From Publishers Weekly
"These bodies are for ourselves," says Sonia Sanchez in the introduction to this candid and provocative set of essays, all centered squarely on black women's bodies-and the myths and misogynies located therein. Byrd has written for Vibe and Rolling Stone; Solomon is a former senior editor at the Source and current health editor for Essence. Together, they have gathered black women from a variety of walks of life, from hip hop icon Melyssa Ford and superstar singer Kelis to an AIDS-afflicted feminist activist, and a former prostitute serving twenty-five years for murdering "a john... who became the unintended victim of my rage and depression and self-hatred." In between are notes on "My Tush" ("Butt, ass, bum, booty, rump, onion, junk in the trunk, ba-dunck-ka-dunk, rear, backside"), "Ho Gear," "The Curl," "Femme Invisibility" and a host of other hot button body issues. As empowering as it is demystifying, this book does not avert its gaze for a moment.
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Byrd and Solomon contribute to this collection of 25 essays by black women on a range of issues related to the black female body and image. Everything from hair to feet is explored within the context of American standards of beauty and individual journeys to self--acceptance. The contributors, ranging from young to old, from a variety of backgrounds and hues, share their feelings about their bodies: the attitudes and genes they inherited from their mothers, their treatment--ill and good--by the men in their lives, the influences of American culture on self-image, and their own evolving sense of self. The age-old debates about skin color, hair texture, and weight are prominently featured, but the women each have very personal stories to tell about their paths to accepting and loving themselves. Among the contributors are entertainers Kelis and Jill Scott, former video model Melyssa Ford, writer Jill Nelson, and television personality Iyanla Vanzant. Although the collection is culturally specific to black women, all women will appreciate the struggle with beauty ideals and the need for self-acceptance. Vanessa Bush
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