MY FINE LADY by Yolanda Joe


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Rap singer with big dreams.

Imani doesn’t remember much about her mother, a singer who died from a heart attack when Imani was only three, though her musician father Maceo is sure his only daughter has inherited her talent. But Imani don’t want nothing to do with that old noise, using her glorious voice in street rap sessions for awed music students instead. Boyfriend Taz keeps cooking up deals with Biggie, a wannabe record producer who moonlights as a headbreaker for a loan shark. Professors Sherman and Hopson of the Arlington University music department argue over who is better suited to develop this glamorous beauty’s stunning talent—but Imani isn’t sure which way she wants to go or why, let alone what man will win her heart. Then an impromptu jam night at Taz’s studio turns tragic when bullets fly—and Imani’s life turns upside down and inside out. Bestselling author Joe (The Hatwearer’s Lesson, 2002, etc.) samples black popular culture the way rappers sample other musicians: here and there, wherever and whenever, when the moment is right. The famous (and controversial) Martin Luther King scene from the movie Barbershop gets a going-over from a feminine point of view, a snippet of a James Brown song serves as a punchline, and so on. Her imaginative wordsmithing often reaches soul-stirring highs (and occasionally overreaches) but it really does sing.

Lively mix from a popular author who’s got it going on.

Pub Date: April 1st, 2004
ISBN: 0-525-94808-2
Page count: 240pp
Publisher: Dutton
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15th, 2004


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