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When Chickenheads Come Home to Roost: A Hip-Hop Feminist Breaks It Down
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When Chickenheads Come Home to Roost: A Hip-Hop Feminist Breaks It Down

3.98 of 5 stars 3.98  ·  rating details  ·  667 ratings  ·  51 reviews
When Chickenheads Come Home to Roost is a decidedly intimate look into the life of the modern black woman: a complex world where feminists often have not-so-clandestine affairs with the most sexist of men; where women who treasure their independence often prefer men who pick up the tab; where the deluge of babymothers and babyfathers reminds black women, who long for marri ...more
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published March 10th 1999 by Simon & Schuster
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first off, this one got 4 stars because it got me thinking and talking, NOT because i didn't find some of the content problematic. That part about how dudes should be able to abdicate their parental rights, and thus responsibilities, if they were clear thru a pregnancy that they didn't want to parent a child? Damn, that one still turns my guts. That's some shit. But no matter how vehemently i disagree with some of JM's conclusions, the questions are dead on.

I found more relevant to MY life in t
Started out really good....I wanted so badly to like When Chickenheads Come Home to Roost, but I just can't fuck with Joan Morgan's assessment of hip hop feminism in this book.

From what I understand after reading this book, hip hop feminism isn't so much interested in ending sexist oppression as it is in figuring out how to work within a sexist society to achieve economic success and find a man particularly because hip hop feminism likes the "benefits" of a sexist society like chivalry and not h
I actually really enjoyed this book. The author is a hip-hop feminist who writes about her struggle as a feminist and her love for hip-hop and her African-Ameriacn community, but how she is torn because the lyrics, media representation of her sister community, etc. I would recommend this book to anyone doing urban youth ministry, and the girls in that youth ministry.(high-school/college-aged. I'm including one of my favorite excerpts of the book:

"I'm going to make God the main man in my life. Wh
I feel like this book misrepresents itself. She starts off raising legitimate questions about the double-binds Black feminism imposes on women who both identify as such and don't. However by the end of the book, she's coming down on the side of finding it okay that women want to be taken care of by men and showered with gifts and free meals. It moves from thoughtfully incisive to shallow criticism (if it can even be called that). I was ready to embrace a different articulation of feminism as gen ...more
I liked the title! This book was one of at least five books that my mother bought for me at a library sale.. It’s also on Madame Noire’s list of 15 Books Every Young Black Woman Should Read.

I’m having a girl so this could be her way of telling me to teach her the right things so she doesn’t grow up to do the things that I did…right? I guess so. I’ve never heard of Joan Morgan but she’s won awards so her opinion is valid, I guess.

I’ll start by saying this...this is not a new book. It was publishe
This is a very honest book that enables the reader to embrace feminism from wherever they fit into the gender equality debate. Even the most ardent feminists do not abide by feminist principles in every aspect of their personal lives. By showing the contradictions that she faces in her own life, Morgan challenges readers to see how they do not always walk the walk. Let's be real, well-educated successful feminist "bougie" black women sometimes envy the ability of "chickenheads" to live life auth ...more
This is one of my new favorite books! It's really engaging and SUPER readable, not dry or heavily academic at all. Which is why it's so impressive how well Morgan is able cover this material. I read this for my Black Women's Health class and it really helped me understand gender dynamics among black populations. Morgan does use a lot of hip hop lingo that I didn't understand, nor would the average reader probably, but that didn't impede my understanding at all, I just sort of went with it. If I ...more
I have had this book on my TBR list for a very longtime. I remember first coming across an article mention this book when doing a research paper for an African-American studies course. I have long since forgotten what the paper was about but I remember this book title. Maybe because it is such a catching title and used a term that I remember from growing up. That being said I had high hopes for this book. While I think the author deliver I did have some issues with it. There were many topics br ...more
Fathima Cader
a very enjoyable read, finished it in a day. morgan is a witty, fun, smart writer, able to tackle complex and charged topics with a rare generosity and humour. it is in parts an accessible summary of race history, and in others a self-help read on dating. i don't agree with several of her positions -- i think she overstates the availability of abortions in the US (and possibly things have gotten worse in the following decades) and her chapter on chickenheads was a lot less sisterly than the
Morgan is a member of her self-described "post-Civil Rights, post-feminist, post-soul generation." Trying to carve out her own identity, she takes an in-depth look at feminism, black women, black men, sexism, racism, and hip-hop; and how they all co-exist--but especially how they should co-exist. Using a little bit of theory, a smattering of statistics, and a lot of real life, Morgan explains the differences between her generation and her mother's; the hypocrisy she sees every day; and how she c ...more
I was first introduced to this book back in 2006 during a History of Black Women in America course, and it ended up being one of the best courses I took in undergrad, particularly due to the professor. We didn't really get to go into this book which was on the syllabus, so I didn't really remember much, if at all, and decided to pick it up from the library. Fairly good look into feminism with a hip hop perspective so to speak. Joan Morgan is a great writer and puts out some good ideas and questi ...more
If ever you needed an example of "Knowledge is power" this is it. Each chapter served as veritable checkpoints for what I once believed, currently believe and should aspire to believe (or all of the above) about thriving as a black woman living as a by-product of the hip-hop, post-civil rights, post-practically everything eras. Morgan's lyrical, conversational tone reads like an all-night girl chat fest talkin' 'bout loving maturely, the perks and dips of female ambition and independence and und ...more
I picked this up because of Rookie Magazine. And because it has a clever title. I like that it is a book that doesn't claim to be more than the author's truth, and not in a defensive way but in a way that invites the reader to engage with their own truths. There's a lot of material to engage with - I really enjoyed finding the ways that the black cultural issues that Morgan is writing about intersect and mirror other groups' cultural issues - like traditional machoism having similar stressors as ...more
starts strong ends losing the point a little bit. In terms of reading a voice different than most of the voices I read it was great, good to get perspective too that sits in an academic tradition while at the same time trying to figure things out how they are and why they are and as they are... however like i said, the end drops the ball a bit. Up until the last two chapters this book is tres strong. And even the last two chapters are valuable. It is a good personal document and a testament to a ...more
Plucked from a "swap box" in the Girls Rock camp breakroom a copy dotted with really charming marginalia ("fuck that", "ouch!", "ahem, Latifa"). Read the first half on my breaks at camp and felt an almost tangible sensation that the future of feminism and hip-hop and women's art was open wide. Read the second half back in the real world the following week and felt less inspired. Part of that had to do with the book and part of that had to do with the context in which it was read, but isn't that ...more

I perhaps went into this book expecting something entirely different to what I got. There are some excellent chapters in this, SBW, SBW - n - EBM and Babymother offers great discussion on reproductive rights. However, there were parts of the book which were unsatisfying.

Porsha Dixon
From the very first page I was HOOKED! Joan Morgan allowed me to embrace her words and inspired me to emulate her courageous style of writing. At first glance, I told myself that this should be great, hopefully not another feminist knocking our hip hop music. As a young black feminist, I must admit that I have always identified with feminist; however, Joan Morgan truely defined and provided the correct representation of what I am. Morgan focused on black women and our role in america, from relat ...more
Bryan Kibbe
Lately, I have been studying and working to understand the culture and meaning of hip hop music, and thus I came upon this book, subtitled "a hip-hop feminism." Simply put, it is an excellent series of letters to the world about a young woman struggling to find/construct her identity as a black woman that is part of the hip-hop generation and becoming an adult in the 80's and 90's after the successes of 1960's feminism. Morgan's writing is both intelligent and candid, and I found myself riveted ...more
I didn't enjoy this as much as I was expecting to. certain things she said had me hmmmmming like a mf (for example, yes it's a good point that sometimes women are complicit in their own oppression, but, to use her example, saying "what about the girls turning up to music video shoots, G-string in hand", that can be easily countered with but why are these apparently the only ways for women of colour to be represented in music videos? as big booty bitches, etc?). She asked some of the right questi ...more
Great in terms of the 3rd Wave's history, not very revolutionary in terms of its ideas. I recently read it for the second time, and I'm glad I did, because I apply more of an anti-racist lens. I'm glad the book celebrates hip hop culture and I recognize the book wasn't written for me. It speaks more to the young, black, professional woman. I can respect that, but I also think the theory could have been deeper, more radical.
Oooooooh girl you gotta git yo groove back cuz these punk ass niggaz straight playin'. But seriously, I think I like hip hop feminism much better than the other kind. Joan Morgan keeps one important thing in mind that doesn't make someone with a dick detest this book. She is down to Earth about feminism. That's right, NOT a delusional dike. An honest approach to what women are, none of the bullshit.
Sep 27, 2007 Tamika rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: young women of color coming into feminism
this is one of the first books i read that was explicitly feminist in nature. it definitely helped to shape the way i looked at myself as a young black woman in relation to the rest of my community. i haven't read it in many years, so i'm sure that i've evolved in ways that may not be represented by the book, but i still appreciate joan morgan, and her contribution to my politicization.
Morgan tells the truth without sugar-coating anything, which is refreshing. She's also witty and had me laughing out loud on more than one occasion. Her analysis of women's reproductive rights and men's lack of rights concerning the decision to parent children was very compelling. She spoke at my alma mater so I'm glad I finally got around to reading her book.
This book really got me to re-investigate my own feminist self and the struggles connecting "theory" to everyday "practice" especially when it comes to Black love. Joan Morgan is able to talk the issues that we often brush under the table in language that is accessible to all, taking feminist discussion from the academy to the mainstream.
Not usually my cup of tea, but it's for a women's empowerment group for teenagers. The book does a great job of telling the young ladies what we alawys say: love yourself first before you lose yourself to some boy.

Also some interesting thoughts on Feminism and women of color.
Tanji Gilliam
Jun 19, 2007 Tanji Gilliam rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: every black woman i know
i LOVED this book when I first read it. It's very heteronormative though. And now I'm bothered by what it also has carved out in terms of writing about hip hop from a female perspective. I am getting sick of the in-love/out-of-love with hip-hop narrative it has set up for black women.
Damn, i remember when this came out, i was 18 and shat when i saw it the bookstore. i bought and read it immediately. it had a tremendous impact on my decision to call myself a "feminist" and my ability to identify once in college with what i grew up thinking as white women's turf.
Chitra Nagarajan
Interesting but a bit dated now. I'm giving it 3 stars instead of 5 because I don't like the denigrating of women in the 'chickenhead' category. That seems unfair, petty and completely lacking in power analysis.

I would love to read her latest work to see how she's moved on.
I am reading this for the second time. The first time I was in college. I figure I may have a different take on it now.

Done. Very interesting. Not what you think. Tough to get into in the begining but once you do, you'll breeze through it. Really good read.

i love her writing style. a lot of the concepts she brought forth about feminism and how it has evolved were really interesting. i enjoyed how she was honest with herself in that both sexes do in fact benefit from sexism and no one really wants 100% gender equality.
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Dear Goodreads 1 5 Sep 18, 2012 02:07PM  
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

Joan Morgan is an award-winning journalist and author and a provocative cultural critic. A pioneering hip-hop journalist and entertainment writer, she began her professional writing career freelancing for The Village Voice before having her work published by Vibe, Intervie
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