Black to the Basics: More than just a bookstore

By Gabriel Moore

Located in Grambling, Black to the Basics is a bookstore, created to contribute to the knowledge, wellness and progression of the African American youth and student body. 

Black to the Basics serves as a “safe space” for those who are willing to learn, willing to grow and gain knowledge in all aspects of life.  

Those browsing the store will find bookshelves filled with African American literature, soaps, jewelry and other items that promote wellness.  

Employees Vieonetre Petty and Kaniya Washington said Black to the Basics is more than just books. 

“This is a safe space for students to come in and properly express themselves and their creativity, so we allow them to do that in many different ways throughout the week,” Petty said. 

The week is divided where every day serves a purpose of wellness in some kind of way. Mondays are mental health Mondays. 

” We have students come in to verbalize their emotions, mental illnesses, or challenges that they may struggle with throughout the semester or in life,” Petty said.

Tuesdays and Thursdays are when the book club meetings take place. 

“We come together as a group, reading the material, doing a scholastic breakdown, digging deeper into the text, and trying to figure out what it really means and how does it apply to my life,” Washington said. 

“Wellness Wednesdays is more of a call to action in itself,” said Petty. “We talk about physical fitness, financial literacy, mental wellness, consciousness of what we do and how we behave in our everyday life.” 

Friday’s serve as a Freestyle Friday.

“We’ll have students come in to rap, sing, recite poetry by them or someone else, dance, drawing, standup comedy, and etc.,” Petty said. 

Freestyle Friday acts as an outlet for those who want to show and tell their talents or creativity. 

“I like freestyle Fridays because our goal is to keep it therapeutic because it’s not just a showcase, creativity is an outlet of therapy,” Washington said. “The whole purpose is that you come in community and you express yourself, and you’re supported by other people who express themselves and it makes it all the more easier,” Washington said. 

Black to the Basics is a bookstore but its place in the Grambling community is much bigger than the bookstore. 

It lays a foundation for students to get with the knowledge that may help them move to the next level in life. 

Although Black to the Basics have only been active for about a month now, there has been a moderate expansion because of what’s being discussed and what has taken place in the building. 

Overall the bookstore advocates for guidance in health, wealth, mental wellness and many more topics. 

This article originally appeared in The Gramblinite.


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