New Book, From The Inside: A Poetry Collection, Out Now!

I’m happy to announce my new book, From The Inside Out: A Poetry Collection, is out now! After sitting on this project for a few years, I finally decided to get over myself and hit the button.

About The Book

From The Inside Out: A Poetry Collection examines the power of love and its impact on our lives. When combined with action, commitment, faith, hope, persistence, and pride, love can transform our relationships, our communities, our world, and each of us. We can find “Glory” when we “lose [ourselves] in the beauty and wonder of life and love.”

As these poems illustrate, this journey may require a little work, a little discovery, and some growing pains…. For love is an inside job. And we love from the inside out.

From The Inside Out is available for purchase at Amazon. Tell a friend, then another friend, and then another friend.

Much gratitude for your support. Peace, Love, and Many Blessings!

Buddah Desmond – Feature Friday Poet on No Line Left Behind

Elated to report that I was recently the Feature Friday poet on TehilaYah Ysrayl’s No Line Left Behind site. The feature includes an interview, and one of my latest poem’s entitled, “Home.” A snippet of the poem is below:

Much gratitude to TehilaYah for featuring me, and for providing a platform to highlight and support poets near and far. To learn more about TehilaYah, go to No Line Left Behind or check her out on IG.

Photos / graphics courtesy of TehilaYah Ysrayl. 

Reflections (Slaying The Monster)

I looked in the mirror
And what did I see
A monster staring back at me
From galaxies unknown
Dark, brooding
So alluring yet so scary
Projecting the happy fantasy
When really singing the lost soul blues
Self-sabotages almost consistently
Holds feelings so deep that when expressed
It’s potency trumps the fire expelled
by an entire Weyr
Putting on, showing out
Acting up, always on the raucous route
Wouldn’t stop until he’d achieved total
domination, control, and power over you
And he won
Or did he? 

When looking in the mirror
What did you see?
A figure you almost couldn’t believe
Because he looked just like you
In fact, it was you
So familiar yet so unrecognizable
How could you manage to let it all go?
No more, you say
NO MORE
His time of recklessness, dysfunction,
and drama are done
For you’re taking it back, all the way back to one
The lost, but not forgotten one
The O.G.
YOU
Time to slay the shit out of this
muthafucking monster
He’s gone on for far too long
It’s the only way to right this wrong
Say goodnight! 

From now on, when I look in the mirror
I’m going to see me
The real me
Not lost, not blue
But genuine, authentic, and true
Loved from the inside out
On that realness route
Reclaimed
And reframed
Like Fantasia, I’m finally back to me.EndFragment 

~ Buddah Desmond, From The Inside Out: A Poetry Collection (2020)

Prevail: Happy 7th Anniversary!

I cannot believe it’s been 7 years since the release of my first project, Prevail: Poems on Life, Love, and Politics. It’s arrival marked one of the brightest and darkest periods of my life.

Two weeks prior to its release, I found myself jobless. A total WTF moment that sent me reeling… Spiraling down. I was singing a tune that was akin to the jazz standard “Good Morning Heartache,” except in this case it was “Good Morning / Good Afternoon / Good Night Depression, Anxiety, Shame, Low Self-Esteem, and Lack of Confidence.” It took awhile to grow through it. While I didn’t realize it immediately, it proved to be a blessing in disguise.

This reality check gave me the chance to do things I always wanted to do. Publish my work. Write, write, and write some more. Perform. Connect and work with other artists, creatives, and organizations committed to the arts and social justice. Complete my MBA. I did what I had to do. About a year or so later, the landscape had changed. My outlook was much brighter.

Life is a trip. At times, you may feel ill equipped for the journey. You may even hate certain portions of the journey. But it’s necessary. It lays the foundation for what’s too come. As I say, “No matter what happens in life, we must PREVAIL!“ Much love and gratitude to all who’ve been there with me and continue to support me throughout this journey. You are true blessings!

Prevail is available at Amazon (Paperback | Hardcover | Kindle) and Barnes & Noble.

Empowerment – The Fire Within (A 2013 Throwback)

The following piece was written back in 2013. While 4 years have passed, the underlying message is still quite relevant today.


As members of the LGBT community, it’s sad that we still live in a world that cannot see beyond our sexuality. How appalling is it that the masses fail to realize our worth or accept us wholly and completely? When faced with hatred, discrimination, and stereotypical imagery in media and entertainment, we can’t help but feel a bit of shame, guilt, and anger. So many misconceptions and stigmas continue to cloud judgment, perception, and understanding. But for what? Our sexuality is one of so many parts of who we are. While it doesn’t define us, we can’t ignore it. And it’s obvious that public officials, conservatives, and organizations (that shall remain nameless) are obsessed with our sexuality more than we are.

Did the powers that be, holy rollers, and haters forget that we’re human too? We desire, no, we deserve the same things as our heterosexual brothers and sisters – family, friends, love, happiness, success on our own terms, good health… I could go on, as the list is endless. But you wouldn’t know this reading or viewing some of the media and entertainment created daily. How hypocritical can a society be that prides itself on freedom, but shames, victimizes, vilifies, and silences those who don’t fit the preferred, traditional archetype? We’re well past the time to lift the veil on the alienation and isolation that comes as a result of living in such a heteronormative society. But let us not be defeated.

Validation from the outside world may not come in the time, manner, or fashion we desire it to. However, we shouldn’t let it hinder us from living or having what we want in this life. No matter what the outside world says we must remain steadfast in knowing ourselves and trusting what we believe in. No matter what the world says, we are beautiful in every way. We are not less than. We are warriors.

Sometimes we have to forego or question everything we’ve been taught or led to believe as truth to find out who we really are. There’s so much that we deny ourselves when we feed into to the B.S. aimed at refuting our existence. We have to shut ourselves off from the noise and the hysteria to make way for what’s real – to make way for peace, serenity, and truth. When we’re able to free ourselves individually and collectively – the change we see within and around us will be miraculous.

As Audre Lorde said, “Life is very short and what we have to do must be done in the now.” We cannot wait. While we should celebrate the recent Supreme Court rulings in the DOMA and Prop 8 cases for being a step in the right direction for gay marriage, the movement doesn’t stop there. These rulings should only intensify our fight for justice, equality, and freedom for all. And everything we need for this fight lies within.

The key to finding what’s within, the power within, is loving ourselves. We talk a good game about loving ourselves, but how many of us actually do? How many of us can say we truly love ourselves? It’s impossible for us to love ourselves if we continue to allow internalized hatred to ruin our progress. It’s impossible for us to love ourselves if we continue to tolerate the abuse, ill-treatment, and foolishness we encounter daily.

We must not let fear run our authentic selves away. We must be brazen. Stand up for those who were/are not able to stand up for themselves. Realize that in doing so, we’re empowering ourselves and challenging everyone to (always) strive to be and do better.

When we find the love within, the power is never too far behind. When we find our power… When we realize our power… When we utilize our power, its intensity will inspire action and breed the change we need in our families, communities, and the world.

Ours is a power that not only changes lives, but also saves lives. As James Baldwin said, “The world is before you and you need not take it or leave it as it was when you came in.” So let’s find our power and wield it lovingly, strongly, boldly, and unapologetically. It’s our world. Now let the power within—that internal fire—lead the way!

SHOUT

Photo by Philip Montgomery. Courtesy of Wired.

Photo by Philip Montgomery. Courtesy of Wired.

Muted voices
Censored
Stunted
Bombastic power oppressed
Not living up to the dream
For you were scared to utter for fear of retribution,
judgment and ignorance

Silent soldier
You’ve got the ammo but you’re too afraid
to use your commands
The time has come for you to
release the sounds hidden in your glorious voice box
It’s now time to shout

I shout for those that died before their time
Those who fought quietly or were robbed of their chance
to simply speak their freedom
I shout for those who braved the waters
amidst the violent, tireless searches to reinforce
unjust captivity
I shout for all the wrongs my people faced yet still
managed to find the joy, pride, and
dignity to go on

I shout for hope, boundless hope
that there will be a moment, a sustained if not eternal moment
when we can love, honor, and respect each other for the beautiful
beings The Creator made us to be

I shout for the times I hide away from others, even myself
I shout because pain and shame can no longer claim me
I shout because I had no reason not to stand up for myself
I have a purpose, a calling
I have value
And so does my voice

I shout because it’s my right
I shout because it’s my duty
I shout because sometimes I can’t help myself
Sometimes you’ve just got to release the
treasures from within
For if you never uncover them, you’ve robbed
the world of one of its many miracles.

I shout for the same reason I sing—
To be free!

© 2014 BuddahDesmond

From the chapbook, Exotic Shifter.

Let’s Love

Love Selfcare Createherstock 4

Come on, let’s make love until
the moon and sun are emanating from
our cells
Let’s let that love light shine eternally
combating the darkness that once shrouded our joy
Let’s stay in love like Minnie
And don’t let anything get in our way
Let’s be love and love until pain is just a
faint memory
Let’s love like there’s no other
Let’s love cause we don’t know any better
Let’s be love cause like being yourself
it’s the only way
Let’s love cause love is right
Let’s love cause it’s our right
Let’s love cause there’s no such thing
as too much love
now, is there?

© 2015 BuddahDesmond

A Love Junkie Consumed

Image courtesy of KrazyInLove.

Image courtesy of KrazyInLove.

Couldn’t hear the roar—
The crowd was playing call and response with me.
Couldn’t respond to their spirited yet pleading call;
I succumbed to the beat of a percussionist at another show,
worlds away from this one.
Physically present, yet my mind and spirit had shifted elsewhere.

The being had a control of me stronger than a Midnight Magnet.
Otherworldly and unreal this thing was—
Wouldn’t want to be released even if my power could’ve freed me.

That jones ain’t got shit on you.
Make a hit of me.
Take me on tour.
Treat me like your setlist.

Play me out, play me high, play me soft, play me low, play me fast, play me slow—
Play me loud, play me hard, play me all day and all night long—
Just play me.

I’ll be all for you and more.
Just take me and make me anew.
They’ll say without 12 steps you’ll be through.
And again, I’ll say—just take me and make me anew.

Consume me so I can benefit from you.
Consume me so I can benefit from you.
Consume me so I can benefit from you.

Consume me because nothing and no one else will do.

From the chapbook, Exotic Shifter.

© 2014 BuddahDesmond

BaddDDD Sonia Sanchez, A Riveting Documentary about a Literary Lion

 

Image courtesy of Cinema Clock.

Image courtesy of Cinema Clock.

Sonia Sanchez is a lion in literature’s forest. When she writes she roars, and when she sleeps other creatures walk gingerly. ~ Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou was spot on when she called Sonia Sanchez “a lion in literature’s forest.” From one literary giant to another, Sanchez is a force of nature. She’s a writer, poet, playwright, professor, and activist. A strong proponent of Black history, literature, and culture, women’s liberation, racial justice, and peace, Sanchez has inspired generations of writers, activists, and academics in the struggle.

If you’ve been following my blog, it’s no secret how much of an influence she’s had on me. So when I found out that the documentary BaddDDD Sonia Sanchez would be screened in DC on the opening night of the African Diaspora International Film Festival (“Where Black Life Matters On The Big Screen!”), I jumped at the opportunity to support it. And I’m so glad I did.

BaddDDD Sonia Sanchez, a riveting documentary by Barbara Attie, Janet Goldwater, and Sabrina Schmidt Gordon, celebrates Sanchez and her contributions as one of the most influential writers of the Black Arts Movement. It chronicles her life – the personal, professional, and the political. Interwoven throughout the documentary are Sanchez in her element–performing her work with a live jazz band, along with readings and commentary by Amiri Baraka (Rest in Power), Nikki Giovanni, Haki Madhubuti,Ursula Rucker, jessica Care moore, Ruby Dee (Rest in Power), Talib Kweli, and Ayana Mathis, to name a few. Their interpretations of her writing and what she means to the world showcase the tremendous beauty, power, magic, depth, and influence of her work.

One (of several) elements I loved about BaddDDD Sonia Sanchez is that it shows Sanchez–the artist–at work. This level of intimacy is something we don’t often get to see of creatives. Truly a treasure to behold. Leaves one wondering if what she was writing in the documentary ends up in her next volume of poetry. One can hope.

During the Q+A that followed the showing, Sanchez dropped several gems about the struggle and the importance of work. She said, “Nothing changes unless you work… You have to do the work.” This statement is so relevant to issues of personal and societal concern today. Entitlement doesn’t bring change or reward. If you want something in this life, you have to work for it. If it’s something that truly matters, playing your part is essential. Her words serve as a testament to why she and other artists of the Black Arts Movement are so significant. They not only created work that touched the hearts of many, but they also did the work that was critical to changing the world.

And what’s a better way to top off your night by speaking and taking a picture with one of your biggest inspirations?

Me with writer, poet, playwright, professor, and activist, Sonia Sanchez

Me with writer, poet, playwright, professor, and activist, Sonia Sanchez

Thank you Sonia Sanchez for your spirit, strides, and all the blessings you’ve given to the world. You are phenomenal!

If BaddDDD Sonia Sanchez is showing in your town, please go and support it. Also check the listings for your local PBS station, as there may be a showing in the near future.

Personal and educational copies of BaddDDD Sonia Sanchez can be rented or purchased from the California Newsreel site.

The Power of Branding, Storytelling, and Connections: A Blogger Week 2016 Reflection

Image courtesy of Trinity University.

Image courtesy of Trinity University.

For the third year in a row, I had the pleasure of attending Blogger Week. For those who don’t know, Blogger Week is a celebration of multicultural digital media. Through panels, workshops, and other events, Blogger Week provides bloggers, media mavens, journalists, and other professionals with engaging opportunities to learn, share ideas, grow their brand, create partnerships, and build community.

This year’s conference offered priceless insights, strategies, and gems within the areas of social justice / activism, economic justice, marketing, PR, digital messaging, monetization, and issues of self-awareness, identity, and engagement. Common themes that tie many of these areas together include branding, storytelling, and connections (or community building).

Image courtesy of Black Bloggers Connect.

Image courtesy of Black Bloggers Connect.

Authenticity and Building Your Brand


So how do we break free from the noise and distinguish ourselves in the digital space? By being our authentic selves; knowing our audience (and how to effectively reach them); creating original, captivating content; staying consistent; and putting ourselves in positions that will benefit us. You’ve got to do your research. Whatever social media platforms you use, know what strategies work best for connecting with your audience. What works best on Facebook, may not work well on Twitter and Instagram.

Know your worth. Ask for it. And be able to back it up. ~ April Reign

To understand your impact and engagement, analytics are essential. It’s crucial that analytics are reviewed regularly. Once we understand our analytics, we’ll be better equipped to improve and build our brand, grow our audience, and attract other brands we may want to partner with in the future. As we journey on, it’s important that we don’t lose sight of our “WHY.” This will fuel us and keep us motivated during trying times.

Own Your Voice, Tell Your Story

As many of us know, content remains king in the digital space. Nothing emphasizes this point more than the influence of storytelling in digital media. Storytelling allows us to define and own our voices, embrace ourselves wholly and authentically, and connect with others on a deeper level. When done well, storytelling is engaging, inspiring, and influential. Often, storytelling is what drives us to finding or redefining our passion and purpose.

For multicultural bloggers, media mavens, journalists, and others in the digital space, storytelling is nothing new. I have to co-sign with Andrea C. Imafidon of Brown Girl From Boston when she says that, “We have always been a culture of people who have always told stories.” And we have done it quite well.

As noted during her presentation “Tweeting Away Our Blues: How Black Women Use Social Media for Self-Awareness, Activism, and Black Liberation,” Dr. Kelly Macias of Conflict Undone said, “Black women have revolutionized social media and the way it was intended to be used.” Not only have we used digital media to tell our stories, we’ve also used it to construct our identity, build community, and liberate ourselves.

Make a Connection, Build a Community

Speaking of community – community is one of the reasons why I love attending Blogger Week. The Blogger Week UnConference was the first (and remains one of the few) professional development conference I attended that celebrated multicultural digital media. Year after year, I’ve been able to meet, network, and learn from so many digital media professionals at various stages of their digital media journey. There’s a close-knit, family-like atmosphere that makes you feel right at home. You know you’re in good company. And you’ve got a solid support system holding you up.

I leave this conference every year amped and ready to re-up. I’m filled with an arsenal of information that I can use to help better myself and others. I leave knowing that I am not alone, and that we are SO MUCH stronger—together.

Me with author, publisher, and entrepreneur Ni'cola Mitchell

Me with author, publisher, and entrepreneur Ni’cola Mitchell

Major kudos and props to my connections (new and old) from the Blogger Week community: J.A.M. Aiwuyor (Founder & Creative Director of Black Bloggers Connect), Marc Polite, Ni’cola Mitchell, Andrea C. Imafidon, Dr. Kelly Macias, Tara J. Young, Julian Addo, Tyece A. Wilkins, Yvelette Stines, Dominique & David Pressley (Caribbean Soul Trekkers), Chimene WilliamsCharles Martin, and CleverlyChanging.

Much gratitude to J.A.M. Aiwuyor, Black Bloggers Connect, the speakers, the volunteers, and all of the fly attendees for making this another phenomenal Blogger Week. See you next year!

Peace, Love, and Many Blessings!