BrooklynButtah: What made you decide to write From Black Boy With Love?
Lawrence Lindell: The things in the book should be the standard. We can’t wait for people to uplift and teach us. We have to do it ourselves because it’s clear this world is not set up for people of color, especially black people.
BrooklynButtah: Was there a specific someone who was inspiration behind you writing this book?
Lawrence Lindell: My partner was the initial inspiration behind the book. I wrote the first letter/illustration to her.
BrooklynButtah: What lessons are you hoping to teach young boys and girls of color who may pick up this book and read it?
Lawrence Lindell: To the girls of color, your voice matters. Your body is yours. Your skin is not ugly. You are not bad or ugly because you are black, brown or your skin has more melanin than others. Your hair is beautiful and natural, not wrong or ugly. It doesn’t need to be fixed or made better. You are perfect the way you are.
Boys of color, treat the women and girls in your life with respect. This world is going to tell you that you are nothing, therefore your women are nothing and even if you “become something” your women are still nothing. But remember you live because of them. Protect, encourage, stand with, stand up and love women, the same way they have done for us for centuries.
BrooklynButtah: Why do you feel that these are important lessons to teach them?
Lawrence Lindell: Because people of color ,especially black and brown, are at the bottom. We are seen as subhuman and treated as such. They have it ingrained in our minds that in order to be right we need to forget who we naturally are and be something else. Now we teach these lessons to our young without even knowing, but once you know better, you do better.
BrooklynButtah: Were these lessons something that was instilled in you as a child? By who?
Lawrence Lindell: It’s funny because the answer is yes and no. I was always taught to be respectful, thoughtful, and curious. Also, I was raised in the church, so some of those moral values I learned as well, but I learned and was taught by actions. I watched, heard and experienced the disrespect of women and still do. As men and boys, we have such entitlement over everything. Even in my answers above, you notice I said OUR women. We have this thinking that you belong to us and when something belongs to you, you can do as you please with it. We haven’t learned that women are humans, not property. Therefore, we have a lot of reengineering to do.
BrooklynButtah: With Black women being underappreciated in our society, do you think this book is something men can also learn from?
Lawrence Lindell: Yes, but only if they are willing. We as men, we are not honest with each other or ourselves. A lot are quick to take the “male feminist” or “champion” position for women, but then turn around and repeat the same misogynistic, patriarchal and flawed ideologist behaviors.
BrooklynButtah: What do you think about black men who refuse to date black women? What message do you want to send to them?
Lawrence Lindell: I think there is a deeper issue. Date whoever you want, in fact you’re supposed to. You’re supposed to be with the one you love, but if you’re choosing that person or not choosing that person because of the color of their skin, you’re probably not really into that person, but rather an idea. How can someone who is black (meaning of the African diaspora) look at someone who is also like them and say you hate them or you don’t like them, without saying you hate or don’t like yourself. We suffer from a lot of self-loathing and self-hatred as black people. We have a lot of work to do, but even with everything that has been thrown at us, WE ARE STILL HERE!
BrooklynButtah: Who is a Black woman in history that you admire? Why?
Lawrence Lindell: Octavia Butler. I have been on a binge of her work lately and the imagination of that woman was incredible. It’s sad that as a black kid I was not introduced to her. I only found out about authors like her and others in my adult years. I was not introduced to her during ANY of my years of “education.”
BrooklynButtah: What’s next for you?
Lawrence Lindell: I’m going on my artist tour starting May 5th [in progress] and I will be at that until the end of this year.
BrooklynButtah: If you could have one conversation with your future daughter or son right now what would that conversation be?
Lawrence Lindell: You are black, brown and beautiful. Beautiful inside and out. Beautiful not because of what you have, but beautiful because of who you are. Everything on you is the way you’re supposed to be, the way you were created. The world is going on try and steal your magic, like they did your ancestors, but they can’t steal what is naturally inside of you.
They can only hinder you from trying to access it. You are life, you are love, you are strength and I love you.