BY TAMMY SCILEPPI
Amber Borden loves color.
So, the young author from Flushing wrote “Hueman” – a very special book of poems that deals with her interpretation of color and hues as relating to humanity and life.
You can say she views the complexities of what makes us human through color and metaphor.
“’Hueman,’ at its essence, is a celebration of life and what it means to be human,” Borden explained.
What a refreshingly pure and positive concept amid these dark times!
So, what does it mean to be “hueman,” according to the author?
“The answer is vivid and lives within all of us,” she said. “We all question what it is to be human, and for all of us that’s extremely different. But at the same time, we all have those core moments and those core feelings that make us who we are. You know, we all bleed; we all cry, smile, laugh; we all have habits, good or bad; sometimes we get jealous, feel proud. Those are the things I wanted to highlight in ‘Hueman.’ So, I’m coming from a place as a young Black woman telling my story, and also weaving in the universal narrative of humanity.”
Through a collection of unique poetry, the author, who fell in love with that art form at a young age, explores our universal experiences and emotions — along with her personal thoughts and observations — in relation to the colors of the rainbow, and beyond.
“Color is culture. Color is impact. It influences our lives as ‘huemans’ and how we interpret our reality is what makes it so special,” she said. “‘Hueman’ serves as a display of what makes us human and what makes our world so beautiful through the good and the bad. The colors represent the duality of this life. The shades of light and dark mean something. Green is not simply green, but it represents growth as well as greed.”
Borden said she specifically chose to divide the book into chapters of colors and shades, because each hue has a story to tell. “Every color has a voice that resonates with who we are as human beings,” she added. Even the seven deadly sins were included.
The inspiration for the book goes back to November 2018.
“The idea came as an epiphany while I was in the movie theater of all places! I knew that I wanted to be an author; it was a dream I had all of my life because of my passion for writing,” Borden shared. So, she began brainstorming and her pen hit paper.
The 126-page paperback is designed to reach a universal audience from different walks of life.
“Our world wouldn’t be the world we know it as, without color,” Borden noted. “Whether that is our skin tones, how we dress, how we express, the power of the hues we take for granted influence our lives.”
Why is “Hueman” relevant in today’s world?
“If we look at the rainbow, we see a spectrum of different colors. Even though the colors are different, they all appear to bleed into each other, seamlessly transitioning from one color to the next,” Borden explained. “Our impact on each other bleeds into one another like the different colors of the rainbow; our experiences (similar and shared) blend together into what makes us human.”
The author, who recently graduated from St. John’s University, added, “In today’s time of COVID-19 and social injustice, people were forced to pay attention and to take action. 2020 painted our planet a vibrant color that we could not take our eyes off of and ignore. Through tragedy, humanity found unity. That is the spirit of ‘Hueman’ – to highlight the unity and beautiful chaos of what it means to be human.”
“I dedicated it to ‘my blood, my water and my light.’ My blood represents my family, my water represents my friends, and my light represents my acquaintances and people who inspire me,” Borden shared. “I wouldn’t be who I am without my interactions with them. ‘Hueman’ symbolizes that … how interconnected we all are.”
The Queens native, whose favorite colors are pink and yellow, told QNS that she has many passions, including storytelling, style and social justice. “I use my voice to empower the Black community through a podcast I started my freshman year of college, ‘The Amber Alert,’” said Borden, who also served as the president of the first-ever Black Student Union at St. John’s.
“I made my dreams of becoming an author come true with my debut poetry collection. Publishing it on April 23 holds great significance; not only is 23 my favorite number, but April 23 is National Book Day,” she noted. Inspired by writers of color, like Maya Angelou, whose poetry helped this new author find her own voice, Borden is currently piecing together ideas for her next book, and has a bit of advice for readers:
“Feel free to color outside of your own lines … and read the book freely.”
Hueman is available for purchase on Amazon.