By Russell Stiger Jr. | OBSERVER Correspondent
Sacramento has plenty of stories to tell and Genoa Barrow has made it her mission to share them.
The Bay Area native and OBSERVER senior staff writer has carved out a niche in her commitment to journalism excellence. Many of the voices she amplifies in her articles are those many other media outlets miss or choose to ignore.
During her two decades with The OBSERVER, Barrow has covered countless topics, but particularly enjoys uplifting fellow African American women.
“There are so many stories yet to tell,” Barrow said of her longevity and what keeps her in the business.
Aside from her work with The OBSERVER, she also is sharing her love of the written word with her latest book, “7×7 Kudos & Kwansabas/Something For My Sistahs.”
The kwansaba is an artform created by the poet and educator Dr. Eugene Redmond in the 1990s. The word is a combination of “Kwanzaa” and the “Nguzo Saba,” which are the seven principles that guide the African-centered observance. Kwansabas are supposed to be celebratory and taking that inspiration from Dr. Redmond, Barrow uses her book to give kudos to strong women she admires and sees making an impact.
“Black women are really doing it right now,” she said. “They are leaders in almost everything. So how do you celebrate that?”
Being a journalist and having to keep to a certain word count helped when Barrow put pen to paper to create her a book of kwansabas.
“It’s a challenge. It’s seven lines, seven words each line, and each word can be no longer than seven letters,” she said.
Barrow decided to further challenge herself to write 49 poems in a month. Forty-nine, or 7×7, being the total of the seven lines of seven words each. The tight timetable was part of a larger effort to push herself in all aspects of her life. It was a promise she made to herself coming out of the pandemic. Aided by an explosive creative burst, she vowed to seize the opportunity to take her talents of storytelling and inspiration and share them in a new way.
After writing for more than 20 years, Barrow still looks to inspire. The book of poetry is just the beginning of what she has in store. She also has written three children’s books that she’s illustrating herself using an artform called corporate memphis. She’s adding a new chapter to her own story, one page at a time.
To find out more about Genoa Barrow and her upcoming books, watch the interview, or subscribe to The OBSERVER, visit her website gbunlimitedpress.com, or follow her on twitter @gbunlimited. Her first two books, “7×7” and “Daddy Issues: Black Women Speaking Truth & Healing Wounds” are available at Amazon.com.