“Jungle Fever” is a 1991 Spike Lee joint about a Black architect who has an affair with his White secretary. Flipper Purify (Wesley Snipes) and Angie Tucci (Annabella Sciorra) are respectively from Harlem and Bensonhurst. Set during the period following the murder of Yusef Hawkins, the film not only charts the course of their entanglement but also the reactions of their friends and family.
“The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives” by Lola Shoneyin is a novel about a polygamous Nigerian man, Baba Segi who has four wives and seven children. The household was stable and had a steady rhythm until the arrival of the fourth wife, Bolanle. When she joins the household her being younger and more educated than the other women incites their jealousy which leads to them plotting and scheming to get her out. Her position is made even more precarious as her and the baby-obsessed Baba Segi struggle to conceive a child which leads to some big family revelations.
Published in 1970, “The Bluest Eye” was Toni Morrison’s debut novel and earned her a Nobel Prize. A deceptively short book that packs quite a punch, the story follows eleven-year-old Pecola Breedlove, a Black girl growing up in Lorain, Ohio shortly after the Great Depression. Growing up in a family plagued by generational dysfunction and a community plagued with self-hate, Pecola comes to believe that having blue eyes will make her beautiful in the eyes of others and solve all of her problems.
A discussion of “Claudine”, a 1974 film starring Diahann Carroll and James Earl Jones as Claudine and Rupert (aka Roop), two people living imperfect lives who meet and begin dating.
“Sugar” by Bernice McFadden is the story of a world-weary prostitute who moves to a small town in Arkansas and forms an unlikely and transformational friendship with her neighbor. Sugar Lacey arrives in Bigelow, Arkansas looking for, if not change, then a break from her life. Strutting into town sporting makeup, wigs, high heels, and vibrant big city clothing makes the local women uncomfortable with Sugar’s presence. But one woman, Pearl Taylor, makes it her duty to befriend Sugar when she moves into the house next door.