Updated: Aug 25, 2020
As a nation, America is currently facing a double pandemic; coronavirus and racism. Earlier this year we were all horrified as we watched George Floyd on camera pleading for his life as a white police officer knelt on his neck for eight minutes until he took his final breath. The last few months have been filled with devastating news of more stories about police officers killing unarmed Black men.
Watching images of police brutality has a profoundly negative impact on the psyche. For Black men especially, the trauma cuts deep. Author Francesca Andre, like all of us, has been on an emotional rollercoaster this year. As a new mother to a Black baby boy, Andre was filled with fear and apprehension at the world he would grow up in.
Inspired by the birth of her son she was determined not to allow that fear to cripple her, but rather to channel that energy into something good. When her baby was just a few months old, Andre began speaking daily affirmations to him in an effort to inspire a positive mindset. “I knew he couldn’t understand what I was saying, but it was important to me to speak positivity into him,” she told Amplify Africa.
Born and raised in Haiti, Andre has always considered herself creative, though she never had intentions to publish her work. Writing was a vessel to express herself that came naturally to her. Andre wrote her first book, Don’t Be Afraid to Shine, exclusively for her son who boasts the only copy ever published. With all the other Black boys in mind, Andre put her pen to paper again. Motivated by the urgent need for positivity, she is calling her new book, “a personal bible for Black boys.”
Photo: Francesca Andre
I Am A Phenomenal Black Boy, powerfully encourages young Black boys to be “unapologetic about their identity, history, magic, and brilliance.” Andre’s words serve as a reminder to Black boys everywhere that they are more than capable of defying the negative stereotypes perpetuated by society.
“My hope is that parents know that they are powerful and phenomenal and beyond well equipped to raise beautiful human beings of light,” Andre says, as she talks about how important it is to raise our children to know that they are capable of anything, “their light is their birthright.”
She draws from her Haitian heritage in the book as she delves into Black history, writing about the Emperor of Haiti, the first Black republic. “It was important to me to remind our children that we are descendants of royalty, and our history does not start from slavery,” she says, “there is such a lack of diversity when it comes to storytelling and it is up to us to tell our own stories.”
This book is the first of a series that Andre will write to educate, inspire and empower young Black boys and girls. To learn more about Francesca Andre, click here
I Am A Phenomenal Black Boy is available now on Amazon