We had the good fortune of connecting with Francene Breakfield and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Francene, can you tell us more about your background and the role it’s played in shaping who you are today?
I am an original Georgia Peach. Born and raised in the ATL. I can not imagine being from anywhere else. I love the dope beats and lyrics of Outkast music, that special unique flavor of a Varsity Dog, and the Southern Hospitality of a true ATLien. Cool summer breezes on hot summer days. I grew up during the horror of the Missing and Murdered children, the craziness of Freaknik and the excitement of the 1996 Olympics. I have witnessed my city transform from a slow not so popular town to an urban Black Mecca. All of these things have helped to create who I am today. An educator, artist, writer, and authorpreneur.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I have written several books. I am most proud of “An Anthology of Sisterhood” and “black@lanta”. The first book was a collection of poetry and short stories written by 22 women. We all are sorority sisters but all have our own perspective of sisterhood. My line sister, LD Wells and I were co-editors of the book and contributed our own collection of poetry as well. The late great Ruby Dee wrote the forward for the book and contributed one of her works as well. The book has received numerous awards and recognitions and we were able to use a portion of the proceeds from the book to establish an annual scholarship for women in the arts through DREF (Delta Research Educational Foundation). Thus far, we have awarded three $1,000 scholarships to a dance major at Howard University, a viola major at The Juilliard School and an opera major at University of District of Columbia. Even though we come from humble beginnings it warms are hearts to be able to give back to another African American female artist. My second book, black@lanta, was a solo project. It consists of 40+poems and more than 70 photos of Atlanta from a bronze lens perspective. This book is a personal love letter to my hometown. A true testimony of what it was like growing up as an African American girl in the 80’s and 90’s. It took me a few years to compile everything. I started on the project in 2014 when I purchased my first “real” camera. I took a photography class at SCAD and the professor asked us to take pictures of things we love. It was an easy decision for me. I love my city and Atlanta became my muse. It was not easy to complete the project. I always felt that I did not have the time. But having being forced to stay home during the pandemic allowed me time and space to get this project completed. Lessons that I have learned is to trust the process and trust your gut. I always felt that my poetry was pretty good but I am a little biased. It is heartwarming to get feedback from people who love my books. It is reassuring and confirmation that what I wanted to convey was received how it was intended. I want the world to experience Atlanta as I have.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
For brunch, Atlanta Breakfast Club, Thumbs Up on Edgewood or Nana’s Kitchen in Conyers for a French Toast Waffle and the lobster tail. I would take them to Ponce City Market, Little Five Points. I would drive them around downtown so they can see all the beautiful painted murals. We would go to the Chattahoochee Food Works for lunch or Krog Street Food Court. Take a leisurely stroll down the Belt Line. Go to Doc Chey Noodle House for a lite dinner and grab a cupcake from Endulge. Throughout the week we could visit Six Flags, Perimeter Mall for some shopping. I would of course visit the MLK Center and take a tour of the Atlanta University Center. There is so much to see and do.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I have to say my mother is my greatest mentor, inspiration, and supporter. She worked over 30 years as an elementary teacher in Atlanta. My love of reading and writing was definitely fostered and encouraged by her. She is 88 and still dances, paints, and lives life to the fullest. I pray that I am blessed to live such a long blessed life. I also want to shout out my sorority sisters of Delta Sigma Theta who have been a huge support. Over the last 10 years, they have purchased my books, hired me to host mobile paint parties, commissioned poetry and art. I am so appreciative of their loyalty and sisterhood. Words cannot express my gratitude.

Website: www.frantabulus.com

Instagram: black_atlanta

Linkedin: Francene Breakfield

Twitter: @frantabulus1

Facebook: Docta Frantabulus

Image Credits
Main image of Four readers: Photo by Katelyn Hill Photography Memorial Drive Graffiti, Atlanta Skyline, Collage: Photos by Francene Breakfield Anthology @ Howard U: Photographer Unknown

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutAtlanta is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.