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PETULA CAESAR

PETULA CAESAR

WALTER CAESAR (PETULA'S FATHER)

WALTER CAESAR (PETULA'S FATHER)

PETULA, AGE EIGHT

PETULA, AGE EIGHT

          In “She’s Such A Bright Girl,” Petula describes her struggles with her father and his desire to have his Black daughter be as “White’ as possible, and her overall confusion about her racial identity. "Though I have always wanted to write about race,” Petula explains. “I decided the best way for me to do that was to examine a single story of how white supremacy, and the connected themes of racism, classism, power and social status impacted an already complicated and challenging Black life. That led me to think about my upbringing, and that is where the book started."

 

          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 and 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 has been a multi-talented artist and a professional writer for over twenty years. She got her start writing erotica when she was published in New York Times bestselling author Zane’s erotica anthology “Caramel Flava.” Petula also 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 she has been a contributing writer for Baltimore’s former alternative weekly City Paper, The Afro-American Newspapers, and Baltimore Magazine. Petula is also a performance poet who has been featured at Artscape, the largest free arts festival in the nation, and she has performed erotic poetry and suggestive storytelling with her band “Luvstruck” in tow to audiences up and down the East Coast.

 

          What does Petula hope to accomplish with this book? "Like any other writer, first and foremost I want to tell my story. Black people will find a lot of aspects of my story familiar. But the most important thing I wanted to accomplish is that I want all people to collectively start examining how white supremacy affects all our lives. I want my readers to consider how white supremacy dictates what we think and believe, how it affects our view of their world, our view of the people around us, our view of people we don’t even know. I want us to think about how white supremacy becomes oppression, whether it is systemized oppression doled out through our country’s institutions, or the ways in which Black people self-oppress because of self-hatred that grows out of the idea of white supremacy. It is my hope that ultimately each of us will figure out what we are prepared to do to dismantle this idea.”

 

PETULA AT WINTER RECITAL

PETULA AT WINTER RECITAL

"On stage, Petula is a powerful performer, and who better than a poet to bring us into her world, to tell us about her life and her relationship to the skin in which she lives. This world is full of painful contradictions and she is at times poignant and at times playful in it, as she learns to see herself with her own eyes."

‒ ellen cherry, Emmy nominated singer/songwriter

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To contact Petula for bookings or additional information, please email petula@petulacaesar.com.