Powerful writer whose words evoke femininity and freedom.
Seasons are changing and your age is beginning to show. With growing wisdom, your mind ventures back in time. Collecting those mis-measured gems of vulnerability and curiosity you once knew. Walking into a new chapter of life feeling again, that childlike wonder capturing innocence necessary for your learning. Author and poet, Natasha Ria El-Scari impressed these reflections through discussion and understanding of her literary works.
From childhood El-Scari moved with purpose in her creativity. She was surprised to learn that not everyone came home from school and journaled every day the way she did as it was a consistent practice in her home. While falling in love with poetry during her adolescence, she challenged herself to write 32 sonnets in a single summer. Her passion was encouraged in many forms, including speaking in forensics classes/activities as well as church functions. Her motivations escalated when she chose to attend the historically Black college, Jackson State University, located in Mississippi. El-Scari went in for a major in Psychology but swiftly switched to English, finishing a year early at the age of 21 with academic honors, summa cum laude.
Witness and feeling how imperative the arts are to our lives, El-Scari has thrown her efforts into expanding her brand into mentoring and community involvement. For 12 years she led the Upward Bound program at UMKC, serving high school students for life readiness and college prep. Further evaluating the need in the community, El-Scari recently opened Natasha Ria Art Gallery, dedicated to marginalized visual artists. She has also begun preparing a writing retreat space, where fellow Black writers can feel safe disconnecting from the world to create. “History means nothing if we don’t have the arts to attach it to”, she emphasized.
Though recent times may have deterred many people from their 2020 visions, El-Scari quickly finds a way to recalibrate and move forward with her endeavors. “You have to be a creative person to be an artist. These pauses are deafening but artists know what to do. You don’t come to paint without a blank canvas”, she stated frankly. Although many of her gigs were cancelled earlier in the year, she still released 3 books back-to-back and even was able to open herself to more national notoriety and opportunities. Thankfully, her virtual book launches have continued to connect people to her content through the various platforms that give readers more options.
One of those options included recording an audio version her book “I Say, T(He)y Say”, a creative non-fiction work, written about the life of her maternal grandmother. Voice actor, Aishah Ogbeh was used for the work along with El-Scari’s mother, daughter and herself. She even partnered with previous interviewee, MABKC at Industry Soundz Recording Studio to bring this very personal project to life. During this time, El-Scari gains traction on her best-selling, non-fiction work, “Mama Sutra: Love and Lovemaking Advice to My Son”. The book opens up the dialogue between parent and child in regards to the taboo topic of sex education. El-Scari tackles this as well in her latest novel, “Growing Up Sina”.
When reviewing the fiction novel, I found it reminiscent of my impactful days attending an HBCU for college. As the story grew on me, page after page, I witnessed the main character mature into a fearlessly independent woman that falls into the woes of encountering intimidated men. Learning from both worlds she was exposed to, city life and southern summers, Sina’s curious nature raises questions about love, worldviews, gender roles and understanding her own definition of womanhood. The work leans into the varying perceptions of women in her family as they help shape the woman she becomes. The crisp pink and purple hues of the cover along with the growing vine lain across the bike, highlight the feminine power and presence revealing itself throughout.
Natasha Ria El-Scari is demonstratively fond of her freedom and expresses herself through all mediums she touches. Quite clearly, she is inspiring the lives that are within her reach and is making waves further beyond, perpetrating vulnerability in our quests. Her intentional character streams light and understanding of ourselves and the monument growth we are all capable of.
Next artist review for The Wildflower Project will be up in 2 weeks: Nika Renee