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

Kenya Hunt’s Girl: On Womanhood and Belonging in the Age of Black Girl Magic is a powerful collection of essays about black women’s unique experiences. Kenya’s personal stories about motherhood and working in a predominately white industry provide an honest account of black women’s experiences.

Kenya’s worked for Elle UK as deputy editor and currently works as the Fashion Director for Grazia UK. Within the book, she offers her unique perspective on global citizenship--drawing from her experiences of being a black woman living in London.

Additional essays in Girl describe how black women take a stand and survive against adversity--and how this adversity is rarely discussed, rarely validated. Though, the truth of black women’s experiences in these essays does not beg the world by saying, “please look at us.” In turn, they assert the magical presence of black women everywhere by saying, “We are here.”

Through workplace microaggressions, media stereotypes, and fertility woes, black women survive it all. In Girl, Kenya gathers essays that are both painfully and humorously raw. Kenya’s essay on motherhood tackles fertility battles and how black women face unfair treatment from their physicians during pregnancy and delivery.

Kenya uses Serena Williams’ horrific child birthing experience as an example of the neglect that black mothers face every day. During labor, nurses initially refused the CT scan Serena Williams requested to check for blood clots--a health concern Serena knew she was likely to experience.

When an ultrasound revealed nothing, Serena finally received the CT scan she asked for, which revealed the blood clots she knew the scan would show. Serena’s child birthing experience is one of many cases that can, and do, lead to pregnancy-related deaths for black women.

Kenya’s essays about her own fertility battles are a tearful read. Within the book, she describes the exact two moments she knew she was miscarrying her babies. These were heartbreaking losses that made her regret her earlier decision in life to have an abortion.

The last essay in Girl is Bad Bitches by Kenya Hunt. In this essay, Kenya addresses the pressures often felt by black women who struggle to live up to the excellence of being a bad bitch. She redefines Black Girl Magic to make space for the complexities of all black women.

In celebration of Black Girl Magic, Kenya recognizes that sometimes black women don’t feel like magic as they deal with the world’s constant pressures. Sometimes they feel inadequate or regular. In Kenya’s Bad Bitches essay, she reassures those women that it’s their right to feel regular, fail, make mistakes, and be human.

Being a bad bitch doesn’t have to be an exclusive title reserved for the elite black women among us. Black Girl Magic, as Kenya’s essays proclaim, is about making “space where the okay bitch is a bad bitch and the bad bitch can just be. Free.”


Black girl magic; black feminism; gender; class; racism; sisterhood; black lives matter

Memorable Quotes:

“...this idea of Black Girl Magic doesn’t always leave room for the ones who are just trying to figure it all out and that’s because we don’t always get to see the fallible as powerful."

“White people aren't expected to slay all day. And when they do, they aren't asked to defend said excellence. Why should we?”

“It’s about the right to be a superwoman one day. Regular degular the next. Messy another.”

“I love us...We are Michelle Obama’s leadership. Grace Jones’ radicalness. Maxine Waters’ candour. And Tarana Burke’s compassion. Yara Shahidi’s optimism. Dina Asher-Smith’s speed. Serena Williams’ stamina. And Sade’s elegance. Ava DuVernay’s vision. Patrisse Cullors’ activism. Missy Elliott’s innovation. And Megan Thee Stallion’s knees. We are all these things and more.”

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