The subtext of the event was clear: it was not just a celebration of romance novels, but a celebration of diversity within an industry that has long been marked by pervasive racism. For decades, publishers had confined many black romance authors to all-black lines, marketed only to black readers. Some booksellers continued to shelve black romances separately from white romances, on special African American shelves. Accepted industry wisdom told black authors that putting black couples on their covers could hurt sales, and that they should replace them with images of jewellery, or lawn chairs, or flowers. Other authors of colour had struggled to get representation within the genre at all.