Zane sells because her fiction allows Black women to be sexual in a
culture that refuses to acknowledge that we are sexual, a culture
that calls us ho's if are so inclined to be sexual, talk about sex, or
even look like we are human and have a sexual appetite.
When was the last time you saw a Black woman have a love interest
and sex in a movie? Or a tv show? Yesterday, I was doing all this
reading of Hortense Spillers, Tricia Rose and Hegel (whom I struggle
with tremendously), as I am developing an outline for a writing sample.
When instantly, Zane's popularity clicked for me.
Professor Spillers essay titled, Intercises: A Small Drama of Words discusses,
the position of Black women's sexuality in American culture. She writes,
Our sexuality remains an unarticulated nuance in various forms of public discourse as though we are figments of the great invisible empire of womankind.
If I attempted to lay hold to any fictional text-discursively rendered experienceGranted, the essay was published in 1984, so there has been some work
of Black women, by themselves- I encounter a disturbing silence that acquires
paradox, the status of contradiction.
published on Black women and sexuality such as Naked, Traps,
Black Sexual Politics and Longing to Tell: Black women talk about Sex
and Intimacy and I would imagine many others.
However, this profound silence still rings out loud in light of the presence
of aspiring video vixens in rap videos, the desire of our little girls to be
video vixens and our cultures obsession with pimps and strip club culture
This silence is deafeningly loud in the light of the fact that Black women
were brought to the United States specifically to perform
as laborers and to produce, via sex, more laborers.
As enslaved Africans residing in America, we held a very particular
status, We were the Capital that Produced Capital, with capital being
This brings be back to why Zane sells. Zane sells because the women
have sex in those books. They have affairs, they have sex with their
husbands, some are lesbians, and dare I say it, some have sex with
Speaking of sex with other women, I was very intrigued when I learned
while researching this post th that Zanes latest title, Purple Panties was being
boycotted because it is about lesbian erotic fiction and it features
two clearly Black women on the cover.
Welcome to the world of heterosexism. Think about it like this. If
Black women aren't allowed to have sex, then TWO most definitely are
forbidden from doing so.
Even in the face of this boycott, Zanes work stands a testament to the
fact that Erotic fiction, written by Black women, and arguably some
Black men, is the place where we have found that we can have sex
and not just simply produce capital or be called ho's.