Remember Her Name: L.A. Banks Is Black Lit History

By Kai Leakes

Black History Month is here. Every year my mind stays on how to honor our Black literature icons, especially our Black Women of Horror. Well, thankfully this month is Black Women in Horror Month, and as a proud contributor of the genre, I am shouting to the rafters as always to remember and celebrate all things L.A. Banks.

L. A. Banks was named a 2010 Living Legend by the Black Alumni Society of the University of Pennsylvania and was the recipient of the 2009 Romantic Times Booklover’s Career Choice Award for Paranormal Fiction. She was also named one of Pennsylvania’s Top 50 Women in Business for 2008 and won the 2008 Essence Storyteller of the Year award. Ms. Banks has written over 42 novels and contributed to 23 novellas. She mysteriously shape-shifts between the genres of romance, women’s fiction, crime/suspense thrillers, and paranormal lore. She was a proud member of The Liars Club, a Board of Trustee member for the Philadelphia Free Library, and served on the Mayor’s Commission on Literacy. Banks was a graduate of The University of Pennsylvania Wharton undergraduate program with a Master’s in Fine Arts from Temple University. She was a full-time writer who lived and worked in Philadelphia.

Leslie Esdaile Banks passed away at the age of 51 in August 2011 to cancer, at the height of her career, and shortly after giving a speech at the White House on the problems of healthcare for entrepreneurs.  In Remembrance of L.A. Banks, 1959-2011 |

LA Banks is the Memorial Guest of Honor at Readercon 32 this year July 13 – 16, 2023 at the Boston Quincy Marriott in Quincy, Massachusetts

Mama Banks, as us OG followers of her works (aka Street Team) lovingly called her, feels to me as if she has been relegated to an echo in the mainstream literary world, when truly she was a griot who inspired many and has been/still is imitated by many. So, I write this in hopes to inspire readers old and new to shout her name. I hope you all make all of the Book Toks and Instaposts in honor of her and her book series and add her to your lists of books to read. Too many have eaten off her influence and not uttered her name. Meanwhile, we as fans all sit and wait in hopes that her IP stops lingering in limbo. We hope that her works will be placed in trustworthy hands by her estate, so her books are produced in a quality, well-funded, respectfully adapted series, and in movies by Black folk and a diverse collective who know her voice and spirit.

It’s beyond time that we Black and NB-POC folks get to see ourselves represented in a genre that Hollywood often erases us from or relegates us to tokenism in. We deserve to be given a quality big budgeted production of vamps, werewolves, and more. We deserve to see ourselves desired, pined for, lusted after, and having all the delicious supernatural sex. We deserve to see mofos get their asses handed to them in abundance. More Blade (which we are getting) and next the works of L.A. Banks.

Outside of that, we deserve to see our communities represented in protecting each other, our kids, and teens, and connecting with each other in healthy and even challenging ways.

At the end of the day, we deserve more Black, Brown, Asian, Indigenous vamps, werewolves, witches, hunters, and more, all represented in their spectrum of love, desire, and care. L.A. Banks gave us that. Mama Banks showed us that. She also spoke truth to the world and predicted a lot of things that we see going on today. She should be mentioned right there with Octavia Butler and others as an influencer, with her name on a shirt as well.

L.A. Banks deserves to have her stories told by a network and production company that would support her work and pay well for her stories. It’s time to make it so. Please remember L.A. Banks and all of her books, speculative (horror, thriller, urban fantasy, para romance) and romance; she is Black Literature History. You can still buy her works at all major book outlets.

To read a more extensive tribute to Mama Banks for Black History Month you can read my first tribute to her at Horror Addicts.

Born in Iowa, but later relocating and raised in Alton, IL, and St. Louis, MO, Kai Leakes was an imaginative Midwestern child who gained an addiction to books at an early age. The art of imagination was the very start of Kai’s path of writing which led her to creating the Sin Eaters: Devotion Books series and continuing works. Since a young child, her love for creating, vibrant romance and fantasy-driven mystical tales, continues to be a major part of her very DNA. With the goal of sharing tales that entertain and add color to a gray literary world, Kai Leakes hopes to continue to reach out to those who love the same fantasy, paranormal, romantic, sci/fi, and soon, steampunk-driven worlds that shaped her unique multi-faceted and diverse vision. You can find Kai Leakes at:

Learn more about Kai Leakes in 100+ Black Women in Horror, a comprehensive guide to some of the most powerful voices on the scene. Click here for a free download of the current version, then come back in March for the newest version updated with dozens of new entries!


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