Editorial Contribution by Jackie Edwards
Ann Rice’s acclaimed 1976 novel Interview with a Vampire has made its small screen debut sporting a much-anticipated makeover, finally making the classic relevant to the black male market. In Rice’s novel, the tragic vampire Louis de Pointe du Lac was a white plantation owner. In the current series, Du Lac is an affluent black man living in New Orleans at the onset of the 1900s. This bold move not only makes the series more appealing to a diverse audience but also successfully positions black men in previously white narratives. Focus has also been placed on the need for, and current availability, of inclusive literature for black men.
Writing for a Diverse Market
Although Jacob Anderson, who portrays the role of du Lac, was familiar with both Rice’s original novel and the film adaption of it, he was nevertheless blown away by the small-screen script. Transforming the lead male into a black, closeted queer man definitely appeals to a diverse, open-minded market – similar to the one that eagerly consumed Ta-Nehisi Coates’ 2015 novel, Between the World and Me. Written as a letter to his son, the book sees Coates explain many of his true-life experiences as a man of color in the USA. Named one of the most influential books of the decade by CNN, Between the World and Me has let its readers know, in no uncertain terms, that they, and their stories, matter.
Thomas Sowell Provides Meaningful Reading
Many of the books of Thomas Sowell explore social policies or race and ethnic policies. If one book had to be singled out as prescribed reading material for the typical man of color, Black Rednecks and White Liberals would fit the bill best. The collection of six essays, which was published in 2005, explores many aspects of black culture in the USA and across the world. Although not nearly as fantastical as Rice’s novel or its most recent for-TV remake, Sowell’s essays do make for riveting reading. The first essay in the collection, which is named after the book, traces the roots of ‘ghetto’ culture back to the Antebellum South. Another essay expertly and passionately sheds light on the abolition of slavery and serfdom, making it a must-read for African-American men.
Personal Tragedies Make for Meaningful Reading
The season finale of Interview with a Vampire ended on a shocking yet exciting note. Thankfully, it has been renewed for a second season, giving viewers the opportunity to revel in the tragic yet hopeful existence of du Lac. Readers who are drawn to personal tragedies should add Patrisse Khan-Cullors and asha bandele’s They Call You a Terrorist to their reading lists. The book, which is part sociological essay and part autobiography is, in essence, a very intimate account of Cullors’ personal life. It highlights how the tragedies she encountered led her to the creation of the Black Lives Matter movement. Although written by two powerful women, men of color will be every bit as intrigued by the book as female readers.
Both Ann Rice’s novel and the most recent remake of it enjoy a place in American film and literature. While the former appeals to a more Caucasian market, the latter breathes diversity into a beloved classic.
Cover photo courtesy: Tamarcus Brown