Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Mighty Real: An Anthology of African American Same Gender Loving Writing

Mighty Real: An Anthology of African American Same Gender Loving Writing
By Edited by R. Bryant Smith and Darius Omar Williams

A collection of African-American Same Gender Loving Literature featuring both new and established writers. Grounded in a poignant and truthful sensibility, imbued with the realities of sex and love, Smith and Williams present a culmination of poems, short stories, radical essays, sermons, plays and interviews honoring notable figures within the SGLBT community.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Art Isn't Easy....: Thoughts on For Colored Girls, Tyler Perry, & Upcoming Books...

I was planning to go see, "For Colored Girls" this weekend until I read the opinions of a few people I really respect for their thoughts on things artistic. I should say I am not a Tyler Perry fan. I don't think I ever will be. I think the best thing he ever did was produce, "Precious" so it would get a bigger audience. I was hoping that would be the situation with, "For Colored Girls" but I learned he directed I was still going to see it because of my love for the original work. I've decided I'm still going to see it just for the opportunity to hear Ntozake Shange's words performed by some of my favorite actresses like Phylicia Rashad, Anika Noni Rose, Loretta Devine, Kimberly Elise, Kerri Washington, Thandie Newton, and others. What I've decided to do though is order the dvd of a production that starred Alfre Woodard, Lynn Whitfield, Carol Malliard (of Sweet Honey in the Rock), Shange, and the theme song sung by Patti Labelle and watch it after I see the film.

What has struck me the most is the vitriolic response not so much to the film but to Tyler Perry. As I said I am not a fan of his work but whatever my personal feelings toward that I try and stay away from personal attacks on him. I have my own reasons for why I don't like his work but some of the things that I have read from others really border on being mean spirited. If you don't like someone's work that's one thing but to attack their character and not know them (and seeing them on interviews is not knowing them, that's only a glimpse of them) is not good reporting to me. I have made my peace with going to see this work and am looking forward to whatever happens having a good experience.

I began hearing about a new musical, "Scottsboro Boys" by Kander & Ebb earlier this year because I had become "friends" with Colman Domingo on facebook. I saw him first on the, "Big Gay Comedy Sketch Show" on the logo network. The show itself has some really great moments and some not so great but a guilty pleasure of mine is him reading craigslist posting as Maya Angelou....

When he looks to the heavens after reading the postings which I suspect are real text I just lose it. I then saw him on PBS with the broadway production of, "Passing Strange." An incredible show that I think everyone should get on dvd. Currently Scottsboro Boys has moved to Broadway and I really hope it does well enough to tour. I haven't admitted this publicly to many people but I have started playing piano again and I would love to learn this song.

It sounds so touching and beautiful. I even suggested it to a great friend of mine Haqumai Sharpe as something he should add to his repertoire. The show is based on the notorious case of the Scottsboro Boys who were accused of raping two white women on a train passing through Scottsboro, Alabama. Told in the minstrel form it should be an interesting take on a night in musical theater. Leave it to Kander & Ebb to come up with a way to share another "dark" story. Susan Stroman directs and choreographs and from what I've seen and heard adds some incredibly subtle moments to the production.

Drumroll Please......

My Book, "Touch...Poems & Other Writings of Love, Erotica, & Sensuality" is finally coming out. I've created a page on facebook if you'd like to be among the first to know when and where to get it. Thanks to all who have supported me on this journey. As most of us creative types know Art Isn't Easy. You can plan but then life shows up and takes away your plans and ideas of what you want to happen but I can tell you honestly everything about this project is in divine order. My friend Anthony Batiste used his considerable talents to design the covers and the models and photographers who let me use their work have been especially supportive. Take a look!! I am blown away but what we created!!!

I'm also pleased to announce a piece I wrote called, "Let The Healing Begin" will be included in anthology due out soon called, "Mighty Real" edited by Darius Omar Williams & Royce Bryant Smith. I originally wrote the piece as a speech given at the National Convocation of the Unity Fellowship Movement. I really enjoyed it and didn't know what to do with it and ended up submitted it to this anthology. I am very honored to be a part of the collection and looking forward to its debut.