A couple of months ago, I did a quick Instagram reel about Black romance in 1994. The idea was to show the contrast between Black romances published in the first half of the year (none!) and the second half after the beginning of the Black Summer of Love.
As I said in my Peeling the Onion talk the other day, I want readers and authors to know they’re not alone, that they are part of a history. Romance fiction is nothing without community, and a community needs to know its history. I hope that my sharing this stuff gives you as a reader a seed of curiosity- a thread you can pull on to build your own understanding of genre history.
One thing I’ve learned in the time since making this reel is that there’s a love story I missed! Invisible Life by E. Lynn Harris, originally published in 1991 by independent Consortium Press, was reprinted by Anchor Books, an imprint of Doubleday in the spring of 1994. Though his 15+ books were written outside of the romance establishment, Harris deserves to be included in this “Class of 1994” as someone who was writing about the life and loves of Black gay men and finding mainstream success doing it.
Learning about romance history is a never ending journey with constant twists and turns and “ah-ha!” moments. I’m glad you’ve joined me!
Thank you, Steve!