By Ky Books: Why you should re-read the Autobiography of Malcom X as an Adult


It seems like growing up everyone had to read the Autobiography of Malcom X, it was probably mandatory in school. Yet, although I was required to read excerpts from the book, I can honestly say I don’t remember reading this book in full as a child and I am kind of happy I didn’t because reading the Autobiography of Malcom X as an adult is one of the most enthralling reading experiences I’ve ever had.

Through new adult lenses, I can understand Malcom X beyond what the world and the media tried to portray him as, a hateful radical. I see that there was truth in what he was saying, it just was delivered defensively and under the guise of Elijah Muhammad being some sort of prophet from God which just was not the case and a hard pill to swallow as a Christian reader. However Malcom X is such a revolutionary figure in our history and he is often over shadowed by other political figures. Continue reading “By Ky Books: Why you should re-read the Autobiography of Malcom X as an Adult”

By Ky Books: The Education of Kevin Powell

IMG_3677.JPGThe Education of Kevin Powell: A Boy’s Journey into Manhood. I purchased this book after attending a Kevin Powell event hosted by the Brooklyn Historical Society. Kevin Powell addressed the issues I cared about during his discussion ranging from Black Lives Matter, to why it’s important for text books to reflect the contributions that women make in society. He did so in such an enlightened way but I can’t ignore how calm and cool his mannerisms are.He touched on his childhood a little bit, having to live in poverty for most of his life. But to have come from such humble beginnings to being the powerhouse that he is today, I was curious to see what his memoir was all about.

I’ve read many memoirs by woman but I’ve never read the memoir of a man besides Malcom X Autobiography so this was new territory for me. Yet, I have to say I really enjoyed this book. Kevin Powell takes you on a journey of his life from the beginning, as a boy abandoned by his father and completely dependent on his unaffectionate mother. His trajectory into becoming a man was filled with many ups and downs but he is now a successful man and uses his mistakes to help other young men in his same predicament. I loved Part II of this book most because it talks about his life in college as an outspoken student activist and also as a journalist for Vibe Magazine, where he received the opportunity to shadow Tupac Shakur . Kevin Powell was great friends with Sister Souljah and was also on the first season of the Real World which he discusses in this book.

If you’re interested in reading more memoirs, this book is a real treat. A lot of hip hop references and childhood nostalgia will be triggered while reading this.

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By Ky Books: The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl

IMG_3683.JPGThe Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl, is probably one of the most enjoyable books I’ve ever read, primarily because I can relate. This hilarious book by Issa Rae is a new generational way of looking at race in today’s society. Issa Rae takes us on an intimate journey of her life from her humble beginnings in Senegal to her upper middle class lifestyle in Los Angeles. We learn what it means to be a black woman and to feel awkward at the same time. What I loved most about this book besides its hilarious humor was Issa’s conversations about race whether it’s addressing the type of black people you will always encounter or her struggle of being too black to some and not black enough to others.


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By Ky Books: God Help The Child

IMG_3664The cover of God Help The Child by Toni Morrison is what drew me to this book. It’s one of the most beautiful and colorful covers I’ve ever seen (black with colorful and bold words). This is Toni Morrison’s first book set in present day, although at some points it still reads like the characters are back in time. I enjoyed this book because it explores the consequences of childhood trauma, ranging from the death of a loved one to an unaffectionate parent. I also love her prose regarding the relationship between the two main characters Bride and Booker. There’s a case that Toni is trying to build throughout the book, I can’t tell if it’s doom or hope.

For an extra treat, I found a song by Billie Holiday called God Bless The Child, very similar to the title of Toni Morrison’s book. Enjoy!


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15 Of My Favorite Things In 2015

TV Shows

I’ve discovered a lot of new TV Shows this year since I’ve been taking a TV Writing class, and the key to writing for TV is watching it. So excited about my discoveries because these shows are amazing!

1-Younger (TV Land)

The creators of Sex and The City have done it again with this show Younger. What I love about this show is that it takes place in Brooklyn (and Manhattan), so everything feels familiar, but it’s mocking millennials and everything we stand for, which I think is kind of humorous and pathetic at the same time. The main character Liza, pretends to be a 26-years old (even though she’s in her 40’s),just to land a job at a publishing firm after her divorce. Her efforts to conceal her identity is both suspenseful and funny at the same time.

2-Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (Netflix)

I’ve never laughed so hard after watching a series since Martin and that’s saying a lot. This show created by Tina Fey and Robert Carlock chronicles the life of Kimmy Schmidt, a woman that was kidnapped by a man when she was a teenager, and was rescued by a swat team after being locked up in a bunker for years. Now, as a 30-something year old, she’s forced to reintegrate into life in New York City. It may seem weird, but it’s laugh out loud funny.

3-You’re The Worst (FXX)

I am so happy I discovered this show,You’re The Worst. Another show that makes me laugh so hard I gasp for air. Jimmy and Gretchen are two cynical and border line terrible people who meet at a wedding and fall for each other. They decide to have a non-conventional, non-mushy relationship but what they find out is when it comes to matters of the heart, they can’t stay evil forever. This show is HILARIOUS.


I actually have been reading a lot this year. Here are a few of the books I’ve read this fall. I am sure you will also enjoy the little treat I have for you under my review of The Alchemist. Continue reading “15 Of My Favorite Things In 2015”

Books That I am LOVING

Now that summer is officially over, I can share with you guys what I’ve been reading. I challenged myself to read as much books as possible this summer because i’ve been slacking. I love to read, I really do, but sometimes with my hectic schedule I find it hard to allot time to actually read!

The Solution: I discovered Audible. Audible is an Amazon based service that allows you to listen to books as opposed to reading them. I was able to read (listen to) A Piece of Cake, Purpose Driven Life-What On Earth Am I Here For? (Still Reading), and Why Not Me? However, there’s something about holding a book, and turning each page with curiosity that I can’t substitute, no matter how convenient audio books might be.

Here’s some of the books I’ve been engulfed in this past summer:

1.The Sisters are Alright:Changing the Broken Narrative of Black Women in America

Describe it in One Word: Empowering

I enjoyed the conversation in this book. It brought to the forefront topics that affect black woman ranging from beauty and health to sex and anger. I loved that it reinforced the idea that we are magic. Maybe the world doesn’t see it, but we are a superb breed. However it read like a couple of books that I’ve read in the past about black woman including Shifting and When Chicken Heads Come Home to Roost.

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2.The Little Black Book Of Success: Laws Of Leadership for Black Woman

Describe it in One Word: Insightful

This book is a good read, but a lot of the lessons that the authors teach, I’ve already learned through experience at work. Therefore, I would suggest this book for someone just entering the work place. It jumps from finding mentors to being a leader and executive and sometimes the career track isn’t that fast. Actually, I know it’s not. Great book nevertheless.

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3. Miss Jessies: Creating A Successful Business from Scratch Naturally 

Describe it in One Word: Warmed my heart (3-words)

This book was a page turner from beginning to end. Not in the suspenseful kind of way, but simply because if you know anything about Natural Hair and Natural Hair Products, then you know that these two women were one of the pioneers of that industry. Miko Branch takes us on a journey from the beginning, growing up in Queens, New York in the 80’s. Her story of their humble beginnings makes you feel as if you’re their kin. I loved the trajectory. I loved the name dropping. I loved the transparency when it came to relationships and family disagreements. I loved the business advice. You are literally on a journey with the Branch Sisters through the ups and the downs.


4. Lost & Found 

Describe it in One Word: Transparent

Sarah Jakes holds nothing back. From her struggles with being Bishop TD Jake’s daughter and having everyone try to get close to her for that reason alone, to her tumultuous relationship with a college football star who eventually went off to the NFL. This book deals with it all: teen pregnancy, feelings of inadequacy, highs, lows, cheating, relationships, forgiveness, and finding purpose. I loved everything about Sarah Jakes story and to be honest it changed me. It made me want to be more transparent and real when I write, which was why after reading Lost & Found I wrote Listen To Your Heart.


5. Why Not Me?

Describe in One Word: Quirky

This book, Why Not Me? was interesting. It starts off with Mindy’s desperation for making friends in elementary school. It progresses into the various awkward situations she’s been through in life which separates her from everyone else. Some parts of the book I found to be annoying. Other parts were inspiring, including her meeting with President Obama because Malia Obama was reading her first book “Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?” while on vacation. I also thought it was pretty impressive that she started writing for the show The Office at such a young age and was able to snag her own show The Mindy Project as a result. She might be annoying, but she’s totally blessed.


6. We Should All Be Feminist

Describe in One Word: Flawless

This is a really short book. I think I read it in like 15-Minutes while at Barnes & Nobles. It’s not really a book, it’s a Ted Talk by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (which was sampled in Beyonce’s “Flawless”song), where she drops straight jewels on the state of women and why women should be upheld to the same standards of men and vice versa. She talks about Feminism having a negative connotation, and how people tried to denounce her for calling herself one. She also expresses her subversiveness when it comes to being boxed according to societal standards. She is who she is, and she’s not going to change for anyone.


7. Hair Story: Untangling the Roots of Black Hair in America

Describe in One Word: Enlightening

This book was awesome. I finished it back in June, after putting it down for some time. I learned so much, probably all I needed to know about the history of black hair. The book starts from our beginnings in Africa and chronicles through the new millennial age that we live in today. If you’re interested in hair or even black history, this is a great book to read. Probably one of the best on this list because of all the rigorous research the authors put in to making it as accurate as possible.


8. A Piece of Cake

Describe in One Word: Heart-wrenching

This was by far one of the hardest books I’ve ever read in my life. Cupcake Brown was only 11 years old when her loving mother died. She was forced into the California Foster Care System which failed her. The first three days in the system she was raped viciously, and this cycle of abuse, rape, drugs, and alcohol followed her for years. She was angry, she joined gangs, she turned tricks and she survived. I won’t ruin the ending but it is so amazing how God works in our lives. This is not a tragic story, it’s one of resilience and success.


9. Dark Girls

Describe in One Word: Necessary

It’s actually quite sad, that a book like Dark Girls has to be put out to empower black women. You would think in the year 2015, we would have moved past trivial issues such as judging someone based on how dark or light their skin is. I bought this book, keeping my future daughter in mind. I want her to understand the beauty and versatility that comes with black skin. It doesn’t matter what hue you are, you are BEAUTIFUL. I also bought it because the images inside are so powerful. The stories that our sisters had to endure because of their rich dark skin are disheartening but they are not asking to be viewed as victims. They are sharing their stories solely for a breakthrough in societal thought. We have to move beyond the surface people!



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By Ky Books: Dark Girls

Excellence makes my skin color secondary – Judith Jamison

Dark Girls was a documentary that premiered on OWN a few years ago. It highlighted the insidiousness of colorism among African American women. There’s an invisible hierarchy in the black community between dark skinned and light skinned women. Dark Girls sought to shed light on this pervasive issue with hopes of starting a conversation and bringing about change.

Yesterday while in Barnes and Nobles I came across a striking cover with Lupita Nyong’o adorned with multi colored feathers. The title of the book is Dark Girls by Bill Duke and Sheila D. Moses, based on the documentary. I bought it immediately and read through the 200+ pages that day. It’s a book of photographs and stories filled with beautiful dark-skinned women. According to the author, he chose women who were darker than the brown paper bag to produce the reverse effect of that dehumanizing tradition. The women share stories of what it was like growing up being ridiculed and outcast, overshadowed and outshined because of their dark skin. They also shed light on how they empowered themselves by finally seeing their beauty. The subjects ranged from famous celebrities to every day women who deal with this issue. I thought it was a lovely book and added it to my bookshelf. I am keeping it so my daughter, when I have her one day, can look through the pages and be empowered by black beauty. One of the thoughts that rained through my head was why colorism is still an issue and why we have to create books and documentaries to empower our sisters in this day in age? What makes us any different than our ancestors who had to deal with this kind of intra-racism? Why hasn’t progress been made when it comes us, as black people accepting that we come in all different shades and colors and no one shade is better than the other? It hurt me to know that so many of my sisters had to endure feelings of inferiority for a trait they are born with. Why do we always have to find subtle differences about one another to use as a measure of attack? I’ve studied colorism for some time now and unfortunately, this is a deep rooted issue that most blacks will not own up to. The conversation is the first step towards progress but we have to see that this is actually a problem before change can begin to take place.

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By Ky Books: Hair Story Untangling The Roots of Black Hair In America

Photo Cred:

I know the importance of hair to black women and men. I’ve learned this even more while reading Hair Story: Untangling The Roots of Black Hair in America by Ayana D. Byrd and Lori L. Tharps.

Since our days in Africa, hair to blacks is a form of expression and a source of pride. When we came over here on slave ships, one of the many ways we were dehumanized was by being denied the right and resources to groom ourselves, specifically our hair. As slaves in America, we had to find resources to maintain our tresses. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to carry on with the eccentric styles and braids that we wore in Africa. Some of our ancestors settled with plaits or a head tie. As times changed so did our hair. After slavery we wanted to fit in so figuring out ways to keep our hair straight was important to us. Once we realized a revolution was on a rise in the 60s and 70s we took pride in our kinks and started wearing it natural, no longer wanting to assimilate; we allowed our hair to send a message to the masses and it did. Black men and women take pride in their hair and this book, is one of my must reads. It allows you to go on a hair journey that doesn’t end with the last page of this book because our hair is constantly evolving.

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By Ky Books: The Blacker the Berry


The Blacker The Berry is a hard read. The harsh realities of Colorism exhibited throughout this book made my heart weak. Emma Lou was typecast as unattractive and some would go so far as to call her ugly because of her dark skin; her life was filled with struggles because of this. Her family were blue bloods. They created a chapter of the Blue Vein Society in their hometown. Back in the days, lighter skinned blacks deemed themselves blue blood or blue veiners (if they were light enough to see the blue veins running through their body). Emma Lou came out with dark skin like her father, who left her mother and Emma Lou when she was a toddler. Her family saw her father in Emma Lou and resented her.

Emma Lou believed she could escape from this familial scrutiny when she went to college. She was accepted into USC in California. The only problem with Emma Lou was that she internalized a lot of the negative words that her family said to her while growing up and projected her own self-hate onto other blacks, especially dark skinned, lower-class ones.  She wanted to be accepted with the well-to-do blacks, but they weren’t accepting of her because of her skin color. Desperately searching for a place where she could belong, Emma Lou left USC and moved to Harlem. Yet, she soon learned no matter where she went, she could not escape the demons of her past.

Emma Lou allowed herself to be trapped by her skin color and by the lies she was taught growing up. She encountered terrible relationships, where men, especially Alva, was ashamed of her because of her dark skin and rarely brought her around their friends on a social scale. One day, after many ups and downs, Emma Lou grew tired of allowing her skin color to trap her. She ran from her color issues her whole life and it was finally time she accepted herself.

Her struggle resonated with me in so many ways. Sometimes, we allow the people who are supposed to protect us, to hurt us the most. We fall victim to their misguided perceptions, especially when it comes to standards of beauty and it affects our lives tremendously. Emma Lou allowed the harsh words of her family in her early years to affect the way she looked at herself and it traumatized her for years. Many people are struggling with this very issue, even in today’s society. Eurocentric standards of beauty does very little to empower black women. We have to break these shackles, by empowering ourselves, building confidence in who we are and disallowing society to tell us  how we should look. We have to reclaim our beauty.


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By Ky Books: The Bluest Eye

Long Blonde Hair. Blue Eyes. Pale Skin. Straight Nose. All traits of perfection in society. So imagine the emotional damage this type of standard of beauty can have on someone with opposite features. Short Kinky Hair. Brown Eyes. Dark Skin. Broad Nose. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison, highlights the life of Pecola Breedlove. Pecola, like many of her black counterparts is on a journey to feel accepted in society. She believes that if she has blue eyes she would be beautiful and her parents would stop fighting. She escapes into her fantasy world to avoid the misery she is enduring in real life. She loves, borderline obsesses over Shirley Temple. At 11-years old, she’s plagued with insecurity and fed lies about her beauty.

Growing up, only a few generations removed from Slavery in a Jim Crow America, Pecola is deemed “ugly” even by the ones closest to her. She is traumatically raped at the hands of her own father while washing dishes and eventually goes crazy. This book is important for me to acknowledge during Black History Month because its theme resonates even today. Black Women and the double jeopardy we have in society-some would say as the mules of society weighs us down. Our unique beauty is disregarded as “unattractive” if not accompanied by eurocentric traits and for so long our people have been told we are not good enough, our features are not beautiful enough and that we are at some kind of disposition because of the color of our skin; that’s just completely false.

Once again, the secrets of our dark past is exposed. Not knowing how to deal with our position in society as black women and men, we turn against our own in an effort to make us feel better. I read this book twice. It was, in all honesty, traumatizing but so necessary to understand and fully grasp. There are so many Pecola’s in this world. Many of us including myself, have been judged by superficial traits that we cannot change because it’s not “white” enough. It’s unfortunate that in modern times, these issues still plague African Americans. How can we enforce change if we don’t deem our blackness as a statement of endearment and not a source of shame?


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