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Girl Gurl Grrrl: On Womanhood and Belonging in the Age of Black Girl Magic

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In the vein of Roxane Gay’s Bad Feminist and Issa Rae’s The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl, but wholly its own, a provocative, humorous, and, at times, heartbreaking collection of essays on what it means to be black, a woman, a mother, and a global citizen in today's ever-changing world.

Black women have never been more visible or more publicly celebrated than they are now. But for every new milestone, every magazine cover, every box office record smashed, every new face elected to public office, the reality of everyday life for black women remains a complex, conflicted, contradiction-laden experience.

 An American journalist who has been living and working in London for a decade, Kenya Hunt has made a career of distilling moments, movements, and cultural moods into words. Her work takes the difficult and the indefinable and makes it accessible; it is razor sharp cultural observation threaded through evocative and relatable stories.

Girl Gurl Grrrl both illuminates our current cultural moment and transcends it. Hunt captures the zeitgeist while also creating a timeless celebration of womanhood, of blackness, and the possibilities they both contain. She blends the popular and the personal, the frivolous and the momentous in a collection that truly reflects what it is to be living and thriving as a black woman today.  

256 pages, Hardcover

First published December 8, 2020

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Kenya Hunt

4 books33 followers

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5 stars
424 (34%)
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229 (18%)
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 209 reviews
Profile Image for Thomas.
1,427 reviews8,341 followers
June 18, 2021
Appreciated the breadth of topics in this collection and Kenya Hunt’s honesty in sharing parts of her own experience as a Black woman. Hunt tackles several important issues at the intersection of race and gender such as raising a Black son amidst the ongoing threat of police brutality, colorism in the beauty industry, and the high mortality rate of Black mothers. One unique aspect of this collection includes Hunt’s perspective as an American expat living in the United Kingdom. She writes about race and Blackness while navigating two different cultures that both have histories that involve anti-Black racism. I also appreciated Hunt’s earnest belief in herself and her own voice throughout the collection. She honors the challenges she and other Black women have gone through, while still expressing her beliefs and truths in a confident and self-assured way.

I felt curious about the potential incorporation of more intersectionality in a few of these essays. For example, Hunt praises Barack Obama and Kamala Harris as Black politicians, though I wondered if she could have at the same time acknowledged Obama’s complicity in drone strikes that killed many civilians abroad as well as Harris’s past actions that have harmed sex workers. Hunt also writes about the nuances of how advancement in prestige does not protect Black folks from racism, and I felt that she could have used this sentiment as a launchpad into discussing Black capitalism and her views on it. Overall though a satisfying collection, though some of the content may not come across as new to people who read a lot about these topics.
Profile Image for chantel nouseforaname.
624 reviews305 followers
February 2, 2021
"I love Black women. I love us with a pure, bottomless, concentrated, no-added-ingredients kind of adoration that goes beyond the love I have for my mother, sister, aunts or even myself." - 87% in Girl Girl Grrrl by Kenya Hunt

This book was PERFECT.

It was just as amazing as This Is Major: Notes on Diana Ross, Dark Girls, and Being Dope by Shayla Lawson.

There's something so magnificent in reading Black women chronicle other Black women. I am drawn like a magnet to works where Black women shed light on the resilience that lives, grows and breathes inside of Black women. The ways that we maneuver and fight and keep on fighting - and you know we damn well shouldn't have to fight so fucking hard, but we do.

Kenya Hunt talks about the various experiences of Black women without overkilling the strong Black woman narrative, instead exposing the strength in vulnerability. She sheds light on her own experiences coming up through a cut throat and discriminatory industry where not a lot of Black women and girls see the kind of success she's seen. She talks about the Black women who came before and opened up the door for her and other Black women and men to step through into the fashion-writing, and fashion industry. She talks about being an American expat abroad, living and trying to run away from police brutality in America to London, where she and her family still experience casual and not-so-casual racism. She talks about not having shit all figured out, and the ways that we try to manage even through strife, moments of infuriating and blatant racism, and the insanity of trying to battle through daily micro-aggressive bullshit that affects us as we try to build connections with one another as human beings. She reflects on the times where it's not successful due to competition and the system trying to push us further apart, and the ways that fighting through that and reaching into your community can be transformative.

Kenya Hunt is a engaging writer. You can feel her passion and love, rage and concern, hurt, joy and happiness, you can just feel it bleed through every page. This book felt like a mirror in more ways than one.

My favourite favourite FAVOURITE chapter was Bad Bitches. Yo, she knocked it out the park with this chapter. This book is camaraderie in paper form. It's a sister girl offering of 'you are not alone in this' in it's purest form. Yes, sometimes we get that on twitter, in the community that Black twitter creates, but Kenya gives it up here to you, in this book, in droves. Girl Gurl Grrrl is for the shelf in your home, it's that book to pick it up and thumb through when you feel like you quietly and reflectively need someone who sees you. She also reflects on some of the external trends and situations surrounding Blackness and Black womanhood that we wish would just leave Black women alone (the constant attempted extrapolation of Black hair, aesthetic and culture) or do better for the Black community on a whole (healthcare, especially around the birthing process).

From the title to the cover and the added submissions from guests like Candice Carty-Williams and Freddie Harrel, Kenya Hunt just gives us soooo much to enjoy, feel and relate to in Girl Gurl Grrrl.

When K. Hunt says:

"I love us. We are beautiful, powerful queens. Masters of slays. Leaders of movements. Makers of culture and changers of games. We are Michelle Obama's leadership. Grace Jones's radicalness. Maxine Waters's candor. And Tarana Burke's compassion. Yara Shahidi's optimism. Dina Asher-Smith's speed. Serena Williams's stamina and Sade's elegance. Ava Duvernay's vision. Patrisse Cullors's activism. Missy Elliott's innovation. And Meghan Thee Stallion's knees. We are all these things and more." - 88% in Girl Gurl Grrrl by Kenya Hunt

--- I felt that shit. Then, but never as an afterthought, she goes in and talks about how important the Black women who don't fit that heightened visibility and exceptionalism are. We are all important. In all our awkwardness, chillness, blerdery, when we're just out here living our lives everyday, maintaining, thriving and being regular-degular, if our house is a fucking mess, if we can't twerk, if your nails are not done, don't matter.. Black girls and women are important! WORD the fuck up!

I love this book with every fibre of my being. Thanks, Kenya!
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Monica.
584 reviews612 followers
November 20, 2022
Every year I tend to read several books of essays; many written by people whom I've never heard of or read about, who think they have something worthwhile to put out into the world. Usually at least one per year has been by penned by a middle-class, Black female. No real mystery here; I am one and these books often mirror my opinions and/or experience. It's nice to see myself (at least in part) in books. The thirst for representation is strong. Having said that, Kenya Hunt is much younger and has had a much richer (double entendre intentional as both meanings apply) life. Her writings are about discomfort in navigating a world most of us don't travel in, highlighting similarities. It matters not the environment. She shows similar struggles despite social or economic status or geography; and in that vein, she largely succeeds.

Hunt is a successful Black American woman who has had all the accoutrements of privilege. In England she discovered many of the same racial issues as in America. Her essays describe her experiences with being a Black American female and mother in another country. This is a Gen Y/Z woman who has gone to the finest schools and has had lots of opportunity which she has successfully navigated into a career in beauty and fashion. I am at an age that I could be her mother. We don't have much in common other than being women of color. Even though it isn't about me or my experiences; there are a lot of common viewpoints on a variety of subjects. I would call this book an anthology as 3 of the essays were written by other Black women. To her credit, the book is about a lot more than the standards of beauty and fashion. In fact, discussions of such took up very little space in the overall concept/content. All of the essays were engaging, and most were interesting.

My favorite of her essays was Notes on Woke. This really was a great overview of the term "woke" and in my view should be read by everyone. It is not preaching, just a fairly substantive essay on the word. More about linguistics than editorializing.
If you believe BuzzFeed, woke is also the much-needed awakening of the privileged to all manner of societal ills and the willingness to call them out—usually in the form of a White, cisgender, heteronormative man recognizing that others who are not White, cisgender, heteronormative, and male are often denied equal rights, treatment, and pay.
My other favorite was a guest essay Upon Reflection by Funni Fetto which contemplates the self-esteem of black women based upon the assessment of beauty via Eurocentric standards. It resonated.

I enjoyed this book. Hunt is insightful, self-aware, intelligent and an interesting and accessible writer. To me, this book is a great entry into thinking about the social effects of life on women in general and Black women in particular. It's fairly neutral (read-not much controversial or deep) and targets a younger less socially active/attentive crowd. It doesn't demand too much of the readers but exposes them to issues in an approachable, almost conversational manner. This one does not have the intellectual heft of a Tressie McMillan Cottom or Brittney Cooper, but I applaud any effort to reach the audience to contemplate and engage in the sharing of life experiences. When people understand and are more aware, things change. This was a good essay collection and time well spent.

4+ Stars

Read on kindle
Profile Image for Oyinda.
660 reviews154 followers
January 28, 2021
Book 17 of 2021! And, first nonfic book of 2021!


Trigger warnings for mentions of police brutality, miscarriage, loss of a loved on, racism, and microaggressions.

I've been seeing this book everywhere on Bookstagram, even long before it's release, and I'm so glad to say it's worth all the hype. This an amazing, insightful, educational, heartbreaking, and hard hitting collection of essays about the reality of being a black woman in the world we live in today.

The essays in this book were so good! I learnt a lot, I felt a lot, and I cried a lot! The chapter on miscarriage and the epilogue on death and loss broke me and I was a sobbing mess. I was so greatly impacted by this book.

This book featured essays not only by Kenya Hunt but by other black women as well, such as Candice Carty-Williams and Ebele Okobi. Ebele's essay broke my heart, as she told the story of racism faced by her son and the death of her brother as a result of police brutality. Candice's essay chronicles her experience as the author of Queenie, and what life has been like for her since her book was released.

I have a lot of favorite passages, and one of them is, "I love us. We are beautiful, powerful queens. Masters of slays. Leaders of movements. Makers of culture and changers of games. We are Michelle Obama’s leadership. Grace Jones’s radicalness. Maxine Waters’s candor. And Tarana Burke’s compassion. Yara Shahidi’s optimism. Dina Asher-Smith’s speed. Serena Williams’s stamina. And Sade’s elegance. Ava DuVernay’s vision. Patrisse Cullors’s activism. Missy Elliott’s innovation. And Meghan Thee Stallion’s knees. We are all these things and more."

I'm glad I picked this up, and I really enjoyed it. I highly recommend!
Profile Image for Lou (nonfiction fiend).
2,771 reviews1,619 followers
November 27, 2020
GIRL is a provocative, humorous, and, at times, heartbreaking collection of essays on what it means to be black, a woman, a mother, and a global citizen in today's ever-changing world. Black women have never been more visible or more publicly celebrated than they are now. But for every new milestone, every magazine cover, every box office record smashed, every new face elected to public office, the reality of everyday life for black women remains a complex, conflicted, contradiction-laden experience. An American journalist who has been living and working in London for a decade, Kenya Hunt has made a career of distilling moments, movements, and cultural moods into words.

Her work takes the difficult and the indefinable and makes it accessible; it is razor sharp cultural observation threaded through evocative and relatable stories. Girl Gurl Grrrl both illuminates our current cultural moment and transcends it. Hunt captures the zeitgeist while also creating a timeless celebration of womanhood, of blackness, and the possibilities they both contain. She blends the popular and the personal, the frivolous and the momentous in a collection that truly reflects what it is to be living and thriving as a black woman today. A timely, necessary and eminently readable book filled to the brim with social commentary gems, heart wrenching stories and, ultimately, hope for the future by some of the most prominent black writers of our time. Highly recommended.
Profile Image for Jessica Haider.
1,791 reviews239 followers
February 4, 2021
4.5 stars

In her new essay collection, author Kenya Hunt with the help of a handful of other authors, discuss what it means to be a Black woman in today's world. The essays are all thought provoking and are often humorous. They explore everything from what it means to be a Black woman in American vs. England to what it really means to be a "bad bitch". In the collection, Hunt shows vulnerability and discusses how there are more ways to be a Black woman other than the "Strong Black Woman" persona. Hunt herself grew up in America but moved to England as an adult and became an editor at Elle magazine, where she helped to promote black representation in that publication. In the collection, we see the authors voice their frustrations with the stereotypes for Black women that still exist in modern society. The collection is relevant and references the pandemic, Obama, and Trumps presidencies and how they each in turn impacted the lives of Black women.

So good. So readable. Pick it up already!

Thank you to the publisher for the review copy!
Profile Image for Apoorva.
118 reviews42 followers
December 23, 2020
Girl Gurl Grrl: On Womanhood and Belonging in the Age of Black Girl Magic by Kenya Hunt

The more feminist books we read, the more we realize why feminism is actually needed, especially for Black Women. This book is a celebration of Blackhood not just for women but also men.
The author manages to touch upon a range of topics but with a touch of humor as well as perspective.
There are notes on milestones or even small steps taken by actors like Chadwick Boseman, voluptous black models, black hair braiding, pregnancy and healthcare. The author intermingles and puts herself, her education and her upbringing in perspective of all those women who are not comfortable in heir own skin, who are told they are not beautiful because of their wide noses, their skin shade and their wrinkly hair. The author reminisces how as a kid she though she had it all but now hates taking photographs and questions the idea of beauty.

It also brings into light how black women are not able to afford healthcare and abortion is frowned upon. How there is a taboo that black women are more prone to getting an abortion..It also talks about how racism varies from country to country but the voices remains same. In spite of more and more conversations we have about racism, people still end up voting for white supremacy. The meaning of this book is to always put black women up, bolster them, encourage them and cultivate girl love and womanhood.

"Braiding is a time commitment. But when it's between mother and daughter, its an act of love-one's hands passing through another's hair, the other's head lying in the braider's lap. That's why I believe sisterhood is drilled so deep into our DNA.''

As a woman, a writer, a business figure, a black woman, and a wife she encompasses so may roles but its never enough. Losing her own younger brother to police brutality.. sometimes emotions fall less to express their anguish.. We will be interpreting the meaning of bad bitch after reading this book.

"That no postgraduate degree, high-powered job, or rock-solid credit score can protect you from the indignity of being followed by a security guard in a shop or mistaken for being the nanny of your light skinned baby in the park"
Profile Image for Maryam.
84 reviews30 followers
March 19, 2021
4.5 stars!

"As I've grown older, I've realized the best thing I can do to honor Sally Hemmings' legacy in my own life is let go of any compulsion to explain my humanity to anyone who doesn't recognize or value it. I recognize it. I value it. That's what matters most. And the beauty of this moment in history, as Black women rise to the fore, is this overall rejection of personas placed upon us."


I loved reading this book, it was exactly what I needed at this moment. I love how accessible the writing is--anyone could open this book and understand the concepts in it. I could relate to Kenya's stories and thoughts so much throughout the book and I like how she gave space for other Black women to write their own stories. I love that a book like this exists right now.

🖤Black Girl Magic🖤
Profile Image for Tiffany.
110 reviews
December 17, 2020
I loved the second half of this book much more than I enjoyed the first half but this was therapeutic for me. All of the questions and life decisions that this author made in regards to raising a black boy in America spoke volumes to me. The honesty throughout the book in the desire to shape her children's world view was hopeful yet almost overwhelming for me as a black mother who is also raising a black son. This book highlighted many things that I go back and forth on in my journey as a women, professional and as a mother. I so appreciate someone who could highlight them on paper in an elegant, thoughtful, and authentic way.
Profile Image for Lauren Morris.
106 reviews4 followers
October 8, 2021
This was a very nicely written book. I enjoyed Kenya talking about race, motherhood, gender and just being a Black Woman. I liked that she talked about her experiences of living in the UK as a Black American woman and the vast differences. That was very insightful. I loved that she included different authors for them to share their experiences. It was a very easy and relevant read. I wish I read it when it first was published in 2020 and it speaks on current events then but sadly some of those events are still current. This wasn’t a stay up till 3am read but still a good one!
Profile Image for Trey.
207 reviews6 followers
January 28, 2021
Where to begin? This is the first nonfiction book that I just “couldn’t put down.” It was like reading the story of my life. It feels good to not be alone in a lot of life experiences. READ THIS BOOK! If you’re a non-POC, READ THIS BOOK! I can’t begin to talk about how good, real, and raw it is. I laughed, cried, was angry, but most of all, felt seen.
Profile Image for Devin Moran.
23 reviews2 followers
January 26, 2021
For every two chapters that were boring, there was one that fascinated me. Most notable was the chapter on motherhood. As a “girl, girl, or grrrrlll” I felt that this chapter best embodied the many layers Black women respond to as mothers/nurturers. Loss, joy, expectation, fear all of it made sense and was expressed in layering narratives very well.

Most of the book is centered in year 2020, so intersecting pandemics are discussed at length (which you may or may not be ready for yet). I scowled often. The epilogue was pretty sad.

All in all it’s not all bad, but it’s not super good.
Profile Image for Jamie (TheRebelliousReader).
2,932 reviews32 followers
February 24, 2021
3 stars. I loved a lot of things she discussed but the writing wasn’t that engaging and there were other things that felt repeated from other books that I’ve read but just not as interesting. I wish this would’ve landed for me because the topics are so important but I’ve read them better elsewhere.
Profile Image for Katie.
367 reviews3 followers
January 5, 2021
An absolute must read. I was nervous that this book wasn't intended for me, but I was wrong. This book helps lend a strong base for alliance work and support. Hunt seeks to inform, motivate and change the reader, and I learned so much from it.
Profile Image for Irla Atanda.
7 reviews1 follower
February 21, 2022
This book is riddled with #BlackGirlMagic✨ It is a celebration of the various facets of the Black female experience— from the joys that motherhood brings to traumatic experiences with systemic racism to the moments of ordinary life. Kenya Hunt does a beautiful job of bringing us into it all with her touch of humor, critical perspective, and passionate prose.
Profile Image for Rachel Matthews.
297 reviews45 followers
November 25, 2020
GIRL by Kenya Hunt is a wonderful read particularly for black women. It was interesting for me as a black Brit to read from Kenya's perspective - a black American living in England. While Kenya had some unique insights, perhaps most interesting of all was discovering that American black women and British black women face many of the same challenges despite the ocean between us.

Hunt's collection feels current with references made to the pandemic and to Kamala Harris who was, at the time of writing, a nominee for VP and not VP-Elect as she is now; nevertheless even her being nominated was historic.

Ultimately this collection is about voicing the frustrations that come with the stereotypes that are assigned to black women but it is also, purely through its existence, a step in the right direction towards a time when a collection like this won't need to exist. Interspersed throughout the collection are essays from guest contributors, one of my favourite being the one by Candice Carty-Williams, author of Queenie. Candice speaks of how draining she finds interviews being someone far more comfortable at home and away from the limelight. She also expressed fatigue from interviewers assuming Queenie is completely autobiographical even going as far as to ensure her hairstyle in no way resembled the box braids featured on the book's iconic front cover.
The idea that when a black story does break through into the mainstream it must be representative of all black women's experiences (including the author's) when the same assumption would not be made for a white woman is not new. It's as though because there are so few black female writers achieving commercial success, anything that does make the bestsellers list is given so much more weight with higher expectations placed on it than is proportionate. And yet, I left this collection feeling hopeful, Hunt writes: "to be woke is to long for a day when one doesn't have to stay woke" and having read and enjoyed this book I look forward to the day when black women can rest.
December 8, 2020
In this brilliantly written body of work, author Kenya Hunt tackles heavy topics with a matter-of-fact flare that make it’s content easy to digest.

In this collection of stories Kenya celebrates the beauty of black women, while also shining a much needed light on how we are often disregarded within this racist world in which we reside. Reading Kenya’s words made me feel seen and understood.

The topics discussed vary from black beauty, to the mortality rate during childbirth of black women versus that of our white counterparts. She also writes about the Black AirBnB experience, religion and police brutality. Kenya took me on a historical journey that encouraged me to embrace all the glorious “hidden figures” from the past.

This book is filled with page upon page of familiar conversations. Conversations I’ve had with friends, family and even myself as I silently sat pondering the state of the world, and my place in it.

There are also some very vulnerable moments in the book. An example of this can be seen as the author shares her personal experience with childbirth, miscarriage, and abortion.

Overall, I was pleasantly surprised by this book. Honestly, I wasn’t sure if I was going to enjoy it. But I did.

Kenya Hunt is an eloquent wordsmith and I look forward to reading more of her work.

𝘕𝘰𝘵𝘦: 𝘛𝘩𝘪𝘴 𝘢𝘥𝘷𝘢𝘯𝘤𝘦 𝘳𝘦𝘢𝘥𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘤𝘰𝘱𝘺 𝘸𝘢𝘴 𝘨𝘪𝘧𝘵𝘦𝘥 𝘵𝘰 𝘮𝘦 𝘣𝘺 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘱𝘶𝘣𝘭𝘪𝘴𝘩𝘦𝘳 𝘈𝘮𝘪𝘴𝘵𝘢𝘥 𝘉𝘰𝘰𝘬𝘴, 𝘪𝘯 𝘦𝘹𝘤𝘩𝘢𝘯𝘨𝘦 𝘧𝘰𝘳 𝘮𝘺 𝘩𝘰𝘯𝘦𝘴𝘵 𝘳𝘦𝘷𝘪𝘦𝘸.
Profile Image for Karen Ashmore.
487 reviews7 followers
December 26, 2020
A collection of essays by Black fashion editor Kenya Hunt. Most relate to pop culture: an analysis of the word “woke”, what Wakanda means to Black community, being one of the few Blacks to sit on the front row at a designer fashion show, the origins of the hashtag #BlackGirlMagic. But also delves into miscarriage, motherhood and micro aggressions of living while Black in London. However, the most thoughtful essay was the epilogue which examined police brutality and the responsibility of raising Black sons.
Profile Image for Eniola.
76 reviews3 followers
February 14, 2021
”Girl” is a series of essays discussing black womanhood. Described in the blurb as “part memoir, part celebration of womanhood and blackness. ”Girl” is about thriving when the odds are stacked against you”.

I’ve been an admirer of Kenya Hunt for years. A Fashion Queen that I stan, but wow (insert clapping emoji’s). So glad that Kenya put her thoughts and pen to paper or fingers to keyboard to compile this essay collection.

It’s clear that Kenya poured her whole self into writing this. Honest, open, heartbreaking, thought provoking and a truly powerful account of her life, her trauma, her losses, her wins. There are guest writers who also add their voices to the narrative, all powerful women with powerful stories that are told in such an eloquent way.

Yes this screams black excellence, but it is that and so much more.
Gurrrrl. Read this please! 4.4*
Profile Image for Bree.
148 reviews
January 20, 2021
“My race made me stand out in the fashion industry, so I refused to dress to fit in”

Kenya Hunt, a Mother, a Wife, a Fashion Director and A LOT more. Gurrrrrrrl is a badass boss and has a hella strong voice.
Profile Image for Tamyka .
238 reviews5 followers
June 4, 2021
She did that! I was previously unfamiliar with her but I like her writing style, introspection and analysis. I personally especially appreciate the way the Skinfolk and Sally Hemings and Hidden Figures chapters pushed my thinking and how the different chapters authored by other women, especially Candice Carty-Williams’ chapter cause it made me realize how unfair I’d been to Queenie. Anyways quick and easy read, highly recommend.
Profile Image for Tasha.
385 reviews38 followers
February 15, 2021
Girl by Kenya Hunt is a fantastic collection of essays with topics ranging from motherhood, baby loss, sisterhood, religion, the fashion industry and above all, what it means to be a Black Woman. 

I loved it. Kenya's writing style is so easy to follow. The essays are interesting. Sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes funny, always honest and brilliantly written. I love being inside the mind of someone else. I love hearing about people's experiences, about their lives, especially when they are so different to mine.

 Sometimes it's hard being a woman in this world. I feel that. After reading Kenya's book I know no matter how hard it is to be a woman, it's so much harder being a Black Woman. One of the guest essays by Ebele Okobi sums it up when she says:

"We would joke about how when white parents considered where to live, they thought about school achievement measures, number of parks, existence of local libraries, yoga studios. Black parents like us thought about all of those things, and also about all of the ways that the neighbourhood could punish our children for being Black."

Reading that made me feel so angry. And sad.

All of the essays, including the guest essays, were just brilliant. I thoroughly enjoyed reading the book and it's one I'd definitely recommend if you're looking to learn a little bit more about what it's like to be a Black woman in the world today. 
April 29, 2021
Gurl… why have I just gotten around to reading this collection of essays?!  These stories were personal, emotional and sometimes heart-breaking but, at the same time, abundant with #blackgirlmagic. This collection of black women speaking their truth contained lots of realizations, lots to learn, lots of lessons and lots to love.  Here is just a taste of what stood out to me:

⚜ The idea of what is beautiful in a world obsessed with appearances: "I have decided to rewrite the rules of beauty for myself so that whichever way the wind blows, I personally am not moved by it… I am so much more than my reflection." 

⚜ What it really means to be “woke” (spoiler alert: if you are indeed “woke” you need not describe yourself as such).

⚜ Maternal care and fertility for black women and the wide breath of disparity.

⚜ The sad inevitability of black people with mental illness being killed by police: "One of the most horrible things about police killings of black people is that the victims are immediately stripped of their humanity and convicted of their own deaths."

⚜ The fact that some people think bad things cannot happen to some black people because they are protected by their education and privilege.  But, in turn, this means that "those without privilege somehow deserved to die; that in order for a black life to begin to have value, it would have to be swaddled in privilege."

This book had me absolutely transfixed and I would highly recommend it. 
Profile Image for Olivia Fink (NatureGraceReader).
192 reviews24 followers
October 11, 2020
Received Arc in exchange for a honest review

The story starts out with a introduction written after she wrote rest of the book. It covered the topic on many peoples mind, Covid-19, and nicely tied it in with the theme of the whole book. The first essay of the book explained the book’s name. I truly enjoyed understanding why the author picked the title because when I first read the title I was curious as to why this name. The author wonderfully writing took us through her experiences good and bad with the word girl and what It means to her. I felt like I knew the author right from the beginning and knew that we would get an honest depiction and deep under the surface meaning for all the topics brought up in the book.
This story goes through many different movements in the rights for black women. As well as news headlines, many of which I remember, about injustice done to black people.

In another essay the author includes information on the woke movement and what to her that word really means. One of the first chapters explains the movie Black Panther and how popular it became and how it drew popularity to the work black people had done. It also talked about Wankanda and how implementing that aspect in the movie led to even more talk within social media. In this essay it explains the authors personal experience with social media in a positive way. How when she felt isolated, she was able to find ones to talk to through social media so she didn’t feel so alone.

I enjoyed hearing how certain events have effected her personally. There are many essays that include her personal feeling on many of the movements and events happening in the world. There are also some essay written by other authors and I enjoyed hearing their prospective and personal experiences as well.

I didn't agree with all the stuff that was said but I still enjoyed it. As a woman I could relate to some of the stuff but others I could only begin to understand. I enjoyed learning more about how the authors view of things has changed as our world is constantly changing.

Nicely written if not a little wordy but it truly showed the authors strong feelings on the topics. Overall a great book.
Profile Image for J Earl.
1,854 reviews73 followers
September 15, 2020
Girl Gurl Grrrl: On Womanhood and Belonging in the Age of Black Girl Magic by Kenya Hunt is a case of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts. And make no mistake, the parts are very good.

I'll try to explain what I mean by that comment. Like any collection of essays (of which a few are written by others) there will be some that are stronger than others or speak to the reader more. This is no different, though there wasn't, for me, any bad or even borderline essay, just some that spoke to me more while reading than others. I phrased that last part the way I did intentionally. How we read it, what it stirs or doesn't stir, is largely a function of what the reader brings and the writer's style. What I find, especially in a collection that speaks to current events and social justice, is that how it sticks with me is more important than how I felt while reading it. And that is where I think this book excels and also why I consider the whole (the reading and the impact after reading) is greater than the sum of its parts (the collection of essays).

I am not a woman and while I have some indigenous heritage I have essentially lived as a white, so anything I could somewhat relate to was either through a "similar to..." type exercise or remembering a friend mentioning something similar about how they feel or what they experienced. So I am not the target audience even though I imagine that I am the type of reader that can learn the most from the book. And learn I did even if it was/is at times uncomfortable (as it should be) and on a couple of occasions talking with friends who can more easily relate and asking questions (yeah, some of them were stupid questions, but they usually elicited the best answers).

I highly recommend this to readers who can either directly relate or want to better understand our current political and cultural environment. These should be read not just with an open mind but while bracketing one's preconceived ideas and privileges. Read to understand, not argue or refute. You shouldn't be doing those things before understanding anyway or you're just debating your own strawmen.

Reviewed from a copy made available by the publisher via NetGalley.
April 13, 2022
As a black woman who has considered becoming an expat, I appreciated hearing about Kenya Hunt’s experience living abroad. However, this book is so much more than that. It is a collection of essays written by black women that celebrates all that we are, and the challenges that we still face.

My two favorite essays were Black Girl Magic and Bad B*itch (though my disdain for that word is high). In both of these essays I felt as though Kenya was speaking to a place deep inside my soul. Both chapters resonated deeply with me as I considered conversations I have had with girlfriends and myself….mostly myself as I think about life overall and look at the years ahead, and what my place is here.

Some of the other topics that really hit home were police brutality as Kenya recounts the deaths of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and others; the high mortality rate among black women during childbirth, and the global pandemic which has forever changed us. One of my favorite quotes from the book is:

“I have grown tired of conversations that only look at our exceptionalism in relation to misconceptions about us. And I have also grown equally tired of conversations where we must explain our chosen states of being, whether that be self-improving, excelling and flexing or slowing down, muddling through and figuring it all out. White people aren’t expected to slay all day. And when they do, they aren’t asked to defend said excellence. Why should we? Yes, we slay. But Black Girl Magic is not just in the headline-making feats but in the magic of just being. Unbothered. Unencumbered. No questions answered, except those asked of ourselves.”

This quote was so timely as I find myself in a constant internal battle of living each day in a constant state of self-improvement, and/or hustling and grinding to reach some level of excellence that someone said we must reach in order to be successful; and just being honest about the fact that some stuff I’m still trying to figure out and I mess up more than I care to admit.

Overall I enjoyed the collection of stories as they all celebrate black culture, but black women in particular.

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190 reviews6 followers
April 11, 2021
I actually really enjoyed this short, quick, engaging, humorous read that was also pretty insightful. At a glance all the essays were interesting to read and provided different perspectives on environments that don't directly pertain to me (such as motherhood, loss, and working in the fashion industry), and I really enjoyed all the contributions given by the guest writers. However, this was a slight miss for me. After I finished reading, despite enjoying the experience reading this short book, I felt like I was missing something. What I like to achieve from bon-fiction reads is learning something new, or understanding something from a completely different view from mine but I don't think I really got that from this read. Ultimately, it felt a bit too surface level and perhaps because it was so brief, many essays were not deeply developed.

Additionally, I'm not sure if there was an issue with the edition provided by my library or not but there were some glaring issues that should have been addressed in the editing process of the book. Though there weren't many ar all, it for sure impacted my enjoyment of the book and made it feel poorly researched. For example, Kenya Hunt writes for the need of "non binary women" in the fashion industry — this is an oxymoron, non-binary people are not women, they don't fit into the gendery binary of man and woman. Also, she states that Simone Biles won 5 gold medals at the 2016 Rio Olympics; this is incorrect, Simone Biles achieved 4 gold medals. Lastly, and most bothersome to me, it was stated that Eric Garner was murdered by police in 2017 when in actuality he passed away in Summer 2014. Perhaps this seems nitpicky but these are things easily verified and the lack of research into these facts bothered me a little.

This is verging on a 3.5 for me, but ultimately I think it lands on more of a 3 star rating.
921 reviews9 followers
July 23, 2021
Girl Gurl Grrrl: On Womanhood and Belonging in the Age of Black Girl Magic
by Kenya Hunt
Published December 8, 2020

<3 This may be a potential trauma trigger. I appreciated the stories from the different Black Women and infusion of historical data of past trauma. These stories are the very reason why ALL Black Women have to address their emotional and mental health. Genetic, inherited and or trauma by proxy is a reality. I know have several more books I added to my TBR list from the shared quotes of these authors. <3 #WellDone #MustRead

Black women have never been more visible or more publicly celebrated than they are now. But for every new milestone, every magazine cover, every box office record smashed, every new face elected to public office, the reality of everyday life for black women remains a complex, conflicted, contradiction-laden experience.

An American journalist who has been living and working in London for a decade, Kenya Hunt has made a career of distilling moments, movements, and cultural moods into words. Her work takes the difficult and the indefinable and makes it accessible; it is razor sharp cultural observation threaded through evocative and relatable stories.
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