Explicit Content (2004)
Cassandra Rivers and Leila Aponte are so
different, it took a catfight in their junior high school locker room
to cross their paths. Since then they have been two sides of the same
coin, bonded by their passion for hip hop and their shared dream of
becoming recording artists. Although Leila craves fame and Cassandra
prizes her artistic freedom, the duo of Fatal Beauty and Sabrina
Steelo remain true to their dream and their friendship. That is, until
gangsta rap mogul Gregory ''G Double D'' Downs comes along and splits
the duo by signing Leila to his label Explicit Content. Stung by the
betrayal, Cassandra struggles to push forward as a solo artist.
But when Leila's career
seems to fizzle as quickly as it exploded, G Double D courts
Cassandra. Despite rumors about Explicit Content's financial woes,
shady dealings and self-destructive artists, Cassandra finds herself
seduced by his promises. Just when it seems that Cassandra will have
her cake and eat it, too, she learns the truth about Explicit Content
and the threat it poses to Leila and every other pretty yet lonely
young woman seeking the fleeting validation of a gilded industry.
Cassandra must decide just how much she is willing to compromise her
ideals to realize her dreams, and the wrong decision can cost her much
more than her career.
Picture Me Rollin'
There have been many stories about a
convicted felon who returns home after a stint in prison yet continues
to struggles to free his mind. Such stories have been overwhelmingly
male. With Picture Me Rollin', Black Artemis puts a new spin on this
familiar tale about the twisted road to redemption by telling it
through the eyes of a young Latina from the South Bronx.
After a year in lockup,
Tupac fanatic Esperanza Cepeda comes home determined to follow her
sister Dulce’s example. That means going back to school, finding a
legitimate job, and most of all, staying away from her ex-boyfriend
Jesus and his crew. Easier said than done, Espe finds, because despite
all the pressure she’s under to do the right thing, no one has any
love for a convicted felon. Jesus says he does, and Esperanza
desperately wants to believe him. But he’s not trying to leave the
game so she has to keep it movin’.
So Esperanza tries to stay
on the righteous path. She tries, stumbles and then tries again. She
resists the faithlessness of her parole officer yet blossoms under the
guidance of teacher and mentor Maite Rodriguez, a former member of the
Young Lords Party and political prisoner. As Esperanza yearns to find
the same passion and purpose in her new life that fueled her thug
days, she begins to see in herself the contradictions that tormented
her idol ‘Pac. Esperanza realizes that her jailhouse mom Isoke was
right: she cannot be a soldier and a gangsta. She must choose.
In her third hip hop novel, Black Artemis
explores a critical yet underappreciated element of hip hop subculture
– graffiti. Burn is also a novel about the risks and consequences of
pursuing alternatives when ordinary means fail. Through the eyes of a
compelling anti-heroine and her most diverse cast of characters yet,
she continues to tackle relevant social issues including immigration
and public health.
Life has been one hustle
after another for Jasmine Reyes. After her parents abandoned her and
her twin brother Jason, they often took to the streets in their quest
to survive. When a violent episode results in her brother’s arrest and
suicide, Jasmine vows to find another way. She literally hustles to
quit the game and eventually opens her own bail bond agency, leaving
behind street life but holding onto her street smarts.
Despite her hardcore
background – and even because of it – Jasmine occasionally gives a
client the break that no one ever gave her. One such client is
talented graffiti artist Malcolm “Macho” Booker who reminds her of
another writer still close to her heart – her brother Jason. Against
the advice of sometimes lover and police officer Calvin, Jasmine bails
Macho out of jail. For eight months, he proves worth the gamble until
he mysteriously disappears.
After finding an unusual
database on Macho’s computer, Jasmine’s search leads her into the path
– and eventually the arms – of Dr. Adriano Suárez, the handsome
founder of the community health clinic where Macho worked. Jasmine and
the doctor turned crusader have many things in common – deep passions,
grand ideas, unhealed scars, and even dangerous secrets.
As Jasmine’s investigation
conjures the ghosts of her ugly past, finding Macho before Suárez
uncovers her true identity becomes a matter of life and death in ways
she never imagined.
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