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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

really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating details ·  1,242 ratings  ·  92 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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really liked it 4.00  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,242 ratings  ·  92 reviews

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May 19, 2013 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
Feb 23, 2016 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
Jul 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I thoroughly enjoyed this. I am ashamed to admit that I've owned the paperback copy of this book for YEARS, and am just now reading it thanks to a newly released audiobook that turned up on my library Hoopla account. Now I need to read my print copy, and take all the notes. To read this review in its entirety and to see a video of Joan Morgan speaking about Hip Hop and Feminism click here
May 12, 2017 rated it it was ok
This book made me cringe. What's interesting is that I bought it about 9 years ago, read half of it and loved it. Time is a masterpiece. Morgan claims that she wants to uplift the black community through hip hop feminism but doing so, she tears us apart, mainly black women. There is much talk about black-on-black crime and degradation. Worse, is her claim that she is seeking a feminism that holds the black community accountable and does not marginalize black women as victims. Yet, she only seems ...more
Nov 06, 2013 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
Aug 07, 2011 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
Jul 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favs
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
Jun 07, 2017 rated it it was ok
Not at all what I was expecting. Every chapter drips with internalized misogyny which makes for a rather disappointing read, especially from a writer who considers herself a feminist. I wouldn't recommend.
Naeemah Huggins
Mar 05, 2018 rated it liked it
Entertaining at the very least.
Jayne O'Connor
Sep 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: thesis
A very quick read, but one with a compelling and relatable message. I just wish the version I read was edited more carefully.
Mar 29, 2007 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
Sep 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book was great. I'm not going to say it belongs with the works of bell hooks or Audre Lorde as some great polemic of black feminist/womanist thought, it definitely sits in the pantheon of books by Black women about feminism/womanism for them in their experience. I laughed and I wondered how I can make things better. She of this book ages well, some of the slang doesn't, but Black men dan women are still going through the same relationship issues they did before, although now with more popul ...more
Jun 28, 2016 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.
Roger Green
Jul 26, 2016 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.'
Apr 07, 2018 rated it did not like it
This book was complete trash. I want my money back and I wanna go back and unread it.
Aug 20, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2018
I ignored this book for a couple decades off title alone. But against my better judgment, I finally decided to read it. The introduction is pretty misleading as it brings the book in with a fire that is fast extinguished by the authors ridiculous rants, wrongs, judgments, and trash respectability politics.

This book is masquerading as progressive black feminism when in reality the author has a very hostile, outdated, and misogynistic viewpoint towards black women. It does not surprise me that th
May 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: smartbrowngirls
This book resonated with me for many different reasons, but I left this book overall with a different moral ground on the perspective of feminism in the black community. Bronx author and self-proclaimed feminist Joan Morgan opens this book with a monologue about how the injection of hip hop into the black patriarchy as well as her personal experiences growing up in a single parent household have morphed her view of feminism throughout her adulthood. I liked how, unlike other female empowerment b ...more
Alexandra Rice
Jun 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Has some issues - heteronormativity, respectability politics, the “missing black daddy”/“downfall of the black nuclear family = downfall of society” trope (she must not have read about Moynihan at this point), the conflation of womanism and black feminism (similar, and connected, but not quite the same), and of course, the titular “good girls vs. Chickenheads” (AKA “pick-me”) trope. However, this book is gorgeous in its imperfections - it’s a non-academic (at the time), young black woman, speaki ...more
Apr 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I read this book as a sophomore in college and at that time, I read it and moved on, unable to appreciate it at that time. Rereading it at this point in my life... It’s speaking a whole new language. I love that Joan Morgan is speaking to the grays and not letting anyone off the hook. Sure, there are things she did not address (heteronormativity, homophobia, rejection of capitalism). However, the amount of courage it must have taken to be vulnerable and write this book when she did... mad respec ...more
Jul 16, 2018 rated it liked it
For where this book situates itself, from a black woman’s interactions with her own experiences with feminism and the world around her, it does it’s job. In our current climate of true accountability amongst black feminists, it falls short with the internalized misogynoir, slut-shaming, and heteronormativity that it spews. It also doesn’t talk much about actual hip hop which is weird. If you want to read it, I don’t advise that you do so without a firm grip on your own feminism and politics. It ...more
Sep 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Thoughtful personal take by an author who seems willing to grapple with things that will likely immediately be attacked without a fair hearing. Almost 20 years old, it brought me back to the 90s. Some of the chapters really speak to me today though, especially the chapter which deals with subsuming oneself in armor meant to protect and support one’s ambitions but that ultimately stifles/strangles oneself and weakens one’s ability to reach out and connect and gain support and grow.
Oct 03, 2017 rated it it was ok
It took me a minute to get through this. There were times of knowledge, most of the time I felt like I was reading a home girl speech. I have annotated some parts of the books but the further I got into the book I felt a distance from the author. I just couldn’t relate maybe it’s denial of some of the point she brought up but I doubt it. I’m glad I read it and would come back and reference what I annotated but I don’t think I would re-read it. At least no time soon.
Even though it's a little dated since she wrote it in 1999, vast swaths of it are still so relevant and necessary. I really appreciate how groundbreaking her work has been, and how she is willing to include nuance and contradiction in her hip-h0p feminism.

This reflection of Morgan's 18 years later helps contextualize: Strange Fruit
May 18, 2017 rated it liked it
Umm I don't know what I took away from reading this. it wasn't profound by any means, but some parts were interesting. The "Chickenhead Envy" chapter kinda reminded me of the whole "bottom power" thing mentioned in We Should All Be Feminists.
May 24, 2017 rated it liked it
An engaging albeit sometimes uneven book. But an important articulation of hip-hop feminism and this branch in the black feminism tree.
Vivian Lyte
Aug 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book is thought provoking and informative
Elicia Blackford
Apr 28, 2018 rated it liked it
3 stars doesn't mean don't read it. It should be read, analyzed, discussed. 3 stars is just where I came out feeling about some of the messages in the end.
Jan 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Loved it! Read this in my early twenties should do so again with my more mature mind.
Oct 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great book for contemporary feminists to consider (in the canon of third world, Black feminist literature) that pivots to address patriarchy in pop culture.
Emily Alexander
Aug 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
feminism kicks ass!
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Dear Goodreads 1 6 Sep 18, 2012 02:07PM  
  • Black Macho and the Myth of the Superwoman
  • Home Girls: A Black Feminist Anthology
  • Words of Fire: An Anthology of African-American Feminist Thought
  • Still Brave: The Evolution of Black Women's Studies
  • From Black Power to Hip Hop: Racism, Nationalism, and Feminism
  • When and Where I Enter: The Impact of Black Women on Race and Sex in America
  • Pimps Up, Ho's Down: Hip Hop's Hold on Young Black Women
  • Shifting: The Double Lives of Black Women in America
  • Blues Legacies and Black Feminism: Gertrude "Ma" Rainey, Bessie Smith, and Billie Holiday
  • The Hip Hop Wars: What We Talk About When We Talk About Hip Hop--and Why It Matters
  • But Some Of Us Are Brave: All the Women Are White, All the Blacks Are Men: Black Women's Studies
  • Killing the Black Body: Race, Reproduction, and the Meaning of Liberty
  • Our Black Year: One Family's Quest to Buy Black in America's Racially Divided Economy
  • The Trouble Between Us: An Uneasy History of White and Black Women in the Feminist Movement
  • Total Chaos: The Art and Aesthetics of Hip-Hop
  • Sisters of the Yam: Black Women and Self-Recovery
  • A Voice from the South
  • Chicana Feminist Thought: The Basic Historical Writings
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