Authors: Omar Tyree
Diary of a Groupie
Just Say No!
Sweet St. Louis
A Do Right Man
The Urban Griot
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This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are products of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
Copyright Â© 2000 by Omar Tyree
All rights reserved, including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form.
First Simon & Schuster paperback edition 2003
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The Library of Congress has cataloged the hardcover edition as follows:
For the love of money : a novel / Omar Tyree.
1. Afro-American women motion picture producers and directorsâFiction. 2. Afro-American women screenwritersâFiction. 3. Afro-American actressesâ Fiction. 4. Phila-delphia (Pa.)âFiction. 5. Young womenâFiction. I. Title.
PS3570.Y59 F67 2000
For my family,
and all of the readers out there
and slandered me
for Flyy Girl
Well... I'm back
And I heard that you missed me.
Tracy Ellison Grant
Is a fantasy
that will not come true
unless the pages of the book
But in real life
the pages ALWAYS turn.
So you get over it
and you keep reading.
you ignore the new pages,
rip them out of the book even,
and you throw them away.
But then you become
with no desire
to be found.
And in the wilderness
you become a casualty
of your own stubbornness
instead of a survivor.
Copyright Â© 2000 by Tracy Ellison Grant
was nervous, and shifting my body weight from left to right while I stood in front of a packed auditorium at Germantown High School in Philadelphia. I hadn't been back to G-Town since I graduated from the school in 1989. I made sure that I looked good that morning too. I was dressed in a tan Victoria's Secret suit with brown leather Enzo shoes, skin-tone stockings, French manicured nails, newly plucked eyebrows, and my hair was wrapped shoulder length and flipped at the edges. I wore the seductive G perfume, and looked simply ravishing! However, this was Philadelphia, a city where they brought you back down to earth,
high school students. So after I was introduced to them as Tracy Ellison Grant, a Germantown grad with a master's degree in English from Hampton, a Philadelphia schoolteacher, a scriptwriter for several television shows, and finally the screenwriter, associate producer, and star of the Hollywood feature film
I took the stage and was visibly nervous about what they would ask me about my life and my business. Since I was a new American star, my business was no longer mine.
I took a deep breath and forced myself to step up to the microphone at the wooden podium. I looked out at five hundred students and faculty members. Like Tupac Shakur, all eyes were on me. I didn't know
I said, “Wow! Germantown High School. It's good to be back.”
The microphone was loud and clear. The auditorium had been renovated with dark brown wooden chairs, and the floor was shiny and clean.
For a second, I had flashbacks of Diana Ross in
I could feel it. I was no longer with the people. I was somewhere up...
and trying to get back down, but they were not helping me. All they did was stare at me in hushed silence, waiting for me to say something that would validate their preconceptions of stardom. I felt like a tightrope walker in the circus, fifty feet up in the air. My audience was filled with many who prayed for me to make it to the other side in style, while others jinxed me for a big, sloppy fall, so they could walk out and talk about me.
I told you she ain't shit! She ain't no better than none of us!
I told myself,
You're thinking too much, Tracy. Calm down and just...
You're stronger than this.
I just had to convince them that I was still cool like that, and down-to-earth. The stardom hadn't changed me. Or did it?
I held my head up high and said, “It's been a long road for me.” I smiled and continued, “If you read
then I guess you
half of it. But I went through a lot more to make it to where I am today, and a lot of people didn't think that I could do it. A lot of people were jealous, and a lot of them are
“But I had some good friends and some good breaks along the way, and I just had to keep my head strong to make it,” I told them. “You have to set out to do what
want to do in order to become who
want to become, regardless of what everyone
“So I held on to my goals and kept moving forward.” I said, “I just had confidence in myself, and I had friends who supported me, as well as the haters who didn't. And if
want to be successful in whatever it is you want to do in
life, then you can use mine as an example of how to go for it, by learning from all of my mistakes and taking from all of my strengths.”
That was the gist of my short speech that morning before Stephanie Lletas, the veteran schoolteacher who had invited me back to Germantown High, stood up to address their questions to me. My short speech was just the tip of the iceberg.
“For those of you who have questions, we have two microphones set up in both aisles. We'll need you all to stand in single-file lines,” she addressed them. The students all called her Mrs. Let. Mrs. Let was all business even when I was a student there,
before me. She dressed sharp every day, knew her stuff, and didn't
no stuff! I admired her. I couldn't stomach being a schoolteacher in Philadelphia for
let alone teach for
She even offered to pay me a honorarium, but I told her to keep it. I wasn't so big that I couldn't speak at my old high school without a fee.
The lines behind the microphones backed up with mostly girls, then the questions began:
A tall girl grinned in her jeans and short-sleeved pink shirt. She was as nervous as I was.
“In your book
you were waiting for Victor Hinson to get out of jail at the end, and I just wanted to know what ever happened between you two.”
I smiled. Everyone who read my book wanted an answer to
I said, “By the time he got out of jail, he had legally changed his name, found himself a new woman, married her and had children. And I had to get over it.”
They were all in shock, or at least the students who had read my book. No microphone was needed.
“He up and dropped you just like that?” another girl shouted toward the stage. A few boys in the background began to snicker. I guess that a lot of the young studs considered it a norm for a man to play a woman.
The sisters, however, were outraged and hanging on my every word. If only I could film the pain in their faces and record their collective moan. They really wanted their love story to remain a reality, but life was not that simple. Especially in the nineties with so many failed relationships. Hopefully, the new millennium would bring brighter days for black love.
“He had his reasons,” I told them. I really didn't want to get into it. There had been many nights of pain regarding that chocolate-coated man named Victor, but the sweetness had faded away. I had to move on from him. I even wrote a poem about it: “When the Sweet Turns Sour.”
After I answered the Victor Hinson question, it seemed like
of the line reclaimed their seats. I wished that I could create some beautiful love fantasy to offer them instead, but I couldn't. Fantasies were for Hollywood.