AUTHOR: April Sinclair
PUBLISHER: Harper Perennial
Coffee Will Make You Black
Stevie Stevenson, Book #1
by April Sinclair
Set on Chicago’s Southside in the mid-to-late 60s, Coffee Will Make You Black is the moving and entertaining tale of Jean “Stevie” Stevenson, a young black woman growing up through the Civil Rights and Black Power movements.
The novel opens at a time when, for black families, seeing a black person on television was an event; when expressions like “I don’t want nothing black but a Cadillac” and “Coffee will make you black” were handed down from one generation to the next without comment. Stevie is a bookworm, yet she longs to fit in with the cool crowd. Fighting her mother every step of the way, she begins to experiment with talkin’ trash, “kicking butt,” and boys.
With the assassination of Dr. King she gains a new political awareness, which makes her decide to wear her hair in a ‘fro instead of straightened, to refuse to use skin bleach, and to confront the prejudice she observes in blacks as well as whites. April Sinclair writes frankly about a young black woman’s sexuality, and about the confusion Stevie faces when she realizes she’s more attracted to the school nurse—who is white—than her teenage boyfriend.
As readers follow Stevie’s at times harrowing, at times hilarious story, they will learn what it was like to be black before black was beautiful.
In book #1 of the Stevie Stevenson series, Stevie questions her sexuality and is still unsure at the end if she identifies as queer. In book #2, she begins to identify as bisexual.