Welcome to the Book Tour of Charcoal by Ami Tamakloe
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Welcome to the Book Tour of Charcoal by Ami Tamakloe

Welcome to the virtual book tour of Charcoal by Ami Tamakloe.  We have since been looking forward to this day in order to be able to speak with the author as we join her in sharing her work with the world. 

Excerpt from Charcoal by Ami Tamakloe

Charcoal is a book that draws on your emotions, not just with words, but with beautifully drawn images spread around the book that joins in conveying the beauty and meaning that the author is sharing with us. From the pages of thoughts to the enthralling short stories which captivated human emotions with her writing style.

For the benefit of those who haven’t read the book, we’ll start by giving a quick summary of the plot. Scroll further down to hear Ami Tamakloe reading from Charcoal. Write your questions in the comments section. Watch the exciting Live Q & A with author Ami Tamakloe Here. Share. Invite your friends.


Details about Charcoal by Ami Tamakloe

Charcoal by Ami Tamakloe

Genre: Anthology, Multimedia, Collection of Thoughts, Collection of Short Stories

Book Description:

Charcoal: Book of Thought & Short Stories is multimedia project that gives its audience access to narratives that hold mirrors of humanity, queerness, feminism, and different aspects of the black experience, to itself. It provides this experience through text, illustrations, and audio.



Charcoal Book Tour – Poetry Excerpt

Dear Self

Take a minute

To take an actual breath!

You have done good

Be proud of yourself!

It’s easy to know what we don’t want

And forget what we do get

But know that it’s not over yet

You have achieved a lot

Wear your crown with pride!

Bask in the glory of your achievements

Go ahead

 Polish your crown

Let it shine

Let it fuel your life’s jet

Work towards the dreams you’ve set

And never once think

You’re not blessed

For the very breath that you have

Is the first

of the blessing

That you are and will continue to get


Paint the clouds with a brush dipped in your tears my love

Paint the birds dark as your breaking heart

Draw the trees… withering, like your dampened soul

Trees so old, their snickering of agelessness

 Is heard as they rustle their leafless branches

Paint the clouds with your tears my love

Drain your eyes of its beautiful mess

But know that a broken heart

Rarely stays broken forever

It will mend itself

It will grow out limbs

Take a needle and thread

It will painfully whip stitch itself

 Back to completion

A Beautiful Mess

I get nervous, excited, scared and I cry

My tears a mixture of the pain I have

Mixed with the thrill of pleasure

Of growing peace

Not knowing what the future holds for me

I cry because there is a joy bubbling up

Waiting to explode inside of me

It’s kept in check

Sanity is necessary to keep going

Down the road I need to be on

To reach the destination that awaits

So long as I make the pilgrimage

I cry because words cannot explain

This medley of emotions that remind me

Of my humanity and its uncertainty

Or the bliss that awaits me on this journey

So, I cry

With a smile on my face, teeth gleaming,

Touching my hair, my face, my neck

Feeling… Wishing

I could isolate these feelings from myself

But I don’t

There is a rush

An organic high pulsing through me

Every bone and nerve in my body


 That I have power

Yet I am powerlessly bombarded

By emotions that remind me

Of the distances I’ve traveled

 The destinations I am headed

So, I cry…


Charcoal Book Tour – Short Story Excerpt

Story Excerpts from ‘Charcoal’


21 years old:

The vodunshi looked at my frail body which lay in front of the altar. My father had run out of options and money and so resorted to the only thing he knew he could count on, Vodun. Even if he did not want to_ since despite not attending church he had been baptized in the church_ my skin had been covered with sores that would not heal and my body was very weak. I could walk but barely. My entire body had been covered with these sores. Everywhere except my face and that was enough for me.


I was so pretty before these painful sores and could not wait for them to go away so I could strut my beautiful skin confidently once again to get my dream. Jesus would not come down to help me. Maybe in Thembi’s house he would have but definitely not in this slum. Jesus began to sound like a politician who made promises during the campaigning season. He made promises in his bible which I read meticulously wanting to be like him. But like the politicians, he always seemed to forget his way to the slum after elections. Jesus missed his way to my slum so I had to help myself so perhaps Jesus would meet me halfway there. Afterall, they say that he helps those who help themselves, so I just had to.

That’s what I thought when the sores initially started. I noticed them first on my left thigh but thought nothing of it. Every day I would generously smear the customized concoction cooked up by the local beautician which had been praised for its ability to magically remove the black and fade brown from the skin.


18 years old

I hated my black. It was as black as charcoal, and I wanted to be white like Jesus. I wanted to be able to get into an airplane and meet Jesus and the other white people in the place called America which I was sure was heaven. Every day I rubbed this concoction on my skin. It burned like fire, but they told me that was a good sign. It only meant it was working. There was even a rumor that if you wanted it to work faster, cover it with plastic. Doing this made the concoction burn 1000 times more but in as little as two weeks I had started to see results and I was automatically hooked to this painful regiment of beautification. I understood a long time ago that something always had to give and if I had to develop a high tolerance for pain to get closer to my dreams of flowers and kisses and gowns and that shiny tiara, to the dream of Jesus, the airplane and America, then so be it!

Daddy initially thought I looked silly when I had plastic bags of different shapes and colors wrapped around me. When he asked, I only said “to be a woman is to be beautiful.” He smirked and let me be. He never paid any mind; he had other things to worry about. This was until he started hearing some of the neighborhood boys talking about me saying, “Faasi come dey be oh! Even her skin color saf.” That evening when Daddy got home, he looked at me with a questioning look in his eyes. He never said anything to me but from that day, he watched me like a hawk. Now I wish I heard his silent prayers


About the Author: 

Ami Tamakloe, Author of Charcoal
Ami Tamakloe, Author of Charcoal

Ami Tamakloe is a Ghanaian born American living multi-media storyteller whose work, she/they hope, makes humanity reckon with parts of itself. Ami works through fine, performance and media arts to foreground marginalized voiced especially on subjects of race, gender, and sexuality. Through art, intellect and advocacy, Ami hopes to create work that somewhat dents the scales of inequity towards equilibrium. Ami engages in collaborative work with artists in Africa and the Diaspora and has worked on projects such as Ufahamu Africa podcast, Adventures From and others. She has showcased her work and received recognition internationally. Ami is currently a PhD student at Cornell University in the department of Anthropology. She/they hold a Bachelor of Fine in Fashion Design from Kent State University.




Praises for Charcoal by Ami Tamakloe

‘Ami, your book was the bomb! I must confess I love short stories more than I do poetry, but you got me hooked! Looking forward to a lot more from you. Merry Christmas!’


‘I received this beautiful book with the powerfully written words of @ami_tamakloe and I am savoring the rich poetry and short stories. Thank you @oteanakanduro for bringing this work to my attention’



To purchase a copy of Charcoal, visit https://www.amitamakloe.com/books.

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