Happy Friday! Happy Early Valentine’s Day! Happy Love Day Every Day!
I thought you might like to read a poem about love 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). See below. I have also included a video of me reading the poem. Let me know what you think of the poem.
What does love mean to you?
Enjoy your day and weekend!
Peace, Creativity, Compassion, and Gratitude for love in all of its beauty,
Excerpt from That Which Awakens Me
Copyright 2009 by Madelyn C. Leeke.
In the beginning was the word.
And the word was a seed called a thought rooted in Spirit.
In the beginning was the word.
And the word that we were given from Spirit was choice.
In the beginning was the word.
And the words that we choose each moment create energy,
meaning, and power in how we experience ourselves, each
other, and the world around us.
As we think and speak, we become a vessel of spiritual,
emotional, physical, silent, verbal, and written expression.
Our thoughts and words have lives of their own.
They tell our life stories out loud.
They stamp the universe with our vibratory signature.
Our vibration finds its way into the universe and dances to the
beat of beautiful music or noisy disturbance.
If we are mindful and aware, we can choose to allow our
vibration to create love, peace, light, beauty, joy, healing,
happiness, laughter, and abundance.
If we are unconscious or ego-tripping, we run the risk of
making a choice that will add more emotional, spiritual, and
physical violence in the universe.
The question we must ask is: what do we want the beginning
of each moment to look and feel like?
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 Meand 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’smain 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,
February is one of my favorite months. I am celebrating February by offering online yoga classes, author chats, and creative coaching sessions. See my schedule of online events below. I hope you can join me. Please share them with your network.
If you like or learn anything from these online events, please consider making a donation to support Doctors Without Borders’ work to improve the lives of Haitians impacted by the January 12th earthquake. Click here to learn more and make a donation: www.doctorswithoutborders.org.
1) YOGA FOR WOMEN’S HEART HEALTH AND PEOPLE OF HAITI ON STICKAM.COM
I will be teaching a series of online yoga classes on February 5, 12, 19, and 26 to honor women’s heart health month and the people of Haiti on Stickam.com: www.stickam.com/anandaleeke. Each class will be held from 7:00 a.m. to 7:15 a.m. EST.
I am hosting three author chats on The Ananda Leeke Show, my new BlogTalkRadio program, on February 8, 15, and 22 from 7:00 a.m. to 7:15 a.m. EST: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/anandaleeke. During the author chats, I will read excerpts from my debut novel Love’s Troubadours – Karma: Book One and share reflections that answer the question of the day. See the list of questions of the day below.
1) Who are love’s troubadours? – February 8
2) What does love look like in my main character Karma Francois’ life? – February 15
3) What is love mentalism? – February 22
3) CREATIVITY COACHING SESSIONS ON USTREAM.TV
Join me for two creative coaching sessions on Ananda Leeke Live!, my UStream.tv show, on February 11 and 25 from 9:00 p.m. to 9:15 p.m. EST. Click here to watch the show: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/ananda-leeke-live. Don’t worry if you miss the live recording. A recording will be archived on the web site.
My online coaching sessions will utilize creativity exercises included in my new book That Which Awakens Me: A Creative Woman’s Poetic Memoir of Self-Discovery. See the list of topics below.
a. How to use six-word memoirs to identify the many parts of yourself – February 11
b. What does creativity look like in your life? – February 25
Peace, Creativity, Compassion, and Gratitude for Love,
Today I listened to NPR’s Tell Me More with journalist Michel Martin and learned that 2010 marks the 40th anniversary of Congresswoman Shirley Anita St. Hill Chisholm’s 1970 autobiography Unbought and Unbossed.
I first learned about Sistalove Shirley when my mother Theresa supported her 1972 presidential campaign. She was my mother’s shero and later became mine. Sistalove Shirley ran for Congress and headed to Washington, D.C. in 1968 to represent her Brooklyn community. In 1972, she became the first woman and African American to run for president of the United States. She had her own mind and was a true force of nature. Sistalove Shirley rocked her entire life and always told her truth in her own words. Her legacy inspires me to do the same. FYI – I wrote a poem about her in my new book That Which Awakens Me: A Creative Woman’s Poetic Memoir of Self-Discovery (available on Amazon – http://tiny.cc/7uFsg). See below.
During Tell Me More, Martin spoke with one of my favorite filmmakers Shola Lynch, who created the film “Chisholm 72: Unbought and Unbossed,” and Barbara Ransby, a professor of History and African-American Studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Click here to listen to the show (17 minutes): http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=122984022.
Chocolate Bar (from That Which Awakens Me’s Chapter Two: Girlhood Memories. Defining Self.Identities. Archetypes.)
Copyright 2009 by Madelyn C. Leeke
My mother flipped through JET as we stood in the line at the grocery store.
I was busy trying to con her in to letting me get a chocolate bar from the candy stand located near the checkout counter.
She paid me no mind.
Persistence was my middle name.
So I continued and eventually got on her last nerve.
She threatened to use her Dr. Scholl’s on me.
I quieted down for fear of her wooden shoe.
That’s when she showed me a picture of this coffee-colored woman with glasses from some place in Brooklyn.
At first glance, the lady looked like a school teacher.
My mother proudly told me that she was Shirley Chisholm, the first Black woman to run for President.
I smiled and thought my mother might bend and let me get that chocolate bar, but she wasn’t having it.
Maybe if this lady wins the election I might be able to get a chocolate bar then.
Enjoy your day and week!
Peace, Creativity, Joy, Compassion, and Gratitude for Sistalove Ancestors,
Last year I attended Fem 2.0’s conference and was inspired to write a poem. See below. It is included in my new book That Which Awakens Me: A Creative Woman’s Poetic Memoir of Self-Discovery (available on Amazon.com –http://tiny.cc/7uFsg ). That Which Awakens Me also includes a chapter about my reflections on feminism and womanism. Enjoy!
At A Crossroads of Awakening
Copyright 2009 by Madelyn C. Leeke
Inspired by the Fem 2.0 Conference held at George Washington
University on February 2, 2009, and African American artist
Meta Warwick Fuller’s sculpture, Ethiopia (1921)
We are at a crossroads.
It is off ering us a grand opportunity filled with great
One that can bring us into a new day that gracefully unfolds
into a new tomorrow and future.
It is happening everywhere.
Can you see it?
Can you feel it?
Do you want to be a part of it?
Whether we know it or not, we are manifesting the words
of our very own American artist sistalove Meta Vaux Warrick
Fuller: “awakening, gradually unwinding the bandages of [our]
past and looking out on life again, expectant but unafraid.”
The bandages we are unwinding are complex layers of identities
that include our ethnic groups, socioeconomic classes,
educational backgrounds, professions, places of residence,
sexual orientation, religious affiliation, and political beliefs.
Many of us wear an array of t-shirts that mark us as feminists,
womanists, pro-choicers, right to lifers, democrats, republicans,
green party members, socialists, communists, independents,
conservatives, progressives, and middle of the roaders.
Our labels of identity have often created barriers to our
growth, coalition-building, understanding, and affirmation as
Despite the differences, our identities make us who we are.
They give us individual and collective meaning.
They must be valued, understood, respected, and affirmed.
With all that said, I am left with a question:
How do we awaken and unwind the bandages from the barriers
of the past that created exclusion and misunderstanding?
The answers for those of us who are connecting online reveal
themselves a little each day as we interact with social media
tools that have the capacity to expand our quilt of sisterhood.
When we tell and document our stories, seek support and
advice, educate and train, create and share content, advocate
for common causes, launch businesses and nonprofit
organizations, market and sell products and services, express
our creativity, and engage in dialogue on our blogs, Twitter,
Facebook, Myspace, YouTube, and other social networking
and bookmarking sites, we give ourselves the opportunity to
learn more about each other.
Our learning efforts can open the door to ways we can honor,
promote, and practice diversity, tolerance for a difference
of opinion, self-care, compassion, patience, acceptance,
mindfulness, loving kindness, and forgiveness.
It all begins with our choice.
If we choose to do the work of understanding whowe are
and what we believe and want, and seek out common interests
without imposing our own strong wills, agendas, beliefs, and
branding strategies, we can usher in a much-needed paradigm
shift that creates space for our right brain to jump the broom
and marry our left brain so that our power, passion, and
purpose as women are aligned in strategic ways that give birth
to new ways of being, communicating, and working together.
Are we ready to awaken and fully unwind the bandages of our
Are we ready to look out on life again, expectant but unafraid
of manifesting a shared destiny of common interests while
affirming and maintaining our separate identities and causes?
These questions are rhetorical.
We already know the answer.
We are smart, capable, and talented women.
So let’s walk past the crossroads and make what we know a
Listen to me celebrate Yoga Day USA (www.yogadayusa.org and www.yogaalliance.org) with a yoga breathing exercise and yoga-inspired poem “Present Moment Awareness” 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).