Featured Soul: Charles Esperanza

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Splish! Splash! Sploosh! An Afro-sporting little kid decides to paint an Elephant bright Blue! EleBooyah was the Elephant’s name and she wants to help paint too! Pretty soon the kid and her elephant are playing with all the colors of the rainbow. What do blue and yellow make? A funky green frog! And red and blue? An enormous purple octopus king! Discover all of the whimsical things one can create with a splatter of paint and be amazed by a twist ending that you’ll never expect!

Amanya Maloba: Why children’s books?
Charles Esperanza: My decision to pursue children’s books is very influenced by my former professor and mentor, Eric Velasquez. I realized how awesome children’s books could be—they are basically like very detailed, rendered movie storyboards. Through children’s books I could fuse my love of poetry with my love of painting. Also, I felt like my voice and ideas were very different from anything else in the children’s book field and people would recognize that and give me lots of money for it!

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Love Crime (Ishmael Reed x Frank Ocean)

Ishmael Reed x Frank Ocean: Love Crime 

I only just realized that these two poems (one musical and one written) share the same title. I happen to love them both. It’s a total love crime experience to listen and read at the same time (although I hear for some people those are conflicting tasks)! I chose this dark poem, breaking with the overall celebratory theme of the month, since it would be inaccurate to portray love without the shit that threatens it or makes people act to defend it righteously.

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February

Photo: Amanya Maloba
Photo: Amanya Maloba

I am absolutely delighted that February is finally upon us. I’ve always loved this month because of the colors—red, pink, and black. Throughout February we’ll be featuring posts that fit within the colorful umbrella of the month with a good combination of interviews with young black talent, short biographies of black leaders and pioneers, editorials, and maybe even a love poem or two 😉

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