The Changing Élan

Élan’s Spring Online Edition’s accepted pieces all tell a story of their own that is brought together nicely through the fantastic art. In this issue, my personal favourite art pieces are the ones that are showing their own style in a unique way like Post Humous by Alli Russel, Composition 9721 by Tamia Brinkley, and Wonder by Kaitlyn Griffin. These are types of pieces that Élan rarely sees in our editions, and I’m glad that these interesting art works are being showcased.

 The most exciting aspect of this new Spring Online Edition is the new layout that was implemented. Élan is always looking for new ways to fresh up our brand while still engaging our audience and still being familiar. This new format of the book is a small change, but it is one that makes Élan look different from what we have been doing for so long. As the Senior Layout and Design Editor, I am extremely proud of my Junior counterpart, Jasper Darnell, in undertaking this new idea and being flexible and excited for change. I feel like what was accomplished during these difficult times was outstanding, and I’m so happy to be able to see everyone’s hard work pay off.

For written pieces accepted into Élan, I have a few pieces that hold a special place in my heart like: “Primal Instinct” by Sofia Miller; “Oranges” by Breana Kinchen; “tiger, what it means to leave behind” by Jaden Crowder. Out of these pieces, the one that struck me the most was “Oranges” by Breana Kinchen because of the intimate connections and memories that are being shown within this piece. When I first read this poem, I could feel the nostalgia and truthfulness that was unique to this speaker. This poem sets itself nicely into the book, but is also a piece that stands alone strongly.

This 2020 Spring Online Edition is an exciting issue!

Luz Mañunga, Senior Layout and Design Editor

The Black Girl Duet

I have two favorite pieces in Élan’s Spring book.

My first favorite is “The Barbie” by Myka Davis-Westbrook. Myka recalls their interactions with different barbie dolls as a child. I love the way Myka described the barbie dolls skin tone, “had skin like a Peach” vs. “brown like dirt.” It captured my childhood, choosing to play with the peach colored dolls with perfect long hair vs. playing with the dirt colored dolls with “hair sticking every which way.” This poem is so relatable to me as a little colored girl who grew up playing with dolls. I know exactly how the character in the poem felt in the moment. As a child you chose to play with the pretty dolls’ vs. the rougher looking dolls, you don’t really consider the race of the dolls. That’s not important until later in life once you experience life and learn. I think both points come across in the final moments of the poem, “My miniature hand thumbed a dent into the plastic toy’s face until it looked less human dunking it head first in my sandbox. I play house with the other two.” I liked the imagery and power in the line. It might be a stretch, but I think it’s also symbolic for how black girls are viewed now in society. “The Barbie” is made up of four powerful stanzas filled with imagery. The title alone stood out to me and made me want to read the poem.

My second favorite piece is “Ghetto Fabulous” by Miracle Singleton. I’ve seen her preform this piece numerous times and it never gets old. I like the positive images of the African American girl in this poem. I like how she turns the negative around, “they call my ghetto fabulous with my golden hoops dangling from my chocolate ears that hear “she ghetto” as that statement exits their sore lips,” and sounds so careless. Confidence radiates throughout this piece. After reading “Ghetto Fabulous” I felt confident, empowered, proud to be an African American female. I like image of this carefree, confident, chocolate girl walking around just being her while the rest of the world watches her. I like the way the piece reads like a spoken word piece.

“Ghetto Fabulous” and “The Barbie” are the black girl duet in the Spring book. They approach race and show the story of the black community differently, while adding some variety and spice to the Spring Edition.

La’Mirakle Price, Junior Managing Editor