Why I want to write “When Black was Beautiful”

I’m used to reading books about slavery. Growing up as a black girl in the western world (I was born in London, England before I moved to Canada when I was nine), I was desperate to see myself in any form of literature or media, and most of the time that translated to feature films and novels where my people were in chains. I get it一I really do. It’s important to show that time period, especially for the small population of ignorant and blatantly racist people today who like to claim that it never happened, just like the anti-semitists who would like to believe the Holocaust is a gigantic hoax made up by Jewish people. 

But if I had to witness racism and outright hatred against my people, I always asked myself if the media couldn’t show it in all its varied forms. As a writer, I firmly believe in the notion that I should write the kind of books I would like to read. So that’s exactly what I plan to do here. 

The description and cover for WHEN BLACK WAS BEAUTIFUL can be found in the post below :


“There has never been a time when black was beautiful. Least of all now.”  # The year is 1965. The Jim Crow Laws have finally ended, and Bourbons Academy for the children of the rich and powerful is forced to accept its first batch of dark skinned students. But the Academy isn’t about to let…

The Jim Crow laws are acknowledged but often overlooked in today’s society as a horrible transition period between outright slavery and the fragile “equality” that americans claim to have today. Don’t get me wrong一racism is still alive and well, but partly because of my obsession with boarding schools, desire to expose white supremacy at it’s finest, and interest in history as a whole, I figured the end of the Jim Crow Laws era would be an amazing setting for a novel. 

Here, I get to develop three different black characters, two girls and one boy, which is a choice I believe I made on purpose. Black women are some of the most underrepresented, unprotected, and undesired people in society, whether it comes to beauty standards or simply socioeconomic value, and I have made a commitment as a writer to continue to represent us in all our glory. Why I am convinced it will be especially interesting to work with Anita, Jezza and Tyrell is that I want to show them on three different sides of the black spectrum. 

Anita is dark skinned, with 4c hair and “ethnic” features, Jezza is mixed raced, with 3c curls and white features, and Tyrell is albino, which easily makes him the most discriminated against of the three. While Anita experiences the brunt of simple racism because of her darker complexion, and Jezza has always possessed some level of privilege because of her lighter one, Tyrell is hated like nothing else, because he is an alleged “freak of nature” that also happens to be black. 

Despite each one of their individual struggles, education has always been something that is exceedingly important to them, and when this opportunity at Bourbons Academy presents itself, they simply can’t resist. As a whole, I want to show that black people are smart, driven, brave, passionate, and aren’t just a collection of stereotypes like the media often paints us to be. I wanted a romance like you’ve never seen it before一an interracial one between Anita and a boy called Leck Munroe, who is the son of the school board’s superintendent and the classic staple of a popular and privileged white boy. If these four unlikely friends could team up and somehow show every racist, white supremacist at this elite boarding school how powerful black people truly are, and that we are more than the discrimination we have suffered for hundreds of years, then I figured anything is possible. 

That gives me hope that the thousands of people around the world who stand tall with the BlackLivesMatter movement can one day do the same.