Jeffrey Lee Cheatham II wearing headphones, looking down, with a microphone pop screen to the right

Uhuru – Jeffrey Lee Cheatham II

2020 Jack Straw writer Jeffrey Lee Cheatham II’s project is a graphic novel titled Uhuru, a pirate adventure story centering Black characters. In his conversation with curator Anastacia-Renée, they discuss the lack of Black representation in children’s literature, professional wrestling and Archie comics, and creating Black stories that expand beyond a monolithic experience. “One of the big things that really got me into creating my children’s book stories was the fact that every time I would read a story that had a Black protagonist, it always dealt with New York, Harlem, the country, civil rights or slavery. And my mindset was, we can fight dragons and be wizards and warlocks, too.”

Music by SassyBlack, produced as part of the Jack Straw Artist Support Program.