People of Color and the Publishing Industry

Posted by Rita Lorraine

Hi Everybody,

As you probably know, there has been much debate in recent months about diversity and multicultural representation in the publishing industry. The book cover for Liar, by Justine Larbalestier, was the focus of that debate not so long ago.

As you probably know by know, the MC (main character) in Liar is a dark-skinned female with nappy hair worn close to her head, and with features that make her look rather boyish. However, Bloomsbury’s first choice for a cover model to portray the MC was a white girl.

After harsh comments and much debate, Bloomsbury did the old switch-er-roo, and slapped an African American girl on the cover. Granted, she’s a light-skinned African American girl with beautiful curly hair, but at least she’s African American.

Anyway, Bloomsbury’s original choice only served to emphasize the on-going inequities/mis-representations of people of color in the publishing industry. Many writers and illustrators of color are joining forces with those in the industry who welcome change, and are working to obliterate these inequities.

As we continue our quest, we sometimes stumble upon great examples of the struggle, and we then share these with you.

Here is a video called, “How Not to Write About Africa,” which touches upon many if not all of the stereotypes that the media (print and television) perpetuates. It is narrated by actor, gentleman, and absolute hunk…Djimon Hounsou.

Listen, learn…and enjoy.

Thanks Christine for bringing this video to our attention. 🙂

Best wishes and happy writing,

Rita L.

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  • LOL @ the Nelson Mandela reference at the end. This video really is the truth, and shows how “the struggle” reaches all the way back to the motherland.

    The amazing thing is that these same stereotypes are placed upon African Americans…in particular, within pop culture, music, and media.

    Thanks for sharing this enlightening video!!

    • Rita Lorraine Hubbard

      Dear Thomas,
      Thank you for commenting. I’m glad you enjoyed this video. It is powerfully written and powerfully performed. I hope it inspired you.

      Keep writing!

      Rita L.

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