Analyzing Brandy's Character From 'The Author Village'

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Brandy Colbert writes stories that focus on African American girls finding their identity and being true to themselves. Brandy grew up in Missouri with very few other African Americans around. She tends to draw inspiration from those years as a teenager when she struggled with her identity and had to learn how to be her true self. She once said in an interview her goal in writing is to “reflect the beautiful diversity of our world in all forms”(The Author Village). Her character Joni from the short story Oreo is a prime example of one of her characters who was inspired by Brandy’s struggle as a teenager. Joni is an African American teenager who is struggling with her identity and her need to be accepted by her community because she feels as …show more content…

Throughout the story Joni shares how she isn’t confident with the way she acts because her cousins make fun of her for acting like she’s “white” instead of the way they do. For instance when Joni’s cousin Junior calls her an oreo for liking things that white girls like such as broadway plays, Joni stops talking to them and stops expressing herself: “I stopped responding, stopped looking at him. And, to my relief, he eventually wandered away–though the word Oreo lodged itself in my chest like poison”(123). When Joni’s cousin Junior says this it causes her to question herself and the way she acts, she wonders if she actually doesn't act black enough. Furthermore, Junior calling Joni an oreo confirms Joni’s insecurity that she doesn't act the way she's supposed and that she should change the way she is. As a result Joni becomes self-conscious about the way she acts which causes her to hide from her identity and change the way she feels about …show more content…

Joni tries to hide her black features because she doesn't want to stand out with her white friends. One example of this is when Joni is talking about her hair she says, “I don't tell her that I’ve been too nervous to wear my natural hair curly because I was afraid of what everyone at my super-white school would say”(127). Joni hides parts of herself because she wants to fit in with the people she is around. When she hides these parts of herself she loses who she really is causing her to struggle with her identity. Therefore Joni’s fear of not fitting in is causing her to lose who she really

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