Elizabeth Acevedo wants young women of color to be portrayed with tenderness and love

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Award-winning poet and novelist Elizabeth Acevedo has rewritten her famous spoken word poem “Hair,” which she wrote over a decade ago. Acevedo referenced the CROWN Act (Create a Respectful and Open Workplace for Natural Hair), a bill preventing the discrimination of individuals based on hair texture and style. The hair policy, especially black hair, reverberates from the boardroom to the playground. Braids, locs, weaves, and natural styles have long been a topic of discussion and contention. The CROWN Act, passed by the House in March, was an official recognition of a movement to reclaim natural styles, and it’s perhaps appropriate that future new Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson has sisters. , which she wore proudly. during the nationally broadcast confirmation hearings.

from Acevedo Legacy: A Visual Poem (Quill Tree Books, 2022), with illustrations by Andrea Pippins, is available May 3. The National Poetry Slam Champion was born and raised in New York City to Dominican parents and identifies as Afro-Latina.

“They call them wild curls

I call them breathing

Spiral ancestors »

With this poem, Acevedo claims his ancestry and fights against what most black girls and women have been told over generations to “fix” their hair – code to smooth and hide the natural state of their hair. hair. Acevedo is a poet who knows how to meet the moment. She designed her own performing arts degree at George Washington University, and when a student she was teaching in Maryland said there was no book she could relate to, Acevedo decided to write these books.

Acevedo spoke to Oprah Daily in 2020 about writing for teens and his novel Clap when you land“I think it’s essential that young women of color in particular see books that represent them with tenderness and love, that remind them that you are powerful and there is no role model. So I will giving you a bunch of different types of Afro-Latino characters that show the many different ways we can move through the world, as an affirmation that whatever kind of young women you’re trying to be is dope. You don’t need any plans.

Legacy: A Visual Poem

Acevedo’s work also includes With the fire above (2019), the New York Times bestselling novel The poet X (2018), and the collection of poetry Beastgirl and other origin myths (2016). She has won several awards for the Poet X, including the Pura Belpre Award, the Boston Globe Horn Book Award and the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature. With the fire above and Clap when you land both won awards and were named among the American Library Association’s Top Ten Fiction for Young Adults in 2020 and 2021, respectively.

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