Contemporary African-American fiction author and poet Blaque Diamond is a local Greensboro, North Carolina resident who believes that dreams were meant to achieve. Born Bianca Johnson in 1989 in Charlotte, North Carolina, one of her dreams has always been to become a published author. She achieved that dream at the age of twenty-seven. Blaque Diamond began writing at the age of eleven, due to urging from her fifth-grade teacher. The youngster had always had a passion for writing, but with the encouragement from her teacher, it then became a dream. She wrote short stories and poetry in her early years to help get her through the Childhood abuse and neglect she endured growing up. Writing became her form of therapy, because through her writing, she could express her emotions through proses and creative stories based on characters from her own imagination.
When Blaque Diamond was fifteen-years-old, she experienced a trauma that would change her life forever. She lost her ability to see. Due to a fight with her brother, Blaque Diamond lost her eyesight. She was punched in the eye, which caused her retina to detach. Blaque Diamond’s eyesight was already sensitive, due to mal-practice when she was born, which caused blindness in her right eye, so the additional trauma to her “good eye” caused her to go completely blind. The fact that she didn’t receive the proper medical attention that she needed in order to save her eyesight, is the reason she is, and will probably be blind for the rest of her life. Doctors tried to perform surgery months after the incident had taken place, but sadly, there was no possibility of regaining any usable sight in the eye. Too much time had passed, which prevented the successful restoring of her vision.
This was a crushing blow to young Blaque Diamond’s dreams. She felt since she could no longer see, her dream of becoming a published author was foolish. How could she write if she couldn’t see? That question haunted Blaque Diamond until she received the answer in the form of braille. Once Blaque Diamond was introduced to the wonderful world of braille, she then realized that her dream was not out of reach. She still had a way to achieve her dream. It wasn’t quite in the conventional way she had first dreamed of, but there was still hope for her after all. Blaque Diamond quickly picked back up where she left off in her journey to achieving her dream. She continued to write poetry and stories in her new-found language of braille. Now that she found herself disabled, that spawned much more for her to write about. She then turned her writing creativity to composing poems depicting her struggles of dealing with her vision loss. She had a way to express her anger, self-pity, tears, and then eventually, her acceptance of her new circumstances.
In the summer of 2016, Blaque Diamond began posting snippets of her works she had written over the years on social media sites such as Facebook. By then, Blaque Diamond had transitioned from braille to writing on the computer, thanks to text-to-speech software that made computers accessible to the blind. She received rave feedback from people who enjoyed reading her poems and stories. She knew she liked her writing, but it warmed her heart to know that others enjoyed her writing as well. Thanks to the positive feedback and encouragement of her fans, she took a leap of faith and submitted some of her poetry to an online magazine for writers with disabilities in the fall of 2016. She submitted three poems, and one of her poems was chosen to be published in the magazine. That was Blaque Diamond’s first shot at publication. She received another opportunity to show-case her work in January of 2017 when she saw a calling for submissions asking for aspiring writers to submit poetry to an anthology. Even though there would be no proceeds from the publication, Blaque Diamond jumped at the opportunity to have her work published. Three out of the four poems she submitted to the anthology were published in the book entitled Growing into Words: An Anthology of Poetry. She was proud to know that she could finally add the title of author to her name. She had taken the first step to making her dream a reality.
Later in April of 2017, Blaque Diamond self-published her first novel, His or Her Betrayal. She then went on to publish several more publications, including a book of poetry, Words of My Heart, a collection of short stories, Love, Lies, and Heartbreak Volume 1, a novella, What You Won’t Do, and even a children’s short story, A Ray of Sunshine. She not only self-published one book, but she was able to publish five books in one year. Her determination to make her dreams come true urged her to forge ahead, even when she doubted her own abilities, due to her disability. She wanted to prove to herself that she could do it, and she did. Blaque Diamond also contributed poetry and short stories to other anthologies that are due to be published in 2018. She doesn’t let her lack of sight stop her from achieving her dream. She says:
“I may have lost my sight, but I haven’t lost my vision. My dreams were meant to achieve, and I intend on achieving each one of them.”
Blaque Diamond strives to spread inspiration and motivation to others around her in any way she can. She encourages others to achieve their dreams, no matter what obstacles may be in their way. If there is a will. There is a way. Blaque Diamond has a favorite saying that she repeats to herself every day when she wakes up in the morning. It gives her the strength to battle the world and break through any barriers that may be in her way. She strives to let nothing stop her from achieving anything she sets her mind to.
“The only limitations are the ones we put on ourselves. Reach for the stars, moon, sun, and galaxy. Give it your all. Don’t limit your level of success. Dream big. Achieve bigger.”
In the year 2018, Blaque Diamond plans to start her own publication company. Her focus will be mainly on helping other blind and visually impaired aspiring writers get their work published. Once the blind and visually impaired community got wind that a self-published author was in their midst, the questions came pouring in. Everyone wanted to know how she did it, how they could do it, and if she would take a look at some of their work and give her honest opinion. Even though she is not a New York’s Best-seller yet, her blind and visually impaired peers see her as a star in their eyes. She is a hero to many blind or visually impaired people who dream of becoming a published author, or having the courage to go for their dreams, no matter how high the mountain seems to climb. Although there are many other blind and visually impaired authors in the world, most blind and visually impaired people are more awe-struck over Blaque Diamond’s minor success. She thinks it may be because she has no problem answering any questions anyone may have, and she is willing to share her successes, struggles, and failures with her peers without shame. Even if they are not readers of her genre of writing, they are still proud that someone from their small community has achieved a life-long dream of hers. To them, she is an inspiration. Along her journey to publication, Blaque Diamond has learned a lot through trial and error, and she wants to help make others like herself into the dream achievers she knows they can be.
Blaque Diamond has been interviewed on blogs and podcast radio shows, sharing her journey to authorship and the many struggles and obstacles that she has had to overcome in her young life. When people hear her amazing story of strength and inspiration throughout it all, they can’t help but look at the world from a different prospective. Blaque Diamond seems to always have that effect on people. Once they have heard her story of triumph, their hearts melt and their lips rain praises upon her and her accomplishments. The thing that wows people the most is that Blaque Diamond has achieved her dream on her own. With no support but her own passion, she pushes herself to be all that she can be. She has invested her own time and finances into making her dream come true. She believes if you can’t invest in yourself, then how can you expect anyone else to invest in you? She doesn’t use her disability as an excuse to why she isn’t living her life to the fullest. She’s a go-getter, and she does what she has to do to make her way in the world. Her aim is to leave a legacy for her future offspring that will last for generations. Blaque Diamond will be a household name. She believes in the power of words, so she speaks that into existence.