BlackWords Bids Farewell into the New Year

Monday, January 03, 2005

BlackWords Press is closing their doors. This book publisher has been in existence for ten years, but no longer wants to continue publishing black books.

Kwame Alexander, the founder expressed:

This is simply the best time to get out of a game that has become mired in mediocrity. I love books, but I just don't love publishing like I used to.

You can read more behind the reasoning of the press closing at the link above.

My thoughts...

I understand completely, and, however, I fear a scary trend following. Although we[Black Americans] are publishing more books, we still are not making a huge dent in the industry. The books that get the most attention are the books poorly written, but selling out in black bookstores.

Some people tell me that they love these baby mama drama/street fiction books because they understand it better and that it is not as boring and long winded as a Toni Morrison novel. I nod my head, not because I share my sentiment, but because I empathize. Somewhere down the line our community teachers have taught us that being the best at your craft is no longer important, that the people who died so that we could attend public school and learn that good diction is imperative in English literature, Affirmative Action law, and reading the Bible, that a good education has far more less to fdo with inding a good job, then defending your right to be black in a black hating world. I shake my head that these poorly written books make the Essence bestseller list not because the people that read them don't know that the man that wrote the Count of Monte Christo was a black man or that William Shakespeare was mulatto, but that we[african american community teachers] have failed at our jobs or that there are better--more richer--books available. The moment we got a security clearance to work for the Coca Cola Company(my old stomping ground,) the moment we were accepted into ivy league colleges(my alma mater,) that we never in our wildest dreams would imagine that someone would fork over more than five cents to read a fifth grade gossip column turned novel.

I am saddened that Black Words Press is closing its doors. I shudder at the the thought that others will follow suit, tha they all will disappear before the next bright-read steps through their doors. What voice have we suppressed, because no one wants to hear great written words spoken at a library book reading? What voice are we suppressing that can tell us more about ourselves as black people? What voice are we suppressing because she writes about the world at large and not just the hood she grew up in? What dreams are we festering because we continue to accept mediocrity writing, good book publishers closing, and you never getting your chance to be heard?


Anonymous said...

I so agree with your comments on Black books. It's so sad to me because all of my life I have loved reading Black authors but the market is now so flooded with babymama drama books of poor quality that I worry that the quality books are not being published. I am finally working on my first novel trying to write the quality work that Zora and Toni and Langston and Baldwin wrote.

I know I will probably have to self-publish and hawk my dream book on my own to the readers of quality literature. What do we do?

10:11 PM

2009 ·Dee Stewart by TNB