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OU student publishes book of poetry, prose, essays depicting life as a Black woman in America amid social changes

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Jamelia Reed

OU African and African American studies senior Jamelia Reed poses. 

OU student Jamelia Reed recently published her first book, “Changed Mentality,” a compilation of works inspired by her experiences in the past year and beyond.

Reed, an African and African American studies senior, said the book is a collection of poetry, prose and essays that reflect her thoughts, ideas and actions, and it is separated into two parts internal and external. According to the Amazon website, it analyzes “the author's changing mentality towards the past, present and future of herself and the world she lives in.”

In an interview with The Daily, Reed said the book analyzes her perspectives and experiences as well as how her mentality and the way she feels about certain issues have changed — especially during this past year. At OU, Reed has been an active leader as the Black Emergency Response Team’s current co-director.

“I've actually been writing for a while just for sanity,” Reed said in the interview. “And then, earlier this year, I shared it with a friend and he said ‘It (is) pretty good, you should write a book,' and I said, ‘You’re right.’ So I invested in it.”

In a Nov. 23 tweet, Reed said “Changed Mentality” had ranked No. 1 in Black & African American Poetry on Amazon.

Reed said she has always wanted to write and is happy with the success of the book so far, which could potentially help her pay her college tuition.

Reed said OU has a part in this writing experience, but society plays a bigger role.

“That’s just a bigger part of society, and it’s really just me living and existing and reflecting on the world I live in,” Reed said. “It’s not just OU, it's really our whole society that's causing this change and this shift.”

When asked about what she wants to accomplish with her writing, Reed said she wants people to understand that not everything they see from a person “is (all of) what is there.”

“Although you may be a great person, and you may be doing all this activism, you still have so much to learn, there's still so much to learn from all of us,” Reed said. “Accepting that although we are in this current state and you may be good, it doesn't mean we can't be better. And just understanding each other, understanding ourselves and understanding each others’ backgrounds can push us forward, as well as the perception of being Black and a woman in America. That's really what this book shows what it looks and what it feels like to be me in this bigger world.”

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