Stories of Joy: A Black Man of Happiness Project


Facebook Event Page

Writ Large Press/DT•LAB and the 
Black Man of Happiness Project

invite you to share your…

open mic | storytelling | music

Hosted by and Featuring:
Peter J. Harris

& vocal accompaniment by 
the one and only
Gina Loring


The mic will be open to men of all backgrounds, all ages, bring your stories of joy, of happiness, of love..inspiration, truth…

to share, in an open, public, and inviting and historical setting…

Union Station, Los Angeles. 


The Black Man of Happiness Project is a creative, intellectual and artistic exploration seeking to answer one elemental question: What is a happy Black man? The Project explores African American life and history from a refreshing new angle: through the lens of happiness of the men whose survival, let alone joy, has never been a national priority.

In his book, Black Man of Happiness: In Pursuit of My Unalienable Right, Harris asserts that tapping into Black men’s inspiration and creativity is the missing ingredient to existing discussions, programs and projects dedicated to improving health, educational and social outcomes for African American boys and men. He calls on major funders, many of which support President Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper initiative, to infuse their programs with ‘Inspiration Specs’ that draw on and teach the rigorous techniques, mindsets, creative risk-taking, and imaginative problem-solving used by performing artists, writers, story tellers, entrepreneurs, and innovators in all fields of human endeavor.

This event is part of DTLAB’s #90for90 series of events. (90 events in 90 days) 

Take the train or drive down (validation offered with purchase). 


The Black Man of Happiness Project crystallizes more than 30 years of artistic & cultural work exploring the lives of Black men, including the 2011 collaboration with my daughter, Adenike A. Harris, on her Creative Master’s Thesis: “Restorative Notions: Regaining My Voice, Regaining My Father: A Creative Womanist Approach to Healing from Sexual Abuse,” (Georgia State University). In her thesis, she and I write a candid, ethical, loving call-and-response dialogue tracing how we worked together to confront, survive, and transcend her rape. (

My writing has been included in anthologies edited by, among others, Charles Johnson/John McCluskey Jr.; Rebecca Walker; Meri Danquah; Paula Woods/Felix Liddell; Terry McMillan; Kalamu ya Salaam; E. Ethelbert Miller; Juliette Harris/Pamela Johnson; and Gloria Wade Gayles. My magazine, “Genetic Dancers: The Artistry Within African/American Fathers,”published during the 1980s, was the first magazine of its kind and asserted that African American fathers become artists through the frictions of conscientious parenting.

GINA LORING is an accomplished poet, vocalist, songwriter, and workshop facilitator. She has guest lectured at countless colleges, universities, and high schools nationwide. As guest poet of the American Embassy, she has traveled to Kuwait, Russia, West Africa, Denmark, Turkey, Greece, Ireland, England, and Tunisia. She was featured on two seasons of HBO’s Def Poetry, as well as on BET’s Lyric Cafe and TVOne’sVerses and Flow. With a B.A. from Spelman College and an M.F.A. from Antioch University, Gina served as poet-in-residence at Culver Academies and writer-in-residence at Hedgebrook. She is a volunteer creative writing teacher with Inside Out Writers, working with incarcerated teens. Her work is featured on De La Soul’s album, “Are you in?” and The Brand New Heavies album, “We Won’t Stop,” and she was a writer/ performer on Norman Lear’s nationwide “Declare Yourself” poetry tour. She lives in Los Angeles, and she believes in mermaids. Visit her at: