Baisden, Michael 1963-
BAISDEN, Michael 1963-
Born June 26, 1963, in Chicago, IL; married (divorced); children: one daughter.
Writer, motivational speaker, and talk show host. Founder of Legacy Publishing and Happilysingle. com. Host of television talk show Talk or Walk, Tribune Broadcasting, 2001. Worked previously as route driver for Chicago Transit Authority and leather goods business owner.
Never Satisfied: How and Why Men Cheat, Legacy Publishing (Schaumburg, IL), 1995.
Men Cry in the Dark (novel), Legacy Publishing (Irving, TX), 1997.
The Maintenance Man: It's Midnight, Do You Know Where Your Woman Is? (novel), Legacy Publishing (Atlanta, GA), 1999.
God's Gift to Women (novel), Touchstone (New York, NY), 2002.
Men Cry in the Dark (play; adapted from his book), first produced in Dallas, TX, 2002.
The Maintenance Man (play; adapted from his book), first produced in Houston, TX, 2003.
The Maintenance Man was optioned for film by Reuben Cannon.
Novelist and motivational speaker Michael Baisden drove trains for the Chicago Transit Authority and ran a leather business before he started writing Never Satisfied: How and Why Men Cheat in 1993. Instead of listening to the large publishing houses that refused to publish his first book, Baisden used the whole of his financial and personal resources to self-publish and market the work through his own publishing company, Legacy Publishing, in 1995. Selling more than 50,000 copies in the first eight months, the book was on both Essence and Emerge bestseller lists during the same year. By touring around the country to promote Never Satisfied, Baisden was able to turn his book into a cultural phenomenon, attracting thousands of African Americans and others to his lectures. Focusing on the infidelities committed by a group of African-American men against their wives, the book attempts to tip women off to the signs of their husband's cheating. In addition to publishing several popular novels since his first book, Baisden has also created a Web site dedicated to African-American singles that promotes the interests of those who decide to stay single, and offers an online singles search service.
In Men Cry in the Dark, released in 1997, Baisden explores African-American relationships through the man's point of view. According to Baisden in an interview with Black Book Network, "Men Cry in the Dark was in many ways a reaction, or rebuttal, to Waiting to Exhale. At least, that's the way it started. I wanted to balance the portrayal of Black men—not reject hers and put mine out—but say, 'look at these positive brothers who have issues, too.' I wanted to show more positive portrayals of Black men and how we deal with relationships." Baisden adapted the book as a stage play in 2002. Baisden's popularity after the publication of Men Cry in the Dark was overwhelming, including appearances on numerous talk shows on radio and television. The author took advantage of the increased media attention by creating the Love, Lust, and Lies tour, in which he spoke of the difficulties of African-American relationships. He also videotaped these seminars, selling the tapes to those who could not attend. Baisden's unorthodox techniques for marketing his books have succeeded, based on book sales. As he admitted in an interview on the Simon & Schuster Web site, "I'm a straight up hustler. While most authors were sitting back waiting for their books to sell, I was out there peddling books at night clubs, restaurants, and hair salons."
Baisden's third book, the novel The Maintenance Man: It's Midnight, Do You Know Where Your Woman Is?, came out in 1999. The main character, Malcolm, is a male prostitute who finds that he is not satisfied with one-night stands, and looks for a more meaningful relationship with Toni, a classical dancer. Baisden describes Malcolm's character by asserting in an online interview with Black Book Network that "He is not happy with what he is doing. There are a lot of men who are playing the 'player' games and are not happy, at least not those with a conscience. So, he's representative of all the men who are players and really don't want to be." By giving his audience such a well-rounded character, an African-American male who is macho, but also sensitive and caring, Baisden has gained the readership of both male and female African Americans who are attracted to a more human picture of the battle between the sexes. The author uses the sensationalism of gratuitous sex and male sensuality in order to get the attention of his readers, while steadily building a backbone of morality and bringing a case for sexual fidelity to the story. The Maintenance Man was also adapted to the stage in 2003, and was also optioned for film.
Baisden's fourth book, God's Gift to Women, deals with similar issues, as a radio disc jockey who gives relationship advice takes advantage of one too many one-night stands, and finds himself the subject of a fatal attraction. When it was released in 2003, the novel quickly made the New York Times bestseller list. According to Binti L. Villinger in Black Issues Book Review, "With God's Gift to Women, Baisden presents a straightforward narrative filled with approachable, easy to relate to characters," which are qualities that must attract Baisden's many fans.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Contemporary Black Biography, Volume 25, edited by David G. Oblender, Gale (Detroit, MI), 2000.
Black Issues Book Review, January-February, 2001, Roger Waiter, review of The Maintenance Man: It's Midnight, Do You Know Where Your Woman Is?, p. 19; September-October, 2002, Binti L. Villinger, review of God's Gift to Women, p. 29.
Publishers Weekly, December 13, 1999, p. 37.
African American Kulture Zone,http://www.aakulturezone.com/ (July 4, 2003), Lena Williams, review of God's Gift to Women.
African American Literature Book Club,http://aalbc.com/ (April 8, 1998), Thumper, review of Men Cry in the Dark.
Daughters of Eve Network,http://www.doenetwork.com/ (July 4, 2003), Pamela Jarmon, review of God's Gift to Women.
Exodus Newsmagazine Online,http://www.exodusnews.com/ (February 11, 2003), review of Men Cry in the Dark.
Happilysingle.com,http://happilysingle.com/ (July 8, 2003).
Look Online,http://www.lookmag.com/ (July 4, 2003), Cecil Cross, review of God's Gift to Women.
Michael Baisden Web site,http://www.michaelbaisden.com (July 4, 2003).
Simon and Schuster Web site,http://www.simonsays.com/ (July 4, 2003).*