Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Diversity in Books


The current campaign #WeNeedDiverseBooks has started a much needed and long overdue dialogue about the lack of Diversity in books.  But that got me to thinking... What exactly is diversity?  And would we know it if we see it? Is Diversity just a black face?  I don't want just a black face. I want something more substantive.  I want someone who I can identify with. Someone who is inspiring. BlackGirlNerds has a blog about Storm(please check it out) that states Halley Berry was less than inspiring for her portrayal of this much beloved character. And I agree.  But again Halley is black.  Shouldn't we be happy with that?  No.  We want more.  We deserve more.  When the movie Love Jones first came out I raved about it and told so many people to to go see it I should be receiving residuals. Love Jones did it for me.  Love Jones encapsulated everything I believe diversity means.  I decided a couple of years ago to write a Sci-Fi novel because my daughters love to read but didn't see themselves between the pages. So far me it was a no brainer.  The protagonists of my books would be girls of color.  But is that enough? No. Culture is what takes a card board character and makes them your fav.  The poem "Blues for Nina" is what made Larenz's character immortal and launched a resurgence of spoken word. And being a father, brother, husband, son to all black women I know how important hair is and I would be remiss if my book didn't make note of that.  And you know what?  I have been getting madd props because the conversation black women are having about the pros and cons of going natural is real and passionate but largely invisible to the Main Stream Media. But it made my characters relate-able by giving them culture. So I say all that to say this... When you say you want more diversity in books what exactly do you mean?