It’s Black History Month, and it’s only right that we make space to celebrate new Black authors. Raheem Logan is the author of an amazing children’s book Black Boy Fly. Raheem shares his inspiration for his first children’s book, what it means to share his writing with his community, and the future of his art.
What inspired you to write this book?
What inspired me to write this book was encapsulating a story that discussed the emotions of our young black boys that black men didn’t have the resources to know how to talk about or did not have the space to express. The inspiration also came from a friend that believed in my writing and ability to tell a compelling story.
What motivates you?
So many things motivate me as a person, I think about the pursuit of just being a better version of yourself each day. Things that challenge and stimulate my mind also motivate me as well. Sometimes the motivation comes from wanting to have the mental stamina to be consistent with pushing through doubt and limitations that can lie in your mind. I’m also motivated by appreciating other people’s greatness in different forms and knowing that I possess my own. Lastly, I’m motivated by Black History. Our ancestors were powerful in their own way and that motivates me to constantly be a clarity seeker, while giving myself grace along my journey.
What does your writing process look like?
The writing process for me consists of being consistent with carving out the time to write. The character of Rashad was loosely based on me, loosely based on the various narrative of black and brown boys that I have had the opportunity to learn from, and from a character that came through during a creative fiction writing class I took in college. I also felt called to write so many of these words and when the scenarios would pop in my head, I would just write them down and when I returned to those thoughts, if they fit within the path of this story, then I would keep it. If not, it may have other usage somewhere else down the line. Taking stock of the ideas because some find their way into your writing.
What does writing a children’s book for your community as a Black author mean to you?
It means the world to me to write a book for my community. I had the thought of wanting to share this with a small group that I had worked with at CitySquash because I underestimated the connection that so many people could have with it. I wanted to have a Black narrative that held space for the feelings of Joy and also hold space for the sadness too. They are all integral to who we are as beings. I didn’t want to sugarcoat much, and I wanted to uplift simultaneously.
Being Black to me means recognizing the glow of our ancestors and harnessing different parts of their strength to thrive in whatever way that means to that individual. Being black means being able to appreciate other kings and queens and their greatness without mine feeling threatened at all. Being black is to move with a style and essence that can never be duplicated. Being black for me is to know that we possess so much knowledge and beauty, and understanding that we have so many things to unlearn to return to who we are.
What message do you want your readers to take away from your book?
The message that I want young readers to take away from this story would be that there is strength in vulnerability and the power of communication must never be underestimated. No one knows how we are processing and experiencing different things that happen around us. The courage in that communication reveals the community that we have around us.
When I self-published, I purchased 10 ISBN numbers because it was cheaper than only purchasing one. I think it was a call from the universe that more is to be written.
I had a major imposter syndrome moment before I hit the button to make it official. I had voices in me questioning if this was something that I should do, if anyone is going to connect with it, is it even worth selling, and I was anxious. Then I took a step back and took a breath. Are you leading with love? And do you believe in it? were the two questions that flashed before me after exhaling. I answered yes to both and the curiosity to see what was on the other side of that doubt became stronger than the doubt and anxiety that came over me before. Also, I came to a point like, if there are any critiques, I can answer them and if someone had a problem with the project, then I encourage them to shoot their shot and create what they would like to see. Understanding that internally allowed me to relinquish any control over whatever came next. The positive reception has been empowering to keep learning on this path.
Where can we purchase your book?
I am also distributing autographed copies as well. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for a copy sent directly from me.