Magnus Books today announced that New York Times bestselling author Keith Boykin has signed a contract to produce a new book, For Colored Boys Who Have Considered Suicide When The Rainbow Is Still Not Enough.
The book will be a collection of writings on "living life, confronting obstacles and believing in yourself," according to a statement on a new web site, 4coloredboys.com.
The book's title is derived from a famous 1974 choreopoem from playwright Ntozake Shange called For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When The Rainbow Is Enuf. Shange's work went on to inspire women of color for decades and last fall became the subject and title of a hugely popular Tyler Perry film.
Boykin noted that while the film was selling out movie theaters across the country, "young black gay men were literally committing suicide in the silence of their own communities." That experience motivated Boykin, an author of three published books, to collaborate with Magnus Books publisher Don Weise, who edited Boykin's last book, Beyond The Down Low.
The new book will respond to the crisis of youth development and suicide in the black community, according to Boykin, and more specifically among young gay men of color. Boykin acknowledges that some people think suicide is not an issue in the black community, but his web site cites a study published in April 2008 that found that young black men aged 13 to 24 were more likely to commit suicide than their white counterparts.
The site also mentions four young black men who committed suicide in recent years. The first, Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover, was an 11-year-old black student in Massachusetts who hanged himself after enduring months of harassment and anti-gay bullying. Another 11-year-old, Jaheem Herrera of Atlanta, took his own life after suffering constant anti-gay bullying at his Atlanta area public school.
The suicide cases were not limited to young boys. Last September, a black 19-year-old openly gay college student named Raymond Chase committed suicide by hanging himself in his dorm room. A month later, Joseph Jefferson, a 26-year-old black gay youth activist, took his own life. "I could not bear the burden of living as a gay man of color in a world grown cold and hateful towards those of us who live and love differently than the so-called 'social mainstream,'" Jefferson reportedly posted on his Facebook page the day he killed himself.
Boykin's new book comes on the heels of CNN News Anchor Don Lemon's announcement on Sunday that he is gay and is dedicating his new book, Transparent, to Tyler Clementi, a gay Rutgers University student who killed himself after a roommate secretly videotaped him with another man.
The conversation about suicide has taken on added significance in the African American community after R&B recording artist Marsha Ambrosius released a recent music video for her single, Far Away, which depicted a young black gay man who took his own life. The video has been played on BET and other networks.
Submissions for Boykin's book will be accepted from May 20 until July 20, 2011. The editors say they expect to book to include essays from "gifted writers, published authors and well known public figures," but they are also looking for college students, suicide survivors, and anyone who has faced bullying or harassment in their lives.
The book will be published in March/April 2012.
Author Keith Boykin's new book: For Colored Boys Who Have Considered Suicide When The Rainbow Is Still Not Enough
Thu, 19 May 2011 17:51:24 GMT