Black Literary Collective Launches at Youth Uprising

What is the Black Literary Collective? How did you come up with the concept?

The Black Literary Collective (BLC) is a group of extremely diverse and talented black authors who are passionate about serving the community through their literary and community work. The idea for the BLC came to me after doing a number of events in schools and community spaces for my book Black Boy Poems. Seeing young people respond with so much excitement to an author who comes from their same context and seeing literary works that feature their context, made me want to find ways to expand that impact. I’m a product of the colonial public school system and know the experience of not seeing any black literature or black authors. Also, not being engaged in the curriculum because my story was never told. I knew we could create a group of powerful brothers and sisters who could make sure that would not be the reality of students in schools today.

You have ten authors. How did you choose your writers? What do they represent in the collective?

We have ten authors as of now, and eventually will expand to include more. The six brothers and four sisters who are the founding members of the collective are tremendous people. Some of the best folks I could ever want to be connected to and work with. Many of them I was lucky to consider friends before starting the collective, and a few I met doing book events. They are all highly respected by the community. They also represent different lived experiences and genres of work. I wanted to create a cross section of the black experience so the community could really see the beauty of who we are in the work that is represented. I was trying to have an equal balance between men and women but I fell short on that for now. We have children’s books, memoirs, poets, fiction writers, emotional intelligence/self development and revolutionary literature represented in our collective. We have college graduates and folks who became victims of the prison industrial complex. We also have a member that fiercely represents our disabled community. It wouldn’t be a true representation of our African diaspora without featuring at least one member from the African continent, we are blessed to have an incredible author from East Africa on our roster. It is a must that our people can see powerful representations of the beautiful diversity that makes us who we are.

You have a launch event on September 15th at Youth Uprising. What do you want people to take away from the event?

The goal of the launch event is to introduce the collective to the community. We have been doing work in the schools and the communities but it is time to expand what we’re able to do for the community. We’ll be highlighting what we offer as a collective. Author’s talks, forums, workshops, collaborative programs, curriculum development, trainings and professional development. Folks in attendance will learn about the collective and we’ll start scheduling dates for the collective to begin working with various organizations. We will have some fun but also get to work.

If people cannot attend, how can they get in touch with you?If folks want to learn more about the collective, they can reach out here: blacklitcollective@gmail.com
We all can serve the people in our own ways. I believe the BLC is a great first step in interrupting curriculum that does not prioritize the black experience in classroom settings. We need the help and support of the community to make sure that our young folks receive a proper revolutionary educational foundation so they can be the agents of change our communities needs.

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