The Women of Love's Troubadours are an eclectic blend of womanhood. They have the capacity to wake you up with their humanity, humor, hostilities, healing journeys, haute couture, and hurricane-like personas. Their energy, egos, expressions, and ethnicities, and extracurricular activities offer an inside look into the multidimensional lives of women of color with ancestral ties to Africa, the Americas, Asia, and Europe. Many are graduates of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUS) such as Morgan State University, Howard University, and Spelman College. Some are actively involved in community service organizations such as the Links, Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority Inc., Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc., and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. Their professions are diverse and include artists, yoga teachers, waitresses, administrative assistants, community activists, reiki practitioners, massage therapists, ayurvedic practitioners, information technology senior managers, hair salon owners, restaurateurs, interior designers, nonprofit organization leaders, art consultants, real estate agents, entrepreneurs, bed and breakfast owners, security guards, psychologists, lawyers, doctors, social workers, therapists, reverends, museum administrators, professors, poets, and spoken word performers.
These "femmes de coleur" (women of color) represent a collective of courageous, caring, chic, complicated, caustic, confrontational, and creative beings. They walk Mother Earth as women who shape their worlds with their thoughts, words, and actions. A couple of these fabulous females proudly wear the crowns of La Grande Dame, Drama Queen, and BAP - Black American Princess.
Quite a few live as urban fashionistas with a multitude of identities including wine and martini enthusiasts; Soul Food, Thai, Mexican, Indian, and Haitian foodies; and Cake Love dessert lovers. Be careful! You might just fall in love with one of these sweet and delicious Godiva Chocolate Goddesses because they are multifaceted and have numerous interests. For example, they enjoy spending time with their financial advisors to make sure they are financially responsible; traveling in the Americas, Caribbean, Europe, Africa, and Asia; shopping at Target, Ann Taylor Loft, Carol's Daughter, Eileen Fisher, Trade Secrets, and stores and boutiques that carry designers like Stef 'n' Ty, Denise Goring, Moshood, Narciso Rodriguez, and Manolo Blahnik; attending and participating in spoken word events; hosting dinner parties; listening to music; appreciating art; visiting museums; playing bridge; reading and discussing Essence and O - The Oprah Magazine, Black literary fiction, romance novels, erotica, and Chick Lit; watching films; going to the theatre to see plays; working on grassroots issues such as campaigns that promote feminism-womanism, health and wellness, HIV/AIDS awareness, and the importance of healing homophobia in the African American community; and sipping tea and drinking coffee with their friends at local cafes such as Mocha Hut and Teaism.
As divine divas, they rely on spiritual practices, positive affirmations, group prayer, yoga, reiki healing touch, meditation, chanting, journaling, ayurveda, therapy, astrology, and Tarot card readings to connect with, honor, and heal their spirits, hearts, minds, and bodies. Most are affiliated with Baptist, Catholic, Unitarian, Christ Universal, Agape International Spiritual Center, and United Church of Religious Science churches; Buddhist organizations; Ausar Auset Societies; and Haitian Vodoun and New Orleans Voodoo practices. Some have incorporated the teachings of Swami Satchidananda (Satchidananda Ashram) and Paramahansa Yogananda (Self-Realization Fellowship) into their spiritual practices.
Several sistaloves struggle with their emotions, choices, experiences, and relationships on some level. After all, they are human! Some choose to be lifelong learners who are committed to healing and accepting themselves by any means necessary. Others are not aware of their power to choose peace over suffering. They end up deeply wounding themselves and others. The great thing about many of these mujeres (women) is that they rely on the support of other women to navigate the emotional, spiritual, and physical terrain of their existence. Their commitment to sisterhood is treasured as a sacred bond.
When it comes to love, some of these women ignore sisterhood bonds and seek to control both females and males. On the flip side, there are a few who have given themselves the permission to love in healthy, life-affirming ways. They celebrate the beauty and blessings they have found as spouses, life partners, girlfriends, and lovers of both men and women. They openly express their sexual orientation and inherent right to enjoy sexual pleasure.
All of these ladies' personalities, passions, and perceptions when mixed together, illustrate a cast of soulful, show-stopping characters who keep it real and speak their truth, no matter what it is or whether it makes sense. I invite you to get to know them better in all of their golden time of day splendor by purchasing a copy of Love's Troubadours - Karma: Book One (iUniverse - August 2007 - Amazon.com - $20.95).
Click on this link to read the entire blog post, view artwork, and learn more about web links for organizations and other topics mentioned above:
Howard is the MECCA of Black Education. It is precious because my brother Matthew J. Leeke, CEO and President of Majik Productions, LLC (http://mjleeke.acnrep.com/) and I are Howardites - Class of 1989. So is one of my dearest brothaloves and prayer partner Dr. Henry L. Jackson.
2) Morehouse College
Morehouse (in my humble opinion) is the architect of African American male trailblazers. It is special to me because my brothalove friends V. Aislee Smith (http://www.taxconcepts.net/), Jason Randolph (http://www.randolphrealestatelaw.com/), and State Farm Insurance Representative Kevin M. Monroe are Morehouse men.
3) Morgan State University
Morgan occupies a sacred space in my heart because it is my undergraduate alma mater (Class of 1986). I share Morgan with my brothalove guardian angel and former co-writer Deno Moss (Class of 1990).
4) Southern University
5) Savannah State College
6) Xavier University
Others characters are distinguished members of Black Greek Letter Organizations including my personal favorites:
1) the "frat so nice you had to name it twice" Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.
Kappa earned a special place in my heart because my grandfather John L. Leeke, great uncle William Jones, cousin Spencer W. Leak, Jr. (http://www.leakandsons.com/), cousin Reverend Andre E. Johnson, brothalove book editor Wayne P. Henry (former Polemarch of the Columbia, MD Alumni Chapter), and Howard Law classmate Stu Chavis are proud members.
2) Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.
Alpha is a personal favorite because of the friendships I have forged with my attorney brothalove friends John K. Coleman, Howard Law classmate Eric A. McFarland, Willard Stanback, and Werten Bellamy.
3) Omega Psi Fraternity, Inc.
Omega is also one of my favorite fraternities because of the connections I share with my Morehouse and Howard Law brothalove friends Aislee and Kevin.
Some of the fellas that appear on the pages of Love's Troubadours are easy to admire, understand, and love. Other brothas require a little more of your time, energy, and patience to understand their choices and complex personalities. Then there are some guys who are choosing to live beneath their divinity. They might make you holla, scream, and cuss words like s--- . If you are polite, these homeboys might have you mumbling Sugar Honey Ice Tea under your breath.
Whatever you think about these charming, classically "Joe Cool," confidant, conscious, committed, civic-minded, compassionate, compelling, and complicated gentlemen, the one thing that I know for sure is that they are unforgettable. My prayer is that readers learn what they need to learn from the choices that the men of Love's Troubadours make in their relationships with Karma and other characters.
Links for inquiring minds:
1) Black Greek Letter Organizations
a. Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity - http://www.alphaphialpha.net/