by Emma Dabiri ‧ RELEASE DATE: June 23, 2020
Part memoir, part social history, and sure to become the definitive book on the politics, culture, and economics of black...
A historical and personal exploration of why black hair isn’t “just hair.”
From white plantation mistresses shaving enslaved women’s heads as punishment to present-day federal court rulings declaring it legal to fire black employees for wearing natural hairstyles, black hair is political. In her study of black hair cultures, BBC race correspondent Dabiri observes how, across continents and centuries, people of African descent have been subjected to “scrutiny, fetishization, or censure, and sometimes all three, because of our hair.” Black hair, writes the author, has been deemed inferior and “difficult to control” and used as a justification for discrimination. Dabiri blends thorough research with incisive commentary and artful memoir. “My own hair has been disappointing people since my birth,” she writes. Growing up Irish Nigerian in Ireland in the 1980s and ’90s, her hair was a constant source of shame and trauma. Today, in Ireland and elsewhere, black hair is still, in many cases, considered taboo. Meanwhile, the Kardashian-Jenners make millions appropriating black hair and aesthetics. Though peppered throughout with engaging pop-culture references, the book is also a deft geopolitical and economic meditation. What might Africa and her descendants have become if not for the horrors of the trans-Atlantic slave trade and colonialism? Given the abiding influence of racism and colonialism, how do we liberate and decolonize black hair? Dabiri explores the current natural hair movement and looks back at the complex successes and legacies of the first black female millionaires: early black hair care entrepreneurs Madam C.J. Walker and Annie Turnbo Malone. Compelling and engrossing, this book will satisfy readers familiar with the sizzle of the straightening comb as well as those who aren’t.Part memoir, part social history, and sure to become the definitive book on the politics, culture, and economics of black hair. (b/w illustrations)
Pub Date: June 23, 2020
Page Count: 272
Review Posted Online: March 14, 2020
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020
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More About This Book
by Matthew McConaughey ‧ RELEASE DATE: Oct. 20, 2020
A conversational, pleasurable look into McConaughey’s life and thought.
Awards & Accolades
New York Times Bestseller
All right, all right, all right: The affable, laconic actor delivers a combination of memoir and self-help book.
“This is an approach book,” writes McConaughey, adding that it contains “philosophies that can be objectively understood, and if you choose, subjectively adopted, by either changing your reality, or changing how you see it. This is a playbook, based on adventures in my life.” Some of those philosophies come in the form of apothegms: “When you can design your own weather, blow in the breeze”; “Simplify, focus, conserve to liberate.” Others come in the form of sometimes rambling stories that never take the shortest route from point A to point B, as when he recounts a dream-spurred, challenging visit to the Malian musician Ali Farka Touré, who offered a significant lesson in how disagreement can be expressed politely and without rancor. Fans of McConaughey will enjoy his memories—which line up squarely with other accounts in Melissa Maerz’s recent oral history, Alright, Alright, Alright—of his debut in Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused, to which he contributed not just that signature phrase, but also a kind of too-cool-for-school hipness that dissolves a bit upon realizing that he’s an older guy on the prowl for teenage girls. McConaughey’s prep to settle into the role of Wooderson involved inhabiting the mind of a dude who digs cars, rock ’n’ roll, and “chicks,” and he ran with it, reminding readers that the film originally had only three scripted scenes for his character. The lesson: “Do one thing well, then another. Once, then once more.” It’s clear that the author is a thoughtful man, even an intellectual of sorts, though without the earnestness of Ethan Hawke or James Franco. Though some of the sentiments are greeting card–ish, this book is entertaining and full of good lessons.A conversational, pleasurable look into McConaughey’s life and thought.
Pub Date: Oct. 20, 2020
Page Count: 304
Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2020
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2020
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A wide-ranging collection of testaments to what moves the heart.
Black Americans declare their love.
This anthology brings together dozens of love letters by prominent Black Americans. The entries, interspersed with illustrations, address an eclectic mix of topics arranged under five categories: Care, Awe, Loss, Ambivalence, and Transformation. In their introduction, editors Brown and Johnson note the book’s inspiration in the witnessing of violence directed at Black America. Reckonings with outrage and grief, they explain, remain an urgent task and a precondition of creating and sustaining loving bonds. The editors seek to create “a site for our people to come together on the deepest, strongest emotion we share” and thus open “the possibility for shared deliverance” and “carve out a space for healing, together.” This aim is powerfully realized in many of the letters, which offer often poignant portrayals of where redemptive love has and might yet be found. Among the most memorable are Joy Reid’s “A Love Letter to My Hair,” a sensitive articulation of a hard-won sense of self-love; Morgan Jerkins’ “Dear Egypt,” an exploration of a lifelong passion for an ancient world; and VJ Jenkins’ “Pops and Dad,” an affirmation that it “is beautiful to be Black, to be a man, and to be gay.” Tracey Michae’l Lewis-Giggetts’ “Home: A Reckoning” is particularly thoughtful and incisive in its examination of a profound attachment, “in the best and worst ways,” to Louisville, Kentucky. Most of the pieces pair personal recollections with incisive cultural commentary. The cumulative effect of these letters is to set forth a panorama of opportunities for maintaining the ties that matter most, especially in the face of a cultural milieu that continues to produce virulent forms of love’s opposite. Other contributors include Nadia Owusu, Jamila Woods, Ben Crump, Eric Michael Dyson, Kwame Dawes, Jenna Wortham, and Imani Perry.A wide-ranging collection of testaments to what moves the heart.
Pub Date: Oct. 24, 2023
Page Count: 240
Publisher: Get Lifted Books/Zando
Review Posted Online: June 29, 2023
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2023
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