By Jessica Starks
Krystal Black is a woman with many stories inside of her, just waiting to come out. Her honest, unapologetic style of writing immediately draws readers into the worlds she creates, making us feel as if we’ve resided there our entire lives.
Krystal currently lives in America, but is originally from an island off of the coast of Madagascar where she spent nineteen years of her life. She was a teacher for twenty-six years and is a mother and grandmother.
Krystal’s 2016 book, The Color of Madness, is an anecdotal biography of Ciska, one of Krystal’s nine siblings, who suffered from schizophrenia. Ciska had a bright future ahead of her that she actively pursued, but simply could not reach due to the intense racism and colorism she endured throughout her life. “The main theme of the story is the devastating impact of colorism on the Afro-descendant female. It is so important because colorism, whether we realize it or not, is a self-inflicted form of genocide.”
Krystal admits that this book has been on her heart for a long time. “I have been wanting to write this story for forty years. My sister’s story is not unique, but this was a story I wanted to tell, this was a story that needed to be told.” Though the story was not hard to write, it was not as easy as it seemed either: “Ideas came like inspiration and I could write like crazy some days, but there were days that I would have terrible writer’s block.”
Nonetheless, Krystal stuck with her story was able to see it in print. Since publishing the book, there have been a few mixed reactions, but many have been able to understand Ciska’s plight. “Every black person [that has read the The Color of Madness] has been able to relate to many things in the book.”
Would she ever consider making The Color of Madness into a movie? “Some have suggested I make a movie out of it,” Krystal said. “I would love for it to be an indie film with indie actors.”
Who are some of Black’s favorite authors? She loves a variety of authors: Toni Morrison, John Grisham, Charles Dickens, Richard Wright, Agatha Christie, and more. One of her favorite works as a child was even Le Mis.
Can we expect more work from Krystal Black? Perhaps. “I have a book of Negritude poetry that I think I will eventually publish.”
To aspiring writers, Krystal advises to look at other perspectives for inspiration:” Don’t limit yourself as a reader, you can relate and see yourself in someone else’s eyes and mind.”