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

3.98  ·  Rating Details ·  944 Ratings  ·  64 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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Amber
May 19, 2013 Amber rated it it was ok
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
...more
Nakia
Feb 23, 2016 Nakia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Reading this book is not so much like learning or studying Black feminism in the era of hip hop, with a culture and climate steeped in bold misogyny wrapped in a tight flow over a fly beat. It's more like listening in on your older cousin and her girlfriends discuss life in the 90s as 20 or 30-somethings, trying to find their way as women with obstacles that their foremothers couldn't have blueprinted even if they tried.

This is the beginning of educated, passionate Black women not really sure h
...more
Famous
Aug 07, 2011 Famous rated it really liked it
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
...more
Kristen
Nov 06, 2013 Kristen rated it it was ok
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
FreeFormLady
Jul 09, 2015 FreeFormLady rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I really wish I had read this book earlier in life. It was funny, thought provoking, and just a great read. I love books that make you think. If you consider yourself a feminist, this book will cause you to really think about a lot of things. I would recommend this for all women coming of age in this society. This book is about 15 years old, but so little has changed. Follow this link for more thoughts on this book https://youtu.be/8V4Zpmu1xek
Shelly
Mar 29, 2007 Shelly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Roger Green
Jul 26, 2016 Roger Green rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a crushingly brilliant book. I love it. I'm humbled to read it. Morgan gets the complexity of gender, race, sexuality, power...the inner working of entanglement of these "things.' I read it (and will be teaching it) alongside Sister Soulja's 'Coldest Winter Ever.'
Monique
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
Sarah
I read this book because it came highly recommended by both Melissa Harris Perry and Kaila Adia Story. Morgan starts off the book by describing why and how black women have been isolated from (male dominated) racial justice movements and (white dominated) feminist movements. While multiple black feminist scholars have filled in this gap, Morgan notes that many black women find their theoretical texts inaccessible. Additionally, Audre Lorde, bell hooks, and other black feminists haven't quite cap ...more
Fathima Cader
Jul 17, 2013 Fathima Cader rated it liked it
Shelves: own
3.5/5
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
...more
Arianna
Apr 27, 2014 Arianna rated it it was ok
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
...more
george
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
Sherreka Burton
Feb 06, 2016 Sherreka Burton rated it really liked it
Shelves: my-people, pro-black
I don't know how to rate this; The book started off kind of questionable to me. I wasn't sure if I was going to like her writing style. I'm not a big fan of spoken word and her style reminded me of that in the beginning, but I kept on and it got a little better for me. I never really thought about us treating women who choose to be exploited in videos the same way we treat coons or Sambos; it's an interesting concept, but I don't think there are mechanisms in place for the latter mentioned stere ...more
John
Apr 21, 2011 John rated it liked it
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
Danita
Oct 22, 2010 Danita rated it it was amazing
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
P.
Jan 02, 2013 P. rated it liked it
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
Jimmie
Jan 17, 2015 Jimmie rated it really liked it
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
Aaron
Mar 31, 2008 Aaron rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Amnah
Mar 18, 2015 Amnah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Lindsay
Aug 27, 2011 Lindsay rated it really liked it
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
Porsha Dixon
Jun 24, 2009 Porsha Dixon rated it it was amazing
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
Apr 12, 2012 Bryan Kibbe rated it it was amazing
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
Esther
Dec 15, 2013 Esther rated it liked it
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
Cindy Leighton
I love that my students haven't given up on trying to educate this old white lady in the thinking of the new generation! There is a significant divide between us "old guard" feminists and the new feminists - one that has admittedly confounded me. This book, although written in 1999, went a long way to clearing this up for me. Also an excellent education in black feminism and hip hop feminism - a term Morgan coined.

Besides learning what a chicken head is
Ricky
Aug 11, 2009 Ricky rated it it was ok
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.
B.
Loved this book. Some things I already were aware of being that I am now in my 30s. Some things I was aware of, but LOVED the way she articulated them.

The only negative is that it was written over 20 years ago and while it is still relevant today, I would love to hear her views regarding today's age.

I advise EVERY WOMAN (race should't be a factor) to read this book, particularly women in their 20s.
Eric
Jan 25, 2009 Eric rated it liked it
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.
Tamika
Sep 27, 2007 Tamika rated it really liked it
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.
Jalisa
Jun 26, 2012 Jalisa rated it really liked it
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.
Lori
Jun 28, 2016 Lori rated it did not like it
This book was an absolute disappointment. Too much talk of the "independent woman" v. the "gold diggers" which felt like slut shaming misogyny rather than an uplifting contribution to feminism. It's really a shame because there is not enough feminist scholarship on hip hop so I was looking forward to that perspective.
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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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