How One Woman Is Giving Black Boys A Reason To Smile

There is a need for more resources centered on the emotional health of Black boys. Thomishia Booker is answering the call.

Indya Wright
5 min readFeb 24, 2021


Mental health is still a taboo topic for many in the Black community due to notions passed down from previous generations in the home.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, “63% of Black people believe that a mental health condition is a sign of personal weakness. As a result, people may experience shame about having a mental illness and worry that they may be discriminated against due to their condition.” Due to this fact, many black children are at an increased risk for emotional disorders.

There are a number of identified risk factors for mental illness that also include ones that disproportionately affect minority families and children, such as poverty, food insecurity, and exposure to violence in underserved communities. Despite the enormous toll that mental health problems take on the well-being of youth, disparities in access to, and the quality of, mental health services and positive resources appear to persist for racial/ethnic minority children.

The lack of healthy coping mechanisms in a child's formative years and distorted self-worth can further contribute to the presence of psychiatric disorders. For example, childhood depression has been associated with increased welfare dependence and unemployment according to an NIH report.

Thomishia Booker is a licensed therapist and works full-time as a healthcare administrator. She launched “Hey Carter! Books” after being disappointed in the lack of representation of Black boys in children’s books. Her brand is inspired by her son, Carter, and focused on nurturing self-identity in black boys.

Thomishia Booker holding her book Brown Boy Joy

Thomishia’s work was recently featured in the Netflix Original series “Bookmarks: Celebrating Black Voices” featuring Jill Scott, Common, and Tiffany Haddish. Her book “Brown Boy Joy” was chosen for Bookmarks using a social justice education framework that focused on concepts of Identity, Respect, Justice, and Action. I had the pleasure of interviewing her about her work and the importance of prioritizing Black youth.



Indya Wright

Indya (Icy) is the Owner of Artiste House + a multidisciplinary artist from DC that wears a lot of hats + a lot of wigs. She covers creatives & storytellers.