Category Archives: african american book

Happy Mother’s Day To The Mothers of Urban Fiction

One thing that rings true with Urban Lit, Street Lit or Urban Fiction (whatever you like to call it) is the fact that there is a strong female aspect to the movement. African American females are well represented in Urban Fiction‘s readership and authorship. I would even go so far as to say that most of the readers of this genre are African American females.

Why is that important? Because it is Mother’s Day, of course.

I’d like to take the time to do something special, and unique, and give a Happy Mother’s Day shout-out to three easily identifiable mother’s of urban lit as we know it today.

Sister Souljah, author of The Coldest Winter Ever

Sister Souljah is the perfect example of a person that was meant to be somebody. Look her up on wikipedia to see what I mean. The Coldest Winter Ever is often cited as the novel which inspired many of the established authors of the Urban Fiction genre. Sold out of the trunk of Sister Souljah’s car, this novel went on to be a bestselling classic and street certified.

A sequel to The Coldest Winter Ever is supposed to be released October 18, 2008 entitled Midnight: A Gangster Love Story. Sister Souljah and Jada Pinkett-Smith are in the process of producing a movie version of The Coldest Winter Ever.

Teri Woods, author of True to the Game

Can you believe that True to the Game was turned down? Yes, and it sat in her closet for two years before Teri decided to pump it out the trunk of her car. The realism of this Urban Fiction classic showed future urban fiction authors that they could also put their stories out there and make things happen. Teri Woods is not only a respected author but also a respected publisher releasing quality urban fiction titles on a regular basis.

Vickie Stringer, author of Let That Be the Reason (Triple Crown Publications Presents)

Her publishing company is locally known and internationally respected! Vickie Stringer jumped into the book publishing industry with her debut novel Let That Be The Reason. She later started her own publishing house, Triple Crown Publications, and has literally taken control of Urban Literature.

Turned down by 26 publishers, Vickie has been offered as much as $3 million to sale the flagship of Hip Hop Lit, Triple Crown Publications.

Yeah, but naaaah…

On the heels of my last post, this is the same thing in reverse.

Instead of lumping everything together because of a common denominator, black authors, Simmons Teen Reading writes about a librarian urging her colleagues keeping urban lit separated from the other books in the young adult section. I have to agree with the librarian. Better yet, I have a question for the librarian: Why would you put these books in the Young Reader’s section, anyway?

I wouldn’t dare let anyone under 18 openly have some of the books I come across. But then again, I wouldn’t suggest some of the music and movies that a lot of the youth have access to. Sex, drugs and violence shouldn’t be standard fare for a teenager’s reading supply.

Then, on top of that, why would the urban lit be in the kid’s section anyway? Like I said above, all of the urban lit I’ve read was absolutely adult in nature.

So to Simmons: Yeah, but naaaaah…

The black’s only water fountain…I mean, reading section.

Christopher Chambers writes about the “blacks only” section popping up in many bookstores and supermarts. In his quest for Matt Johnson’s graphic novel Incognegro, he’s directed to the “black section”. Mixed in with the urban fiction is other classics like Richard Wright’s Native Son and Dorothy West’s The Wedding. ( must admit that I’ve only heard of and read Native Son.)

His frustration came from the fact that African American authors and pushed into one section regardless of genre, time period or quality of writing. This is how I feed about it. Until these big corporations start to care about black authors as authors, as opposed to African American authors, we can’t expect for them to include African American authors with the other “greats”.

But to be mad about the success of urban lit is…typical, yet natural. Urban lit follows the same pattern that other forms of entertainment in black America have taken. The best and most recent example would be hip hop. Black artists were making music that their people liked. Not every black person was down, but that wasn’t the point.

The point was that hip hop wasn’t tailor made for mainstream consumption.That didn’t stop the music from being made in makeshift studios. That didn’t stop the music from being sold out of the trunks of cars. That didn’t stop the music from finally making it mainstream. That also didn’t stop the music from being raped just like the jazz, blues and rock n’ roll that came before it.

And just like hip hop, urban fiction writer’s hustled their way into prominence. While the corporations swooped in to make some money from the trend, black writer’s of other genres tend to feel slighted and in return attack.

It makes me wonder if there is some literary Willie Lynch that held a big publishing event somewhere overseas. I bet it’s in a book. (Because we don’t read, right…) Pit the new African American writers against the old African American writers. Pit the intellectuals against the uneducated. Pit urban lit against African American romance…