Greetings, readers! My name is Sareeta Domingo, and I’m an author and fiction editor. It’s my great pleasure to be bringing you a Book of the Week, each week here on Morning Mari.
This week, my Book of the Week is an engrossing, prescient and bang-up-to-the minute collection of essays exploring what it means to be a Black woman in the modern west—Kenya Hunt’s Girl: Essays on Black Womanhood.
A renowned fashion journalist hailing from the USA, Hunt has largely made her home here in the UK, but this collection is fascinating, as much as anything, for the manner in which her outsider status highlights so many of the commonalities, as well as some of the differences involved, in being a Black woman in the global African diaspora.
In many of the essays featured in this collection, Hunt movingly explores the challenges we as Black women face in terms of medical healthcare, particularly in regard to motherhood. She also explores some of the stereotypes and expectations placed on us in terms of how we’re expected to carry ourselves in the workplace, or in relation to a society that often presents us with difficulties when it comes to beauty standards. She’s ably assisted in these topics with guest essays from writers such as Candice Carty-Williams and Freddy Harrell, and I was particularly struck by women’s rights activist and poet, Jessica Horn’s, moving essay on her work in eastern Congo and African feminism. But the majority of the pieces in the book are written by Hunt herself, in a style whose accessibility belies her background in staple women’s publications like Grazia magazine.
However, it is very clear that Hunt is not interested in simply writing palatable or assimilationist essays in this collection. Much like the introduction’s exploration of the many iterations of the word ‘girl’ among Black women, I felt like this was a collection that spoke directly to me and my own background. But it’s also an important book for absolutely any of those seeking an important contemporary take on modern Black womanhood. That is why Girl: Essays on Black Womanhood by Kenya Hunt is my Book of the Week, this week.