Who Is Hadiyah?
by Kionne Nicole
When I wrote The Space Our Love Demands (TSOLD), I envisioned a character that would embody traits, personal challenges, and weakness identifiable to most while also contextually representing one interpretation of the Black lesbian experience. At the most basic level, Hadiyah, or “Yah,” is a graduate student living in Louisville, KY. Originally from Memphis by way of Columbus, Ohio, she moved to The River City following a break-up from her long-term partner, Charity. They were college sweethearts, the couple everyone loved. In Louisville, Yah meets several women and establishes intimate connections with two in particular, Fatma and Adrienne. An emotional struggle ensues sending her down an emotionally tumultuous path. Yah becomes more complex and changed by a series of interpersonal and intimate experiences.
Yah is an intelligent young woman, but reclusive and selfish at times. Yah describes what she thinks, feels, and sees using some crass language and a lot of colloquialisms. Readers have told me that she is multilingual and code-switches often. That is one element of the book I want readers to appreciate. As a member of several communities—academic, queer, southern, Black, etc.—she has a manifold consciousness.
The Major Players.
There are three other significant characters in TSOLD. Tee is an eighteen-year-old, handsome stud who is very entrepreneurial and astute in mathematics. She provides the book with humor, excitement, and roughness. She is embedded in the subculture of masculine-identified Black lesbian women and illustrates some of the style, expression, and behaviors of that community. Tee is Yah’s best friend in Louisville. They have a big sister-little sister, mentor-mentee relationship.
While Yah and Tee are on one end of the spectrum, Lois lies on the other. She is the wisest of the three. Lois is a fifty-something, married lesbian who provides advice, arbitrates disputes, and models long-term martial satisfaction. Along with Tee, Lois defines what gay folks mean when we refer to each other as “family.” The camaraderie between these women is important because of the limited representation of Black women in authentic, open, and honest relationships within popular culture. Even though positive relationships between sisters take place all the time, we don’t see them enough; therefore, TSOLD highlights female-to-female communion.
Last, but certainly not least, is Charity. Her character traits are passionate, no-nonsense, and self-starter. She is the long-term, loyal ex-girlfriend and the backbone of Yah’s character—even though she presents as a background character. Where companions or friends are concerned, Charity is the quintessential example of a woman you’d want by your side.
The source of the conflict in TSOLD will differ according to whom the reader identifies with.
The Reader’s Experience.
The Space Our Love Demands will test your self-awareness. The way that each character is judged or interpreted is solely dependent upon the reader’s reference point. I sought to create a multidimensional story told through characters with distinct personality and original expression. The reader is challenged to think about intimacy, loyalty, and commitment. Since the underlying themes are universal, the novel will resonate with any reader.