A couple of years ago, I penned an article entitled IT’S STILL DARK AT TWILIGHT: Scrubbing off the Whitewash of Urban Fantasy. In it, I explored the common practice of whitewashing – taking a character who is originally of color in literature and film and replacing them with a white character, actor, or model, or a person who looks “more white”, in order to appeal to the white masses – across genres and, especially, in the popular genre of Urban Fantasy.
This practice continues today. However, more Black authors are producing great works of Urban Fantasy with Black main characters and are gaining recognition and earning Black readership.
Yesterday, however, a sister lamented on Goodreads that the only Urban Fantasy with a Black hero that she knew of was the Vampire Huntress series by the late, great L.A. Banks. That tells me I – and other Black authors of real Urban Fantasy have a lot more work to do.
It is with that in mind that I share with you this list of Urban Fantasy books by and about Black / Afrikan people:
Amber and the Hidden City by Milton Davis
Thirteen year old Amber Robinson’s life is full of changes. Her parents are sending her to a private school away from her friends, and high school looms before her. But little does she know that her biggest change awaits in a mysterious city hidden from the world for a thousand years.
Why? Amber’s grandmother is a princess from this magical kingdom of Marai. She’s been summoned home to use her special abilities to select the new king but she no longer has the gift, and her daughter was never trained for the task. That leave only one person with the ability to save the city: Amber! But there are those who are determined that Amber never reaches Marai and they will do anything to stop her.
Prepare yourself for an exciting adventure that spans from the Atlanta suburbs to the grasslands of Mali. It’s a story of a girl who discovers her hidden abilities and heritage in a way that surprises and entertains.
Knights of Breton Court (series) by Maurice Broaddus
The knights of Breton Court is an Urban fantasy series written by Maurice Broaddus and features a modern interpretation of the legend of King Arthur, set amongst rival street organizations in the American city of Indianapolis.
With the legends of the Green Knight, Red Knight, and Black Knight (in each of the books, respectively), Tristan and Isolde, trolls, zombies, a dragon, elven assassins, Red Caps, griffins, gangstas, and thug life tossed in, Broaddus puts the “urban” in urban fantasy.
Brookwater’s Curse (series) by Steven Van Patten
Christian Brookwater is a former Georgia plantation slave who became a vampire during the 1860s. His long, tumultuous life takes a complicated turn when he is forced to travel to modern-day Senegal to rescue a child from a vengeful werewolf prince. It is here that Christian uncovers a plot that would throw the entire vampire nation into a civil war. To stop this, Christian must betray his best friend and mentor, an influential Italian vampire who nurtured him during his vampiric infancy.
Christian also suffers from a rare condition that makes intercourse with human females especially dangerous.
In the 2nd novel in the series, the civil war Christian Brookwater sought to prevent has become a harsh reality.
In the 3rd novel, Christian Brookwater has spent the last four years helping to cure the werewolves of their insatiable bloodlust. The only problem is that his funding is coming from vampire taxes. Christian is about to be called on the mat for it and must defend himself on national vampire television!
Personal drama also unfolds as Christian and his second in command, Helen, each find themselves embroiled in separate but equally volatile love triangles. Secret alliances will be revealed, deals will be brokered, villains will emerge and heroes will rise. Most shocking of all, Christian Brookwater will come to learn that he is, and always has been, more than just a vampire!
“A Single Link NEVER Breaks!”
In the first book, after suffering a brutal assault at the hands of a martial arts champion, Remi “Ray” Swan decides that, to gain closure and empowerment, she must face her attacker in the first professional fight between a man and a woman.
Join Ray in this powerful, two-fisted adventure as she fights, not just for herself, but for all who have suffered at the cruel hands of those who would wreak pain, oppression, injustice and death!
Step into the cage, where action, adventure and bone shattering fights await you!
The two-fisted adventures of Remi continue in Wrath of the Siafu:
The near future…
A young genius is gunned down brutally by the police. Remi Swan – our hero from the hard-hitting Action-Adventure novella, A SINGLE LINK – fights to defend the little boy and herself. She is arrested, imprisoned, forced to fight and infected with an experimental virus that turns women into raging monsters…or worse.
Possessed with incredible – and scary – new abilities, Remi sets off a war against a system that has long brutalized Black people. A war that, alone, she might not be able to fight, but now she is backed by an army…a powerful and deadly force of her own making.
Now, that brutal system will suffer the…WRATH OF THE SIAFU!
Take this amazing journey with Remi from Victim to Hero to Superhero!
Immortal (series) by Valjeanne Jeffers
In the first book in this Urban Fantasy series, we meet Karla and Joseph, lovers who have been separated by time and space. Karla and Joseph are werewolves empowered to protect their world from a powerful evil that has been unleashed.
The first novel builds the groundwork for the communes of supernatural beings, good and evil, that make their appearance throughout the series.
In the second book, we meet Karla and Joseph’s kindred, who are also the saviors of the world.
In the third book, another key player emerges: Annabelle, a vampire with her own agenda and her own stake in the planet’s survival.
In the fourth book, the characters find themselves in a sinister, Steampunk realm without their memories.
Brown Girl in the Ring by Nalo Hopkinson
Nalo Hopkinson’s Brown Girl in the Ring is set in 21st century Toronto, which has been barricaded behind roadblocks, abandoned by its rich, predominantly white, residents and left to crumble.
The inner city has to rediscover the old ways – farming, barter, herb lore. But now the wealthy need a harvest of bodies, so they prey upon the helpless of the streets.
With nowhere to turn, a young woman must open herself to ancient truths, eternal powers, and the tragic mystery surrounding her mother and grandmother.
She must bargain with gods, and give birth to new legends.
Taurus Moon (series) by D.K. (Keith) Gaston
Taurus Moon is a relic hunter, who will work for pretty much anyone if they can afford him.
He’s financially strapped most of the time, lives in a run-down apartment in Detroit and always seems to be in trouble.
The artifacts he searches for aren’t found in the jungles of the Yucatan or the deserts of Egypt. He searches for lost supernatural artifacts that may or may not be located on Earth, with his quests often taking him through the grittier parts of urbanized cities where even the toughest of thugs fear to tread. Forgotten relics once thought of as only myths and legends can be found, if you know where to look, and have the guts to go searching into dark and deadly places; Taurus Moon has such guts and knows exactly where to look.
The Taurus Moon novels blend action, fantasy, science fiction and humor. Fairy tales, mythologies, and legends are not stories to Taurus Moon, but his reality.
The Brothers Jetstream: Leviathan by Zig Zag Claybourne
ADVENTURE… just got 35% cooler! Milo Jetstream. Ramses Jetstream. Coming to save the world one last damn time against the False Prophet Buford in the battle to save the Earth, preserve the soul, and make sure folks get home in one piece…
Secret cabals; Fae folk in Walmart; and a psychic whale that was poured into the oceans when the world first cooled from creation.
This is the stuff of the amazing…the life transforming Brothers Jetstream: Leviathan!
Adventure doesn’t need a new name. It needs a vacation!
Redeemer: The Cross Chronicles by Balogun Ojetade
Ezekiel Cross is handsome, strong, intelligent and a cold blooded killer.
For most of his life, Ezekiel has been a killer, trained to enforce the whims of his boss. But Ezekiel is tired – tired of the lies to his wife, Mali; tired of not having the normal life he craves. He longs for the day that he can hang up his guns and live a normal life with his wife Mali. So he decides to end his career as a professional assassin; to hang up his guns and raise a family.
But the life of a killer is never his own. Ezekiel is called to do one last hit, but instead of closing the deal he finds himself a target. He’s sent back in time in what is meant as an experiment as well as punishment.
Initially distraught, he decides to change his fate by saving himself and his family from the events that led him to a lifetime of crime. Along the way, he meets some of the coolest, sexiest, deadliest and craziest characters to ever grace the pages of a book and ultimately finds himself in a situation that could change his life forever…or end it.
Redeemer: The Cross Chronicles includes the expanded alternate story, Redeemer: Glitch.