By Clyde Hughes | AC JosepH Media
WILLINGBORO – Amya Meekins is just 17, but as a teenage author she is already writing about some pretty heady subjects.
Meekins, who graduated with her high school diploma in three years, published “The Life of a Teenage Girl,” which was released in May, taking on the nuanced topic of colorism.
Colorism, a subject that has been long discussed in the African-American community, is discrimination and prejudice based on shades of skin color where people are treated differently based on the social implications from cultural meanings attached to it.
Colorism was one of the themes Spike Lee took on in the 1988 hit movie “School Daze.”
“It took me awhile to come up with a book because I had to gain the right experiences from my viewpoint and other experiences,” Meekins told Front Runner New Jersey recently at the New Jersey NAACP State Conference in October.
“My publisher said you have to find that thing you really want to talk about. I was thinking that colorism was something that wasn’t discussed. People overlook it and depress it. People deal with bullying every day,” she said.
The book, which can be found on Amazon, follows a darker-skin girl named Faith as she experiences the challenges of being a teenagers where colorism has an impact on her life.
“Come join Faith as she battles with being criticized about the color of her skin. She goes through plenty of emotions, such as love, loss, and learning how to find her voice. ‘The Life Of A Teenage Girl’ is a story about a teenage girl which was written by a teenage girl,” the Amazon book description read.
Meekins said she has been inspired by her mother, Kai Meekins, and her grandmother, who always introduced her to heroines like Rosa Parks and former First Lady Michelle Obama.
“Ever since I was a little girl I loved Rosa Parks,” Meekins said. “Ever since I learned about her story, it was so inspiring. When I went to the African American Museum in D.C. I get so inspired and it encouraged me to help other people. I learned to love myself more.”
Kai Meekins said in an effort not to interfere with her daughter’s thought process did not read the book until it was done.
“When I read it, I was blown away,” the elder Meekins said. “It was her project and I just put it in her hands. I’m extremely proud of her.
“She is far more focused than I was at her age. It didn’t take a lot of encouraging. We have a great relationship. We’ve been able to bounce ideas off of each other and she trust my maturity and wisdom, Kai Meekins said.
Amya Meekins, who is a freshman communications major at Rowan College Burlington County, said she had sold about 200 books but is looking forward to selling more. She said she is planning on writing more books but is concentrating on college at the moment. She said she hopes “The Life of a Teenage Girl” will lead to a kinder world in the future.
“Overall, I want people to love more, share love and love themselves,” Meekins said. “We’re living in a society where times are dark. Whether it’s politics, economics, things are just dark. I want everyone to know that the world can be a better place if we spread love all around.
“It’s not that hard. Whether its complimenting someone or holding the door open for someone, I feel it would make the world a better place,” she added.
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