Those latter include the annual AAMBC Literary Awards (African Americans on the Move Book Club), the Infini Literary Awards, and the Urban Literary Awards as the most prominent examples.
On the positive side, street lit does expand the pool of Black readers, and that’s always good. A great many of the street lit authors are also women, and with this venue, they have discovered another revenue stream and source of pride and accomplishment. In many public schools and universities, the street lit novels have become regular parts of the class syllabus. Teachers view the books as excellent opportunities to discuss modern urban issues with their students, in spite of the prolific use of the n-word, constant profanity, and explicit, detailed sexual episodes.
Street lit has already proven it can make money. Hopefully, in the near future, it will prove that it actually can live up to the name African American literature has already pioneered with the works of Morrison, Walker, P.L. Dunbar, R. Wright, J. Baldwin and a whole phalanx of others.
Keep writing young people. And better, get to writing very well. To get copies of street lit books, go to Eso Won bookstore in Leimert Park.
Professor David L. Horne is founder and executive director of PAPPEI, the Pan African Public Policy and Ethical Institute, which is a new 501(c)(3) pending community-based organization or non-governmental organization (NGO). It is the stepparent organization for the California Black Think Tank which still operates and which meets every fourth Friday.
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