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Black ≠ Inferior by Tolu’ A. Akinyemi

Profound and powerful…

The beautiful latest collection by Akinyemi broaches an impressive array of challenging subjects, among them the complexity, joy, and heartbreak of black experience, death, acts of God, and celebration of love.  Akinyemi’s black culture is not an antidote to whiteness. It’s a culture where brilliance is banal and irreplicable nuances are created in spite of suffering. Blackness is unique, and something to be proud of. For example, in the first part, in the very first poem “Black and Unique,” he writes, “I wish this can be your favorite poem; / these words, ordinances, and creed— a sterling light. / I wish you can see the uniqueness of your black skin / its glory shining like a dark armour.” “Black and Beautiful” conveys the similar sentiment as Akinyemi writes, “Glorify your shade of Black. / revel in its beauty. / Don’t you forget that you’re Black and beautiful.” In “The Police is Your Friend,” he adeptly touches upon matters of police brutality, implicit bias, and selective prejudice. The title poem “Black ≠ Inferior” is a candid call for black people to cultivate their blackness and not letting it be a synonym for inferiority complex. Poems in the second part are visually and formally varied: In “Through the Turbulence,” Akinyemi addresses how difficult times may bring even believers to the point of feeling powerless and losing faith. But the ones whose faith stays unshaken are never forsaken by the God. “Survivors” narrates the plight of refugees. A celebration of black culture and experience and life in general, the collection makes for an electrifying read.

Black ≠ Inferior

By Tolu’ A. Akinyemi

The Roaring Lion Newcastle

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Pub date January 1, 2021


Price $3.10 (USD) Kindle edition

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