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Black Lives Matter

#BlackLivesMatter may not be trending anymore, but that doesn't mean that the problem has disappeared. It's important that as a predominantly white society we continue to actively work towards learning and improving, to strive for better equality. In order to gain a finer understanding of the perspective of Black people, or people of colour (POC), why not read books through their narrative?

Romance and chick-lit books are always fun to read. If ever you're craving a bit of light escapism to distract you from this slightly worrying reality we're all living through at the moment, then romance is the way to go. We've compiled a list of fun romance books, perfect for easy reading, all featuring characters who are Black/POC, to help you diversify your shelves. Because at the end of the day, everyone deserves a happily ever after, no matter the colour of your skin.

You Had Me at Hola

Award Winning author Alexis Daria brings readers an unforgettable, hilarious rom-com set in the drama-filled world of telenovelas—perfect for fans of Jane the Virgin and Ugly Betty.

After a messy public breakup, soap opera darling, Jasmine, finds her face splashed across the tabloids. When she lands a coveted, starring role in a bilingual romantic comedy, Jasmine figures her new “Leading Lady Plan” should be easy enough to follow—until a casting shake-up pairs her with telenovela hunk Ashton Suárez. 

After his last telenovela character was killed off, Ashton is worried his career is dead as well. Joining this new cast as a last-minute addition will give him the chance to show off his acting chops to American audiences and ping the radar of Hollywood casting agents.

Naturally though, rehearsal leads to kissing, and kissing leads to a behind-the-scenes romance worthy of a soap opera. While their on-screen performance improves, the media spotlight on Jasmine soon threatens to destroy her new image and expose Ashton’s most closely guarded secret.

The Sun Is Also A Star

So much more than a teen love story.

Natasha: I’m a girl who believes in science and facts. Not fate. Not destiny. Or dreams that will never come true. I’m definitely not the kind of girl who meets a cute boy on a crowded New York City street and falls in love with him. Not when my family is twelve hours away from being deported to Jamaica. Falling in love with him won’t be my story.

Daniel: I’ve always been the good son, the good student, living up to my parents’ high expectations. Never the poet. Or the dreamer. But when I see her, I forget about all that. Something about Natasha makes me think that fate has something much more extraordinary in store—for both of us.

The Universe: Every moment in our lives has brought us to this single moment. A million futures lie before us. Which one will come true?

Get a Life, Chloe Brown

This hilarious best-seller is quite frankly, a treat, which perfectly illustrates the age-old relationship trope, when opposites attract.

Chloe Brown is a chronically ill computer geek with a goal, a plan, and a list. After almost-but not quite-dying, she’s come up with seven directives to help her “Get a Life”. She’s already completed the first: finally moving out of her glamorous family’s mansion. The next items?

• Enjoy a drunken night out.
• Ride a motorcycle.
• Go camping.
• Have meaningless but thoroughly enjoyable sex.
• Travel the world with nothing but hand luggage.
• And… do something bad.

That's when she enlists Red to help her out; the tattooed handyman and artist — not to mention he drives a motorcycle!

Now That I've Found You

This is a YA novel about searching for answers, love, and your eccentric grandma in all the wrong places. It features romantic tension, Hollywood scandal and a fun-filled chase all around New York — what's not to love?

Following in the footsteps of her überfamous grandma, eighteen-year-old Evie Jones is poised to be Hollywood’s next big star. That is until a close friend’s betrayal leads to her being blacklisted . . .

Fortunately, Evie knows just the thing to save her floundering career: a public appearance with America’s most beloved actress— her retired grandma, Gigi, aka the Evelyn Conaway.  Days before Evie plans to present her grandma with an honorary award in front of Hollywood’s elite, Gigi does the unthinkable: she disappears.

With time running out and her comeback on the line, Evie reluctantly enlists the help of the last person to see Gigi before she vanished: Milo Williams, a cute musician Evie isn’t sure she can trust. As Evie and Milo conduct a wild manhunt across New York City, romance and adventure abound while Evie makes some surprising discoveries about her grandma — and herself.

The Marriage Game

This entertaining rom-com featuring a high stakes wager between an aspiring entrepreneur and a ruthless CEO, is wonderfully scattered with references of Indian culture.

After her life falls apart, Layla Patel returns home to her family in San Francisco to start a new business above her father's restaurant. But what she doesn’t know, is that her worrisome father has set her up on a dating site and arranged a series of blind dates, just for her — leaving Layla completely in the dark, until the first one comes knocking on her door…

CEO, Sam Mehta, is in search of a quiet new office, when he finds the perfect space above a cozy Indian restaurant that smells like home. But when communication goes awry, he's forced to share his space with the owner's beautiful yet infuriating daughter Layla, her crazy family, and a parade of hopeful suitors, all of whom threaten to disrupt his carefully ordered life.

As they face off in close quarters, the sarcasm and sparks fly. But when the battle for the office becomes a battle of the heart, Sam and Layla have to decide if this is love or just a game.

Real Men Knit

After the death of his adoptive mom, Mama Joy, Jesse and his brothers struggle over what to do with her Harlem knitting store. Jesse wants to keep the store open; his brothers want to shut it down.

Jesse makes an impassioned plea to Kerry Fuller, his childhood friend who has had a crush on him her entire life, to help him figure out the knitty-gritty of how to run the business. The more time they spend together, the more the chemistry builds. Kerry, knowing Jesse’s history, doesn’t believe this relationship will exist longer than one can knit one, purl one. But Jesse is determined to prove to her that he can be the man for her—after all, real men knit.

To All The Boys I've Loved Before

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, a sweet YA romance, is the story of Lara Jean. She's never openly admitted her crushes, but instead wrote each boy a letter about how she felt, sealed it, and hid it in a box under her bed.

But one day Lara Jean discovers that somehow her secret box of letters has been mailed, causing all her crushes from her past to confront her about the letters: her first kiss, the boy from summer camp, even her sister's ex-boyfriend, Josh.

As she learns to deal with her past loves face to face, Lara Jean discovers that something good may come out of these letters after all.

The Worst Best Man

Critically acclaimed author Mia Sosa delivers a sassy, steamy enemies-to-lovers romantic comedy about a woman whose new job requires her to work side-by-side with the best man who ruined her wedding: her ex-fiancé's infuriating, irritating, annoyingly handsome brother.

If they can survive the next few weeks and nail their presentation without killing each other, they’ll both come out ahead. Except Max has been public enemy number one ever since he encouraged his brother to jilt the bride, and Lina’s ready to dish out a little payback of her own.

But even the best laid plans can go awry, and soon Lina and Max discover animosity may not be the only emotion creating sparks between them.

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Rapper 21 Savage has opened up for the first time about his arrest by immigration authorities, saying that he "was definitely targeted."

The breakout star, whose real name is She’yaa Bin Abraham Joseph, was arrested by the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on February 4 2019 after they said he was a UK citizen "unlawfully present" in America.

The Rockstar rapper still faces deportation, but was released on bond on Tuesday after over a week in jail, and sat down with ABC's Good Morning America to get candid about the ordeal.

Reporter Linsey Davis spoke to the 26-year-old about the arrest, saying "‘I don’t know. I was just driving and I just saw guns and blue lights. And, then, I was in the back of a car. And I was gone."

He elaborated on ICE's actions; "They didn’t — they didn’t say nothing. They just said, “We got Savage”. It was definitely targeted." He also mentioned that there was a "helicopter" circling overhead during his arrest.

21 Savage's legal team said in a statement:

"For the past 9 long days, on behalf of She’yaa Bin Abraham Joseph, known to the world as 21 Savage, have been speaking with ICE to both clarify his legal standing, his eligibility for bond, and provide evidence of his extraordinary contributions to his community and society."

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Saint Laurent Don (@21savage) on

The statement concluded, "Today, 21 Savage was granted a release on bond. He won his freedom."

He was seen boarding a private jet with his mother Heather soon after he was let go from ICE custody. He jetted back to his home in Atlanta, Georgia, but now awaits a hearing regarding his possible deportation.

ICE's accusation that Abraham-Joseph is a British citizen came as a shock to the artist's fans, as he is clearly associated with Atlanta's music scene.

He previously has said the "21" in his name is a reference to a street gang in Decatur, and his songs often refer to his past in East Atlanta's Zone 6. ICE allege that he has overstayed his Visa by a decade.

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Cardi B has taken to Instagram to drum up support for rapper 21 Savage. 

The musician has been detained by ICE officials in America for allegedly overstaying on a visa he obtained in 2005 after coming to the USA from England. 

Cardi, who will be performing at Irish festival Longitude this summer, uploaded an image of the detained rapper to her 40.6million followers. 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by CARDIVENOM (@iamcardib) on

She wrote: 'We will read and educate ourselves on this situation and we will take action!'

'21 did not come here illegally and was not caught doing anything illegal or doing any mischief! in fact he have change his whole life around and as ya can see he’s been very positive in his actions and music.'

She also had a few spicy words to say to those who have been slating 21 Savage for his prominence in the Atlanta rap scene while not being from Atlanta. 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Saint Laurent Don (@21savage) on

'Now let me get ghetto ….and for ya dick breath motherf*ckers talking bout “sO hE nOt FrOm AtLaNta “ he grew up there,' she penned.

'His kids and family live there and BLEW UP there with the support of the community he was raised in.'

'Thank you @21savage for being really good friend to me and @offsetyrn and always coming thru when we need you.'

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Saint Laurent Don (@21savage) on

21 Savage's attorney Charles H. Kuck has issued a statement, telling The Fader: 'As a minor, his family overstayed their work visas, and he, like almost two million other children, was left without legal status through no fault of his own.'

'This is a civil law violation, and the continued detention of Mr. Abraham-Joseph serves no other purpose than to unnecessarily punish him and try to intimidate him into giving up his right to fight to remain in the United States.'

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With communities in the United States continuing to reel from the spate of senseless violence which has played out across the country in recent weeks, the Black Lives Matter movement is gaining ever more momentum.

Eager to support the cause and highlight the importance of solidarity, the Anti Racism Network Ireland and the Movement of Asylum Seekers in Ireland have organised a demonstration in Dublin's city centre this evening.

Taking place at the Spire on O' Connell Street at 6.30pm, the organisations have requested the support of those who condemn the 'horrific acts of violence' which have taken place in the States in recent weeks.

"We condemn the horrific acts of violence perpetrated on a daily basis by US law enforcement against Black bodies," they wrote in a Facebook post last night.

"It is clear then that a Black person’s mere existence still represents a threat worthy of extermination, as evidenced by the circumstances surrounding the deaths of Trayvon Martin, Miriam Carey, Tanisha Anderson…"

"We therefore stand in solidarity with the #‎BlackLivesMatter ‬movement in the US and their struggle against deeply ingrained institutional racial prejudice, but also against the international system of white supremacy," they added.

Those who wish to attend the demonstration this evening have been encouraged to bring placards and banners outlining their support for the movement.

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