On Friday May 27 at 8:00pm at Tribeca Cinemas, The Urban Book Source in association with director Mills Miller and producer Kaven Brown presents, Behind Those Books, a film exploring the rhyme and reason of the fast growing genre of urban fiction. The documentary screenings will kick-off a host of events taking place in New York City during Book Expo of America (BEA) weekend. For updates and information on Behind Those Books documentary, please visit online at www.behindthosebooksmovie.com In response to all the backlash that comes from the genre filled with mostly self-published, inexperienced authors and now hip-hop artists, the film examines the genre of urban fiction and whether these books are selling the truths of those writing them or suffocating the growth of black literature?
I remember the first time I encountered, what is now called urban literature, it was The Coldest Winter Ever, by Sistah Soulja. I was in high school and it was recommended to me by a friend. I borrowed the book from her on a Friday, and stayed up all night just to finish the book.
I was no stranger to reading, in fact, I was sort of a book worm and loved reading all kinds of book, but there were very few for young Black teens. Yes, it was raunchy (my mom probably would have never let me read it had she known the content) and gritty, but it was very well written. I could tell the plot and characters had been very well-thought out and the entire book read and developed well. I later read more urban fiction books like Flyy Girl, True to the Game and B-More Careful.
Fast forward years later, Urban Fiction has become a niche lucrative business in the publishing industry. It’s own with a separate section in bookstores, major publishing houses are distributing books and a lot of entrepreneurial writes are creating their own publishing houses to distribute book and this is not only in the U.S. Popular female Dancehall DJ Macka Diamond has release books of her own Bun Him and The Real Gangster’s Wife.
Based on the trailer, this documentary look like interesting debate and a conversational piece that will have Black writers and readers talking for a while. I’m curious what young readers have to say about this argument. I love what Cornel West had to say about reading these kinds of book to get kids reading, but somewhere along the line they should graduate up to knew material. To be honest I got tired of reading the same kind of material and eventually looked for a variety, which is when I started reading other kinds of stories written by Black writers (Walter Mosley, Richard Wright and Jamaica Kincaid). I think we have enough stories to share and go around, we don’t all have the same experience so just as much as we co-exist, all book have their place as well.