Back in July, Manhattan Times reported the closing of Hue-Man, an independent black-owned bookstore in Harlem that had been at 125th St. and Fredrick Douglass Blvd. for 10 years. At the time, CEO Marva Allen said that the store would “shift into a new type of business that includes pop-up events in Harlem.”
New York Carib News reports that Hue-Man hosted its first pop-up event on Sept. 5 with the help of MIST Harlem, “an auxiliary business that houses a theater, restaurant and bar.” More events have followed. The paper recently published an interview with Allen, who said that they are now giving the bookstore an online presence.
Allen envisions a new purpose for bookstores, one in which they become spaces of literary and public engagement.
“In the future, we hope to have a bookstore in a convergence space such as the MIST Harlem concept so that they [the public] can experience the [Hue-Man] bookstore in a new way. The bookstore of the future is one that will give people the chance to come together and have conversations, and do much more than purchasing or reading books. The bookstore of the future will keep the audience more engaged.”
Whatever form Hue-Man takes on, it will continue its mission of providing an outlet for African-American writers and other writers of color.
“We became the only-vital bookstore that had literature for people of color; a vast variety and more options than our competitors,” she explains. “Borders had a history of carrying a decent selection of Black books, but they closed nationwide. While other stores carried literature of color, their collection was very small.”
Also intertwined into Hue-Man is its neighborhood, and its role in the community.
Hue-Man bookstore’s continuous presence in the Harlem community is evident. Most importantly, this business aims to keep the culture of literature among ethnic communities and the youth alive.
Check out events Hue-Man has lined up for October.