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Adventures of a Singlista: NABJ Convention

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I just got back from the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) Annual Convention in San Diego. When you hear the word "convention," you immediately think "zzzzzzzz," but let me tell you, this convention was anything but boring. NABJ was packed with the movers and shakers of the journalism field and featured many print and broadcast companies there recruiting. The Singlista in me would be totally remiss if I failed to mention the convention was packed with lots of men -- and where there is smoke, there is fire. But more on that later. The convention kicked off with a roundtable discussion with Shirley Sherrod, the U.S. Department of Agriculture employee who was forced to resign from her job amid false accusations of racism. Don Lemon, the cutie anchor from the CNN News Room, moderated the discussion, and Ms. Sherrod did not hold back. She said that Andrew Breitbart, the conservative blogger who manipulated the tape which resulted in her forced resignation, has not called to apologize. When asked if she planned to sue Breitbart, Ms. Sherrod replied with an unequivocal "yes," which was met with a round of applause. She commented that President Obama, however, did call to apologize, but she thought that the Administration mishandled the situation with their "rush to judgment." She blasted FOX News' role in the debacle, and stated that their coverage resulted in much of the collateral damage she has experienced to date. Ms. Sherrod displayed such an amazing spirit of resilience and forgiveness, she quickly became my "granny in my head." We can all learn something from the graceful way she has handled herself during this uninvited crisis. NABJ premiered NBC's upcoming prime time show, "Undercovers," starring the eye candy of all eye candy, Boris Kodjoe and the stunningly gorgeous newcomer Gugu Mbatha-Raw. Boris and Gugu star as two of the CIA's top agents who retire after falling in love on the job. The happily married couple are living a typical suburban life, running their Los Angeles catering company, when the CIA lures them back into the spy game after a former colleague goes missing on assignment. The show was created by JJ Abrams ("Lost"), co-executive produced by another brother, Steven Williams, so they kinda had me at "hello," but "Undercovers" lived up to the hype. The show is sexy, fast-paced and action-packed, but most importantly, features a happily married, sexy, Black, "all American" couple in prime time, which is revolutionary for television, even in 2010. Be sure to tune in to NBC on September 22 at 8pm and every Wednesday to show Hollywood that we are ready for blacks in "mainstream roles." My girl and fellow Singlista, Bevy Smith came to the convention as well, and we'd planned to hit the Arts and Entertainment Reception after we went to a reception for Helena Andrews. Helena is the author of the book "Bitch is the New Black," a wry, witty must-read that chronicles Helena's life as she maneuvers through the dating maze in her late twenties. The book and Helena herself had me in stitches -- you feel like she is your girlfriend from back in the day. Bevy and I hit the reception, and chatted it up some more with Helena, enjoyed laughter, wine and photos, then made a beeline for the Arts & Entertainment reception that we were already very late for. We rolled into the crowded reception right off the elevator, only to realize that we were at the wrong reception, but not before we had plates of fish tacos, and flutes of champagne in hand. Upon realizing our faux pas, we decided to stay for a spell, as I am never one to leave a good fish taco unfinished. I was standing near the window stuffing my face when I see this guy checking me out. The whole time I'm thinking, "great timing," as one can never be too graceful with anything that contains corn tortillas oozing with guacamole and salsa, while lacking a fork. UGH! I turn around, shovel the rest of the taco in my mouth then check myself out in the window to make sure I wasn't inadvertently wearing some remnants of my taco. All good. Perfect timing, the guy walks up, says hello, and all I could muster was "Um, hi," and kept moving. I thought "dumb move, Lisa," so I retreat, hoping I didn't play myself. Fortunately, he was undeterred, came back with his grown man on, and struck up a conversation. I'm thinking (cartoon bubble over my head), he's nice, gainfully employed (surmised this from reading his NABJ badge), chatty with me and my friends and easy on the eyes -- okay, good start. I got sidetracked in another conversation, and within that minute, Bevy had vetted him, found a common connection and gives me the "he's okay, you all can finish talking" wink, then sashays away Bevy style, leaving us in conversation. Gotta love your girls! We'd been talking for a few minutes when the guy asks what I'm doing later, and if I'd like to do something. Long story short, we went to dinner, each accompanied by other friends, and had a great time and hung out a few more times. Perhaps we'll see each other again since he lives in the NYC area, as he seems (operative word) to be a nice guy, and then again, maybe not. I am the queen of "they all start off okay," and have low expectations based on my dating history, so I am generally jaded, yet optimistic. The bonus is he knows I am the Singlista and write about my life. With this knowledge, one can only hope that he will be on good behavior because, in order of my preference, he: a) is a generally a good guy; or b) will act okay initially, then eventually fizzle out with grace, so he won't be the subject of anonymous blog fodder. Stay tuned. Overall, the NABJ Convention was a huge success, and I highly recommend any and  all journalists (aspiring and professional) to join the chapter in your area. I am looking forward to the remainder of the summer and hoping that I have many positive things to write about as a result of the connections that I made at the convention. One last note, Jules and I are going back to Paris in a month. In an attempt to not remain as "linguistically challenged" as I discovered myself to be on my last jaunt to France, I am taking a French immersion class for the next two weeks in the evenings following work. I promise not to practice my French in this column, but the ability to actually understand a French menu, order all that good French food, and maybe have a few conversations with the cute, French film director in French, are sure ire ways to cap off the wonderful summer that was 2010!
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