Interview with Timothy Bellavia

Timothy Bellavia: Award-winning Children’s Author & Founder/President of T.I.M.M.E.

I’m so thrilled to have Timothy Bellavia back in TSM for a second time and hearing about all that has happened since we last talked. He was featured in the magazine back in March 2011; It’s been over three years already?! Time sure does fly by quickly.

Jessica Gilbert: It’s really great to have you back in TSM, and thanks for taking time out of your schedule to do another interview.

Timothy Bellavia: Thank you for having me back and interviewing my favorite recording artists.

Jessica Gilbert: Last time we talked was prior to the We Are All The Same Inside ® Sage Doll-making workshop traveling to Sierra Leone. Tell us about this workshop and your experience there.

Timothy Bellavia: Traveling to Sierra Leone was the first time I have ever felt appreciated and respected for being a professor or art educator. The people of Sierra Leone were loving and accepting – and respectful. I was a bit in culture shock and more or less in awe of traveling with THE Gloria Jones who is a legend and a featured performer in this year’s Oscar winning documentary, 20 Feet from Stardom. I think about that experience traveling and doing those workshops every day. I continue to send school supplies and support materials.

WAATSI participants w/ Timothy BellaviaJessica Gilbert: Any plans to travel to more countries for workshops in the near future?

Timothy Bellavia: I am currently traveling as an academic. Got the bug to do research, write papers and present them. In some case, I’ve been a key note speaker. Next year, I should be traveling to Hong Kong and Madrid, Spain. But I would like to travel more in Africa and do more doll workshops there.

Jessica Gilbert: If teachers are interested in incorporating the We Are All The Same Inside ® Sage Doll-making workshop into their classrooms, tell us about the process.

Timothy Bellavia: Any educator can incorporate the lessons as well as order the series of books or workshop media directly through my website  Pretty much the media is available globally – even through traditional book stores and other outlets.

Timothy Bellavia workshopJessica Gilbert: What do you love most about working with children?

Timothy Bellavia: Their honesty. It is so much fun being a teaching artist and being in my field doing education research. Children say things without a filter. It’s both jarring and refreshing.

Jessica Gilbert: It’s truly wonderful what you’re doing with T. I. M. M. E., promoting peace, tolerance and acceptance for common humanity. And it really does start with children because what they’re taught from a young age has a profound effect on them later in life. So, it saddens me to hear about children that are taught to hate certain races, religion, colors, etc. I’m sure that any children hearing and/or watching the news about the recent conflicts happening in the world today don’t understand why it’s going on. In your opinion, how would you explain things like this to children?

Timothy Bellavia: I think the world has pretty much remained the same; but our technology speeds things up. In a sense – it’s going too fast. Nowadays, we can’t possibly protect or shield children from violence or hate or prejudice. Perhaps we could be more kind or happy. What I like about traveling is I see true happiness. For some reason we don’t have that in the west? That’s sad.

Timothy Bellavia TWRI_favorite-partcipantJessica Gilbert: Are you working on any new books?

Timothy Bellavia: I am always working on new properties including a picture book about the Supremes, Christine Jorgensen, as well as a 15th Anniversary edition of We Are All The Same Inside®.

It is looking positive for a short story, Lather, Rinse, Repeat As Needed that will be published very soon – including a fun photo session with New York photographer, Lola Flash.

Jessica Gilbert: Any other projects?

Timothy Bellavia: Lots of projects! Some of my former publications will become audiobooks. Imagine that?

I started “The Words Remain Inside” Project last fall that is basically a bully-prevention spin on the Sage doll and focuses on the Pre-K – this is basically going to a long-term research dissertation on the the harms of micro-aggressions.

Last fall I got to walk the red carpet with Sherlie Matthews and Rolan Bolan, as well as, meet Siedah Garett; Mr. Gordy; Janie Bradford; Chaka Kahn; The Flamingos; and on; and on at 24th Annual HAL (Heroes and Legends) Awards Gala. I’m thrilled to be attending and creating twenty-five dolls for twenty-five years for this year’s Silver Anniversary in Los Angeles. Each Sage doll will look like the awardees of the past (Mary Wilson of The Supremes, Ray Parker Jr, et al), or present (Mary Jane Girls, New Edition, et al), and be auctioned off to support at risk students to pursue a career in the arts.

Putting the final touches to the forward to “The Acceptance Curriculum” by Cheryl Kilodavis, author of the best-selling, My Princess Boy…who with my favorite, special educator, Laraine Gaunt have created a wonderful soon-to-be-launched teacher curriculum.

Timothy Bellavia on red carpet with Sherlie MatthewsJessica Gilbert: Anything else you’d like to share with all our readers at TSM? And where can people connect with you?

Timothy Bellavia: People can connect with me on all the social networks, including: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube and Instagram.

Your TSM readers can also purchase an exclusive We Are All The Same Inside ® Sage doll made complete with a nifty shrink wrapped package.

Recently, I was thrilled that a cast member of Lion King consigned me to create Young Simba and Young Nala We Are All The Same Inside ® Sage doll exclusives.

Jessica Gilbert: Thanks again for doing this interview and best always with all you do in the future.

Timothy Bellavia: Thanks for having me back. Continued blessings to you! And see you in Spain?

Timothy Bellavia with Siedah_Garrett and her dollFeatured with Siedah Garrett

Jessica Gilbert: Yes, must make a plan to get together in Spain! 🙂

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