Charlamagne Tha God is avidly creating spaces for amplifying Black voices.
From signing a multi-year partnership deal with Audible to becoming iHeartMedia’s Senior Creative Officer of Cultural Content and Programming, the multimedia mogul is dedicated to ensuring that there are platforms for upcoming Black talent to excel and untold Black stories to be heard.
Charlamagne launched his publishing imprint — Black Privilege Publishing — last year, and in August, it reached a milestone by publishing its first work of fiction, “Shallow Waters” by Anita Kopacz.
As a spiritual advisor and the former Editor-in-Chief of “Heart & Soul Magazine,” Kopacz has been dedicated to healing in the Black community and “Shallow Waters” serves as a continuation of her mission.
“I felt like I had to create something that was coming from my soul which I feel like ‘Shallow Waters’ is my soul baby,” Kopacz tells AfroTech. “What I was doing at ‘Heart and Soul’ was helping to facilitate others to get their stories out, and it was a beautiful platform, but it was time for me to get the story out that needed to come through, which is ‘Shallow Waters.'”
Kopacz’s debut novel follows the story of 17-year-old Yemaya’s journey in search for Obatala, a young man who she shares a magical connection with. The story draws inspiration from Yemaya — the Yoruba goddess of the ocean. Yemaya is a deity known to have watched over enslaved people as they crossed over the Middle Passage to the Underground Railroad. Yemaya’s history represents the magic and strength of Black people — especially Black women. After the murder of George Floyd and the unrest in 2020, Kopacz realized that Black people were in dire need of healing which served as confirmation to release the novel.
“Once all of the things that happened with the unrest during 2020 I felt like, ‘Oh my gosh, I have been writing this story for today. For what’s happening now’,” Kopacz says. “So, that’s where the divine timing came in because then Charlamagne read it, and he knew that it needed to come out now, and the whole process was divine.”
The process and release of “Shallow Waters” connect to the overarching theme of divine timing. After reading Kopacz’s manuscript, thanks to Yadira Albarran, a mutual friend and spiritual advisor, Charlamagne wanted his imprint to publish the novel, as it exemplifies how Black storytelling is far from monolithic.
“’Shallow Waters’ is through the lens of a Black woman, starring a young Black woman. I just felt like that was the story that wasn’t out there and needed to be,” Charlamagne tells AfroTech. “Just to show that [as] Black people, we do have different stories to tell and such a rich history for our people. So, for me, it was right up my alley — for what I wanted to do with my imprint.”
As previously reported by AfroTech, Black Privilege Publishing focuses on “opening new doors in the publishing marketplace by amplifying Black and brown narratives and rethinking traditional approaches to the industry.” The imprint’s purpose aligns with “Shallow Waters” as Charlamagne describes the novel as “a conversation-starter that’s inspiring and empowering people.”
“For me, this book is a connection to the motherland and continues to remind us that there was something before us being enslaved here in America,” Charlamagne says. “And that’s just what I want my book imprint to do because we all understand the transformative power of books. There’s nothing that teaches us and wakes us up like books. That’s how it’s always been for me in my life, whether it was fiction or non-fiction. I just feel like ‘Shallow Waters’ is one of those books that’s just going to wake us up.”
Kopacz’s “Shallow Waters” is now available here.