0 comments on “#BlackHistoryMonth Celebration of HBCUs & Black Sororities and Fraternities in My Novel Love’s Troubadours”

#BlackHistoryMonth Celebration of HBCUs & Black Sororities and Fraternities in My Novel Love’s Troubadours

HBCURising

Have you seen the documentary film, “Tell Them We Are Rising” that explores how historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) have shaped American history, culture, and national identity? It was created by filmmaker Stanley Nelson and covers almost 170 years of history. You can watch it online on the PBS website until March 22.

“Tell Them We Are Rising” reminded me why I chose to attend Morgan State University and Howard University School of Law. As a proud HBCU alumna, I made sure the characters in my Lorraine Hansberry-inspired novel Love’s Troubadours are HBCU alumni. Love’s Troubadours main character Karma Francois is a graduate of Morgan State University just like me. Her twin sister Violet is a graduate of my alma mater, Howard University School of Law. Her mother is an alumna of Xavier University. Her cousins attended Spelman College and Morehouse College.

The documentary film also discussed the importance of Black sororities and fraternities. In my family, we have members of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, and Zeta Phi Beta Sorority. I celebrate these organizations and Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, and Omega Psi Phi Fraternity in Love’s Troubadours.

Spoiler Alert: My main character Karma pledged the Beta Tau Chapter of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority at Morgan State University like yours truly. Her mother is also a Sigma (like my mom, great-grandmother, and great-aunt). Her cousins are members of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority (like my great aunt) and Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity. Her best friend is a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity (like my grandfather, great-uncle, and cousin). Her uncle is a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity. Her aunt is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority.

 

0 comments on “#BlackHistoryMonth Treat: How Playwright Lorraine Hansberry Inspired My Novel, Love’s Troubadours”

#BlackHistoryMonth Treat: How Playwright Lorraine Hansberry Inspired My Novel, Love’s Troubadours

LT-ALandLorraineHansberry

My debut novel, Love’s Troubadours was inspired by a speech given by activist and playwright Lorraine Hansberry in February 1964. She spoke to a Harlem-based group of aspiring young, gifted, and African American writers about the power to love in America. In her remarks, Hansberry stated,

“O, the things that we have learned in this unkind house that we have to tell the world about! Despair? Did someone say despair was a question in the world? Well then, listen to the sons of those who have known little else. If you wish to know the resiliency of this thing you would so quickly resign to mythhood, this thing called the human spirit … Life? Ask those who have tasted of it in pieces rationed out by enemies. Love? Ah, ask the troubadours who have come from those who have loved when all reason pointed to the uselessness and foolhardiness of love. Perhaps we shall be the teachers when it is done. Out of the depths of pain we have thought to be our sole heritage in this world-O, we know about love!”

She referred to African Americans as troubadours, the descendents of people who used the power of love to live through and overcome despair and insurmountable odds. She went on to urge the audience to seek wisdom from African Americans because of their capacity to love.

I first read about Hansberry’s speech in Salvation by bell hooks in 2001. Salvation discusses how African Americans have used the power of love to transform their lives and communities. hooks’ writings caused me to question how I could use my gifts as an artist and writer to promote love as a healing tool in the lives of individuals and communities in America. I answered that question by writing Love’s Troubadours, a novel that tells the story of Karma Francois, a 30-something museum curator and yoga teacher who loses her job, discovers family secrets after a loved one dies, and begins a healing journey as she relocates from New York City to Washington, DC. Learn more about her in the video below.

Karma learns many life lessons as she comes face-to-face with the choices she has made in her life and relationships. Watch the video below and learn about some of them.

Throughout her journey, she uses journaling, meditation, mindfulness, poetry, spirituality, therapy, and yoga to heal and love herself. Hansberry’s wisdom on mindful living inspired the way I wrote about Karma’s healing journey:

 “I wish to live because life has within it that which is good, that which is beautiful, and that which is love. Therefore, since I have known all of these things, I have found them to be reason enough and–I wish to live. Moreover, because this is so, I wish others to live for generations and generations and generations and generations.”

Watch the video below and learn how Karma’s healing journey transformed her idea of love in her life.

After reading Hansberry’s book, To Be Young, Gifted and Black, I made a conscious decision to use my novel’s characters to celebrate the beauty and diversity of people of African descent. Watch the video below and learn about the diverse characters.

 

Listen to a chapter excerpt from Love’s Troubadours that illustrates the diversity of African Americans when Karma walks into Mocha Hut, a coffee and tea café in her U Street neighborhood, and eavesdrops on a conversation.

 

0 comments on “Happy Creativity Thursday – Honoring The Creative Legacy of Lorraine Hansberry”

Happy Creativity Thursday – Honoring The Creative Legacy of Lorraine Hansberry

Lorraine Hansberry - Photo Credit: Associated Press -
Lorraine Hansberry – Photo Credit: Associated Press –

Happy Creativity Thursday!

Today, I am thinking about one of my creative sheroes, Lorraine Hansberry, a Chicago born and bred activist, writer, and playwright. Hansberry is best known for her 1959 Broadway play, “A Raisin in the Sun.”

be-young-gifted-black-lorraine-hansberry-paperback-cover-art

My first taste of her literary genius occurred while reading her play, “To Be Young, Gifted, and Black.” I adopted her as a creative shero and inspiration for my first novel, Love’s Troubadours – Karma: Book One, after reading bell hooks’ Salvation: Black People and Love which contains many references to Hansberry’s work. Click here to read how she inspired my novel.

Tracy Heather Strain - Photo Credit: www.thefilmposse.com
Tracy Heather Strain – Photo Credit: http://www.thefilmposse.com
Photo Credit: www.vitaminw.co
Photo Credit: http://www.vitaminw.co

Over the years, her words have been medicine for my creative soul:

…life has within it that which is good, that which is beautiful and that which is love. Therefore, since I have known all of these things, I have found them to be reason enough and—I wish to live. Moreover, because this is so, I wish others to live for generations and generations and generations.”

Her wisdom on life has inspired me to live fully. That’s why I was excited to financially support the Lorraine Hansberry Documentary Project fundraiser (ends on July 19)sponsored by Peabody Award-winning documentary filmmaker Tracy Heather Strain and VITAMIN W. Since 2004, Strain has been working to make the Hansberry documentary a reality. Strain’s film will cover Hansberry’s life on the South Side of Chicago in the 1930s, her life in Greenwich Village in the 1950s, and her final days of living with pancreatic cancer in the 1960s. Click here to watch a short video about the project. Please consider supporting the Lorraine Hansberry Documentary Project fundraiser by July 19. Click here to make a donation. Any amount helps. I gave $10.

Photo Credit: www.fem2pt0.com
Photo Credit: http://www.fem2pt0.com

Many thanks to Fem 2.0 for sharing information about the fundraiser on its web site!

0 comments on “Listen to my first Author Chat on BlogTalkRadio – Who are the love’s troubadours?”

Listen to my first Author Chat on BlogTalkRadio – Who are the love’s troubadours?

 

 

Happy Monday!

Today I hosted the first episode of my author chat series on BlogTalkRadio.  Click here to listen to the show: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/anandaleeke/2010/02/08/author-chat-with-ananda-leeke.   During the show, I discussed my debut novel Love’s Troubadours – Karma: Book One (www.lovestroubadours.com).  I also reflected on the question of the day – Who are love’s troubadours? – and how African American playwright Lorraine Hansberry inspired the novel series. Let me know what you think of the first episode (it is pretty short – 10 minutes).

By the way, Love’s Troubadours – Karma: Book One is available on Amazon.com. It makes for a great winter read and Valentine’s Day gift. Click here to order the book: http://tinyurl.com/yfxtqyq 

Thank you for your support!  Enjoy your day and week!

Peace, Creativity, Compassion, and Joy for knowing I am one of Love’s Troubadours (so are you!),

Ananda 

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via Author Chat with Ananda Leeke.

8 comments on “Collage-Making from Full Strawberry Moon Weekend Celebration”

Collage-Making from Full Strawberry Moon Weekend Celebration

Hi All,

On Sunday, June 7, I participated in Jamie Ridler’s Full Strawberry Moon Dreamboards event. To learn more about Jamie and her full moon events, visit
http://starshyneproductions.blogspot.com/2009/06/full-strawberry-moon-dreamboards-june-7.html. I ended up making five collages that reflect my intention and commitment to live a juicy sweet, tranquil, and joyful life this summer.  I labeled them Honey Oshun Mooon Collages.  See below.  I was inspired by the West African Yoruba goddess Oshun, a love goddess who governs creativity, sweetness, honey, femininity, sensuality, joy, abundance, the arts, dance, sweet rivers, motherhood, jewelry, and healing. She is one of my patron goddesses.

Do you have a favorite goddess?  If yes, who is she?

Enjoy your day!

Ananda

 

Honey Oshun Moon Collage Series

hm-yoga

This collage is called “Aspire.Learn.Love.Create.Evolve.” It honors my yoga practice and use of ayurveda. It reminds me to maintain a daily practice of honoring my body temple. I included two pictures of myself. One shows me sitting in the easy yoga pose. The other shows me smiling. I also included a photo of Ganesh, the Hindu god of overcoming obstacles. I took it at Shakti Mind Body Studio (owned by my yoga teacher Faith Hunter – www.shaktimindbodystudio.com and www.faithhunter.comin DC). There are several clippings of a tea pot with herbs, meditation sculpture, and the phrases – your practice will bloom, yoga, om ayurveda, and aspire-learn-love-create-evolve. A quote by Joanna Macy is included: “The heart that breaks open can contain the whole universe.”

hm-tranquil

This collage is called “Tranquil.” It reminds me to practice extreme self-care (a phrase coined by life coach and author Cheryl Richardson). I included a picture of me smiling and clippings with the lunar phases of the moon, a woman relaxing, and fireworks. There is an affirmation at the bottom which reads, “love your life.” A quote from Audre Lorde is featured: “and look mother I am a dark temple where your true spirit rises beautiful and tough like a chestnut.” I also pasted in a message about inspiration: “Stay inspired! Your soul goal – to acknowledge all your successes, not only those measured in pounds and inches; Your soul payoff – Increased determination and a renewed sense of Yes-I’m-amazing! confidence.”

hm-obama

The name of this collage is “Serving America with My Gifts.” It reminds me to use my gift of optimism to create positive change in the world like President Obama is doing. The collage also contains two pictures of me. One shows me posing in the warrior yoga pose. There are several clippings with messages: 1) optimism rules, 2) give optimism, and 3) the world is a magical place. A quote by poet Lucille Clifton is included: “may the tide that is entering even now the lip of our understanding carry you out beyond the face of fear.

hm-lovelife

The name of this collage is “Vive La Vie” (live life). It reminds me to live my life fully without limitations and with joy and fun. The collage contains 2 magazine clippings featuring a man and a woman enjoying time together. It also has a butterfly with flowers, a clipping of American playwright Lorraine Hansberry (one of my favorite creative folks and inspiration for my novel and poetic memoir), a clipping of a woman as she relaxes, and picture of me. There is also a quote which says, “Women who have an abundance of joy are those who make a priority of finding pockets of it within their own lives.”

hm-free

The name of this collage is “Quintessentially Free.” It reminds me to live freely as a golden girl who loves butterflies, tunics, flat sandals, fashion, style, polka dots, and yoga clothing. It contains a picture of me along with a quote that says, “You already know it: Money can’t buy joy, so instead of spending your earnings, spend time on things that really do delight you.”