Lightin’ the fire in the mind: an interview wit’ children’s book author Akua Agusi

by People’s Minister of Information JR

Author and African-centered business woman Akua Agusi is doing the work that a lot of us are too busy to concentrate on when we talk about educating our people as to what is really going in the world, educating our babies first. I first came into contact with the work of this Oakland native and Los Angeles transplant online, and after I looked a little deeper into what she was putting out, I wanted to help amplify her much needed voice in our community, where our people have been mentally severed from our history and our accomplishments collectively.

By creating African-centered books for young people about our Black heroes and sheroes, she is allowing us the opportunity to see ourselves early on in life as coming from a legacy. Many of us grew up off of Dr. Seuss; just think if we grew off Marcus Garvey and Queen Nzinga from seeds. How would that have affected the psychological development of our brains as well as our sense of commitment to our people.

Rather than trying to push our children to be the next Jay Z, we really need the next Marcus Garveys, as well as Akua Agusis – people who have loyalty and commitment to uplifting African people worldwide. Check out Akua in her own words.

M.O.I. JR: What inspired you to make children’s books about Black people that are important in history? Why do Black children need this?

Akua: I was and continue to be inspired by the fact that books written about our ancestors are rarely written for our children and are rarely written in a way in which to encourage them to continue the work or mission on behalf of our people.

Our children need to see the accomplishments and sacrifices and geniuses that exemplify the great potential in all of our people.

M.O.I. JR: How do you pick who you want to feature? What is your writing process like?

Akua: I look for people that other authors have avoided due to the difficulty of the ancestor’s purpose or story.

I meditate in front of my deity (Orisha) altar and await an answer, a go ahead. I then research, try to locate and speak with a family member or expert. I then let spirit guide me as I write in hopes of writing in a manner and in context that the ancestor would approve of.

M.O.I. JR: How many titles do you have?

Akua: I have three complete, two in the works and many more coming through me. The first book I published and wrote is “Madam C.J Walker’s Road To Success.” There are many rumors about her interest and sales motives, so I felt compelled to tell her true success story and share all of the wonderful things she did for our people. And certainly to dispel the rumor that she invented perms or pressing combs, because it’s a terrible untruth. I then published my second book, “The Successes of Marcus Garvey” and now “Queen Nzingha, the People’s Warrior Queen.” “Saniyah’s Face” will be my fourth release. It’s a baby’s book that teaches babies the different parts of their face.

M.O.I. JR: What has the response been like from the Black community?

Akua: The response has been dope – as in dopamine, which is the chemical in the brain that when released helps regulate movement and emotional responses, and it enables us not only to see rewards, but to take action. So I’ve been very inspired to continue to write books, create animations, learning aids that are Afrikan centered and a host of other tools.

M.O.I. JR: Where can people buy your books?

Akua: My website is the best place for now: If you’re in Southern California, Shades of Afrika in Long Beach and Eso Won’s bookstore in Los Angeles. Pretty soon they will be available at local Afrikan-owned bookstores throughout the U.S.

The People’s Minister of Information JR is associate editor of the Bay View, author of “Block Reportin’” and filmmaker of “Operation Small Axe” and “Block Reportin’ 101,” available, along with many more interviews, at He also hosts two weekly shows on KPFA 94.1 FM and The Morning Mix every Wednesday, 8-9 a.m., and The Block Report every Friday night-Saturday morning, midnight-2 a.m. He can be reached at