‘The Other Black Girl,’ by Zakiya Dalila Harris book review

One of the pleasures of “The Other Black Girl” is its unapologetic appeal to Black female readers. From references to ’90s Black culture (Janet Jackson’s braids in “Poetic Justice,” “A Different World” reruns) to ample servings of hair-related angst, conversations and plot points, Black girls will appreciate how their experiences, perspectives and quirks are centered in this novel. At the heart of the book is Nella’s belief — confirmed by personal experience as well as data — that the decks are stacked against Black women. Nella reflects upon “ . . . the day she’d first learned that it would not be enough for her to simply go to college, get good grades, and get the interview. That it wouldn’t be enough to simply show up to work; to simply wear the right clothes. You had to wear the right mentality. You had to live the mentality. Be everyone’s best friend. Be sassy. Be confident, but also be deferential. Be spiritual, but also be down-to-earth. Be woke, but still keep some of that sleep in your eyes, too.”




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