I've always been a writer.
English was always my favorite subject in school. I loved getting writing assignments where I was able to write about so many different things, in so many different ways; from fictional stories about characters I imagined, to memoirs about my childhood, to poetry about my crushes. Writing has always been a form of release to me. Growing up in a Jamaican household in Brooklyn gave me a plethora of experiences to choose from. My dad always said "You need to do something with your writing; you have a gift, Syd. Use it." So here I am, finally using it.
We are in some crazy, unprecedented times. Between a global pandemic, a crashing economy, and racial injustice being at an all time high, this just felt like the right time to release something timeless, especially to and for my people. I wrote "Beautiful & Brown" one day while I was thinking about how hard it must be for families to talk to their children about all the recent killings of People of Color. It was around the time there were countless protests surrounding the murder of George Floyd, and I felt such a range of emotions. I was angry, sad, upset, confused, drained, numb, devastated, pissed. I couldn't believe that this was the world I was going to one day bring children into. So I wrote.
I wrote "Beautiful & Brown" as an ode to all the little Brown children all over the world, to love themselves, despite how many people don't love us. I wrote this as a reminder to our people that we are royalty. I wrote this as something that parents can read to their children when they come home from school confused about their first racist encounter. I wrote this as a resource teachers have to read with their students when it feels like the world is falling apart. It is so easy to forget where we come from and who we are, in a world constantly attempting to rewrite our history and reshape our views of ourselves. I want "Beautiful & Brown" to be a staple in every Black family's library, serving as a conversation opener and a reminder of our greatness. I love us, and I hope "Beautiful & Brown" helps both you and our children, to love yourselves too.