Tuesday, 17 April 2012

I'm Not A Black Author

Okay.  You're probably looking at the title, then looking at me and thinking, 'okay where is this idiot going with this'.  Well if you made it this far you're already three sentences in so you're doing better than most.  Now as a black author I come up against a whole bunch of annoying, stupid, and just unnecessary stereotypes.  I get told what type of pen name I should use, what style I should write in, what poems I should write.  The list is endless of all the things I should be because I'm black.  Add in my sexuality and now I've got even more things that I should be, but that's not for this blog.  The problem that I have with all these barriers that are being put on me as a writer is that they all come from black people.  Yes I said it.  My own race is trying to shove their blackness down my throat and force me to write the same crap they all are writing.  Not that I have a problem with that.  But there is only so much drama, drugs, sex, church, gangsta street life, church, sex, drama, gansta street life, drugs.... did i mention drugs, drama, sex, church and Gangsta street life.  I've basically had enough of being told what is black and what is not.

I write lots of poems, some about love, some about suicide, some about life, and others purely for entertainment.  I'm forever being asked, only by black people, to write some erotic poetry.  I roll my eyes at this.  Not that I dont have steamy poems, I do.  But even my steam is written in the same lyrical style as my suicide pieces.  It isn't raunchy for the sake of being hardcore and sticking to my blackness.  I guess I've just reached a point where I just get so tired of hearing my people do poems, about sex, drugs, crime and the like. There are other things in life to write about.  And don't try to shove your black agenda down my throat and get mad when I choke and spew my obvious indifference to your comments all over you.

Same goes for my novels.  As the repeated list above states.  I have been told by many a black reader that my books either dont have enough sex scenes, or dont have long enough sex scenes.  Either way there isn't enough of them.  And my first book has been getting less and less sex scenes in it with each rewrite.  You may ask why, because to me it still read to much like 'those' type of books.  I set out to write a book that had sex, had a gritty urban feel, but also managed to have a actual plot with characters who started out at point A and ended up at point B.  It is by far my worst attempt but you live you learn and I'm on to book five.  I'm well aware that the tone of the books reads somewhat like erotica, but it's a conscious effort.  When you sit down and chat with your friends there are certain things we all say that readers can immediately relate to because their real life conversations are like that.  But I go out of my way to make most of my characters mixed race, have no church at all if I can avoid it, and limit the sex... and make sure that sometimes the things that happen when they're naked are so distracting the fact that they are fucking kinda gets lost in either the humor or the emotion.

Sadly, doing this, and trying my best with each book to infuse more plot and less albiet more descriptive steam, makes me not black enough.  I need to write books on the lines of 'my husbands mistress' or 'sisters from the hood' or 'we still gangsta' to be black.  I need more sex, more cursing, shitloads more drama that does nothing but make the book as useless as a soap opera.  And somehow find a way to infuse more church into my book.  I need more ghetto slang which I have none of.  Basically I need more stereotypical black stuff.   The same for my poems.  They're too dark, too depressing, too real, too deep, too truthful.  Why cant you just write about sex.  What the fuck for?  All the rest of you are doing it.

The real problem I have with this is that writing like this perpetuates the same things we are supposed to be fighting against.  How can we tell other races that we aren't all ganstas, and drug dealers, and thugs, if all of our material displays a hyper sensitive version of all these things.  If I was a white man who had never seen a black person and all I had were these books and movies um, yeah... looks like hoodrats, gangstas, and ghetto chicks to me.

So who else do we have to blame if when we are in the position to write and produce things for the world all we seem to produce is the same stereotypes we are trying to bring down.  This is precisely why I dont watch certain movies, Tyler Perry comes to mind.  Because they are capitalizing off of the worst of one culture and hyper extending it beyond what it even is in its true form, and we the black people go and watch it.  And as one of my friends would say, watching and reading these types of books is misleading because most black people don't act like that, though admittedly a lot of them do think like that which is why they find such movies hilarious.

So yeah.  I want my books to be just borderlining real plot and the free conversational and humorous style of the black erotica type novels.  Why... because I can get some good humor out of it, some sex, and a serious plot line.   So the books wont be serious reading.  On the other hand they wont fall directly into the black author niche either.  I want them to read it but I also want people who don't read that stuff to read it and not become overwhelmed.  So when you say I'm not a black author, that my shit aint ghetto enough.  That my erotica isn't quite potent enough and my poems just aren't streetwise enough.  I say you know what... I am black.  So by default everything I do is black.  So if you've got a problem with what I write, than keep your agenda to yourself and fuck off.

I'm not a black author, I'm an author who just happens to be black.  And I refuse to let my race define my art and if you dont like it, I just don't give a fuck.


  1. I like how you ended this, you're an author who just happens to be black. I really hate when people get stuck on their own preconceived notions of what they think you should accomplish. Doesn't even matter what it or what its for, everyone seems to have an opinion about how you're doing it wrong, and how you should be doing it.

    Do you....

    1. Yup I fully agree. This is why as I improve as an author i will consciously try my best to become better at plot and bit by bit leave all sterotypes behind as I improve. I'm not going to let them or anyone dictate my style. There's a plethora of books out there if my style ain't for you, just dont read it. Sigh

  2. I agree so much. So tired of everybody in this country and their OBSESSION on defining you or I as what they believe black people should behave and act like. Feck 'em. Let them write their own damn books if they know so much about how it should be written and what should go in it.