Nearly five years ago, entrepreneur, activist, and writer Marley Dias saw a problem—a lack of representation in books—and decided to do something about it. She would later launch a campaign titled #1000 Black Girl Books where she collects reading books for children who look like her.
Since then, she’s made guest appearances across the country and on several television shows bringing awareness to the importance of not only reading but the importance of Black children seeing themselves in the books that they read.
At the 2021 Soul Train Awards Marley is being honored for her hard work with the “Souls of Justice” award, given to those carrying out huge changes in their respective fields and community. Ahead of the presentation here are a few facts about the young game changer.
She’s an entrepreneur of #1000BlackGirlBooks
When Marley grew frustrated after seeing the majority of children’s books had white males as their main protagonist, she constructed a drive to collect 1000 books with Black girls as the main character. She later donated them to her mother’s school in native country of Jamaica. Since then, she's reportedly added 13,000 books to her collection.
She’s named after a fellow activist
The activist and writer was named after reggae singer Bob Marley. Though she was born in Philadelphia and grew up in West Orange, N.J., her mother, Dr. Janice Johnson Dias, also from Jamaica.
As a reader and collector it’s hard to pick one favorite
“I get to read a lot of new books. I can’t really pinpoint one,” Marley told Times for Kids. “But Brown Girl Dreaming, by Jacqueline Woodson, is one of the Number 1 books I’ve ever read.”
She’s an author
In 2019, she released a book titled Marley Dias Gets it Done And So Can You. The book explores activism, social justice, volunteerism, equity and inclusion, and using social media for good.
In 2018, Marley made Forbes prestigious 30 under 30 list for her work. She was also recognized by TIME, as one of the 25 most influential teens that same year.
Watch the 2021 Soul Train Awards on Sunday, November 28 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on BET and BET Her.