I am so proud of myself for finishing this book after I saw it on Instagram I immediately added it to my reading list and knew I had to share a review!
This month I read, “Girl Gurl Grrrl: On Womanhood and Belonging in the Age of Black Girl Magic” by Kenya Hunt which touched on the challenges of being a Black woman in todays society.
I read a hardcover copy of "Girl Gurl Grrrl” and yes it did make me want to cry, jump for joy and scream "louder for the people in the back". You can find this provocative biography book on Audible and Amazon.
Now let's dive into this review!
Fashion Director of Grazia UK and award-winning American Journalist, Kenya Hunt delivers a raw and authentic depiction to Black Girl Magic, Black freedom, Black culture, Black joy and—most importantly— Black women.
Hunt tackles the issues that come with being an American in London, the cultural standards of Black beauty, and striving for #BlackExcellence in this memoir.
Through a collection of essays, Hunt explores Black womanhood, the unbearable pain of miscarriage, and the unspeakable loss of a brother to police brutality with grace and hope.
This book is a honest, relatable, and empowering must read.
I can’t remember the first time I heard the word. It might have been in the car ride home from school when my mom was on speaker phone with one of my aunties, Godmothers, or her friends.
When I heard my mama say “YES GIRL. GWORL. GORL. GUHL. GURL. GRRRRRLLL. I couldn’t help but natural add it to my vocabulary.
Whether I used it when talking to a girlfriend or meeting another Black girl in class or at work this word was connected to us all.
Hunt dives into the beauty of the word, Girl and Black dialect in a humorous and unapologetic manner through her own personal stories that reflect the time.
She challenges us to #staywoke about racism and police brutality recognizing the conflicts of the movement and how activism is most powerful, and most valuable, when it is “lived and not performed.”
Hunt acknowledges how England’s racist monarchy profits off of slavery and forgets Black History in modern education.
She addresses the ideology of viewing Blackness as a hindrance and encourages us to perceive our Blackness as a bonus.
She challenges Black women to keep moving forward letting go of a need to explain your humanity or blackness to anyone.
The obsession with aesthetics in our society has caused many Black women with cornrows and big noses to feel ashamed when they should embrace their beauty.
Hunt redefines standards of beauty as she discusses resembling her dark-skin father and her sister being light skin and the impact colorism played in her childhood.
Within our own culture we must celebrate our differences in appearance and not criticize them.
We need more diversity, inclusivity and body positivity in makeup, hair products, and even face masks without feeling a need for a white stamp of approval.
I am so much more than my reflection.
I pondered over this narrative and what it means for the larger perception of Blackness and I discovered that Blackness cannot be easily defined because it is not bound to mean one thing.
We are united by colonialism and divided by the displacement caused by the transatlantic slave trade.
This is our history but it doesn’t have to divide us rather it binds us together and we should seek to learn one another’s differences not judge them.
As Black women we need more open dialogue about womanhood and beauty standards but also about reproductive desires and holding health-care professionals accountable to tackle the systemic issues.
Black women have a higher percent of death during childbirth than any other race, it is time we address this issue as Hunt suggests.
This is still heartbreaking as a women of color to hear and I wonder if I’ll ever feel comfortable giving birth in a hospital or would my chances be better of surviving with a midwife?
And for those who do survive, what are we left with miscarriage, abortions, emotional and physical trauma we can never recover from.
We need to do better.
Hunt emphasizes in her book that “self-care is not self-indulgence but it is self preservation and an act of political warfare.”
This book also reminded me that it’s okay to be an ordinary Black Girl as Issa Rae emphasizes on the hit TV show Insecure.
White people aren’t expected to slay the day all the time, why should we have to?
We shouldn’t only receive accolades when we achieve an incredible feat but also when we do every day things.
By doing so we can stop marginalizing and ostracizing Black women who are poor, those who may have not finished school, or be in a long term successful career or relationship.
Hunt described Black women as beacons of hope that mobilized and served our communities.
Trailblazing Black women like Kamala Harris, Janaya Khan, Patrisse Cullors, and even Tabitha Brown are showing up and showing out.
Nothing is beyond them and nothing is beyond you, we should encourage all Black women to keep learning, keep growing and keep that #BlackGirlMagic alive.
Top Five Quotes
“But throughout my evolving networks of friends – and especially so among my Black chosen sisters – one term of endearment remains: girl. Equal parts greeting, exclamation, and rallying cry at once. As long as I can remember, girl was the root word in the unique love language between Black women, regardless of age.”
“Because growth lies not in the denying of difference but in the way we learn to discuss it, embrace it, and live with it, together.”
“To take on the role of educating ones classmates, colleagues, or neighbors about what it means to be Black is to participate in the narrative that we are one thing, that one voice can speak for us all, when in fact one voice can only speak to the particularity of ones truth.”
“To be woke, in the original sense, is to understand James Baldwin’s declaration that “to be a Negro in this country and to be relatively conscious is to be in a rage almost all the time.” It’s to understand the unique kind of exhaustion that comes from being perpetually attuned to discrimination. It’s to be weary and wary. To be woke is to long for a day when one doesn’t have to stay woke.”
“Yes, we slay. But Black girl Magic is not just in the headline-making feats but also in the magic of just being. Unbothered. Unencumbered. No questions answered except those asked ourselves.”
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