An American Marriage: The Different Shades of Love

After “much much much searching”, Oprah has found it. The book that resonates with her and will resonate with many others: An American Marriage.

As Oprah’s first book club pick of the year, this novel, written by Tayari Jones explores love, vulnerability, family, and the future in the face of inescapable adversity. Jones introduces us to Roy Hamilton and Celestial Davenport as young, African-American newly weds in the process of discovering themselves as well as their marriage. But this process is steeply interrupted; Roy is falsely accused of a crime that delivers him a lengthy sentence in prison and Celestial is left questioning how to move forward with her own life.


This epic-like journey is one that redefines love, forcing the couple to skip ahead from the stage of reckless, tempestuous romance and deal with the immense pressure placed on their relationship–– can it and will it survive?


Although it is the societal system around them that exploits their marriage, the novel’s families are left to handle the damage. Jones paints the environment they are enclosed by: “injustice in the criminal justice system — it's just in the air. Like hurricanes if you live on the East Coast or earthquakes if you live out West. It's just something that is”. Racial injustice is a threat to their marriage. Celestial, Roy, and their loved ones are victims of it.

By sharing the story of one incarcerated man, An American Marriage dives deep into scope of the internal consequences of mass incarceration within families without overlooking the complexity of the effects it has on relationships and bonds.

A crucial element of this story is the arbitrariness of the situation the protagonists find themselves submerged in. Through no decisions or actions of their own do they antecede the trials of their love, but it is their choices that will determine the life they now want. Maybe Celestial can convince herself to wait. Maybe Roy will understand that letting go is the only way he can preserve their love even if it doesn’t preserve their relationship.

Either way, Tayari Jones teaches us that it is not about who is “right” or “wrong” and that we must expose ourselves to the nuance of such issues. Her work of fiction reveals perspective and perception, establishing a microscopic understanding of each character to better recognize the conflicting, confusing nature of the plot. The novel is a model of real people and their real problems; that’s what makes it American.


Head on over to our YouTube Channel to watch all of the videos on American Marriage from February! 



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Who's telling your story?  The Tea!



This has been a crazy, hectic holiday season for all. Through all of it, The Tea is still going on and is having a great month! This month our book is Yes! Yoga Has Curves by Dana Smith which brought us themes of healthy living and spirituality.

Dana Smith gave in depth insight on her yoga background and she became involved with the activity. The author also discusses how yoga involves the mind, body, and spirituality.

This month’s discussion was a little different. We had Dana herself join us for the discussion. Our cast was able to ask her questions about her book and how yoga fits into this theme of a healthy lifestyle and spirituality. Dana expresses how she feels as if yoga isn’t a work out, but a work in because we are moving in a way that we do not want to because of stress. An important note is that yoga works you inside out.

After having a revelating conversation, it was time our ladies to try out a few yoga poses themselves.  They did a few exercises to help open up your legs, hips, back, and work on balance. These stretches are important to do for your body, especially if you are sediment for most of the day. Our cast has a great time and some good laughs trying to perform these yoga poses!


This month we also have a few book giving aways that you don’t want to miss. There’s only a few days left to enter. We have our monthly book giveaway on Facebook. All you have to do is LIKE and COMMENT your New Year’s Resolution on the post to be entered in winning a free copy of Yes! Yoga Has Curves by Dana Smith. Head on over today to enter by clicking HERE.

The second book giving is happening a little longer than just this month, it’ll last as long as our library has books available. For this giveaway, you have to subscribe to The Tea's YouTube channel ( ). To receive your book, please email producer,, showing us that you have subscribed, and use the subject line as Book Giveaway. Please include your mailing address as well. Once we have verified that you have subscribed to The Tea channel, we will ship you a free book from our library. Hurry up while the books are available, as we only have a limited amount to giveaway! If you have a book preference, let Kate know. We will fill your preference depending on availability.


Thank you to everyone who has been apart of The Tea this year. We couldn’t have done it without our wonderful and loyal followers. The Tea has all new videos, books, and giveaways lined up for next year. We cannot wait to see what next year holds for us, and we hope you follow along the journey with us.

Stay tuned for January 4th, 2018 when our book selection video is released! New year, new books, and all new conversations are waiting to happen! 


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Who's telling your story?  The Tea!




NEW MONTH, NEW BOOK! Can you believe it’s almost the end of the year? We at The Tea surely cannot. However, since it is a new month, you all know what that means... new month, new book, and new videos EVERY Thursday!

This week is one of our favorite episodes, the book selection video where our ladies will be presenting new books choices and voting on their favorite to read and discuss for the month.  Choosing a new read is always exciting! The cast has six new books, all non-fiction, which they are dying to present. Their choices for the month of December are:

Margarita: Rabbit, The Autobiography of Ms. Pat by Patricia Williams. Have you always wanted to know about the struggle of growing up poor, black and female? Ask any girl from any hood. You want to know what it takes to rise above your circumstances when all the cards are stacked against you? Ask Patricia Williams, she’ll have all of your answers.

Nigeria: Cuz by Danielle Allen. In this upsetting novel, it alternates between a woman's suffering over the loss of her baby cousin and a scholar's fierce critique of the American prison system. Allen seeks answers to what, for many years, felt unanswerable. Why? Why did her cousin, a precocious young man who dreamed of being a firefighter and a writer, end up dead? Why did he languish in prison? And why was he in a South Central Los Angeles Alley at the age of fifteen, holding a gun, while trying to steal someone's car?

Janelle: I’m Judging You by Luvvie Ajayi. This truth-riot, and New York Times best seller, gives us everything from hilarious lectures on the bad behavior all around us to accurate essays on media and culture. Luvvie brilliantly puts the world on notice that she is not here for your foolishness.

Deborah: Yes! Yoga Has Curves by Dana Smith. Yoga is a transformational art designed to bring our mind, body and spirit back into balance. It helps us to respect and value who we are and appreciate the skin that we are in.

Afi: The Book of Joy by Desmond Tutu, 14th Dalai Lama, Douglas Carlton Abrams. Two great spiritual masters share their own hard-won wisdom about living with joy even in the face of adversity.

Dina: Defining Moments in Black History: Read Between the Lines by Dick Gregory. One of our most politically engaged and civil rights activists and leading comedian with his trademark sarcastic wit, keen humor, and infectious paranoia looks back at 100 key events from the complicated history of black America.

Which cast member do you think will win the book selection? Well it’s time to guess! If you can correctly guess the book that will win the selection for the month of December, you could WIN one of these books! Submit your answers to us today!

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First off, we wanted to say Happy Thanksgiving to all of our fans and followers of The Tea. We hope everyone has a wonderful holiday weekend. Just because the holiday season is coming about, doesn’t mean The Tea is slowing down.

Last week we had a Google Hangouts video (IT’S ALL ABOUT REDEMPTION) with none other than the Unforgivable Love author herself, Sophfronia Scott. The video opened with the ladies hoping right in and talking about the Harlem Renaissance. Scott stated why she chose that setting for novel and how she fell in love with that era. She fell in love with the Harlem Renaissance based on a film she was fascinated by. Dina jumps in by discussing about how she watched the film while reading Unforgivable Love and how she changed her views on the characters from the novel. Dina makes a point by saying saying how the characters are deeply connected and asks Sophfronia about the development of her characters from the backstory. Sophfronia gives an excellent answer that you’ll just have to watch and listen yourself. Deborah decides to take the conversation to a different route and starts talking about the themes, such as redemption.

Now we don’t want to give all the details on the conversations that happened on the Google Hangouts, we want you all to WATCH the video and then join in on the conversation. Check it out today by clicking HERE!

This week we have a special cast profile video of Nigeria Lockley that we can’t for everyone to check out. Then the following week...NEW MONTH, NEW BOOK! Stay tuned for our book selection in two weeks. We can’t wait for new conversations to begin.

Also, check out our awesome contest running this month! It is time for another BOOK GIVEAWAY! Want to WIN a copy of Unforgivable Love signed by our cast? LIKE this post to be entered! Simply click LIKE to be entered in the contest. To find the post, just click on this LIKE button and it will take you straight there! **WINNERS WILL BE DRAWN at 7:00pm on Thursday November 30th and will be announced on this page!

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This week on The Tea.. we have our Get2Know Sophfronia Scott video!

She is the author of this month’s novel Unforgivable Love. Sophfronia grew up in Ohio but currently lives in Sandy Hook, Connecticut with her husband and son. She currently holds a BA in English from Harvard University and an MFA in writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts.

We were able to interview her at her house and catch some great insight into her life and her stories.

Tune in on Thursday at 9:00 am to see Scott talk about her life and our cast “spill the tea” on what they love about the author.

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Who's telling your story?  The Tea!





This month’s contest is pretty easy. All you have to do is head on over to our FACEBOOK PAGE and like our post! Once you’ve liked it, you are automatically in the running to win a free copy of Unforgivable Love by Sophfronia Scott signed by our cast!

Don’t forget to like us on Facebook, Follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and most importantly, subscribe to our Youtube Channel 


Who's telling your story?  The Tea!


WHICH BOOK WILL WIN? November Book Selection

Can you believe it’s November already?!  That means... it's time to choose a new book!  Video coming this Thursday!


Coming Thursday the ladies will present 6 new books (fiction this month), and then they will vote for a winner.  Choosing a new read is always exciting!  Their choices for the of November are:

Afi  -  A Kind of Freedom by Margaret Wilkerson Sexton   This novel is about a Creole woman whose family comes from high class black society. When she falls for a young poor man she is forced to choose between her privileged life and the man she loves.

Dina - Unforgivable Love by  Sophfronia Scott    A young woman blames the entire male race for creating conventions that prevent her from engaging in a same-sex love affair when she is unable to pursue her romantic feelings for her true love.

Janelle -  What We Lose by Zinzi Clemmons   A short, intense and profoundly moving debut novel about race, identity, sex and death.

Deborah - The Perfect Find by Tia Williams   Will a forty-year-old woman risk her high-stakes career, ticking biological clock, and bank account for an intense secret romance with the one person who could destroy her come back? You'll have to read it to find out!

Margarita - Piecing Me Together by Renee Watson  A timely and powerful story about a teen girl from a poor neighborhood striving for success.

Nigeria - Seeking Sarah by ReShonda Tate Billingsley    This is an emotional exploration of the complex bond between a mother and daughter.

Which cast member's book do you think will win?   If you can guess the winner you WIN a free book from The Tea's library (while supplies last).  Submit your answers to us today!

Don’t forget to like us on Facebook, Follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and most importantly, subscribe to our Youtube Channel at


 Who's telling your story?  The Tea!


The Gift

The Gift By Alexis Pettway

I imagine it was wrapped in a tiny purple box with white ribbon tied around it
And the name read Alexis Denise Pettway
Hand crafted and molded by HIS hands
Perfected, Blessed and ordained by HIS words
Placed on a shelf with billions of other gifts waiting it's entrance into the world
February 26, 1989 into existence I Am!
I see that gift come alive, hop off the shelf and begin it's descend into a beautiful baby girl
7th grade I put pen to paper and the poem "God's work"; created the beginning.
And now my hand, my pen will only cease movement with my life ending
Because this gift runs through my veins, yes I'm a slave to poetry and I love it. Its MY gift it's my destiny

The readers, the followers, the books, the words...I will never forget
This dream made possible all started with a gift

Where did your gift(s) come from? Share in the comments below!

Me and You

Me and You By Alexis Pettway 

Back in 2002, I found my unexpected freedom, I found you.
In 2003, I realized what you saw in me.
The potential I had in my mind, the status my words could reach.
From the classic, “ya lies” let me tell you about it symbolized; the words that freely roam my mind every time I close my eyes.
When Rosa came, I got my creative swag and from then on, I had this relationship in the bag.
We’ve been through some shit but this is only the beginning.
Nothing lasts forever but I know you’ll be here whether I’m losing or winning.
The weather’s been cold, the weather’s been hot but there was never a question on whether you were with me through all or not.
This is the middle of a beautiful relationship that started not too long ago.
I can only envision the wonders for us that the future will show.
You’re like another mother and I must say you’re raising me well, giving me a taste of heaven, helping me get through hell.

We’re on a roll and nothing can’t stop us now
No one, no obstacle, nowhere no how.
I love you because I know you’d do anything to satisfy my mood.

Just know in return, I’d do the same, and more, for you.
You wipe away my tears, my fears you caress.
You embrace and heightened my joy.

I shed a tear for the love of you and happiness
If there was no you there would be no me
We gon always be together, me and you, poetry.

How does this make you feel? Share some of your thoughts in the comments!

Books By the Cover: Zenele: A Letter for My Daughter

I was surprised when I found out the neurosurgery resident sitting next to me in the library, when I was in medical school, was working on a novel--not a research paper.  I was impressed when I read "Zenele: A Letter for My Daughter".  

Mother's and daughters who have lived very different lives--trying to connect.  It's a beautiful story.  Have you ever been shocked to find out that someone you know who seemed busy with another identity was...a writer? #tbt #Zenele #books #mothersanddaughters

Also, check out this profile of Dr. Maraire from 1999 here: