What was your motivation for creating Blooming in Motion?
Representation in the arts is so important, but unfortunately is still lacking. Growing up in the world of dance, predominantly ballet, I didn’t see a lot of dancers who looked like me. I wanted to create something positive that uplifts those who came before me and also encourages creativity. Black history is a part of the American quilt and should receive daily acknowledgement, instead of once a year during the shortest month.
Did a specific one of the historical figures in your book inspire you in your own dance career?
Yes! Debbie Allen and Alvin Ailey have been role models throughout my journey. Mr. Ailey’s legacy of uplifting and celebrating people of color has always resonated with me. I met Ms. Allen in the fourth grade at her annual dance intensive that traveled to Dallas, Texas. I was immediately inspired by her confidence, intelligence, selflessness, and passion for people and the arts. She shared with us how dance would open so many doors, and how there are no such things as limits. I knew then that I could make change in the world, by being the change I hoped for. Despite facing so much adversity, these giants persevered. That’s the power of representation!
What advice would you give to young people of color who are hoping to enter into the arts world?
I always remind them to walk for their purpose. Hold your head up high, and always remember that your calling is beyond yourself. Believe in your dreams, and pursue them relentlessly. Never compete, and always unite.
What does your illustration process look like?
Ha! Super tedious! I’ve always admired illustrators, but that admiration increased tremendously. I searched for my favorite poses of the dancers, and sketched them with pencil. Then I traced with markers to make the lines bolder, and add a little more designs. My last step was scanning everything and editing any stains and errors.
What do you hope readers (and avid coloring fans) will take away from your book?
I hope that readers and creatives walk away feeling empowered by these trailblazers! I hope Blooming in Motion brings them an overall sense of peace, and reduced stress and anxiety! I also hope people see themselves, and are reminded that they are more than enough.
What’s next for your creative endeavors?
Blooming in Motion is the first of a series, so expect more coloring books! I also recently made my choreographic debut in the feature film, Passing. Written by Nella Larsen in 1929, Passing explores racial identity, racism, and white privilege. It’s coming to Netflix soon!