Bliss Danyel Smith

Bliss Danyel Smith




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a sensual tale drenched with love and music, in which author Danyel Smith dives

 into an intriguing set of characters facing life-changing choices

in the swirl of the music industry at its decadent peak.




By Danyel Smith



Bliss (Crown Publishers, 19 July 2005) is a sensual tale drenched with love and music, in which author Danyel Smith (a prose stylist who “writes with music in her language” say Quincy Jones) dives into an intriguing set of characters facing life-changing choices in the swirl of the music industry at its decadent peak.

At a 1998 gathering on the Bahamas’s Paradise Island, record executive Eva Glenn–soulful, powerful, and maybe pregnant–is throwing a comeback showcase for her singing sensation Sunny Anderson. At the event’s peak, Eva begins to sink beneath the waves of a confusing triangle, a career at a crossroads, fading self-confidence, and decisions to be made about her possible pregnancy.

Uncovering hip-hop’s personalities in a way one rarely can journalistically, Smith casts a cold eye on the machinations of the industry, and infuses Bliss  with an unashamed passion for the power of pop. her language echoes everything from blues shouts and hip-hop to the transcendent joy of a perfect R&B love song. This novel is about the rhythm and blues of life, and why we hold tight to the sex, music, and love that offers us a fleeting glimpse of bliss, even when the price is steep. The attached character sheet reveals the personalities of Bliss .

Smith led coverage of hip hop’s takeover of American culture, distinguishing herself in a male-dominated industry. She is the former editor-inchief of Vibe, had a stint as a prestigious editor-at-large at Time Inc., and has contributed to the new york Times, rolling Stone, the New Yorker, Spin, Essence, Elle, Cosmopolitan, USA Weekend, the village Voice, and Billboard. A regular commentator for VH-1, Smith is the author of the San Francisco Chronicle-bestselling novel, More Like Wrestling (Crown, 2003) and she wrote the introduction for the New York Times-bestseller Tupac Shakur.

Fascinated by the idiosyncratic sacrifices made by businesswomen, as well as by the interconnectedness of pop music, Smith can address the following issues in an interview:

Scandals entrenches in the music

Why music still matters

How hip-hop effects listeners and the choices they make about their bodies

The histories of hip hop and soul music

The short wild history of hip hop journalism

Interracial relationships

Sex and the single woman

The writing life, and the transition from journalism to fiction

The blogging phenomenon / revolution

To learn more about Bliss  and More like Wrestling, visit Smith’s blog at


Crown Publishing


Searingly honest and breathtakingly lush, Smith’s masterful prose moves the reader past the music industry’s seductive bling and liberates characters that are deliciously complicated and compellingly flawed. Bliss is the literary love song for the new millennium.


Joan Morgan, author of When Chickenheads Come Home to Roost


Smith writes with generous passion and propulsive energy about the life choices women make, about the illusion of control, and about getting to know ourselves. I love this book.


Ayelet Waldman, author of Love and other Impossible Pursuits


For the last decade, Danyel has had a front row seat for all the craziness of the record business. She knows how fly it all was, and she knows where the bodies are buried. You’ll love Bliss .


Touré, author of Soul City


The color and candor of hip hop is rarely transferred onto paper, and Danyel Smith’s voice is the rare, vital instrument strong enough to carry that tune.


Sacha Jenkins, coauthor of ego trip’s Big Book of Racism!


A dynamic novel with authenticity and surprises at every turn.


Katherine Weber, author of The Little Women


With the remarkable Bliss, Danyel Smith uses her palpable love and vast knowledge of music–hip hop, and soul — to conjure a glorious, compelling story

Alan Light, author of The Skills to Pay the Bills


posted 20 July 2005

Danyel Smith, author, editor, and critic, is an MFA candidate. She lives in Manhattan, but was born and brought up in California. Smith is the author of the San Francisco Chronicle– best-selling novel, More like Wrestling, and she wrote the introduction for the New York Times-bestseller Tupac Shakur. Danyel  is  also a former ed-at-large for Time Inc. and a former editor-in-chief of Vibe.

She writes around for Elle, Cosmo, O, Essence, wrote once (!) for the New Yorker, still will show up in Rolling Stone sometimes, still reps in spirit for the San Francisco Bay Guardian, and wrote concert reviews for the New York Times back in the day.

*   *   *   *   *’s 25 Best Selling Books

For July 1st through August 31st 2011  


#1 – Justify My Thug by Wahida Clark #2 – Flyy Girl by Omar Tyree #3 – Head Bangers: An APF Sexcapade by Zane #4 – Life Is Short But Wide by J. California Cooper #5 – Stackin’ Paper 2 Genesis’ Payback by Joy King #6 – Thug Lovin’ (Thug 4) by Wahida Clark #7 – When I Get Where I’m Going by Cheryl Robinson #8 – Casting the First Stone by Kimberla Lawson Roby #9 – The Sex Chronicles: Shattering the Myth by Zane

#10 – Covenant: A Thriller  by Brandon Massey

#11 – Diary Of A Street Diva  by Ashley and JaQuavis

#12 – Don’t Ever Tell  by Brandon Massey

#13 – For colored girls who have considered suicide  by Ntozake Shange

#14 – For the Love of Money : A Novel by Omar Tyree

#15 – Homemade Loves  by J. California Cooper

#16 – The Future Has a Past: Stories by J. California Cooper

#17 – Player Haters by Carl Weber

#18 – Purple Panties: An Anthology by Sidney Molare

#19 – Stackin’ Paper by Joy King

#20 – Children of the Street: An Inspector Darko Dawson Mystery by Kwei Quartey

#21 – The Upper Room by Mary Monroe

#22 – Thug Matrimony  by Wahida Clark

#23 – Thugs And The Women Who Love Them by Wahida Clark

#24 – Married Men by Carl Weber

#25 – I Dreamt I Was in Heaven – The Rampage of the Rufus Buck Gang by Leonce Gaiter


#1 – Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention by Manning Marable #2 – Confessions of a Video Vixen by Karrine Steffans #3 – Dear G-Spot: Straight Talk About Sex and Love by Zane #4 – Letters to a Young Brother: MANifest Your Destiny by Hill Harper #5 – Peace from Broken Pieces: How to Get Through What You’re Going Through by Iyanla Vanzant #6 – Selected Writings and Speeches of Marcus Garvey by Marcus Garvey #7 – The Ebony Cookbook: A Date with a Dish by Freda DeKnight #8 – The Isis Papers: The Keys to the Colors by Frances Cress Welsing #9 – The Mis-Education of the Negro by Carter Godwin Woodson

#10 – John Henrik Clarke and the Power of Africana History  by Ahati N. N. Toure

#11 – Fail Up: 20 Lessons on Building Success from Failure by Tavis Smiley

#12 –The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander

#13 – The Black Male Handbook: A Blueprint for Life by Kevin Powell

#14 – The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates by Wes Moore

#15 – Why Men Fear Marriage: The Surprising Truth Behind Why So Many Men Can’t Commit  by RM Johnson

#16 – Black Titan: A.G. Gaston and the Making of a Black American Millionaire by Carol Jenkins

#17 – Brainwashed: Challenging the Myth of Black Inferiority by Tom Burrell

#18 – A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose by Eckhart Tolle

#19 – John Oliver Killens: A Life of Black Literary Activism by Keith Gilyard

#20 – Alain L. Locke: The Biography of a Philosopher by Leonard Harris

#21 – Age Ain’t Nothing but a Number: Black Women Explore Midlife by Carleen Brice

#22 – 2012 Guide to Literary Agents by Chuck Sambuchino #23 – Chicken Soup for the Prisoner’s Soul by Tom Lagana #24 – 101 Things Every Boy/Young Man of Color Should Know by LaMarr Darnell Shields

#25 – Beyond the Black Lady: Sexuality and the New African American Middle Class  by Lisa B. Thompson

*   *   *   *   *

Salvage the Bones

A Novel by Jesmyn Ward

On one level, Salvage the Bones is a simple story about a poor black family that’s about to be trashed by one of the most deadly hurricanes in U.S. history. What makes the novel so powerful, though, is the way Ward winds private passions with that menace gathering force out in the Gulf of Mexico. Without a hint of pretension, in the simple lives of these poor people living among chickens and abandoned cars, she evokes the tenacious love and desperation of classical tragedy. The force that pushes back against Katrina’s inexorable winds is the voice of Ward’s narrator, a 14-year-old girl named Esch, the only daughter among four siblings. Precocious, passionate and sensitive, she speaks almost entirely in phrases soaked in her family’s raw land. Everything here is gritty, loamy and alive, as though the very soil were animated. Her brother’s “blood smells like wet hot earth after summer rain. . . . His scalp looks like fresh turned dirt.” Her father’s hands “are like gravel,” while her own hand “slides through his grip like a wet fish,” and a handsome boy’s “muscles jabbered like chickens.” Admittedly, Ward can push so hard on this simile-obsessed style that her paragraphs risk sounding like a compost heap, but this isn’t usually just metaphor for metaphor’s sake. She conveys something fundamental about Esch’s fluid state of mind: her figurative sense of the world in which all things correspond and connect. She and her brothers live in a ramshackle house steeped in grief since their mother died giving birth to her last child. . . . What remains, what’s salvaged, is something indomitable in these tough siblings, the strength of their love, the permanence of their devotion.—WashingtonPost

*   *   *   *   *

Super Rich: A Guide to Having it All

By Russell Simmons

Russell Simmons knows firsthand that wealth is rooted in much more than the stock  market. True wealth has more to do with what’s in your heart than what’s in your wallet. Using this knowledge, Simmons became one of America’s shrewdest entrepreneurs, achieving a level of success that most investors only dream about. No matter how much material gain he accumulated, he never stopped lending a hand to those less fortunate. In Super Rich, Simmons uses his rare blend of spiritual savvy and street-smart wisdom to offer a new definition of wealth-and share timeless principles for developing an unshakable sense of self that can weather any financial storm. As Simmons says, “Happy can make you money, but money can’t make you happy.”

*   *   *   *   *

The White Masters of the World

From The World and Africa, 1965

By W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois’ Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization (Fletcher)

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Ancient African Nations

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Negro Digest / Black World

Browse all issues

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*   *   *   *   *

The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan  The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll  Only a Pawn in Their Game

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Thanks America for Slavery /

George Jackson  / Hurricane Carter

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The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg

The Haitian Declaration of Independence 1804  / January 1, 1804 — The Founding of Haiti 

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update 27 December 2011




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Related files: More Like Wrestling  Bliss

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