My (Unpopular?)Opinion On the Courtney Milan Controversy and Racism in Books

Happy Black History Month Everyone!

If you have not been following the news(I waited late to give my thoughts), the 2020  RITA AWARDS was canceled last month because of the Romance Writers of America backlash concerning racism.

I’m like, huh? What? Not Romance Writers!

The controversy began when Chinese American writer, Courtney Milan, in a Tweet, criticized a fellow member of putting “racial stereotypes” in her book. The author in question did not take too kindly to Milan’s Tweet and filed an ethics complaint saying Milan was “bullying” her and so Milan is suspended for a year-from any leadership positions as well.

Just Google Courtney Milan Tweets and you will see that she posts a slew of opinionated tweets about society…

 

Now, those who covered the topic kind of made it seem like this was small potatoes, nothing to worry over. In fact, The Conversation.com, reports that “CNN and NBC made it seem like “forlorn lovers in a battle”

Yet, if we know anything about America and its blood-soaked history, anything is not safe from some sort of racism or racist commentary/actions. 

As a result of this publicized backlash though, 8 women of color resigned from RWA and the RITA AWARDS was canceled.

Here is My Unpopular Opinion…

I believe I’ve said it in a blog post long ago(not sure where or when), but when it comes to the arts, I do believe that is the one sacred space where racism, sexism, and other isms should cease and desist.

Having said that, I understand Milan’s position and I would not consider Milan pointing out racism, as bullying. Myself as a black woman, I cannot expect white people to write glowing stories about me and my people and I do not go to them to give me glory. If I want to see books where blacks/or POC are not in stereotypical roles and respected, I have to write those books myself. If I want to read books where my people are respected and not put in “racist concepts and structures”, I have to be selective about my reading.

And yet…

There are stories that could just be that. Stories. We have to be discerning as to what is racist and what is not. I have not read any of Courtney’s books nor the woman she blasted. I’m not familiar with their stories, but I do know we can be selective about our reading.

We cannot—and I repeat CANNOT tell artists what to put into their work. Art forms should be left alone. 

Yes, it is terrible that authors can put silly, hateful things in their works, but authors are not gods, only gods of their word, their craft. I cannot expect the Devil to write a glowing recommendation for me.

The moment we tell an author what to say and what kind of characters to place in their books, we now enter a zone of policing the imagination. Let us not do that. It’s okay to point out the racism and the other isms, but let’s leave it at that.

Thoughts??

Everyone Deserves to Read Redemption, #SlowBurnReads #EroticRomance

Disclaimer and Warning: This book had some very, HIGHLY disturbing scenes in it. Some affiliate links are in this post,  and a special shout out to Kenya Wright’s Cover Designer Taria Reed, Illustrator-WarlockLord, and Formatting by EbookJob. Kudos!

Redemption Cover Image
Redemption by Kenya Wright

I decided to share my review of Redemption via this blog instead of the retailer sites because, well, there is so much to say about this one, and I will try to keep it short. In sum, the book is an accurate reflection of abuse and redemption and the bonus is that this novel had sketches yall! 

Black and white sketch of redemption characters kissing
Yoshiro and Ebony

The Story

The scene opens with Ebony living in fear of her ex-husband, Wyatt, just weeks before Christmas. She and their three beautiful children live at the fist of this monster and Ebony decides to flee after nearly slicing his ding dong off…Meanwhile, Yoshiro lives alone in a big home where he basically lives in a state of silence(perhaps depression?) after losing his wife and newborn five years ago.

One very stormy, snowy night, Ebony prays for God to lead her somewhere and then she crashes…right into Yoshiro’s yard.

Yoshiro has a secret though.

He is not a man to mess with. When he learns about Ebony’s abusive husband, he makes up his mind to protect her no matter what.

The author said this was her slow burn novel and I love a slow burn book where its 400+ pages of backstory and romance. This book had oodles of it.  

The Book Had Not One Ounce Of Stereotype

Okay, so let’s be real. I love reading books about other cultures and I particularly like the Asian/Japanese culture. In this story, the author wrote with sensitivity and creativity. Yoshiro had a body chiseled enough to warm any cold night and he could wear the heck out of a trench coat. He grew up in Chicago and hung around mostly black kids. He enjoys 90s rap music and when it came time to love his woman…he put it down in the bedroom. Just sayin’

Ebony is what one would call an excellent mother that had to make tough decisions. She is an erotic author making money online just to survive. Her three children are the product of IR relationship. Stereotypically, a woman with locks in her hair and three children and brown—the world would think she is just a baby momma. But nope. In this story, life dealt her a very bad hand but she remained nurturing and strong. 

There was maybe one moment in the book where a couple of dudes called Yoshiro a racial slur but he made their tails pay dearly for it.

The Beauty of a Slow Burn Book

I was first introduced to slow-burn books when I read Karen Moning’s Fever series. There would not be any sex for the main characters for at least a whole book or two in the series… the tension builds up so perfectly that it becomes a spicy explosion. In Redemption, Yoshiro kinda sorta falls for Ebony the first night,

 

“Weak-minded, my thoughts strayed to other assessments of Ebony- those lips, the softness of her skin, the lovely frame..”(Redemption, 2019)

 

Or my favorite. Yoshiro’s prayer to Santa,

“Dear Santa, I would like Ebony’s p&%$y for Christmas…”

But nothing was more potent than him willing to fight for them. Barely knowing Ebony and her children, they brought a bright spot to his heart that was cold and now he will fight their dad/monster just so they could be at peace.

I knew I would be addicted to this romance. I thought I could read it slowly but I couldn’t stop turning the pages. I mean.. You see the sketches and cover above right? In this case, you can definitely judge the book by its cover.

Read more Kenya Wright novels and dive into her worlds of mafias, complex and alluring women, and sexy men who fight for the women they love. I swear I will read all her books before the end of the year.

I’ll try.

Read anything good lately?

The Power of Money Grab Novels

Definition of money grab: (formal)- an undignified or principled acquisition of a large sum of money with little effort

Urban dictionary- “Obtaining money from someone without returning anything of real value”

Dirty kisses novels
Just grab all at once and find out why the series is like a darn drug. Images from Facebook

Fyi: Kenya Wright’s novels offer loads of value though, just keep reading.

Best Selling Authors’ Books Grab Our Attention…And Money

I’ve just read five of the most addicting novels of all time by Miss Kenya Wright, Amazon’s Bestselling Erotica Author. All of them involve the Bratva or Russian Brotherhood. It kept me up past 3am most nights causing me to have extremely blurry eyesight temporarily(can’t blame her about that one), but yeah, her books are so addicting that I went ahead and purchased her other ones this morning involving the Japanese mafia and even better- all her books feature black women as the love interest, so it’s cool to have black and brown shaded women star in roles as Femme Fatales, shy, cute, and/or badass instead of just loud and ghetto.

Anyhow, the author receives five stars for her works, but if you read the other reviews, the ones with two stars and one star(which is not the norm for her books), people mention how the series is a money grab.

Unfortunately, I know about this all too well.

You Will Pay For Your Addiction

Last year I began reading the second book by an author,  and all through the first two or three chapters, she literally promoted herself and there was no story! Another author I’ve read wrote an amazing romance that literally had me addicted and when I looked at the price of the third book in the series is was way too high and the book was only 200 pages, if that! My thing is this: If you use too many pages spreading your name everywhere and have the audacity to charge more than $10 dollars for 100 pages… that is a money grab.

Check out my review of Dirty Minds on Goodreads!

So, Dirty Hearts pick up somewhere during the time Misha and the Ballerina were hooking up, but thankfully, this one picks up with Kazimir and Emily- our Lion and Mouse(thank goodness). Even though Dirty desires was awesome sauce(and it truly was), I missed Kaz and Em.

So Dirty Hearts has the stakes higher than before. Just like in the last few books, Kazimir just wants some time alone with his “Mouse” but with so much going on, the book keeps you on your toes. However, it was nice that this story starts off with Kaz and Em getting it on. More than that, though, we learn more about the structure of their relationship. Without getting too deep or analytical, we’ll just say they have their cat and mouse days where the cat will prowl and exert some dominance over its little mouse, but the mouse remains steadfast and crafty.

Now, back to Kenya Wright. Her book writing strategy is a little different, which is why I am supporting her work but with a side-eye approach. For example, when I first read Dirty Kisses, I was hooked, an erotic mashup of kisses, hot sex, violence and intrigue about a man who can’t control the sexy street smart woman he desires, was too much to put down. 

How Does It Work?

The first book leaves off at a cliff hanger. At least the first book was worth it, priced at 2.99 for over 230 pages. Fair and worth it since the story is amazing.

Her next book, which you have to get in order to understand the whole story at all, is priced at $2 higher.

The next after that…$5.99. Those books are less than 400 pages, but more than 250 pages..I guess that is fair.

Also, you know how some shows do a recap? At least two minutes(thank you Netflix for letting us skip if we want to!)

Well, Miss Wright sometimes had a full two chapters of recaps with very minor differences in there and sometimes a paragraph would be repeated- like actually repeated. It was highly annoying.

Understandably so, readers were upset because even though the books will pick up where the last left off, I think we felt awful we have this addiction to the freaking series;  if we didn’t, we would not have bought them. Period.

If you’re reading this Miss Wright, I still think you’re awesome! I just have to stand by my opinion here.

So, what is the takeaway here?

As an author myself, I plan on doing a full series too, but doing recaps, special shout-outs to myself, or doing too many cliffhangers is not my style. I will have cliffhangers, I’m quite sure of it, but there has to be a line drawn somewhere.

Thoughts??

Thanks for reading!

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