Black literature’s importance goes far beyond a shallow marketing scheme. For centuries, the Black literary imagination has been synonymous with resistance. CW: This essay mentions sexual assault It’s Black History Month, and white people are doing what they do best -- profiting
Jeanine Cummins identified the gringo appetite for Mexican pain and found a way to exploit it. This article was originally published at Tropics of Meta By Myriam Gurba When I tell gringos that my Mexican grandfather worked as a publicist, the news silences
The gatekeepers of publishing keep marginalized people from getting their work out there. Jemisin is proof that this practice needs to end.N.K. Jemisin just won her third Hugo award in a row accomplishing something that no other author in history has done. This wasn't a fluke, this wasn't a one off, Jemisin is proving that the stories Black women have to tell aren't just for other Black women. They're creative, powerful, and worth your time and money. Science fiction and fantasy have been genres dominated by white boys since time immemorial. Why? Not sure, since people from all across the spectrum have been creating spectacular work in the genre. Jemisin has come out to stop this erasure of diverse voices by taking home the Hugo Award not once, not twice, but three times in a row — a feat that has never been done before, not even by the most famous and prolific white boys. Jemisin has won the last three years since 2016, each year for a book in her Broken Earth trilogy, the first of which is being developed into a series for TNT. This accomplishment is amazing but also shows that Black women have been creating powerful and memorable works that deserve a space in larger, more mainstream arenas, something Jemisin highlighted in her acceptance speech on Sunday: “This is the year in which I get to smile at all of those naysayers: every single mediocre, insecure wannabe who fixes their mouth to suggest that I do not belong on this stage, that people like me cannot possibly have earned such an honor, and that when they win it’s meritocracy, but when we win it’s identity politics,” she said. “I get to smile at those people and lift a massive shining rocket-shaped finger in their direction.” Maybe this doesn't seem important if you think that science fiction and fantasy is just entertainment, but it's not. It is, at its heart a political and revolutionary genre. Sure there are aliens and ray guns but the work has always been about the human experience, our fears, our hopes. The problem is that the majority of the work that is considered classic, that gets notice and notoriety has been focused on the fears and hopes of white men, leaving out the entire spectrum of culture and reality that anyone else has to offer.
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Elizabeth Acevedo's "The Poet X" brings to light the beauty and nuances of teenage Afro-Latinx experiences.By Ruby Mora Literature was a pivotal part of my upbringing. My mother read books to me and planted this love early on in my life. I read mostly young adult fiction and poetry in high school, but I’ve realized over the last five years or so that most of the YA literature I grew up reading was not only written primarily by white authors, but also had main characters that were white, and if there were people of color, they ended up being severely stereotypical sidekicks to the main characters. Even years after my time in high school, the lack of work written by marginalized voices in the literary world is still an unfortunate trend, but there has been a progressive movement, especially in 2017 and this year, where there were many significant works released by women authors of color: “Her Body and Other Parties” by Carmen Maria Machado, “Peluda” by Melissa Lozada-Oliva, and “Don’t Call Us Dead” by Danez Smith, just to name a few. One book, specifically a novel-in-verse, and its March release is already sparking such progressive changes in the literary world. “The Poet X” by author and immaculate poet Elizabeth Acevedo provides a unique form of storytelling through poetry, while centering the story around Xiomara Batista, a Dominican teen living in Harlem who processes her surroundings and occurences within her family and outside of it through poetry, in an environment where she states she feels unseen and unheard.