Sunday, January 13, 2019

Beverly Jenkins and Brenda Jackson Signing

Photos from Deadly Sexy Facebook Page
This event happened a few months ago, but I still wanted to write a recap.

Last year Jess and I went to the signing Beverly Jenkins and Brenda Jackson hosted during the weekend of the Deadly Sexy movie premiere. Here is a quick recap and some thoughts I had.

The event was held at the Black History Museum and Cultural Center of Virginia in the historic neighborhood of Jackson Ward. This museum moved to this spot a few years ago and is in a gorgeous building that was once an armory. I'm ashamed to say I'd never visited the museum before, but I definitely plan to visit again.

I'd heard both authors on various podcasts but I  never realized Beverly Jenkins and  Brenda Jackson were such close friends who vacation together and have been supporting each other for the last 20 years. I can't remember everything they talked about but there was so much positive light coming from that stage.

The first thing I noticed is that a majority of the audience was older than what I'd seen at other romance events. Later, we found out most had come from out of state to do to the whole signing/movie premiere weekend. It was a bit overwhelming to be around so many superfans but also amazing to hear other women's stories of coming across books with black characters for the first time and falling in. There were lots of inside references and fangirling and I feel like I have a lot of reading to do.

Something else that struck me were the comments from readers about how people in their lives were dismissive and downright rude about them reading romance. It's really frustrating to me how this always comes up at romance events and that romance readers have to justify what they like.  I think there is more being done to combat this message and romance is getting a little more respect as a feminist genre but I can't imagine what it was like to read it before then.

The other thing about this event that was different from other romance events I've gone to is that is was 99% Black women and it was so cool to see so many voracious black women readers. At one point romance author Denise Jeffries talked about going to her first Romance Slam Jam and admitted that up until that point she didn't even really know Black people read. It made me think about how I knew that sure, some Black people read but it wasn't until I started blogging that I met other Black people who read voraciously and honestly it wasn't until this event that I really saw older black women who read so enthusiastically.

During the signing, the authors were so gracious while we did some general word vomiting and got a bunch of books signed. I felt weird bringing a tote bag of books but a few people had their books on wheels!

Overall it was a great event and I have so much reading to get done. While we didn't go to the film premiere, the Deadly Sexy movie is now streaming on Amazon.

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