If you are an avid reader, one genre is never enough. I read it all, fiction, non-fiction, biographies, faith-based, graphic novels, self-help and everything in between. But during the 99 into the 2000's, “urban fiction” or “street lit” hit the scene in a major way. Every girl I knew between the ages of 17-23 was reading a book called True to the Game and when I got word this "street classic" was finally going to be in theaters, I had to see it.
True to the Game, the movie, is based on the novel with the same name by author Teri Woods. Woods changed the publishing game for every urban dwelling storyteller to come after her: True to the Game sold over 2 million copies worldwide.
Woods has solidified her spot along a list of other notable authors who have written polarizing work that speaks to cultural acualities. The Black experience has been penned from the valleys of the Ozark Mountains in Arkansas, to the alligator filled Florida swamps, from Harlem apartments above jazz clubs and everywhere between. As society changed and the Black experience evolved, so did our tales. Woods happened to come along at a time when hip hop was at its pinnacle, mandatory minimum sentencing for drug offenses had the FEDS kicking in doors on every block. The environment was ripe for gritty hood stories.
When I read True to the Game some years ago, it mirrored my life and the lives of the people around me:
We read True to the Game because we dated drug dealers.
We read True to the Game because we dated drug dealers from Philly or NY.
We read True to the Game because we dated drug dealers from Philly or NY and their friends.
We read True to the Game because we dated drug dealers from Philly or NY and their friends that loosely practiced Islam.