Join Theresa Tha S.O.N.G.B.I.R.D. and London Ladd for the Virtual Launch of their new book: You So Black!
Based on Theresa Wilson’s (a.k.a. Theresa tha S.O.N.G.B.I.R.D.’s) beautiful, viral spoken word poem of the same name, YOU SO BLACK is a picture book celebration of the richness, the nuance, and the joy of Blackness.
Black is everywhere, and in everything, and in everyone—in the night sky and the fertile soil below. It’s in familial connections and invention, in hands lifted in praise and voices lifted in protest, and in hearts wide open and filled with love. Black is good.
Accompanied by powerful yet tender illustrations by award-winning illustrator London Ladd, Theresa tha S.O.N.G.B.I.R.D. has adapted her poem, full of gorgeous lyricism and imagery, to show readers the love, joy, resilience, and universality in the beauty of Blackness.
Unique and timely exploration of diversity: YOU SO BLACK poignantly dovetails with the national conversation on racism, why Black lives matter and all the ways stereotypes are systematically weaponized to harm. Theresa’s poem strikes to the heart of the pain associated with the charged phrase “You So Black,” flipping on its head the pain, frustration and insult originally intended and turning it into, as she noted, “an introduction to an estranged emotional connection with oneself.” Coupled with art/mixed media that allows vibrant colors and beautiful pages to come to life, this joyful poem will resonate with young children who need positive affirmation.
A history: “You so Black” is a remnant of “The Dozens,” a game of insults rooted in the practices of enslaved Black people, who, while on the auction block, would loudly ridicule one another to discourage potential slave masters from buying their family or loved ones. Long after slavery was abolished, "you so black” would be said to denigrate rather than protect, often making the insult’s targets feel badly about their skin color. This poem literally uses the phrase to rid negative associations with Blackness and replace them with all the ways being Black is beautiful.
THERESA THA S.O.N.G.B.I.R.D. (she/her/hers) is a musical, lyrical and theatrical alchemist, sprinkling magic like hot sauce. She is best known for her appearance on the 2019 Trumpet Awards on Bounce TV, and the now viral recitation of “You So Black,” which has garnered 11 million views and counting. She has gone on to perform with the likes of Jill Scott, MC Lyte, and Jazmine Sullivan, and appears on famed pianist Robert Glasper’s newest album. Theresa is from the south suburbs of Chicago but calls Atlanta home. She holds a degree in commercial music from Millikin University in Decatur, Illinois.
LONDON LADD (he/him/his) is a graduate of Syracuse University with an MFA in illustration. He uses a unique mixed media approach,
combining cut paper textured with acrylic paint, tissue paper and colored pencil to bring his diverse subjects to life. London’s artwork is steeped in intensity and emotion, a reflection of the artist himself. His hope is that You So Black will be passed down through generations, reaffirming African Americans’ strength, beauty, power and love. His goal is to open a visual arts community center where lower-income families can create their own art. London lives in Syracuse, New York.
Based on Theresa Wilson’s (a.k.a. Theresa tha S.O.N.G.B.I.R.D.’s) beautiful, viral spoken word poem of the same name, You So Black is a picture book celebration of the richness, the nuance, and the joy of Blackness.
Black is everywhere, and in everything, and in everyone—in the night sky and the fertile soil below.