I can’t front: I was a bit nervous. I have an intellectual #girlcrush on Melissa Harris-Perry. She is one of the smartest women on the planet and certainly an anomaly in the world of television hosting and political commentary. I only wish we taped the commercial breaks for my own use. I was impressed by the fact that she actually read my book herself rather than have a producer dig into it and formulate all the questions: Melissa went a step further and absorbed it. We were supposed to discuss three passages from the book but got caught up in the convo so we only covered the topic of my birth mother.
During one of the commercial breaks, Melissa asked me how I came up with the title of my book, Bird of Paradise: How I Became Latina. I told her that I see the title as being two separate titles, one for each part. Bird of Paradise is the title of Part 1: Paradise is the Spanish translation for Paraiso, the name of the ‘hood I lived in for some time with my maternal grandparents. The word “Bird” is a nod to Maya Angelou’s I Know Why The Caged Birds Sings. How I Became Latina is the title of the second part of my book because it chronicles just that—how I became a Latina. The second part of the book chronicles my genetic adventure through the science of ancestral DNA to unearth who my peeps were before they ended up in the Dominican Republic and, ultimately, I became a Latina-American or dominiyorkian. There it is.
Here is The Writer’s Corner video clips, below.
I also sat on a panel with Janice Junn, Jelani Cobb and Andrea Plaid about how talking about women changes the immigration conversation. Check it out: