cover image Mercedes Ladies

Mercedes Ladies

Sheri Sher, . . Kensington/Vibe, $15 (268pp) ISBN 978-1-60183-003-6

Sher’s life is the inspiration for this story of hip-hop and life in the Bronx in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Strong-willed Shelly grows up in the Bronx with her multitude of siblings and hard-working single mom at a time when hip-hop is a street-corner phenomenon. Shelly gathers some friends to organize an all-female crew—a rarity in the male-dominated scene—and they hit the streets as the Mercedes Young Ladies. As the Ladies earn respect on the streets, urban life takes its toll: the girls are faced with drugs, violence and poverty. But Shelly and the girls persevere and find themselves running with the big boys. There isn’t a fairy tale ending, and Sher takes pains to give a real sense of the burgeoning hip-hop scene, where the game is fast-paced and often unfair. (Mar.)