Didja miss me? My weekend got hijacked by one of my best friends, who came to visit all the way from Modesto, California! She’s on a plane back as I type this, and I miss her already. So instead of spending my Sunday plugged into the computer, I was dragged away from the screen and forced to have fun and get together with old friends. We had a fabulous weekend, and it’ll probably take me all week to recover. Now back to your regularly scheduled Afrobella.

Last week I was extremely honored to recieve a Thinking Blogger Award, bestowed unto me by Ebony Mommy. This came in a week when I was feeling particularly ambivalent about the balance of my blog, and struggling to fit Afrobella time into my real life. Her words really touched me. Thanks, Ebony Mommy! Now I will give the Thinking Blogger Award to five blogs that stimulate the intellect and inspire me. Here they are, in no particular order.

1. Racialicious. Written by Carmen Van Kerckhove, the site examines the cross section between race and pop culture with skill and sass. I admire Racialicious because it successfully bridges the gap between irreverent and intelligent, and I always feel like I’m learning something new. I read it every day.

2. The Manicou Report. I’m coming up on a decade of living abroad, and I’m surrounded by Americans pretty much 24/7. There are days when I feel completely disconnected from my Trinidadian culture. Whenever I want to reconnect, I either call Mama Bella, or I check out The Manicou Report. Mani’s posts are erudite, often funny, and always interesting. I love when he posts Trinidad at a Glance, an infrequent overview of everything happening at home that I can’t read in the newspaper. Mani helps to keep me in touch with my roots, and I really appreciate his site.

3. Four Fingers and a Thumb and The Modest Goddess. I’m bucking the rules a bit here and giving the award to two of my favorite bloggers. Why? Because both of them are busy, smart women who don’t blog on the daily, and they both produce the kind of writing that I truly admire. So I wanted to pay respect to both of them. Sue me!

Four Fingers and a Thumb is written by Trinidadian activist and journalist Attilah Springer. I’ve got a lot of respect for Attilah, and not just because we went to the same high school. Her blog helps to keep me aware of Trinidad’s environmental and racial issues, and shows me what a truly conscious activist can achieve when it comes to railing against social issues in Trinidad. The Modest Goddess is written by a brilliant Trini writer who goes by the online name Hottie Hottie. Her blog is often funny, sometimes personal, and always smart. She often writes in Trinidadian dialect, and usually writes about Trinidadian issues from a global perspective. Click here to read her wise words about the Akon issue. So happy you’re back in the blogosphere, Hottie!

4. Clay Cane. I always learn something new when I read Clay Cane’s site. Clay is a very successful freelance writer who blogs about pop culture, music, politics… whatever he feels like! Clay is a brave writer with bold opinions, and he isn’t afraid to share them. Most of my favorite posts of his are about the ballroom scene in New York, which I find absolutely fascinating. Clay is also working on a novel about the scene, and I’m sure it’ll be great. He’s a very engaging writer, and I love his site.

5. 55 Secret Street and Anovelista.com. – I’m not cheating here, because these two blogs are written by the same brilliant writer! There are many beauty blogs, but very few that successfully blend wit, good writing, and fresh beauty information. That’s why I love 55 Secret Street. Nichelle tackles beauty and fashion in a truly fresh manner, loading her blog with lush and desirable images and succinct text. Anovelista is where she reveals her deep thoughts and her writing is just beyond exquisite. I have mad respect for Nichelle, and I always look forward to her long-form writing posts. She’s a pro at dropping knowledge and still making her thoughts accessible to the everyday reader. Love it!

Do you have any blogs that you are particularly inspired by, bellas? Let me know! I’m always looking for new reading material!

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olufunke says:
April 24, 2007, 10:33 am
bella, congratulations on the award. yes, you are a thinking blogger. i found 'four fingers and a thumb' through this blog, and i enjoy her writing as well. peace.
olufunke says:
April 24, 2007, 10:38 am
bella, i recommend blackwomanwriting.blogspot.com . it's a great practical and inspirational resource for all writers.
hotcoffy007 says:
April 24, 2007, 11:34 am
congratulations Bella, don't you love when good things come unexpectedly? i have a few places to recommend,http://blackamerican.blogspot.com/index.html is a blog run by a woman who tells of her life as a Black woman, mother and wife in Portland. http://lavishmag.blogspot.com/2007_04_01_archive.html you know you gotta get your fashion on, this site offers some of the best photos, and pure inspiration. love it. http://kakimeanspersimmon.blogspot.com/index.html i love this girl, she currently is in Japan teaching English, and the stories she recounts will have you feeling an instant kinship. http://designsponge.blogspot.com/ when i need design inspiration for my home, this is where i go. one visit will hook you.
Bella Fan says:
April 24, 2007, 1:44 pm
Congrats Bella, you deserve it! I love TAN, The Assimilated Negro, when he's on he can't be beat and he's getting around now. Angry Black Bitch is a guilty pleasure on occasion.
Yolanda says:
April 24, 2007, 2:06 pm
You are so welcome! Thanks for the great recommendations, I look forward to checking them out.
Nichelle says:
April 24, 2007, 3:15 pm
Congratulations Bella! And thanks again for mentioning me. As always, you are too kind. I'm still blushing!
carla says:
April 24, 2007, 3:41 pm
You have her linked over there: I love Fly @ http://flygirls.typepad.com/fly/ It's a daily dose of beautiful inspiration (as is this blog!)
HottieHottie says:
April 24, 2007, 4:16 pm
Awwwww man! Thanks Afrobella! I'm honoured. I love your writing too.
Carmen Van Kerckhove says:
April 24, 2007, 4:59 pm
Wow thank you so much for picking Racialicious as one of your choices! It's an honor! :)
afrobella says:
April 24, 2007, 5:38 pm
Awww. I love you guys. Seriously, I thought long and hard (a whole week!) about which sites really make me THINK, and you all do. (I also adore Fly, Carla! And your own Carlagirl blog is also amazing). We have so much power here online, and many of our peers don't use it as much or as wisely as they could. So big respect to all of you for putting your voice out there in a strong and thoughtful way. And thanks for giving me great, inspiring reading material every day!
coffy says:
April 24, 2007, 5:49 pm
hey Bella it's been so long, i forgot my screen name. lol.
RJ says:
April 24, 2007, 11:03 pm
HEY!!!! That's fantastic, and it totally makes sense... I'm addicted to your blog, bella. You're funny, thoughtful, and honest; all of which make for a great journalist (web-based, or otherwise...)! Keep up the good work, smarty pants!!!
bella says:
April 24, 2007, 11:56 pm
Yay, Coffy! Where you been? I missed you. I love Lavish Mag, and I'm doing a post on online magazines! Gotta give them a mention.
HottieHottie says:
April 25, 2007, 12:40 pm
Wait. You calle me a brilliant T rini. Awww man...
pets says:
April 25, 2007, 2:17 pm
Congrats on being recognised yet again for your work! Keep it up and please know that your posts inspire, educate and cheer many people around the world.
Danielle says:
April 25, 2007, 2:48 pm
Thanks for the links I'll definitely be adding some of these to my daily rotation.
LBellatrix says:
April 25, 2007, 7:09 pm
Congratulations on the award! :)
Mani says:
April 27, 2007, 8:41 am
Hey Bella! Thanks a lot for the shout out. I'll do a "Trinidad at a Glance" post for you soon.
nappygungun says:
April 30, 2007, 2:27 am
I know this is late but aside from you bella I love the ghetto fashionista. She keeps me up-to-date on the latest trends and who's who among the mainstream designers because 1 I work at night and 2 I don't have cable so I have to say she is one of my top favorite


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