Black Girls Blogging: Michele Grant of Black 'n Bougie

Author Michele Grant began blogging to promote her published work, but now years later her popular blog Black 'n Bougie has taken on a life of its own. Michele's thriving blog community always dishes the real deal on love, relationships and family. She shares her blogging insights with us below:

Your blog, Black 'n Bougie, is such a fun, honest site. Why did you start it?

I started Black 'n Bougie in 2009 as a platform to showcase my writing. My first book, Heard it all Before was coming out the following winter. I hoped that if I wrote a blog and people liked my style of writing, that would translate into book sales. But then, as I began writing the blog - it became a platform, therapy, and a community.

Your blog is known for the community of readers that exists in your comments' sections. What are some of the things that you have learned from them?
Really, it's been both a blessing and a curse having such an interactive audience. On the one hand, it's great to spark discussion where people can share their thoughts and viewpoints. On the other hand, we've had some instances where one or two commenters have just run roughshod over everyone else. Overall, I've learned that it's great to hear all sides of the issues - even when we don’t all agree. I’ve learned that people are very passionate about relationship, love and family – above all else.

Most of your posts pull from your own personal experiences. Have you ever been afraid to write about anyone or event from your past?
I’m never afraid to post, but I’m definitely cautious about how much I put out there. I have some agreements in place with friends and family – I’d never want to “overshare” in areas where they are uncomfortable for feel exposed. And I do draw lines about what I’ll share about my personal life. Some things, no matter how blogworthy, are meant to be private.

Overall, What do you think your site has contributed to the community of black women online?
I think I provide a unique voice and unique topics that allow black woman to not only speak freely amongst ourselves but to men as well. We had a great Bougie Bachelor Chronicle recently where a gentleman shared how he sort of reformed from a player to a one-woman man. The women asked him questions and he responded and there were some great takeaways from that.

Also, many of my readership have been called ‘bougie’ in a derogatory manner and I think it’s important to make the concept of upward mobility, education and empowerment and pride about those thing okay. For women who are more Huxtable than street hustler, there’s a place for us to speak our truth also without being considered uppity or siddity (two terms I loathe).

You are also a well known novelist. Has your blog and audience affected or inspired your stories in any way?
We have a segment on BnB called “Ask a Bougie Chick” where reader write in with a question, usually relationship related and I all with the readership answer. A few of those Ask A Bougie Chick issues have found their way into a subplot or two. Beyond that, writing a blog almost every day has definitely enhanced my book writing. And for better or worse, some of the blog lingo has inched its way into my book writing style.

What do you want readers to take away from your blog?

There’s nothing wrong with being black ‘n bougie as long as you are polite about it. Bougie does not necessarily have to be a bad thing. Oh… and read my books! Sweet Little Lies is in stores now and Pretty Boy Problems, the sequel to Heard it all Before is coming out this summer!

What advice would you give to fledgling black, female writers?
Be authentic and keep writing. If that’s your passion, it’s never too late to follow it.

Visit Black 'n Bougie and follow Michele on Twitter.
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