Toni Morrison: A voice for black people


Today’s post is going to be a celebratory post for a talented African American writer; a person who was even more than just a writer to some. On 5th August 2019 (88 yrs old), we found out that Toni Morrison had sadly passed away. You could see the influence she had over her committed readers after the news broke out. Morrison was one of the many African American writers that wrote with emotion, truth and experience. It is definitely one of the reasons why I fell in love with her work.

If you don’t know who Toni Morrison is, I’ll give you a little bit of an insight of her background and what kind of a writer she was. So why don’t we start from the beginning, Toni Morrison’s name is Chloe Anthony Wofford ‘Toni’ Morrison and she was born on February 1931. In 1993, she won the Nobel Prize for Literature, and was characterised as a “visionary force and poetic import, giv[ing] life to an essential part of American reality”. She’s well known for her work such as The Bluest Eye, Song of Solomon, Sula and Beloved.

As for me, I was first introduced to Morrison during my 2nd year of University during my Literature At Work module (which btw was one of my favourites). Before then, I had no idea as to who she was, clueless to both the name and her work. I was opened up to a whole new world. It was also the module which inspired me to do my dissertation on her first novel, The Bluest Eye, and of course some other novels by African American writers that spoke of the black body in symbols, as well as creative language. She gave me the opportunity to  relate my own experiences with her words and not be ashamed to feel or speak out about my emotions. Morrison was a voice for those that did not have the ability to speak out.

Freeing yourself was one thing, claiming ownership of that freed self was another.”

Toni Morrison

Morrison’s death truly is a great loss for everyone, as she was one of the greatest literary voices of our time and moved the generation with her words. She was appreciated by many and motivated individuals, especially those of colour, to be appreciative of the body that they’re within.

I want to thank Toni Morrison for giving me the opportunity to relate myself through her words and know that it is okay to be different, it is okay to be black. We often rely on those around us to define who we are, when in reality, we’re defined only by what we think about ourselves. That is one of the lessons that I took from Morrison’s novels and will continue to recite in the future.

R.I.P Toni Morrison.

Yours Truly,

Melanin Talks x



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