I’ve known for months I’d be writing this article, introducing Luvvie Ajayi, as one of the nominees for an AAMBC Literary Award. It seemed reasonable to do a bit of research to supplement that which I already knew. The question soon became not what to include but how do I leave out so much?
I knew her to be a New York Times Best-Selling Author based on her 2016 book, I’m Judging You: The Do-Better Manual. I had bought the book, twice as I gave the first copy to a friend. I knew she was the co-founder of, “The Red Pump Project,” a national nonprofit organization whose mission is to educate women and girls of color about HIV through bold programming and digital initiatives. I didn’t know that HIV is the leading cause of death of death for black women ages 25–34, I encourage everyone to find a Red Pump Project event in your area and support it.
I’ve followed Luvvie’s blog for years which is both inspirational and humbling. I started a blog two tears ago, a blogger I know with a good sized national following said she gets about 25,000 views a month. I had a month when I had that many views and was about to get a little cocky until I saw some time ago where Luvvie got over 100,000 views on a single post and averaged then about 300,000 monthly. She gave a TED Talk that since November has gotten over 2 million views.
A recent post, “About the Weary Weaponizing of White Women Tears, has had almost 24 thousand Facebook shares as of this writing. Her broadband provider contacted her about having to charge her more because for all practical purposes she broke the Internet!
Luvvie has started a new Podcast called, “Rants and Randomness.” I listened to a few episodes and now I imagine I hear Luvvie wherever I go. I’m driving in my car, listening to NPR and I thinkI hear Luvvie. Then I realize it actually is Luvvie, giving feedback on the final episode of “Scandal.” Her live tweets and reviews of Scandal episodes were one of the zillion things for which she is famous. I walked past a magazine stand and think I see Luvvie with a solo magazine cover after previously sharing covers on Essence and Ebony. I must have been seeing things.
Luvvie would be the first to tell you that she got where she is by hard work. Fifteen years of writing, ten of public speaking, hustling, marketing, networking, crashing and then repeating the cycle again. Her book is being developed into a cable comedy series by Shonda Rhimes. She shows up any and everywhere and there’s two things you can count on; her shoes will be fly and she didn’t get there by flying on Spirit Airlines with whom she has a hate/hate relationship.
What you get from Luvvie no matter the medium, is realness and the unvarnished truth. She uses humor but will snatch some edges from time to time as required. She stays true to herself, her Nigerian roots, and does far more behind the scenes to support worthy causes than you could ever imagine someone with no time at all could make time for.
The AAMBC Literary Awards will be held in Atlanta, Georgia. June 8–10, 2018 as part of Black Writers Weekend.