Links: Saturday, May 17th

May 17, 2014 Links 13

Black american actress Nina McKinney stares impatiently at the viewer

Nina McKinney Does Not Have Time For This

  • The Prom Draft – The L.A. Times brings us a charming story of a high school where female students are ranked by desirability and male students draw lots for them.

    One junior, he said, paid $140 for a better draft pick to increase his chances of getting first dibs on a specific girl. “It’s awkward because he spent a large amount of money to go with someone he doesn’t talk to,” the student said. “And she finds it awkward that he chose her.”

  • The Swirl Awards Finalist List – Rameau brought this award aimed at interracial romance to me. Being unfamiliar with the selected titles, I’ve got some homework to do.

    The Swirl Awards is the brain child of many, many conversations with several authors who write interracial and multicultural romance. Often overlooked and unrecognized for their contributions to romantic fiction, the Swirl Awards was created to promote romance without color barriers!

  • Director Of Nina Simone Film Sues Over Production Company’s Hijacking – Cynthia Mort is upset that her hard work is being misrepresented. What’s the word for when your appropriation gets appropriated?

    The lawsuit filed by attorney Howard Weitzman says that as a result, the film slated to be released March 31, 2014, doesn’t reflect Mort’s vision of Simone as a woman, musician and civil rights activist. She’s asking for unspecified monetary damages as well as a declaration that the defendants can’t make decisions without her meaningful approval and consultation.

  • Nina Simone’s Daughter On Her Mother’s REAL Legacy – In this 2012 piece Nina’s daughter discusses what it’s like to have your life disregarded.

    I do remember saying to her that if any of us tried to take the story of Bing Crosby or, Dean Martin, or Frank Sinatra, or Elvis Presley and turn it into something that was a tall tale based on something that never happened, I doubt that we’d get very far. My mother’s life was tragic enough. My mother suffered enough.  Her life is full of enough.

  • Are Authors Scared to Write Diverse Books? – Roni Loren urges her fellow white writers to be braver, via Huffington Post. Maybe next we can have a piece about why AOC don’t feel this same fear about writing white characters. Or we could talk about who gets to sit in a boat and who gets to drown! That’d be fun!

    And I absolutely agree that there needs to be focus on encouraging diverse voices in the publishing world. (That’s a bigger topic I’m not going to tackle here.) But I don’t think that means that any writer should be limited to only writing about groups they belong to or experiences they’ve personally had (how boring). A rising tide lifts all boats. Let’s all be part of that tide together.

  • My Body Is Not Your Battleground – AnuK sent me this piece by artist Sanaa Hamid on her most recent work. I find her focus on attractive subjects it’s own problem but her art is intriguing.

    There’s a relentless misconception in the West that South Asian women cannot both represent traditionalism and religion as well as modernity and progress and are oppressed, which is certainly not the case and exhausting to see in the media. The body of work is an aggressive dismissal of this ideology, as well as an insight into a social issue that needs attention to dispel stereotypes.

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Meoskop's first non-compulsory book review was in 1973. Although a hit with the 3rd grade, concerns raised by the administration necessitated an extended hiatus. Reviews resumed in 1985 but the concerns are ongoing.

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13 Responses to “Links: Saturday, May 17th”

  1. AnuK

    Re: The Roni Loren article. I should ignore it because it’s an author talking to other authors. But I find the issue so grating that I have to hate on it.

    As a reader, this begging for majority authors to write non-majority characters is fingernails-on-a-blackboard grating because 1) the handholding and cookies these authors seem to need is so off-putting, 2) I detest the whiff of White Savior-dom, and 3) it pulls the neat trick of making minorities invisible while ostensibly talking about minority characters/stories (must it be either/or? No. But it often is. It seems like talking about what majority authors do/don’t do is about as far as this conversation goes).

    Frankly, authors that need to be support-grouped into recognizing the validity of minority characters/stories should probably stay away them. They’ve earned my distrust right off the bat.

    We should no longer have time for this hand-wringing. The way to support diverse books is to read the diverse books that are already being written, to support the voices of minority writers who have long spoken on these issues, and to talk about both in the same way we do all the books about and authors of straight, white, middle/upper-class characters. As opposed to the Very Special Posts/Hashtags/etc. in which they’re usually brung up.

  2. Meoskop

    @AnuK – That was totally a hate link from me. Good intentions and all but even in her article she talks about the fear of being called out by some bloggers. Generally that’s a good sign that you’re on the wrong road. It felt more like using representation in media to plug her own career than real involvement. The solidarity ending sent it over the top.

  3. Roslyn Holcomb

    I’ll just put this right here. It’s just as I always said it would happen. A white woman would get a multicultural best seller, and she would gain fame and glory for being so “cutting edge.” I guess I should be grateful they at least mentioned some African American authors, you know the ones who actually created and nurtured the genre through its infancy, but you’ll also note who got their cover put up there. White authors will always be promoted over people of color, why people feel the need to beg them to write diverse characters when there are thousands of diverse people already doing so is beyond my ken. And it’s racist as fuck. But whatev.

  4. Nu

    @Roslyn Holcomb: Yeah, it’s too bad that’s the featured cover and especially unfortunate that they led the discussion with a book depicting ethnicity in a problematic way! In Kristin Higgins’ Waiting on You, the hero’s half Puerto Rican, but Higgins consistently describes his features as “Spanish” and fetishizes them. See this review. I Googled when I read “Spaniard.” At least the rest of the article gives credit where it’s due though. I was glad to see Jenkins there.

  5. Meoskop

    Forgive my lack of @ connections – my mobile device hates the reply button.

    I saw that article & couldn’t even hate link it. Higgins has been going crazy with free press on this fetishized book. At least one piece got pulled for public pushback. Although Jenkins is a Nora Roberts (huge name, always willing to speak bluntly, good at succinct quotable points) I feel like she’s romance’s token Successful Black Romance Author so her inclusion is part of the Bingo card. Get a quote from Wendall, (not slamming her either) have white author wring her hands about how hard life is, mention Jenkins, get it in by deadline.

  6. Tina

    That article. Sigh. So much FAIL. Kristan Higgins’ hero in that book codes as much ‘ethnic minority’ as a Harlequin Presents Italian/Greek/Spanish tycoon. As in, not very. Given her bibliography, she is absolutely the last person who should be interviewed for an article that talks about IR relationships in romance. I hate articles like this that jump on a buzzy bandwagon without doing any real research on the subject. And in the process amps up the erasure of the AOC who have been doing the real heavy lifting for almost two decades.

  7. Roslyn Holcomb

    I don’t know maybe it’s PMS but these articles make me stabby as hell. I’m tired of this conversation, and I’m tired of being marginalized. But it is what it is. BTW, I got interviewed roughly a year ago by someone from the NYT writing about IR romance. That article has yet to see the light of day. I guess they were waiting for a white woman to lead the way.

  8. AnuK

    How does Kristan Higgins get press like this? Her PR team is ridiculously good if they can position a half-Puerto Rican hero as cutting-edge. And that excerpt had fetishization all over it.

    Two other things that stood out to me in the Time article. The Harlequin editor raving about the increasing number of non-white authors and readers. No mention of Kimani and Arabesque in her own house. It’s like non-white folks *just* started showing up. So why should media know if even publishers don’t?

    The other thing was Kimberly Kaye Terry’s final quote ending the piece. After all the hyping, the article ends by assuring readers that IR is not about race talk. You know those brown/black folks, always got to play the race card.

  9. AnuK

    Actually, I shouldn’t knock those those interviewed. It’s the writer who frames the story, and they can leave a lot out to make it fit whatever narrative they’re aiming for.

  10. AnuK

    Ack – sorry for the multiple posts! Hit “submit” too soon:

    Just wanted to note that those Swirl nominations gave me some good leads. The Vallory Vance looks particularly good – a story in which h/h are already engaged and dealing with substantive issues? I’m there!

  11. Roslyn Holcomb

    I think my previous message is lost in the ether somewhere. Tired of this conversation. Though interestingly enough I was interviewed nearly a year ago by someone writing for the NYT. Oddly enough that story has never made it to print. Wonder if they’re waiting on the all too necessary white woman hook. *heavy yawn*