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Vixen Book Review: Does "A Belle In Brooklyn" Live Up To The Hype?

Words by Bené Viera

Belle, as her beloved readers know her, cringed when she was coined the Black Carrie Bradshaw. I understand why. Demetria L. Lucas is not a character, and her life is not a script. Ain’t nothing like the real thing baby. In her debut book, A Belle in Brooklyn: The Go-to- Girl for Advice on Living Your Best Single Life, she bears her soul in her compelling anecdotes of the joys and pains of love, or lack thereof.

Prince George County native refuses to settle for anything less than butterflies. Not the clichéd kind either. Lucas never pretends as if her life is not fabulous filled with shi shi foo foo dinner dates and VIP industry parties. Yet her lifestyle has not spared her from the sting of a broken heart. She openly admits her naiveté with a few men. It’s clear that like most women dating has been trial and error for Lucas. She endures some wins and losses. But there is no tragedy or bitterness, only the desire to live a full life with or without a man like her beloved Nola Darling.

A Belle in Brooklyn is comical. Whether it’s the carefree stories of Brooklyn house parties or her meeting a cutie while sweating out her hair at a Manhattan club, you want to know what’s next in her world. But Lucas doesn’t lack depth. She recounts her sexual assault and being in a relationship with no reciprocity.

What she doesn’t do is dole out relationship advice, which if anybody has the credentials to do so it’s her. Devoid of the preachy message telling women how to find a man, A Belle in Brooklyn is a dating memoir of a woman in her 20’s; and it reads like a compilation of posts from her blog of the same name. It’s her life, her story. A story women can see different pieces of themselves throughout.

With a 10-year career that has revolved around relationships in some capacity, relationships are Lucas’ niche. She began her career editing romance novels for Harlequin and BET Books. Her freelance hustle led to her gig with Honeymag.com detailing her dating chronicles. That led to her current position as the Relationships Editor for Essence. Her book is a mixture of the thousands of interviews she’s done with men, the conversations she’s had with her “Male Squad,” and her own experiences.

From chapter one you’re engrossed with Lucas’ adventures through Paris when she bumps into a crush from her hometown. Within minutes she’s abruptly stopping what was seconds away from being passionate sex if he hadn’t committed the deal breaker of all deal breakers- trying to hit it from the back their first time.

Nothing is off limits.

The male characters are just as much as part of her journey as she. Long time readers of the blog will immediately recognize the men. We finally understand why her relationship with Greg a.k.a. Mr. Ex didn’t work. Evan, the older, safe man, was ready for the future while Lucas was ready to dance on tables. Stars had girls in different area codes. And who can forget TLA, through who we learn the importance of the title and timing. Other men are merely passersby in her world. She dated them, had fun while it lasted and was on to the next. One gets the sense that she never went into a date secretly planning the wedding. Dating is just that, and sometimes nothing more. She is completely ok with that.

“Condom Conundrum” reveals what men really think about women who carry their own condoms. “Great Expectations” is the hilarious conversation between Lucas and her Male Squad about women swallowing spunk. You will love Lucas for pointing out the men’s double standard even if it was a battle lost. “Would You Date You?,” “Giving to Get,” “A Good Jump Off is Hard to Find” and “Dating Honor Code” are discussion pieces with hints of wisdom.

It is “She don’t believe in shooting Stars,” “An A/B Conversation,” and “Teenage Love Affair” that touch you in an unexpected way with such poignant emotion.

Could it be our fascination by the life of the woman known as Belle that keeps us wanting to know more? Perhaps. Or maybe it is our curiosity of how she handles her own relationships as a relationship expert. You understand her through her vulnerability. It’s as if you know who she is as a woman. Her transparency reaffirms that you are not alone in your quest for love. Lucas’ relationships aren’t on a pedestal absent of error. But her outlook on life is what’s inspiring.

A Belle in Brooklyn is fun, sexy, witty and captivating. Picture it as your no-holds bar girlfriend telling you a series of real life stories over cocktails. In the midst of her telling the dating stories that seem to only happen on TV, she drops golden gems of wisdom you apply to your life only if applicable. From page one you’re invested. Not because every detail about her life is relatable. Not even because you desperately desire advice on how to find love, which this book is not. You’re invested because the writing is just that damn good. Lucas shows us what Black women look like who live perfectly happy single lives. And she proves love is always attainable. 

A Belle in Brooklyn: The Go-to Girl for Advice on Living Your Best Single Life is available wherever books are sold.

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Owner of the New England Patriots, Robert Kraft, is reportedly being accused of two counts of soliciting prostitution in two separate instances at a Florida day spa, CNN reports.

In a recent press conference, Police Chief Daniel Kerr stated that Kraft’s charges stem from two separate visits he made to the Orchids of Asia Day Spa in Jupiter, Fla. However, a spokesperson for the NFL team denied all the charges against Kraft. "We categorically deny that Mr. Kraft engaged in any illegal activity. Because it is a judicial matter, we will not be commenting further," the organization said.

Local authorities still confirm that the accusation is in conjunction with recent events that have taken place at the establishment, which also accused 20 other people of the same crime. According to Kerr, there is video evidence. The authorities involved in the crackdown revealed they wore body cameras during the operation.

Additionally, the police were involved in constant surveillance of the location. Authorities said they're not planning to release any video footage or documented evidence as of yet.

Kraft has been the owner of the Patriots since 1994. Further details for this story are pending.

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Tidal Announces Tidal Unplugged Program For Upcoming Artists

The Jay-Z owned streaming service is launching Tidal Unplugged, a program geared toward rising artists. The program has been bestowed with a $1 million fund, courtesy of its donors, venture capitalists and philanthropists, Mark Lampert and Robert Nelsen. The goal of the program is to gather emerging artists and provide them with support and tools to advance their music careers.

The selected, local artists will begin the program in Detroit, where Lampert's grandfather started his music career and will receive a grant that can cover necessary equipment, time in the studio, as well as living expenses amongst other things. There are plans to expand Unplugged to other locations, but as of right now it's solely in the Motor City.

"Kicking it off in Detroit, we're giving artists the means and resources to pursue their passion," Tidal said about Unplugged. "This once-in-a-lifetime opportunity allows aspiring musicians to dedicate more time and energy to seeking a career as an artist."

Unplugged will also allow the artists to maintain complete ownership of their recording masters from the four songs they will record when they make it to the first stage of the program. Additionally, Tidal plans to help the musicians with the distribution and promotion of their music, as well as help the artists prepare for a TIDAL Unplugged showcase concert later this year in November.

 

Detroit, welcome to TIDAL Unplugged. Up-and-coming artists are getting the opportunity to give their all to their music with our new artist grant program. Submissions open March 1. https://t.co/krL3l8HHGg pic.twitter.com/w30fElrp6N

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Tidal Unplugged is calling for musicians of all genres in the birthplace of Motown Records, however, the announcement states that all submissions must be a cappella or performed acoustically with minimal use of digital components.

Detroit-area artists can apply for the program on Tidal's official website or here, starting on March 1, 2019. Finalists will be announced in May 2019.

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R. Kelly Charged With 10 Counts Of Aggravated Criminal Sex Abuse

R. Kelly has reportedly been charged with 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse by the Cook County State's attorney on Friday (Feb. 22), The Chicago Sun-Times reports.

At least four out of the ten charges involve victims who were between the ages of 13 and 16 years old.

A grand jury convened nearly one week ago to investigate a VHS sex tape that was handed over to authorities. The tape allegedly showed Kelly having sex with a girl that appeared to be 14 years old.

Additionally, as many as a dozen sexual assault accusers came forward to testify in the case against the R&B singer, TMZ reports. Two women in particular confirmed that Kelly previously engaged in sexual acts with minors.

Kelly's years of alleged sexual misconduct gained nationwide attention after Lifetime aired Surviving R. Kelly in Jan. 2019. The explosive docuseries included commentary from Kelly's former employees, accusers, and some of their families, all discussing his past and present indiscretions. The series sparked the viral #MuteRKelly movement on social media and prompted him to part ways with his record label RCA.

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