“When everything goes to hell, the people who stand by you without flinching — they are your family.”
– Jim Butcher
For decades, we’ve been experiencing a major breakdown of the black family unit. As time has worn on, our situation has gotten worse. Where I’m from, seeing a child that lives in a two parent household is an anomaly. For some, it’s amazing if the mother and father even like each other!
There are several social ramifications to this savage break-up of one of the strongest institutions in our rich history. The epidemic of babies having babies has gotten more widespread. Every teenager knows at least one girl that is currently pregnant or has birthed a baby. Meanwhile, the prison industrial complex has successfully found a way to make black men the new slaves. With an overwhelming amount of black men dead or in jail, the emasculation of the black man has picked up full force. The dominant society doesn’t even see us as useful, seeing the fact that our young men get gunned down every day without the batting of an eyelash.
There needs to be a definite change in the tide, family. The narcissistic mindset of our modern day society desperately needs to be lost! As a community, we’re all we’ve got. We have the power to rebuild our families. We just need to know we have this power!
In the literary space, there have been numerous authors that have created projects inspired by dysfunctional families. Many of them are considered classics and are even studied in educational institutions around America. Author Chanel Savage has decided to put her own spin on things with her new novel Savage Sisters. The novel is based around the central message of family unity and the strength of women. Recently, I got a chance to briefly sit down with her and talk about her novel, the plight of the black family and solutions to this issue.
Randall: Your novel Savage Sisters is about the importance of a strong family unit during troubling times. How did this story come about and what was your inspiration behind writing it?
Chanel Savage: I’ve been writing on and off for years. I would read, see, or hear something and come up with an idea, and start writing. Then I noticed I had ideas, and started stories I had never finished. When I started Savage Sisters I said to myself I am going to finish this story.
I wanted to write about more than one character because I felt that it would keep the book interesting. I wanted my characters to have all different personalities but share a common bond. I thought a sister hood surrounded by the struggles of their parents, and inheriting a mean streak from their father was perfect.
The inspiration behind Savage Sisters is the power of women. Although we struggle we still manage get through our situations, sometimes by any means necessary. I think women are so powerful in so many ways. But men are indeed stronger. Some take advantage of women and mistreat them.
I wanted my characters to take control of their situations, and not feel sorry for themselves. Shayla, Shanice, Shante, and Shakira Savage all wanted to be loved by the men that they love. These men took advantage of them, and mistreated them. This kind of mistreatment happens every day in all communities. The Savage Sisters handled their situation the only way knew how, by being savages.
Randall: Was there a realistic motivation behind the novel?
Chanel Savage: Yes, there was a realistic motivation behind the story. All of these situations I have either experienced, know someone who has experienced it, or saw it on the news.
Randall: In the black community, there’s been a horrible break down of the family unit. What’s your take on this?
Chanel Savage: My take on the breakdown of the family we aren’t stepping up in our roles. I believe that some black women are not stepping up to the plate and being mothers. Most black men are in jail or six feet under. The women are so important because we have to raise our children even when the father is not around. I hate to see our black women not motivated to do better for themselves and their children.
Public assistance is only supposed to be temporary. Some women stay on it most of their lives. Children are motivated by what they see. It’s very few children that have a basketball or football talent that will magically elevate them out of the hood. There are also very few black children motivated to go to college.
As women we have to choose the right man to have children by. The man we choose has to be someone a child can look up to. As a women we must creating a household with rules and regulations that are properly put in place. Some women take mothering as a joke! Displaying that behavior, they are effectively creating another dysfunctional family.
Randall: We all love debating over the symptoms and problems surrounding this family issue but I’m in the business of fixing and finding long term solutions to our problems. How can we turn the tide?
Chanel Savage: First of all, no one on this earth is perfect. We all struggle. Struggling is not about just not having money. I love all four of my kids. I think as parents the struggle comes with raising your children. Most kids just want to be loved and acknowledged.
I think as parents, or as a single parent, you have to make every day in their life count. You have to set boundaries. You have to teach them respect of self, and others. You have to motivate your kids to be the best they can be. You have be their number one supporter. You have to show them that family in everything. You have to be their parent. Everything they do comes from you. The children are our future. It’s so true because we all were once children.
Randall: In your opinion, is there a place in the current black literary market for fiction that has an overt message and tackles real world issues?
Chanel Savage: I feel that there is a big place in the literary market for stories that confront real world issues. Most people who read urban fiction walk out the door and they witness what we write about every day. Our readers love stories that they can relate to. I think everyone wants reality with some added drama rather it be on T.V. or in a book.
To learn more about Chanel Savage, visit www.purpleinkpublishing.com
Do you have any questions, comments or concerns? Was I right or wrong on this issue? I would love to hear from you! Contact me directly at:
Check out a preview of my forthcoming Young Adult novel The Diary of Aaliyah Anderson on Wattpad!