Oprah & Omar Tyree

Have you been to Omar Tyree’s website lately? Well, I would had no reason to go either, but I read something on another blog that sparked my curiosity. It appears as though Tyree has a new novel coming out this summer. Here’s what he has to say about his upcoming release:

I have a new book coming out from Simon & Schuster in July. But the reality of the black book world is this; it’s getting really crowded on the book shelves with the same girl friendly, thug love books, and I’m sorry, but there’s a lot more going on in the world than that. So my next book, which was originally called The Writer, about a brilliant brother who gets into trouble with street thugs when he tries to put together a true crime story in Harlem, New York, was deemed not sexy enough to create excitement for the book stores.

If the book does not turn on the young and older sisters who love to read . . . well, then don’t expect to sell too many copies without a whole lot of media attention, which I rarely receive anymore. So, out of despair, I came up with the new  title The Last Street Novel to say that enough is enough with the street shit. When will we be able to create great stories again? But who cares? I do. But I’ve always cared about the upliftment and intelligence of black folks. Therefore, I’ll continue to create thought-provoking projects until the day that I die.

I guess more people are starting to take notice of the ghetto fiction that’s crowding the shelves. And I know it’s serious when my mother calls me on the phone to talk to me about it.  Anyway, I posted Tyree’s comments because I had to chuckle at the line that points out that with this novel he will, “[solidify] himself as the undisputed ‘Godfather of contemporary urban literature.” Uh… I didn’t know we were assigning titles like this in the literature industry. Maybe I’m late. Somebody catch me up.

The funny thing is, some of his covers don’t look too different from the ghetto/hip-hop fiction covers. What do you think? How can you down this type of fiction in one breath, but be in with the same league of writers in another? The other site also notes that he claims to have jump started the “urban” literature industry. I don’t believe this information is accurate, but what do I know?

Tyree’s covers:

     

Ghetto fiction covers:

   

I actually caught my boyfriend in the B&N book aisle browsing Thong on Fire. We both had a good laugh about it and moved on. I’m not saying that I’m above reading or writing this type of fiction, but…maybe what these authors should consider are new covers and better titles. What should I really expect from a book titled Shay Shay Gets a Boo or Shay Shay Gets ANOTHER Boo (Shay Shay’s Back Ya’ll!). 

Ok, those covers forced me off topic. Check out out Omar Tyree’s website and see what authors who care about the “upliftment and intelligence of black folks” are really writing about.

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Oprah Winfrey recently found out that her father plans on writing a book. The unfortunate part is that Oprah didn’t know about it. Although the father has offered no public comments in his defense, Oprah has noted that they talk often so his whole plan is a shock to her. And guess what he’s going to title this book? Things Unspoken.

Hmmm.

So was it a coincidence that Oprah wasn’t aware? Daddy said, one way or another he’s about to get a check, huh? Whether it be from Oprah or a publishing company-he’s trying to get paid! I guess Oprah should have sent more celebrity clients to his beauty salon. But dang, that’s kind of messed up when your own Daddy has to scheme on you. What could he possibly say that would shock us about Oprah?According to Cinemablend Vernon mentions, “Our daughter was out of hand and unruly child…She stayed out all times of the night and lied regarding her whereabouts, said she made herself known to boys.”Wow! Now that’s the kind of stuff that sounds like a best-seller! Where can I get my copy? (Yes, I was being sarcastic) 

Read the full article.

Now excuse me while I finish Some People, Some Other Place.

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4 thoughts on “Oprah & Omar Tyree

  1. Black Girl Lost,

    I’ve been following your page since you started. A friend of mine lives in Houston, and now that school is over, I’ll have more time to make comments.

    Ok, so I have been hesitant in saying what I want to say, but here it goes: Where are the black intellectuals in all of this? Why do we, all of sudden, rely on authors like Omar Tyree to carry the flag for AA literature? Yes, perhaps I am trapped in the ‘New Negro’ movement of the 1920s where intellects like Dubois, Woodson, and McKay not only produced literature, but offered social commentary amidst fiction, non-fiction and poetry. (Fast forward to Leroi Jones, a.k.a., Imiri Baraka, in the 60s, 70s, and 80s.) But honestly, who is offering something that is worth dissecting for the greater good of society?

    I think we have enough AA authors who are preserving ‘the block’ and its realities (some good, but mostly bad), but who is writing for those who A) have graduated from the ghetto, B) have accrued enough knowledge and skills to find tangible solutions for most of the problems offered in such books (rendering them juvenile), and C) people who are attuned to greater communities, cultures, and controversies in America and around the world?

    Who writes with a bleeding pen now-a-days? Or is it safer to script-write for rap videos and call them novels?

    Now I know that you were being sarcastic about Omar Tyree, but honestly, who is trying to counter the ghetto fiction available? I mean from a quantitative standpoint, are there just as many non-ghetto books available as there is ghetto fiction? (I think that’s a good research question: What are the numbers of annual submissions for AA literature of any kind?) Are there any black authors that are not writing relationship books? While speaking with a friend, he said that the only way black authors will ever survive is if they write with crossover in mind much like most so-called rap artists are doing. What do you think?

    I don’t know Black Girl Lost, I just feel like we need to dig deeper. We need to realize that we have more stories to tell than our own immediate experiences, and there needs to be more authors transcending marginalization. But what about those above the curve? What about our intellectual appetites?

    Oh, and Oprah. Who really cares? I mean now that she’s transcended race, should we, in the black community really care about her? She should’ve donated all that money she took to build that school in SA to my school. Humph!

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  2. LOL I wish I could believe Omar Tyree saying he’s done with his “thug books” I looked on my shelf on the few books I have read of his, and wonder if he can pull it off. I really wish he can because I just finished EJD’s newest “Sleeping with Strangers” tsk tsk…. I should have known better, I wish he would go back to got me hooked on reading his novels… anyway I wish Omar Tyree luck!
    Oh and on Friday when I get paid, I’ll be off buying new books!! Too bad I dont have a B&N nearby!

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  3. So, I must admit I have never read a “ghetto” novel nor have I read Tyree. Reading your post, I wonder what writers & readers thought of romance novels when they began to emerge on the scene. Is this a new phenomanon amoung AA Lit? I guess there isn’t any thing wrong with reading Thong On Fire, if you also read Morrison, Ellison, Baldwin etc. My issue is people read ghetto novels and romance novels and believe them and think they are readers. For example, I teach at a nameless high school. I have a nameless high school student who reads romance novels. Her nose is always in a book. She considers herself a reader. Yet, when asked to read a novel in English and write about it she can’t. So the bigger issue (IMO) isn’t about the fact it is being written BUT about what are the effects of these types of books being read. By reading these books are we some how killing our brain cells? Isn’t the purpose of reading and writing to enhance our leanign experience? Just a few thoughts.

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  4. Anonymous, thank you for following my blog! I look forward to reading more of your comments in the future. You posed a few interested questions this time around. Who is offering something that is worth dissecting for the greater good of society you ask? Who writes with a bleeding pen? I believe that the black writers that you speak of exist. Unfortunately, with so many novels crowding the shelves and so few real literary readers, how will we find these gems? I don’t doubt they’re out there. How does someone sit down and write with ‘crossover’ in mind? By avoiding black characters? Or by creating a multi-cultural cast of characters? While I realize that there is a smaller percentage of black writers and readers, I think it is unfortunate that black writers have to crossover all the time. We do it with music, movies, etc., but Whites never produce works with this in mind. You also mentioned that writers have to work outside of their immediate experience, but don’t most writers do that? Even the ghetto fiction authors? Thanks again for your comments.

    Leslie, I used to love EJD and Omar Tyree, but then I reached the point where I desired something else. I want to read more than just your typical relationship novel. I recall EJD saying that some woman approached him at one of his signings and said that she was displeased with one of his novels because he didn’t get to the sex scene until page 100 and something. I mean, is that what folks are really looking for in his books? And EJD is so talented.

    Angela, I agree with you. There is nothing wrong with reading Thong on Fire and books like it, if you’re also supplementing those readings with other types of literature. Interesting point you made about the student reading romance novels. You would think that reading is reading and that her comprehension levels would transfer over. Guess not. I wonder why.

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