The BeYOU Crew are not only the main characters in my upcoming book series, they are the inspiration for our newest product line dropping January 2022! You will be able to find the BeYOU Crew on a series of products like - backpacks, journals, shoe charms and more. Be sure to follow our page and join our email list so you don’t miss anything.
Each of the characters, although unique and different, have similar characteristics that are at the center of their development. My goal was to create characters that were relatable, fun to follow, inspiring/motivating and enjoyable to the eye. I knew I wanted to use bright colors. I love BRIGHT colors - and bright colors stimulate the mind. They are refreshing and energizing. I collect children’s books - I love beautiful illustrations. I wanted to develop characters that gave me the same feeling I got when I fingered through a perfectly illustrated children’s book. I also wanted to capture classic Black Girl magic and beauty that you see in our skin tones, our style and our hair styles. This is especially important to me because I want Beautiful Brown Girls to see themselves in our images. I want them to love our characters and develop friendships in their heads. I want them to know them by name, and by interests, by the color of their bubble and by personality traits. I want the BeYOU Crew to be a household name.
Each character will always have a bubble - the bubblegum is our signature design element. Our characters are blowing a bubble because, in my opinion, that captures the essence of childhood fun. And it’s different. We see a lot of characters from many different brands- all are super cute and fun to look at - but I wanted ours to stand out. I knew I was going to create a character series so I wanted all of my characters to have a cohesive theme that made them easy to identify as part of the BeYOU Crew.
Each character has a special interest or trait that other Beautiful Brown Girls can connect to- whether its the love of science, math or reading, or the desire to play sports- bake - dance- draw- stop climate change, speak up for the voiceless or save endangered species - there is a little girl out there that is looking at or reading about one of our characters and feeling like they finally found one that gets them. That tells a story where they can see themselves in the pages of the story and feel like they made a lifelong literary friend.
All of our characters represent diverse skin tones. I named our organization Dear Beautiful Brown Girl® because I wanted to celebrate our many shades of brown. I aim to promote cultural pride and a strong sense of self. I am helping to break down the walls of color complexes and celebrate all complexions. I wanted every Black and Brown Girl to feel like they have a character that represents them.
In addition our characters capture academic excellence, celebrate artistic and musical expression, encourage uniqueness and individuality, highlights personal voice and social issues and celebrates cultural diversity.
Get to know our characters by subscribing to our BeYOU Crew Club!
So, here is the backstory to how it all came together...
And then Diona reached out to me after a few months and brought up a project we discussed over a year ago. She said to me, “Are you ready to start the Summer in the City project?” And just like that – A LIGHTBULB WENT OFF! And that one email changed the trajectory of Dear Beautiful Brown Girl.
I wrote my first children’s book in 2013 – Summer in the City. This book was my first attempt to create representation through vivid storytelling. I LOVE that book. My sophomore publication was the first book in a chapter book series, Ziggie Tales: Ziggie’s Big Adventure. My plan was to immediately follow up with two additional chapter books but I was in a car accident that left me immobile for several months. As I recovered from that accident, I was pulled in another creative direction and started a button business – that led to the subscription box- and eventually back to writing through Dear Beautiful Brown Girl. So – as we Diona and I discussed the relaunch of Summer in the City, I decided that I wanted to use the characters from the BeYOUtiful Brown Girl Project. I knew it was time to introduce 4 new characters and as I developed these characters – The BeYOU Crew was born! I was told by my niece Chloe that it was about time she had her own character, so boom. She was one of the four. I also added Marley’s younger sisters, Tasya and Cori. And Danasia, our fourth character is a former student of mine that has become like my niece to me over the years.
Since releasing Summer in the City, we've added three new characters and will be added a few new characters in 2022.
So why the BeYOU Crew? Well....why not?
WE are on an amazing journey and I want you to come along for the ride – get to know us, love us and grow with us! Be sure to subscribe to my email list to learn more about our projects and products – we are more than accessories and books – we also host programs and workshops, share educational resources and contribute to our communities through service projects and fundraisers.