Sunday, February 18, 2007

Even Thugs Need Love!!!

Can anyone tell me who are the guys in the left photo?

Yep, the "Scottsboro" Boys. Who were they? Shame on you if you don't know. What is the photo on the right? Thug Matrimony, of course, coming in April. And "in time for Black History Month" as the press materials sqawk, TM II has already gotten the author a 6-figure deal. I'm jealous!!! I better just retire my damn pen...
But to paraphrase Morgan Freeman in the movie Seven (when he's in the library doing research and the brothers are playing Bid Whist): "A whole world of books all around you and you n&*gahs are reading this garbage?" If you didn't demand this, they wouldn't print it. Demand better.
Thoughts, anyone? Feel free to spit on me and call me an elitist, or a hater. I mean, why else would I point these out these little ditties?


Anonymous said...

Well, you are an elitist and a hater,LOL,but you also happen to be right. I'm sure this dittie will end up on the African American "studies" or "literature" shelf. If we want quality, we have to demand it and we have to stop buying inferior writing under the guise of supporting each other.

Christopher Chambers said...

Naaaaah. Any writers who post a comment for this specific post MUST give their names. hahahaha. Be brave! Relentless, Nikki and the new black literary braintrust shall not harm you!!!

jerry a. rodriguez said...

Ah,Chris...the continuing debate over street lit. It's just pulp fiction, baby. Back in the 40's and 50's, pulp writers such as David Goodis, Cornell Woolrich and Jim Thompson were considered garbage. The 70's? Donald Goines and Iceberg Slim. It's easy to trash streel lit writers, but the reality? It's a whole diffrent audience who reads those books. I see them on the subway everyday. The young sistas who dig Jay-Z and The Game. Read XXL. They're not the same readers who are going to pick up Colson Whitehead, or even Terri McMillan. Street lit speaks to them. The real question is, can a "mainstream" black author write a novel that crosses over to that audience? When you belittle street lit, you're also snubbing your nose at a huge number of potential readers. That's why the street lit authors are getting paid. And they're not claiming their creating literature. If they weren't making any money, would you be so annoyed? Hey, don't plenty of the literary authors look down at genre writers like us?

Me? Intead of complaining, I'm going to be handing out postcards to the sistas on the subway who are reading street lit, and who just might be open to something new. Besides marketing to the mainstream mystery readers, I'm going to do everything I can to tap into the street lit readers, in hopes that they get hooked on my novel. So stop trashing the street lit authors, start marketing good writing to the street lit readers. Then maybe you'll get paid, too.

Anonymous said...

They can call you whatever they want. You're right. I'm so weary of 'street lit' or 'thug lit' or whatever they want to call it these days. It's getting more difficult to find fictional books about Black people that don't insult me as a Black woman. So, if that's being an elitist or hater, then I accept those labels.

GiGi - The Shy Giraffe said...

hello chris, thanks for stopping by and leaving your comment. did not realise an established author has come and grace my page.

bless always.

Liz Dwyer said...

What a title for a book! "Thug Matrimony" --God help us all! I'm with you on this one. I'll go ahead and be a snob because I'm not into reading this crap and I hate how it's marketed to us. Alot of them read like some really salacious porn with a bit of dialogue thrown in to make it a little "artistic". I know, I should be happy that at least people are reading...but doggone it, pick up a copy of "The Known World" instead of the latest Zane (worst writer on earth...makes me NOT want to have sex) or "Thug Matrimony"!

Snowman said...

Is this a big problem? I have never seen any books like this in either our independent bookstore/cafe (I believe you visited it once) right here on the city dock, or at Borders in Annapolis Mall. Are these books at black bookstores? Who publishes them?

meera bowman-johnson said...

That title is an oxymoron and a half if I ever heard one.

But isn't it so perfectly reflective of our culture - this romanticized notion of blackness? The proverbial Ghetto Heaven?

I've spent nearly ten years listening to a black writer I know - okay, my husband - complain about this exact same thing. At this point, all I can do is nod my head, sigh and think "well at least they're reading something". I dare not say this to him, mind you - but it's the only way to make sense of it without wanting to jump off a cliff.

MartiniCocoa said... least the audience for Thug Matrimony is reading but I think the problem is the fear books like these are all they are going to ever read.

Is it elitist to aspire to know about a world other than your own? Is it elitist to want to be challenged instead of affirmed?

I mean, is it wrong to hope that the person who reads Thug Matrimony may one day be interested in Pride & Prejudice? Or The White Boy Shuffle?

That's what frightens me a little that the people reading Thug Matrimony and similar books will call that their book list and how that thinking will impact how they see themselves navigating the world.