A reader left her opinion on my blog post, [OPINION+VIDEO] The Urban Fiction Genre – What It Is And What It Isn’t. She has since withdrawn her comment, however, I was able to capture it. You may read her full comment here.
Below is my reply, and I would certainly welcome your comments, so please leave them below.
Contrary to how some may feel:
- Not ALL black women enjoy wearing a black eye after asking their boyfriend to pick up after himself.
- Not ALL black women are trying to get as many baby daddies as birthday candles they blow out each year.
- Not ALL black women get abortions like hair salon appointments.
In fact… I don’t know too many who would say they enjoy this (or any!).
There are so many stereotypes about black women out there in the world. But what I know to be true is:
- ALL black women are powerful.
- ALL black women are ethereal.
- ALL black women are unyielding.
Do we make mistakes? Hell, yes. We are human, after all! We live and learn, sometimes repeat the same mistakes and learn again. We are liberating ourselves from the societal constraints in films like: “Girls Trip”, music by my Queen: “Lemonade” and, my favorite tool for liberation?
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African American Urban Fiction.
Writers, like me, use our creative license to give you an Urban Fiction storyline that you will enjoy but also learn from. These may not be the typically socially conscious book but they are still designed to uplift, inspire and inform as well as entertain readers as we illustrate the dangers of urban life. Think about books like “The Coldest Winter Ever”, “Moth to a Flame”, “Life” (yes, Bae’s book), “Midnight”, we can go on and on…
All of these traditional and early urban stories demonstrated the dangers and misfortunes of urban life and taught a lesson about the street life while also being entertaining. Some end happily and some don’t. It’s the same with the current wave of urban books.
There are reasons many love to read Urban Fiction. Are there parts which are distasteful? YES! But, the same can and should be said about other genres as well. The reality is that many of the different scenarios we shine a light on are actually true to real-life situations.There are reasons many love to read Urban Fiction. Are there parts which are distasteful? YES! But, the same can and should be said about other genres as well. Click To Tweet
- There ARE black women out there who utilise abortions as a form of birth control.
- There ARE black women who glamorise lighter skin and denigrate women of a darker hue.
- There ARE black women who take back guys who are abusive and cheat.
But guess what? It’s not just African American women. TRIFLING is not relegated to a specific color. Black, brown and white populations have trifling people in their demographic makeup. It’s not something that we own but it is a part of life that plagues people in the urban/hood areas.TRIFLING is not relegated to a specific color. Black, brown and white populations have trifling people in their demographic makeup. Click To Tweet
The majority of urban books are framed as a cautionary tale. Plenty of books show how terrible outcomes come about because of the abortions, abuse, unprotected sex, etc. – AIDS, deaths and such included… People don’t just get off easy in our books. They pay the consequences for their actions.
Sure, there is a love story and the hero often may be someone who talks and acts reckless and may even be disrespectful but the character always shows growth from there as the series progresses… just like in any other genre.
Other genres have their negative repeat issues that circulate in their books. Take a minute to scroll through ‘mainstream’ romance novels and you’ll see that everybody over there has a ‘Christian Grey BDSM guy’ who sexually enslaves the timid, shy heroine, or a bad ass biker boy who shuns love for casual sex but eventually finds the one he can’t resist, or what about the billionaire romance where the bad ass mafia heir finds true love with the morally sound good girl he just can’t resist?
And the way black women are represented? Some mainstream authors love to have a “blue-eyed blonde” or typical looking character type. All genres have a “type” but I think the urban authors I’ve read have been great with having a variety of physical make-ups in our books.
The truth is that Black women come in all shapes and sizes… and I’ve seen that variation in the books that I’ve read. I’ve seen that variation in the books I’ve written.
And where do we get this notion from that an ‘exotic look’ means the character is not entirely black? With all the different features that Black women have (high cheekbones, almond/slanted eyes, etc) ‘exotic’ is most definitely a description that pertains to a Black woman. A Black woman can look ‘exotic’ because she has a Jamaican, Nigerian, Trinidadian and American background… all ‘black’ areas. If you think ‘exotic’ equals ‘European’ or that Black women can’t have long hair or light eyes, YOU may be part of the problem.And where do we get this notion from that an 'exotic look' means the character is not entirely black? With all the different features that Black women have 'exotic' is most definitely a description that pertains to a Black woman. Click To Tweet
And, let’s face it.
- Readers love waiting for the scene where the man who claims to be in love ends up in a compromising situation with another woman.
- Readers smile with glee while reading the scene where he comes crawling back and begs for her forgiveness.
- Readers read with bated breath when, in frustration, he punches the wall next to her head and backs her up to the bed (yes, Nelly, It’s getting hot in here!).
And readers also love to see the characters work through the dysfunction. They love to see the victorious moment or the lesson that is learned at the end. And that’s why we are here.
What do you think? Did you read the reader’s comment on Urban Fiction? Be sure to let me know your thoughts in the comments below.