How An Incorrect Wikipedia Entry Started a Movement
As I mentioned elsewhere, my specific passion for reading and love of Blaxploitation movies led to the creation of this site. There is, however, a little bit more to the story and it can be traced back to an incorrect Wikipedia entry.
If you ask most people about the forefathers of urban fiction, Donald Goines comes to the top of mind. I’ve always loved Goines and his gritty writing, and I felt I was doing myself a disservice by not having read all of his books. As I set out on the journey to finish reading his works, I needed to get a list of all his titles. And what better place to do that research than the best online research medium, Wikipedia?!?!
On the Donald Goines Wiki, there is a list of all of his novels. Many of the titles were familiar to me, as I had read several, but there was one that seemed to be out of place. The title was Broad Players. I had read a book by Mr. Goines titled Street Players and since I didn’t see this title on the list, I figured this had to be a typo. After all, Wikipedia entries are sourced by us as individuals right? But I decided to dig a little further to see if, in fact, he had written a book that I wasn’t familiar with.
Upon further research though, it turns out Broad Players is a novel written by Charlie Avery Harris. And once I became privy to this information, A WHOLE NEW WORLD OPENED UP!
I did more investigation to find out about Charlie Avery Harris. Turns out Harris wrote for the same publisher (Holloway House) as Goines and even looked up to Donald as a mentor. This is evidenced by the title of some of his other works: Harris wrote books called Whoredaughter (Goines wrote Whoreson) and Macking Gangster (Goines Black Gangster).
Well, several hours (and ultimately days) later, that one incorrect entry on Wikipedia had exposed me to several authors from the 1970s who wrote urban fiction novels. Authors like Odie Hawkins and Omar Fletcher; Roosevelt Mallory and Joseph Nazel (who like Goines, cranked out so much product in short periods of time that he wrote several pieces under a pseudonym, Dom Gober). All soul brothers who brought the Blaxploitation experience to paper.
And just as there were white directors and producers of Blaxploitation movies, I’ve been hipped to white authors in the genre as well. People like Ernest Tidyman, who created that bad mutha Shaft. (Yes, it was a book before it was a movie). Also, John Weisman and Brian Boyer, authors of the Headhunters series, and James Duncan Lawrence, creator of the Dark Angel series about a sexy private eye named Angela Harpe (who could literally be all of Pam Grier’s action characters rolled up into one).
Blaxploitation movies gave us quintessential characters like Shaft, Superfly and Cleopatra Jones. But Blaxploitation paperbacks also gave us quintessential characters. People like Radcliff, the Iceman and Superspade.
So as I continue to embark on reading and collecting as many of these works and authors as possible, I look forward to sharing them with you. And if you ever come across something you want to share with the tribe, be sure to let us know!
P.S. – The Donald Goines Wikipedia page has been corrected to reflect that the novel he wrote was Street Players…