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200187588-001I lucidly recall the day when the email came.

Hi Zettler,

I am writing you to see if you would be interested in contributing an article or two to Clutch Magazine…

Best,
Deanna

This was November 2006, when I was a flapping senior at Georgia State University, toiling between classroom prowess (yeah, right) and organizing writers at the Signal, the University’s student newspaper. To have this woman email me out the blue from a recommendation of a mutual friend – Kayla Calloway – was to me, a serious compliment. Of course it didn’t escape me at the time that:

A) I had no idea what I was getting myself into, only a writing opportunity
B) This was a start-up, online only magazine
C) I knew absolutely nothing about “Deanna Sutton” or “Clutch Magazine” (Google search yielded no fruitful info).

Let’s be glad that I didn’t succumb to such considerations. My very first article was printed on April 1, 2007: A Man Is Only As Faithful As His Options…Or Not, and from there, the rest, as they proverbially say, is history.

Every article may not have been a joy to read, but every article was a joy to write. Serving Clutch Magazine has given me a tremendous boost as a person in the same sense that it gives the thousands of readers who frequent the site a muse. As a man, the knowledge of the female psyche can be elusive. No amount of sisters, mothers, grandmothers or girlfriends can obviate the chasm that separates Martians and Venusians. But Clutch sure did help! I have gained tremendous insights into the mechanisms of the modern-day African-American female, largely through the thoughtful comments and feedbacks from readers and some through not-so-thoughtful and pleasing feedbacks.

Deanna Sutton and the Clutch staff have started something that far outlasts any tangible benefits that a successful business can generate. We – I am privileged to think that I might have played a small role in this – built a portal that give readers a view into celebrity culture, fashion savvy, monetary advice and straight-shooter talk that directly speaks into the minutiae of African-American life. If history has shown us anything, it’s that people are deeply interested in African-American culture.

Because of Clutch, I’ve had the opportunity to interview and write on some of the most luminous and fascinating minds in the world – Saul Williams, John Legend, Sheila Johnson, Diahann Carroll, Taraji Henson, Terri Vaughn, Rebecca Walker, Keke Palmer, Niecy Nash– and many more. On and off the record, many of these entertainers shared with me parcels of wisdom that I couldn’t forget. Or would want to.

Deeply personal subjects such as relationships, masculinity and femininity, societal shortcomings and flourishes are allowed to be explored ad nauseum through this site, and for some people, it is purely entertainment. For the writers, it is cathartic. If writing is the key to learning and organizing your innermost thoughts, then Clutch is an outer door that leads to the inner door: the soul. Which makes Deanna Sutton a key maker that enables many potential soul-seekers, with a penchant for subject-verb agreement, a chance to get to know themselves better.

I came into this on a lark, with my top priorities involving things such as a degree, a gown and smiling family and snapping pictures. I now stride as a self-effacing scribe and arriving grad student, with my top priorities involving something like a degree, a gown and serving readers to be just a bit more informed today than they were yesterday.

Thank God for Kayla Calloway. Thank God for Clutch.

Zettler Clay, Managing Editor
Atlanta, Georgia, April 2009

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  • Shang

    Great article. Knowing how Clutch came about makes me love it even better. Deanna, you are doing your thing and doing it well. You are a true inspiration to me and I wish you the best in the future.

  • That was awesome, Zettler!

  • ceecee

    Zettler is my favorite Clutch writer, it’s good to know how you came on the scene

  • Great letter – my sentiments exact – being able to contribute to the best magazine online is such a blessing :o)