Sunday, April 27, 2014

Where are the black young adult leads?


Writing Mean Boys has been a very difficult task.  Very.  Some days I don't even want to look at it, I was starting to seriously hate everything about it.  I was contemplating giving up on it and working on something completely different.

Until I starting scrolling through Goodreads, mainly in the Young Adult area.  There I noticed that most of the books featured white main characters.  

By most probably all.

Another thing that's super apparent is a lot of these books are being adapted into movies.  The scary thing is if you look at all of the popular book to movie adaptions all of the female main characters have similar looks (brown hair, brown eyes, pale skin, etc).

I dare you to compare them, it'll freak you out.

My book has diversity, it features a black main character.

Okay, one black person, big deal.  But it doesn't end there, there's an Asian character, Hispanic, etc.  And they're not just dopey sidekicks meant to make the perfect white lead look better.  They're real, they have flaws, they have a story.  

And it's not about their race.

The media LOVES to depict black women in particular as the sassy ghetto best friend who could never upstage the beautiful white lead.  Now I'm NOT saying there's anything wrong with white leads, the first book I ever wrote had a white main character.  I'm just saying it's kind of terrifying to think in this mixed up world that we live in, full of so many different kinds of people books are still being written with one type of person in mind.

When I was in middle school all I did was read, that's it.  I read.  I especially loved books where the main character had to go on world saving adventures.  Back then it's was nearly impossible to find even one book with a black girl as main character.  And not just a book where it deals with racial struggles or whatever.  But a book where she's a normal girl dealing with teenage issues, falling in love, saving the world, discovering she has magical abilities, and so on.  Never could I find anything like that.  

And when I did it was rare.

Now as a writer I feel like as I much as I want to give up, I can't.  Because there might be a girl like me who just wants to read an entertaining book with a girl she can identify with.

 So as much as I want too, I can't give up and I won't.

On a lighter note if I had to choose someone who'd fit how I picture Bianca Wilbur, my main character, it would definitely be Kylie Bunbury from the show Twisted.  She's EXACTLY how I picture Bianca, exactly.  If Mean Boys ever got adapted into a show or movie she'd be my top choice to play Bianca.

 (look at her, so perfect <3)