For Black History Month, I wanted to speak about and praise one of my favorite authors of all time--N. K. Jemisin. In 2016 she became the first black author to win a Hugo award for her book, The Fifth Season--a book I consider a masterpiece. She then repeated that the following year with The Obelisk Gate. She’s brave, bold and outspoken when it comes to issues of race. You will never see her back down. And for this, I admire her greatly.
One of the writers most dear to my heart is Zora Neale Hurston. As a black woman living in the early 1920s, Hurston was a powerful force; fighting against the grain of a dominantly sexist and racist society. This year for Black History Month, I wanted to share what Hurston means to me and why her work is essential to the American experience.
I first read The Sun Also Rises the summer leading up to my junior year of high school. At the time I thought it was great because I thought that Hemingway, both the man and idea, was great. Now I’m a little bit older and know less than I did then. I can still say with confidence that The Sun Also Rises is a great novel, a seminal novel. Without getting into a history lesson on modernist literature, just know that this book was revolutionary. No one had the casual authorial voice of Hemingway in the 1920s.
This Black History Month, I wanted to take the time to celebrate the legendary, in his own words, Jean-Michael Basquiat. August 12th will mark the 30th anniversary of his untimely death. All February long Cavalier House Books will be featuring books on Basquiat in remembrance of his work and role in the critical and commercial rise of black American artists. For me, Basquiat is where many white Americans began to appreciate black expression without trying to exploit it. Elvis stole from Chuck Berry but no one's stolen from Basquiat, maybe no one can.