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

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.

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.

0 comments on “Buy Ananda’s novel, Love’s Troubadours – Karma: Book One. It is a great book for the Fall season”

Buy Ananda’s novel, Love’s Troubadours – Karma: Book One. It is a great book for the Fall season


Blessings All,
 
Are you looking for an autumn book to read?
 
If yes, consider reading my debut novel, Love’s Troubadours – Karma: Book One (www.lovestroubadours.com). It is a Lorraine Hansberry-inspired novel that tells the story of Karma Francois, a thirtysomething Oakland-born BoHo B.A.P. (Bohemian Black American Princess) with Louisiana roots and urban debutante flair. The novel 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.
 

Karma-AhamPrema-3.5.07

 princessandfrog

A few more things about Karma…

  • Karma is a Daddy’s girl who graduated from Morgan State University, a historically Black college.
  • Her mother is a lot like Whitley Gilbert’s mother on A Different World.  She was born in New Orleans and attended Xavier University.
  • Her twin sister is a BAP lawyer with a Spelman College foundation.
  • She is a sorority girl and member of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc.
  • She loves chocolate martinis, Thai and Indian food, Black feminist books and romance novels, the arts, traveling, and all types of music such as classical, neosoul, jazz, and Afro-Cuban jazz.
  • She also loves to dance salsa and hang out with her sistafriends at Habana Village and cafes such as Bua, Teaism, and Mocha Hut in D.C.
  • She wears reddish brown locs and considers herself a natural woman with MAC lipstick. Her favorite clothing comes from Ann Taylor Loft, Moshood, Eileen Fisher, and vintage stores. She adores jewelry too.
  • She is also active in her community. She supports causes that improve the lives of women and people of color. HIV/AIDS prevention and education play a major role in her service work.
  • She loves spoken word events and writes poetry.
  • Karma uses Internet dating to spice up her social life.
  • She believes in taking responsibility for her own emotional well-being and sexual health. That’s why she spends time seeing a therapist, works hard to uncover her wounds, surrenders to her own healing journey, and engages in self pleasure.
  • Karma’s greatest lesson is learning to accept and love herself.
  • Like the Black American Princess Tiana in Walt Disney’s new movie The Princess and the Frog (release dates -November 25 and December 11 – http://disney.go.com/disneypictures/princessandthefrog), Karma’s life journey is one of self-discovery.

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Buy Love’s Troubadours on Amazon.com for $20.95: http://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.

Check out the Love’s Troubadours YouTube videos: www.youtube.com/kiamshaleeke.
 
Participate in a live author chat with me on the December 5th episode of Ananda Leeke Live! on U Stream at 7:00 p.m. EST: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/author-ananda-leeke.
 
Visit BAP Living, a social networking site to learn more about Black American Princesses: http://baplivingforbapsandebw.ning.com.
  
Thank you for your support! I really appreciate it!

Peace and Creativity,

Ananda

25 comments on “New Creative Adventure for Summer 2009 – Wreck This Journal byKeri Smith”

New Creative Adventure for Summer 2009 – Wreck This Journal byKeri Smith

 

 

wreckjournal

Wreck This Journal by Keri Smith – www.kerismith.com

crayons

Good Morning All!

Happy Friday!

It’s 6:40 a.m. in D.C.  The June rain that is hitting the pavement outside of my apartment fills the air with autumn chills.  It’s hard to believe that summer will be here in 15 more days.  I’ve already had two cups of green tea.  They warmed me up and got me energized for my new creative adventure : Wreck This Journal by Keri Smith.  

Wreck This Journal is an invitation to play and be free.  It was extended by Jamie Ridler, a certified professional co-active coach (http://www.jamieridler.blogspot.com).  Jamie founded Next Chapter, a book blogging group that has created an online sisterhood of support for creative women like myself.  I recently participated in Jamie’s Next Chapter book blogging group from January to April.  We read and blogged about The 12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women by Gail McMeekin (one of my favorite books – read it for the first time in 2000).  Click here to learn more about the group:  http://www.tnc-12secrets.blogspot.com.

Today marks the first step in my Wreck This Journal adventures with a group of groovy creative women. Click here to learn more:  http://www.tnc-wreckthisjournal.blogspot.com. Read about my first Wreck This Journal adventure below.

The clock registered 6:00 a.m. when I started my Wreck This Journal adventure.  I opened the book and read the title page.  My heart jumped when I read: “To create is to destroy.”  What a powerful mantra!  It was medicine for my creative soul.  It was also a permission slip to just be without an agenda.  I needed the medicine and permission slip after spending the past year and half working on my poetic memoir.  I really got excited when I read Keri’s warning statement: “You may begin to live more recklessly.”  My giggles let me know that I was on the right journey!  I shouted “Hallelujah!”

The first page I wrote in asked me to fill out who this book belongs to.  I wrote nice and neat like a good Catholic girl: Ananda Leeke.  The next line asked me to write my name in white.  I panicked and realized I didn’t have a white pen.  My sense of play left for a nanosecond until I wrote my name in any ole’ way.  That’s when I started to do my own thang despite the instructions.  My archetype called Madelyn, the lawyer/CEO lady, cringed.  My archetype called Puf, the little girl who rocks the world with her BoHo BAP (Black American Princess) fabulousness and Black-eyed susan southern debutante swagger, grinned and got on with the wrecking process.  Puf got the party started! It lasted 30 minutes. 

My favorite pages were:

1) Pour, spill, drip, spit, fling your coffee here.

I used green tea instead.  Rebel girl Puf didn’t blink an eye at my choice.  Then I dipped my finger three times in my tea cup and fingerpainted 3 long drips on the page.  

2) Color This Entire Page.

Kiamsha, my creative woman archetype, took over on this page. She decided to write a poem first. Here’s the poem.

Untitled

It is a rainy today.

Play is what’s on my mind.

Play opens the space of gratitude in my heart.

It reminds me of my Yogi tea bag message.

“Gratitude is the open door to abundance.”

Color it all with love. 

 After writing the poem, I walked from my bedroom into my art studio and picked up my box of crayons.  I brought them back to my bed and proceeded to randomly pull out a few colors.  I started coloring the page with two different crayons.  I shaded in places and scribbled in others.  I added more colors.  When I was finished, I realized that my coloring had given birth to a new poem.  So I copied it on the opposite page. 

Untitled

Coloring is my favorite.

It is scribbles of  joy.

Two crayons together going sideways, upside down, and all around.

Yellow and orange.

Pink and red.

White and violet.

Blue and green.

They kiss a blank page with their rainbow colors with joie de vivre.

My final act from this scene in my creative adventure was coloring the page. When I finished, I looked at the page with all of its colorful shadings and waved a cheery goodbye.

3) Fill this page with circles.

I decided to skip several pages and have some more morning fun.  That’s how I landed on page 32.  I let out a big WOW when I read the direction about filling the page with circles.  My Puf archetype loves to draw circles.  So much fun, right?  I pulled out my crayons again and made crazy swirls of colorful circles until I got dizzy. I drew blue circles on top of pink ones.  Yellow ones layered the pink ones.  Green ones moved next door to orange ones.  They were a family of swirling circle dervishes that  Rumi would be proud of! After I finished with this page, I closed the journal and made my way to my yoga mat for a round of sun salutations, mantra chanting, and meditation before my oatmeal breakfast!  What a way to start a Friday!

To my Next Chapter book blogging group sistaloves:  Thank you for joining me on this journey.  I am so excited to be taking it with you.  This summer I have more time on my hands so I will be able to visit your blogs more regularly (didn’t do that on the last Next Chapter book blogging  journey due to my poetic memoir writing).  I look forward to learning more about your Wreck This Journal experiences. 

Thanks for stopping by!  Enjoy your day and weekend!

Peace and Creativity,

Ananda

0 comments on “Happy June! My Summer Reading Adventures – Colson Whitehead’s Sag Harbor”

Happy June! My Summer Reading Adventures – Colson Whitehead’s Sag Harbor

Happy June!

Yesterday I read a Los Angeles Times article written by Reed Johnson about Colson Whitehead’s new book, Sag Harbor.  See author photo, book cover photo, and YouTube link with an author video below.  The article made me smile.  Why?  It reminded me how important it is to write novels (Love’s Troubdadours – Karma: Book Onewww.lovestroubadours.com), memoirs (That Which Awakens Me: A Creative Woman’s Poetic Memoir of Self-Discovery – Summer 2009 – www.anandaleeke.com), and poetry about my experiences as an African American woman who self-identifies as a Boho BAP (just one of my many identities!) and came of age during the 1970s and 1980s (BAP References: What is a BAP? – http://www.lovestroubadours.com/id15.html; BAP Living social networking site – http://baplivingforbapsandebw.ning.com; and BAP Living Radio – www.talkshoe.com/tc/18598) .  It also affirmed how thirsty I am for stories about people with similar experiences.  That’s why I ordered Whitehead’s book from Amazon.com this afternoon and will add it to my summer reading list. 

What are you planning to read this summer and why?

Thanks for stopping by!  Enjoy your day and week!

Peace and Creativity,

Ananda

colsonwhitehead

Colson Whitehead, author of Sag Harbor

Photo from Reed Johnson’s article in the May 31st issue of the Los Angeles Times 

sagharbor

YouTube Link to Author’s Video:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aILSfknGqFY

Copy of Los Angeles Times Article

http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/news/la-ca-africanamerican31-2009may31,0,7855305.story

 Center stage: middle-class African Americans
As Colson Whitehead’s and Lydia Diamond’s new dramas show, the way black artists represent themselves and are perceived by others is changing.

By Reed Johnson

May 31, 2009

Guess who’s coming to the beach barbecue this summer? Middle-class African Americans, that’s who.

In two new critically esteemed works, Lydia Diamond’s play “Stick Fly” and Colson Whitehead’s just-published semiautobiographical novel “Sag Harbor” (Doubleday), the focus is on middle-class blacks summering on, respectively, Martha’s Vineyard and rural Long Island. While both works address some of the perennial challenges of African American life, they also depict their characters basking in such fair-weather pleasures as hanging out with family, eating waffle cones, playing board games and schlepping across sand dunes.

Diamond’s comic drama, which is running through June 14 at the Matrix Theatre on Melrose Avenue, and Whitehead’s buoyant coming-of-age tale follow on the heels of Jill Nelson’s “Finding Martha’s Vineyard: African Americans at Home on an Island.” Published in 2005, her book is a lyrical memoir-history of the author’s half-century love affair with the Oak Bluffs community, a longtime African American enclave off the picturesque Massachusetts coast.

As Americans of all colors reconsider the meanings and milieus of the African American experience in the Obama era, we may be witnessing a gradual sea change in the way that African American artists represent themselves and are perceived by others. In both “Stick Fly” and “Sag Harbor,” the characters intermittently analyze their language, relationships and socio-cultural heritage (or baggage) as African Americans. But what’s also striking about these works is that they present their well-educated, witty characters as matter-of-factly inhabiting a world of leisure and affluence, a very different way than many white Americans may be used to seeing black people portrayed in popular culture.

“Often, people who make decisions about what gets produced have only known black people as a service provider,” Diamond, 40, said in a phone interview last week. That’s partly why an educated, middle-class black family such as the Huxtables, when they first appeared on “The Cosby Show” a quarter-century ago, caught off-guard viewers who hadn’t imagined that such families existed, she suggested.

Like the Huxtables’ comfortably rambunctious Brooklyn home, what the communities of Oak Bluffs and Long Island’s Azurest, Sag Harbor Hills and Ninevah offer is a more neutral, less historically and symbolically loaded backdrop against which to examine their fictional characters. They are depicted as places where middle-class African Americans are in some ways more free to be themselves than they are in the rest of white-dominated American society.

As Nelson writes in her memoir of Oak Bluffs: “There was no need to be the exemplary Negro here, or to show white people that we were as good as or better than they were, to conduct ourselves as ambassadors for integration and racial harmony. For the months of summer the weight of being race representative — and all the political, emotional, and psychic burdens that come with demanding that an individual represent a nonexistent monolith — was lifted. . . . Here, it was enough that you simply be yourself.”

“Sag Harbor,” which is set in the mid-1980s, elucidates not the chronicle of a people’s historic struggle, but simply the minutiae of its teenage protagonist Benji’s daily routines, shrewd reflections, sophomoric gibes and occasionally fumbling but earnest attempts at self-transformation.

“According to the world, we were the definition of a paradox: black boys with beach houses,” Whitehead writes. “A paradox to the outside, but it never occurred to us that there was anything strange about it. It was simply who we were.”

To some, “Stick Fly” and “Sag Harbor” may appear to present a kind of alternative history of the Great American Summer Vacation. But among East Coast middle-class blacks, that history is well established.

“Even in college, I’d say, ‘I’m from Sag Harbor,’ people would be like, ‘I didn’t know black people went out there,’ ” Whitehead, 39, said last week in Los Angeles, where he appeared in the Aloud public conversation series at the downtown Central Library. “Meanwhile, for us it was the opposite. We didn’t know white people went out there. We thought all the white people who lived in East Hampton, Bridgehampton, were townies.”

Not only are the worlds of “Stick Fly” and “Sag Harbor” strikingly different from those usually glimpsed in mainstream movies and television, they’re also quite removed from the environments typically associated with some of the most illustrious African American artists. Viewed from the plush living-room set of “Stick Fly” or the weekender bungalows and fried-clam shacks of “Sag Harbor,” the gritty precincts of Spike Lee’s Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood or August Wilson’s Hill District(Pittsburgh) in Pittsburgh seem a world away. So do the hardships endured by the struggling characters (including slaves) who populate the fiction of the nation’s most celebrated African American writer, Nobel laureate Toni Morrison.

Diamond has said she believes that “America has a real comfort zone with seeing African Americans in certain ways,” usually either as historical figures revisiting past wrongs inflicted by white people, or in a contemporary urban setting where many of the same historic, race-based struggles still occur.

Changing the setting of a play or novel from the Mississippi Delta or Detroit to an idyllic island bluff doesn’t mean those struggles necessarily have ended, the Boston-based playwright maintains, but it can offer a different lens on the nature of those continuing struggles.

In “Stick Fly,” set in the present, the LeVay family’s summer home in Oak Bluffs testifies to the hard-earned progress of a clan as well as an entire ethnic group. Its walls and crannies are covered with African carvings and an original painting by the African American artist and writer Romare Bearden. The bookshelves include the Riverside Shakespeare and “Parting the Waters,” Taylor Branch’s history of the civil rights movement. (John Iacovelli did the Matrix production’s evocative set design.)

In a program note, writer Carrie Hughes traces the African American history of Oak Bluffs to the late 1700s. The community swelled during World War II with African American “doctors, lawyers, dentists, teachers and business people, as well as politicians and artists.”

In that rarefied milieu, “Stick Fly” shapes up less as a play about race per se than about the economic and social distance that separates the LeVay brothers, Kent (Chris Butler) and Flip (Jason Delane), and their successful doctor father ( John Wesley) from Kent’s working-class, hyper-intellectual, hyper-opinionated girlfriend, Taylor (Michole Briana White) and the family’s disgruntled young housekeeper (Tinashe Kajese), all of whom are African American.

“When I wrote the play, I knew I was writing a play about class,” said Diamond, who grew up in what she describes as a single-parent, “solidly lower-middle-class home.”

In fact, several of her play’s plot points turn on matters of class, education and/or gender. Subtly, “Stick Fly” demonstrates that privilege, like discrimination, wears many masks, and is often invisible to those who benefit from it — even, or perhaps especially, if they themselves are the victims of some form of discrimination.

The nature of privilege also figures as a theme of “Sag Harbor.” Benji casually confesses to his youthful ignorance of some of the canonical heroes and cultural idols of African American history, such as W.E.B. DuBois. He’s aware at some level that his own more fortunate lifestyle was made possible by his ancestors’ sacrifices. But he’s also liberated by not being constantly consumed with that historical legacy.

Whitehead, author of the novels “The Intuitionist,” “John Henry Days” and “Apex Hides the Hurt” as well as a book of essays about his hometown, “The Colossus of New York,” said that “the hopes and dreams of my grandparents’ generation,” those African Americans who first started coming out to Sag Harbor, were obviously different from those of him and his childhood friends.

“Definitely they were part of this scene, a really new emergent black middle class. And for them to go out there was something that they were inventing. You know, they wanted it and they went for it, and no one’s going to tell them no.”

His parents, living through the civil rights era, also had their own, different perspectives and motivations, he said. “And then for our generation, [we would] sort of take their struggles for granted, playing with ‘ Star Wars’ figures in the dirt. Not aware of this whole history, just being the beneficiaries, the clueless beneficiaries.”

For Whitehead, Sag Harbor symbolized something of a refuge from his family’s life in New York City, where “I was a target for the police if I was in the wrong place at the wrong time.” (Once, as a high school senior, he was taken to a police station in handcuffs after being falsely fingered as a robber.)

Not that Sag Harbor was an idyll. “If we were out of Sag Harbor we were out of our territories,” he said. “And you couldn’t just go strolling around, driving aimlessly around through the streets of East Hampton.”

Yet for Benji, Sag Harbor represents a world of dawning possibilities, in which worries over “keeping it real” and acting “authentic” can be allayed, the stereotype-filled “great narrative of black pathology” can be set aside (at least from Memorial Day to Labor Day) and it’s OK to like Siouxsie and the Banshees as well as Run-DMC.

“I probably would’ve had too much anxiety about being called ‘bourgie’ if I had written this book in the ’90s,” Whitehead acknowledged. “Like I can’t reveal that I actually had a comfortable upbringing.”

Are we in a different place now? “No, I’m in a different place,” he said. “This is the way it went down, and I don’t care if you know that.”