By Alexa Day
This past Friday, June 12, was Loving Day, a celebration of the Supreme Court’s decision in Loving v. Virginia, which invalidated laws against interracial marriage in the United States. Don’t worry if you missed it; lots of us swirl enthusiasts will be celebrating all month. So you still have two weeks to wave the flag for interracial romance and marriage equality! Let’s start with a fun fact.
There’s a popular misconception that interracial marriage was illegal everywhere in the United States before Loving was decided in 1967. That isn’t true. The Lovings were married very legally in Washington, D.C., in the 1950s. Interracial marriage was, however, illegal in Virginia at the time, and when the Lovings returned home, they attracted the attention of law enforcement. The Loving decision struck down the anti-miscegenation laws still in effect in 1967, but by that time, interracial marriage was already legal in several states.
Jeff Nichols is set to direct a new Loving movie, starring Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga. I’m going to try to keep an open mind about Joel and Ruth. I really will. But look at Grey Villet’s photos, which accompanied a Life magazine feature on the Lovings. (Especially that kiss up top. That’s a home-from-work kiss done right.) Then watch this trailer for The Loving Story, an HBO documentary from 2011. Maybe Jeff Nichols can reproduce that chemistry in the new movie. Maybe.
Fired up? Good. Let’s hit up some links.
Because I am very comfortable with my own horn, I’ll get mine out of the way first. I wrote about swirling throughout TV history, interracial historicals, and Harlequin’s interracial issues. I’ve also got two interracial romances out right now and more to come.
Facebook introduced me to Writing with Color on tumblr. My favorite post right now deals with describing skin color for characters of color — I absolutely love the way it uses natural descriptors like copper and bronze along with pictures to really demonstrate what those colors are. I also dig the fact that the post includes descriptors for all characters, both white and non-white. I couldn’t wait to use this advice in my last story, and I had a great time figuring out whether my heroine’s skin was mahogany or bronze (it’s actually closer to sepia). It takes time to make these descriptions precise, sure. But that’s a good thing. Hang out on Writing with Color for more smart ways to build these sensory and cultural details into your work.
I wish I had a dime for every time I heard someone say they couldn’t find good reads featuring authors and characters of color. “Gosh! We’d sure like to review more, but we just can’t find any at all! So we don’t!” Ever heard that? If you’re looking, too, try Romance Novels in Color, a newsletter featuring books with at least one protagonist of color. You’ll find enough reviews and blog posts, including lots of interracial and multicultural romances, to keep you occupied until next Loving Day. Not sure where to start? Check out the list of free reads and get to sampling.
If you’re still looking, head back over to tumblr for WOC in Romance. I love the blend of content for authors and readers, and you might find some new authors and titles to explore. These folks post regularly about new releases, including interracial and multicultural romances, so be on the lookout for those. I’m also very into the genre-specific lists; I found two sets of titles for paranormal romances featuring heroines of color.
All set for Loving Month? Well, not quite.
Get your history itch scratched here with People of Color in European Art History. Lots of inspiration for interracial historicals there, and evidence that the interracial lurve all over the world has been around a lot longer than the last fifty years.
June is also LGBT Pride Month, so why not enjoy HuffPo’s 60+ photos from same-sex weddings? Love is all about infinite diversity, and who doesn’t love a nice set of wedding photos? (Seriously, I am hoping to be as giddy as that second photo if I’m fated for marriage.) Maybe the next generation will call June Marriage Equality Month. Maybe our generation will.
And finally, enjoy these photos from real Loving Day weddings.
Don’t forget to mix it up by following Lady Smut.