Updated: Apr 28
If you were to open up google right now and search “Urban Fiction definition,” these are some of the results that pop up:
“Also known as street lit or street fiction, is a literary genre set in a city landscape; however, the genre is as much defined by the socio-economic realities and culture of its characters as the Urban setting. The tone for Urban Fiction is usually dark, focusing on the underside of city living. Profanity, sex, and violence are usually explicit, with the writer not shying away from or watering-down the material. Most authors of this genre draw upon their past experiences to depict their storylines.” – Wikipedia
"An interesting book genre mostly aimed at the older teen/young adult crowd. The stories told in these books usually reflect life in the city, with a character experiencing a recent hardship and getting over it. Most Urban Fiction novels tend to have a lot of erotica in them, as sex is a very common happening in them. Poking around in this section at the library can net you some really good finds. If you don't live in a big city, then these stories will pretty much give you a small (if exaggerated) taste of what living in a large city is.” – Urban Dictionary
While those definitions in retrospect are true to a certain degree, they are also shrewd and drawn out.
Though Urban Fiction goes beyond that of city-living, poverty, profanity, sex, and violence, other genres have those topics in their books just as much as we do. The only difference is, “Urban Fiction,” has an unspoken definition: Black. Urban Fiction became the name of the genre to describe the stories that reflect the lives of Black people living in impoverished cities and towns where there is lots of profanity, sex, and violence.
Those definitions show that the genre has developed a stereotype that similarly reflects many of the stereotypes that are associated with Black people and our culture in general. But no more!
There’s a new era in Urban Fiction and it goes beyond what the literary industry has deemed it to be. This genre is more than just entertainment or escapism. It’s about being real, raw, vulnerable, and relatable. Urban Fiction gives voices to those that most of society overlooks, it heals the masses, and shines a light in dark places while restoring hope to those who feel lost and damaged from the rough conditions that come with living in poor Urban areas.
Now is a great time for the Urban Fiction community to take control of our narrative and show the world why people shouldn’t sleep on our genre.
Like we always say… URBAN AINT DEAD.