An Anthology

African-American, Latino, and Asian-American writers tell their own stories of coming of age, coming out, and coming home.

The Writers

The writers range from young to old, including students, authors, recording artists, reality TV stars, veterans, doctors, lawyers, athletes, and activists.

The Music

We've created a musical playlist featuring 38 specially selected songs inspired by the stories in For Colored Boys.

soundtrack

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1. Heaven Must Be Missing An Angel

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The Colored Boys playlist kicks off in the 1970s with the hit song “Heaven Must Be Missing An Angel” by Tavares. The musical group makes an appearance in the very first essay in the book, “Back To School,” written by Atlanta-based writer Craig Washington, who remembers an innocent time of youth before strict gender rules

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2. To Be Young, Gifted, and Black

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The book’s first chapter, “Growing Pains,” reveals stories of young people coming of age in a world that is not always easy for them. Kevin E. Taylor writes about this feeling of uncertainty in his essay “Pop Quiz,” which invokes the song, “Young, Gifted, and Black.” The chapter also features essays by Jarrett Neal and

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3. Strange Fruit

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When Billie Holiday sang of “strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees,” she wasn’t talking about apples and oranges. The “black bodies swinging in the southern breeze” spoke of the lynching of African Americans in the American South. Nina Simone recorded her own version of the song in 1965, which is included in this Colored

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4. A House Is Not A Home

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Dionne Warwick recorded the original version of “A House Is Not a Home” in 1964. Nearly two decades later, while driving in her car in Los Angeles, Warwick turned on the radio one day and heard Luther Vandross completely reinterpret the song. She would later call it “the definitive recording of that song.” The song

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5. Can’t Take That Away

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“This is the number one to the soundtrack of my own life,” explains Colored Boys contributor Chaz Barracks. “I cried many nights listening to this in middle school,” he said, even recalling “vivid memories of performing this song.” Calling the song “an anthem for anyone who is bullied,” Chaz says Mariah’s performance “embraces the anger that was

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6. I’m Coming Out

Posted in soundtrack by Keith Boykin

In 1979, Diana Ross commissioned Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards of the musical group Chic to create songs for her new album. After noticing three different drag queens dressed as Ross at a gay New York City night club, Rodgers came up with the idea for “I’m Coming Out,” which soon became an anthem for

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7. (Pride) A Deeper Love

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Two years after C+C Music Factory took over the American dance music scene in 1989, David Cole and Robert Clivillés released a song called “Deeper Love,” featuring haunting vocals by Deborah Cooper that turned into an international gay club anthem and pop chart hit. Aretha Franklin would later record her own version of the song,

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8. Cloud 9

Posted in soundtrack by Keith Boykin

Although actually a song about pride in black hair, Donnie’s inspirational “Cloud 9″ is also a reminder of self-acceptance. As the openly gay Donnie sings, “Happy to be nappy, I’m black and I’m proud.” The song appeared on his album, “the colored section.” As the Atlanta-based singer-songwriter told Jasmyne Cannick in a 2007 interview: “Being

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9. He Likes Boys

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Actress/singer Simone Battle made her national musical debut on The X Factor. Her song tells the story of a young woman falling in love with the “perfect guy,” until she finds out “he likes boys.” The love story ends up with a twist at the end as Battle sings that she “found a new gay

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10. Far Away

Posted in soundtrack by Keith Boykin

In January 2011, R&B recording artist Marsha Ambrosius released a groundbreaking music video for her single, “Far Away.” The video, depicting a young black gay man who commits suicide, became the unofficial musical inspiration for the book, For Colored Boys Who Have Considered Suicide When The Rainbow Is Still Not Enough. The video was featured on

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