I’m a bookworm. I love books that date back in history, fantasy books, romance novels and more, but my all-time favorite books are urban fiction novels. Urban fiction resonates somewhere close to my heart because reading about someone who looks like me as the main character of a book set in the ghetto makes me feel seen and represented. In a world where I think that books don’t represent as many people as they should, the urban fiction section in the library feels like the safest place to be during any disaster.
Urban fiction is a powerful genre because Black folks and even Latinx folks haven’t historically had a huge space to occupy in books. When people write urban fiction novels set in the hood, tales from the real-life streets, I have such high expectations for them! Books like “The Coldest Winter Ever” by Sistah Soulja have some of my favorite examples of real, raunchy hood stuff that Black men and women experience. Other iconic books that aren’t necessarily based in the streets or hood like “The Bluest Eye” by Toni Morrison have also set a certain standard.
Books like these are influential because, to some degree, Black people can see themselves living lives like Winter Santiaga’s — a ghetto teen girl who’s prissy and poised but still a product of her hood. “The Bluest Eye” also gives little dark-skin girls a whole new way of seeing lives and their beauty coexisting. Urban fiction is such a powerful thing because it almost romanticizes and even shines a beautiful light on aspects of Black culture that only those who are part of it can truly appreciate.