Well-Read Black Girl

I started reading as a library book, but I went ahead and bought it. The book lists are one reason. What I should be reading is a long list, but I needed to use this as a reference.

When I was a child, I was a voracious reader of The Babysitters Club series. For years, I wished they would add a black girl. When they finally did, I was too old to care. It was a bittersweet ending to my reading the books. I finally moved on from their world into Stephen King and John Grisham. I wanted to be older, I wanted to have big books at the lunch table. I wanted to feign wisdom. It never bothered me that I didn't see black girls represented because maybe the antagonist wouldn't be after a girl like me. Maybe invisibility wasn't terrible.

As I grew older, I started to gravitate toward my mother's Essence magazines and my Sassy magazines. Seeing these women gave me a space to be beautiful. Sassy taught me about feminism and the real issues facing young women.

When I went to work for Ms. Magazine after college, I knew I found my people. Women who fought for justice and spoke openly on the hidden stories, stories I only saw in Ms.  As a young adult in NY, Alice Walker, Octavia Butler and bell hooks became my sheroes.

Blackness became the normal in New York. I embraced this acceptance. My voice wasn't ignored. I found others. Also, I started visiting my local feminist book store wherever I landed. I started to use my voice the way I saw fit.

I still do. The women out there now writing are bold and badass. The fact I can feature so many writers of color on my blog is a testimony to how far we've come.

Long gone are the days of black people absent from my books. There are Well-Read Black Girls reading, writing and changing literature every day. Yes, yes, yes!


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