It’s best not to put a label on Sister Souljah, said Bob Minzesheimer in USA Today. Sixteen years after the then-rapper was publicly criticized by presidential candidate Bill Clinton, she’s just published a second novel and watched it debut on The New York Times best-seller list. But don’t tell Souljah, née Lisa Williamson, that she’s transformed herself from cultural lightning rod to a star of “urban lit.” She won’t hear it. “Shakespeare wrote about love. I write about love,” she says. “Shakespeare wrote about gang warfare, family feuds, and revenge. I write about the same things. I don’t want to be limited or ghettoized in any way.”
Souljah hopes the new novel, Midnight, will be as well received as 1999’s The Coldest Winter Ever, said Jennifer Schuessler in The New York Times. Souljah’s first foray into fiction won a rave in The New Yorker and is said to have a million copies in print. But the new book’s title at least guarantees a large female audience. In Coldest Winter, Midnight was a handsome young man from Sudan who was so self-disciplined that he declined the heroine’s romantic advances. When Souljah’s readers went crazy for him, she decided to write a prequel that would explain how Midnight became that man. In fact, she willingly labels the novel “an exploration of black manhood.” It’s “constructive criticism,” she says, “wrapped in a passionate teenage love story.”
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- After Ferguson: Stop deferring to the cops
- Ferguson riots were terrible — but this racist reaction was worse
- The hilarious hypocrisy of Republicans complaining about the imperial presidency
- Don't argue about politics this Thanksgiving. Just don't.
- Is it now OK to have sex with animals?
- 7 grammar rules you really should pay attention to
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- In Ferguson, Michael Brown lost his life — and America's police lost the benefit of the doubt
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- 10 things you need to know today: November 26, 2014
Subscribe to the Week