I owe deep thanks to Deep South Magazine’s editor Erin Bass for taking on an entire chapter of my new novel SOLEMN to publish in her Southern Voice section. Though I was not born in the South, my father’s family and some of my mother’s were. Their influences and memory live through me. Exhausted of the cities, I wanted to revisit and remember their parts of me in a new work about a group of women bound by fate in a Mississippi town.
Among many other things, my latest novel-length work concerns a troubling circumstance largely elbowed out of the #BlackLivesMatter conversation: assaulted and/or missing Black American women. Women who look like me are never the Fairy Tale heroines the world becomes trained to root for in Hollywood movies. We are never portrayed as prototypical damsels in distress. Very few media or cinematic opportunities exist for us to imagine and visualize Black women as being attacked or hurt, in danger and in violence, in need of heroes and spaceships and SWAT teams and operations to rescue us. We are more often looked at as the “strong” ones all others depend on to take everything over and down. This lack of visualization and imagination of our vulnerabilities in popular culture trickles down to everyday life, and it is something I am passionate about addressing in my work.
In this chapter, the mother of a formerly abused and now-missing woman meets one last time with the detective who worked on her case: Read “Pearletta” Here. Thank you and enjoy!