When it comes to realistically chronicling the experiences
of contemporary black gay life and love, no one comes close to award-winning
American author James Earl Hardy.
His deft exploration of the cross-cultural differences among African-Americans,
clear-eyed examinations of racism and homophobia, and passionate pleas for peace
have made his best-selling B-Boy Blues series a modern classic as is the fourth book in the series
The Day Eazy-E Died. Mike Gray has been talking to James in his Manhattan apartment and if you're already familiar with his work
you can go straight to the interview here.
| James' books are available direct here in the UK at
online prices and you can get more details by clicking the jacket or link.|
In B-Boy Blues, the first book in the series, Hardy explores the tension that exists between
two very disparate cultures, the upscale black gay community inhabited by Mitchell, and
the more dangerous street life lived by Raheim. It is an uneasy balance the two men
strike in the early days of the relationship, marked by intense passion, anger,
misunderstanding, and violence. Raheim is intensely closeted, Mitchell is actively out.
Despite their differences, the two men are increasingly drawn to each other, and Mitchell
finds himself falling in love not just with Raheim, but also with his five-year-old son
In 2nd Time Around, Hardy moves the story forward from the perspective of Raheim.
The entire novel is written in Raheim's rapid-fire dialect, and tells the story
of his earlier life, juxtaposed against his ongoing relationship with Mitchell.
Picked to be a model for All-American Jeans, a Tommy Hilfiger type clothing company
attempting to make inroads into the African American marketplace, his growing celebrity
presents challenges, but nothing compared to the sudden emergence of his father after a
The shorter and more compact novel, If Only For One Nite, is a journey down memory
lane for Mitchell, as he prepares for his high-school reunion, and facing down his
former gymnastics coach, who was also his first love. Unabashedly nostalgic and romantic,
"If Only For One Nite" is a sort of sidebar to the series, which ends with
Mitchell having a greater understanding of the nature of true love.
With The Day Eazy-E Died, Hardy prepares to move his characters into the future and
deals with the issues surrounding HIV infection and AIDS. The disease is now the
leading cause of death among African Americans between the ages of 25-44 and they
account for 56% of all reported cases. Eazy-E was a founder member with Dr.Dre of rap group
NWA, and he died a month after being diagnosed with AIDS in 1995. Dubbed the "Godfather of Gangsta
Rap", Eazy-E was credited with pushing the boundaries of lyrical and visual content in mainstream popular music.