New YA fantasy novel inspired by Beyoncé’s music

Alabama born and raised author, screenwriter, director, and playwright LaDarrion Williams has given new meaning to the phrase carpe diem. Williams, who recently spoke to AmNews ahead of his May 13 appearance at the 92nd Street Y (92NY), said he left his small Alabama town on a whim to pursue his dreams always. “I was working at Taco Bell and I was depressed and just wanted to get away. One evening my paycheck hit my direct deposit and I purchased a Southwest ticket for $181. I had never been on a plane before. It was a one-way ticket. I clicked to buy the ticket and thought, “I guess I’m moving to Los Angeles!” »

Williams is promoting her upcoming YA Fantasy novel “Blood at the Root,” a book that appears to deliver on the disappointed promises of the once highly anticipated film “The American Society of Magical Negroes (ASMN).” This story was not about a dark Hogwarts as many thought, but “Blood at the Root”, in many ways, was. It chronicles the life of 17-year-old Malik as he tries to forget a traumatic past and start a new life with his adopted younger brother. His journey takes him to a university, an HBCU in fact, that is home to a community of people who, like him, possess magical powers.

Williams remembers the flurry of activity among his peers when “ASMN” was initially announced. “That morning when I woke up, my phone kept ringing and there were all these congratulatory texts and messages for the film on Instagram and Tik Tok and whatnot. I was like, “God, did they make my movie and not tell me?” Or pay me?’ Williams was relieved, to say the least, when he realized that “ASMN” was about something very different. “I was like, y’all, this isn’t my movie. This is not my story!

Although Williams respects the people involved in “ASMN,” the narrative is not something he is completely comfortable with, to the point that he decided not to see the film. “I’m at a point in my art where I want to consume something that’s going to uplift us, although I’m not saying this story isn’t inspiring to anyone. But I cannot, in good conscience, as a black man and as a Black Fantasy writer here fighting for my stories, go watch a movie in which a black character only uses his magic to help white people.