoy...

 

1.      When did you start blogging?

About a year ago, in February 2008.  Affrodite.net was first followed by ifelicious.com about 2 weeks later.



2.      Why did you become a blogger?

I've always enjoyed journaling and creative writing since I was a child.  A friend of mine mentioned she was starting a blog, and I thought I would give it a try.  Once I started, it was like the flood gates opened.



3.      What do you hope to accomplish through your blog?

Affrodite.net has evolved to primarily communicate issues impacting or of importance to the black community.  There are also portions that touch on current events, politics, and activism to the world at large.  My intention is to develop a mix of posts to inform, spark debate, and connect with my readers through the issues, articles, stories, pathways less traveled in mainstream media.

Ifelicious.com is my fun blog.  Again, I hope to inform, spark debate, and connect with readers, but I want it to ultimately be entertaining.  I enjoy poking at pop culture, particularly my love of MTV shows.  My favorite aspect of this blog is interviewing celebrities and emerging artists, bringing their stories to life beyond what you'll find in a google search.



4.       Which blogging platform do you use?

Wordpress

5.      Mac or PC?

Mac.  I treated myself to the MacBook Pro after about 4 months of blogging.  It's my baby!



6.      How many hours per day do you spend on your blog?

I spend 8-12 hours per day total working on some aspect of my blogs.



7.       How frequently do you post to your blog?

I try get at least 1 post up on each site every 1-2 days.  Sometimes a lot more.  Occasionally, a little less frequent.



8.      How many hours per day do you spend reading other blogs?

About 2-4 hrs/day.



9.      What's your best blogging experience?

For affrodite.net, it was my recent/current featuring of 10 year old Aquan Lewis.  He was found hung in his elementary school bathroom and the coroner ruled it a suicide.  It brought tears to my eyes to think of someone so young to see life to be so gloomy that suicide made sense.  It raised a lot of questions for me that thankfully resonated with others.  This story is way more interesting to me and necessary to grab the spotlight than Nadya Suleman and her octuplets.

For
ifelicious.com, it was last March when I got to interview Lil Al B. Sure, son of my high school crush Al B. Sure.  Lil Al B. Sure was competing on MTV's Rock The Cradle, and it was the first time I was contacted by a publicist to conduct an interview.  Interviewing celebrities and artists never entered my mind, and this was the jump off for me to look at myself more seriously in the blogosphere.



10.  What's your worst blogging experience?

For affrodite.net, it was a post I wrote about interracial dating.  My intention was to share my experience growing up in a predominantly white suburb and to open the floor to discussion.  The post was taken on so many tangents including racist posts and people airing out their dirty laundry.  To top it off, it cost me a friendship with someone in an interracial relationship.  It hurts me to know that their significant other will not speak to me because they think I'm a racist.  I removed the post about 2 months ago.

For
ifelicious.com, I journaled the time I spent in DC during Barack Obama's inauguration in a series of daily posts that I've now archived offline.  The post from my second day included my perspective on a dinner I had with a couple that didn't seem to connect to me following my passion of writing full time.  After writing the post, I received an outpouring of support by my friends and readers who commented on my blog and on my facebook page.  Then I got a curve ball when one person from the dinner was angered by my point of view so much so that they wrote extremely inflammatory comments (yes, more than one) on my facebook page and told me off by phone.  I was hurt and embarrassed by that person who showed off on my facebook page that is where I connect with a range of personal and professional contacts.



11.   Why do you think there are not more black bloggers?

Actually, I've found that there are way more black bloggers than I originally imagined.  We're out there but perhaps not networked as much under the premise of black bloggers.  I don't think there is a stand out organization that has emerged to bring black bloggers together.



12.   How would you go about increasing the number of black bloggers?

Again, I think we're out there already in numbers.  I just haven't seen a true breakthrough black blogger emerge that is on par with a Huffington Post.  In the meantime, we need to continue to network and support each other through doing things like you are by featuring black bloggers.



13.   What's your favorite color?

Red



14.   What's the last book that you read?

Boundaries (self help book)



15.   Who's your favorite author?

Maya Angelou



16.   What's your favorite type of music?

In general, I'm a hip hop, RnB, top 40 person.  In moods, I listen to folk, neo-soul, reggae, house, calypso, and soca.



17.   What famous person, living or dead, would you like to have a conversation with?

My grandparents and great grandparents.  I would have loved to document their life stories in the context of their time for my generation and those to come.



18.   Who are three of your favorite bloggers?

The Field Negro (field-negro.blogspot.com), Steve The Penguin (stevethepenguin.blogspot.com), Ephphatha (ephphatha3.blogspot.com)



19.   What one piece of advice would you give to new bloggers?

Do you, no matter what stats or friends or the media dictates.  Nobody wants regurgitated information.  Speak from your heart and the right people will find you.



20.    What don't we know about you that we should know?

I wish that people would not let their perceptions of me guide them and spend more time getting to know me.  I'm opinionated at times, competitive at times, feisty at times, funny at times, shy at times.  At the core is a girl with big heart who has a craving to be heard and be loved as much as she loves others.

Thanks for a great interview, Ife!



Follow Ife on Twitter.

© 2009, on the black hand side, www.blackhandside.net

Vote for this blog for Best Pop Culture Blog and Best Blog About Stuff in the 2009 Bloggers Choice Awards.


20 Questions with Anika Myers Palm

Anika Myers Palm

Blog: Write Black


1. When did you start blogging?
*** I started a personal online journal circa 2001, but that, along with a couple of later personal blog efforts, petered out quickly because even I find my life mind-numbingly boring. I started WriteBlack in 2007.

2. Why did you become a blogger?
I wanted to talk about books, and I didn't think many other sites had the high/low (for lack of a better term) mix of books I read, especially when it came to black authors.

3. What do you hope to accomplish through your blog?
***I generally think black authors get a poor shake in the world of criticism and the book blogosphere. They're often either ignored or patronized, by critics black and nonblack -- especially authors who write genre or mass-market novels. I wanted to take these books seriously.

4. Which blogging platform do you use?
***WordPress

5. Mac or PC?
***Oh, Mac. I'm an Apple junkie. It's quite sad, actually. I have to resist the urge to genuflect when I hear Steve Jobs' name.

6. How many hours per day do you spend on your blog?
***An hour in total, I'd say. When I get home in the evenings, I'm always searching for material for the blog, and usually writing, editing and re-editing two or three posts at a time.

7. How frequently do you post to your blog?
***A minimum of three times weekly.

8. How many hours per day do you spend reading other blogs?
***I'm not sure I could say. I generally have a tab/window open with my RSS reader when I'm online (which is most of the time I'm awake), and I snack on it several times a day.

9. What's your best blogging experience?
***When Beverly Jenkins, an author whose work I like a lot, discovered WriteBlack in its early days and responded graciously to a not-entirely-complimentary post I'd written about one of her books. I've also been experimenting with video lately, and the response has been better than I'd expected.

10. What's your worst blogging experience?
***I can't say I've had a bad experience. Even when people haven't liked something I've written, I try to use the criticism to get better at what I'm doing. It has occasionally been frustrating to update to new versions of WordPress, although the latest update solves that problem.

11. Why do you think there are not more black bloggers?
***I think people haven't been aware that it's so easy to make their voices heard. Our numbers are rising, though.

12. How would you go about increasing the number of black bloggers?
***Improving access to broadband will go a long way toward giving people the tools they need to blog.

13. What's your favorite color?
***Green

14. What's the last book that you read?
***I've been on a kick of re-reading stuff lately, and I'm always in the middle of several books. Most recently read: The Omnivore's Dilemma, by Michael Pollan; Welcome to Temptation, by Jennifer Crusie; and Team of Rivals, Doris Kearns Goodwin's much-hyped history about Abraham Lincoln's cabinet.

15. Who's your favorite author?
I'm hard pressed to choose just one, although top contenders are Octavia Butler, Beverly Jenkins, Isabel Allende and Carl Hiaasen. There are other authors whose books I buy automatically with no questions asked, and on that list would be Malcolm Gladwell, Toni Morrison, Nalo Hopkinson and Kelley Armstrong. Probably Tananarive Due, too.

16. What's your favorite type of music?
*** You've probably heard this before, but I really do listen to all kinds of music. It's impossible to go wrong with Sam Cooke or Ella Fitzgerald, though. My ears have lately been attracted to the sounds of opera, so I've pledged to learn more about that genre in '09.

17. What famous person, living or dead, would you like to have a conversation with?
***My fantasy dead-people-dinner-party list includes Octavia Butler, Alexander Hamilton, St. Augustine, Hannibal, Dorothy Day, Sojourner Truth, Marcus Garvey...and those of my ancestors who were herded onto slave ships to cross the Atlantic and whose names have been lost to time.

18. Who are three of your favorite bloggers?
***How about more than three? I'm terribly fond of all the bloggers at Teach Me Tonight; I love Sarah's snark at Smart Bitches Trashy Books; author Steven Barnes always has a can't-miss take on pop culture, race, martial arts and self-improvement (sometimes all at the same time) at Dar Kush; and Ta-Nehisi Coates, Ezra Klein and the smart folks at Jack & Jill Politics became my go-to sources of political commentary during the protracted presidential election and have earned permanent spots in my RSS reader.

19. What one piece of advice would you give to new bloggers?
***Don't stop.

20. What don't we know about you that we should know?
***My day job is as a business reporter for a newspaper. I'm a native Floridian and now live back in my home state, but I've also lived in New York City and Washington, D.C. I'm an aspiring vegan (My sad, sad pattern is to eat a vegan diet for several months at a time, but then fall off the wagon dramatically, usually around the time of a major holiday). I plan to run a marathon -- or maybe two -- in 2009.

 

Note: You can also follow Anika on Twitter and Friend Feed.

 

© 2009, on the black hand side, www.blackhandside.net

Vote for this blog for Best Pop Culture Blog and Best Blog About Stuff in the 2009 Bloggers Choice Awards.


20 Questions with Shawn P. Williams

Welcome to the resurrection of the Black Blogger spotlight feature, 20 Questions with… We’re kicking off this year with a blogger who is one of my personal favorites. He keeps his readers/followers informed with frequent media updates and has been known to scoop major media outlets on hot topics.

An astute businessman, his blog has grown into freelance writing opportunities, national recognition as a source for political commentary, a radio show and the establishment of a new media venture to name a few of his accomplishments.

We’re sure there’s more on the horizon but for now, meet this week’s blogger...

Shawn p williams

    Shawn P. Williams

  Blog:  Dallas South  

1. When did you start blogging? I started Dallas South Blog (now Dallas South) in June of 2006.

 

2.Why did you become a blogger? I read Men's Health Magazine diligently and it suggested starting a blog if you felt like you had something to say. I went to Blogger that night and did just that.

 

3.What do you hope to accomplish through your blog? I want to give light to stories missed or undervalued by the mainstream media.  I also want to give an alternative opinion to general stories. There's a lack of African-American voices in U.S. newsrooms.  We have opinions on politics, foreign policy, and any number of topics, not just so-called "black issues."

 

4.Which blogging platform do you use? WordPress (Massive Press theme)

 

5.Mac or PC? PC

 

6.How many hours per day do you spend on your blog? I spend 2-3 hours daily on blog related activity.  That includes writing, reaching out to guest bloggers, working on my newsletter and recruiting advertisers.

 

7.How frequently do you post to your blog? I shoot for two posts per day, but sometimes I'm only able to get one up.

 

8.How many hours per day do you spend reading other blogs?  I spend about 30 minutes a day catching up with other blogs.

 

9.What's your best blogging experience? Hands down my best blogging experience was as a credentialed blogger at the Democratic National Convention in Denver.  We had better access and work conditions than most of the mainstream media.  They spoiled us.

 

10.What?s your worst blogging experience?  My site was down from about 3 days after Christmas.  I was sick about it because I was disconnected from the Dallas South family.  We’re back now.

 

11.Why do you think there are not more black bloggers?   I think we as African-Americans are still in the mindset of demanding media coverage rather than embracing the fact that we can now create our own media.

 

12.How would you go about increasing the number of black bloggers?  I’d have to think about that one and get back to you on that.

 

13.What?s your favorite color?  Black (with gold as a close second)

 

14.What?s the last book that you read?  The Art of War by Sun Tsu

 

15.Who?s your favorite author?  J. California Cooper (The Wake of the Wind is my favorite Cooper book)

 

16.What?s your favorite type of music?  90's Hip Hop and anything by Mary J. Blige or Jill Scott.

 

17.What famous person, living or dead, would you like to have a conversation with? Malcolm X

 

18.Who are three of your favorite bloggers?  Wayne Hicks - Electronic Village;

Pam Spaulding - Pam's House Blend; and Michael Davis - Dallas Progress

 

19.What one piece of advice would you give to new bloggers?  Consistently post new information to your site.  There should be new information on your site every day.  It doesn't have to be a long dissertations, just something that wasn't there the day before.

 

20. What don’t we know about you that we should know? I’m a Star Wars geek.  I’ve seen all the movies at least 20 times each.

 

 

Jeff Bolton talks to Shawn Williams at the DNC

 

 

Shawn, we are thrilled to say we met you before you blow up anymore. Thanks for the interview and for keeping us informed.

 

Peace and Blessings.

 

 

Note: You can also connect with Shawn P. Williams on FaceBook and follow him on Twitter.

  

© 2009, on the black hand side, www.blackhandside.net

Vote for this blog for Best Pop Culture Blog and Best Blog About Stuff in the 2009 Bloggers Choice Awards.


20 Questions with Lola Adesioye

This week's Blogger in the Spotlight is another new read for me. She's quite a busy and accomplished young lady with a fresh writing style. You don't want to miss her perspective as a Black Briton living in America.

Her passion for utilizing the music industry and the media to effect positive change is awe-inspiring. To describe Ms. Lola as creative would be an understatement. Check out her website: www.lolacreative.com. Without further ado, it's my extreme pleasure to present Lola Adesioye.

Lola Adesioye
Blog: Something2Say

  1. When did you start blogging? Late in 2006. I have a spiritually orientated blog which grew out of some reflections on life that I used to write and email out to my friends. In 2007 I started my Something2Say blog (http://something2say.wordpress.com) which is more politically orientated.

  2. Why did you become a blogger? I wanted an outlet for expressing my views and opinions.

  3. What do you hope to accomplish through your blog? I hope to add some valuable insight, to challenge mine and other people's minds, to engage in constructive and valuable discussion and to put out a different perspective on things. Also, I would like to raise my profile as a quality writer within the blogosphere.

  4. Which blogging platform do you use? Wordpress.com

  5. Mac or PC? PC

  6. How many hours per day do you spend on your blog? I probably spend on average about a 45minutes to 1 hour per day.

  7. How frequently do you post to your blog? It depends, but I try and post at least twice per week. I believe in quality over quantity though, so if I only have 1 thing to write about, I will only post once.

  8. How many hours per day do you spend reading other blogs? On average maybe 20 - 30 mins a day. I use Google Reader and tend to have a thorough read of the feeds I subscribe to once a week.

  9. What's your best blogging experience? It's great to get comments from readers, especially when people engage in debate and discussion.

  10. What's your worst blogging experience? I haven't had any.

  11. Why do you think there are not more black bloggers? Maybe people are not familiar with the technology or even with blogging as a medium that everyone can use, for free, as as way to have their voices heard. Saying that, there are a number of really high quality black bloggers out there at the moment.

  12. How would you go about increasing the number of black bloggers? Raising awareness of blogging as a tool and platform is key. I'd like to see a black version of the Huffington Post, where you have a number of black bloggers contributing to one news site. That could help more black people become familiar with blogging as a viable medium.

  13. What's your favorite color? Fuschia

  14. What's the last book that you read? Half of A Yellow Sun - by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. I'm also currently re-reading The Alchemist by Paulo Coehlo.

  15. Who's your favorite author? That's hard! Deepak Chopra is one of my favourites.

  16. What's your favorite type of music? Soul. Give me some Stevie Wonder anyday! 

  17. What famous person, living or dead, would you like to have a conversation with? Wow, that's a hard one. I'd love to have a good conversation with Oprah. But Nelson Mandela, Quincy Jones, Martin Luther King, Malcolm X are all on that list!

  18. Who are three of your favorite bloggers? Electronic Village, Racialicious and James C Collier at Acting White

  19. What one piece of advice would you give to new bloggers? Cultivate your own unique voice and style, don't try and copy anyone else. Say what you want to say - just say it in a way that others can understand, even if they don't agree with you! Offer your own unique spin/perspective on a situation if you can.

  20. What don't we know about you that we should know? I was born and bred in London, England. My parents are Nigerian and I now live in New York. My day job is a freelance writer and cultural critic, and I'm also a singer-songwriter! I currently write for UK newspapers about my experiences as a black Briton in African America, and hope this year to turn that into a book.

     


~Thanks for a fabulous interview, Lola. See you at the top with Oprah and Russell Simmons!


20 Questions with Mes Deux Cents

Blog: Mes Deux Cents

I've not been reader of this week's Blogger in the Spotlight very long. Ya know what? It didn't take long for me to become a fan of her writing style either. Her brief information-packed posts are just the kind I enjoy reading. Her blog is never boring because you can't predict what she'll write about.

Her photos and videos are also off the chain. I knew I was hooked when she posted that Jermaine Stewart video of "The Word is Out". I love Jermaine Stewart! Jermaine transitioned almost 11 years ago. I still recall seeing him in concert on Miami Beach.

Anyhoo, check out my sister, Mes Deux Cents. You won't regret it.


1. When did you start blogging? August 2007

2. Why did you become a blogger? I thought it would be a good way to express my thoughts.

3. What do you hope to accomplish through your blog? I don't have anything in particular in mind other than to focus on things that I care about.

4. Which blogging platform do you use? Blogger

5. Mac or PC? PC

6. How many hours per day do you spend on your blog? One or two hours.

7. How frequently do you post to your blog? Everyday

8. How many hours per day do you spend reading other blogs? Most days one or two hours throughout the day.

9. What's your best blogging experience? Getting comments!

10. What's your worst blogging experience? Getting crazy comments!

11. Why do you think there are not more black bloggers? I think there are more of us than we are aware of. And I think overtime there will be even more.

12. How would you go about increasing the number of black bloggers? I think that there will be more as more African Americans start reading blogs. Reading other blogs is what made me to decide to try it.

13. What's your favorite color? Purple

14. What's the last book that you read? Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali

15. Who's your favorite author? Audre Lorde

16. What's your favorite type of music? I love all kinds of music.

17. What famous person, living or dead, would you like to have a conversation with? My mother

18. Who are three of your favorite bloggers? I have too many favorites to name.

19. What one piece of advice would you give to new bloggers? Write about what really interests you.

20. What don't we know about you that we should know? I'd love to write a screenplay.

Thanks, V. Love your taste in music and artists!


20 Questions with AJ

Name: AJ

Blog:    Over Analyze It

This week's Blogger in the spotlight is "sometimes funny, sometimes serious but always real". Her blog is a great read with news, biting commentary or whatever is on her mind. Here's more about AJ and as only she can say "let's break this down"!

1.   When did you start blogging?  In July of 2007.

2.   Why did you become a blogger?   I'm a bit of a news junkie and thought I'd use my a blog as a tool to express my thoughts on news events and social issues involving the African-American community. I later decided to launch another blog, Black And Blended to discuss my experiences in a blended family.

3.   What do you hope to accomplish through your blog?  To reach out and connect with like minded people and share experiences and information.

4.   Which blogging platform do you use?   Wordpress

5.   Mac or PC?   PC

6.   How many hours per day do you spend on your blog?   About an hour

7.   How frequently do you post to your blog?   Normally I post every weekday.

8.   How many hours per day do you spend reading other blogs?   Approximately 2 plus hours a day/night.

9.   What's your best blogging experience?   My best experience was my post about my impulsive and successful attempt to contact my bio-dad after 25 plus years and my subsequent feelings of uneasiness. My readers were very inquisitive and supportive and because of a very special reader's advice, I've actually sustained contact with my father and he is flying out to visit me and my family next month.

10.  What's your worst blogging experience?   I've not really had a bad experience. I've had a few rude comments appear, but other than that, it's been cool.

11.  Why do you think there are not more black bloggers?   I don't think many blacks realize what a great medium we have available to us to share thoughts, organize, exchange information and interact with other blacks across the globe. I think once people become more aware of the power of blogging we will see an increase in black bloggers.

12.  How would you go about increasing the number of black bloggers?   Target those that enjoy reading and writing and introduce them to the world of blogging. Perhaps even beginning with a contest.

13.  What's your favorite color?   Olive Green

14.  What's the last book that you read?   The Parodox of Choice

15.  Who's your favorite author?   John Grisham, Max Lucado

16.  What's your favorite type of music?   R&B (oldies), Jazz, Gospel

17.  What famous person, living or dead, would you like to have a conversation with?   Cece Winans

18. Who are three of your favorite bloggers?   I have many favorites – although these are the ones I visit most often.

Chol8te Diaries

Opinionatedblackwoman

Hicktownpress

19.  What one piece of advice would you give to new bloggers?   Take time and compare the available blogging platforms.

20.  What don't we know about you that we should know?   I have HORRIBLE insomnia which is one reason I spend so much time on the internet.

AJ, thanks for a great interview!


20 Questions with DarkBrotha

Name: DarkBrotha

Blog: DarkBrotha.com

I actually met this young brother over on Yahoo 360. He's since moved on to do his own blogging thing with DarkBrotha.com. Now he's another one of those folks that posts the truth rather than post to boost ratings. That's my personal preference and I hope you'll enjoy this week's Blogger in the Spotlight…darkbrotha.

1.       When did you start blogging?

A little more than two years. I started on Yahoo 360, then went on my own later.

2.       Why did you become a blogger?

I love the internet. I love reading what people have to say. Getting different takes on stories and ideas.

3.       What do you hope to accomplish through your blog?

Just to meet diverse people who either agree or disagree with me on various topics.  That's really it.

4.       Which blogging platform do you use?

Wordpress

5.       Mac or PC?

PC.  Although I am curious about those MAC's

6.       How many hours per day do you spend on your blog?

Depends. I can go a couple days without doing anything to it. Then spend a couple hours trying to add something to it. It varies.

7.       How frequently do you post to your blog?

I try to post something at least every other day.

8.       How many hours per day do you spend reading other blogs?

About an hour.

9.       What's your best blogging experience?

When someone sends me an email telling me they like my blog, or the way it looks and I have never spoken to them, or met them before.  That's happened a couple times. It's just when someone takes the time to say they like or appreciate something you do when they don't have to take the time to do so.

10.   What's your worst blogging experience?

I was running my other blog and I was messing around with it and lost everything.  I totally messed the code up and the blog was blank. Needless to say I was heated.

11.   Why do you think there are not more black bloggers?

Because a lot of black people aren't on the net to communicate with others. They may go online and buy stuff or download stuff, but not to talk and interact.

12.   How would you go about increasing the number of black bloggers?

To be honest, I would much rather spend time on increasing the number of blacks that want to go to college or improve their finances.  Increasing the number of black bloggers is not on the top of my list.  Let's just get them on the internet first, then go from there.

13.   What's your favorite color?

Navy Blue

14.   What's the last book that you read?

"Just Say No"  by Omar Tyree

15.   Who's your favorite author?

John Grisham, Donald Goines & Carl Weber.

16.   What's your favorite type of music?

Anything that sounds good. I don't have a favorite. I fell out of love with Hip Hop around '99.

17.   What famous person, living or dead, would you like to have a conversation with?

Malcolm X

18.   Who are three of your favorite bloggers?

Marvalus(Opinionated Black Woman), Invisible Woman (Invisible Cinema) , Lady Shay (The Skirkle)
I have more than 3 though.

19.   What one piece of advice would you give to new bloggers?

Respond to people who take the time to comment on your posts.  People don't have to care what you say, but when they take the time to do so, respond back or thank them.

20.  What don't we know about you that we should know?

That I have another blog besides Darkbrotha.com

I just want to say thank you Vanessa for coming to darkbrotha.com and giving me the opportunity to be a part of yours.

Aww. Thanks, darkbrotha.


20 Questions with Wayne Hicks Better Known As Villager

Villager / Wayne Hicks

Blogs: Electronic Village, Cincinnati Business Incubator, BDPA Foundation and Proud Black Voter

He is the leader of a 'growing village that seeks to uplift your spirits'. He invites you to take a seat under his baobob tree if you like the flow. Wayne Hicks, better known as Villager to those in his digital community, the Electronic Village, is a true Renaissance man.

Not only is Wayne a successful businessman, he is a leader in several organizations and a significant player in the online blogging community. Think you know Villager? Get to know a little more about him here.

  1. 1. When did you start blogging? – My first post was on January 13, 2007.

2. Why did you become a blogger? – Mainly because creating a blog is free-of-charge! I have been active with the Electronic Village concept since the days of bulletin board systems. I operated an Electronic Village BBS using a 2400-baud modem back in the day. Blogs seemed like a logical extension of the concept.

3. What do you hope to accomplish through your blog? – My main purpose is to provide information that is uplifting for people of African descent. Too often, the information that we receive is negative and deflating. I am hopeful that the Electronic Village blog will bring positive and uplifting information to those that take time to read it. I have similar hopes in the education & technology arena with my second blog à BDPA Education & Technology Foundation

4. Which blogging platform do you use? - Blogger

5. Mac or PC? PC … a Hewlett-Packard laptop is what I use for my business, my blog and my personal information.

6. How many hours per day do you spend on your blog? – Perhaps 45-60 minutes per day.

7. How frequently do you post to your blog? – Daily. I try to add a new post each day. I rotate my Village Heroes, Village Movie, Village Book and Village Quote on a regular basis as well. My goal is to increase the number of subscribers to the Electronic Village. We are currently hovering around 200 subscribers. I'm hopeful to have 1,000 subscribers by the end of the year.

8. How many hours per day do you spend reading other blogs? – Perhaps 45-60 minutes per day as well. In fact, my iGoogle home page provides me with updated headlines on about two-dozen of my favorite blogs.

9. What's your best blogging experience? – In September 2007 I created the Villager's Black Blog Rankings. I thought it was important for us to identify and recognize the creative and influential Black-owned & operated blogs. I had no idea what I was unleashing when I first published a list of the Top 75 Black blogs back then. We are currently up over 780 Black blogs in the ranking and it is very rewarding to see the wide variety of blog topics and talent out there. Vanessa, one day I hope that your 20 Question interviews include those Black bloggers in the Top Ten!

10. What's your worst blogging experience? – A few months ago I shared a post that provided a number of tips on marketing our blogs. My post was inspired by something I had read earlier in the year. I gave credit and a link to the original post, however, I took a lot of heat from folks who felt that my post bordered on plagiarism. I was proud to have shared marketing tips to bloggers who were trying to move up the list on Villager's Black Blog Rankings, however, it saddened me to see that my intention was blurred with false accusations.

11. Why do you think there are not more Black bloggers? – Actually, I'm discovering the number of Black bloggers is much larger than many of us realize. I'm tracking 780 and I'm certain that there are thousands more that I simply haven't come across yet. In any case, if there are fewer Black bloggers than our numbers in the population would suggest … it is likely because blog technology is not widely known or discussed with African Americans. We still rely in remarkable numbers on the mainstream media to get our information. My mom doesn't have cable television at home. Is she unusual? Or is she still one of many Black family households that relay on ABC, NBC and CBS to give them news? One outstanding aspect of Black bloggers is that we are bringing information, like Jena 6 or taser deaths, that are not being reported in the mainstream media. I hope that the number of Black blogs will continue to increase over the coming weeks and months.

12. How would you go about increasing the number of black bloggers? – One excellent opportunity is the upcoming Blogging While Brown conference that takes place in Atlanta later this year. This is an opportunity for us to get the word out to non-bloggers about what we're doing and how they can get engaged. Second, I hope that we can encourage Black organizations like NAACP, Urban League, BDPA and others to create blogs to engage in interactive discussions with their memberships and communities.

13. What's your favorite color? – Purple [not as a result of the fraternity … but in homage to my favorite basketball team from my youth in Los Angeles]

14. What's the last book that you read? – Start Late, Finish Rich by David Bach

15. Who's your favorite author? – Octavia Butler and Robert Heinlein are probably my favorite authors. Both have passed away now. My favorite living author is Walter Mosely.

16. What's your favorite type of music? – I was a radio DJ many moons ago during my college career. I was known as the Wizard of Soul & Mind. My favorite type of music is soul music. I guess youngsters nowadays know it as rhythm & blues.

17. What famous person, living or dead, would you like to have a conversation with? – Warren Buffett. I currently operate two non-profits. One is a small business incubator (Cincinnati Business Incubator, www.cbincubator.org) and the other is a education & technology foundation (BETF, www.betf.org). I would love to make a pitch to Mr. Buffett for donation to both of them!

18. Who are three of your favorite bloggers? – Mes Deux Cents has become my favorite blogger. She has great music, photos and commentary. Field Negro is one of my favorites because of his no-holds-barred commentary. His daily blog observations are humorous and powerful as it relates to the Black community. He also commands wonderful comments on each of his posts. In many respects, I want to model my Electronic Village like what Field creates over on his blog. Finally, Danielle over at Modern Musings (www.modernmusings.com) remains one of my favorites. Danielle's politics are more radical than mine in many ways, however, I admire the strength of her convictions. She is one of the Original Villagers, people that frequented by blog in the early days. I learned a lot from her blogging style. She recently made the move from Blogger to her own domain. That is a move that I hope to make later this calendar year.

19. What one piece of advice would you give to new bloggers? Pam Spaulding is one of the top Black bloggers in the world. She recently told me that her key to success was finding her "authentic voice". I think that is good advice. I also think that it is critically important for a blogger to provide quality content. There is no substitute for quality content provided on a regular basis. That is the surest path to having a successful blog.

20. What don't we know about you that we should know?- I was a child contestant on 'Kids Say the Darndest Things' segment of The Art Linkletter Show back in the day!

Great interview, Villager! Thanks!

Next week: Dark Brotha


20 Questions with MarvalusOne

Name: MarvalusOne

Blogs:    Opinionated Black Woman, Woman to Woman, MarvalusOne's MySpace

Ms. MarvalusOne is one of the wittiest bloggers I've met. I started out reading Opinionated Black Woman, then she added Woman to Woman and I found her on MySpace. Her brilliance is obvious from her writing and so is her Scorpio disposition. Ha! I can write that since I'm a Scorpio also; the rest of you, don't go there. Just kidding, folks.

Anyhoo, the MarvalusOne is straightforward --- so deal with it. She's also kind, compassionate and wise. Be sure to check out Woman to Woman for her tributes to strong women. So, without further ado, meet Ms. MarvalusOne…

1.     When did you start blogging?  I started blogging in 2006, but didn't go public until 2007... 

2.     Why did you become a blogger?  I became a blogger just because I type faster than I write...but seriously, I love the fact that I can put my experiences out in the world and share them with others... 

3.     What do you hope to accomplish through your blog?  I hope to accomplish the spreading of a little knowledge, a little positivity, and some smiles along the way... 

4.     Which blogging platform do you use?  I started on Blogger...I now host my own blog on Wordpress...FREEDOM is awesome! 

5.     Mac or PC?  Definitely PC 

6.     How many hours per day do you spend on your blog?  Way too many! 

7.     How frequently do you post to your blog?  I try to post at least once a day... 

8.     How many hours per day do you spend reading other blogs?  I visit every blog on my blogroll at least once a day...so I spend a couple of hours reading other blogs... 

9.     What's your best blogging experience?  My best blogging experience has been being able to touch people with my experiences...just being able to share what I've gone through and touch someone makes me feel like I've fulfilled a purpose... 

10.   What's your worst blogging experience?  Feeling like I have to explain myself to commenters...I'm trying to tone that down! 

11.   Why do you think there are not more black bloggers?   Either Black folks don't know about this media outlet, or they simply don't realize the accomplishments that some Black bloggers have achieved...

12.   How would you go about increasing the number of black bloggers?  I think if we continue to put forth positive images and messages from our blogs, and keep introducing new and exciting things, the numbers will increase... 

13.   What's your favorite color?  Purple 

14.   What's the last book that you read?  Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides 

15.   Who's your favorite author?  Definitely Toni Morrison... 

16.   What's your favorite type of music?  I'm a total Hip-hop head... 

17.   What famous person, living or dead, would you like to have a conversation with?  Oprah... 

18.   Who are three of your favorite bloggers?  Only three!? Wow...I love so many of them simply because of their diversity...but I would have to say Invisible Woman...her blog is amazing because she keeps everyone up to date on what's happening with the movie scene and her opinions are on point...Danielle at Word on the Street...this is my Soul Sister...sometimes I read her blog and feel like I wrote it myself...and DarkBrotha...I love a brotha who can tell you like it is...are you sure I can only name three?! LOL... 

19.   What one piece of advice would you give to new bloggers?  Take your time and write what you feel... 

20.  What don't we know about you that we should know?  Hmm...I have a very bad temper; I don't go off unless I'm provoked...but if I do—bad news! It's the Scorpio... 

   

Thank you for allowing us to get to know you better, Ms. MarvalusOne!

Smooches…It's all about love!


20 Questions with Marenda Hughes Taylor

Her name means wonderful and admirable; those are accurate descriptions of this week's Blogger in the Spotlight. She is definitely an actionist, whether it is through one blog promoting self-development or the other promoting her independent record label.

One of my favorite pearls of wisdom from her "There is more to life than just existing. There is more to life than just getting by. Life is about living…not ordinary living…but living life abundantly by living up to our maximum potential."

Get to know a little more about Marenda Hughes Taylor…

Marenda Hughes Taylor

Blogs: Living Life Abundantly , 1st Love Records

1. When did you start blogging?

I joined MySpace in November of 2004 which was my first introduction to blogging. I started my own blog on my own domain in December 2006.

2. Why did you become a blogger?

I needed a creative outlet for self expression.

3. What do you hope to accomplish through your blog?

My mission is to entertain, educate, empower, stimulate minds, provoke thought, push buttons, bridge gaps, inspire, motivate, encourage, engage, and make a difference.

4. Which blogging platform do you use?

Wordpress

5. Mac or PC?

I actually use both but my Mac is what I use most and what I prefer. It's true, once you go Mac...(smile)

6. How many hours per day do you spend on your blog?

Wow, thats hard to say, it varies. There are days that I spend 30 min-1 hour, and there are days when I spend 8 or more hours.

7. How frequently do you post to your blog?

at least 3-4 times per week

8. How many hours per day do you spend reading other blogs?

2 hours and on the weekends more

9. What's your best blogging experience?

Having someone like you recognize and take interest in what I do...When people leave a comment about something I've posted. Getting an unexpected check from Google (smile).

10. What's your worst blogging experience?

Moving my blog from one host to another...That was a nightmare!

11. Why do you think there are not more black bloggers?

I think there are several reasons... a lack of interest, procrastination, not knowing how or where to begin, computer/internet access limitations, and not understanding how important and relevant Black bloggers are... But I believe that we will see more Black bloggers.

12. How would you go about increasing the number of black bloggers?

Funny you would ask that question. I'm working on a project aimed at understanding blogs and learning how to blog. I hope to use this project to increase the number of Black bloggers.

13. What's your favorite color?

Deep Maroon

14. What's the last book that you read?

100 Things You're Not Suppose To Know by Russ Kick

15. Who's your favorite author?

I'm an avid reader but I don't have a favorite author.

16. What's your favorite type of music?

Hip Hop

17. What famous person, living or dead, would you like to have a conversation with?

Frederick Douglass

18. Who are three of your favorite bloggers?

Field Negro

Vanessa Byers

Coach TC of Inspired by Action

19. What one piece of advice would you give to new bloggers?

Be patient, stay focused, and network.

20. What don't we know about you that we should know?

I'm Co-Founder of 1st Love Records (an indie grass roots label) and we're preparing to put out our 1st album(CD) called The Agenda by Tommy Lockhart



Thank you, Marenda!