Shanyael Hinton, a gorgeous writer, self proclaimed gamer, and lover of all things pertaining to literature from the city of Columbus Ohio. We met our freshman year of College and formed a bond and friendship partially over our love of literature, Black Women literature in particular. As a lover of literature and as a writer I wanted to ask Shanyael aka (Slim Sway) a few questions about literature and livelihood. Here is our interview:
–As a writer what are some things that influence you?
Shanyael: “Literature has influenced me a great amount because the reason I write is because I read. The alternate universes that were created within my universe were the key to the gateway to my imagination. Literature and everyday life, but to me everyday life is literature , a work of art, a story.”
–Coming up how has literature helped in shaping you into the young women you are today?
Shanyael: “I’d have to say it’s made me more free. I say what I want to say and live abundantly because I’ve had the opportunity to live so many lives through both reading and telling stories. It has also, of course, made me more knowledgeable and I speak very well for the sake of all the years I’ve read.”
Shanyael:”I’ll start from when I was a younging, my elementary favorites were, Jacqueline Woodson, Lois Lowry and Jerry Spinelli, as I continued into middle school I fell in love with Sharon M. Draper, Walter Dean Myers and Christopher Pike. Once into high school I discovered Alice Walker, Toni Morrison, and Zora Neale Hurston.”
-What’s your favorite book?
Shanyael: “Oh lord, ‘Beloved‘ has to be it. But I have a serious love for ‘The Third Life Of Grange Copeland’.”
–Why is beloved your favorite book , what makes it stand out to you ? What’s one quote from beloved that you’ve held on to?
Shanyael: “Beloved is my favorite because as a child I watched the movie and it was the absolute worst movie of my childhood by far, it was terrifying. To have discovered the book my junior year of high school in a classroom setting that was very diverse and to actually have a lesson plan based on it, was phenomenal to me. It was phenomenal because it was about me, my people.”
“It’s based on some truth and the story is so beautiful and raw. It stands out to me because of all the subtle things that Morrison does with what she says with her words and what she means and wants you to understand, What’s underneath. I mean, the symbolism in that book, the imagery! The beauty. Ah. The one quote has got to be, oh my goodness there’s so many, my personal copy of the book has sticky notes with all my favorite quotes on it, but goodness.. um .. I must say, “you your best thing Sethe. You are.”
What’s one of the constant themes that literature has revealed to you.. as a woman; as a black woman ? As a human being ?
Shanyael: “The struggle of loving yourself, of gathering yourself after the world takes from you is a reoccurring thing. Especially for Black women in my opinion because we were taken and people are still taking from us.”
“Our culture is being appropriated, it’s always taken us the extra mile to love our full lips, our corn rows, our hips and dips and curves, and we have to learn how to overcome what’s expected of us and what we expect from ourselves because what’s expected of us and sometimes this ruins us. Most of the books I read are about women, are about the community realizing, we’ve gotta gather our stuff, we’ve gotta reclaim ourselves, yasss, as baby Suggs preached in ‘Beloved‘ in the clearing although it’s considered fiction, that’s so relevant to today.”
Thank you to Ms. Shanyael Hinton for her beautiful insight and views on the discussion of , literature love and livelihood. Poetic views and bits of imagery. “Black girls, we read, we create, we exsist.”
“Black Woman In Literature Is The Epitome Of My Being”- Slim Sway