In Kenya Hunt's Girl Gurl Grrrl: On Womanhood and Belonging in the Age of Black Girl Magic, 20 compelling essays divulge the troubling reality that Black women live and the obstacles they surmount to carve a place in society.
Hunt expresses how, to simply exist, Black women work harder. "White people aren't expected to slay all day," she explains. By contrast, Black children learn to be "twice as good" to enjoy similar success. Black excellence itself is often reduced to a trend. Inclusivity after Black Panther was called the "Wakanda Effect," implying the culture's "moment" would end. Other entries highlight Hunt's personal battles with racism: receiving lesser maternal care than white mothers, being asked to speak for all Black American women as a transplant to London, getting rejected by Airbnb hosts when "booking while Black." Guest writers discuss clashing constructs of beauty within and outside the Black community, parenting Black children in a world unsafe for them, the erasure of Black lives and the tiring toll of projecting a palatable identity.
Overarching the collection's evocative commentary on belonging is a vitalizing sisterhood. These arresting voices speak urgently of community--of thriving among "skinfolk and kinfolk" and of thrillingly expressing Black pride against a backdrop of inequality. While #BlackGirlMagic has come to celebrate the exceptional, Hunt reminds that the hashtag originated to empower the ordinary. By sharing how everyday Black women resist, persist and uplift one another, Hunt inspires the world to see them, and see them equally. --Samantha Zaboski, freelance editor and reviewer