What I am reading now…. Buppies, B-boys, Baps, And Bohos: Notes On Post-soul Black Culture by Nelson George — Research for my new novel Love’s Troubadours – Symon: Book Two

Greetings All,

Yesterday, I started reading Nelson George’s Buppies, B-boys, Baps, and Bohos: Notes on Post-soul Black Culture (2001).  I am using George’s book as research for my new novel Love’s Troubadours – Symon: Book Two.  Like my main character Symon Allure, George was born and bred in Brooklyn.  Symon also represents a buppy, b-boy, and boho.

Do you know what a buppy, b-boy, bap, and boho stand for?

Check out Publisher’s Weekly description of George’s book (from Amazon.com) below.

Village Voice columnist George has already established his scholarly depth and his gift for stylish, finger-on-the-pulse reporting on black music with his The Death of Rhythm & Blues and Where Did Our Love Go? The Rise & Fall of the Motown Sound . This collection of articles, nearly all of them reprinted from the Village Voice , marks him also as a knowledgeable, entertaining critic of African American popular culture generally and its pervasive influence on American life. Beginning with an astute, comprehensive, polemical time line, “A Chronicle of Post-Soul Black Culture,” George traces black mass culture from the 1970s “blaxploitation” films through Alex Haley’s Roots saga and comic Richard Pryor’s sociopolitical humor up to the explosive popularity of hip-hop. His observations on the origins of rap in New York City black neighborhoods are valuable, and two probing essays–on the fatal 1985 shooting by a white Manhattan police officer of black Phillips Exeter Academy student Edmund Perry, and on the near-cosmic importance of basketball among black teens–vividly illustrate George’s sensitivity to the social complexities of African American life.

What are you reading this Spring?

Enjoy your day!

Peace, Creativity, Compassion, and Gratitude for Great Books,


Research on Black male privilege for my next novel Love’s Troubadours – Symon: Book Two

Greetings All,

I have a confession to make.  I LOVE doing research for my next novel Love’s Troubadours – Symon: Book Two.  YES YES YES I LOVE RESEARCH especially with the Internet …. blogs, YouTube, Twitter, podcasts, Facebook, Myspace, and web sites.

Today, my love-fest for research took me to NPR’s Tell Me More with Michel Martin (I listen to the show five days a week! Love it!).  While listening to today’s show via podcast, I was introduced to Dr. L’Heureux Dumi Lewis who talked about Black male privilege.  After listening to the show, I visited Dr. Lewis’ blog and watched a YouTube video featuring his keynote address on Black male privilege at his alma mater Morehouse College (the same school my main character Symon Allure attended during his freshmen year) in February.  See video above.  That keynote address convinced me to include a discussion about Black male privilege in my novel.

What do you think about Black male privilege?

Enjoy your day!

Peace, Creativity, Compassion, and Gratitude for the Internet,


Soul Babies by Mark Anthony Neal: What I am reading now for research supporting my next novel Love’s Troubadours – Symon: Book Two

Greetings All,

Today, I started reading Soul Babies by Mark Anthony Neal (one of my favorite Black male feminists and authors …. Loved his book New Black Man).  Click here to learn more about Neal and his work: http://newblackman.blogspot.com.  I am reading Neal’s Soul Babies as research for my next novel Love’s Troubadours – Symon: Book Two.

So why am I reading this book? Well, it all started when Tulane University professor and author Shayne Lee referred to the main character Karma Francois in my debut novel Love’s Troubadours – Karma: Book One as a “post-soul” woman in his interview with me on my Talkshoe.com radio show on November 9, 2009: www.talkshoe.com/tc/15820 (see past episodes archives).   Lee’s Amazon.com book review also makes reference to the term. See below.

“Great artistic efforts do more than just entertain, they enlighten. Love’s Troubadours was highly entertaining, but also challenged me to explore the greater context of the world around me, which is in my humble opinion the hallmark of great art. I learned much about my own strivings and angst while perusing life through the eyes of a hip, chic, post-soul, educated yoga-loving, highly spiritual Black American Princess named Karma. There are no canned characters in this masterpiece, only complex women and men dealing with the vicissitudes of life through their inimitable postmodern brands of spirituality and social perspectives. Karma teaches us much about perseverance as well as about self-transcendence and spiritual consciousness. One of the most fascinating aspects of this book is its fresh appropriation of black middleclass sensibilities. Karma is an intuitive and progressive woman and her tastes and interests reflect a mélange of black middleclass tropes often unexplored in contemporary cinema and books. Ananda Leeke fastens our consciousness to a world of black female sophistication, and depicts Karma as an apotheosis of urban-chic and self-transcendence. Leeke takes us on an entertaining and enlightening journey as we watch an incredibly complex protagonist like Karma navigate through the matrices of her personal reformation, negotiate transitional changes, overcome family and relationship challenges and emotional angst, and emerge as a more evolved and emotionally whole woman. This is a well-written book and a fascinating look at an underrepresented portion of contemporary black middle-class life and spirituality.”

Shayne got me thinking about the type of people I write about in my Love’s Troubadours novel series.  So I did a google search for Neal’s definition of post-soul. See below.

“the political, social, and cultural experiences” of blacks born “between the 1963 March on Washington and . . . the Regents of the University of California v. Bakke challenge to affirmative action in 1978.”

After reading the definition, I realized me and most of my characters are post-soul!

When I saw the cover of Soul Babies featuring Soul Train dancers, I hollered because Soul Train was one of my favorite shows growing up in the 70s.  It was a religion for me to watch Don Cornelius and the Soul Train guests and dancers.  They taught me how to dance and dress (at least in my imagination cuz’ my mother would not allow me to wear some of the clothes!).

What do you think about the post-soul definition?

What were your favorite memories from the 70s?

Do you listen to 70s music? If so, who are your favorite artists and groups?

Enjoy your day!

Peace, Creativity, Compassion, Gratitude, and SOOOOOOUUUUUULLLLLLL,


Black women, depression & Ananda’s novel Love’s Troubadours – Karma Book One

Susan L. Taylor

Happy Thursday!

Today, I read Linda Villarosa’s article “When Depression Strikes the Black Superwoman” on TheRoot.com.  It features Susan L. Taylor, former editor-in-chief of Essence (www.essence.com) and founder and CEO of the National Cares Mentoring Movement.

Linda Villarosa

Villarosa writes,

  • The 21st century has been good for many black women who have followed in the footsteps of women like [Susan]Taylor and [Terrie] Williams. Two of the world’s most visible and accomplished women are African American—one in the White House, the other on daytime television. Black women are going to college and starting businesses in record numbers. We’re also hammering away at the glass ceiling and more of us are rising into management positions. And a few, like Ursula Burns, the CEO of Xerox—and subject of a glowing New York Times profile last week—make it to the very top. But success can come with a price. We’re the first to arrive and the last to leave as we grind through 10-hour work days. We’re the ones everybody relies on—first at work, then after hours during the second shift of home and family time. We work ourselves almost literally “to death” especially now during this economic storm. Or for some of us, we “feel” like we have to continue to be the “superwoman.”
  • Even as our collective accomplishments have bubbled to the surface, the pain is often simmering just below it. Certainly many of us have found happiness and joy in our lives, whether singled or partnered, mothers or not, with or without that high-status, six-figure career. But too many others are lonely, sad or angry—and too proud or too afraid to talk about it.

Here are several key comments Taylor made in the article.

  • “My sadness and depression came out of giving myself to my career before I would give myself to myself… Everything for Essence; nothing for me.”
  • ““I sought help, and everything began to unfold.”
  • “Hiding sadness makes you more and more sad because it closes you off to your healing.”
  • “Giving voice to what you’re feeling is part of the healing.”

These four comments really hit home with me.  They made me think of my own journey and the journey of my main character Karma Francois in my debut novel Love’s Troubadours – Karma: Book One (available on Amazon.com –  http://tinyurl.com/yfxtqyq).  Karma is a thirtysomething Oakland-born BoHo B.A.P. (Bohemian Black American Princess) with Louisiana roots and urban debutante flair. Love’s Troubadours begins with Karma’s life in an uproar. Her relationships and the museum curator career that she struggled to form in New York City have crumbled, leaving no viable options to rebuild. Relocating to Washington, DC, Karma struggles with denial, depression, and debt. A lack of full-time employment opportunities forces her to craft a gypsy existence as a Jill of Many Trades: yoga teacher, art consultant, and freelance curator at Howard University Gallery of Art. Unable and unwilling to appreciate these jobs as gifts, she wallows in a pool of lost identity-and doesn’t see a way to keep from drowning. When she looks in the mirror, Karma sees a woman whose choices have dishonored her true character. Now, for the first time in her life, Karma must learn to see herself for who she really is.

What do you think about Black women and depression?

Enjoy your day!

Peace, Creativity, Joy, Compassion, Gratitude for healing,


What does it mean to be a Black man?

A Tribute to Deno, painting by Ananda Leeke

(appears on back cover of Love’s Troubadours – Karma: Book One – www.lovestroubadours.com)

Happy Thursday,

Today I am celebrating the birthday of my best friend and co-writer Deno Moss.  Deno was born in 1962. He made his life transition on February 6, 2003 (two days after his 42nd birthday).  During the last two years of his life, Deno spent an enormous of time working with me as a co-writer on the Love’s Troubadours novel series.  He is one of the reasons I started writing the novel.  His persistence, support, friendship, and writing talent made him the perfect partner.  He also happened to be my best friend from the time we met during my freshmen year at Morgan State University in Baltimore, Maryland.

During the course of our 20 year friendship, I witnessed Deno’s journey as a creative, giving, consistent, and loving Black man who was a husband to Marcie, father to Jordan, son to his mother, brother to his siblings, and friend to many.  He gave from his heart.  He shared wisdom wrapped in his Wilmington, Delaware accent, silly humor, life experiences, soul music, comic books, and Brooklyn living.  He continues to give from his heart as my guardian angel.

Last night I was doing research for one of Deno’s favorite characters Symon Allure, the main man in my new book Love’s Troubadours – Symon: Book Two. Symon is a post-soul man born in 1963. His mom is Afro-Cuban. His dad is African American with Richmond, Virginia roots. When the book opens, you meet Symon in a state of reflection about what happened to him in 1968. One of his memories is his father Maxwell, a jazz musician, taking him to a barber shop in Brooklyn.

Malik Yoba

The barber shop was key in my research last night. It led me to the first episode of actor/musician/healer/father Malik Yoba’s new BET web TV show called Shop Talk: What’s on the Hearts of Men. It is set in Brooklyn.  The first webisode is entitled “Father and Son.” It features Malik and his seven year old Josiah. They visit a barbershop. Josiah asks the men in the barber shop what it means to be a man. Check out the four-minute webisode: http://shoptalk.bet.com/video/webisode-1-father-and-son.

Shawn Wallace

Here’s another thing to check out: author Ytasha Womack’s great blog post featuring an interview with Shawn Wallace, musician and producer of the upcoming documentary You’ll Be A Man , about what it means to be a Black man: http://postblackthebook.blogspot.com/2010/02/doc-youll-be-man-interview-with.html.  Click here to learn more about Wallace:  http://www.myspace.com/qimusicgroup.  Watch a short video (7 minutes) about Wallace’s You’ll Be A Man documentary: http://vids.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=vids.individual&videoid=53896857. FYI – Womack’s new book is Post Black. Check her book out on Amazon.com.

Now after all that, I wanna know one thing.  What does it mean to be a Black man?

Please share your thoughts. They will deepen my book research.  Thanks in advance!

Thanks for stopping by!

Peace, Creativity, Compassion, and Gratitude for the Black men in my life who demonstrate love, support, friendship, consistency, understanding, and responsibility,


PS: My dad John; grandfathers Robert and John; Uncles Bob, Robbie, and Samuel; brothers Mike, Mark, and Matt; cousins Tre, Finis, and Tony; and brothalove friends Fred (play father), Wayne, Jason, Ken, Henry, Andre, and Tim’m represent what it means to be a Black man to me.  They demonstrate love, support, friendship, consistency, understanding, responsibility, and so much more.

Marinating on what it means to be post-black as I research and write Love’s Troubadours – Symon: Book Two

Hi All,

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.

Golden wrote,

  • 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,


Ananda’s reflection on Kuumba (creativity), the 6th day of Kwanzaa

Greetings All!

Happy New Year’s Eve!  Happy Kuumba (Creativity), the 6th day of Kwanzaa!

What does creativity mean to you?

How have you been creative in 2009?

What are your creative plans for 2010?

Click on my Cinchcast below to hear my reflection on Kuumba and an excerpt about creativity from my new book, That Which Awakens Me: A Creative Woman’s Poetic Memoir of Self-Discovery (available on Amazon.com – http://tiny.cc/7uFsg).  I also mention the way African Americans are using their creativity and social media tools (Facebook, YouTube, Vimeo, Twitter, etc.) to tell their stories on web TV shows such as my new five favorites: “Anacostia”, “Buppies”, “Kindred”, “The New 20s”, and “Wed-Locked.”  All of these shows represent a new wave of artistic freedom in 21st century visual culture.  They celebrate the independence of creative folks who are willing to tell a wide range of stories that document the many facets of African American life.  For me, they echo one of my favorite mantras: Black folks are NOT and will never be monolothic!  They also  remind me of my debut novel, Love’s Troubadours – Karma: Book One (www.lovestroubadours.com ; available on Amazon.com –  http://tinyurl.com/yfxtqyq) are also sources of inspiration for my next novel, Love’s Trouabadours – Symon: Book Two. 

Enjoy your day and New Year’s Eve!  Many blessings to you and your family in 2010! 

Peace, Compassion, and Creativity,


“Anacostia,” one of my new favorite web TV shows and sources of inspiration for my second novel, Love’s Troubadours – Symon: Book Two

Greetings All,

I started watching “Anacostia”, one of my new favorite web TV shows, this week.  Anthony Anderson, a writer and producer of the independent film, The Ties That Bind, created the dramatic series.  It contains 10 episodes.  I love that the show is set in D.C.  and follows the lives of four friends (three women and one man – a bit different from the “Sex and the City” formula I adore!).  Through the four main characters and the folks who make their lives juicy, you get to see what happens inside and outside of human relationships.   Kudos to Anderson for featuring gay characters in the show.  I think it is important that Black television, movies, literature, and plays show all facets of Black life and relationships.  We are not monolithic (that’s my mantra from my Love’s Troubadours novel series which celebrates Black straight, gay, and bisexual characters).

The cast of “Anacostia” includes a dynamic and talented team of actors and actresses: Walter Maxfield Jones, Tamieka Chavis, Anthony Anderson, Kena Hodges, Wil Lash, Tia Dae, Jermaine McNeal, Rabon Hutcherson II, Marion Akpan, Pasha Diallo, Kareem Petteway, Kristopher Robin and James Oxley. See their photo below.

Since I’m just getting into “Anacostia,” I will hold off on sharing my thoughts about the various characters and episodes.  I promise to blog more about the show and how it is inspiring me to complete my second novel, Love’s Troubadours – Symon: Book Two in the coming weeks and months.  In the meantime, check out “Anacostia” and tell me what you think in the comment section below.  Also include your favorite characters and episodes.  Be sure to join the show’s Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/ANACOSTIA-The-Series/121834845549?ref=ts.

Peace and Creativity,


PS:  I am really anxious to see what happens to the model as she returns to her career and the woman who is drinking and pushing her husband away!

Buppies, a new web TV show & source of inspiration for my new novel Love’s Troubadours – Symon: Book Two

In November, I discovered “Buppies” (http://buppies.bet.com), BET’s new web TV show that chronicles the life experiences of five Black professionals in Hollywood.   “Buppies” is a blend of comedy and drama.  It depicts how twentysomething upwardly mobile Black folks live, love, dress, work, and deal with issues such as  relationship breakups, death, sexual orientation, and pregnancy.

“Buppies” centers around Quinci Allen, a Hollywood Black American Princess (BAP) socialite and publicist.  Quinci is dealing with the death of her celebrity father and recent breakup with fiancé Shaka.  As she navigates the landscape of her life’s ups and downs and discovers who she is, Quinci realizes the importance of her friendships and begins to rely on them as her true family.  Her friends are also engaged in similar journeys of self-discovery.

My thoughts about “Buppies”

So far I like the story line of the series. I wish the webisodes were longer.  They are only three minutes. However, the actors and producers pack a lot into those three minutes! Check out my social media suggestions on how BET can market “Buppies” below.

  • Expand “Buppies” social media presence by launching a Vimeo and YouTube channel so that fans can see what life is like for the actors behind the scenes. The page should be linked to “Buppies” composer Gary Gunn’s YouTube channel: www.youtube.com/user/garygunnmusic.
  • Create a UStream.tv channel for the actors and producers so they can host weekly live chats.
  • Launch a video campaign that encourage fans to make their own videos sharing why they love the show and what characters resemble their lives.
  • Increase Twitter followers and Facebook fans.
  • Offer weekly chats on Twitter or Facebook that feature one or more of the actors and producers.  The conversations could create a series of topics that could be featured during a weekly or monthly blogging carnival.
  • Have the actors do audio  blogs with Cinchcast or Utterli about their characters on a weekly basis. Post the blogs on Twitter and Facebook.
  • Invite bloggers to review the webisodes or a topic discussed on the webisode.
  • Promote the show with campaigns on Twitter and Facebook which include some giveaways.

Click here to read a review of “Buppies” by Aymar Jean Christian, a journalist turned academic who founded the Televisual blog: http://blog.ajchristian.org/2009/11/01/buppies-tatyana-ali-and-the-value-of-making-a-web-series. Christian is also a doctoral student in communication at the Annenberg School at the University of Pennsylvania.

I adore the cast of “Buppies” which stars Tatyana Ali as Quinci. Ali is one of my favorite actress from “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” and “Young and the Restless.” She is a singer, activist, and graduate of Harvard University.

Quinci’s ex-fiance Shaka McCarthy, a corporate attorney and rapper, is played by Ernest Waddell, a Brooklyn-born actor with childhood roots in Bowie, Maryland (a P.G. County homeboy!).  Waddell is a graduate of New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts.  As a NYU student, he worked on “As the World Turns” and HBO’s “The Wire.”

Robin Thede, an actress, comedian, writer, entertainment correspondent, host and radio personality, and Northwestern University graduate, plays Priscilla “Prissy” Belle, one of Quinci’s best girlfriends.  Prissy is a magazine editor with a celebrity attitude who is dating Eliot David, a sports agent with a closet full of secrets that involve his relationship with another man.

Preston Davis, an actor and native of Los Angeles, brings the character Eliot to life.  Davis is a graduate of Louisiana State University, has a recurring role on HBO’s “Entourage,” and is starring in the upcoming films, “The Brotherhood V: Alumni” and “The Prankster.”

Chante Frierson breathes “keep it real” life into Quinci’s other best girlfriend Kourtney Bellows, a woman who considers being a music industry heiress a profession.  Frierson’s acting career began with recurring roles on NBC’s “A Different World” and the Broadway production of “Rent.”  She recently appeared in the San Diego Musical Theater production of “Dreamgirls.” Click here to learn more about the cast of “Buppies”: http://buppies.bet.com/cast.

Julian Breece Screenwriter & Director

Filmmaker Julian Breece wrote and directed the series.  Breece and his producing partner, Aaliyah Williams co-produced “Buppies” through Game Theory Films and in partnership with Tatyana Ali and her sister Anastasia’s company HazraH Entertainment.

Gary Gunn, a fellow Howardite and composer with D.C. roots, created an amazing soundtrack for ”Buppies.”  Click here to listen to the soundtrack: http://www.garygunnmusic.com/filmtv_buppies.html.

“Buppies” has become a source of inspiration for my next novel Love’s Troubadours – Symon: Book TwoBook Two tells the story of Symon Allure, the last person you meet in my debut novel Love’s Troubadours – Karma: Book One (www.lovestroubadours.com).  Symon is a thirtysomething Brooklyn-born African American man with an eclectic background and striking resemblance to actor Courtney Vance.  His eclectic background includes working class Afro-Cuban roots dipped in the southern culture of Richmond, Virginia, and a professional persona that mirrors Dr. W. E. B. Du Bois’ Talented Tenth. Symon earned his BA and MBA in finance from Howard University’s School of Business.  He is also a proud member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.  He works as an investment banker in Washington, D.C. and enjoys a buppie lifestyle with his 15th Street bachelor pad home and BMW.  The novel opens with flashbacks from Symon’s childhood in 1968 and moments from his freshmen year at Morehouse College.  It takes you on a journey of Symon’s dating experiences which lay the groundwork for a major life transformation that helps him discover his identity as one of Love’s Troubadours.