Sunday, 8 July 2018

There's a Black Girl Bible, You Say?! Slay in Your Lane by Elizabeth Uviebinen and Yomi Adegoke

Source Illustration by Vashti Harrison
*I kindly received a copy from the publishers in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinions on the book.*

YES ! And it's out now ! I actually received and read Slay in Your Lane in March and if you follow me on Twitter (if not, the time is now) you'll know I went on about it and promised a review. But alas, because I'm trash, it's now July and here we are. To be honest though, isn't it better I tell you about this fab book now that's it out and you can go buy it?! March would've been a bit of a tease.

First heard this book was happening on the Mostly Lit podcast last year and from then on, the wait was on. A collection of essays/guide that speaks to the very specific black, British and female experience?! This book did not exist. And if it did why didn't you tell me about it. There is a lot out there on what it means to be black and navigate white spaces, often written by American writers where the conversation on race has been far more developed. But until recently, there's been far less published on this side of the pond, Conversations on race tend to omit the intersection of being black and female. So a collection of essays/guide that speaks to the very specific black, British and female experience?! This book did not exist. And if it did why didn't you tell me about it?!

The chapters range from: education, work, dating and health; each drawing on a wealth of data and research - some you'll likely identify with if you're a Black British woman and also a lot of genuinely elucidating findings which will help you to understand yourself and the constructs in which you're living and working in.

Reading this book was such an emotional experience because it brought up so many painful experiences: growing up being the only black person in my class and all the microaggressions that came with it ... struggling to find hair products ... struggling to find black role models, I could go on. There's a lot in here that'll make you angry. Did you know black girls read more than any other ethnic group? And yet I couldn't see myself in any books in my school library. Samira's current struggle on Love Island, brings up a lot of data highlighted in the Dating chapter. Black women are statistically the least desirable group in the dating pool; our bodies fetishised and our personalities generalised and caricatured.

It's not all grim though and that's where the Bible/Guide aspect of the book comes in. The authors, Elizabeth Uviebinen and Yomi Adegoke, invite a lot of successful Black British women to discuss their experiences and advice within each chapter and guys, all your faves are here ! Clara Amfo, Afua Hirsch, MALORIE, Amma Asante, Dawn Butler, Patricia Bright, and a tonne of other inspirational women (some of whom are now my new found role-models) working and achieving success in all spheres. In this way, the book becomes a real point of reference on how to navigate different situations and overcome, from women who've done it and continue to do so. Their insights are also so seamlessly woven into the book.

 Best Bits   

- The entire health chapter which discusses the lack of mental health attention for black women and the lack of care given to producing products for black women, some of which are actually endangering us. 

- For me, Amma Asante, who so brilliantly captured what it's like being the only black women in a room and, is so inspirational in how she works to use her position to provide opportunities for other black women. 

- The shout outs to Black Twitter and Black Bloggers/YouTubers who have created an incredible community/safe space where we uplift each other, educate each other, make each laugh and feel less lonely. And In Slay in Your Lane, Elizabeth and Yomi have given us just this, in book form. 


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