WHEN CHICKENHEADS COME HOME TO ROOST by Joan Morgan

WHEN CHICKENHEADS COME HOME TO ROOST

My Life As a Hip-Hop Feminist
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KIRKUS REVIEW

A debut collection of impassioned essays, written in poetic, flowing prose, that consider a range of complex issues facing today’s young, educated, and aware African-American women. Essence contributor Morgan, an alumna of Vibe and the Village Voice, reflects on such issues as the mythical stereotype of the “strong black woman,” blatant misogyny in rap music, and the marked increase in single motherhood in the African-American community. Defining herself as a “hip-hop feminist,” Morgan chastises her sisters for making excuses for black men, defending them even when they—ve wronged their own. “Centuries of being rendered helpless while racism, crime, drugs, poverty, depression, and violence robbed us of our men,” she writes, “has left us misguidedly over-protective, hopelessly male-identified, and all too often self-sacrificing.” Yet Morgan also offers love and understanding to her black brothers. She views their often seemingly cavalier attitude toward death and their romance with alcoholism and substance abuse as “straight-up depression masquerading as machismo.” The sexism in rap music, she suggests, is a complex charade that is mainly intended to give vent to pain. (It’s no coincidence, she wagers, that the same men who refer to their sisters as “bitches” and “hos” refer to themselves as “niggas.”) As for the myth of the soul-powerful black woman, this was fostered originally by white slave owners to justify the exploitation and breeding of such women. In light of such ironies, Morgan argues that black women, especially if they are determined to fill the problematic role of matriarch, should start raising the kinds of sons they would like their own daughters to marry. Fresh and articulate, Steadily perceptive, shrewdly provocative. (Author tour)

Pub Date: March 1st, 1999
ISBN: 0-684-82262-8
Page count: 240pp
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1st, 1999