Golden Press

Cheetah Girls more than a brand, but a need!

Photographer: Jarondakie Patrick Loction: Howard University Campus- WHUR


Cheetah Girls started a “girl power” epidemic that took over television and Disney in 2005 thru 2009. The diverse girl group gave young African American and Latino girls someone to look up to.

The spunky teens that sported animal print came from the creativity of one African American woman who decided while writing for Essence magazine she would use her love for fashion to write a children’s book.

Deborah Gregory once had a boutique in Soho, New York that carried clothes for plus-size women. Owning the boutique in New York allowed Gregory to meet many people working in high places.   

“The Fashion editor of Essence magazine use to come into my boutique and borrow clothes for shoots,” Gregory said.

Being that Essence photographed plus-sized models in their magazine it elevated Gregory’s respect for the publication.

Gregory says though Essence never utilized the clothes for a shoot because of the loud and bold styles she bugged the fashion editor for over a year to write for the fashion section.

After nine years of writing for Essence she was bit by the author bug flowing through her work place. Her idea to start writing an adult book transformed into writing a children’s book.

But are children still reading books?

In 2009 the National Assessment of Educational Progress reported one-third of Americans 4th graders were at or above the proficient level in reading. The majority 67 percent of 4th graders in the nation performed below proficient level. The performance represented no change from 2007 to 2009.

The report also showed a 26- point scale score gap between Black and White students and a 25- point scale score gap between White and Hispanic students.

Gregory not only sees that the reading levels in schools are down, but notices that some parents are not encouraging reading.  

“I do a lot of book events and I see the kid saying, “Oh Mommie,” and Mommie says “Oh’ let’s go,” said Gregory.’ ‘But there is money for extensions and lipstick.”

The 16th series book was converted into a film. The film Cheetah Girls has gone on to sell over 800,000 copies since its debut in 2003. Though her book empire has been successful, Gregory says the diversity in the book industry is sad.

“In 85 years there has been only one book with Black and Latino characters that has been successful world-wide,” Gregory said. “And that has been Cheetah Girls.”

Photographer: Jarondakie Patrick Location: Howard University Campus_ WHUR 96.3 HD2


October 25, 2010 - Posted by | Fun Topics

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