Darker Harder Chocolate:
longer, juicier and sexie
by DREW ROWSOME
"When I got the proof copy of Darker Harder Chocolate, I was elated," says author Kwame Stephens. "Much as I'm a fan of ebooks and technology, there's something magical about holding a paperback book. And Darker Harder Chocolate is over twice as thick and long as Dark Hard Chocolate. I'm not a size queen but size does matter in this case. The stories in Darker Harder Chocolate are longer, juicier and sexier than the first book."
Under the umbrella title of More Dark Hard Chocolate, Stephens released, due to popular demand, six ebook sequels to Dark Hard Chocolate. Now collected into a physical format, Darker Harder Chocolate is ready for the spotlight. "I hate boring book launches," says Stephens. "So the Darker Harder Chocolate launch will involve two other readers selected by the hosting agency - Black Coalition for AIDS Prevention. There will also be two musical performances and a three course serving of A Taste of Man2Man."
Man2Man is Stephen's breakthrough play, a gay love story, that has been revisited twice, by popular demand, at Harbourfront and U of T. "The three sketches correspond with Damien and Emmanuel's life from the end of Man2Man, through the end of Dark Hard Chocolate and finally at the end of Darker Harder Chocolate. We are almost done rehearsing and I can say for a fact that these will be most intensely written and realistically acted scenes you will see."
Stephens' readings are already intense, but in a different dramatic fashion. "I don't think about men around the world getting off on my work," he says of the joyfully prurient content. "I'm too busy living and getting my own rocks off. I have to confess that as I write erotica, I get turned on myself. When I re-read my own work I often get turned on too. In a world that is sometimes chaotic, sad and tragic, if my erotic words result in bringing pleasure and joy to some, then I'm glad to be a catalyst of sexual healing."
Once Darker Harder Chocolate is officially launched - and copies of all of Stephens' works will be on sale - Black CAP's One Night Only - End of Summer Party begins. The combined events are what Stephens envisions, "A celebration of all that is black, gay, bi, trans and inquiring. When I came out in the early 1990s and was reaching out to other black men, I first found Black CAP. I was introduced to a group of black men who also were a part of the organization. It was in essence my coming out group. I even had my first blow job as part of those amazing interactions. No names shall be mentioned . . ."
Spinning for One Night Only - End of Summer Party will be DJ Blackcat who is also known for imparting erotic energy. "Mykel DJ Black Cat is a legend, one of my greatest supports and most of all a friend," says Stephens. "The success of my sold-out first version of Man2Manwas in large part due to his throwing his weight behind the project. He was the connection that made things happen at a time when others were reluctant to support my then-unknown self. He also hosted the launch of Dark Hard Chocolate. I remain forever grateful and indebted to Mykel. He's a hero and does so much for many black gay men in this town. I feel honoured to be on the same bill as Black CAP and DJ Mykel Black Cat."
After he recovers from the launch party, Stephens has, as usual, more plans, "Next is the prequel, the last book in the trilogy. The working title is Damien and Emmanuel - A Dark Hard Chocolate Novel. I'm working on it and I'm not sure when I'll finish. The story starts one year before Damien and Emmanuel meet and takes us through the events of the play. The use of a novel as a means of telling stories will allow me to go deep into the characters and develop them." For the moment Stephens' playwriting is on hold as he explores the option of film. "I plan to shoot a few shorter films starting in the fall." And though he still insists he isn't a size queen, " After I gain more experience, I hope to revisit the Dark Hard Chocolate stories about Damien and Emmanuel on film somewhere down the line."