Comedians, spoken word artists and a gospel choir entertained guests at the launch of Robyn Travis' debut novel Mama Can't Raise No Man at the Hackney Empire in London last night (27th September).
Around 900 people turned up for the two-hour event, which was hosted by comedian Kojo and opened and closed by music from the House Gospel Choir. The event saw stand-up sets from comedians Slim and Judi Love, as well as spoken word performances from George the Poet and Suli Breaks about the issues facing the black community.
The House Gospel Choir
Travis also participated in a question and answer session on stage, where he spoke about the inspirations behind his 2013 autobiography Prisoners to the Streets (X Press) and Mama Can't Raise No Man (OWN IT!). He urged the audience not to judge the book by its title, explaining he wrote it "for single parents who are forced to raise children alone the best way they know how". Travis added that he spoke to several single parents as part of his reserach to help him understand their mindset. Speaking about the importance of family and parenting in the book, Travis pointed out his mother and children, who were also in the audience.
Robyn Travis, Crystal Mahey-Morgan and Kojo on stage
His publisher, OWN IT! founder Crystal Mahey-Morgan, later came on stage and told the audience: "I worked in mainstream publishing for eight years and I left because publishers weren't publishing books like Robyn's. These stories need to be heard. Publishers say there isn't an audience for books like this, but look at us here."
After the event, Travis signed copies of the book for attendees.