Sapphire’s New Book: Still Helping us See, Helping us Heal Friday 22 July, 2011

Guest Post by LU Team Member Niambi Wilder Greetings Everyone! I am so honored to be a part of this movement and to be able to offer my unique perspective on living unchained. This is my first blog post ever (gasp) so I’m a little nervous, but also super excited. I’ve decided to make my […]

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Guest Post by LU Team Member Niambi Wilder

Greetings Everyone!

I am so honored to be a part of this movement and to be able to offer my unique perspective on living unchained. This is my first blog post ever (gasp) so I’m a little nervous, but also super excited.

I’ve decided to make my blog entries a series of interviews with some of the dopest, flyest, freshest, down-to-earthest :) sista-warrior-healer-artists I know. I must confess – the first one will be a little bit of a cheat because I don’t actually know this person and the interview isn’t actually one that I conducted. BUT, I hope you’ll grant me a pass, just this once, as the interviewer is a sista named Akoto Ofori-Atta of TheRoot.com and the interviewee is the unapologetically bold Sapphire, author of the critically acclaimed novel Push and recently completed her second novel, The Kid, which tells the story of Precious’ son, Abdul, after his mother’s death.

Sapphire, Photo via Clark Atlanta University

You may recall the film adaptation, Precious, being backed by Ms. Oprah Winfrey herself and being blessed with a talented director, crew and cast, including stand-out Mo’Nique, who won an Academy Award for her portrayal of the protagonist’s damaged and abusive mother, Mary. (Mo’Nique is also a real-life survivor of sexual abuse.)

I have chosen to make this interview the first in the series because Sapphire, through prose (her art/weapon of choice), exhibits what it is to live unchained. She is willing to look critically and delve deeply into issues like HIV/AIDS, incest and rape — issues that others wouldn’t dare touch. She writes with purpose about very raw and painful human experiences that are, unfortunately, a reality for entirely too many of us in the Diaspora – girls and boys, women and men.  This bold and fearless, yet thoughtful and deliberate, approach to expression is exactly what we need in order to heal ourselves and finally be free.

It is my hope that, by reading this interview and the others that are to follow, you will be inspired to speak unreserved, to move uninhibited, to create unrestrained and to live unchained!

Excerpt–Read the full article at The Root.

The Root: Why did you kill Precious? 

Sapphire: I’m a social realist in terms of writing. African-American women who were diagnosed with AIDS at the time that Push was written were 10 times more likely than upper-class, gay white men to die in the first couple months of diagnosis. So Precious couldn’t survive. One of the reasons I wrote Push was to show how precious — ha, ha — these kids might be if given the opportunity to live.

The Root: In Push, sympathy was really a driving element in how readers related to Precious. In The Kid, Abdul is abused, but he also does some abusing and dreams about molesting young boys, making it hard at times to show him compassion. What role does sympathy play in this book?

Sapphire: Can’t you still love and admire him even though he is a deeply flawed human being? That’s the question I put forth to the reader. We see all the good things about Abdul’s ambition and his integrity. But given what has happened to him, can’t we still love this child? Because how can we find our ways back to life without love?

 


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