Filmmaker Francesca Andre Writes Children's Book to Encourage Phenomenal Black Boys
by Isaiah E. Bailey | on 25 April 2021
Inspired by a movement that captivated the world, Francesca Andre delivered a children's book that celebrates what it means to be Black. A complete contrast to the dead and incarcerated Black men shown on the news, I am a Phenomenal Black Boy is a true picture of Black culture and identity.
The Black Accountants Talent Network (BATN) caught up with Francesca to learn more about what motivated her new children's book.
At what point did you realize it was necessary to write this book? Was the book influenced by someone or something in particular?
The book was inspired by my son. The idea came to me when all the protests about black lives were happening all around the world so I decided to write a book that will matter to him and children who look like him. That was my way of joining the conversation.
What access to education, literacy and books did you have growing up? What are the relationships between this access and this book?
My godmother, Marie Antoine Andre, gifted me my first book. She was an artist who loved words, music, history and arts. Every birthday, she visited me with a book. Words became very special to me at an early age because of her. That’s her legacy to me and I will continue to honor her in my own way.
What was the selection process for the imagery throughout the book?
It was not a selection process but more of the illustrator understanding how to bring my concept to life. I conceptualized every single page of the book. Working with Audeva Joseph was a fulfilling experience. She understood my concept and executed all my ideas beautifully.
How did you deal with the emotional impact while writing the book? Did you know at the time it would have such an incredible impact?
I was in alignment with my emotions and my creativity when I wrote the book. I surrendered to the idea when it came to me. The storm has already passed in terms of my emotions. I have already shifted my position and decided not to fear but to create instead. I think the book still has a long way to go so I am happy to see where it goes.
In the end, what do you strive to accomplish in all of your works? What message do you want your readers and viewers to receive?
Being authentic to the process and to myself is key. I want to continue to create from a place of authenticity. I strive to do work that is authentic, uplifting, and impactful.
About the Book - I am a Phenomenal Black Boy
I am a phenomenal black boy is a powerful book for young black boys to be unapologetic about their identity, history, magic, and brilliance. The book illustrates powerful black male and female figures and their contribution to humanity. This book serves as a mirror for young black boys by centering them as heroes of their own stories. I am a phenomenal black boy defies societal stereotypes often set for young black boys. The book brings light and encourages young black boys to remain true to themselves by being phenomenal.
About the Author - Francesca Andre
Francesca Andre is an award-winning filmmaker, photographer, and writer known for creating richly emotional work that tackles the complexities of life. Through her camera lens, Andre invites you to a world full of beauty, color, passion, and triumph.
Andre is the co-founder and creative director of Optik 21, a creative agency offering high-quality photography and video services. She has been a freelance photographer since 2008, and her work has been published in outlets such as Forbes, the New York Post, New York Daily News, News Day, Connecticut Post, Daily Mail, Black Enterprise and Ebony Magazine.
In 2017, she released her award-winning short film, Charcoal, which captures the stories of two black women as they embark on a lifelong journey to overcome internalized colorism, find self-acceptance, and ultimately find redemption.
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Isaiah E. Bailey
Founder, Black Accountants Talent Network (BATN)
I am passionate about creating constructive conversations aimed at improving and implementing actionable and impactful diversity and inclusion strategies applicable to all industries. I am also a dedicated mentor to high school and college students across the Greater New York City and Philadelphia areas.
I am an experienced accounting and auditing professional with over 5 years experience auditing financial statements and documenting, validating and assessing financial systems, strategies, and controls that significantly improve business operations. I have a strong ability to analyze and organize data and communicate results across all levels of an organization both verbally and written.
I have experience providing financial statement audit, carve-out audit, single audit, audit of internal controls over financial reporting (ICFR) and IFRS quarterly reviews for engagements both domestic and international, ranging from start-up to billion dollar companies both private and public.