Monday, August 19, 2019

Why BLACK romance matters: Black Romance Matters Week Kick Off



I am a black woman who grew up as a black child, later a black kid, a little later, a black teen, and now a grown-ass BLACK woman. I will die the same way.

I relate to the black experience because I live it, I am it. I grew up reading The Berenstain Bears. I wasn’t some prodigy reading books above level. When I truly started getting into reading, I became fascinated with Langston Hughes’ poetry. It’s why I feel so connected to him. He was my introduction to the Black voice in fiction. Later, I found James Baldwin and Richard Wright. My young mind couldn’t fathom the writing and the story of Black Boy. I was awestruck. And then I laughed my way through J.California Cooper’s works, right on down to Pat G’orge Walker. I, of course, have read many urban fiction novels. My first impression of black love on paper was ratchet and highly sexual. As a teen, I grew in that space. Somewhere in that space of time, I found my love of not only literature, but my dream of being a writer.

As I got older, I slipped into YA and got my blogging start. That grew somewhat stale for me after a while. The continuous white experience with the token black character wasn’t enough. It didn’t speak to my experiences. It didn’t talk to my heart. I founded Literally Black in my pursuits for black literature andmore specifically, Black Romance. I found it. And as a Romance lover, it was a breath of, “finally.” I felt seen. It was on this journey I discovered Nicole Falls and Christina C. Jones. It was there I found that people were out there telling stories about couples that looked like me. I could fantasize about having my own Reese, or Aram. I could have a book boyfriend that could share my comb. Lol. But I digress, I am a product of a once upon a time black love. So, was my mother, and sister and so forth. This notion that Black Love doesn’t exist is not only ignorant, but it’s also dismissive. It diminishes the idea that black people go through life in similar ways that other races have. We love, and we hurt. 

The world has categorized Black people as animals, who are good for nothing but wreaking havoc. It is through these stories I get to refute that.  I get to enjoy and share in the beauty of first kisses, first dates, and everything else that encompasses love.

I’m getting wordy, but I’ll end this soon. When I went on a hunt for a new Black romance book this weekend, because we all know it’s a hunt. I found an innumerate amount of interracial romances; I thought I’d slipped into the wrong section, but alas I did not. People will do their very best to bury our positives and highlight us negatively even in fiction, dwindling black women specifically, to baby mothers; side pieces, and whores who are awaiting their white saviors. Let’s keep it real. That’s how they (some people) see us and want to continue seeing us. Not while I breathe. Not while the Christina C. Jones’, the Stephanie Nicole Norris’, and the Kat Jackson’s run the earth.

Anyway, out of this, I came up with the idea of spending a week highlighting Black Romance, and the importance of said romance to the community of Black readers. As Romance Awareness month comes to a close, there is no better time.

Unfortunately, an overwhelming number of mainly romance readers, do not read and, have no interest in reading Black Romance. I sat on this the entire weekend. Sorely disappointed. Discouraged. I began to understand some things, but that’s another story for another time.

The show will go on. The cast will be smaller, but the voices are just as important.

This week I will feature Black Romance readers and their favorite Black Romance novels, with why Black Love is vital to them. Along with recommendations, of course.

I hope you’ll join us. If you’re not apart of the solution, you’re apart of the problem.  Black love is quintessential to the Romance genre, and Black people. I’ll continue to do what I do here to show you why.

Day 1 starts tomorrow.

Jazmen, out.

5 comments:

  1. This is late but I do enjoy reading black love romances well black women falling in love period so interracial as well. For me I dont read black love as much as I'd like because 1. You have to scroll through many hood lit novels to find actual AAR books and 2.TBH and I'm not trying to offend but a lot of black books tend to be about light skin black women. It's hard for me to find books where the woman is a dark skinned black woman. It borders colorist honestly. I read IR mostly because I dont have that problem over there. It's so easy to find books starring dark skinned women over there it's not funny. As a dark skinned black woman I want to read about women my complexion and AAR is unfortunately not that inclusive yet which is sad to me. I have to read about a black women being in a mixed relationship to in order to get what I want. Mind you I do enjoy IR books but I wish black romance authors will start writing about black women on the darker end of the spectrum more.
    I would love a list of black romance novels starring dark skinned black women. This got long. Sorry but I had to vent my frustration.

    ReplyDelete