Artist Lawrence Lindell wanted black girls to know they have much more value than a lack of media visibility and derisive comments from peers may lead them to believe.
So he created “From Black Boy With Love.” The children’s book, which was released in late March, contains 24 pages of illustrations of young boys expressing uplifting messages of love to young black girls.
Lindell, a Compton, California, native, is all too aware of the toxic mentality some black men and boys hold toward black women and girls. He told The Huffington Post last week that the book is actually an “alternative to what [he] learned as a young boy.”
“It’s not just about the relationship between black men and women, it’s the relationship between men and women, period,” Lindell said.
“I’m black and my community is full of black and brown women who I love dearly and I wanted to make something for them,” he continued. “But we as men have a huge problem with how we talk, treat and think about women.”
Lindell, a youth art educator, said that he too frequently sees children berating others with one of the first targets of mockery being a darker skin tone.
“The first thing they go for when teasing each other is hair, body shape and skin tone,” Lindell said. “’You ol’ nappy-headed, black-ass charcoal looking girl,’ ‘with yo ugly fat ass.’ We have to change the narrative that the more melanin you have means you’re uglier and that natural hair is bad or improper.”
For the black boys reading the book, Lindell hopes they understand to respect all women, but in particular, black women.
“Black and brown boys, treat all girls with respect, but especially the ones who look like you, sound like you, live where you live; we have to take care of each other,” he said.