One day, I took my 3-year-old son, Jojo, to a barber.
I explicitly asked the barber not to shave off all of Jojo's hair and to just make it shorter. The barber then proceeded to, in my view, shave Jojo's head practically bald. "Whoa, whoa, I told you that I did not want it bald, this is way too low!", I exclaimed. "How can I tell you this? You've got a real nig*** here. He is a native boy. He is from the tribe. This ain't pretty hair. This is the best cut for him" said the black barber with clippers still in the front of Jojo's hair.
I was sick for days after the incident. The n-word is such a filthy word. I did not know what to do to shield my own sons and all of our children from such manifestations of racism, both internalized and externalized.
A long time ago, I heard someone say that all pain should be turned into art in order to make pain beautiful. But how was I going to make it art? I'm a critical writer, not an artist. But one day I was watching Super Soul Sunday on OWN and a speaker said that art is no different from prayer so I prayed to God for a story. God gave me Sunne's Gift.
Sunne's Gift is a fable about a magical creature named Sunne.
God imbues Sunne with the power of the sun and for that reason Sunne's skin is a sun-darkened red shade and Sunne's hair grows out in spirally twists towards the sun. Sunne has the power to make the sun rise and set. God also imbues Sunne's siblings, Earthe, Watre, and Winde with other powers. But Sunne, is the only one with kinky, spirally, twisty natural afro-textured hair. One day, Earthe, Watre and Winde tease Sunne for having different hair. Sunne does not want to be different so Sunne takes a stick and attempts to beat the kinks out of Sunne's own hair. At the moment that Sunne beats the last spiral out the world changes for the worse and the children have to figure out how to fix the problem.
You can download the unillustrated pdf of the story immediately.
What I love about this fable is that everyone can relate to it. We have all been teased like Sunne. We are all different and we all have gifts.
What are your gifts?
Do you have hair that grows towards the sun like Sunne?
Do you have skin that looks like it has been enveloped by the sun's rays?
Do you have freckles that look like stars distributed on your face?
Do you have almond shaped eyes?
Do you have skin as pale as snow?
This fable reminds our children that they are enough. You are enough. I am enough. It says that you don't need chemical hair straighteners, imported hair weaves, double eyelid surgery, lasers, skin bleaches or tanning salons. You don't need to think or behave like someone who you are not.
Because the world needs you to be you in all of your beautiful splendor and awesome authenticity.
I would like this story to become ubiquitous. The book has a guide for parents and teachers and I am eager to make sure that teachers have access to it so they can start using the book in discussions about teasing and bullying TODAY. To that end, the unillustrated PDF of the story is completely free! All people who donate to this campaign, regardless of amount, get it automatically. It is also available for free by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. You can even email me at email@example.com and I'll send it to you myself.
However, I would like to bring the story to life through illustration and printing of physical books on environmentally friendly paper (forest stewardship council certified paper). Additionally, I would like to create an animated ebook for Ipad. This endeavor requires money. I've already put in $1,500 of my own money. I need your help. I am trying to raise approximately $10,000 which will go towards the following.
1. The printing of physical books on forest stewardship council certified paper
2. The illustration of the book
3. The creation of an animated book for Ipads
6. Outreach to school administrations
Please help me to make my dream of ensuring that all of our children learn that they must honor their special gifts.
May God bless you today and everyday.
Please feel free to check out other great projects at
Risks and challenges
1. The book has not been illustrated yet because I have not generated funds to pay the prospective illustrator, Rashad Davis. The illustrations could take longer than anticipated.
2. The animation of the project may also take longer than anticipated.
3. The printer may experience delays.
I believe that all of these risks are manageable through contingency planning. I have contingency plans with respect to illustrators, animators and printers.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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