Derick Brewer and Zellie Imani are hoping to diversify the bookshelves of literature connoisseurs by providing them with the oft overlooked narratives from the African Diaspora.
On Monday, the pair launched Noir Reads, a subscription service which delivers two to three fiction and nonfiction book selections from writers throughout the diaspora on a monthly basis.
“Our aim was to create a resource comprised of narratives on the black experience and the multiplicity of Blackness,” Imani told The Huffington Post.
With nearly 100 subscribers already, the company has sold nearly half of the 200 boxes they’ve prepared for its launch. Subscriptions are offered at $35 per month or $100 for three months.
Imani said these selections were chosen, in part, for their relevance given the current political climate.
“With a looming Trump presidency, we wanted books to help readers navigate this racist political landscape and offer ways to move forward,” Imani said. “The books can help us process these issues in an efficient way.”
Imani, an educator and Black Lives Matter activist said Reads is an extension of the work he’s been doing to draw attention to the ranges of the black experience.
“Blackness is complex and diverse, but this basic fact becomes overshadowed, or erased by continually centering African American narratives,” Imani said. “Instead, we want Noir Reads to explore, and not ignore, the vast and rich histories of the African Diaspora.”
To ensure their subscribers will enjoy the selections, Imani and Brewer choose books focusing on specific themes and survey readers to see what they’d prefer. The books that aren’t chosen are then placed under the “recommended reading” section of their reading guide.
“The goal is to identify and connect people with great work, whether we can place it in the box or not,” Imani said. “That’s important.”