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Black Girl Joy, Not Guilty Pleasure
Episode 410th April 2023 • Culture Lit • Octavia Dosier
00:00:00 00:32:27

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We’ve been on a roller coaster of unprecedented times. Every time I think things are looking better, the world throws more chaos at us. During times like this, I turn to things that bring me joy. For me, that’s romance novels. Romance readers are often criticized, and the genre itself gets criticized. I would call romance novels my guilty pleasure but eventually I realized that I didn’t have to be ashamed of something that brings me so much joy.

Today I’m visiting with Kay P, author of the blog Melanin Mindscape, voracious reader of all things black, in all genres. We’ll talk about what “guilty pleasures” actually are and why we feel like we need to hide them. We’re unpacking some thoughts around rest and productivity, the literature hierarchy that puts romance at the bottom, and why we deserve to just enjoy things.

Find it on Bookshop: https://bookshop.org/shop/CultureLitPodcast

Culture Lit is a community in celebration of black women and black love, and a reminder that black women deserve joy, love, success, second chances, and all the beautiful magic the world has to offer.

Connect with Kay P: 

On Instagram: https://instagram.com/melaninmindscape

On her blog: https://melaninmindscape.com/

Connect on Socials:

on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/becomingoctaviamarie/

on Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/xooctaviamarie

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Transcripts

Octavia Marie:

We've been on a rollercoaster of unprecedented times.

Octavia Marie:

Every time I think we're about to make a turn for the better, the

Octavia Marie:

world throws more chaos at us.

Octavia Marie:

Now, I don't know about you all, but I am Ty Yad, and as my daughter

Octavia Marie:

said, I'm ready to circle back to precedent times like moles.

Octavia Marie:

During times like this, I turn to things that bring me joy, my favorite escape.

Octavia Marie:

You already know romance.

Octavia Marie:

You know, sometimes it feels like the world doesn't love us, especially

Octavia Marie:

black women, and sometimes we have to escape into a different world.

Octavia Marie:

If you're here because of my love of romance novels, you know that I've been

Octavia Marie:

reading them for over 20 years, and for a long time I hid the fact that

Octavia Marie:

I read the novels, I was criticized.

Octavia Marie:

Most romance readers are criticized.

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the genre is criticized.

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It's not held to the same kind of love and standards as any other literary

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genre, and it can be uncomfortable.

Octavia Marie:

You know, sometimes people would ask, so what's your guilty pleasure?

Octavia Marie:

And I would say romance novels.

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And then I got to a point in my life where I realized how fucked up it

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was that I have to be ashamed of something that brings me so much joy.

Octavia Marie:

And today we're gonna dive in a little bit more with the mind

Octavia Marie:

behind Melanin Mindscape, kp.

Octavia Marie:

We are gonna talk about unlearning all the ways that we have been

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told not to enjoy ourselves.

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And I think talking about it is an incredible place to start.

Octavia Marie:

So, kp, go ahead and introduce yourself to the audience.

Octavia Marie:

Hello, I'm KP and I'm the Mind behind Mel.

Octavia Marie:

And Mindscape.

Octavia Marie:

Mel and Mindscape is a blog dedicated to all things black, but especially black

Octavia Marie:

history, black TV, and black literature.

Octavia Marie:

I'm always posting and reviewing books by black authors, and when my favorite

Octavia Marie:

TV shows are on, I'm recapping them.

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And I'm sharing black history all the time.

Octavia Marie:

I would love for you to follow me on IG at Meldon mindscape and visit

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my blog at melaninmindscape.com.

Octavia Marie:

And I'm super excited to be here with you today to discuss one

Octavia Marie:

of my favorite things books.

Octavia Marie:

So thanks for having me.

Octavia Marie:

You know, we've known each other for a few years.

Octavia Marie:

Mm-hmm.

Octavia Marie:

, and I think when I realized just how horrific a reader you were, , and I was

Octavia Marie:

like, okay, she's reading way more than me and I thought I was a big reader.

Octavia Marie:

but you read everything, you are into, Nonfiction, literary

Octavia Marie:

fiction, but all things black.

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And then also, autobiographies.

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History.

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You're everywhere.

Octavia Marie:

And you've also, even recommended some books to me.

Octavia Marie:

I like, Ooh, okay.

Octavia Marie:

I didn't know about that one.

Octavia Marie:

Yeah.

Octavia Marie:

so what's your favorite, my favorite genre?

Octavia Marie:

Yeah.

Octavia Marie:

That is so hard.

Octavia Marie:

I know.

Octavia Marie:

, you can all love it.

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everything.

Octavia Marie:

Know?

Octavia Marie:

Um, I don't know.

Octavia Marie:

I don't know if I have a favorite genre.

Octavia Marie:

I used to be, a non-fiction girl.

Octavia Marie:

Okay.

Octavia Marie:

I very rarely would I , you know, pick up some fiction.

Octavia Marie:

But when I really got back into reading, I was just reading everything.

Octavia Marie:

I think for me now, it's not necessarily genre, but authors.

Octavia Marie:

maybe that's a better way for me to narrow it down.

Octavia Marie:

so if I'm really feeling like I want to, you know, get into,

Octavia Marie:

politics and history or something, I'm going to find Eddie glad, like,

Octavia Marie:

let's see what he's written about.

Octavia Marie:

Or, or even, you know, James Baldwin.

Octavia Marie:

I mean you can go cuz that's he wrote.

Octavia Marie:

A little bit of everything.

Octavia Marie:

He's like fiction, nonfiction.

Octavia Marie:

He's just done a little bit of everything.

Octavia Marie:

Um, it just depends, like I'm just a reader.

Octavia Marie:

Right.

Octavia Marie:

Like I, you know, there are a few that I don't like horror.

Octavia Marie:

I, I'm not a, a big horror girl or sci-fi.

Octavia Marie:

Yeah.

Octavia Marie:

Like I, I don't really do those.

Octavia Marie:

Well, and I know this and I, I, I know you're a very big, you know,

Octavia Marie:

black history, historical, um mm-hmm.

Octavia Marie:

and so a lot of the books that I would even see on your blog, recommended,

Octavia Marie:

were al always a lot of, I saw a lot of non-fiction, but you, do a lot

Octavia Marie:

of good, great fiction books too.

Octavia Marie:

And so I, one of the things that surprised me, I wanted to have you on

Octavia Marie:

was because this summer, You seem to have gone on like a romance novel bench

Octavia Marie:

So I was like, oh, ok.

Octavia Marie:

Romance you.

Octavia Marie:

I didn't know that.

Octavia Marie:

And so I was like, I'm in.

Octavia Marie:

like you went down the rabbit hole kind of bench.

Octavia Marie:

And so I thought that was really interesting because that

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definitely was not something I had seen on your blog before Uhhuh.

Octavia Marie:

And, and so I kinda wanna like, you know, wanted to kind of dive into that,

Octavia Marie:

especially from a reader like you.

Octavia Marie:

Well, I wanna talk about like, you know, so many people, like I said, this is,

Octavia Marie:

you know, about it not being a guilty pleasure and why we kind of feel shame

Octavia Marie:

in, the things that, you know, we enjoy.

Octavia Marie:

Especially, you know, so many things are put on black women and,

Octavia Marie:

you know, we can't admit to the things that sometimes bring us joy.

Octavia Marie:

And so when you went down that beach, I was like, oh, I read that one.

Octavia Marie:

Oh, she's gonna like that one you.

Octavia Marie:

And then it was, and I was mad cause I was saying, Well, why didn't you tell me ? I

Octavia Marie:

mean, I, I, you know, I take suggestions.

Octavia Marie:

I say, you know, , a lot of people's like, it's a summer reading thing,

Octavia Marie:

so it's like, oh, it's a beach read.

Octavia Marie:

I'm gonna take it on vacation.

Octavia Marie:

Mm-hmm.

Octavia Marie:

Yeah.

Octavia Marie:

You know, I think we fall into that.

Octavia Marie:

we sometimes kind of justify the things we love by describing

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it as a guilty pleasure.

Octavia Marie:

and that's one of the things I really think we should banish that like things

Octavia Marie:

of the idea of pleasure being guilty, but I think black women, absolutely get

Octavia Marie:

that because, you know, we're supposed to be these superwomen and all these scenes

Octavia Marie:

and you know, we, we gotta be productive.

Octavia Marie:

And I think even as black folks, you know, black folks have to be productive.

Octavia Marie:

And, and so many think of romance and romance novels as

Octavia Marie:

you know, in insignificant.

Octavia Marie:

But there's some amazing black writers who are writing Black Romance and who

Octavia Marie:

doesn't wanna hear about black love.

Octavia Marie:

Right.

Octavia Marie:

Um, yeah.

Octavia Marie:

So like for you, I wanted to ask just, you know, for you, just in

Octavia Marie:

the beginning, what is your kind of definition of a guilty pleasure?

Octavia Marie:

it's something that I enjoy on the low mm-hmm.

Octavia Marie:

or something that I enjoy indulging in that I'm not exactly excited

Octavia Marie:

about announcing to the world.

Octavia Marie:

you know, but, Hmm, I, I agree with you that if it's a pleasure,

Octavia Marie:

it just shouldn't be guilty.

Octavia Marie:

Like just live, you know, have fun, whatever.

Octavia Marie:

But yeah, it's just something I like to do that I'm, you know, like,

Octavia Marie:

oh, I'm gonna do this, but I, you know, I may not share it widely.

Octavia Marie:

Right.

Octavia Marie:

And then it's like, why do we do that?

Octavia Marie:

I think, especially I think the pandemic probably has changed the mindset of a lot

Octavia Marie:

of people though, because I know, like for me, you know, we were three years in this

Octavia Marie:

thing now, and I think anything that makes it feel like we're taking time away from

Octavia Marie:

something that's quote unquote productive.

Octavia Marie:

Yes.

Octavia Marie:

Like, like there is value in productivity.

Octavia Marie:

Mm-hmm.

Octavia Marie:

. and then if you doing something that feels unproductive in some

Octavia Marie:

way, it's a guilty pleasure.

Octavia Marie:

Yeah, no, I totally agree with that.

Octavia Marie:

Um, I, cuz one of the things I might consider to be a guilty pleasure is

Octavia Marie:

that I will take my kids to school and I will drive straight to the.

Octavia Marie:

And then I will, and then, and I will stay there all day.

Octavia Marie:

And then I'll hit the car.

Octavia Marie:

I'll be back in time for the carpool line.

Octavia Marie:

but why is that a guilty pleasure?

Octavia Marie:

Because really that's the thing, because it's like, when, you know, we're talking

Octavia Marie:

about guilty pleasure, I guess I'm getting better at it and it does go back to rest.

Octavia Marie:

Mm-hmm.

Octavia Marie:

not being seen as being productive.

Octavia Marie:

Mm-hmm.

Octavia Marie:

, because that's the way we were kind of.

Octavia Marie:

. So I think that most of us are unteaching ourselves that, Hey, if I'm gonna take

Octavia Marie:

this day and I'm gonna do absolutely nothing, it's okay because it's

Octavia Marie:

what I need, and rest is necessary.

Octavia Marie:

Rest is also productive.

Octavia Marie:

I know for me, sometimes I just call it a reset.

Octavia Marie:

Mm-hmm.

Octavia Marie:

, like, so much has happened, , and I feel myself getting worn down and I

Octavia Marie:

feel like, you know, I need to, refill my cup and it's, I need a hard reset

Octavia Marie:

then, I'm okay with doing it and not feeling as guilty as I may have felt.

Octavia Marie:

, uh, pre pandemic or Exactly.

Octavia Marie:

Uh, you know, or, or before.

Octavia Marie:

And it's just something that I'm, that I am learning.

Octavia Marie:

I think it's something that we are learning as black women, because we

Octavia Marie:

have always been, you know, first and foremost, you know, you gotta

Octavia Marie:

work twice as hard and mm-hmm.

Octavia Marie:

, you know, you gotta, you have to keep everybody up.

Octavia Marie:

Your, your family, you know, everybody's depending on you.

Octavia Marie:

I had a, a mind shift where I look at rest differently now.

Octavia Marie:

so I would say yes, my little spot excursions, they're guilty pleasure, but

Octavia Marie:

I am getting to the point where, you know, I don't necessarily care if you know.

Octavia Marie:

That, that that is what I'm doing.

Octavia Marie:

I took a whole day, I did absolutely nothing except drop my kids off and

Octavia Marie:

pick them up and you know, and I'm fine with that and I'm better for it.

Octavia Marie:

Right.

Octavia Marie:

So, you know, yeah.

Octavia Marie:

We do need to get out of the, you know, there are no guilty pleasures, you know?

Octavia Marie:

Exactly.

Octavia Marie:

so let me ask you this then.

Octavia Marie:

what led you on your binge of Romance Live?

Octavia Marie:

Was it kind of like that thing where you were just looking to escape, you were

Octavia Marie:

looking just to, you know, like what you were saying, kind of reset and, you know,

Octavia Marie:

everything was so heavy and, and this has been like a really heavy few years.

Octavia Marie:

Couple of years, right.

Octavia Marie:

so I was never a non romance.

Octavia Marie:

Okay.

Octavia Marie:

we just didn't talk about Hillary . Well, you know, I didn't have the blog for,

Octavia Marie:

you know, the blog is, is semi-new.

Octavia Marie:

So I was reading all along, but I wasn't always using Good Reads or

Octavia Marie:

I didn't always have the Instagram with, you know, cuz there, there were

Octavia Marie:

years where I may have read 50 books.

Octavia Marie:

and I may have talked about 10 of them cause I was just reading.

Octavia Marie:

but Jasmine Guillory is, an author that I've always read her books.

Octavia Marie:

I'm usually up to date on all of her books.

Octavia Marie:

I think right now I'm too behind.

Octavia Marie:

But I always read her behind too.

Octavia Marie:

Yeah.

Octavia Marie:

Yeah.

Octavia Marie:

The, the new one, cuz there's one that just came out.

Octavia Marie:

And then, by the book I started that when I had by.

Octavia Marie:

Okay.

Octavia Marie:

And so that's the one I, I have to get back to.

Octavia Marie:

And then her newest one.

Octavia Marie:

So I've always, she's been one that I've always been like, Ooh, she has a new book.

Octavia Marie:

Let me read it.

Octavia Marie:

So I've always I've read them sparingly, not for any particular reason, but you

Octavia Marie:

know, just right that, but what's been happening to me a lot lately is that,

Octavia Marie:

one I am trying to teach my kids to.

Octavia Marie:

read all genres.

Octavia Marie:

Stretch yourself.

Octavia Marie:

You know, I have a kid that's a scientist, he only likes to read science books.

Octavia Marie:

. I got this other kid who only wants to read, uh, graphic novels, right?

Octavia Marie:

And so I'm telling them like, Hey, hey guys, let's read

Octavia Marie:

a little bit of everything.

Octavia Marie:

So I'm like, well, I'm gonna take my own advice as well.

Octavia Marie:

so what happened was, what had happened was what had happened , what

Octavia Marie:

happened was, I think it might have been a Jasmine Guillory book ends.

Octavia Marie:

You know how when you finish a book, especially if you're using Good Reads or

Octavia Marie:

Audible or SCRs or Kendall suggestions, they gonna give you suggestions.

Octavia Marie:

Oh, did you like this book?

Octavia Marie:

Try.

Octavia Marie:

That's how I got caught up.

Octavia Marie:

so I did that and I can't remember who it was.

Octavia Marie:

It might have been maybe Christina Johnson.

Octavia Marie:

And, but one, she's a good one.

Octavia Marie:

Exactly.

Octavia Marie:

So I was like, oh, okay, cool.

Octavia Marie:

Okay.

Octavia Marie:

But it was a series and so one, you can't not read the other, you can not

Octavia Marie:

read the, so that's what happened,

Octavia Marie:

So I was like four books in.

Octavia Marie:

and then they're like, well, if you like that series, , like it's the next one.

Octavia Marie:

You don't like this.

Octavia Marie:

It was crazy.

Octavia Marie:

It was one month where, and this may be the one that you're talking about.

Octavia Marie:

, when I posted the books for the month, I pro, I think I read like

Octavia Marie:

24 books that month or something.

Octavia Marie:

Yeah.

Octavia Marie:

And it was because of the romance book.

Octavia Marie:

Because you know, they're usually shorter.

Octavia Marie:

Yeah.

Octavia Marie:

Than what I'm accustomed to reading.

Octavia Marie:

Like I'm accustomed to a good 300, 400 pages.

Octavia Marie:

Mm-hmm.

Octavia Marie:

. So these are shorter.

Octavia Marie:

They might be novella, you know, it.

Octavia Marie:

I'm able to read twice as much whenever you romances.

Octavia Marie:

So I think that month I went through maybe two SE girl, it was just series after

Octavia Marie:

series and I was like, you know what?

Octavia Marie:

I need to stop.

Octavia Marie:

So that's what happened.

Octavia Marie:

Like that's why you saw the uptick, because I got sucked in.

Octavia Marie:

And then I was like, oh, well okay, I got a couple.

Octavia Marie:

You haven't read Uhhuh . Well you haven't read this one.

Octavia Marie:

This one.

Octavia Marie:

Uhhuh.

Octavia Marie:

, And now I have to be intentional about starting one of their books.

Octavia Marie:

Like Christina, Christina c Jo's, or, another one, Mika James Mika.

Octavia Marie:

I got caught up and ended up having to read all of the series where there in this

Octavia Marie:

coastal island, I think it was four books.

Octavia Marie:

So now I'm like, okay, if I'm gonna start reading a Christina Johnson

Octavia Marie:

and nine times outta 10, it's gonna be a series and I'm gonna have to

Octavia Marie:

be prepared to be five books in

Octavia Marie:

Cause you know, whatever.

Octavia Marie:

So that's what was happening to me when you saw that explosion.

Octavia Marie:

I was getting caught up in serious.

Octavia Marie:

So let me ask you this, because I know you are a big history buff.

Octavia Marie:

Mm-hmm.

Octavia Marie:

, have you gotten into any of the black historical romance, like Beverly Jenkins?

Octavia Marie:

Like she has, like, I just absolutely know you would love her because she,

Octavia Marie:

she goes so in depth with the research and the, the, the historical part

Octavia Marie:

of it is, so a lot of it is based on real characters and real things.

Octavia Marie:

So have you kind of dived into any of.

Octavia Marie:

I'm saving her , because several people have have told me, that I need

Octavia Marie:

to, get on her stuff and I looked and you're like, A million books , right?

Octavia Marie:

So I said, okay, wait a minute.

Octavia Marie:

I'm gonna save her because I feel like if I.

Octavia Marie:

, I'm going, wanna finish.

Octavia Marie:

And she has a lot out there.

Octavia Marie:

Yeah.

Octavia Marie:

She has a lot out there.

Octavia Marie:

And a lot of connected characters.

Octavia Marie:

yeah.

Octavia Marie:

I remember when I first started reading, I, I actually might have started with a

Octavia Marie:

Beverly Jenkins novel and it was Indigo.

Octavia Marie:

It was based in Michigan and was about a woman that was a slave that used to

Octavia Marie:

be a slave on an indigo plantation, and her hands were stained blue.

Octavia Marie:

And so like I found myself every, when I started reading her books, I found

Octavia Marie:

myself like stopping in the middle of, and then looking up some of the

Octavia Marie:

historical facts that were in the book.

Octavia Marie:

It took you forever to read.

Octavia Marie:

And I just know, I was like, oh, she's got to, and I know how

Octavia Marie:

much you love black historical.

Octavia Marie:

So like, yeah.

Octavia Marie:

Mm-hmm.

Octavia Marie:

But a lot of her, even even her more recent ones are connected to characters.

Octavia Marie:

They're like descended from characters in earlier books.

Octavia Marie:

And I wanna start at the beginning, so, yes.

Octavia Marie:

. Yeah.

Octavia Marie:

And then she has like, there are, series that are about the black

Octavia Marie:

Cowboys there is like mm-hmm.

Octavia Marie:

the, the French Creole and the weed, like they're all over.

Octavia Marie:

She has, I mean, she's touched like a lot of different historical

Octavia Marie:

stuff and I was like, oh, let me see if this really happened.

Octavia Marie:

Oh,

Octavia Marie:

I just know it's a lot.

Octavia Marie:

And so I was like, let me just, you know, Yeah.

Octavia Marie:

I'm gonna figure out how with through all of it.

Octavia Marie:

. Yeah.

Octavia Marie:

Cause once you started, like, that's really a, once I started it's like,

Octavia Marie:

well, I gotta get the next one.

Octavia Marie:

And that's what, that's what was happening to me with all the other ones.

Octavia Marie:

And so some like Christina Jones

Octavia Marie:

yes.

Octavia Marie:

And even, Tia Williams.

Octavia Marie:

Yeah.

Octavia Marie:

Oh yeah.

Octavia Marie:

I love Tia Williams.

Octavia Marie:

Yeah.

Octavia Marie:

so, you know, seven days in June I read that and it was amazing.

Octavia Marie:

And then I had to go backwards.

Octavia Marie:

You had to go back and get the other To get all the rest, yeah.

Octavia Marie:

To get all the rest of Tia's book.

Octavia Marie:

So that's kind of how things are popping up for me.

Octavia Marie:

And I tried my hardest at the beginning of each month to.

Octavia Marie:

Give myself some type of book map because I have like reading a d d, like, I'll,

Octavia Marie:

I'll be all over the place and if I hear on npr, somebody talking about their

Octavia Marie:

book, I, ooh, I'm starting that today.

Octavia Marie:

Like, I, I can't, and that's, that's one of the reasons why I love libraries.

Octavia Marie:

But, services like Script and Audible.

Octavia Marie:

And Kendall worked better for me and I, I'll just rather pay for

Octavia Marie:

it because I can't, I can't be in line waiting for the book.

Octavia Marie:

I gotta read it today.

Octavia Marie:

I said, you know, if it's I, I gotta read it today.

Octavia Marie:

Is it dropping today?

Octavia Marie:

I need to read it today.

Octavia Marie:

So, because I'm like that , it's hard for me.

Octavia Marie:

, it's just hard for me.

Octavia Marie:

And that's what I said about Beverly Jenkins, right?

Octavia Marie:

Yeah.

Octavia Marie:

Beverly Jenkins.

Octavia Marie:

Um, that I was gonna try to quiet my mind.

Octavia Marie:

and figure out how I was going to attack her body of work.

Octavia Marie:

Yeah.

Octavia Marie:

Yeah.

Octavia Marie:

Well, I'll send you some suggestions since I've read most of 'em . Yeah, you do.

Octavia Marie:

You know what?

Octavia Marie:

That would be helpful.

Octavia Marie:

You could prioritize them for me.

Octavia Marie:

Absolutely.

Octavia Marie:

Will , that's kind what I need.

Octavia Marie:

Like Yeah, because I get rabbit holes.

Octavia Marie:

I, yeah, and you, you absolutely will go down a rabbit hole.

Octavia Marie:

Yeah.

Octavia Marie:

Yeah.

Octavia Marie:

Do you consider reading romance a guilty.

Octavia Marie:

No.

Octavia Marie:

No.

Octavia Marie:

Okay.

Octavia Marie:

And I wonder especially, for black women and, you may, you know, have an idea, but

Octavia Marie:

why do you think that people have been led that reading or writing or enjoying

Octavia Marie:

romance and now is such a shameful thing, especially for black, black folk?

Octavia Marie:

You know, we've been taught to kind of be ashamed.

Octavia Marie:

Black love, I guess.

Octavia Marie:

Mm-hmm.

Octavia Marie:

. And, especially since the pandemic publishing as a genre, how much it,

Octavia Marie:

it, um, increased but the, the, the number one genre for the last several

Octavia Marie:

years as far as money has been romance.

Octavia Marie:

It's cause women read genre.

Octavia Marie:

Cause women read and black women read, but they don't think we do . But we do.

Octavia Marie:

We do.

Octavia Marie:

But I thought.

Octavia Marie:

, I maybe, I hoped, I thought that myth had been dispelled with Terry McMillan.

Octavia Marie:

Exactly.

Octavia Marie:

You know, like when, uh, she was hot.

Octavia Marie:

every black woman I I knew had that book in the salon, had her, was in the salon.

Octavia Marie:

Right.

Octavia Marie:

I just feel like, yeah, black women, we, we've always been reader.

Octavia Marie:

yeah.

Octavia Marie:

I don't know why people think we don't read.

Octavia Marie:

and when you look at the statistics, the largest segment

Octavia Marie:

of readers are black women.

Octavia Marie:

Right.

Octavia Marie:

. Yes.

Octavia Marie:

Not read about black love.

Octavia Marie:

Right, right.

Octavia Marie:

And, you know, I just think that books are like anything else.

Octavia Marie:

Where there's a spectrum, right.

Octavia Marie:

Um, you know, I tell people all the time that people ask me, well,

Octavia Marie:

why, you know, how can I read more?

Octavia Marie:

And I always say, well, in order to read more, you have to read more.

Octavia Marie:

Like read a few at a time, because we are all very moody people.

Octavia Marie:

Mm-hmm.

Octavia Marie:

. And if you have like, you know, I like to have a book in maybe three

Octavia Marie:

different genres going at the same time.

Octavia Marie:

Okay.

Octavia Marie:

Because I'm not in the mood, I'm not in the same mood every day.

Octavia Marie:

Okay.

Octavia Marie:

Exactly right.

Octavia Marie:

So it's like, on this day I may not feel like, reading about the Civil War , but.

Octavia Marie:

, I might feel like something a little light, right?

Octavia Marie:

So I might, you know, I might go for the romance.

Octavia Marie:

It's just like Netflix asking you how you feeling today?

Octavia Marie:

What you, you know, what, what you to vote for?

Octavia Marie:

Comedy, drama, you know, it's the same thing.

Octavia Marie:

I think books are the same thing.

Octavia Marie:

It's not that one is necessarily better than the other.

Octavia Marie:

I think it's just more of how are you.

Octavia Marie:

. If you read according to your mood, I think you will read a whole lot more.

Octavia Marie:

And so there are times when people do want to turn on Netflix and watch a romcom

Octavia Marie:

or, or, you know, or just a romance.

Octavia Marie:

Exactly.

Octavia Marie:

And I also think it comes back to this idea, and we are coming back

Octavia Marie:

to a pleasure being somehow how less valuable than pain and happiness

Octavia Marie:

being less valuable than say, trauma.

Octavia Marie:

And so when we talk about, we, we talk about pleasure and talk about physical

Octavia Marie:

pleasure and a lot of pla places.

Octavia Marie:

obviously there are all sorts of romance novels, but the majority of them

Octavia Marie:

focus on physical pleasure, pleasure for people who are not allowed to.

Octavia Marie:

you know, especially, when we are talking about black romance novels and the

Octavia Marie:

world is not allowed to talk about it and experience that kind of, you know,

Octavia Marie:

love happiness, you know, in in, in public and through other forms of media.

Octavia Marie:

And so when you, even when you look at some of the stuff, you know, now

Octavia Marie:

we're seeing a few, like one of Tia Williams books is being turned into

Octavia Marie:

a movie and when I saw that the Bridgeton series was, coming out, I

Octavia Marie:

was like, Hmm, I'd rather see you.

Octavia Marie:

Some of Beverly Jenkins was turned into, yeah, I think that plays a,

Octavia Marie:

part in it too, that, going back to it's, you know, pleasure is not

Octavia Marie:

as valuable as pain and trauma.

Octavia Marie:

yeah.

Octavia Marie:

And I think maybe it's how we've been taught as far as,

Octavia Marie:

maybe there's a book hierarchy

Octavia Marie:

Yes.

Octavia Marie:

because a romance author is not gonna win the Pulitzer.

Octavia Marie:

Exactly, yeah.

Octavia Marie:

And so, and when we're in school and we are reading what they

Octavia Marie:

tell us we have to read, it's not gonna be a romance . Mm-hmm.

Octavia Marie:

, it's not going to be, in my opinion, you know, reading the required reading

Octavia Marie:

in school was, was horrible for me.

Octavia Marie:

Yeah.

Octavia Marie:

I read it, but I didn't enjoy it.

Octavia Marie:

and you know the books that they choose.

Octavia Marie:

, you know, it, it's probably stunted a lot of people.

Octavia Marie:

Honestly, it's probably the reason why a lot of people don't read

Octavia Marie:

after these schools . But what society has deemed worthy is very,

Octavia Marie:

very removed from romance novels.

Octavia Marie:

Mm-hmm.

Octavia Marie:

, E even.

Octavia Marie:

I won't say even fiction, but I'll say black fiction.

Octavia Marie:

You know, it, it just depends.

Octavia Marie:

Like the only people I think that have really broken that

Octavia Marie:

would be like a Tony Morrison.

Octavia Marie:

Yes, yes.

Octavia Marie:

You know, where, you know if they allow you to, where you will study her work.

Octavia Marie:

Right.

Octavia Marie:

And that's right.

Octavia Marie:

But then you still have people who I think are just as much as, as, as a genius as

Octavia Marie:

Tony Morrison, like Audrey Lorde, that.

Octavia Marie:

you could go through your whole schooling high school and college

Octavia Marie:

and they have never heard of her.

Octavia Marie:

Exactly.

Octavia Marie:

You know, so it's very, it's subjective, of course.

Octavia Marie:

And then there's this hierarchy, you know, of the books that, society

Octavia Marie:

as a whole are going to lift up.

Octavia Marie:

It's not , it's not going to be the romance.

Octavia Marie:

What's, and I mean, in a way I get it because, You're taught, for a book to

Octavia Marie:

have, you know, this worthiness, right?

Octavia Marie:

You're looking for symbolism and character arcs and you know, all those things you're

Octavia Marie:

taught to look for in a book, you may not necessarily see that in a romance book.

Octavia Marie:

but what I have found out about these romance books is that, especially being

Octavia Marie:

a black woman, is that I can relate to.

Octavia Marie:

the women.

Octavia Marie:

Mm-hmm.

Octavia Marie:

, not even about their romances, but just about their lives.

Octavia Marie:

Yes.

Octavia Marie:

Life.

Octavia Marie:

Okay.

Octavia Marie:

Right.

Octavia Marie:

Like, uh, you know, that college educated woman, this happens and

Octavia Marie:

you know, the, there's always something that I can relate to.

Octavia Marie:

Mm-hmm.

Octavia Marie:

. From these characters.

Octavia Marie:

Even if it's a character that if you looked at me and you looked at her, you'd

Octavia Marie:

be like, nah, y'all had nothing in common.

Octavia Marie:

but you, you can see yourself.

Octavia Marie:

You can see yourself in them.

Octavia Marie:

And so I think even though they're not gonna get, they're never gonna be on

Octavia Marie:

the level of Shakespeare, cuz you know, everybody loves to talk about him.

Octavia Marie:

Right.

Octavia Marie:

I don't think we're ever gonna get there, . But at the same time, I think

Octavia Marie:

that even though these romance stories might not be as quote unquote deep or as

Octavia Marie:

symbolic, I think they're still worth.

Octavia Marie:

in the stories, right?

Octavia Marie:

It's just like, you know, there's worth in all of these people's

Octavia Marie:

stories because they're really not that far off from real life.

Octavia Marie:

Yeah.

Octavia Marie:

And there's some really great writers that incorporate, I mean, I bring it back

Octavia Marie:

to Tia Williams when, you know, when I read seven days in June, it was such a.

Octavia Marie:

The, the romance was almost a, a secondary character to the rest of

Octavia Marie:

exactly of what was going on in that book.

Octavia Marie:

And it was all very relatable.

Octavia Marie:

Mm-hmm.

Octavia Marie:

, very relatable stuff.

Octavia Marie:

And, even now I'm seeing, another episode that I'm talking about,

Octavia Marie:

curvy Kirby, women and black women and why some women are worthy.

Octavia Marie:

love and some are not.

Octavia Marie:

Mm-hmm.

Octavia Marie:

. And then, one of the recent books I read.

Octavia Marie:

S Sheldon, the book s Sheldon, even that one would kind of resonate.

Octavia Marie:

Oh, I like that one.

Octavia Marie:

. You know, I almost, I was almost like, mm, is this about to go

Octavia Marie:

where and I almost put it down.

Octavia Marie:

I, I promise you almost.

Octavia Marie:

I was like, oh, here we go.

Octavia Marie:

Mm-hmm.

Octavia Marie:

like, she, she gotta lose weight in order to find the love and.

Octavia Marie:

It wasn't what it was about, but it wasn't, and I stuck with it.

Octavia Marie:

It, it ended up being, you know, about her and I thought she was gonna go to, I was

Octavia Marie:

like, oh lord, it's one of those . No, no.

Octavia Marie:

It was a total opposite of what and I guess that goes back to what I was saying

Octavia Marie:

is that, like you said, the romance and the sex may is it's secondary.

Octavia Marie:

The secondary, like this was about her.

Octavia Marie:

Yes.

Octavia Marie:

She got dumped by her boyfriend.

Octavia Marie:

In her mind, she couldn't do better.

Octavia Marie:

Than, than him.

Octavia Marie:

but being dumped made her realize, I need to be better for me.

Octavia Marie:

Exactly.

Octavia Marie:

Exactly.

Octavia Marie:

And that was the story.

Octavia Marie:

And so I think that that's the worth, like when you can take a story, you

Octavia Marie:

could take something with, you, I love it when a book kind of stays with me.

Octavia Marie:

it could be the smallest thing, like for savvy, it was like,

Octavia Marie:

Hey, I need to make myself happy.

Octavia Marie:

Mm-hmm.

Octavia Marie:

and looking a certain way is gonna make me happy, but the

Octavia Marie:

goal is my overall wellbeing.

Octavia Marie:

Right.

Octavia Marie:

It wasn't necessarily about the.

Octavia Marie:

Like, she wasn't about like, I gotta lose 10 pounds, I gotta lose 20 pounds.

Octavia Marie:

Yeah.

Octavia Marie:

It was like, I'm gonna make all these life changes and as a result,

Octavia Marie:

you know I'm gonna be a better me.

Octavia Marie:

I was reading something, I don't know what it was, and the person was

Octavia Marie:

saying like, you should never feel guilty for reading something because

Octavia Marie:

a book can mean anything to anyone.

Octavia Marie:

Right.

Octavia Marie:

And so for somebody who might.

Octavia Marie:

Body issues.

Octavia Marie:

Yes.

Octavia Marie:

You know, s Sheldon might have been the book that changed it.

Octavia Marie:

Yes.

Octavia Marie:

To change, or help them deal with whatever they're going through.

Octavia Marie:

And so that's why I think we don't, you know, you can't just throw

Octavia Marie:

away romance novels cuz these women are telling real stories.

Octavia Marie:

Real stories, real, you know, what we are really dealing with.

Octavia Marie:

One of the things I was like, you know what I came to realize?

Octavia Marie:

Read a romance, enjoy life.

Octavia Marie:

Enjoy the possibilities of what loves has in store for us all.

Octavia Marie:

Mm-hmm.

Octavia Marie:

. See, I think I'm schizophrenic . I think I'm a schizophrenic reader.

Octavia Marie:

And what I was telling one of my friends was that what started

Octavia Marie:

to kind of do sometimes is that I'll use romance as a buffer.

Octavia Marie:

. Yeah.

Octavia Marie:

Like, I'll read like 400, souls and then I'll be like, uh,

Octavia Marie:

what Christina got going on?

Octavia Marie:

It's just real, you know, it's like people say about their music choices, like if

Octavia Marie:

you put it on shuffle, like you never know what you're gonna come up with.

Octavia Marie:

Right.

Octavia Marie:

It's almost, it's like a pallet cleanser sometimes.

Octavia Marie:

that's how I use it.

Octavia Marie:

I use it as a reset, like, Yeah.

Octavia Marie:

Yeah.

Octavia Marie:

And so, and sometimes I, like I said, when I try to do my book

Octavia Marie:

maps, I try to just leave space.

Octavia Marie:

I do love black history, indigenous history, you know, and if I'm

Octavia Marie:

reading a book that I know is gonna be, crazy in a bad way,

Octavia Marie:

like, wow, that happened, you know?

Octavia Marie:

And I might have two of those that are in my mind, I wanna get read in a month.

Octavia Marie:

Then I'll think it through.

Octavia Marie:

Like, Hey, okay, so in between this, this book and this book, I'm gonna maybe

Octavia Marie:

read two romance books or whatever.

Octavia Marie:

And, but sometimes that goes crazy because again, series.

Octavia Marie:

The series will get you, then I'll get stuck and then it'll be like

Octavia Marie:

five books later and like, okay, let me go back to my academic one.

Octavia Marie:

So yeah, it's just like, for me, it's just you.

Octavia Marie:

You never know what you're gonna get.

Octavia Marie:

When, when, when the end of the month comes and I post my book,

Octavia Marie:

Oh, she done put up another list.

Octavia Marie:

Ooh, I need to be back.

Octavia Marie:

Ooh, that that, Ooh, what's that about?

Octavia Marie:

Right?

Octavia Marie:

Yeah.

Octavia Marie:

And that it's schizophrenic.

Octavia Marie:

It's all over place.

Octavia Marie:

So, okay, so you've gone down this, you've found all these new

Octavia Marie:

authors and books from the summer.

Octavia Marie:

Who's been your favorite new author, you've discovered Black Romance authors.

Octavia Marie:

Oh gosh.

Octavia Marie:

Very hard.

Octavia Marie:

That's very hard.

Octavia Marie:

there's So many great authors and stories and well, Tia Williams, we already

Octavia Marie:

talked about, she made, seven days in June, made my top 10 books of the year.

Octavia Marie:

Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Octavia Marie:

It was that good.

Octavia Marie:

It was really good.

Octavia Marie:

Yeah.

Octavia Marie:

I feel like that might be her best.

Octavia Marie:

and at the end of it I felt like they, like you don't know if they stay.

Octavia Marie:

. Mm-hmm.

Octavia Marie:

. It was, yeah.

Octavia Marie:

Right.

Octavia Marie:

It could have gone either way.

Octavia Marie:

Like you don't have, it doesn't feel closed, but it's like a

Octavia Marie:

happy, happily happy for now.

Octavia Marie:

it was a happy Hmm.

Octavia Marie:

And I was like, I wonder if they cause it, it still like they, they both still

Octavia Marie:

have some stuff to kind of work through.

Octavia Marie:

So it's like, do they together?

Octavia Marie:

We needed a long epilogue.

Octavia Marie:

Yeah.

Octavia Marie:

Or maybe she's working on a, sequel.

Octavia Marie:

Cause I feel like it, it needs a sequel.

Octavia Marie:

It felt secretly.

Octavia Marie:

Yeah.

Octavia Marie:

So I, you know, I don't know.

Octavia Marie:

books I have loved, let me say,

Octavia Marie:

I do like the authors where the series includes a set of siblings.

Octavia Marie:

I don't know why I'm drawn to that.

Octavia Marie:

. Yeah.

Octavia Marie:

So Christina C.

Octavia Marie:

Johnson has, I think hers is the Wright Brothers.

Octavia Marie:

The Wright brothers love the right brothers.

Octavia Marie:

You love the Wright Brothers.

Octavia Marie:

And then, um, okay.

Octavia Marie:

Nicole Falls has the Holiday sisters.

Octavia Marie:

Oh yeah, the Holiday sisters.

Octavia Marie:

Yeah.

Octavia Marie:

So I, those are two that, that stand out, for me and.

Octavia Marie:

A new one is Jamie Wesley.

Octavia Marie:

Oh, I love Jamie Wesley.

Octavia Marie:

Okay.

Octavia Marie:

Yeah.

Octavia Marie:

so fake it till you bake it is her, her latest mm-hmm.

Octavia Marie:

and, that was last.

Octavia Marie:

Her sister's book was just last year.

Octavia Marie:

Okay.

Octavia Marie:

So we did a book.

Octavia Marie:

. the book Girl Magic Book Club had her, she came to the book club meeting.

Octavia Marie:

Oh.

Octavia Marie:

And then I started reading all her other stuff cause I had never heard of

Octavia Marie:

her until, fake it till you bake it.

Octavia Marie:

Yeah.

Octavia Marie:

So then I started reading her other stuff.

Octavia Marie:

and I liked, like, I really liked her, but if I had to just pick a favorite,

Octavia Marie:

it's probably Christina Johnson.

Octavia Marie:

and Nicole Falls.

Octavia Marie:

Nicole Falls.

Octavia Marie:

I love Nicole Falls.

Octavia Marie:

Yeah, probably.

Octavia Marie:

Well, thank you for joining me.

Octavia Marie:

This has been quite an adventure.

Octavia Marie:

Again, it is KP from Melanin.

Octavia Marie:

Mindscape, her Instagram.

Octavia Marie:

and, blog will be linked in the podcast.

Octavia Marie:

So make sure you follow her, and show her some love.

Octavia Marie:

Thank you again, kp.

Octavia Marie:

Thank you.

Octavia Marie:

And we'll see you soon.

Octavia Marie:

All right.

Octavia Marie:

Sounds good.