Fela Kuti. The king of afrobeat was a musical genius and a God. He was a political activist and voice of the people, we Nigerians are very proud. Fela was all about music, debauchery and sticking two fingers up at corrupt governments. Fela had many wives who lived with him in a commune like environment, the shrine.
Andre 300. The wacky, colourful Outkast frontman and father of Erykah Badu's first son Seven is one of my favourite people on the planet. He's so unique and I think he'd be perfect to play Jimi Hendrix in a movie. He even looks like Jimi!
Jimi Hendrix. The legendary rocker died young but his amazing music lives on. The fearless talent left America for British shores where he found his true musical calling and global stardom. I think Jimi's version of All Along the Watchtower is one of the best records ever.
Cree Summer. Actress, musician and all around cool alternative chick. Cree and her equally cool pal Lisa Bonet are two of the hotest milfs around.
Jean Michel Basquiat was an American artist, musician, poet and producer. His father was Haitian and mother Puerto Rican.He started as a grafitti artist and was at the forefront of the Neo expressionist movement. Immensely talented, Basquiat's tale is a tragic one, another artist who died at the age of 27. He was championed by Andy Warhol and dated Madonna but pressure, struggles with depression and a fatal addiction to heroin resulted in a heroin overdose in his art studio in New York.
James Baldwin. The writer, essayist, playwright, social critic and political activist was breaking boundaries in the 50's and 60's as a gay, black writer. Disillusioned with the US and the way black people were being treated during that period, Baldwin moved to Paris but was actively involved with the Black Panthers. I read Another Country some years back and it blew my mind. Superb writer, I have most of his books, he was a remarkable talent.
Zoe Kravitz. Well with parents like Lisa Bonet and Lenny Kravitz what would you expect? The beautiful, quirky madmoiselle is steadily building quite the acting resume and like her mother quite the eye for interesting, glorious men. Even when Zoe looks like she's fallen out of bed, not showered and flung on random clothing, she manages to still look effortlessly cool. I like everything about her. Who says black chicks can't do grungy and sexy?
Neneh Cherry. Girl crush alert. The stunner and alternative priestess of the London hip hop scene in the 80's rocks in every way. She even lived in a commune in Sweden as a kid. How's that for Bohemian? Hey Neneh, show me your buffalo stance.
Esperanza Spalding. What a name and what a woman. The multi instrumentalist, jazz bassist and singer is a virtuoso.
Erykah Badu. The singer and muse is a godess. No black bohemian list is complete without Badu. She of stupendous talent and indescribable allure, she who casts witch like spells on men that don't know what hit them until they're out of it. Just ask Andre 3000, Common and Q Tip. She even manages to be ridiculously beautiful bald. Unbelievable.
Rick James. Oh my God the boots! The boots are something else, so incongrous it's genius. "Cocaine is a hell of a drug." You'd know Rick! Oh and Super Freak is awesome.
Saul Williams is one of my favourite spoken word artists, infact he's a legend on the scene. I had no idea that he was married to actress Persia White for ages. What a cool couple.
Which leads me to Persia White! The tatooed actress and musician starred in the popular show Girlfriends.
Corrine Bailey Rae. The lovely chanteuse has gotten better and better in my opinion. A little Brit Bohemian for you. Her second album was darker and I think she has a mesmeric quality when you watch her sing live.
Of course Lenny Kravitz had to be on this list. You know all about the sexy rocker and father of Zoe Kravitz, Dilf! (That's dad I'd like to f***).
Which leads me to his former partner and mother of his child, actress Lisa Bonet. Exquisite creature, epitomises the kind of free spirited sensibility I love, plus she's married to Jason Momoa. She's still making it rain.
Musician Janelle Monae. I adore Janelle and her kookiness, she's an artist, dancing outside boxes and I love that about her.
Singer Ben Harper, like his fusion of old school style soul and folk. Love his version of Sexual Healing, not quite as much as the original but close.
Playwright and screenwriter Suzan Lori Parks is a phenomenal woman. She won the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for Drama for her play Topdog/Underdog starring the awesome Mos Def and equally awesome Jeffrey Wright. She also received the MacArthur Foundation Genius Grant in 2001.
Comedian, writer, actor and dude of geeky, quirky cool Wyatt Cenac. Dream husband alert times ten.
Singer, songwriter, guitarist and producer Raphael Saadiq is the king of reinvention. He was a member of Tony! Toni! Tone! and has just continued to evolve and collaborate with some amazing artists.
I love bohemians, they encapsulate a certain unconventionality and free spiritedness I adore. It's about a way of life and of course many artists are bohemians and I use the term artist as a wide umbrella to include writers, actors, musicians etcetera. And what of the black bohemian? They're not as illusive as some might think, infact there many many out there but perhaps they're not regarded in that light and when they are, they are often labelled a little weird. I say embrace the strangeness, destination bohemia. The Natural Idealist does a great post on the four archetypes of a bohemian.