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Join me for a free community yoga class on August 2 in DC.

2008 TWAM Photo Shoot 1 044

Happy Friday!

If you are a kind and gentle yoga lover and in the DC area on August 2nd, plan to attend my FREE community morning yoga class (restorative yoga) in Malcolm X-Meridian Hill Park (16th Street and Florida Avenue, NW – in front of the waterfall).  It will begin at 9:00 a.m. and end at 9:30 a.m. If it rains, the group will not meet. 

The short morning yoga practice will be dedicated to honoring International Day of the World’s Indigenous People, International Day for the Remembrance of the Atlantic Slave Trade and its Abolition, and all Americans impacted by Hurricane Katrina. BRING YOUR OWN MAT. Mats are NOT provided.

For more information, visit http://yoga.meetup.com/584.

Enjoy your weekend!

Peace, Creativity, and Summer OMs,

Ananda

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Fathers and Daughters on July 31st Episode of The Ananda Leeke Show on Talkshoe.com

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Me and my father Dr. John F. Leeke affectionately

known as “J” hanging out in Adams Morgan in DC

 

Happy Wednesday!

Join me for a juicy conversation with my father Dr. John F. Leeke (a/k/a “J”) about fathers and daughters on the July 31st episode of The Ananda Leeke Show at 8:00 p.m. EST on Talkshoe.com. Click here to listen to the show:  http://www.talkshoe.com/tc/15820.  We will discuss how our father-daughter relationship has impacted my life choices, creativity, and career. 

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We will also share our thoughts about the book, Daughters of Men: Portraits of African-American Women and Their Fathers (http://www.daughtersofmen.com) by Rachel Vassel.  I recently gave this book to “J” for his 70th birthday.  It’s one of his favorites!

If you miss the show, don’t panic. You can download a recording to your computer or via iTunes a few minutes after the show airs or whenever you have free time.  Click here to download a recording:  http://www.talkshoe.com/tc/15820.

What is your relationship with your father?

How has your father impacted your life choices and career?

Enjoy your day!

Peace and Creativity,

Ananda

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Special Notice: Today’s episode of Sisterhood, the Blog Radio featuring my Blogher 2009 conference reflections was prerecorded.

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Happy Tuesday!

Guess what?  My home computer died last night. So I had to prerecord today’s episode of Sisterhood, the Blog Radio which was scheduled to air tonight at 8:00 p.m. EST on Talkshoe.com:  http://www.talkshoe.com/tc/42015.  The good news is that you can listen to and/or download the recording anytime you want to your computer or via iTunes. Click here to download the episode:  http://www.talkshoe.com/tc/42015

Wish me luck on finding a great laptop on sale!

Enjoy your day!

Peace and Creativity,

Ananda

PS:  I will post my Blogher webisodes featuring interviews with Blogher participants on Ananda Leeke TV (www.youtube.com/anandaleeke) later this week.

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Back from Blogher 2009 – Tune into Sisterhood, the Blog Radio and listen to my Blogher reflections on July 28th @ 8pm

blogher

Happy Monday!

I am back from Blogher 2009 (www.blogher.com). I had a grand time with the Blogher ladies and sponsors in Chicago. I also had so much fun using my Vado Creative Cam and filming webisodes of Ananda Leeke TV (www.youtube.com/anandaleeke).  I was able to create a groovy series on Black women bloggers who attended the conference.  Look for the webisodes later this week.  I also filmed some fun episodes featuring me sharing my insights and chatting with Sam Smith, one of the coolest guys at Blogher.  I did something unexpected and participated in two video projects. One was for Tropicana Juice.  I gave my healthy tip on eating oatmeal with raisins and honey for breakfast.  My webisode will be posted on Blogher and Tropicana’s web sites.  I also gave my two cents on what advertisers should consider when marketing to women in a documentary filmed by Holly Buchanon.     

The Windy City weather was fabulous.  I had time to meet my cousin Ellen and sistalove Mari for dinner at two Indian and Nepalese restaurants.  I also went to the National Museum of Mexican Art.  I will post videos from Ananda Leeke TV featuring my museum visit later this week.  

Be sure to tune into Sisterhood, the Blog Radio Series on Blogher 2009 (www.blogher.com) beginning Tuesday, July 28 at 8pm EST on Talkshoe.com:  http://www.talkshoe.com/tc/42015.  The first episode will feature yours truly sharing my reflections on Blogher 2009.  I will reveal my reasons for attending the conference on July 24 and 25 in Chicago, favorite Blogher moments, and lessons learned from Blogher workshop sessions.  I will also give a preview of the August series of interviews featuring approximately nine Blogher participants.  

If you miss the live show, don’t panic. You can download a recording to your computer or via iTunes a few minutes after the show airs on July 28th.  Click here to download:  http://www.talkshoe.com/tc/42015.

FYI – As of today, four dynamic women in the  blogosphere have confirmed their participation in the August series on Blogher 2009.  See below.

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Natalie McNeal

1) Natalie McNeal, founder of The Frugalista Files blog (http://miamiherald.typepad.com/frugalista), will be interviewed on August 10 at 8pm EST.  Natalie is a journalist and currently works for the Miami Herald.  In 2008, she launched The Frugalista Files as a personal finance blog.  She is the savings expert for www.geezeo.com, a financial site.

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Denene Millner

2) Denene Millner, founder of MyBrownBaby blog  (www.mybrownbaby.blogspot.com) will be interviewed on August 12th at 8pm EST.  Denene co-authored several books with her husband, writer Nick Chiles:  What Brothers Think, What Sistahs Know: The Real Deal on Love and Relationships, What Brothers Think, What Sistahs Know About Sex, and Money, Power, Respect: What Brothers Think, What Sistahs Know.  They also wrote three novels: Love Don’t Live Here Anymore, In Love and War, and A Love Story.  Denene partnered with writers Mitzi Miller and Angela Burt-Murray (Editor-in-Chief of Essence Magazine) to write  The Angry Black Woman’s Guide to Life and The Vow, a novel.  Denene and Mitzi penned a new teen novel series featuring HOTLANTA and If Only You KnewFor more information about Denene, visit www.celebrateblacklove.com.

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Lucrecer Braxton

3) Lucrecer Braxton, founder of Art-Slam blog (http://www.art-slam.com), will be interviewed on August 14th at 8pm EST.  Lucrecer established Art Slam as an art journaling blog that inspires and cultivates authentic creativity.  Art Slam is also a community of scrapbookers, journalers, and mixed media artists.

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Deb Rox

4) Deb Rox, author of 5 Ways to {Blank} Your Blog (www.hotblogstars.com/book.html) and founder of Deb on the Rocks blog (www.debontherocks.com), will be interviewed on August 15th at 8pm EST. Deb is also a partner in 3 Smart Girlz(http://www.3smartgirlz.com), a consulting firm  that helps others diversify, expand, develop new streams of income, and implement new marketing or operational technologies.

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Diversity Among African Americans: We are not monolithic!

 

 

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Photos taken at Oyster Harbor Beach in Annapolis, MD

 

Happy Monday!

While my dad and I were getting some much needed “plage de temps” (French phrase that means beach time a/k/a chilling out, chill-axing, cooling out, R&R) on Sunday morning in Annapolis, he shared soundbytes from the Washington Post about Judge Sonia Sotomayor and his all-time favorite person, President Barack Obama.  He spent time talking about Eugene Robinson’s op-ed that discussed several comments President Obama made about his speech at the NAACP’s 100th anniversary. Click here to read Robinson’s op-ed:  http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/07/18/AR2009071801045.html.

Obama-NAACP-100th-Anniversary-Speech

Robinson’s op-ed also referenced President Obama’s statement about how the civil rights movement weakened itself by promoting a one size fits all definition of what it means to be Black: 

“One of the ways that I think that the civil rights movement . . . weakened itself was by enforcing a single way of being black — being authentically black. And, as a consequence, there were a whole bunch of young black people — and I fell prey to this for a time when I was a teenager — who thought that if you were really ‘down’ you had to be a certain way. And oftentimes that was anti-something. You defined yourself by being against things as opposed to what you were for. And I think now young people realize, you know what, being African American can mean a whole range of things. There’s a whole bunch of possibilities out there for how you want to live your life, what values you want to express, who you choose to interact with…  I do think it is important for the African American community, in its diversity, to stay true to one core aspect of the African American experience, which is we know what it’s like to be on the outside… If we ever lose that, then I think we’re in trouble. Then I think we’ve lost our way.”

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Love’s Troubadours: Black Folks Ain’t Monolithic by Ananda Leeke (2005)

Message on painting: The truth is that Black folks ain’t monolithic.  No folks are. You dig! When Deno and I started writing the novel, we wanted to show the depth and breadth of Black folks loving themselves and each other in and out of life’s joys and pains … in and out of our identities…gender…class…religions…ages… We wanted to tell the truth.  The truth being that Black folks are Love’s Troubadours.”

 

I am so happy that President Obama talked about the diversity among African Americans and how being African American means many things.  His statement echoes a familiar chant that I have addressed in my novel, Love’s Troubadours – Karma: Book One (www.lovestroubadours.com), Love’s Troubadours Art Collection, and my new book, That Which Awakens Me: A Creative Woman’s Poetic Memoir of Self-Discovery (Summer 2009 – iUniverse, Inc.): African Americans are not monolithic.  See the photo of my painting, Love’s Troubadours: Black Folks Ain’t Monolithic above.  The lives of African Americans are filled with multi-layered stories.  We are much more than what we read about in mainstream media.  Our lives are richer and deeper than what we see on television and movie screens.  That’s why we must be vigilant in telling and documenting our stories. 

More on President Obama

Last night I had a chance to catch up on my reading. So I read an op-ed by Shayne Lee, one of my favorite authors. Click here to read Shayne’s op-ed: www.philly.com/inquirer/opinion/50451437.html?cmpid=15585797.  In his op-ed that was published in the Philadelphia Inquirer on July 10, Shayne discussed how former Chicago Bears coach Mike Ditka cleared President Obama’s path to becoming Senator and President.  How could that be?  The topic itself made me blink a few times.  To see why I blinked, read an excerpt from Shayne’s op-ed below.

“Let’s go back to 2004. National Democratic leaders strategize feverishly in an effort to win enough seats to control the U.S. Senate. They have their eyes on Illinois, a state with no incumbent running for reelection. Obama wins the Democratic nomination for the open seat, and the Republican nominee, Jack Ryan, drops out of the race due to the embarrassing details of his divorce records.

Obama is looking down a clear path to the Senate – until Mike Ditka begins flirting with the idea of running on the Republican ticket.

Some Democrats are champing at the bit for their Harvard-educated lawyer to pit wits against the charismatic but nonetheless inarticulate jock. But others fear that the former NFL coach, who brought Chicago its first and only Super Bowl championship, enjoys instant name recognition, while Obama is still establishing himself with Illinois residents. They find the prospect of a young politician with a weird name running against one of the state’s greatest sports legends somewhat daunting.

So, to raise Obama’s visibility, they grant him the great privilege of addressing the 2004 Democratic National Convention in prime time. Ironically, Ditka announces he will not enter the race shortly before the convention. But Obama’s name is already carved in stone on the schedule.

Almost 10 million Americans watch Obama deliver a riveting speech that changes his life and American politics. Before long, Obama is the new face of the party, criss-crossing the nation in fund-raising efforts for struggling candidates, building strategic alliances, and thereby taking steps toward a viable presidential candidacy.

I sum things up with a sort of syllogism: Obama’s presidential run is unimaginable without the political power and rock-star status bestowed upon him by his speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention. His speech never happens without a sports legend threatening to run against him for the vacant Illinois Senate seat. Therefore, Barack Obama would not be president today without Mike Ditka.

There is a lesson to be learned from the president’s remarkable journey. Even an immensely gifted, highly competent, Ivy League-trained talent such as Obama needs a bit of luck to achieve great success in America. How much more of it do the rest of us need”?

Okay now what do you think? 

If you are like me, you might be saying, “this cat made me think.”  That’s why I am a huge fan of Shayne’s work.  His writing always pushes the envelope and causes me to consider a different perspective.  He uncovers facts and weaves them together with insightful commentary that sheds light on areas most folks miss.  I think Shayne moonlights as an “Easy Rawlins” detective when he leaves his gigs as an author, sociologist, and professor at Tulane University.  

For more information about Shayne, visit http://www.tulane.edu/~sociol/slee.pdf

Be sure to check out and buy Shayne’s books on Amazon.com: T.D. Jakes: America’s New Preacher (NYU Press, 2005) and Holy Mavericks: Evangelical Innovators and the Spiritual Marketplace (NYU Press 2009).  Support Shayne!  His work will enrich your life! 

To read my review of Shayne’s book, T.D. Jakes: America’s New Preacher, click here: http://kiamshacom.blogspot.com/2009/02/book-review-td-jakes-americas-new.html.  

Visit BAP Living Radio to listen to a recording of my February 23rd interview with Shayne (search for Episode 13):  http://www.talkshoe.com/tc/18598.

Enjoy your day and week!

Peace and Creativity,

Ananda

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African American Art at the White House and in Ananda’s Debut Novel, Love’s Troubadours -Karma: Book One

karawalker

Cut by Kara Walker – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kara_Walker

 

Happy Saturday!

I read a great post on Black Visual Artist’s blog that featured an article by Kinshasha Holman Conwill, deputy director, Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of African American History & Culture. It discussed African American art, one of my passions and a major subject area in my debut novel, Love’s Troubadours – Karma: Book One (www.lovestroubadours.com). Click here to read the post: http://blackvisualartist.blogspot.com/2009/07/african-american-art-still-needs.html.  The article was published in the July/August 2009 issue of The Art Newspaper: http://www.theartnewspaper.com/articles/African-American-art-still-needs-support/18560

I enjoyed reading about how President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama have launched the White House campaign to bring greater diversity to its art collection—including more works by African American artists.  I agree with Conwill’s assessment that the Obamas’ efforts are having “a catalytic effect—stirring conversation, raising expectations. And that’s a good thing. The move is also throwing a strong light on African American art and the artists who create it.”  Several of the artists that Conwill mentions such as Kara Walker, Betye Saar, and Lorna Simpson are featured in my novel, Love’s Troubadours – Karma: Book One (www.lovestroubadours.com).  I have included a blurb about the artwork in my novel below.  Enjoy!

Who are some of your favorite African American artists?

Enjoy your weekend!

Peace and Creativity,

Ananda

 lt-officialbookcover121307

African American Art Featured in Love’s Troubadours – Karma: Book One (www.lovestroubadours.com): 

Art plays a major role in the life and museum curator career of Love’s Troubadours’ main character Karma Francois. It inspires, consoles, and teaches her. Love’s Troubadours offers you a wonderful opportunity to look at life through Karma’s eyes as an art enthusiast and museum curator. Through Karma’s eyes, you will learn about exciting artists and photographers from the African Diaspora, such as Lois Mailou Jones, Kara Walker, Renee Stout, Faith Ringgold, Chris Ofili, Marion Perkins, Elizabeth Catlett, Jean Michel Basquiat, Annie Lee, Betye Saar, Alison Saar, Amalia Amaki, Joyce Scott, Lorna Simpson, Eldzier Cortor, Sister Gertrude Morgan, Archibald Motley, Adrian Piper, Hughie Lee Smith, and Charles W. White.  Artists from other countries are also featured.  Click here to read more: http://kiamshacom.blogspot.com/2007/09/blessings-all-my-debut-novel-loves.html.

Are you looking for a great summer read that discusses African American art?  If yes, click here to purchase a copy of Love’s Troubadours – Karma: Book One from Amazon.com:  www.amazon.com/Loves-Troubadours-Karma-Book-One/dp/0595440819/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/002-2834089-1615222?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1192066805&sr=8-1.

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What was your favorite part of President Obama’s NAACP Speech?

*Jul 16 - 00:05*

Happy Friday!

Watching President Obama’s NAACP speech made my day — correction … it made my weekend! My favorite part was: “No one has written your destiny for you. Your destiny is in your hands – and don’t you forget that… No excuses. No excuses,” Obama added, verging off his prepared remarks. “You get that education. All those hardships will just make you stronger, better able to compete. Yes, we can.”

What was your favorite part of President Obama’s NAACP Speech?

Do you think the NAACP is relevent today?

Enjoy your weekend and remember to tune into BAP Living Radio on Sunday, July 17th at 7pm EST for a juicy discussion with the MamaLaw (www.mamalaw.com) bloggers about their upcoming Blogalicious (www.blogaliciousweekend.com) conference for women of color bloggers in October. Click here to listen to the show: http://www.talkshoe.com/tc/18598.

Peace and Creativity,

Ananda

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Ananda will talk to the amazing MamaLaw bloggers on July 19th episode of BAP Living Radio

mamalaw

 

Blogalic

Happy Thursday,

Join me for the sixth episode of BAP Living Radio’s series about Black women in social media on Sunday, July 19 at 7:00 p.m EST.  The show will feature a discussion with attorney mom bloggers Justices Fergie, Jonesie, and Ny about their amazing MamaLaw blog (www.mamalaw.com) and MamaLaw Media Group. We will also discuss their Blogher (www.blogher.com) event that will be held next week in Chicago and Blogalicious (http://www.blogaliciousweekend.com), their first annual conference for women of color bloggers that will be held on October 9 to October 11 in Atlanta, Georgia. Click here to listen to the show: www.talkshoe.com/tc/18598.

About BAP Living Radio

BAP Living Radio affirms the lives of women of African descent who self-identify as Black American Princesses (BAPs) and educated Black women (EBW). BAP Living Radio features programs about self-love, self-care, spirituality, health, finances, social media, politics, technology, beauty, fashion, art, music, culture, community service, creativity, fitness, travel, and more.

BAP Living Radio supports the following BAP Living social media projects:

-BAP Living social networking site – http://baplivingforbapsandebw.ning.com

-BAP Living Facebook Group – http://www.new.facebook.com/group.php?gid=15124364305

-BAP Living on Twitter – http://twitter.com/bapliving

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I created BAP Living social media projects in response to positive feedback from readers of my debut novel, Love’s Troubadours – Karma: Book One (www.lovestroubadours.com).  Love’s Troubadours – Karma: Book One tells the story of Karma Francois, a thirtysomething California-born BoHo BAP (Bohemian Black American Princess) with Louisiana roots and urban debutante flair. The book shows how a woman uses therapy, yoga, meditation, art, music, poetry, and support from family and friends to confront the effects of her poor life choices and embrace a spiritual journey of healing and love. It was published by iUniverse, Inc. in August 2007 and is available on Amazon.com.

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Wreck This Journal – Week 6 – Creative Play & Gratitude

WTJ

Happy Wednesday!

Today I decided to share what I have been doing in my Wreck This Journal book for Week 6.  Click here to see what my creative sistaloves from the Next Chapter Book Blogging Group have done during Week 6:  http://tnc-wreckthisjournal.blogspot.com/2009/07/wreck-this-journal-week-6.html.

2008 TWAM Photo Shoot 1 052

2008 TWAM Photo Shoot 1 058

On Sunday morning, I served as a volunteer yoga teacher for my free monthly yoga class (http://yoga.meetup/584) in Malcolm X-Meridian Hill Park (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meridian_Hill_Park), a local slice of paradise in my U Street neighborhood in DC.  After the class, I walked up 16th  Street to All Souls Unitarian Church (www.all-souls.org) and picked some leaves from various trees. One leaf was shaped in a heart. It was yellow and green.  It reminded me of my intention to maintain an open heart.  This morning, I created a collage by pasting the heart-shaped leaf on a green piece of construction paper.  I also wrote a statement about gratitude on the collage: I am grateful for waking up and seeing Mother Nature in a new day.  While reading page 168 of Wreck This Journal,  I decided to paste my collage as a secret message in my journal.  I used the last two digits of the year I became a debutante for Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. as my secret page.  That was a lot of fun to remember.  I had big fun with the debutante training process and coming out celebration. What great memories!

I also enjoyed playing on the following pages:

  • Page 142 asked me to create a sign of what I wanted to say.  I wrote a wisdom message that I have been using all week: be grateful for everything and everyone.
  • Page 122 asked me to trace my hand.  I traced my left hand with a black ballpoint pen and thought about how I use my left brain (logical, analytical, objective, and rational) to manage the publication process of my new book, That Which Awakens Me: A Creative Woman’s Poetic Memoir of Self-Discovery (Summer 2009 – iUniverse, Inc.).  My left brain has been spearheading the final stages of my book publication process (something I have tried to escape because all I wanna do this summer is play!).
  • Page 112 invited me to infuse the page with a smell of my choice.  This was so much fun.  I used my lavender oil and rubbed it on the page.  Now my book smells fresh like lavender!  Lovely!!!!!
  • Page 138 told me to write with my left hand.  This was silly.  I ended up writing “love is all we have.”  I can barely read the message!!!!
  • Page 115 and 116 encouraged me to close my eyes and connect the dots from memory.  My lines were all over the place. A few connected the dots. The exercise made me laugh a lot.  It was all about CREATIVE PLAY!!!!!
  • Page 150 felt good to do because it told me lose the page, throw it out, and accept the loss.  I needed to do this exercise.  Last week I started releasing a lot of clutter in my home and life.  After I dumped everything, I felt so much spaciousness in my home and heart. I also felt a sense of loss.  I got a little stuck in a sad place until I realized that I needed to accept the loss.   

So that’s all I have for Week 6. 

Thanks everybody for reading my weekly updates.

Peace and Creativity,

Ananda