"Practicing for Love: A Memoir" by Nina Kennedy
Practicing for Love: A Memoir is a 2019 nonfiction autobiography written by Nina Kennedy and published by RoseDog Books. It is about her life and experiences as a daughter of college professors, a child prodigy, a student at Juilliard, a concert pianist, and ultimately as a black woman.
The book is divided into three parts. Part one examines her formative years, beginning in Nashville, Tennessee where she gives her first concert at age nine, and appears as piano soloist with the Nashville Symphony at age thirteen. As she was raised on the Fisk University campus, there is much history included on the school and the Fisk Jubilee Singers, which her father directed. The section ends with her graduation from The Juilliard School with a master's degree in piano performance. In part two she begins to come to grips with the impact of American racism on her career. She tours Europe and makes her first recording at Abbey Road Studios in London, but the recording is not released because of a fraudulent contract. She describes encounters with celebrities including Marian Anderson, Isaac Hayes, Roberta Flack, Spike Lee, Cyndi Lauper, Wynton Marsalis, Coretta Scott King, Vladimir Horowitz, Whitney Houston, et al. She performs internationally as piano soloist with symphony orchestras and as a solo recitalist, but she finds that she is not able to make a living from her performances alone. In part three she begins writing scripts for a "cocaine-addicted actress" to perform on stage, and for her own spoken-word performances. Soon a film producer does a documentary on her work as a spoken-word artist, and the film is selected and screened at the Berlin International Film Festival where she is lauded as a screenwriter and actress. Ultimately she makes her home in Vienna, Austria.
Kennedy describes her introduction to ancient Goddess literature and prayers, and enjoys the effects of incorporating the female deity in her spiritual life. Her descriptions of sexist encounters are vivid and heartbreaking, and she comes to realize that her father has never been the kind of protector that she needed. She also comes to grips with the effects of her mother's alcoholism on her life, and the verbal abuse and bullying she endured in a segregated public school system.
Practicing for Love: A Memoir is the first book of a series. The second book, Practice What You Preach, will also be published in 2020. The Noshing with Nina Show presented a "virtual" book launch on May 20, 2020 on Manhattan Neighborhood Network.
2020 non-fiction books
Books about African-American history
Books about artists
Books about musicians
Books about women
Books about race and ethnicity
LGBT literature in the United States