A staff writer at The Mary Sue is calling for the literary world to “stop marketing Black sci-fi as the ‘Black version’ of White Stories.” It’s something that has been mentioned here and there on blogs and social media, but Princess Weekes is forcing a necessary long look at the trend, citing the receptions of books by Nnedi Okorafor, Tochi Onyebuchi, and Marlon James.
She begins with Nnedi Okorafor’s October 2018 tweet asking people to “stop calling the Akata series a ‘Nigerian Harry Potter,'” and points out Onyebuchi’s decision to cite N.K. Jemisin in his acknowledgements in Riot Baby, rather than presumed influences like Akira, and gets to James’ throwaway comment describing his Black Star trilogy—including Black Leopard, Red Wolf—as an “African Game of Thrones” becoming the main media tag for the series.
I try to get people to stop calling the Akata series a "Nigerian Harry Potter", but ppl keep doing it.🤷🏾♀️
My stories aren't the black version of white authors. My foundation isn't whiteness (no disrespect to whiteness). Ijs.
My foundation geminated in Arondizuogu & Isiekenesi.
— Nnedi Okorafor, PhD (@Nnedi) October 16, 2018
“This isn’t to say that we are not inspired or influenced by non-Black art,” Weekes wrote. “The works of Jane Austen, plus all the magical girl anime and shonen I’ve watched, are very much a part of my creative blueprint. However, the confidence to tell Black stories often comes from seeing others do it first.”
Read the post on The Mary Sue and follow the conversation in the comments.