I remember once watching an interview with Ta-Nehisi Coats on YouTube, talking about the reader in ones mind. The one you imagine that you are write to. If I remember the conversation correctly, it centered around the reader being a white man, and the challenge this imagined reader put on the creative process for the black writer. I can’t seem to find that interview, but I stumbled upon a clip where Nobel laureate Toni Morrison expands on this elegantly:
… well I was interested in another kind of literature that was not just confrontational, black versus white. I was really interested in black readership… for me the allegory or the parallel is black music which is as splendid and complicated and wonderful as it is. Because its audience was within. Its primary audience. The fact that it has become Universal, worldwide… everyone can play it and it has evolved because it wasn’t tampered with and editorialized within the community. So I wanted the literature that I wrote to be that way. I could just go straight to where the soil was, where the fertility was in this landscape. And also I wanted to feel free, not to have the white gaze in this place that was so precious to me, which is the work.Toni Morrison
bell hooks once defied the possibility that there may not be an audience for writings on ‘postmodern blackness’. And quite frankly, I have no idea who I’m writing to. But I’m sure there is an audience that I’m reading with! Catch DIY Cultural Diplomacy on Goodreads!