Harlem Renaissance Part ???

14 Apr

A picture I took in West Harlem last year.

Recently, I posted a link on Facebook to a New York Magazine article that ranks New York’s top 50 most livable neighborhoods.  Harlem–my beautiful, lovely, charming, eclectic Harlem–is ranked dead last.  I love NYMag to itty bitty pieces, but they were all types of wrong for that one. One of my FB friends (a cousin actually) suggested that I use the power of one to begin a new Harlem Renaissance. A contemporary cadre of Zoras, Langstons, Alains, Jeans and others?


I told him that I think the second or third/fourth/fifth Harlem Renaissance is well underway. (Not that the Harlem Renaissance could ever really be duplicated. It occupies a unique place in history.) I live in walking distance to some AMAZING  writers, painters and other artists. Perhaps I’ll devote another post to shouting out all those folks. And as far as political activism and the other non-artsy stuff that shapes a community, there’s plenty of that too. For now, I’m just happy to be here to document it all via the articles I write for various publications. Once I get a novel on a bookshelf, I’ll be adding more concretely to Harlem’s artistic community.

The whole Harlem Renaissance thing though made me think about my relationship to writing. When I interviewed a fellow Harlem writer a couple weeks ago, he talked about how although he loves writing, sometimes he hates writing. I totally understand that!

Writing keeps me sane and I don’t know what I would do without it, but it really is the last thing I want to do on some days. Sometimes words just don’t come easily. Sometimes edits are the bane of my existence. Sometimes I get tired of chasing down a quote. Just the other day was one of those hellish days for me, but in the end, the good days far outweigh the bad.

Whether I’m sitting in my home office, quietly tapping away in a library or brazenly people-watching in a Wi-fi equipped cafe, Harlem is my muse.


Posted by on April 14, 2010 in Reading, Writerly Things


Tags: , ,

5 responses to “Harlem Renaissance Part ???

  1. Grace Edwards

    April 14, 2010 at 9:51 am

    I moved to Harlem last year from Morningside Height. Not to diss Morningside. I liked living there fine, but moving to the other side of Morningside Park was one of the best decision I ever made. Harlem pulses with an energy that is uniquely us. To me Harlem is… dudes that remind you that you are beautiful everyday, the African braiders on their hustle at all times, the mango ladies cutting up fresh mango on the street. It is the bougie wine bars, fusion restaurants, and cafes that pop up every week and the activist community that is resisting gentrification. It’s the gorgeous brownstones and the crumbling buildings. It is history: the Renaissance, Apollo, civil rights, Obama. It is buying shea butter on 125th and passing the man who hangs out pictures of lynched black men so we never forget. It is professional, artistic, ghetto, bougie all rolled up into one beautiful diverse neighborhood. I am a writer and my work has been enriched by my historic and complex neighborhood. I doubt the writer of this piece has really spent any real time in Harlem. Otherwise there is no way he could have ever put it dead last. Whew! Got that off my chest. I should go write my screenplay. This is one of those days when writing is last thing I want to do:) Thanks for your post.

  2. loveisdope

    April 14, 2010 at 1:20 pm

    Grace! What a beautiful, heartfelt response. Glad you stopped by! I hope you get tons of work done today. 🙂

  3. {JeLisa} @ Blogging Ever After

    May 2, 2010 at 9:52 pm

    The single time I was in Harlem, I fell in love with its spirit. It just seemed so… rich. Even the name – “Harlem” – feels good to say.

    This post made me want to go back. 🙂

  4. loveisdope

    May 3, 2010 at 1:57 pm

    Thank you! I LOVE your blog! I just tipped over there and peeked in. I love weddings and everything about weddings. Beautiful pics! Oh and yes, you should come visit Harlem again! It’s so rich in culture and history and creativity. Great place to live. 🙂

  5. {JeLisa} @ Blogging Ever After

    May 4, 2010 at 2:04 am

    Aww, thanks! 🙂


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