What Went Down April + Mixtape

So I started drafting this post and realized that the normal format I do for monthly wrap-ups just wasn’t cutting it, instead, I decided to just talk about the highlight of April: my college tours trip. And of course my monthly mixtape because April music was lit.

Spontaneous trips are always fun, and this one was no different. We set out before the sun on a Thursday morning and drove the 4 hours to Atlanta from Nashville. First stop was Clark Atlanta University for a tour. The campus is in the heart of ATL which gives it the city feel that I like. While we were there, we had the amazing opportunity to see their art gallery, which was my favorite part.

The fashion students created a look based on certain works of art and accompanying pieces of poetry. It was so beautiful and completely my thing.

 

Next we went to the historical Tuskegee University in Alabama. This is the university Booker T. Washington started after reconstruction. Just being on the campus after reading Booker T. Washington’s autobiography last year was powerful.

Our final stop was Alabama State University in Montgomery, Alabama. Our tour there was so polished and informative, all the students and faculty we met were kind and helpful, that school made an amazing first impression.

Overall, this trip got me even more excited about college because now I can feel it becoming real for me. It was a really fun trip and all of the schools were so worth my visit.

 

Shifting gears because I just really wanted to share my playlist like this was a regular What Went Down post, here are my most loved/played songs of April 2018.

  • Don’t Leave Me ~BTS
  • Chance of Love ~TVXQ!
  • Thunder ~EXO
  • Blooming Day ~EXO CBX
  • Sweet Dreams ~EXO CBX
  • Polygon Dust ~Porter Robinson
  • Jealousy ~Monsta X
  • Shine ~Pentagon
  • Redbone ~Childish Gambino
  • No Scrubs ~TLC
  • Haru Haru (acoustic version) ~BigBang
  • Tender ~Jones
  • Plz Don’t Be Sad ~Highlight
  • I Got You ~Jaylon Ashaun
  • lovely ~Billy Eilish, Khalid
  • Rewind ~GOT7
  • Us ~GOT7
  • Baby Don’t Like It ~NCT 127
  • 90s Babies ~Victoria Monet
  • Mad Generation ~Victoria Monet
  • Paradise ~GOT7
  • sidetoside ~Chris McClenney
  • The Move ~Reva Devito
  • One ~Samuel
  • After the Storm ~Kali Uchis, Bootsy Collins, Tyler the Creator
  • What You Mean to Me ~Chris McClenney
  • Run ~Chris McClenney
  • Off-Road ~Pentagon
  • Do It For Fun ~Pentagon
  • Fallin ~Monsta X

I hope you enjoyed my different format for this month, and look forward to some epic posts in May!

Stay fly,

~Akilah

 

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25 Questions Food Tag

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I was looking for something fun, simple, and food related and I stumbled across this food tag. I thought it’d be fun to give it a shot.

1. What’s your favorite breakfast?
I’m in love with breakfast! My fave would be either Chicken & Waffles or Shrimp & Grits.

2. How do you drink your coffee?
I don’t like coffee but if I go to Starbucks or something I’ll get a Caramel Frappe or some type of latte. Although, because of the recent unfair treatment of customers I won’t be going to Starbuck’s anytime soon.

3. What’s on your favorite sandwich?
There’s too many: Monte Cristo, Banh Mi, Philly Cheesesteak, French Dip… ok I’ll stop now. But in terms of more basic sandwiches I love an amazing grilled cheese sandwich.

4. Soup or Salad?
Soup. Although I love salads too.

5. What’s your favorite cookbook?
Martha Stewart Cakes, it has a lot of my go to cake recipes in it.

6. No more sweets or no more hearty foods?
I guess hearty foods, I love desserts with my entire being.

7. What’s your favorite Cuisine?
Can I be really broad and say Asian? I love Thai, Korean, Japanese, and Chinese foods so much I couldn’t just choose one country.

8. What’s your favorite food movie?
Ummm, I can’t really think of a food movie other than Ratatouille so…

9. What’s your most guilty pleasure?
Potato chips with ketchup and hot sauce.

10. What’s your greatest inspiration source?
Pinterest.

11. Cooking at home or going out for dinner?
Going out for dinner because I love trying new restaurants

12. High end or low profile?
Well, I have kind of expensive taste, however, I love those hole-in-the-wall places with bomb food. So, both!

13. What’s your favorite restaurant?
It’s a list: Uncle Julio’s, Thai Phooket, Martin’s Barbecue… and many others

14. I do my grocery shopping at:
I don’t really do the grocery shopping, but my parents shop at Kroger, Publix, Sprout’s, Trader Joe’s, and Whole Foods

15. The tastiest food I’ve ever eaten was:
This is too much pressure! But right now I’d have to say the shrimp & grits waffle from Waffle Works in Birmingham

16. Coffee with George Clooney or Heston Blumenthal?
Neither

17. What should not be missing in your kitchen?
Peanut butter.

18. What’s your favorite snack?
Greek yogurt or apple and peanut butter

19. What’s on your pizza?
It changes often but right now I’m into: cheese, red onions, Italian sausage, spinach, sometimes sundried tomatoes.

20. What food do you really dislike?
Honestly, there isn’t one that I dislike completely, some foods I only like it certain forms or prepared certain ways.

21. What’s your favorite food blog?
This one! No just kidding it’s probably Sally’s Baking Addiction (I mean, my blog’s good too though…)

22. What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten?
Seaweed, frog legs, maybe other things I forgot.

23. What’s on your food bucket list?
Try Indian food, learn to make croissants, and eat sushi in Japan.

24. I couldn’t live without:
Kimchi? I put it on a lot of things. Another would be hot sauce: Green Pepper Cholula, Sriracha, Tabasco, Mango Chili, I love them all.

25. If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Sushi, hands down.

Let me know some of your answers below!

Stay fly,

~Akilah

Kpop Trends from Seoul Fashion Week

I’ve always been into trends and trend forecasting, so I thought it would be fun to do some trend forecasting with Kpop fashion because we all know Kpop is my entire life. I am by no means a professional forecaster but I took into account past MV outfits, Seoul style, and looks from runways shows at SFW. Here are a few trends I think/hope will emerge.

Complex Belts

 

Complex belts
Seoul Street Style [Vogue.com]

Harnesses and braces have recently emerged as a trend in certain concepts like NCT Dream’s Go and Monsta X’s Dramarama. Belts will naturally follow in complex utility styles like the ones seen in street style.

Wide Leg Pants 

 

Wide leg pants
Seoul Street Style [Vogue.com]

Typically, idols tend to wear skinny jeans, tight leather pants etc. while this is all well and good there needs to be a little variety. For this F/W season in Seoul wide leg pants were huge and I hope it extends to Kpop fashion. Idol’s like BTS’ V wear these in casual situations often and JBJ’s Hyunbin has sported them for live stages already.

Statement Jackets

 

99%IS Jacket
99%IS [Vogue.com]

Jackets are a staple in music videos and live stages. But instead of basic bombers, denim, and leather jackets I expect that we’ll be seeing more statement jackets. Either with cool pieces of hardware, bold colors, or avant garde silhouettes. I think these pieces will make a huge impact in many concepts.

 

I’m always excited for the future of fashion in general and the intersection of fashion and music so I really hope some of my predictions hold true and that I see these pieces in the MVs of the future.

Stay fly,

~Akilah

What Went Down March + Mixtape

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Hi! I’m late but I’m here. I can’t believe that we’re now in the second quarter of 2018. Let’s see what happened in March!

Food

 

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We ate at Puckett’s and I had some bomb chicken and waffles. I think that’s the only noteworthy food experience.

 

Fashion

Seoul Fashion Week happened and there’ll be a post about that soon.

 

Books

The Hobbit | J.R.R. Tolkien

Speak | Laurie Halse Anderson

Out of the Silent Planet | C.S. Lewis

Speak was my favorite, I loved the story and the emphasis on art. Out of the Silent Planet is also amazing, it’s a cool sci-fi read.

 

Life

We finished Hwarang!!!! It was amazing: I laughed, cried, and screamed. I’m so sad it’s over but so satisfied.

I had the monumental opportunity to write and direct the Easter play for our church so March was filled with rehearsals.

Hmmm, I think that’s all the noteworthy happenings.

 

Kpop

Whoaaaaa! There were so many spectacular comebacks this month. Monsta X’s Jealousy, NCT 127’s Touch,  and Samuel’s One were so cool. I’m crushed by BigBang’s Flower Road and SHINee’s From Now On. And j-hope’s mixtape saved 2018.

 

March Mixtape

  • La Fete Est Fini | Orelsan
  • Pulling Me Under | Kevin Garrett
  • That’s What Love Can Do | Vivian Green
  • If You Fall | Ray Dalton
  • Walls | Jaylon Ashaun
  • One & Only You | Got7
  • Miss You | EXO-CBX
  • Encore | Cheryl Lynn
  • Best Love | Yuna
  • Warriors | Koryn Hawthorne
  • Africa | Kyle Bielfield
  • Daydream | j-hope
  • Ce qui me plait | Lisandro Cuxi
  • Touch | NCT 127
  • The Night Song | Ravyn Lenae
  • Call Me Baby | Jung Min, Daeho
  • Think Hole | B.A.P
  • Overdose | EXO
  • Lost | BTS
  • Dance With Me (Venus) | VAV
  • Flower Road | BigBang
  • Lovin You Mo | EXO
  • Nous | Lisandro Cuxi
  • A Rose is Still a Rose | Aretha Franklin
  • Pleasure Principal | Janet Jackson
  • Growl | Daeho

 

I know this wrap-up was a bit more abrupt/strangely formatted but it’s a wonder it even got out so I hope you still enjoyed it!

Stay fly,

~Akilah

RTW Fall ’18 Wishlist

I know I’m late, but I’ve finally caught up (ish) on the Fall 2018 Ready to Wear coverage. It was a solid season: of the brands I check for first I was a bit disappointed with Yohji Yamamoto and Chanel, but I was in love with Versace and Off-White.

As I perused the collections I was struck by how many of the pieces were wearable and how many I wanted to own. Here are five pieces that are on my “wishlist” from this season.

Undercover Sweatshirt

Undercover Sweatshirt
via Vogue.com

Grey sweatshirts will always hold a special place in my heart and the addition of the graphic is amazing. I love the “Total Youth” message and the silhouette is super breezy.

Marine Serre Raincoat

Marine Serre raincoat
via Vogue.com

Red is a trendy color that seems to be sticking around. I don’t own many red pieces and most of them ironically are coats. I love loud raincoats and the sheerness of this one is really intriguing.

Sacai Top

Sacai top
via Vogue.com

The structure contrasted with the slouch of this top is beautiful. The sheer sleeves are a lovely detail and the whole vibe of this piece is just amazing. I’d wear this in a heartbeat with a black pencil skirt or light-wash denim.

Tosia Set

Tosia set
via Vogue.com

As a firm believer in nightwear for daytime, I was in love with Tosia’s collection this year. This blue pajama-like set is a dream: the tailoring, subtle print, and tie detail make for a stunning look. I would wear this so often it’s not funny.

Tabula Rasa Dress

Tabula Rasa dress
via Vogue.com

Aside from Off-White, Tabula Rasa was my favorite collection this season. The soft angelic knitwear is completely up my alley. Although I want most of the pieces in this collection I choose this dress because the silhouette is so flattering, and those who know me can attest that I have a thing for the color blush. I also adore the styling of this with the sandals and socks in luxe tones.

What did you think of my wishlist? Did you like this season’s looks?

Stay fly,

~Akilah

Givenchy: Legacy

 

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Hubert de Givenchy Feb 21, 1927 – Mar 11, 2018

 

91 years

you lived that long but did you realize while on earth

your legacy would live on?

“What is a legacy?

It’s sowing seeds in a garden

you never get to see.”

With your hands you sculpted beauty

Jackie O and Audrey

Tell me

Did you know that first day

When you stepped into the atelier

That the world would remember the way

You gave form

to elegance

You left

Earth

Some call it a mistake

You left

Earth

but you left beauty in your wake.

 

Stay fly,

~Akilah

 

Let’s Talk About Black Panther

Because the king don’t cry, king don’t die
King don’t lie, king give heart, king get by, king don’t fall
Kingdom come, when I come, you know why
King, king, king, king
I am T’Challa! ~Black Panther // Kendrick Lamar

Black Panther

I saw Black Panther on opening night and it was amazing! Hands-down the best Marvel movie ever created: it was exciting, humorous, and inspiring. Not only do I want every single outfit worn in this movie but I lowkey wish I could move to Wakanda. Also, don’t be surprised if my future kids are named after characters in this movie.

I’ve seen the movie twice now and my thoughts have settled enough that I am prepared to analyze and share my thoughts.

Ok, you should’ve seen the movie by now, but I’m obligated to give you a warning: this contains spoilers.

Political Commentary

During the duration of the movie I got chills realizing just how much some of the narrative mirrored our world today. I don’t quite remember whose line it was, but one of the characters stated that if Wakanda opened it’s borders then people would come, bringing their problems with them and pollute the nation. This mirrors some people’s attitudes to immigration in the United States: we shouldn’t let them in because they’ll “pollute our society”. It’s a fear tactic, the Wakandans feared corruption by the world just as some Americans fear the loss of jobs, their way of life, and their safety.

Even in Erik Killmonger’s character we find a relatable element. Without a doubt Killmonger is evil, I mean he’s a murderer, however his philosophies themselves aren’t evil and that’s what makes him an amazing villain. Killmonger is angry that Wakanda chooses to stand by as black people around the world are being oppressed while they have the ability to help. This frustration is understandable but his solutions are wrong: arm the population with weapons and mercilessly kill the oppressor. As T’Challa said, Killmonger would have the oppressed become the oppressor. A lot of people in real life hold this philosophy: that oppressed people should give colonizers a taste of their own medicine, but while it is a very visceral response and a natural one: it won’t solve anything. We should treat people as we would want to be treated rather than how they treat us.

Fashion

I think everyone can agree that the fashion was top-notch. Even those who never notice the costume design in a film had at least one thing they were struck by fashion-wise in this movie. For me, I was struck by everything. My favorite looks were Shuri’s white dress with the tulle ruffle on the back, Nakia’s green jumpsuit, and T’Challa’s Kente cloth edged robe.

I also loved the symbolism that was laced through the looks. For instance, I noticed Shuri’s clothes were a lot more modern-Western influenced than the other characters, I think this is because she’s the youngest and represents technological innovation and the integration of culture. There was also a huge contrast between T’Challa’s and Killmonger’s kingly garb. T’Challa always wore his robe closed while Killmonger wore it open to expose his chest. I think is portraying Killmonger’s eagerness to show his power and strength but also his tendency not care about acceptability and tradition. T’Challa is just as strong as (if not stronger) than Killmonger but more reserved, tactical, and discreet.

I watched a commentary where the director Ryan Coogler was discussing the symbolism in the casino scene. T’Challa is wearing black, Nakia green, and Okoye red, these are the colors of the Pan-African flag. Also, when in everyone’s favorite scene Okoye flings off her wig to expose her shaven head, she’s symbolizing the casting-off of narrow European standards of beauty and embracing her natural glory. I really feel that.

Female Empowerment

Finally, we come to my one of my favorite themes in this film: female empowerment and specifically black girl magic. The Dora Milaje were spectacular, the concept of an all female warrior/body-guard squad really peaked my interest but it was even better in execution. What I truly loved throughout this movie was that women were allowed to be fierce and vulnerable, strong and sensitive, to show the multi-faceted nature of femininity. Sometimes with modern feminism we end up exalting women at the expense of men, but in this film everyone was allowed to be who they truly are. Having female body guards didn’t diminish T’Challa’s masculinity or make him seem weak and incapable, rather it made him seem stronger and more secure.

Ryan Coogler has been continually discussing the concept of “femininity as a weapon”, which I can’t get enough of. When Okoye throws her wig and Nakia fights with her high heel in the casino they’re using femininity as a weapon. The fact that all of the Dora Milaje fight in dresses even further portrays femininity as a weapon. One of my favorite scenes is when W’Kabi asks Okoye if she would really kill him, her lover, she responds without hesitation, “For Wakanda? Without question”. This comment exemplifies Okoye’s loyalty to her country, her heritage, and herself first and foremost. It’s so powerful to see them standing there: Okoye with her spear pointed at W’Kabi who’s kneeling before her. By her courageous display of loyalty she eventually brings him back to his senses.

Showing black women as beautiful, kind, smart, and strong is one of the best things that Black Panther does. Just the fact that Shuri, a 16-year-old black girl is the smartest character in the Marvel Universe is monumental, especially for me: a 16-year-old black girl. I’ve heard people say that this movie changed their perceptions of black women: it caused them to realize that black women are truly beautiful. Any movie that can change people’s perceptions is a legendary one indeed.

I could go on and on about this film so there may be a part two in the future. But for now, tell me what you thought of Black Panther, did you enjoy it? What did you gather from the film?

Stay fly, Wakanda Forever!

~Akilah

What Went Down ~February + Monthly Mixtape

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February has come and gone, I’m sad to see it go but sort of relieved because I’m exhausted from blogging everyday. Let’s see what went down in February.

Food

  • We ate a bunch of gluten free pizza
  • Had breakfast at Firstwatch (I had lemon ricotta pancakes and they were the bomb.com)

I think that’s it actually, definitely not as cool as January’s food scene.

 

Fashion

I’m really ashamed to say that although February is fashion month I didn’t really follow any coverage of runway shows.

I know, I know, I plan to catch up in March but I was quite preoccupied this month. Anyway I get emails from Vogue Runway so I did see glimpses of some brands and I’m in love with Fendi so far.

I bought some jeans from Macy’s. This may not seem like wrap-up worthy news but these are definitively the best jeans I’ve ever owned and you’ll probably be seeing them in a million ootds in the future.

 

Books

I completed three books again, not for Brit Lit however (I still haven’t completed Pride & Prejudice or A Passage to India but we’re not gonna talk about it.)

  • A Girl Named Mister ~Nikki Grimes
  • Calling My Name ~Liara Tamani
  • The Skin I’m In ~Sharon G. Flake

A Girl Named Mister was my favorite, although all of them were amazing and you can click the links to see the posts I did about each one.

 

 

Life

The Olympics happened in PyeonChang South Korea. I will say the highlights for me were CL and EXO performing at the Closing Ceremony. But in terms of events I loved Short Track and couples skating.

Seeing EXO perform was truly amazing. I mean the Growl remix was off the chain! I even liked their rendition of Power this time even though I lowkey can’t stand that song. Their outfits, their dancing, their singing all was on point. I did really miss Yixing though, I hope Idol Producer is going well for him!

We watched The Jacksons: An American Dream which is a docu-drama miniseries about Michael Jackson and the Jacksons early life and career. It was really good and Angela Bassett slayed as always.

We also watched two French films this month Les Chorsites and Kirikou et la Sorciere. Both were spectacular but I especially loved Les Chorsites, I’d definitely recommend it to anyone (it has English subtitles if you can’t understand French).

My sister and I also started watching the Kdrama Hwarang. We started it because Taehyung from BTS and Minho from SHINee were in it and because my little sister is learning Korean. But we soon got hooked on the story. We’re only on episode 4 but I can’t wait to get farther into it.

I also colored my hair for the first time ever this month. I went from my natural dark brown color to a deep violet. It’s not actually that noticeable: more like a slight blue-black but I like how it gave my hair more sheen. Anyway I’ll probably do it again later this year.

I also got new glasses! You may see them, you may not: I like to be mysterious…

Ok and now for the most exciting thing that happened this month Black Panther!!! I saw it with my mom, dad, and little sister on opening Friday and it was hands-down the best Marvel movie ever. I can’t wait to see it again this Saturday. Also, I’ll be doing a blog post about it pretty soon so look forward to that!

 

Kpop

Seventeen released their Thanks MV and Performance Video

I love the calming vibes of this song so much! Also S. Coups and Woozi slayed vocals. And please tell me how Minghao looks cool with a mullet?

NCT-U came back with Boss and released a dance practice for it

Not gonna lie I was literally screaming watching this video. It’s spectacular and I may or may not have made my sister watch it 5 times with me when it first came out. Every single member was bias wrecking me at every possible second: the choreo was bomb, the outfits were amazing, and the rap and vocal performances were life. I think there’s always at least one video where you’re rewarded for stanning your bias and this video was that one for me. I mean Taeyong really showed out. Also the new members Jungwoo and Lucas are so amazing, I especially love Lucas’ rap in this song and I look forward to seeing more from them!

NCT-U (Taeyong & Ten) released Baby Don’t Stop

Not to be confused with EXO’s Baby Don’t Cry or NCT 127’s Baby Don’t Like It. Anyway seeing Ten again was amazing and he and Taeyong make a lit duo. I love the dance in this, Taeyong singing is life, and him rapping in Spanish is pretty cool. I don’t love the song so I don’t think I’m gonna download it but the video is nice and the song is super catchy.

Monsta X released a Tropical Night self cam video

MX are kings of self cam and this one did not disappoint. My highlights were Kihyun cleaning the studio while dancing, all the Showhyuk moments, and Changkyun with the Supreme money gun. They’re dorks and I love them.

SF9 released Mamma Mia

Ok… this was not my favorite video. They were doing the most the entire video but it was kinda cute kinda funny I guess. I did really like Taeyang’s dance part, his dance is the reason he’s my bias.

Got7 released a special video One and Only You feat. Hyolyn

I’m already in love with this song and I need a full length version. The video is fun and Yugyeom’s singing part is the best ever.

 

February Mixtape

I listened to a lot of music this month and a lot of great songs came out this month.

Fun ~Coldplay ft. Tove Lo

She’s Mine ~VAV

Same Drugs ~Chance the Rapper

U + Me (Love Lesson) ~Mary J. Blige

On the Loose ~Niall Horan

Black Gold ~Esperanza Spalding

Miss You Much ~Janet Jackson

Unravel Me ~Sabrina Claudio

Grenade ~Bruno Mars

Black Panther ~Kendrick Lamar

So Sick ~Ne-Yo

Electric Kiss ~EXO

Tomorrow ~BTS

Boss ~NCT-U

Beautiful ~iKON

Love Story ~Suran ft. Crush

Someone Who Can ~Yuna

Too Much Sauce ~Chloe x Halle

Pay My Rent ~DNCE

Blessings (reprise) ~Chance the Rapper

La Modelo ~Ozuna ft. Cardi B.

Hymn for the Weekend ~Coldplay

Thanks ~Seventeen

My Flower ~JBJ

 

That was a long post for February to be the shortest month but I hope you enjoyed seeing my highlights.

Stay fly,

~Akilah

What were your February highlights?

 

 

28 Days of Black Authors ~Day 28

Walter Dean Myers

I was around 12 years old when my dad told me to read Walter Dean Myers’ Monster. I picked it up, kind of stunned to see a cover with a black guy on it. It’s funny because looking back I expect to have felt slight electric shocks as I opened the first page. But honestly, that page was just like any other book…except it wasn’t.

Unable to put the book down, I devoured those pages in about a day. Having the main character: Steve Harmon, write his own story as a screenplay was an excellent choice on the part of Mr. Myers, it adds a personal flavor to the narrative. We get to peer into Steve’s mind as he’s in jail and on trial for murder.

This narrative questions the American legal system and explores the innocent until proven guilty mantra. Looking at who Steve truly is versus how the public perceives him allows this book to connect with all types of people. Part of being human is being misunderstood and the pain and frustration of that misunderstanding comes across clearly.

I like to think of my reading life as pre-Monster and post-Monster because it changed so much for me. It was one of the first books I’d read since picture book age that featured a black main character. However, there’s another Walter Dean Myers book that impacted me even more than Monster.

To tell the story of his childhood and adolescence Walter Dean Myers wrote Bad Boy: A Memoir. Not only is it an entertaining story, but it grapples with deep, sometimes messy questions about life. Young Walter questions who God is, what it means to be black, and what it means to be a man. When he looks around him he only sees one way to be a black man and wrestles with the fact that he doesn’t fit that image.

But on top of wrestling with conventional blackness and masculinity, Walter deals with constantly being labeled as a bad boy by his teachers. Again, he doesn’t fit the mold that’s already in place and therefore from grade to grade a distorted reputation of his character follows him.

Even grazing mental illness, this book caused me to think so much about so many things. Thoughts of the detrimental nature of inaccurate cultural stereotypes, the power and danger of words, and the importance of understanding Christianity and clearly answering the questions surrounding it were all catalyzed by this narrative. That’s what Walter Dean Myers books always do. It’s no wonder that he inspired a whole generation of black authors: many of the other authors I’ve featured in this series were inspired to write by this one man.

The whole reason I’ve read enough black authors to fill the month of February is Mr. Myers. He is an icon and his works will forever live on.

Stay fly,

~Akilah

 

 

28 Days of Black Authors ~Day 27

Jacqueline Woodson

I still remember the day I turned the final page of Miracle’s Boys. I still remember the tear stains on the page. I still remember the presence of the characters as if they were in my room. I still remember the hunger that gripped me to read more. More books that impacted me, more books about people like me, more books by Jacqueline Woodson.

Miracle’s Boys tells the story of three brothers: Lafayette, Charlie, and Ty’ree, struggling with the aftermath of their mother’s death and the pain that comes with growing up. The pain that oozes from these pages is balanced only by the joy that lines them. Jacqueline Woodson creates a beautiful narrative that speaks about the truths of life and death and family.

For some reason I’m always drawn to melancholy stories, especially those about death and pain. I think partially because seeing character’s deal with pain helps us as readers adequately handle our own. Each brother grieves differently and this shows how people grapple with tragedy realistically, Ms. Woodson writes in a way that we can find ourselves in Lafayette, Charlie, or Ty’ree. And what I’ve found in Ms. Woodson’s narratives is a space to take in and release pain along with my favorite characters. I don’t think I’ve ever cried over so many books by one author as I have with Jacqueline Woodson, the depth and beauty with which she writes is awe-inspiring.

Miracle’s Boys not only examines death and pain though, it looks at the duality of the human personality through Charlie’s character. Lafayette constantly refers to him as “New Charlie” because he seems to be a different person. Tough experiences have changed him for better or worse and this book seeks to show both sides of that better/worse coin.

I was truly changed by this narrative and each of Ms. Woodson’s books that I’ve read have become a small part of me. I hope that you’ll read Miracle’s Boys and that you’ll find something in it to love the way I do.

Stay fly,

~Akilah