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When Chickenheads Come Home to Roost : My Life as A Hip Hop Feminist [Hardcover]

by Joan Morgan
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)


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Book Description

March 10, 1999 0684822628 978-0684822624 First Printing

In this fresh, funky, and irreverent book, a new voice of the post-Civil Rights, post-feminist, post-soul generation has emerged in Joan Morgan: a groundbreaking and unflinching author who probes the complex issues facing African-American women today.

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 marriage, that traditional nuclear families are a reality for less than 40 percent of the African-American population; and where black women are forced to make sense of a world where "truth is no longer black and white but subtle, intriguing shades of gray."

Morgan ushers in a voice that, like hip-hop -- the cultural movement that defines her generation -- samples and layers many voices, and injects its sensibilities into the old and flips it into something new, provocative, and powerful.



Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

For a smart young black woman from the South Bronx carving a niche for herself as a writer, the f-word was feminism. Joan Morgan's book debut, When Chickenheads Come Home to Roost, is a passionate, funny--and occasionally self-indulgent--look at the contradictions inherent in being both a strong woman and an African American sister attempting to process the machismo of the hip-hop world through the perceptions of her own strongly feminine soul. "As post-Civil Rights, post-feminist, post-soul children of hip-hop," Morgan writes, "we have a dire need for the truth." Her book chronicles the quest to fulfill that need through a series of essays ranging from social issues like the blatant misogyny of rap music ("From Fly-girls to Bitches and Hos"), the mythic stereotype of the strong black woman ("Strongblackwomen"), and the epidemic of single motherhood in the black community ("Babymother") to wickedly witty takes on her own life ("Lovenotes," "Chickenhead Envy").

Morgan is gifted with that rarest of all talents: her own voice. Her language is vivid and imagistic, its rhythms dipping effortlessly between the beat of the street and the meter of pure poetry. In this look at hood versus womanhood, Morgan serves up many of the same conclusions that sociologists have offered in drier, more academic form--but brings them to life with the freshness of her literary talent. --Patrizia DiLucchio

From Publishers Weekly

Morgan, a contributing writer at Essence and former contributor to the Village Voice, brings iconoclastic, often vituperative gusto to 10 previously unpublished essays on feminism, motherhood and the "endangered black male." Morgan's lingua franca is hip-hop music,which she calls "one of few forums in which young black men are allowed to express their pain," and is also the cultural arena in which she undertakes to carve a place for herself as a feminist. In her take-no-prisoners redefinition of "the f-word" (feminism), she reviles black female intellectuals who "had little to do with everyday life" and "butch-cut anti-babes... who use made-up words," and admits there are "things [she] kinda digs about patriarchy." In the essay "babymother," Morgan considers the feminist dilemma of career versus motherhood, ending with a defense of male "abortion" through which men "abdicate" parental rights when pregnant women refuse to have abortions or put children up for adoption. The title refers to women who "effectively work their erotic power," in a play on Malcolm X's "chickens come home to roost" speech (which signaled his break with the Nation of Islam and the creation of his Muslim mission in the U.S.) that simultaneously fractures the meaning of Audre Lorde's essay on women's rightful claim to "erotic power." Morgan concludes that "trickin'" (rendered as a kind of lighthearted prostitution) is "prevalent across class lines" and shows how "deeply wedded money, sex, and power are to our notions of male and female identity." Though she claims to "explore the world of the modern black woman from a variety of viewpoints," Morgan comes off as a self-consciously styled hip-hop provocateuse. Agent, Sarah Lazin.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; First Printing edition (March 10, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0684822628
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684822624
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 5.8 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #879,143 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars When chickenheads come home to roost February 17, 2000
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
This is a must read for the black feminist who doens't quite get the "N.O.W." viewpoint on feminism. Joan Morgan puts into words the conflicting feeling and emotions of being black, female, and a feminist from the generation X-ers viewpoint, using language that is easily related to. She doesn't sink down into dense theory that could be exclusionary in language and nature. Theory that can leave one feeling as if they should have taken a beginners course before attempting to delve into the mind bogling, high handed concepts. She maintains her focus and is concise as well as insightful. Most feminist theory tends to be a turn off since a lot of such material is geared towards a limited, elitist audience who leaves black feminist and other of an outside group feeling even more like an outsider because they don't address the differning issues and concerns that pertain especially to woman of color. Moreover, this is a book that should not only be read by black woman but by latina's as well. As a black female of latin descent I fould myself relating to almost every word. A must have. A must read.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars In a word: Real. February 14, 2000
By Cynthia
Format:Hardcover
I love hip-hop but is my love of this sub-culture contradictory to my existence as a black feminist? At first I was a bit apprehensive about reading this book, after all skepticism is a true character trait of my generation (X and Y). But I've found from the shout-outs in the beginning to the last period in the book, Ms. Morgan is quite informative, insightful, and most of all --just real. I felt as if she knew me...she not only allowed me to understand her experience but enable me to begin to define my own.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must have for the young black woman of the 90's October 28, 1999
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
As a young, black, struggling, college senior, this book gave me hope, inspiration, and motivation to look inside of myself and to stop pointing the finger at everyone else so much. If you want to go deep into the psyche, then this book is for you. Joan Morgan is definitly someone that I can relate to. Any young black woman, or woman will definitly gain an abundance of knowledge by putting this book into their shopping cart.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A book that told it how it is and kept it real. July 9, 1999
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
Joan Morgan is an extrodinary black women deriving out of the hip-hop generation. Looking outside the hip-hop generation, many only view us as hip-hop heads with no mind-sense and no value for intelligence and education. Joan Morgan set yet another example of how intelligent and extrodinary black people are that are in the hip-hop culture. Morgan not only kept it real with our society today within the black community but within black on black relationships and women in a psychological point-of-view. As a femimist, Morgan did not attack men, nor did she necessarily totally glorify women. Morgan just told it how it is and did not try to sugarcoat everything. As a black person, as a woman, as a feminist, or as one deriving from the hip-hop generation, this book can relate to almost anybody.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars So That's a Chickenhead June 12, 2000
Format:Hardcover
Being caught at the tail end of the Baby Boom, I'd say that this book is really written from the viewpoint of young women a few years younger than I am. Still, it is reminiscent of Michelle Wallace's "Black Macho and The Myth of The Superwoman" which debuted some 20 odd years or so ago. Being a strong willed, independent Black woman is still as hard today as it was 20 years ago and I am glad that there are still fierce sistah's out there willing to address the issues at hand.
Great view on a never vanishing topic from a new voice and new perspective !
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amen! January 17, 2001
By Smiley
Format:Hardcover
I could not put this book down. The book articulated thechallenges I felt in my own relationships and experiences. I certainly enjoyed the chapter "Love Notes". The author by no means male bashes but frankly puts out there the real deal.
The book just had me saying AMEN!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
While reading "When Chickenheads Come Home to Roost", by Joan Morgan, I couldn't help but feel like I was being lectured on what it means to truly be a Strong Black Woman. Although I'm of the male gender I felt everything Ms. Joaney Joan Joan was talking about, but I still thought she was to repetitive in some areas, however, I ain't mad at her. This book is very interesting and keep you waiting for the knowledge she's going to kick on the next page. I think all females, the chickenheads, hoodrats, lesbians, churchgirls,professionals,hip-hop feminist,and not to mention the men folk should all read this book to learn a thing or 2 about themselves and about feminism.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The new and misunderstood young, black woman. June 11, 1999
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
Morgan eloquently voices the thoughts and desires of the independent, feminist, African American woman. She acknowledges the black feminists of the past but explains that today's feminists of the hip hop generation are different and they express different needs and desires from themselves and the people surrounding them whether they be male or female.
In her last essay "Chickenhead Envy" she acknowledges that "strongblackwomen" and "chickenheads" may have the same wants and desires but the roads they take to achieve them are different, creativing a dividing line coated with animosity.
Morgan calls herself a STRONGBLACKWOMAN in remission, saying she doesn't not want to be lauded for her success through struggle. Eliminating struggle from a black woman's life does not make her any less of a woman.
I recommend this book to women and men, black and white, young and old. If you have a desire to understand today's young African American woman, Morgan's blunt, in-your-face writing will give you an look instead the mind of one who is such.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Love it
Written in an easy to understand yet thought provoking manner. The book will make you laugh and challenge the notion of what it means to be a black woman in America.
Published 11 months ago by Jaharra Lawson
5.0 out of 5 stars Black women everywhere should read this
One of my favorite books ever. Changed my life. Joan gives it to you straight. No chaser. She talks about what it means to be a black feminists and how her love-hate relationship... Read more
Published on November 14, 2011 by L. Young
5.0 out of 5 stars Love Hate
I ordered this book for my neice as a gift for Christmas. I was very disappointed that it was misrepresented as "New". Read more
Published on January 17, 2011 by Cathy Lunn
5.0 out of 5 stars Peckin' and A-Cluckin': A Decade On ...
If ever you needed an example of "Knowledge is power" this is it. Each chapter served as veritable checkpoints for what I once believed, currently believe and should aspire to... Read more
Published on October 28, 2010 by D. J. Reese
2.0 out of 5 stars Is she serious?
As a strong black woman and proud of it I didn't understand Ms.Morgan's definition of a strong black woman so I didn't see eye to eye with her on that point. Read more
Published on November 3, 2002 by TAMIKA FAGAN
5.0 out of 5 stars Ms. Morgan did fine job dissecting 'Chickenheads'!!!
I have say that I was pleasantly surprised by Ms. Morgan's discussion of issues that have been rolling through my mind for the past couple of years. Read more
Published on July 7, 2001 by "shortydowhoop"
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a Black feminism for the new millenium.
Joan Morgan is a powerful writer. She takes the issues of Black women to the streets. It takes Black feminist thought to a whole new level. Read more
Published on September 22, 1999
5.0 out of 5 stars The Survival Guide for young black women!! A MUST READ.
Mad Love to the Author!!!! Joan Morgan is a phenomenalwriter. "When Chickenheads...." is a a must read for allyoung black women. Read more
Published on August 6, 1999 by "goddess7"
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