My first book recommendation is dedicated to creative change-maker, Ms. Issa Rae.
I was first introduced to Issa Rae around late 2012 by my friend Edtience. She urged me to watch Rae's Youtube web series, "The Mis-Adventures of Awkward Black Girl". I'll admit, I didn't jump at it right away until one evening when I was bored. I watched the full series in one go. It was brilliant! The character development and the pure, raw, realness of it all had me hooked. Naturally, I researched the woman behind the series, Ms. Issa Rae. The 31-year-old Stanford grad is truly impressive. To no surprise, I eagerly awaited the UK release of her first book appropriately named, The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl
The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl is written in a singular voice. Instead of the traditional autobiography or memoir styles, Rae puts together a collection of stories about her life recounting the best and worse moments adding a comedic spin. Rae and I are the same age (1985) and for me, or any other millennials, this book brings back a world of nostalgia. In many ways, it's the classic coming-of-age story of exploring one's self and trying to develop an identity.
In one chapter, Rae describes 15 kinds of Blackness and how one or a combination of many characteristics can be applied to a single Black person to demonstrate that not all Black people are the same, and we all don't fit or should fit into one box. This is not a message directed to non-Black audiences alone but also to Black people since we tend to ostracize members of our community who may not always fit the mold of one kind of Blackness. Rae once said, "she was "berated for 'acting white'" and initially found it difficult to "fit into this 'blackness' I was supposed to be."
This is one of my favorite reads. It encourages readers to embrace your true self no matter how others might perceive you. I highly recommend anyone who loves a good laugh, storytime, and misses the era of Blockbuster movie rentals, three-way telephone calls, denim everything, and sitcoms, to definitely read this. You won't be disappointed.