ocked in on Seven Mile, Hood Book Headquarters is an unassuming empire. The store has a relaxed, at-home feel. Its walls are filled with some of the best urban fiction around, smooth sounds play in the background – and you’re in the company of the incomparable Ms. Michel Moore, proprietor and a novelist herself.
“Detroit’s book czar,” as she’s put it on social media, Moore has made noise in the urban fiction world since 2004. Her first self-published novel, Say U Promise, which she hawked on the streets of New York, became an Essence Magazine best seller. That quickly grew into a business of both writing and selling books.
“I started off just selling my two titles,” Moore says. “After a month I reached out to other authors I knew in New York, New Jersey, Delaware and Philadelphia and told them to send their books.”
Open in its eastside location since June 2016, Hood previously thrived in a Warren flea market for 11 years. “It was time to move on to brick and mortar,” Moore says. “I wanted a place where I could offer poetry, karaoke, space for book club meetings, book signings and serve food without disturbing the other businesses around me.” Not to mention space for her growing book stock.
While still relatively small, Hood has big impact in the urban-lit world, hosting signings by heavy hitters like Nikki Turner, K’WAN and Carl Weber.
Alongside Moore at the store, you’ll also find her husband and business partner Marlon P.S. White – both often immersed in intriguing discussions with customers.
Writing is definitely in the family. White shares credits on Moore’s latest novel, Young and Hungry, and her daughter, T.C. Littles, penned Knowledge Costs.
“My daughter is an Essence best seller with over 20 titles and I’ve co-wrote and published three novels with my husband.” (His solo project drops this summer.)
Moore stresses importance of bringing literature back to her neighborhood.
“You can still be somebody in the hood,” she says. “It don’t matter where you live. You can still succeed.”
Hot on the Shelf
Five urban fiction picks you’ll find at Hood.
Young and Hungry by Ms. Michel Moore and Marlon P.S. White
A “gripping tale of disloyalty, murder and mayhem” set in a crime-ridden, bankrupt Detroit.
$14.95, Urban Books, 2016
Caramel Candy: Volume 1: Choices by Tina Crenshaw
A good college girl goes wildly astray when she meets a few exotic dancers.
McNaughton & Gunn, Inc. 2008, $13
Pricey: Playing in Traffic by Fabiola Joseph
Two teen girls are deceived into leaving their homes in Haiti and Cuba and forced into the sex-working trade in the United States.
Urban Renaissance 2016, $14.95
Doll House by Amour
Down-on-her-luck Doll flees her troubled family and ex in gritty Toledo, Ohio and tries to start over in Atlanta – but soon finds her problems growing.
Urban Books 2013, $14.95
End of The Line by Treasure Hernandez
J-Rite, a “pint-sized exotic-dancer-turned-street-hustler,” hits Grand Rapids with a lust for hard cash and sights set on the “Black American Hood Dream.” Urban Books 2016, $14.95