Talented visual activist, Yelitsa Jean-Charles is taking on the toy industry. Her company, Healthy Roots, aims to uplift unheard voices and empower young children of color. You can donate to Healthy Roots Kickstarter here.

Muse’s Milk: Tell us your story. 

Yelitsa Jean-Charles: As a child I was often left on my own and felt ostracized by my family and classmates. So I had to find some way to occupy my time right? I began reading books, particularly ones with really descriptive imagery like Harry Potter and Eragon. I started writing my own stories so of course I wanted to start illustrating them too.

In high school I started taking art much more seriously. I recognized that I had a skill for drawing and I was very conceptual. I also knew that I had a lot to say, but didn’t know how to say it yet. Something that really stuck with me from high school was when one of my classmates challenged me when I was talking about social issues and injustices. He said that “I can’t change the world”. That’s when I thought about art as a vehicle for change and the power that we have as our societies content creators.

I don’t identify as an artist. I’m a visual activist. Art is my tool for social change.

Shades of Beauty: #ILoveMyRoots

Shades of Beauty: #ILoveMyRoots

I will do whatever I have to do to convince them. There is no question whether or not you are beautiful. Beauty can not be measured by strands of hair or hours in the sun. We should be allowed to define beauty for ourselves. We know when we feel beautiful and that’s what matters. That’s what #ILoveMyRoots means to me.