As many of you might know, I am writing my next novel Love’s Troubadours – Symon: Book Two. I am in the midst of a research and reading phase that has me on a bottomless pit search for all things interesting. So far, my adventures have been online and offline. My eyes have traveled through numerous magazines, books, Amazon.com book reviews, Twitter and Facebook conversations, YouTube videos, and web TV shows. All kinds of good stuff is surfacing. It is really juicy!. There’s no real order to my method too. It’s a bit messy! And that’s okay! I am flowing with the FLOW!
I am fascinated … well to be honest infatuated with what it means to be post-black. The seed of my infatuation was planted during a radio show discussion I had with one of my favorite authors Shayne Lee, a Tulane University professor, in November.
Our conversation was FABULOUS! I am so glad it was recorded because I am using it as research now. Click here to listen to the show on Talkshoe.com: http://www.talkshoe.com/tc/15820 (look for episode 10 that aired on November 9, 2009).
During our conversation, Shayne and I discussed why we both loved reading Malcolm Gladwell’s The Outliers and its connection to my new book That Which Awakens Me and debut novel Love’s Troubadours – Karma: Book One (available on Amazon.com – http://tinyurl.com/yfxtqyq). Shayne gave a juicy review of Love’s Troubadours. He called the book’s main character Karma Francois a “post-soul woman.” Those three words led me to post-black. They shifted my reality Translation: Shayne’s three words set it off for me. Hey that’s what the brotha does! His analysis and books take you there. I read Shayne’s book T.D. Jakes: America’s New Preacher last year and am looking forward to reading his new book Holy Mavericks: Evangelical Innovators and the Spiritual Marketplace. I’ll be using Holy Mavericks as research for a character who is the son of an evangelical minister in my next novel. Click here to learn more about Shayne: http://tulane.edu/liberal-arts/sociology/lee-profile.cfm.
So after my reality shifted, I started examining Karma’s world through a post-black lens. The first stop on my post-black research journey was Thelma Golden, executive director and chief curator of the Studio Museum in Harlem.
While Golden worked at the Whitney Museum, she and artist Glenn Ligon coined the phrase “post-black art” in the late 1990s. The phrase was explained in the Studio Museum’s 2001 catalogue for Freestyle, an exhibition of twenty-eight up and coming artists of African American backgrounds.
- Post-black artists are “adamant about not being labeled ‘black’ artists, though their work was steeped, in fact deeply interested, in redefining complex notions of blackness.”
- “They are both post-Basquiat and post-Biggie. They embrace the dichotomies of high and low, inside and outside, tradition and innovation, with a great ease and facility.”
- “Post-black was the new black.”
- Post-black is “both a hollow social construction and a reality with an indispensable history.”
What do you think of Golden’s post-black commentary? I am still chewing on it!
FYI: I used Golden’s museum curator career as a template for Karma’s career in New York City. Golden’s curatorial work and willingness to show women and people of color artists that might not have been shown anywhere greatly influenced my discussion of African diaspora art in Love’s Troubadours. She introduced me to Kara Walker, Chris Ofili, and other artists mentioned in my novel.
Yesterday, I discovered author Ytasha Womack’s new book Post Black: How a New Generation Is Redefining African-American Identity (click here to read Womack’s blog and Twitter page). That was a Happy Black History moment! I ordered a copy of the book from Amazon.com today and will be attending Womack’s D.C. book reading on February 16 at Busboys and Poets’ 5th and K Street location (time – 6:30-8pm). I am so excited! Hopefully, Womack’s book reading will give me more food for thought as I explore the post-black world I share with my main character Karma in Love’s Troubadours – Book One and main character Symon Allure in Love’s Troubadours – Book Two.
Any thoughts on what it means to be post-black?
Do you self-identify as post-black?
Do you have any post-black fiction or nonfiction recommendations?
Thanks for stopping by! Enjoy your day!
Peace, Creativity, Compassion, Gratitude, and Adventures in the land of post-black,