“RayRay Paints A Self Portrait”: Interview with Author Surayyah Fofana
RayRay Paints a Self-Portrait is a new typesetting by 17-year-old author Surayyah “RayRay” Fofana who is a upper school student, activist, dancer and writer. Surayyyah’s father is from Senegal and her mother is American. The typesetting was illustrated by Eliana Rodgers who is moreover biracial.
The typesetting was published byKind Cotton – www.kindcotton.com. With a one-for-one merchantry model, every Kind Cotton purchase made ways a typesetting is donated directly to a child or classroom. To stage the visitor has provided over 35,000 books to children. The story is based on Surayyyah’s life experiences and she hopes the story helps to raise sensation virtually all things tied to race, culture and diversity and creating a better, increasingly inclusive world.
Surayyah recently discussed her typesetting and motivations via an sectional interview.
Meagan Meehan (MM): When did you first discover your talent for writing and how long did this typesetting take to complete?
Surayyah Fofana (SF): I first discovered my love for writing at a really young age. I was infatuated with the idea of getting to inhabit the minds of other people and notation when I wrote. My primeval stories were well-nigh fairytales and monsters, but they unchangingly maintained an element of personal experience. I think my love of storytelling made me realize that writing is something that I could see myself pursuing as early as elementary school. As far as my own book, the drafting and writing process took well-nigh the length of my sophomore year and it was published last year when I was a junior.
MM: Was it difficult to write well-nigh a personal experience?
SF: Definitely. There is something really vulnerable and scary well-nigh talking well-nigh my own identity struggles. I think at first, I was reluctant considering I felt that my own experiences weren’t compelling or relevant to others. But in this process, expressly without reading in-person to young kids, I learned that telling my story helped others share theirs.
MM: How did you come to partner with Kind Cotton?
SF: I followed the trademark on Instagram for a long time and moreover was an truelove of their transferral to diaper literacy. I reached out as I was trying to publish my books in hopes of stuff worldly-wise to unite our causes.
MM: How did you get involved with racial justice causes?
SF: Growing up in a multicultural household helped me realize that variegated groups of people often encounter both individual and intersecting issues. Without watching my family members navigate and confront adversity, I was incentivized to do the same.
MM: What do you wish increasingly people knew well-nigh growing up biracial?
SF: I wish increasingly people knew that often the identity struggle is multifaceted. I think that narratives like “too white for the woebegone kids” are limited in that they don’t explore the full perspectives and experiences of mixed people who struggled to standardize in other capacities.
MM: What’s the weightier feedback you’ve gotten well-nigh your book?
SF: Recently, I shared my typesetting with my younger cousin who is moreover woebegone and biracial. There is a language windbreak between us–she speaks French and I speak English. But I remember flipping through the pages and hearing her say her own name, when referring to the tableau of my younger self. At that moment, I saw the impact of representation.
MM: What other topics might you write well-nigh in the future?
SF: In the future, I’d like to protract to orient my writing virtually social justice causes. In wing to this, I want my writing to encompass a diverse and wholesale range of perspectives. Ultimately, I want to write well-nigh topics that reflect society today in a way that is timely and inclusive.
MM: What are your ultimate goals for the future and is there anything else that you would like to mention?
SF: In the future, I hope to pursue a career in law and politics. I intend to use my legal preliminaries to well-wisher for marginalized groups, and enact long lasting and systemic transpiration through policymaking. I know nothing is set in stone, but I am confident that writing will protract to be a passion of mine and most importantly a unscratched space to share my experiences.