Born and raised on the South Side of Chicago, London-based author and playwright Bonnie Greer seeks to demonstrate that Barack Obama's presidency is what she calls a 'South Side Presidency'. And that it is only the South Side of Chicago, with its history and culture and institutions, that could have sent an African American, in this day and age, to the White House. Obama Music is a mixture of anecdotes about her own growing up in one of America's most formidable black communities, mixed in with observations on the origins and progress of the music of the South Side: gospel, blues, soul and jazz, and Barack and Michelle Obama's relation to the sound of their community. All of this is woven in with history ranging from the Great Migration at the end of World War One to the end of the '60s, an era Obama himself has stated that he feels close to. This is not a conventional history book, nor a reporter-on-the campaign-trail account. Obama Music is one African American woman's account of watching, from the other side of the ocean, history being made, a history rooted in the community of her birth, right in her own hometown. Small, opinionated, personal, anecdotal and full of music and insights, this book can sit alongside the more heavyweight tomes as a footnote to the phenomenon that is Obama Music.
©2009 Bonnie Greer (P)2019 Audible, Ltd
Langston Hughes was a man far ahead of his time, but his actions were often unpredictable, contradictory and refused classification. To give an example, he campaigned tirelessly for civil rights but then testified before the controversial House Committee on Un-American Activities, seen by many as a witch-hunt. Rather than ignoring or excusing these contradictions, Bonnie Greer confronts them, highlighting the many contradictions present in both his day and ours and painting an unforgettable portrait of a man caught up in strange and contradictory times.
©2016 Bonnie Greer (P)2019 Audible, Ltd
A Black American woman travels through the United States and Europe in search of her lost father. In the letters she writes to him she remembers her strict Catholic childhood in Chicago, her move to bohemian New York, and her bewilderment at growing up. When she discovers Degas' painting of a young circus performer hanging by her teeth at the top of a circus tent, she makes the performer, 'Miss La La', the symbol of her life. An elegant reflection on home and belonging, Hanging by Her Teeth rejects the simplifications of roots and celebrates a tradition of Black American writers who went to Europe to find themselves.
©1994 Bonnie Greer (P)2020 Audible, Ltd
Janet Bookman Baker is a Black British woman, happily married and trying to come to terms with her father's death, and a weekend long ago when he disappeared without a word. She sits alone at night watching the lights in her neighbour's garden, imagining him with her. She listens, too, to a voice on the radio. Although she has never met the owner of the voice, in Janet's mind, the woman, Anna becomes her closest friend. Unaware of Janet's existence, Anna Taylor, an African American, is facing a crisis of her own. When someone starts leaving her messages, she becomes convinced the person behind them holds the key to her past, as well as her future. A mysterious 19th-century photograph of a Black woman unknown to both of them seems to link the two women. And a Black woman in a future world, facing oblivion, comes to grips with the meaning of it all. But as these three women weave in and out of each others stories, they discover the ties that bind them. As well as the true freedom of Black women in the past, present and future. And the notion of an inner Africa bigger than the continent itself.
©2009 Bonnie Greer (P)2020 Audible, Ltd
Award-winning playwright, author, and critic Bonnie Greer's touching, funny, and thought-provoking memoir is a voyage into the making of a woman who set out to unmake what she'd been born and brought up to be. 'Proper girl' was a precious definition in segregated and racist America, where black life was deemed only three-fifths of white life. And the life of a black woman even less. This compelling memoir will not just enlighten, engage, and enthrall, but will move you to tears with every word. Courage, defiance, and ultimately hope define the story of a life - indeed, a parallel life - that just had to be lived.
©2016 Bonnie Greer (P)2019 Audible, Ltd