Title: Black Coffee
Author: R.L. Byrd
Publisher: R.L. Byrd Publishing
There are ALWAYS two sides to every story. In R.L. Byrd’s debut novel, Looking for Sweet Love, the Love Forum Divas told their side.
DK, in his pursuit to finding good love himself, discusses relationships from a black man’s point of view and enlist the help of the husbands, boyfriends and lovers of the Love Forum Divas. Known as the Brotherhood; DK, Quentin, Miguel, Michael, Donnell, Pastor Levine, Dr. Houston and Brass aim to set the record straight and talk about dating black women, marriage, infidelity, personal struggles, what distinguishes a throw-back from a keeper, and answers the question the radio listeners really want to know: What really went down in their relationships?
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Far from Dr. King’s Beloved Community
The lesson has not been learned. History is Continually Repeating Itself.
The Beloved Community, first coined by 20th Century philosopher-theologian Josiah Royce and popularized by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., is a community guided by the principles of nonviolence; a community where brother and sisterhood (of all races) would replace racism and all forms of bigotry, discrimination and prejudice; a community where hunger, poverty and homelessness would not be tolerated. However, as I watched the burning, looting and demonstrations in Baltimore, I realized that we’re far (so, so far) from this Beloved Community.
But what was far more troubling (to me at least) were the comments from the media and public-at-large: “How could they do this?” “How could they burn their own neighborhood?” “How could they loot the stores and business establishments that serve them?” “They’re nothing more than thugs.” But lest not forget. A riot can either be a tool for hate, or a voice for the disenfranchised.
History reminds us that there were riots (unlike those in Ferguson and Baltimore) that destroyed many communities and thousands of lives; communities and lives destroyed not by the citizens within them, but from those outside. And growing up in Tulsa, Oklahoma, I was constantly reminded about the Race Riot of 1921 (and the many others). A race riot where men, women and children were burned and hunted down in the streets; where stores and businesses were burned and looted; where a once bustling, thriving community—known as Black Wall Street—was literally, fire bombed and demolished.
Some forty-seven years later (1967-1968), it wasn’t hate that ignited riots in over 100 American cities, but the voice of the disenfranchised during the Civil Rights era. Voices requesting social and economic justice, as in Rita Walker’s very poignant letter to friend, Kathy Dahl held within the University of Southern Mississippi’s Library. Many of those riots ignited, and fueled, by the mistreatment of those disenfranchised voices by police.
Now, again, some forty-seven years later (2014-2015) history is again repeating itself. We’re revisiting the same old issues: Rioting by the voices of the disenfranchised requesting social and economic justice in the midst of high unemployment and other disparities, such as education, sparked by the apparent mistreatment by police—the deaths of Michael Brown (Ferguson Riot) and Freddie Gray (Baltimore Riot). Both of which are eerily reminiscent of the Harlem Riot (1964), Watts Riot (1965) and Detroit Riot (1967); all sparked by the alleged mistreatment of police in economically depressed black neighborhoods.
So to those who question the why, who and how’s, remember that history has two sides to rioting—both grim and very dark. And for those that call the rioters, thugs, I ask what do you call those that ravished and pilfered those communities, such as Tulsa, under the cloak of hate? But more importantly, I believe the questions that truly need to be addressed are: (One) How do we provide social and economic justice to disenfranchised communities; and (Two) How do we heal from, and address and dismantle, a long history (dating back over a century) of police mistreatment and distrust?
Until we’re able to provide the same civil liberties, undeniable rights, and economic empowerment to all—embracing and building Dr. King’s Beloved Community—we’ll continue to hear the riotous voices of the disenfranchised; decade after decade, city by city, life struggle after life struggle, until we learn the lesson history keeps reminding and trying to teach us.
R.L. Byrd was born in the coastal town of Brunswick, Georgia, in a time where America and the South was growing and evolving. His early upbringing there, would shape his world not only as a person, but as a writer.
His passion for writing was delayed by a similar passion for Architecture which he pursued by obtaining a Bachelor of Architecture degree from the University of Oklahoma in 1992.
After many years of carrying stories, characters and images in his mind, R. L. found them revisiting him on a more frequent basis as the years rolled by; and beginning in 2007, it wasn’t a day that went by that the pull to write didn’t lure him back to the pen and paper. Looking for Sweet Love (2010) was his debut novel, followed by the sequel Black Coffee (2012, reissued in 2014).
He is currently working on his third novel, The Art of Scandal (a story inspired by true events), scheduled to be released soon.
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Find out more about R.L. at his website