One: Francis Ray
I started with Only Hers at 13 or 14 and have devoured everything from her since. Her romances taught me to set a standard when it comes to men and to always believe in the Happily Ever After because they are real and attainable. Her books taught me about realistic expectations, love, and compromise. I can’t get enough!
Two: E. Lynn Harris
This man opened my mind to a whole new world I never even acknowledged before. E. Lynn was my first experience reading M/M fiction and though I knew about homosexuals, his books introduced me to a whole other side of it all. Before reading E. Lynn I never considered that a gay man would pretend to be straight, with a wife and family, while keeping his homosexuality from his partner, family, and friends. I never considered what is called the Down Low or the spread of diseases because these men felt so ashamed of their sexuality they felt the need to cover. Blew my world wide open for sure and made me extra wary and cautious while sympathetic to the plight of gay black men because our community can be harsh about this. Thank you E. Lynn for opening my eyes.
Three: Eric Jerome Dickey
I don’t even remember how I got into reading EJD but his books were fascinating. They mainly explored relationships and friendships with women and between men and women. They were my first real introduction of the dirty, trifling, and rachet things men and women do to each other when navigating this thing called love. He wrote about everything touching on race, sexuality, friendship, and drugs. Always raw and entertaining, I really need to find my way back to this author.
Four: Omar Tyree
I don’t even know how to tell you how much I loved his books. On a whim I picked up Flyy Girl for my vacation read with my family when I was a teen. I read the whole thing in a day and started back over. Tracy and her friends and Victor were everything to me and I could relate to what she was going through as a teenager. I had to have his other books and promptly fell in love with them too. Each story was so different, but so excellent. Flyy Girl and Sweet St. Louis remain my favorites, but his body of work was amazing to me, and so touching.
LOL, I’m not quite sure what age I was when I first picked up a Zane book, but I was probably younger than I should have been. Ahh Zane, so controversial but brilliant. Zane taught me about women’s sexuality. That it’s quite all right to be sexual, to have needs, and to have them appeased. Thankfully I wasn’t a hot box and was satisfied with reading about the sexual exploits instead of accumulating a vast majority of my own at a young age. But when I was ready, I was a little more prepared thanks to Zane. After a while the focus on sex in these novels lost it’s thrill, but I’ll always be grateful to Zane for letting me know it’s quite all right to have urges. And what I also love about her is that she started her own publishing company and made a way when there was no way. GO GIRL!
Filed in: Black Fiction, Fiction, Top Five Tags: Black Authors, Black Fiction, Books, Fiction, Top Five