Lynne d Johnson



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02.16.06 09:22 PM

street lit's laughing now

about a month ago, there was much ado about street lit given that nick chiles penned an op-ed piece in the ny times, "their eyes were reading smut."

felicia pride weighed in with an opinion, as did danyel smith, and even i had one.

the most provocative opinion of course, was john hood's, "LIT FRAUD I: Putting the nabosh on Naysaying Nickie," that appeared in the ny press. after calling nick chiles a crybaby, mr. hood raised the fact that chiles, with his wife, authored What Brothers Think, What Sistahs Know About Sex: The Real Deal On Passion, Loving and Intimacy. a title that suggests a topic not far removed from the very books that were being riled against.

Hood opined, "Well, discounting the presumption that these bold new fictionists aren’t serious about their craft (Who’s being crass now, Nick?), we’ll grant that street lit is supplanting some so-called serious fiction at the top of the charts in Essence, but it’s not because “serious” work is selling less. It’s because the street is selling more."

but this is not the point of this post. the reason i say street lit is laughing now, is because on Tuesday, on the cover of the arts section of the ny times there was a story titled, "Street Lit With Publishing Cred: From Prison to a Four-Book Deal."

the article is about a gentleman, who goes by the name of relentless aaron who has secured a four-book, six-figure deal with st. martin's press. and no relentless is not the first to score such a deal, there have been others. k'wan is one, nikki turner is another, but they are definitely not alone in this instance.

but i read about relentless' deal with personal interest. mainly because when i interviewed him in september '04, i considered him a "genuine" writer and i also admired his tenacity. i just couldn't understand why his street hustle had not yet been noticed. now it is. and i'm sure he'll end up on the bookshelves next to mr. chiles books also.

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