A few weeks ago I read an interview from Zane (queen of erotic literature) and one question along with Zane’s answer caught my attention. I don’t remember verbatim what the interviewer asked but the gist of it was should African American books blend in with everyone else in bookstores? Zane said no; leave it the way it is. She said she would sit in a bookstore and watch who was purchasing African American written books while going over her own work. She actually backed up her opinion with numbers and facts to prove that these types of books sells better when in their own section. I feel where she is coming from; who can argue with someone who did their homework and have numbers to back the claim up? However I don’t necessarily agree with her answer.
Yes it is easier to look for your favorite black author when all of the books are in one section no matter the genre. But having it this way makes me feel as though we are being segregated again. Looking at the complete picture it seems that serperating us shows we are not on the same level literature wise as our counterparts. Do you see a Causcasion section? Puerto Rican? Jamaican? So why should there be an African America section, ya feel me? They minds well put up a ‘for coloreds only’ sign in that section. (A little dramatic? Nagh, I don’t think so)
The majority of books in this section are street lit; not all black writers write street lit. There are writers who write commercial fiction, horror, thrillers/mysteries. They are drowned out by the street lit and that’s not fair.
I know some blacks admit they don’t give a damn about writing for other cultures but I want my novels to be universal, something more than blacks can relate to. That doesn’t mean I’m being a sell-out I just wanna be universal and not get that fuck face when I say I’m a writer cause you know what they are thinking, ‘another ghetto writer!’ I don’t want that preconceived assumption over my head, blocking my blessings. I wanna upgrade myself as a writer not stay stagnant.
I think that we should not be segregated. There should be an ‘urban lit’ section and the rest put in their respective section. Stop being lazy and go look for that damn book! We can’t complain about not being looked at as equal talent when we don’t play on their level.
Peace and luv!