All posts tagged: black girl magic

Book 5: Half of a Yellow Sun–Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

It should come as no shock that I know nothing about Nigerian history. We barely learn anything about American history beyond the anglo/christian/hetero/male perspective, so why would I expect to learn anything about the continent of Africa in general, let alone the history of one country in particular. Although Half of a Yellow Sun is fictional, Adichie did considerable historical research, using her family and friends, in addition to other documents, as sources. So for an introduction to the history of a newly independent Nigeria, this book was really interesting. But for the characters that she developed and the tale that she wove into this history, this book was fantastic! Admittedly, it started kind of slow. Not uninteresting, but not gripping either. She had to construct the setting, develop the characters, provide context, let you learn who/what/where/when/why.  All of a sudden though, this book becomes a page-turner. Of the 500 some odd pages I read about 350 of them over the course of a day and a half.  I haven’t sat and binge-read a book …

Book 4: Selected Poems–Gwendolyn Brooks

I don’t read much poetry. I don’t really read any poetry the way I did in my AP Lit class senior year of high school. It’s unfortunate, because there’s so much great poetry out there. But it’s also not surprising, because poetry can be difficult to read. Gwendolyn Brooks was the first African American to win the Pulitzer Prize, and on the back of this book of collected poetry is this quote: “She is a very good poet, the only superlative I dare use in our time of misusage; compared not to other Negro poets or other women poets but to the best of modern poets, she ranks high.” In reading this collection, I learned two things:  Gwendolyn Brooks has a vocabulary that far exceeds mine. I spent many of these pages looking up words in the dictionary hoping it would help me better understand what she was saying. Sometimes it made all the difference; other times, I finished a poem and still had no clue. Maybe context would’ve helped, a teacher who knows the time period …

Book 3: The Coldest Winter Ever–Sister Souljah

I know that I’m super late, but if anybody happens to be later than me, this is a must read! I read this book like I (used to) binge TV series on Netflix, and it’s about 400 pages long. But it reads like you’re watching episodes of TV. It’s Power before Power existed, from a woman-centric perspective. The book summary: Ghetto-born, Winter is the young, wealthy daughter of a prominent Brooklyn drug-dealing family. Quick-witted, sexy, and business-minded, this teenage female hustler knows and loves the streets like the curves of her own body. But when a cold wind blows her life in a direction she never expected, her street smarts and seductive skills are put to the test of a lifetime.  That’s not a whole lot to go from. And reading this summary didn’t really prepare me for what I was about to read. So I won’t spoil it for anyone who hasn’t read it and may think about it, because it was a good surprise. But honestly, this book should be required reading in …

Book 2: Year of Yes: How to Dance it Out, Stand in the Sun, and Be Your Own Person-Shonda Rhimes

I just finished Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes, and it took me all of a week to do so. I probably could’ve sat down and read it in a couple days if it weren’t for those pesky responsibilities like classes, running errands, walking the dog…But the point is, IT WAS EVERYTHING! I read this book at just the right time, as I’m just starting my own “year of yes” of sorts. It’s not really the same thing, but I decided to make the end of my twenties a journey to the start of my thirties, and I set some benchmarks for myself. So really, it’s nothing at all like Shonda’s “year of yes,” except in the regard of saying ‘yes’ to myself more often–as in prioritizing myself and the things I want and need. But one of these benchmarks is to read 30 books by 30, all Black women authors, hence the title of this post (I should probably go back and write something about Book 1, because it too was excellent). Anyway, I …

Gritaram-Me Negra! [They Shouted, Black Girl!]

**Tinha sete anos apenas, [I was only seven years old] apenas sete anos, [only seven years old] Que sete anos! [what seven years?!] Não chegava nem a cinco! [I wasn’t even five!] De repente umas vozes na rua [when suddenly some voices in the street] me gritaram Negra! [shouted, “black girl!”] Negra! Negra! Negra! Negra! Negra! Negra! Negra! [Black! Black!…] “Por acaso sou negra?” – me disse (SIM!) [“Am I really black?” — I said, (YES!)] “Que coisa é ser negra?” (NEGRA!) [“What’s it mean to be black?” (BLACK!)] E eu não sabia a triste verdade que aquilo escondia. (NEGRA!) [And I didn’t know the sad truth that it hid (BLACK!).] E me senti negra, (NEGRA!) [And I felt black, (BLACK!)] Como eles diziam (NEGRA!) [Like they said (BLACK!)] E retrocedi (NEGRA!) [And I retreated (BLACK!)] Como eles queriam (NEGRA!) [Like they wanted (BLACK!)] E odiei meus cabelos e meus lábios grossos [And I hated my hair and my thick lips] e olhei vergonha da minha pele torrado [and I was ashamed of my toasted skin] E retrocedi (NEGRA!) [I retreated …