I am just a girl who loves reading and talking about books
My name is “J” and I’m awkward—and black. Someone once told me those were the two worst things anyone could be. That someone was right. Where do I start?
Being an introvert in a world that glorifies cool isn’t easy. But when Issa Rae, the creator of the Shorty Award–winning hit series “The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl,” is that introvert—whether she’s navigating love, work, friendships, or “rapping”—it sure is entertaining. Now, in this debut collection of essays written in her witty and self-deprecating voice, Rae covers everything from cybersexing in the early days of the Internet to deflecting unsolicited comments on weight gain, from navigating the perils of eating out alone and public displays of affection to learning to accept yourself—natural hair and all.
Insecure is one of my favorite TV Shows.The show is how I came to know Issa Rae. I have since watched some of her YouTube series such as First. Needless to say, I was delighted to finally get the opportunity to read this book.
The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl is a collection of essays from Issa’s life. My favorite essay was about natural hair. Issa’s hair stood out to me when I first saw her. In Insecure, she has natural hair and her hairstyles are so diverse. I always look forward to seeing what she comes up with.
My afro and in one pic, I have locks
As a lover of natural hair, I liked her discussion about how black/African natural hair is perceived and the pressure to have permed/straightened hair. I used to have straightened hair all the way to my undergrad years in Uni. It was what most people had then and honestly, it was easy to maintain. I first cut my hair after Uni. After that, I have had numerous haircuts, my relationship with my hair has always been complicated. In 2015, I got into trouble at work because of the dreadlocks that I had then; apparently, dreadlocks aren’t professional or Christian (Yes, natural hair critics are active in Africa too). I ended up losing the locks and growing this crazy, huge 60s afro that muted everyone, haha. Now I have dreadlocks again and seem to be getting away with it. Maybe the world is changing and there is more acceptance of African natural hair. I am definitely glad to see more women embracing their natural crowns though.I won’t lie, I was so happy when I first saw Doria Ragland (Meghan’s Markel’s mother) in dreadlocks.
Doria Ragnald and her daughter, Meghan Markel. Both ladies have beautiful hair 🙂
Bottom line, women should be able to choose whatever hairstyle they want. Whether natural, weaves, braids, afros, dreadlocks. Nobody should be judged especially for loving their own hair. Seriously, the world has enough issues as it is. Let the hair be!
Someone needs to update Google though because when you search ‘professional or neat hairstyles’, the results tell a different story.
“The hair hierarchy rates worth by length and texture of hair. The longer, the silkier and more European your hair, the higher your worth. The shorter, kinkier, and more African your hair? Kill thyself.” ― Issa Rae, The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl
There was another essay titled ‘African dad’ that left me with mixed feelings. First of all, I was pleasantly surprised to find out that Issa is half Senegalese and in touch with her African heritage. Go sis! This particular essay was raw and heartbreaking. However, the title did bug me. Issa’s parents divorced because of her father’s infidelity which was hinted to be something about his culture.Islamic, Sharia, Laws allow polygamy and Senegal is a Muslim state. The same culture might be reflected in other parts of Africa or other continents especially in countries that are predominantly Islam. So I felt like some generalization took place with the title. Africa is diverse and honestly, African culture isn’t really a thing. Different countries, tribes, communities have their own cultural beliefs. We don’t even have Kenyan culture because of how different the communities are. Minor issue and I might have interpreted it wrongly but I do get a bit defensive by the generalization that is sometimes applied to Africa.
Halfrican is another essay that I enjoyed. I loved learning more about Senegalese culture and how this impacted on Issa and her family. I also enjoyed reading about her visits to Senegal.
There is so much that I can say about this memoir/ collection of essays. I really enjoyed Issa’s stories and she had me laughing a couple of times. Issa is an inspiring, funny, talented, gorgeous woman and it was an absolute pleasure to get to know her better. I definitely recommend this title to fans of memoirs and to everyone who has ever gone through an awkward phase.
“I don’t want to die alone, but spending quality time with myself 60 to 70 percent of the day is my idea of mecca
― Issa Rae, The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl
About Issa Rae
With her own unique flare and infectious sense of humor, Issa Rae’s content has garnered over 20 million views and close to 160,000 subscribers on YouTube. In addition to making the Forbes 30 Under 30 list twice and winning the 2012 Shorty Award for Best Web Show for her hit series “The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl,” Issa Rae has worked on web content for Pharrell Williams, Tracey Edmonds and numerous others. She developed a TV series with Shonda Rhimes for ABC and a half-hour comedy for HBO with Larry Wilmore.
About Natural Hair
I thought it would be good to add this section. Extract is from Live About.
Natural hair is hair whose texture hasn’t been altered by chemical straighteners, including relaxers and texturizers. An Afro hairstyle is sometimes referred to as “a natural,” but natural black hair can be worn in many other styles besides a short ‘fro.
Natural black hair usually ranges from wavy to kinky-coily, with a wide range of variation between the two. (And yes, some black people have naturally straight hair as well.) Most people of African descent have some type of wave or curl pattern, and texture differences exist not only in families, including siblings but on the same head of hair! Curls may be as small and coiled as pen springs or wavier and the size of a fat marker. In general, black hair types tend to be:
Drier to the touch than other hair textures
Extremely difficult to over-condition