I came across a super interesting and enriching discussion on the LinkedIn group, Black Authors Network, in regards how could we, as authors, unite and support Black self published authors? I wanted to add a point or two, and next thing you know, the wild writer in me took over and I damn near wrote an essay.
In any regard, as I reread my comments, it occurred to me just how important and necessary this discussion was, and is. Moreover, I realized just how many views and ideas I had about the topic of Black authors and creatives, supporting one another. In such, I thought it only fitting if I share my comment (without edits) with you all. See below and enjoy!
Thank you for beginning this conversation, as I feel this is such an important topic to be discussed among Black artists and entrepreneurs. The points everyone has added so far, suggests amazing tools that could truly be implored more throughout the Black community, and significantly impact the success of independent Black creators.
I believe, at the core of uniting and supporting Black self published authors particularly, and Black entrepreneurs and artists in general, is to acknowledge that there is a lack of support or unity in the first place. Moreover, paramount to making our Black artists more unified, is to acknowledge the necessity of the unity, in the first place.
There has been a recent history of color blinding throughout our society in general, and vicariously through the Black community. In order to fit into the paradigm of the dominant society, in such a way that a Black person might be as successful or prosperous as those who identify with the dominant society, one must adopt a certain level of color blindness.
You must assume the opinion that the world isn’t as concerned with race and prejudice as it truly is, because if you can make it, than anyone can. And if you made it, then race and socially constructed identities really aren’t at the core of how successful a person could be in this country.
Yet, in doing so, we must ignore the necessity of solidarity with those that don’t fit in this paradigm, and yet, identify with the same community that we do, the Black community.
In essence, I am asserting that I believe this is a beautiful question to ask, and a blessed conversation to be apart of, because I do believe our solidarity among Black authors and artists, has been destroyed and lost for a long time.
On the whole, I do believe there is an enormous lack of support and unity among independent Black artist, in such a way that it has led to fewer Black book stores throughout the gentrified cities of the U.S., less self published and independently owned Black books on bookshelves and fewer emergence of Black artists on the mainstream scene.
I believe we need a Harlem Renaissance for the 21st century. Black artists are being shut out of the conversation and story telling of Black lives, and the way to end it is specifically, to unite among ourselves. There needs to be more support, financially, socially and culturally.
In such that, those Black artists and entrepreneurs that find great success, should invest in the cultivation and support of rising Black artists, as Lorraine Hansberry did once upon a time, with James Baldwin. As mentioned above, whenever we come across Black artists, we need to show support for their work via the power tools of social media.
Of course, being unified and having solidarity, doesn’t mean we must turn a blind eye to books and art that we consider to be substantial to the Black community, versus books and art that are based on self-interest and personal gain.
There is a difference between those who write books to uplift spirits and redefine thought within their community and society, versus those who write books to uplift their own pockets and redefine their own life. There is no more value placed on one writer, than the other, in my opinion.
Nonetheless, it is important to distinguish between the two because, investment is, or rather should be, tied to the good of the whole, as opposed to the good of the few.
Thank you for allowing me to join the conversation. The energy of this discussion has given me so much more great hope in what is likely to come in the near future, for the Black independent, and I am grateful. Blessings be with you all!