My Family! Releases South Africa-Themed LBGT Children’s Book just in Time to for Back to School!

As millions of students head back to school this fall, many will undoubtedly tell of their summer adventures. From road trips and flights across the country to quiet times reading or exploring their own neighborhoods, kids often have something to share about their time away from school. In step with this tradition, niche publisher, My Family! releases a vibrant new tale, Keesha’s South African Adventure, a one-of-a-kind story with striking art that features a curious youngster and her two fabulous moms.

Keesha learns about South Africa during school and becomes so fascinated she convinces her two moms to take her there so she can see it for herself! The trio takes off for a trip across the Atlantic Ocean and bring readers along as they spend seven days in the diverse country. Unlike any other children’s book currently on the market, Keesha’s South African Adventure highlights the kind of family that is often omitted from mainstream travel depictions. It is sure to open the imaginations of children, parents and educators alike.

“I am extremely excited about this book,” says co-author Cheril N. Clarke. “We are bringing back our pioneer characters with a vibrant new look and expanded depth. Those familiar with Keesha and her two moms will notice that we aged Keesha a little bit. We did this so that we could have more room to tell a story for older children,” she added. Clarke authored the book with her wife and business partner, Monica Bey-Clarke.

“We know that reading expands the horizons of young people and hope this story will inspire curiosity and exploration,” adds Monica.

This exciting new book reinforces how much learning about new people, places and things can broaden a child’s imagination and open them up to exploring the world around them. Keesha’s South African Adventure is a daring story that showcases a modern family on a fantastic vacation that Keesha is proud to tell her teacher and classmates about.

Keesha’s South African Adventure (Hardcover) | By Cheril N. Clarke and Monica Bey-Clarke | ISBN 978-0-9851067-5-1 |$14.95 USD | 32 pages | Ages 4-8 | Publication October 3, 2016

REVIEW COPIES AVAILABLE UPON REQUEST

Asylum recently featured by Philadelphia Gay News!

Quick blog entry to cross-post a great interview that was recently published by the Philadelphia Gay News for my human rights playAsylum. Take a look at the preview below and click-through to read the whole thing.

If you’re in the Philadelphia region, please come out to see this thought-provoking show!

‘Asylum’ playwright wants art to inspire action

by Henrik Eger, Ph.D

Leah Prossy Cheril

Cheril N. Clarke is a prolific and innovative writer whose repertoire includes novels, erotic vignettes, books for children of LGBT families and the thought-provoking play “Intimate Chaos,” based on her novel of the same name — “an emotional whirlwind [where] two women struggle to learn lessons from past mistakes and apply them to future attempts at making things right.” Clarke’s second play, “Asylum,” featuring the attempted honor killing of a young lesbian from Uganda by her father, world-premiered in New York with great success, winning the Audience Award of the 2012 Downtown Urban Theater Festival. “Asylum,” now directed by Kash Goins with Philadelphia actors, will premier at The Stagecrafters Theater in Chestnut Hill July 24-26.

PGN: Quite a few of your earlier novels and stories deal with sexy characters and scenes. What made you stop writing erotic works?

CC: It’s important for me to stimulate myself with different genres every few years. That is not to say I wouldn’t revisit a particular genre after I’ve taken a departure — I might. My works move in tandem with the ebb and flow of my life and, at this time, there are many other things inspiring the stories I want to tell.

PGN: You married the love of your life. What’s the secret of your successful marriage?

CC: Yes, I’m grateful every day to know that I was lucky enough to marry my best friend. Monica and I have been together for over a decade now and my love for her rivals my need for breathing. She has helped me grow into the woman I’ve become and continues to inspire me, every day, to be my greatest self. The secret to our marriage is compatibility, respect, honest communication on a daily basis. It’s the fact that we were engaged for about a year-and-a-half before getting married, and during that time we got to know each other thoroughly and made sure that we were willing to do whatever it required for us to have a healthy, lasting and loving relationship. We set goals with timelines and achieved all of them on time if not early. We understand and respect what’s important to each other and on the rare occasions where our desires don’t align, we talk until we solve the dilemma and find solutions. We leave no room for guessing at what each other wants. This is all by design and intention. Our marriage today is standing on the foundation we started building almost 12 years ago.

PGN: You and Monica, your wife, have co-authored books, too.

CC: She and I have co-authored books, but more than that… Click Here to continue reading.

*More about my meeting with Prossy and Leah can be found here: Meeting Our African Sisters (and brother!) in Manchester, UK.

To be Black and Gay in the USA Today: Why the Future is Bright

This blog was originally published by the Human Rights Campaign in honor of black history month 2013. Below you can find the unpublished (until now), unabridged version. 🙂

 

To be Black and Gay in the USA Today: Why the Future is Bright

 

For years people have discussed what it’s like to be black and LGBT inAmerica—a simple search of those key words bring up pages and pages of negativity. Pundits have weighed in, activists have chimed in and the clergy has shouted in, but despite the obstacles black people face in this country, America is more of a place where all things are possible than she has ever been. Now is a time of hope; a time to acknowledge our challenges, yet celebrate our achievements.

This month we honor our ancestors who survived a racism that defies our ability to imagine. Yet black people in America have not only survived, we’ve thrived. There is no other prosperous nation that has as many black people in political positions of power; that liberates rather than subjugates its women than the USA. Despite woebegone voices of those who acknowledge only our struggles, black Americans are not just living the dreams of our ancestors but are exceeding them. However, much work remains, especially for those of us who identify as LGBT.

As we celebrate our more recent heroes, it is time we add to the list those who have been fighting for the last half a century for LGBT equal rights as black Americans. Just as Malcom X and Rosa Parks stood on the shoulders of slavery survivors, there are many who have helped our modern civil rights movement: people like Audre Lorde, Anita Cornwell, James Baldwin and many others who were stigmatized because they loved like us.

Today we have activists who have fought for and won protection against bulliesworkplace discrimination and military discrimination. We have black LGBT brothers and sisters channeling the strength of those who once did sit-ins to protest against segregation, standing firm on their right worship openly. They refuse to allow bigots to force them to choose between their sexuality and God. Their presence alone is their choice of weapon. Let’s appreciate them all for their strength and courage to live out and proud.

Thanks to contemporary filmmakers like Patrik Ian Polk, Tiona McClodden, Dr. Alexis Pauline Gumbs and Julia Wallace, black LGBT individuals can feel assured that we will not be omitted or shamed out of history as we have been in the past. Photographers like Duane Cramer and LGBT publishers are making sure that there are beautiful images of our families now and for many years to come. Our children now have books that accurately depict their families: black, happy and LGBT. Let us rejoice in these achievements and understand that the best is yet to come. If each of us continues to do our part, we can be sure to make it through this last lap of injustice for LGBT Americans.

Laws are slowly starting to get on our side. Much of the work has been done for us and for what is left all we need is the courage to be visible and no longer silent, the discipline to be educated and politically active. We need to harness the indomitable spirit that is encoded in our DNA, hold fast to a steadiness of purpose and secure what is rightfully ours: the right to love and marry; the right to raise a child; the right to worship; the right work in environments free of prejudice. These things are inalienable.

For when the dust settles and this chapter of history has ended, our children should be able to look back with pride knowing that when their parents’ generation held the baton they made sure history arched toward liberty and freedom for all people.

-Cheril & Monica

Thanks for reading! If you enjoyed, please share.

 

Cheril and Monica Bey-Clarke
photo by Nnamdi Ejim

Broadway World and DUTF Announces ASYLUM as Audience Pick and Runner up for Best Play!


Just a quick note to mention how thankful I am to have had the opportunity to be a featured production of the 10th Anniversary Downtown Urban Theater Festival! It was formally announced today on BroadwayWorld.com, that an original play of mine, Asylum, won the Audience Award and was second place for Best Play!

Many thanks to my cast, crew and to DUTF again. It was a great show and will be back on stage soon!

For more information about Asylum, please visit the official website: www.asylumtheplay.com!

Asylum by Cheril N. Clarke

Tune in to 88.1 FM (Philly) tonight to hear me discuss MyFamily! – Books for children with same-sex parents!

***Update*** Click here to listen to this interview online!

Tune in from 7:00PM-9:00PM tonight on Philadelphia’s 88.1 WPEB to hear me chat with the host of “Freedom Readers,” Rhone Fraser. This will be my second time in the studio with this extremely thoughtful host and I’m looking forward to the experience. If you’re in the area please do tune in and feel free to call in with your opinions.

We will be discussing the publication of MyFamily! Books for social change/justice as well as the portrayal of loving LGBT-headed families of color in America.

 

 

 

 

 

Tune in to Sippin’ on Ink – Wednesday 3/30/11 at 8:00PM EST!


Many thanks to the host, Kat Williams, for inviting me back on her show, Sippin’ on Ink! Tune in next week Wednesday, 3/30/11 at 8:00PM EST as she and I chat about my most recent work, The Beautiful People and upcoming joint venture of publishing children’s books with my wife, Monica Bey-Clarke!

 

 

 

Sippin On Ink is an exploration into all things LGBT oriented. If you are a writer, artist, producer, musician, filmmaker, poet or actor or just interested in all of the above, then this is the show for you! Direct link to show: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/sippin-on-ink

 

 

 

 

Audio, video and final thoughts on Intimate Chaos and the Philly Urban Theatre Festival!


Well, Intimate Chaos the play enjoyed another successful run as a featured production of the inaugural Philly Urban Theatre Festival. Closing night was slightly bittersweet for me as I'd already decided to put live theatre on a hiatus so that I could devote more time and energy to new projects including film and literature. I have to say, however, that we couldn't have had a more energetic closing! I was very happy with the work of my cast (pictured below), so much so that I've decided to share some footage that I'd originally taken just for myself. I feel that the closing show on Saturday, October 2, 2010 may have been the best since it's inception in 2007.

THE CAST

In addition to enjoying the work of the cast and crew, I'm also grateful for the press attention that was garnered through the festival producer (and my show director), Kash Goins. In prior blogs, I posted copies of news articles and press features of Intimate Chaos, and in this one I will not only embed video footage from the show, but also a link to a radio interview that I did along with fellow playwright Heather Thomas with West Philly's Rhone Fraser on WPEB, 88.1FM.

[audio:http://cherilnclarke.com/cheril/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/putf1_cheril_clarke_interview.mp3|titles=putf1_cheril_clarke_interview]

As mentioned above, the following video footage is not professional, it was recorded by me from the tech booth for the sole purpose of studying and looking for areas of improvement, however, I've decided to share a few clips from Act II and just a few reactions from patrons after show. Getting the comments was an on the whim decision, that captured some wonderful thoughts from people who attended and I'm really happy to know that everyone enjoyed the production. Thanks to everyone who came out and help make it a success! The audience was tremendously diverse across the board from age, to gender to race, and orientation, which is a wonderful thing. To our patrons, you are greatly appreciated!

*Credits

Intimate Chaos was written and produced by me, Cheril N. Clarke. This production (as well as the Plainfield, NJ production from May 2010), was directed by Kash Goins. The current cast is as follows:

Tiffany Barrett – Sadira

Lee MeKhai – Jessie

Walter DeShields – Devonte'

Nicole L. Tucker – Kenya

Daira Guerra – Stacey

 

Please do you leave your thoughts and comments, especially if you were at one of the shows!!!

 


Philadelphia Gay News features Intimate Chaos the play!

Below are two press clippings from the September 24, 2010 edition of Philadelphia Gay News (PGN). Intimate Chaos opens THIS Thursday! Click here for ticketing options (order online and SAVE!)

Recent press clippings for Intimate Chaos the play!

As the inaugural Philadelphia Urban Theatre Festival begins, the local press has taken notice. I will post photos from Monday's kick-off party soon!

Intimate Chaos the play goes on stage for the LAST TIME in the Philly region next week! There are three shows with Limited Seating and tickets are on sale now! Order online and save: www.intimatechaostheplay.com

9/15/10 edition of the Philadelphia Weekly and 9/22/10 edition of the Philadelphia Weekly
(double click image to enlarge)

 

 

Hot 96.3 Interview w/Marcel (link)

In case you missed the show today, here's a link to my interview with Marcel: Cheril N. Clarke interview with The Marcel Show!

1 2