Petula Caesar possesses over two decades of experience as a writer and a creator of literary and performance art. At her core, she is a storyteller, and that talent drives all the other ways in which she presents herself as a creative.
Born in Paterson, New Jersey, Petula has resided in Baltimore, Maryland since she was a teenager. "I am glad to be from both Paterson and Baltimore. Growing up in Paterson made me physically tough. I spent my days climbing over rocks, running down hard asphalt streets. Concrete is everywhere. The texture of the city itself where I lived was rough. Living in Baltimore made me psychologically tough. Mental toughness is important to have in a place where it is easy to get swept up in a current of bad decisions. Baltimore is a city that was an active part of the slave trade, and I genuinely believe the collective anguish of the stolen Africans who landed here still festers here. Baltimore has a lot of Southern influences mixed with Northern grit . It offers a certain kind of hospitality for those willing to get past the hard exterior. It gave my toughness a kind of charm and grace and humor.”
Petula served as publishing editor for Mic Life Magazine and editor-in-chief for Speakerbox Magazine, online publications covering the underground entertainment scene in the Baltimore Metropolitan area. Petula branched out into freelance writing and editing, and she has worked on numerous manuscripts for authors. She has been a contributing writer for Baltimore’s former alternative weekly City Paper, The Afro-American Newspapers (Baltimore and DC Editions), and Baltimore Magazine. She has also worked as an editorial assistant at a Simon and Schuster publishing imprint. She can often be found performing or speaking at various signature Baltimore events like Stoop Storytelling, Charm City Kitty Club, Artscape, Poetry Out Loud, or The Baltimore Book Festival. Or you can find her teaching other artists about harnessing their passions at Arts Lab. Petula loves the behind-the-scenes part of live production work just as much as being in front of audiences, and she has also branched out into event direction and production, event curation, arts administration, and artist booking. She has curated, directed, and produced shows at most major venues in Baltimore from Creative Alliance to The Motor House, and has worked with numerous Baltimore-based performers like The 5th L, Navasha Daya, Eze Jackson, Joyce Scott, Jonathan Gilmore, and others. You can also find her speaking at various events about her book, "She's Such A Bright Girl: An American Story" - a memoir that won an honorable mention at the North Street Books Prize for creative non-fiction on the subject of colorism.
In addition to her writing, Petula wears many other hats. She works in professional development in the non-profit sector with expertise in everything from grant writing and relationship management to strategic planning and stewardship. She also has extensive communications and outreach experience. She was the Director of Community Engagement for the Baltimore Rock Opera Society for nearly four years, where she produced a series of virtual concerts entitled "Rock Opera 101" in the summer of 2020 while COVID-19 shut down many such creative endeavors. These shows highlighted the Black creators who significantly contributed to the evolution of rock music and rock musical theater - creators who often are left out of the telling of the history of these art forms. In 2021 she served as Executive Producer and Co-Creative Director of "Welcome To Funktopia: An Afro Intergalactic Tribute to Hip Hop and Funk", and in 2022 was the lead writer and co-director for a show called “Baltimore: In Recovery”, which asked the question “ what would happen if the city got therapy?” with three Baltimore archetypes go to court-mandated counseling. She also lead a production team that created "The Purple Tape", a show starring 5th, 6th, and 7th graders from New Song Academy in Sandtown-Winchester that celebrated the 50th anniversary of hip hop. This show was also performed for Baltimore City Public School students at The Reginald F Lewis Museum.