OCTOBER 5, 2018
(Friday night)

The Civic Center
(Durham Armory)
(220 Foster St., Durham, NC)
7:30pm - 10:30pm
(Doors open at 7pm)
2018 Sponsorship letter

2018 Vendor form

Talent Contestant form


More about Lawanda…

I am the daughter of Larry and Wanda Lee and grew up a major tomboy with my three brothers. I graduated with honors from High school and later received my B.A. in Communication Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In 2009, I received my Master's degree in Agency Counseling at NC Central University and was hired through Vocational Rehabilitation to assist individuals who have disabilities with finding employment opportunties. I have been pushing my business, Words of Essence out of passion to inspire and motivate others in the community and in surrounding areas.

How long have you been writing?

I have only been seriously writing since 2003, but most of the poems that God gives me can be classified as motivational, realistic and are purposed to provoke thought and spiritual growth within an individual.

Tell us about your interests.

In my spare time I used to enjoy doing the following: Writing and performing poetry, singing, dancing, playing multiple sports, witnessing to the residents inside of the prison and challenging youth to walk in excellence through presentations on sexual abstinence, college preparation and leadership skills. Now that I am married, I still do a few of the things mentioned, but my time is more focused on family. I do enjoy going to the movies, traveling and spending time with my girlfriends.

What exactly was "The Aspiring Writers Info Session?"

In order to reach the community and help other minorities who desired to become writers, I organized an "Aspiring Writers Info Session" on April 23, 2005 which featured a panel of publishers, playwrights, authors and others to share tips on getting started, copyrighting, publishing and marketing your talent, as well as, answering questions from the audience members. In realizing the success of the program, I received requests to put on another one. That eventually grew into doing a Business Expo and then a Gospel Showcase. Currently, with my new responsibilities/ family life, I have narrowed the events down into only doing the Gospel Showcase & Talent Show.

With your poetry, how does God fit into your writing?

Interestingly, I never really liked writing, especially in college. However, I can honestly say that during my 3 months of being unemployed in 2004 and having to entirely rely on God, I began to really seek Him like never before. He began to wake me up in the middle of the night with poetic phrases running through my mind. Many poems like, "A Word from the Lord," "Endure" and others were birthed during this challenging moment in my life.

I suddenly noticed that writing poems became a way that God could communicate and minister to me and others. Also, I was able to express my emotions, while addressing issues that were affecting other people. So, ultimately, I see the poems as a witnessing tool, which is my reason for distributing so many copies to people that I meet outside of church.

What is your most proud moment?

Graduating from college was my most proud moment. I told my parents that I didn't want to go to college, because I knew that if it was difficult for me to retain information in high-school, it would be even more challenging in college. God proved faithful and as I began to rely on his strength and guidance, in addition to studying, attending office hours, utilizing help resources on campus and sitting in the front of all my classes, He blessed me to make the Dean's List four semesters. Nobody but God!!!

Who is your role model?

In addition to patterning my life after Christ, the individual that I model myself after is my mother, Dr. Wanda Robinson-Lee. She is an intelligent, ambitious, spiritual and beautiful black woman. I am most impressed by the way she juggles so many hats with her family (4 kids), completed her doctoral degree, retired at age 50, but still teaching in the community college school system, being active in her church and preaching revivals (Evangelist), constantly helping people in the community, etc. She has always encouraged me to be the best and to do my best realizing that "Greater is He that lives on the inside of me than he who lives in the world."