Millenia Black: Is She Crazy...or Courageous?
I have to tell you I'm not surprised by this at all. I think any black author knows all too well they'd have a huge problem with their editor if they tried to do this. You'd have to adopt a pseudonym at the very least. But, according to Millenia, her first book, THE GREAT PRETENDER, has no black characters, etc., but not surprisingly, for her second book, her publisher will nonetheless make an argument that her audience is now African American. Translation? You can't write about white people, your "audience" won't buy it!! Duh. Do we have to spell everything out for you black folks?
While I am certainly not surprised by this action on the publisher's part, I'm very moved by this author's willingness to take a stand. She's not taking it, and my own predictions have come to pass. Millenia doesn't say it, but you can easily read between the lines: she's going to sue. Rumors abound that she's retained an attorney named Susan Clark of Ritz and Clark. Ed Champion wasn't able to locate Susan Clark, but I googled Ritz and Clark and (tada) there IS a Susan Ritz of Ritz and Clark in NYC.....We all know how info gets distorted, but my bet is that the rumors are dead on. She's going to sue.
Should she kiss her career goodbye? It's hard to say. I myself have kept relatively quiet about the injustice to protect my own career from publisher retaliation, but I'd say that for a new author, she's got a lot less to risk than those of us that've been around a while.
In short, this author has put me to shame. I really feel ashamed to see someone brave enough to stand up for herself and demand to enjoy the same freedoms white authors do. I spoke with a fellow writer friend this morning and his impression was that we hadn't heard the last of Millenia Black, she's got courage enough for all of us. I've said before, my hat's off to her. I think it's a lesson for all of us. We're all waiting and watching to see how this fight plays out. Don't you think it will affect us all to some degree? I do.