Cree Myles’ Instagram bio states: “I read and start sh-t.” The first part of the influencer’s self-appointed descriptor is self-explanatory. But you may wonder how one can stir up trouble by reading. As Myles explains it, when Black people came to Bookstagram and Book Tok, where influencers read and discuss books on Instagram and Tik Tok, they disrupted the predominantly white image of reading solely as an act of leisure, complete with knit blankets and cozy sweaters.
“Reading is an act of rebellion,” says Myles. “It’s an act of resistance. It’s an act that can change things. The revolution always starts with you internally. And the way to jumpstart any change you want to see is to engage your imagination in these stories.”
Myles mentions that in a country where it was illegal for Black people to read as little as 157 years ago, when we read, we resist.And in our resistance, we’ve managed to shape and reshape the literary world.
“Whenever there’s an argument about there not being an audience for a book…we are so clearly here and visible,” Myles says. “You’re not talking about an elusive audience. You can type in Black Bookstagram and see all of us. I think that has helped to lend some receipts to the work that matters and to the readership. I think it’s forcing publishing houses to be more creative.”