By Britt Wiggins
As warm weather approaches, NegusWhoRead’s advice columnist and official Magical Black Girl offers six book suggestions to keep you company on that spring road trip, summer vacation or when you just want to do NegusWhoRead’s version of Netflix & Chill
The Sisters Are Alright: Changing the Broken Narrative of Black Women in America
by Tamara Winfrey Harris
This book outlines the false narratives that make up the persistent attacks against Black women. Of course, if you’re a Negus Who Read then you already know that there is a problem. Black women in America face the dual struggles of racism and sexism, and learning to navigate those treacherous waters is sometimes difficult. Harris provides the framework for a discussion that Black women should be having with her daughters, mothers, aunts, friends, etc. While exploring topics such as marriage, education, popular culture, sexuality and more Harris lends her voice to encourage Black women with the facts of the matter of our existence.
Contrary to popular belief the sisters ARE alright. Damn good if you ask me.
Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America by Melissa V. Harris-Perry
Whatever greatness you expect from Melissa Harris-Perry you will receive in this book. The research is astounding and while many of the themes overlap with those of The Sisters Are Alright the thoroughness of this text cannot be denied.
Drawing references from Zora Neale Hurston, Michelle Obama, and others, Harris-Perry shows us the mold within which Black women are expected to conform. Sisters, when you need to know that it ain’t just you, grab this book and take a ride because Sister Citizen will give you your eyes.
*This is also a good read for any man who has loved a Black woman.
The Book of Night Women by Marlon James
Do you remember how you felt when you saw Rosewood for the first time?
You know how Black women are so magical and everyone wants to be like us, but they hate us?
You know how you always act like white allies are real and you know that the term White-ally is an oxymoron?
This is the book for you.
You know how we Black women are supposed possess some superpower to deal with the bullshit?
You know how men who say they love you still attack you?
You know how some niggas ain’t shit?
You know how some females ain’t shit?
You Know. All of that is in this book. Written by one of the most talented writers of our time, Marlon James creates painfully real characters who overcome obstacle after obstacle. Lilith, poor Lilith, is so many of the little black girls we’ve known and loved. She struggles to maintain control of her mind, body, and spirit while in an environment that is constantly trying to deface her beauty. Hurts so good read.
We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Are you in need of a quick pep talk? Chimamanda has it covered. An essay that presents an amazingly concise argument for why the feminist agenda is necessary and how we should all position ourselves to combat the boundaries that limit our potential. We are better than that and we know it. She will remind that you, too, can take over the world.
Americanah/Half of A Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
I love these two books. They are both books with beautiful strong black women coming of age and deciding to live life on their own terms. Americanah follows Ifemelu, a Nigerian teenager who leaves to study in America during the military dictatorship and Obinze her love interest, who stays behind in Nigeria. Years pass and they experience love, growth and loss. It is a beautifully heart-warming story.
Half of A Yellow Sun is for those of us who have learned to appreciate and value the more uncomfortable nuances of devotion and the weight of obligations. Tragedy is inescapable for twin sisters Olanna and Kainene. Both have chosen very different lives in the midst of the Biafran war and they both must find a why to live with the consequences of decisions that once seemed so trivial.
Can you tell I like Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie?