On Saturday, May 7th, I attended the first ever Rising Affluent
Conference with my girl, Larissa
. Since the two of us are working on a project (which will be announced at a later date) we decided to take advantage of this day of advancement and achievement. How did we find out? A Belle in Brooklyn
, of course.
Larissa introduced me to Belle (government name: Demetria Lucas) a while ago as a writer and blogger to watch. Bonus? She’s a bougie black girl who loves a Louis and some fierce shoes. Of course I was hooked.
I immediately started following Belle on twitter, and going through back entries of her blog. I checked out her features on Essence (which was incredibly tolling as she publishes the hot man of the month) and became a literary groupie. You see, Belle’s career – it’s exactly what I’d hoped for myself in moving to New York City. My pathway has been a bit bumpy on the way there, but people like her remind people like me that anything is attainable.
So, enter the Rising Affluent Conference. Larissa and I are sitting at a full table of very nice women, networking and such, when a girl comes over and mumbles something I can’t hear. I turn to Larissa and raise my eyebrows like what? as her eyes start growing exponentially. “Belle… is … reading… from …” she stammers and before she can finish her sentence we’ve both jumped out our chairs. Suddenly we realize it’s rude to leave without saying goodbye to the women at our table so we mumble something about Belle giving a reading upstairs and they all seem to follow suit.
You see, the announcement was slightly premature, and poor Belle had an audience of people watching her as she tried to find a place for the print of her gorgeous book cover. I watch her as she gives the nicest side eye I’ve ever seen to the camera man, who places the print on a chair, and then smile at the Conference director, who brings in an easel. As someone working in events, I smile too.
She begins shortly after that, introducing herself as Demetria but I can only think of her as Belle. She talks of her inspiration and this is where I melt into a puddle of excitement because it’s full of things I can relate to (especially the bit about Waiting to Exhale. Black girls, if you haven’t read this, please find it immediately).
An avid Sex & The City fan, she notes she was always waiting for their fierce black girlfriend to pop into the picture with a storyline rivaling everyone else’s. She never really could get into Girlfriends the same way and neither could I. As much as I love Toni, Lynn, Maya and Joan; they really can’t stand up to our beloved Miranda, Charlotte, Samantha and Carrie. She wanted to bring the voice of that black girlfriend we missed to fruition… so she wrote. Here she is now, with a book deal signed, her first piece (entitled A Belle in Brooklyn, The Go-to Girl for Advice on Living Your Best Single Life) completed, and her second piece in the works. She’s an inspiration.
Belle read from a chapter entitled “My Father Called Me a Party Girl”. She read the piece from her iPad, which blinked away with every awestruck tweet from the girls in the room, reacting to the piece, or just her presence. When she finished her reading, which spoke of “Black Melrose” (aka DeKalb Avenue in Brooklyn), her party girl past, and blood orange margaritas; I vowed never to let a day go by that I didn’t chase my dream and have fun doing it.
I had the opportunity to ask one question: “Hi Belle (oops, I guess I meant Demetria), my name is Maiah Johnson and you’re an inspiration!” I stammered. “I’m just wondering how you keep it all balanced? You know, the blog, and your book, and your full time job ’cause you have to pay rent…”
She smiled graciously, “oh, balancing all this? Trust me, the rent is paid.”