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B-Boy Blues (A B-Boy Blues Novel #1) Paperback – July 1, 1994


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Alyson Books; 1st ed edition (July 1, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1555832687
  • ISBN-13: 978-1555832681
  • Product Dimensions: 0.7 x 5.8 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (74 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #362,027 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Mitchell Crawford's fantasy has always been to have a B-boy. For him, B-boys stand on street corners daring anyone to invade their territory, dress to thrill, move to a rhythm all their own, and, loud and boisterous, "speak to be heard, not so much to be understood." Now, you don't think of any tough black street boy as being gay, don't often read about very different segments of the black community in contact with one another, and, if you're white, don't often encounter black narrators who honestly tell how they feel about whites. You do here. Mitchell is young, black, educated, and gay. He works on a magazine, lives in a nice Manhattan apartment, and runs around with a group of men like himself. He has flings with two other B-boys, then meets Raheim, the man of his dreams in this first-rate love story. Supporting characters--Raheim's son and Mitchell's family and work friends--add to the plot and the realism as Hardy reveals much about what happens when two cultures meet and more about diversity than you get from most diversity workshops. Highly recommended for both gay- and black-literature collections. Charles Harmon

From Kirkus Reviews

A professional man's involvement with rough trade (a socially inferior, potentially dangerous sex partner) underscores the precarious position of gay black men in a hostile world in this, a lusty, freewheeling first novel from a young African-American journalist. Mitchell Crawford meets Raheim Rivers in a gay bar in Greenwich Village in the summer of 1993. Mitchell is a 27-year-old journalist; Raheim is a 21-year-old bicycle messenger and B-boy (banjee boy). The B-boy hangs out on street corners, cool and menacing. ``I find them irresistible,'' confesses Mitchell. Raheim is the third B-boy in his life, and the charm. Their smoking-hot sex (described with the verve of a master pornographer) develops into strong mutual need as Mitchell discovers that underneath his tough exterior, Raheim is smart, talented (he can draw to professional standards), and a loving parent to his five-year-old son. The snag is Raheim's violent streak. When Mitchell nudges him to accept his homosexuality, Raheim almost knocks him out before fleeing. Violence is an inescapable part of their world. Raheim's best friend is gunned down in the street, Mitchell's best friend becomes a victim of gay-bashing. While Mitchell is angered by the homophobia among blacks that encourages such attacks, he reserves his harshest words for white people, gay as well as straight, who continue to exploit black Americans and deny them a level playing field (he quits his magazine when a less qualified white co-worker gets a coveted promotion). Meanwhile Hardy, hell-bent on a happy ending, has Raheim and Mitchell make up and declare their love. We miss the cold artist's eye that had earlier seen the impossibility of such a union. Elsewhere Hardy's eye does not fail him. Though his characters need work (Raheim is the generic B-boy, Mitchell simply the sum of his opinions), his anger is impressive; Hardy has the makings of a formidable talent. -- Copyright ©1994, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

More About the Author

JAMES EARL HARDY is the author of the best-selling B-Boy Blues series: B-Boy Blues (1994), praised as the first gay hip hop love story and prominently featured in Spike Lee's Get On The Bus; it's sequel, 2nd Time Around (1996); If Only For One Nite (1997); The Day Eazy-E Died (2001); Love The One You're With (2002); and A House Is Not a Home (2005). The sextet chronicles the relationship between a Buppie from Brooklyn and a homeboy-bike messenger from Harlem. The seventh installment in the series, "Is It Still Jood To Ya?", is featured in the best-selling anthology, Visible Lives: Three Stories in Tribute to E. Lynn Harris (2010). B-Boy Blues was a Lammy finalist in 1995 (Best Small Press Title) and has become required reading in many African American/multicultural literature and gay/queer studies college courses. Mr. Hardy contributed the new introductory essay to the reissue of the groundbreaking Black Gay anthology, In The Life (2008), and his short story, "The Last Picture. Show.," will be included in the upcoming Best Gay Erotica 2011.

He also recently added playwright to his literary resume: his first theatrical production, Confessions of a Homo Thug Porn Star--a one-man show about adult film star Tiger Tyson--recently won the Downtown Urban Theater Festival's Best Short Prize.

In addition, Mr. Hardy is an award-winning entertainment feature writer and cultural critic. A 1993 honors graduate of Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism, his byline has appeared in The Advocate, Entertainment Weekly, Essence, New York Newsday, Newsweek, OUT, The Source, Upscale, Vibe, The Village Voice, and The Washington Post. His work has earned him two Educational Press Association Awards; grants from the E.Y. Harburg Foundation and the American Association of Sunday & Feature Editors; and scholarships from the Paul Rapoport Memorial Fund, and the New York and National chapters of the Association of Black Journalists. His essay, "Sylvester: Living Proof," was a GLAAD (Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) Media Award finalist. He has also penned biographies on filmmaker Spike Lee and the pop music group Boyz II Men, both a part of Chelsea House Publishers' Black Achievement Series.

Customer Reviews

Each of the characters is well developed in the story.
James R. Bray Jr.
JEH's series was ground breaking at a time when there was (and still is) very little representation of gay/sgl black men in literature.
Big Jess
I have read this book a dozen times and still laugh and cry my way through it.
Leonard Clough

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 16, 1999
Format: Paperback
My sister gave me the book as a Xmas present last year. I've read it 5 times, and everytime it gets "jooder." Raheim reminds me of me (I'm a bald ebony brutha, got a son, and work as a mailman), and my shorty is a compact cutie just like Mitchell. We been together three years and our lives are just like the characters -- dealing with class issues, family, friends, death, violence, falling in love, and having some damn jood sex (ain't it funny how heteros can have all the sex they want in books and no one complains, but as soon as two bruthaz get their groove on, folks get uptight?). It's like JEH has been spyin' on us! The story is DA REAL THANG. The only fantasy, myth, and stereotype has been created by folks who don't know how to read a book in context and make ridiculous comments about an experience they know nothing about. Don't diss the author because u can't hang, aight? JEH, don't u worry: the real bruthaz who know what time it is got yo' back! Thanks for givin' us somethin' to call our own. U DA MAN!!!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 22, 1998
Format: Paperback
James Earl Hardy, you go boy!!! I really loved B-BOY BLUES. It deserves a 12+!! At times, it was absolutely hilarious and at other times, it heartbreaking and sad. I read the book in a day and a half! Although I'm neither male or gay, I found myself relating to Mitchell (a.k.a. Little Bit) and Rahiem (a.k.a. Pooquie). My first boyfriend reminded me so much of Pooquie because he always had a "hard" exterior around friends but showed me the real person that he was inside. I also really loved this book because I found myself forgetting that the characters were two men. In reality they were two people going through the same ups and downs, good times and bad times as anyone else in a relationship. It was a true love story that had me captivated from the time I picked the book up until I finished it. I would recommend this book to anyone to read. It was "ALL JOOD!!!" I can't wait to read all of James Earl Hardy's other books!! I know they'll be "ALL JOOD" too!!!!!!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Leonard Clough on July 9, 1999
Format: Paperback
I have read this book a dozen times and still laugh and cry my way through it. James Earl has a way with words that bring his characters to life. Not once have I become bored with any of the B-Boy books, in fact I have read each at least 3 times. Read the book for what it is, "A sexy, funny and loving book about two men in love with, and loving, each other".
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18 of 23 people found the following review helpful By pablo on July 24, 2000
Format: Paperback
Seriously sexy? Fiercely funny? Only if you find self-righteous, pontificating queens, and gay wannabe homeboyz either sexy, or funny. I sure didn't. Maybe if the writing was better, and Hardy was capable of describing his characters without just naming some celebrity they supposedly resemble(also note how many characters happen to share names with celebrities), and if the characters had some depth or nuance to their personalities instead of just left over stereotypes, it might have been interesting. The writing is so poor that he's stuck reusing certain expressions(dayaamn!, jood, kissed dooown, gagged)so often that I swear when you close your eyes you can still see them burned into your retinas for several seconds afterwards. Let me breakdown the characters for you. The gay men are either screaming queens, or closeted gangstas. Oh, and, SHHH! Please don't tell the author that his characters are queens because evidently none of the books characters seem to realize they're queens. Nobody in Mitchell's office knows that he's gay? Puh-leaze, this flamer would have set off the fire alarms as soon as he stepped into the building. Pookie? Lil Bit? I gagged. The white males are either evil, or spineless. And the other characters? Well, there aren't any other characters really. The plot? Plucky achiever falls for a strong black man who must overcome his street hardened sense of himself, and learn to listen to his heart to become his true strong, but sensitive man he really is. Change the gender of the plucky achiever to a woman and the strong black man to a blue-collar white guy and you've got a Lifetime channel movie of the week. In between times the characters talk about how the man is keeping them down.Read more ›
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 3, 1999
Format: Paperback
I never thought a novel like this would be written. An honest portrait of young black gay life in the 1990s. So much of the so-called black gay literature is simply black gays writing for white gays. I'm so glad that this story is for "us."
Hardy's is an amazing writer. His words can leap off of the page and into your heart. His honesty is truly shocking at times, and I loved every minute of it. Both protaganist are wonderful and I feel as if I see people like them everyday. Also, Mitchell does a beautiful job of "reading" all those white gays out there who try to floss to brothers now that we are the flavor of the month. A must read, if you like books at all. Why the four stars, then? Because I wished the book never ended....
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 2, 1999
Format: Paperback
B-Boy Blues by James Earl Hardy was a whirlwind of FANTASY, not fiction - there is a difference. I would have had an easier time believing unicorns were running around the streets of New York on Gay Pride, than I did following the on-again, off-again love tale of Pooquie and his Little Bit (or is that Little Bit**?). James Earl Hardy attempts to weave a star-crossed urban love story complete with "roughneck" Raheim and his uptown girl, the 'enlightened and educated' Mitchell Crawford. Believe me when I say I have used those terms as generously as possible. In doing so, however, what the reader enounters is nothing more than an at times stereotypical character lacking any true depth who falls in love with an effeminate, yet militant GBM who does nothing to impress me as I read on and on of his whoas at his job. I gave this book a rating of 1 star merely because there was not a lesser alternative. Hardy would best be served subtitling this piece a 'seriously sad and stereotypical, fiercely fantasic, Black-on-Black fairy tale'. I found nothing "jood" about this book, with the exception of the ending.
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