The 10th annual African American Literary Awards Show (AALAS), honoring the late Maya Angelou and James Earl Hardy, was cancelled this year. This is the second time for the award show, which suffered a cancellation in 2005 due to Hurricane Katrina. The first sign of trouble was the postponement from September 27 to October 26. Then AALAS President, Yvette Heyward, couldn’t secure enough winners to be present to accept their awards, so the ceremony was cancelled three days before the show date.
The event producer, Musa Jackson of Musa Jackson Productions, had a different spin on why the show didn’t go on. Jackson believed money was the major issue, since the show’s production estimate this year was close to $18,000. He also said in an email statement, “Yvette Hayward couldn’t come up with money for [a] down payment a week before September 27…but Yvette insisted the show must go on.”
Hayward affirmed the low winner turnout was indeed the concern, and not the lack of financial backing. “I didn’t want an awards show and have no winners showing up for it,” Hayward said. “I was trying to be loyal to my audience and make sure they got what they paid for. I couldn’t go on in good conscience.” She asserted all tickets purchased would be refunded, and winners would receive their awards via mail.
Contrary to what many believe, the future of the AALAS is not in jeopardy. Hayward is already planning to bring the award show back to Harlem in September 2015.