[Diverse or Nah] Recapping the Juneteenth Book Fest

[Diverse or Nah] Recapping the Juneteenth Book Fest

Black Love: Writing Black Romance

Authors Farrah Rochon, Beverly Jenkins, and Rebekah Weatherspoon, moderated by Alyssa Cole, go in on what it’s like to romance, to write Black romance, and to do so as Black women. The layers.

Warning: Adult language used throughout, adjust accordingly.

So I chose to talk about this panel because I really have not seen a lot of panels on romance novels dealing with Black love and having Black authors! I personally have not had a lot of experience reading romance novels from any Black authors except for like one novel – The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory – so I know that I have to do better. Romance can be a little difficult for me just because I don’t always feel like being in the romance mood, and I guess I feel like there are certain scenes in novels that makes me feel like I’m watching something very private and intimate and I’m just kind of weird about that. That’s just me though, and once I get past those scenes, I end up really liking the stories for the most part so I just have to get over that!

One of my favorite things about this panel was that we were able to hear from Beverly Jenkins, who has been in the traditional publication field from the beginning. She talked about how her first book was purchased in 1993, and came out in 1994, and she’s been writing and publishing books ever since. Talk about a beautiful and wonderful journey to show that Black authors can finally get into this genre, something that has been dominated by white authors for years. Of course, almost all of the genres – I’m pretty sure all of the genres – have been dominated by white authors for a long time and it’s about time that AOC get their chance.

This was definitely an interesting panel to watch especially when Alyssa Cole talked about how hard it is to get publishing dollars for Black romance novels, or even in general for AOC to be able to promote their books enough to get the kind of money that their books deserve. That is a discussion that needs to happen, and started to happen with Elle’s hashtag #PublishingPaidMe but I appreciated that Alyssa talked about it so openly in this panel.

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