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

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  1,465 ratings  ·  124 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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 ·  1,465 ratings  ·  124 reviews


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Amber
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
...more
Nakia
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
...more
Marie Ainomugisha
Nov 13, 2019 rated it did not like it
Grab a seat and a glass of wine because this review is about to be a longggg one.

Without holding back, I’ll just admit that this is probably one of the worst books I’ve ever read and definitely the worst book I’ve picked up this year. I had to write some notes at the end in order for this review to not come off as pure reaction but as concern for the frame of consciousness Joan Morgan was in when she wrote this in 1999.

Fair warning: this book is highly cisnormative, heteronormative, lesbophobi
...more
Kristen
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
Christina
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 ...more
Crystal
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
Troy
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
FreeFormLady
Jul 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: my-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 ...more
Kadea
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.
Famous
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
...more
Jenell
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
Rich
May 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019
Absolutely illuminating and thought provoking in all ways
Monique
Feb 14, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
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
Shelly
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
...more
Sherreka Burton
Feb 06, 2016 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
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
Lori
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.'
Naeemah Huggins
Mar 05, 2018 rated it liked it
Entertaining at the very least.
Catherine
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.
Lulu
Jun 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I don’t know what took me so long to read this book! It was awesome!
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.
Misse Jones
Jul 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed the bop and flow of the material presented and especially that the book was narrated by Joy Bryant. When I checked it out with my library I was a bit bummed that they didn’t have the ebook. But, I was pleased with the audio version.

Definitely worth a read for critical analyses or just for a differing perspective on the topic at hand.
Minke
Mar 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book really made me think about feminist views in general and reconsider some of my own.
Vern
I first read this book @ college in 1999. I soaked up every word like a sponge. My 21yrs later re-read of it makes it even more relevant. I think all Gen X black women should read this book if they haven't.
Megan Covington
Mar 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: hip-hop-feminism
This was an excellent read. I found it to be a refreshing, easy to understand and engage with pre-cursor to the theoretical uses of HHF that followed the book coining the term. While several critiques of the book exist, it's important to note that the author was a journalist at the time of writing.
Ingrid
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
MikaNici
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
...more
Fathima Cader
Jul 17, 2013 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
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Dear Goodreads 1 7 Sep 18, 2012 02:07PM  

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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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