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What happens when four of today's independent Black male authors get together for one offering? An anthology that takes a riveting look at race relations, Black Lives Matter, and relationships between women and men in the 21st century. Join J. Brinkley, Brandon C. Brown, Marvin Mason, and Mark T Sneed as they present short stories from voices that can no longer be ignored.
This compelling anthology by four Black male authors features stories about love, relationships, Black Lives Matter, and racial issues, offering in-depth insight into the daily lives of Black men in America during the Covid-19 era. While fictionalized, each story draws from contemporary news to speak to the deaths of real-life Black men and women, with powerful interstitial essays from J. Brinkley exploring the stories of Atatiana Jefferson, Tamir Rice, and Stephon Clark, whose lives were cut short due to gun violence and police brutality.

The results convey rich emotional turmoil while also, in their depiction of everyday living in troubled times, brimming with unspoken meaning. In “2 Miles” Brandon C. Brown pens a tense story of a middle-class Black man trying to make it home safely from his evening jog, when he makes the almost fatal mistake of crossing into an unfamiliar neighborhood, where he’s confronted by the police. Marvin Mason offers readers a glimpse into the complicated messiness of relationships in blended families in “Six Feet Away,” when a high school teacher falls for the mother of two of his students, and Mark T. Sneed compares the pandemic to a different kind of outbreak in “The Zombie Apocalypse is Nothing Like I Expected,” a story rich with metaphors and masterful wordplay.

J. Brinkley’s exploration into real-life deaths drive home the resonant parallels between art and life while crying out for justice: “This is grossly unacceptable and should never – NEVER happen again. That should be the police oath to us.” Readers looking for an inviting, thought-provoking read will find much to enjoy here; although the subject matter features heavy topics, each of the stories strikes engaging, sometimes humorous, tones as the authors skillfully contemplate and bring awareness to racial inequality, police brutality, and other urgent concerns, all while illuminating the daily struggles and lives of Black men in America.

Takeaway: A powerful anthology focusing on themes of race relations, police brutality, and love during the age of Covid.

Great for fans of: Tarana Burke and Brené Brown’s You are Your Best Thing; Margaret Busby’s New Daughters of Africa.

Production grades
Cover: A
Design and typography: A
Illustrations: N/A
Editing: B
Marketing copy: A