Romance Slam Jam History
“The Romance Slam Jam grew out of an early desire to recognize, and pay respect to OUR authors, and to celebrate their craft with their avid fans.”
Emma Rodgers, Ashira Tosihwe and Francis Ray gave birth to the ROMANCE SLAM JAM in 1995 in Dallas, Texas, to demonstrate what Nikki Giovanni describes as “The Power, Passion and Pain of Black Love.”
There was much success at Black Images marketing, promoting and selling the works of black romance writers since the early 90’s that they decided it was time to take their love for romance to a new level by bringing writers and readers together. After two successful in-store events in 1995 and 1996, two terrific cruises and program in Nassau, Bahamas in 1997 and 1998 they took a year off (1999).
RSJ 2000 – The ROMANCE SLAM JAM went to the next level. This was the first Slam to be organized by a book club. ROMANCE NOIR BOOK CLUB, with the guidance of Emma Rodgers, Francis Ray, and Anna Laurence, the event was a huge success. When Miss Emma asked Cindi Louis, founder of Romance Noir Book Club what she hoped people would take from the event, she simply said, “All the love that is in this room right now. And for the 2001 committee to do something with the awards that our guest speaker, Beverly Jenkins talked about at the luncheon on Saturday.”
RSJ 2001 – With the leadership of reader, Brenda Woodbury; writer, Brenda Jackson; bookseller, Jackie Perkins of Montsho Books; and SISTAHS of DISTINCTION BOOK CLUB the vision was brought to fruition in Orlando, Florida 2001. The EMMA Award was born. It only was fit for the first EMMA award to be presented by Emma Rodgers, herself. That award went to Deirdre Savoy for Favorite New Author. Making Romance Slam Jam 2001 the biggest as of yet.
RSJ 2002 – The torch was then passed on to writer, Jacquelin Thomas and JOURNEY’S END LITERARY CLUB and held March 7-10, 2002 in Durham, NC. This was an elegant affair.
RSJ 2003 – Hosted by author Carmen Green and the Hotlanta Romance Book Club in Atlanta, GA. Carmen and the book club worked so well together and threw a fantastic conference, even gaining sponsorship from BET, and book support from Harper Collins and others.
RSJ 2004 – Hosted by Donna Hill & Gwynne Forster and Sister Friends of the Library in New York City, NY.
**1st publisher luncheon with Sally Richardson, President, and Matt Shear, Publisher of St. Martin’s Press; Carl Weber, Publisher of Urban Books; Karen Thomas, Senior Editor of Dafina at Kensington and BET at Kensington; Steve Zacharrias, Publisher Kensington; Linda Gill, Publisher of BET Books; and Mavis Allen, Senior Editor at Harlequin.
RSJ 2005 – Hosted by the Noir Book Club, authors Francis Ray and Anna Larence the baby returned home to Dallas, Texas. Great event.
RSJ 2006 – Hosted by Lynn Emery and Sistahfriends Book Club of Shreveport in
Shreveport, LA. The conference coordinator was book club vice president, Monica Johnson. These ladies really wanted to make the RSJ in Shreveport memorable. And that they did.
RSJ 2007 – Hosted by the Inner Elevation from the Written Word (IEWW) Book Club of Miami, FL, March 15th-18th, 2007. Adrienne McSweeney, Tisha Hill and other members of the Inner Elevation from the Written Word Book Club invested their money, time and talent into making this RSJ a first class, no holes barred event. Marcia King-Gamble host author. Harper Collins supported the conference with books for door prizes.
RSJ 2008 – Hosted by Chi-Town Raw and authors Ann Clay, Barbara Keaton, Deatri King-Bey, Dyanne Davis, and Lisa G. Riley in Chicago IL, the theme was Come On Home, and take the Slam Jam home in spirit is what this event did with Keynote Speaker, Alice Wootson. This is also the year the Romance Slam Jam Organization came into being. Pictures, Aspiring Author Contest Winners, Emma Award Winners
RSJ 2009 – March 2009 the Romance Slam Jam Organization became recognized as a 501(c)3 Non-profit organization under the leadership of Deatri King-Bey. The economy took a turn for the worse, and unfortunately, the conference had to be cancelled. Aspiring Author Contest Winners
RSJ 2010 – Hosted by the Romance Slam Jam Organization, we celebrated our Crystal Anniversary by hitting the high seas with a five day cruise to Ocho Rios Jamaica! Our keynote speaker, Rochelle Alers took the 200 in attendance Back To The Future with her wonderful speech. Pictures, Emma Award Winners
January 2, 2011: We moved our blog to this lovely format. Click here to see post previous to 2011.
RSJ 2011 – Hosted by the Sweet Soul Sisters and A.C. Arthur, we had a good time in Baltimore, MD where we were Charmed by Romance for our Sweet Sixteen. Emma Award Winners, Aspiring Author Contest Winners
RSJ 2012 – Hosted by the Sistahs of Color Reading Group and Author Laura Castoro, we had a serious Romance In the Rock in Little Rock, Arkansas with keynote speaker Gwyneth Bolton.
RSJ 2013 – Hosted by the Lovely Ladies Book Club and Author Barbara Keaton, we Melted In Milwaukee, WI with keynote speaker Donna Hill.