Posted Without Comment.



UPDATE: Publisher’s Weekly responds via Twitter.

While I respect everyone who may be offended, I think the photo is a delightful and wry expression of historical Afro Americana.

Oh. That explains it.

UPDATE #2: I was going to leave this in the comments as a response to Literanista’s comment, but I figured I’d post it up here.

Although I really, really hate the term “African-American market,” because it presumes that blacks are connected to a hive brain that tells us what to read (and because there will never be a “Euro-American market”), I do find the current trending fascinating. And the cover story is good trend piece.

There was a recent episode of On The Media solely devoted to books, and it included a segment on black book trends — as in, ‘authentic’ urban fiction (which is getting really popular) and its detractors. It’s available to listen here.

I don’t like the racial policing that urban fiction detractors are playing with, but since that genre is not my first choice for reading, I’m annoyed that it’s synonymous with black writing — but that’s my issue with publishers, not authors.

For the record, I don’t think the image is offensive, but I do think it speaks to my issues (above) with the way the mainstream publishing industry handles race.

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  • blackink12

    Where did they get so many Afro picks?

  • l.

    I really thought this was from a different decade, but that certainly reads 2009.


  • I really don’t know how to feel about this. Slightly offended maybe? But that would be oversensitive since we’re “post-racial” and all.

  • I think the cover story is pretty interesting

  • i had to do a double-take on the date of publication. um…yeah. also, i’m interested in knowing the ethnicity of the “I” in the above quote regarding the image.

  • Ladyfresh

    I have to admit i skimmed.
    I was looking for and found some sort of connection to the original Deborah Willis title. It’s a wonderful image but feels distinctly out of place and possibly uninformed in this particular use.

  • ronn

    That “I” is Calvin Reid, a contributing editor at PW and an African American that is responsible for this annual issue.

    I respect Mr. Reed, but disagree with the image use. It’s a tragedy that Af-Am writers’ works gets short shrift from PW with this annual, single issue. To make such an anachronistic, fumbling choice for the cover adds insult to injury.

  • mute

    I don’t think the “Afro Picks” blurb is all that great, but I like photo. Do folks find it distasteful because it might come off as mocking black hair or being a caricature of black styles by using the passe symbol of the afro pick? I’m honestly not understanding. No comment on the content of issue because I haven’t read it.

  • GVG

    I’m honestly still trying to figure out what I’m supposed to be offended by. Especially once I read what Calvin Reid, a black man, had to say about it himself.