How I Plan to Keep the Heart of Haiti Beating in 2011: Way #2 – Support “Open your heart to Haiti today!” fundraiser on

Artwork by Ananda Leeke

“Open your heart to Haiti today!” is a fundraiser I launched to raise money for Renewal 4 Haiti, a 501(c)(3) grassroots nonprofit organization founded by Haitians committed to bringing medical care and skills training to Léogâne, the epicenter of the Haitian earthquake in 2010. I was inspired to launch this fundraiser while serving as an ambassador for the Heart of Haiti campaign, a “Trade not Aid” partnership between Macy’s, Fairwinds Trading, and BrandAid.  The fundraiser allows me to use my  artwork from my novel Love’s Troubadours – Karma: Book One on Cafe Press t-shirts, cups, and other apparel to raise money for Renewal 4 Haiti.  The artwork is a drawing of the Haitian love and healing goddess Erzulie’s veve, a symbol used during Vodun ceremonies. See photo on the left.

How You Can Help: Visit my Cafe Press web site to learn more about the “Open your heart to Haiti today!” fundraiser and make a purchase during 2011. The proceeds of each sale will be donated to Renewal 4 Haiti. ($3 on each sale).  FYI – I only receive $3 for each item sold.  So no money comes to me. It all goes to Renewal 4 Haiti!   Thank you for your support!

Happy New Year! Happy 7th day of Kwanzaa – Imani (faith)!

Greetings All!

Happy New Year! Happy 7th day of Kwanzaa! 

Today we are celebrating Imani, a Swahili word that means faith. Click on the Cinchcast below to hear my reflections about Imani and an excerpt from my debut novel, Love’s Troubadours – Karma: Book One (2007 – – availble on – The Love’s Troubadours’ excerpt features a scene from the main character Karma Francois’ family Kwanzaa event which celebrates Imani.  Enjoy!

Peace, Creativity, Faith, Compassion, Gratitude, and Joy,


Ananda is teaching yoga at the Latinos in Social Media DC conference on Dec. 12

Happy Wednesday!

Many thanks to Kety Esquivel and the organizers of the Latinos in Social Media DC (LatiSMDC – conference for inviting me to teach a kind and gentle yoga class for computer users at the Latinos in Social Media conference on Saturday, December 12 at the National Council of La Raza (   LatiSMDC is a community building event that will bring together organizations focused on reaching Latinos and the seasoned social media veterans that can help them. Click here to read the agenda:  Visit to read a list of the amazing speakers.

Puerto Rico’s Flag

Cuba’s Flag

I am really excited about this opportunity because I have been in love with Latino communities, culture, cuisine, music, art, and spirituality since my first visit to Puerto Rico with my family in 1978 and Cuba with the Cuba AIDS Project in 2004.  Throughout junior and senior high school, I took Spanish.  I also minored in Spanish in college.  I am most passionate about Afro-Latinos because of the connection we share to the continent of Africa.  I discuss my passion for my adopted culture and trips to Puerto Rico and Cuba in my new book That Which Awakens Me:  A Creative Woman’s Poetic Memoir of Self Discovery.  See an excerpt below.

My Adopted Culture – (@) Copyright 2009 by Madelyn C. Leeke

Sometimes we keep prayers from childhood buried in the recesses of our minds. If we are lucky, we may rediscover them and allow them to breathe life into our adult world. Today I discovered one of mine. It was written in Spanish to honor the passion I hold in my heart for my adopted culture.

Yo creo que soy una Latina por que yo siento el afecto para la cultura Latina. Tengo una isla amiga se llama Puerto Rico. Yo quiero pensar y sonar en espanol. Yo quiero dansar y vivir en espanol. Querido Dios, me cambias una Latina, por favor.

I believe that I am a Latina because I feel affection for Latin culture. I have an island friend named Puerto Rico. I want to think and dream in Spanish. I want to dance and live in Spanish. Dear God, Please change me into a Latina.

The first time I conceived remnants of this prayer was during Mr. Candelaria’s Mexican Christmas at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Landover, Maryland. It was the early 1970s. I was in third grade. Jose Feliciano’s holiday song “Feliz Navidad” was popular. My religious education teacher was Mr. Candelaria, a Mexican man with an open heart, giving spirit, passion for folk music, and a commitment to teach his students about his Mexican heritage. Somehow he convinced Father Ward, our parish priest, to permit our class to decorate the outside of the church with brown paper bags that we normally used for school lunches or popcorn that we snuck into the movies. We filled the bags with sand and placed a white candle in the middle of the sand. For Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve, we lit the candles and watched their illuminating presence outline the architectural design of the church. It was a magical moment that taught me how we each have a light within us. That light is our spark of divinity. Our job is to keep it lit so that it shines for eternity.

My debut novel Love’s Troubadours – Karma: Book One (2007 – pays tribute to the contributions made by Afro-Latinos to culture, history, music, and dance in the Americas. It features characters with Afro-Cuban, Afro-Mexican, and Afro-Peruvian roots. These characters offer rich dialogue peppered with references to Afro-Latino culture and history. They also work with and maintain positive relationships with African Americans that promote Black and Brown solidarity.  

Love’s Troubadours educates readers about Yanga, an African who ran away from his slave master in 1609 and founded the first free African township near Veracruz, Mexico. The novel gives readers an interesting history lesson about American-born African slaves who fled to Mexico in the mid 1800s. Readers also visit museums such as El Museo del Barrio in New York City and National Museum of Mexican Art (formerly known as the Mexican Fine Arts Center Museum) in Chicago that exhibit Afro-Latino art. In addition, they have a chance to fall in love with the music of Afro-Cuban jazz musicians Mongo Santamaria and Omar Sosa, Afro-Puerto Rican jazz musician Willie Bobo, and Afro-Peruvian singer Susana Baca. By the end of Love’s Troubadours, readers may find themselves dancing Salsa just like the main character Karma Francois.

Enjoy your day and week!


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 ( 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.



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 –, Karma’s life journey is one of self-discovery.


Buy Love’s Troubadours on for $20.95:

Check out the Love’s Troubadours YouTube videos:
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:
Visit BAP Living, a social networking site to learn more about Black American Princesses:
Thank you for your support! I really appreciate it!

Peace and Creativity,


Ananda Leeke TV New Webisode Series – Chicago Tour of Pilsen Neighborhood and National Museum of Mexican Art featured in Ananda’s debut novel, Love’s Troubadours – Karma: Book One



Happy Monday!

While I was in Chicago for the Blogher conference (, I visited the Pilsen neighborhood (,_Chicago#Pilsen) and National Museum of Mexican Art (  Thanks to my VADO Creative pocket video camera I was able to film five webisodes of Ananda Leeke TV ( featuring Pilsen and the Museum.  They play a major role in my debut novel, Love’s Troubadours – Karma: Book One (  Love’s Troubadours main character Karma Francois visits Pilsen and the Museum with her brother.  See videos below.  Watch them and let me know what you think.

 You can watch more Love’s Troubadours videos on YouTube:  If you would like to buy Love’s Troubadours, click on the link:

 Enjoy your day and week!

 Peace and Creativity,



Ananda Leeke TV New Webisode Series

1) Love’s TroubadoursChicago Tour #1 – Visit to Pilsen neighborhood –


2) Love’s Troubadours Chicago Tour #2 – Visit to National Museum of Mexican Art Pt. 1 –


3) Love’s Troubadours Chicago Tour #3 – Visit to National Museum of Mexican Art Pt. 2 –


4) Love’s Troubadours Chicago Tour #4 – Visit to National Museum of Mexican Art Pt. 3 –


5) Love’s Troubadours Chicago Tour #5 – Visit to National Museum of Mexican Art Pt. 4 –