Black women love to read. I don’t know if you’ve gotten the memo, but this is a well-known fact. We already know that women read more than men. However, the most likely woman to read a book is a college-educated black woman.
Now that we have that out of the way, I want to discuss something that has kind of made my eye twitch over the last three years. There has been an influx of new authors and new books on the market. Amazon has made it easy for anyone who thinks they’re a storyteller to write a book AND publish it. That’s not the part that grinds my gears.
I’ve come across many romance books that I love. However, a year or so ago, I tried to get into the IR (interracial) Romance craze that seemed to have taken over black women authors and found it left a bad taste in my mouth. In just about all of these novels, the black woman was some kind of damsel in distress. The black man was the devil, and the white man was her savior.
At first I thought it was just one author who had a tainted view of black men, but then, I came across more of these kinds of books. It didn’t take me long to figure out they just weren’t my cup of tea. Some novels even have the white male hero kidnapping, abusing, and (let’s just call it what it is) raping the black heroine. I mean, they even have a term for it called non-consensual consent. What in the whole entire seventh level of hell is this?
Just like I have a problem with stories like this with an African American cast, I most definitely have an issue with a white man (any man) kidnapping a black woman, holding her hostage, raping her, and then she falls in love with him by the end of the book. No way! People give black authors who write Urban Lit with this kind of story line so much crap (as they should), but are perfectly okay with creating a very lucrative market for white men who treat black women like trash? I think not!
Now don’t get me wrong, not all authors who write IR Romance do this, but I’ve come across enough books where the black men are the villain, the black women need saving, and here comes a white man on a white horse to save her. Not to mention, the dark IR Romance were black women are subjected to horrors and still fall in love with creepy racist, rapey bastard. That is absurd. I said all of that to say, I wish artists would stop using black women as crutches for this kind of crap.
Side note: I did come across an article a while ago where one African American female author called to task the white women authors who pretended to be black women to sell black women readers this kind of crap. That’s a whole other different monster to tackle.
The IR Romance genre is wildly popular and while I know there are some gems, just like the Urban Lit market, I have no desire to try to find the needle in the haystack. Black women don’t always need saving in books and even if we do, we absolutely DO NOT need to be rescued— or kidnapped for that matter— by violent-ass white men or white men who come to save us from the big, bad black man. Yes, we know our dollars are valuable, but we also deserve quality. Please quit pushing us the garbage because you know we don’t mind spending money on books.
With that, I leave you with one of my favorite reader’s list of African American female authors who write the best IR Romance and IR BDSM themed novels.
Nikki Michelle is an author and writer. Pick up a copy of her latest book Bi-Sensual. Connect with Nikki on Twitter @NikkiMichelle84. Leave your thoughts below on this article.