Getting I’M A PRETTY LITTLE BLACK GIRL! published and in stores was one of the hardest challenges I have ever taken on. It all began with a simple idea: to create a book for little Black girls that shows them as pretty as they really are. I never realized that I would have to create my own publishing company just to get a book on the shelves for little Black girls that shows them in bright brilliant colors and engaging in joyous activities that they can identify with and things that they simply do every day. I felt life pulling me forward on this idea. What I was not prepared for, were the hurdles of negativity that came is such subtle and insidious ways. I was told, “change the title to make it more universal”. Then I signed with one notable children’s publisher, only to have notes sent to me that completely changed the text of the book so that I did not recognize my own words. To add to this, the illustrators that were chosen created sample images of Black girls that were not at all pretty. This is when I realized that if this book is to celebrate our girls the way they should be celebrated, then I had to find a way to do it myself.
Life was leading me forward.
The proclamation I’M A PRETTY LITTLE BLACK GIRL! is more than a title. It is a concept. It is an ANTHEM. It is a grand statement of telling the world that there are no apologies for who we are, and if you are looking for some sort of an apology for who we are, then back up –’cause it ain’t coming. It is rejecting the idea of being told that what is shown as “beautiful” on the majority of major news magazines and in television, movies and all forms of visual media is not the standard of “beauty” for us all OR what we should aspire to be. I wanted to create a picture book for very young Black girls to take on this badge honor by saying “I’M A PRETTY LITTLE BLACK GIRL!” so that it would stick — and seed in the very marrow of their own subconscious. Because “as within, so without”. I want our girls to FEEL the words of this anthem early while their minds are young and the seed of positive belief and feeling can take root and nourish their feeling nature of loving themselves as they are. Feeling gets the blessing.
Life was leading me forward to this blessing. And all I could do was…