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Street PlayersBlack Pulp Fiction and the Making of a Literary Underground$
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Kinohi Nishikawa

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780226586885

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2019

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226587073.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 31 May 2020

Reading the Street

Reading the Street

(p.193) Seven Reading the Street
Street Players

Kinohi Nishikawa

University of Chicago Press

In the second half of the 1970s, Holloway House and Players magazine were made to mirror each other to a great degree. This was signaled by the return of Iceberg Slim. He authenticated his narrative persona by recording Reflections, an album of toasts from urban black men’s oral tradition, and lent his street credibility to Players by publishing short stories in the magazine. The synergy between pulps and pornography was further sealed by what this chapter terms the “reality effect.” Across the country, the black press covered new titles of black pulp fiction with great interest. Newspapers would cover novels published by local authors, suggesting that the fictions were based on real-life experiences. Holloway House parlayed this reality effect into a “black experience” brand, which was then transmitted to Players through its advertisements for black pulp fiction. For its part, Players’s outlandish pictorials and centerfolds constitute what this chapter terms the “pornographic exception”—a suspension of streetwise realities in favor of outright sexual exploitation. The reality effect and the pornographic exception grounded the appeal of pulps and pornography to urban black men.

Keywords:   black masculinity, black press, Holloway House, Players magazine, pornography, pulp fiction, racial authenticity, reality effect, Iceberg Slim, toasts

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