The Idavox Report March 16, 2021: Nneka Howell & The Color of Play

The Idavox Report March 16, 2021: Nneka Howell & The Color of Play

Welcome to The #Idavox Report!

It is Tuesday night at 8:00 PM EST, and that means that it is time for the Idavox Report on the Revolution Radio network! Our show tonight opens with Daryle Lamont Jenkins, Christian Perez, and Brian Powers. Daryle, our host, would like to wish Queen Latifah a happy birthday. Daryle reminisces about days when he would buy hip-hop albums without even knowing anything about them beforehand.

As Black music evolves, conservatives always find something to be mad about. Right now, they’re trying to cancel Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion for their performance at the Grammys. Christian comments that this country’s culture would be lame were it not for Black people’s contributions: He cites rock n’ roll, jazz, and the blues. 

Author Nneka J. Howell

Black people’s contributions to the arts are fundamental to American culture. On that note, we bring in tonight’s guest, author Nneka J. Howell! Nneka’s feature publication is The Color Of Play, a children’s book set to be released on March 31. Daryle reviewed The Color Of Play on Idavox and called it unique among children’s books. 

When it comes to childrens’ books, things are usually sanitized for the kids to take in. Although it is a children’s book, The Color Of Play does not shy away from tough questions. It advocates for diversity, adversity, and friendship. When Nneka wrote the book, she had the goal of highlighting the struggles that Black children go through in the real world every day. These issues are often silenced but Nneka used her creativity to bring them to light.

[March 16 Idavox Report With Daryle Lamont Jenkins, Brian Powers, Christian Perez, and Special Guest Nneka J. Howell]

A Book We Can All Learn From

The story’s main conflict involves children not being able to play together in the same way. Ultimately, their parents have to help the children understand racism and differences between cultures. Nneka believes that love and hate are taught in the home so she wrote a book that children can learn from. She hopes that this will help those children grow up to be more tolerant adults.

The Color of Play is Nneka’s debut children’s book and her fourth published book. It is the first in a planned children’s picture book quartet, a series titled Color Me Human. She plans to write various diverse characters into her books. For example, in The Color Of Play, the main character is adopted and lives with a biracial family. Nneka did not want to adhere to the norm in her book because we need to get comfortable getting uncomfortable. If we don’t, we will never be able to live together effectively.

The conflict in The Color Of Play stems from Nneka’s personal struggles. For example, Nneka is troubled that her two young children can’t do certain innocent play activities in public without being frowned upon. She also has several Caucasian friends who are overly focused on “woke” culture. 

Questions That Need To Be Asked

Christian asks Nneka about when specifically she realized that she should write a children’s book. Nneka remembers that she was fueled by the energy of the protests in response to police brutality in 2020. She felt that there was no better thing to write about than the experiences that those close to her live with. Through her work, Nneka was and is hoping to provoke healthy conversations in various settings across the country. 

Nneka is aware that The Color Of Play is the type of book that might have children asking questions. She urges parents to encourage those questions: “We as adults should not be afraid to talk to our children about these topics that are rough to talk about.” The only way to create change is to discuss the relevant issues, so we cannot shy away from them.

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Plan of Action

Daryle reminds us that we need a plan of action once those people on the streets accomplish what they’re trying for. Nneka agrees, adding that the people on the streets need the support of a large portion of the general public, many of whom are at home. With her writing, Nneka is trying to make those who are staying at home uncomfortable. She writes to confront them with the problems of society.

Nneka asks the rest of the panel what they think is the reason for all of the backlash towards the movement for love and unity. Daryle jumps in, offering that it is because the establishment is afraid of those whose backs this country was built upon. Brian contributes that he thinks it may be because there is a lot of ignorance in the world, for example, he was more conservative during his upbringing because he was not yet educated.

Nneka’s next book is going to be called Listening In Color and there will be a female main character. Through various creative outlets, Nneka will continue to work to challenge people all over the world to embrace different identities and ideas.

Plugs

Nneka is the founder of Ink’d Xpressions, an organization based on creative expression to promote six important principles: unity, community, justice, love, diversity, and creativity. They do photography, painting, design, and more. Ink’d Xpressions plans to do community service projects in the future. You can get involved through their Facebook page.

Daryle is a member of the Antifascist Unity Coalition. AFUC is involved with several mutual aid projects and food banks. If you are interested in the organization or getting connected with mutual aid, contact Daryle or visit http://daysofunity.org/. They host food drives on the first Saturday of every month.

Idavox is the newsline for One People’s Project and can be found on Facebook, Twitter, or their website. One People’s Project can be found on Facebook and Twitter. Daryle himself is on Facebook and Twitter (he tweets a lot). The One People’s Project also accepts donations through Daryle’s Cash App account, $NotoriousDLJ.

Until next time, everyone, stay safe and stay informed.

-Leah Giannantonio, for Revolution Radio and The Idavox Report

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