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The Day Eazy-E Died: A B-Boy Novel

The Day Eazy-E Died: A B-Boy Novel

by James Earl Hardy

"Hardy, a masterful and gifted storyteller, has written a very important work for our times. Bold and unforgettable, The Day Eazy-E Died, tackles important issues…a most engrossing story."—Black Issues Book Review

Raheim Rivers is at the top of his career; about to make the switch from modeling to movies…when an unexpected piece of news


"Hardy, a masterful and gifted storyteller, has written a very important work for our times. Bold and unforgettable, The Day Eazy-E Died, tackles important issues…a most engrossing story."—Black Issues Book Review

Raheim Rivers is at the top of his career; about to make the switch from modeling to movies…when an unexpected piece of news sends him reeling. His complacency shattered by the news that one of his idols, N.W.A. founder Eazy-E, has AIDS., Raheim gets tested for HIV, but keeps it a secret.

"Hardy's style is gaunt, unclouded, and lucid as he looks uncompromisingly at this central characters dilemma of preserving his love life while secretly awaiting test results for his HIV status. Hardy brilliantly lets Raheim's anxiety break through the surface of the narrative, just as it cracks through his consciousness in everyday dealings with Mitchell and his former lovers."—Library Journal

As he has so succesfully done in the past, Hardy masterfully draws his fascinating and very real characters into the ferment of compelling societal issues. He has created a powerfully real look at the issues facing young people of all sexual persuasions, young Black men, who are disproportionately infected and affected by AIDS. The book confronts the issues of sexuality, responsibility, and youthful perceptions of immortality. As the date for disclosure of his test results draws near, Raheim's fear and the ongoing stigma of the disease push him toward conflicting decisions.

James Earl Hardy is the author of the best-selling books B-Boy Blues, 2nd Time Around, and If Only for One Nite, as well as a biographies of Spike Lee and Boyz II Men. A 1993 Columbia University school of journalism graduate, Hardy is an award-winning entertainment feature writer, reporter, and critic who's writings have appeared in The Washington Post, Out, Essence, The Advocate, Newsweek, Entertainment Weekly, and Vibe. He lives in Manhattan.

Also available by James Earl Hardy
B-Boy Blues
TP $11.95, 1-55583-268-7
2nd Time Around
TP $12.95, 1-55583-372-1
If Only For One Nite
TP $12.95, 1-55583-467-1

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Given the recent statistics coming from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention the largest spike in AIDS cases has been among young, gay African-American males it's not surprising that Hardy would use the fourth entry in his popular B-Boy Blues series (following If Only for One Night) to address this issue. In brief, diary-like vignettes ("March 28, 7:55 A.M."), Hardy spans three weeks in 1995 in the lives of black supermodel Raheim Rivers and his boyfriend, journalist Mitchell Crawford. The startling news that Raheim's idol, rapper Eazy-E, has AIDS causes the young man to examine his past and present entanglements and to secretly get tested himself for the virus. Despite the novel's underlying "message," Hardy deftly avoids any didacticism, as he revisits characters from the previous books and furthers the growing attachment between his two protagonists (despite, or perhaps because of, their frequent spats). Whether Raheim is buying his Ma a condominium ("I feel like Louise Jefferson"), discussing discrimination or the value of money with his six-year-old son, or simply being nursed back to health by Mitchell during a bout with the flu, the author's sharp ear for the foibles of human nature remains as keen as ever. His lovingly drawn characters provide a strong sense of reality, and his sense of humor enlivens the proceedings throughout (after watching Hitchcock's The Birds, Raheim notes that he'll "never look at a pigeon tha same way again"). Author tour. (Aug.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
Hardy's style is gaunt, unclouded, and lucid as he looks uncompromisingly at his central character's dilemma of preserving his love life while secretly awaiting test results for his HIV status. Staggered by the death from AIDS of his idol, rapper Eazy-E, budding supermodel Raheim examines his own philandering past, trying to convince himself that his tiny betrayals could not have endangered his current lover, Mitchell (last seen with Raheim in If Only for One Nite). Hardy brilliantly lets Raheim's anxiety break through the surface of the narrative, just as it cracks through his consciousness in everyday dealings with Mitchell and his former lovers. The novel is timely given current concern over the rise of infected people in the young, gay, African American community. Highly recommended for general, black studies, and gay literature collections. Roger Durbin, Univ. of Akron, OH Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A slight but engaging novel about AIDS, gay life, and African-American men in Manhattan. Popular New York model Raheim Rivers is making his way toward Hollywood when he learns of that one his heroes, rap impresario Eazy-E, has been diagnosed with AIDS. Startled, he drives across state lines to have an HIV test-and Hardy (B-Boy Blues, 1994, etc.) achieves nominal suspense by playing out the story during the two weeks Raheim waits for the results. He cannot bring himself to tell his lover "Little Bit" that he's been tested-and surely wouldn't tell that he recently had a drunken fling with the aggressive Malice. In the meantime, Raheim's son Li'l Brotha Man is negotiating through a new, mostly white school in New York and the social problems caused by his parents' unique relationship. Raheim is still close with Sunshine, Li'l Brotha Man's mother, but has (in the previous If Only for One Night, 1997) long since embraced his homosexuality. Thrown into the mix is his father, attempting to reconcile with the son he left behind, and some inconsequential stirrings about the O.J. Simpson trial. Raheim buys his mother a new home in Harlem and finally confesses to "Little Bit" about the test and his infidelity. He's relieved when "Little Bit" admits he too had an "indiscretion"-as is everyone else when Raheim's results come back negative. Notable for its distinct portraiture and unstudied way with dialogue, Hardy's fluent evocation of the rhythms and sounds of his characters' lives is rewarding, as is his fresh depiction of the social challenges facing upwardly mobile African-Americans. His bare treatment of contemporary politics is also blessedly free of off-putting hyperbole, leaving readers withsome appreciation for his characters' perspectives. A nicely turned, breezy snapshot, displaying most of its virtues in the accumulation of detail-and in the creation of a persuasive milieu among which the modest theme weaves.

Product Details

Alyson Books
Publication date:
B-Boy Blues Series
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.40(d)

Read an Excerpt

MARCH 17th, 5:15 P.M.

Ya make a little green and tha entire world wants a piece of it.
Ever since I got my first phat check from All-American, them credit card applications been comin in like cray-zee. Gold this, Platinum that, Classic this, Optima that. Since I could remember all tha mail I ever received—notices from the Board of Elections, a Xmas card ev'ry year from Mel of Mel's Messenger's, my last check from Simply Dope fuh some art work I did, and a letter I once got from a cousin I ain't never met—their courtin my bizness made me feel kinda special. Tha Kid likes attention, and they was doin a jood job of holdin it.
But I ain't never had a credit card and wasn't too keen about gettin one now. I done heard too many horror stories about folks goin deep in debt buyin a whole lota shit on credit. My Moms always be maxin her cards out 'round Xmas and be complainin in January and February about them bills. But at
least she don't be fallin behind in them payments. Too many folks default and as soon as ya know it, they got collection agencies callin them day and night, at home and at work, harrassin 'em. I remember seein some report about one woman who said her son was told by a bill collector that if she didn't pay, he was gonna be placed in foster care.
Of course, too many folks just be tryin ta live beyond they means, miscalculatin what they can afford ta pay—and when. Payin sumthin off on time might seem like a jood idea, but once them finance charges start addin up, you be payin much mo' in tha end than if you had just shelled it all out up front.
Which is why I always subscribed ta tha cash 'n' carry plan: If I ain't got tha cash, I ain't carryin it out tha store.
But now that I was in a whole new tax bracket (ha, I don't even think I was in one befo'), them cards would come in handy. I wasn't about ta walk around wit' thousands of dollars in my pockets (wit' folks in da 'hood seein my face all over, that'd be stoopid). And, since I was a travelin man now, I might have an emergency on da road.
So, I got tha usual suspects: a Mater Card, a Visa, and a Am Ex. But I treat 'em all like cash cards. Wit' Am Ex, you got no choice; you buy sumthin and you know you gonna hafta pay it off in full when that next bill comes. But I use tha other two tha same way, so I don't hafta worry about payin no finance charge. Becuz of my great payment history, they all decided ta increase my available credit (sumthin Little Bit says almost never happens after just six months as a customer), which really is another way of tryin ta get me ta charge mo'—increasin tha chance that I'll decide one month ta only pay that minimum so they can really make some money off my ass. But it's bad enuff they want you ta pay fuh tha so-called privilege of usin their card. As far as I'm concerned, that application or annual fee is tha only int'rest they gonna be earnin off me.
Of course, once tha word got out that I had these three, ev'rybody else came at me wit' a vengeance. A few even called me up tryin ta persuade me ta sign up (like, how tha fuck they get my number?). But what I need wit' two or three diff'rent MCs or Visas?
I just knew I'd get a reprieve movin inta my new spot—a spacious three bedroom duplex wit' two bathrooms in a co-op called Harlem Towers that's not far from where I grew up. I useta deliver packages here at least twice a week when I was still makin my rounds. I always said I wanted ta live there someday—and now I am. Cuz of my connections (Troy Fauntleroy, my agent, lives in one of tha buildings) and my profile (both tha women and tha men in tha office knew who I was and was all too happy ta please me), management is lettin me rent tha place fuh a year. I know they hopin I'll buy it but I ain't—if I'm gonna spend 65 g's on a piece of property, it's gonna be a house. I got my eye on a brownstone. But I gotta figure out how and when I'm gonna ask Little Bit ta move in wit' me 'n' Li'l Brotha Man (yeah, I know, there are some thangz I gotta do and say first ta other folks befo' sumthin like that happens...).
Anyway, I got back from a overnite trip ta D.C., filmin my fifth commercial fuh All-American, and what was waitin fuh me? Six new offers in my mailbox (as well as a Hallmark from Little Bit, wishin me jood luck in my first apartment) and three messages on my voice mail wit' them same old folks repeatin them same old lines: "You've Been Pre-Approved!" "Don't Pass Up This Chance of a Lifetime!" "Build That Credit History with a Company You Can Trust!" "No Fees, No Hassles, No Problems!" Day-um, I ain't even been here three days yet and these mutha-fuckas done tracked my ass down. And, how tha fuck they get this number? Tha bitch is s'pose ta be unlisted. Ya think they'd get tha message that I ain't int'rested.
I can see, tho', how folks get caught up in it. I mean, they do make it all sound so jood and simple. I'd be lyin if I said I ain't been tempted ta splurge now and then, or pay that minimum instead of that full amount (especially if it's over a thou'). But I can always hear Little Bit's voice: "Be practical, Pooquie." And I ain't bein practical if I spend $2000 on a fly Brooks Brothers suit or $5,000 on a 24-karat, diamond studded ring when I know them funds could go ta better use.
Besides, I got an apartment ta furnish.
I only got a TV, VCR, stereo, a dresser, a night stand, and a bed, which is where I was sittin, rippin up all these "once-in-a-lifetime offers" (as a few of them claimed). I then started flippin thru a Seamans circular ta see about livin room sets my Moms said I should check out, when tha phone rang. I let my answerin machine come on, cuz it might be one of them credit card peops. Li'l Brotha Man recorded tha message:
"Hello. You've reached 555-0102. Please leave a message after the beep and your call will be returned as soon as possible. Thank you."
"Yo, Raheim, it's me, Angel, I—"
I picked up tha receiver. "Yeah, I'm here. Whazzup?"
"Yo, you heard?"
"Heard what?"
"About Eazy-E."
"Eazy? What about him?"
"Uh...he...he got AIDS."
"Hunh?" I knew he didn't just say what he said.
"He got AIDS."
I let out a nervous laugh. "Man, what tha fuck you talkin 'bout? How can Eazy have AIDS?"
"That's what they just said."
"They? They who?"
"Folks on TV. I was just flippin channels and saw it."
"You...you sure you heard right?"
"Yeah. Shit, man, ain't no way you gonna hear sumthin like that wrong."
"Yo, Raheim, you there?"
"Uh, yeah, yeah, I'm here. Day-um. He got AIDS?"
"He in tha hospital?"
"I don't know."
"Is he in Compton?"
"I don't know."
"How they say he doin?"
"I don't know."
"Nigga, what tha fuck do you know?"
"Yo, man, chill. I caught it when it was goin off."
"Oh. Uh, sorry brotha."
"Day-um. I, I can't believe it."
"Yo, I can't believe it, either. I mean, I tripped over my feet when I heard it. I just knew I was hearin thangz."
"Yo, that shit is fucked up."
"You ain't lyin."
"Uh, thanks, man. Thanks fuh tellin me."
"You welcome. Yo, if I hear anything else, I'll letcha know."
"A'ight. Thanks."
"You got it, brotha."
I just sat there fuh a few minutes. Yeah, I was in shock. Ya never think you'll hear sumthin like that. Well, you never think you'll hear that sumthin like that happens ta somebody you...well, I can't say know cuz I don't know him. And I can't say like cuz it's not like I like him. Admire him? I guess that's tha word. I admire what he managed ta become given what he was up against, what stood in his way. And...day-um. He ain't old. He young. He too fuckin young ta be dyin. He too fuckin young ta be dyin of that.
I snatched tha remote and tried ta find sumthin on any channel about it but couldn't. But I knew this wasn't gonna be tha only time I heard about it.

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