Every year in February the team of authors and illustrators over at The Brown Bookshelf features a range of Black contributors to the kidlit community. I was surprised and honored to be invited to participate this year, and my interview can be found here. Here’s a bit of what I had to say:
I often listen to Emeli Sandé and I once heard her say in an interview that she felt the people attending her concerts were outsiders; she was happy that her music served as a vehicle for creating community among people who often felt alone. I identify with that idea—I love that more and more Black people are openly identifying as geeks and nerds (or “blerds”). The Afropunk community creates space for so many different kinds of Black folks, and that didn’t seem possible when I was growing up. If you weren’t into hip hop, you weren’t Black—end of conversation. I’m drawn to artists who support the idea of Black multiplicity. We aren’t monolithic; here in the US and across the African diaspora we’re an incredibly diverse group and that’s a strength, not a weakness. I think young adult literature needs to reflect that reality.