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Black Girl Magic

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Black Girl, they say you ain't 'posed to be here Much of what twenty-first century culture tells black girls is not pretty: Don't wear this; don't smile at that. Don't have an opinion; don't dream big. And most of all, don't love yourself. In response to such destructive ideas, internationally recognized poet Mahogany Browne challenges the conditioning of society by craftin Black Girl, they say you ain't 'posed to be here Much of what twenty-first century culture tells black girls is not pretty: Don't wear this; don't smile at that. Don't have an opinion; don't dream big. And most of all, don't love yourself. In response to such destructive ideas, internationally recognized poet Mahogany Browne challenges the conditioning of society by crafting an anthem of strength and magic undeniable in its bloom for all beautiful Black girls. She has travelled the world sharing her vision of Black Girl Magic, and now in collaboration with artist Jess X. Snow, presents her acclaimed tribute in a visual form. Black Girl Magic is a journey from girlhood to womanhood and an invitation to readers to find magic in themselves.


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Black Girl, they say you ain't 'posed to be here Much of what twenty-first century culture tells black girls is not pretty: Don't wear this; don't smile at that. Don't have an opinion; don't dream big. And most of all, don't love yourself. In response to such destructive ideas, internationally recognized poet Mahogany Browne challenges the conditioning of society by craftin Black Girl, they say you ain't 'posed to be here Much of what twenty-first century culture tells black girls is not pretty: Don't wear this; don't smile at that. Don't have an opinion; don't dream big. And most of all, don't love yourself. In response to such destructive ideas, internationally recognized poet Mahogany Browne challenges the conditioning of society by crafting an anthem of strength and magic undeniable in its bloom for all beautiful Black girls. She has travelled the world sharing her vision of Black Girl Magic, and now in collaboration with artist Jess X. Snow, presents her acclaimed tribute in a visual form. Black Girl Magic is a journey from girlhood to womanhood and an invitation to readers to find magic in themselves.

30 review for Black Girl Magic

  1. 4 out of 5

    Nay Keppler

    EVERYONE READ THE SHIT OUTTA THIS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Erin Beall

    Buy 20 copies of this and give one to every black girl you meet tomorrow. That’d be a good start.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Tiana Hadnt

    I was underwhelmed by this poem. I can see what it’s trying to do, but....it doesn’t quite do it. As a black woman, I realize fully that there are things we have to deal with that other women don’t. I realize that this is a good poem for little girls who’ve never been taught that they’re worth anything. For women who look back at the girl they were and wish they’d had someone to tell them these things. Or for women who wished they’d believed these things when they were told. However, it’s lacklu I was underwhelmed by this poem. I can see what it’s trying to do, but....it doesn’t quite do it. As a black woman, I realize fully that there are things we have to deal with that other women don’t. I realize that this is a good poem for little girls who’ve never been taught that they’re worth anything. For women who look back at the girl they were and wish they’d had someone to tell them these things. Or for women who wished they’d believed these things when they were told. However, it’s lackluster. It’s not a collection of poetry to inspire and uplift Black women. It doesn’t have the reach it could have had. It’s basically short poem to say “hey, black girls are awesome.” To list Beyoncé and Kerry Washington and Viola Davis and Shonda Rhimes (and make no mistake I love all these women) next to Cicely Tyson and Nina Simone? When there are so many more powerful, ground breaking black women through history they should know about and have as role models? Women who aren’t Hollywood aficionados or singers? (See Vashti Harrison’s “Bold Women in Black History.”) Even women in their own families? There are so many worlds to expose our girls to, so many lives we can share with them so they can really understand the strength that they come here with. There are so many ways that this poem could have blown the socks off of anyone who read it. There could have been amazing vocabulary to teach our girls, amazing history to teach our girls, and amazing depth to give to our girls. A way to give them a stronger sense of self with stronger foundation. Because yes we are more than perms and weaves and baby machines and side-chicks. Yes we are more than automatons who bear everything in silence. We are so much more than this poem tells us we are, which is basically just “magical” or “flyy.” It is written in the most stereotypical vernacular, and obviously isn’t trying to go too deep. It doesn’t accomplish anything that our own mothers (or you, if you are a mother) can’t accomplish simply by saying to her (or your) daughter “You can be whatever you want,” or “you are beautiful,” or just “you are worthy, and the world is your oyster.” And subsequently teaching her about all the really awesome Black women (pre Destiny’s Child and Shondaland) that have done all these things people said we couldn’t do. Mathematics, science, literature, engineering, etc. Holding a family together (All the love in the world to both of my grandmothers and two of my great-grandmothers for this). Take the fixation off red lipstick, weave, and high heels and put it on intelligence and how we carry ourselves. How we allow ourselves to be treated within our own culture, not just the world at large. Teach them about real strength. Teach them how to grow. I guess the purpose of this review is to say that this poem tells us all the things that people said we could do and couldn’t be, but then basically doesn’t really take us anyplace new. It’s a poem that has pretty much been said before and said more powerfully. I suggest reading Maya Angelou’a “Phenomenal Woman” or Chimamada Ngozi Adiche’s “We Should All Be Feminists.”

  4. 4 out of 5

    Bobbieshiann

    “BUT YOU TELL THEM YOU ARE MORE THAN A HOT COMB AND A WASH N’ SET YOU ARE KUNTA KINTE’S KIN YOU ARE A BLACK GIRL WORTH REMEMBERING”!!!!!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Latanya (Crafty Scribbles)

    Beautiful. Raw. Emotional. Endearing. Empowering. Realistic. Mahogany L. Browne's poetry pirouettes among stereotypes and expectations of black girls and women, while singing praise and wonder to those in need of hearing positivity and glory. Truly haunting and lovely. 5/5 Beautiful. Raw. Emotional. Endearing. Empowering. Realistic. Mahogany L. Browne's poetry pirouettes among stereotypes and expectations of black girls and women, while singing praise and wonder to those in need of hearing positivity and glory. Truly haunting and lovely. 5/5

  6. 5 out of 5

    Tarina

    Should it count towards my goal if the book is just one poem? Even a poem big enough to stop me in my tracks in the book store aisle, kneel on the floor, and cry? Probably. This was the book I wish had been on my shelf when I was young and I am so happy to be adding to my shelves now. The art is spectacular, the verses are touching and rhythmic. This is art and beauty and magic. Magic the white lady who watched me murmur this poem to myself and cry didn't understand because those weren't very unde Should it count towards my goal if the book is just one poem? Even a poem big enough to stop me in my tracks in the book store aisle, kneel on the floor, and cry? Probably. This was the book I wish had been on my shelf when I was young and I am so happy to be adding to my shelves now. The art is spectacular, the verses are touching and rhythmic. This is art and beauty and magic. Magic the white lady who watched me murmur this poem to myself and cry didn't understand because those weren't very understanding looks she shot me.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

    Wow, this hit pretty hard for me. This poem talked about things that I have tried relaying to other people and they just didn't get it but clearly this author gets it. Wow, this hit pretty hard for me. This poem talked about things that I have tried relaying to other people and they just didn't get it but clearly this author gets it.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Rogene Carter

    Gorgeous, important, and brilliant.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jillian Heise

    An empowering message in a beautiful book. However, definitely a more mature read. I would not put it in my elementary library, but would love to use it with high school kids in a larger discussion around social justice and race.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Kate

    Powerful, raw, lovely. It's moving and empowering. <3 Powerful, raw, lovely. It's moving and empowering. <3

  11. 5 out of 5

    Shyiesha

    Nice use of imagery, but it felt like something was missing. Nonetheless, it is a great read and I will most definitely offer it to young women of color.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Sasha Kai Genesis-Moon ☾

    i made it my mission to read more poetry this year and this book contained a poem worth remembering. just like being a Black girl is worth remembering, savoring, and being unconditionally proud of.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Kirsten

    I can't tell you how much I love this book. There are not enough words. It's for teens but it's also a picture book and it doesn't need to be any longer than it is. It puts into words the expectations that we, as black girls, grow up with and then says throw them out and be who you are, not what people tell you you have to be. Let your black girl magic shine! I can't tell you how much I love this book. There are not enough words. It's for teens but it's also a picture book and it doesn't need to be any longer than it is. It puts into words the expectations that we, as black girls, grow up with and then says throw them out and be who you are, not what people tell you you have to be. Let your black girl magic shine!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Miss Ryoko

    In your face, honest, beautiful, magical, powerful. I am grateful this book exists

  15. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    Amazing poem with graphics that bring it to life. Great use of black and red and gold.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Natalie Carbery

    First, I would like to say that I loved this poem. I want to send it to every school library in Chicagoland so that every little black girl can read it. I would love to see this beautiful poem be expanded into a collection that provides a larger conversation about the extent of black girl magic. While I love Beyonce and Kerry Washington, I would love more examples of successful black women in all sorts of fields. Let's write and talk about Mama Lola (religious leader and actual badass), Roxane G First, I would like to say that I loved this poem. I want to send it to every school library in Chicagoland so that every little black girl can read it. I would love to see this beautiful poem be expanded into a collection that provides a larger conversation about the extent of black girl magic. While I love Beyonce and Kerry Washington, I would love more examples of successful black women in all sorts of fields. Let's write and talk about Mama Lola (religious leader and actual badass), Roxane Gay, Bessie Coleman, Maxine Waters, Coretta Scott King! Let's talk about the black girl magic that voted Roy Moore out of office in Alabama.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Andre

    A visual and linguistic marvel! A poem yes, but one of esteem both aspirational and inspirational. One showing and teaching Black girls to embrace their power. To understand and appreciate the greatness that lies within and around them, to ignore the easy, ubiquitous stereotypes and accomplish whatsoever one will. The illustrations make it appear as if each page is connected by the braided hair of a black girl. A very short book with the poem spread out over its 40 pages. A lovely piece of poetic A visual and linguistic marvel! A poem yes, but one of esteem both aspirational and inspirational. One showing and teaching Black girls to embrace their power. To understand and appreciate the greatness that lies within and around them, to ignore the easy, ubiquitous stereotypes and accomplish whatsoever one will. The illustrations make it appear as if each page is connected by the braided hair of a black girl. A very short book with the poem spread out over its 40 pages. A lovely piece of poetic work by poet Mahogany Browne and illustrator, Jess Snow that will certainly lift the spirit of all those who read it.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Brittney Previe

    Solid little books of poetry are important. They prove a point in a small digestible section that leave you craving more. This book is not different. I bought this for my daughter, to teach her the stereotypes that will plague her as a young, beautiful black girl, but she is more than that. She holds a power the world has yet to see, but they will. Simply and eloquently, Black Girl Magic, breaks down the barriers we face as black girls on our society and builds us up through “an anthem of streng Solid little books of poetry are important. They prove a point in a small digestible section that leave you craving more. This book is not different. I bought this for my daughter, to teach her the stereotypes that will plague her as a young, beautiful black girl, but she is more than that. She holds a power the world has yet to see, but they will. Simply and eloquently, Black Girl Magic, breaks down the barriers we face as black girls on our society and builds us up through “an anthem of strength.”

  19. 5 out of 5

    Pegi Ferrell

    This really gets a 4.9. I love the message and the stunning illustrations. However, I wish the women on the "SHINE! SHINE! SHINE!" page had included more than performers. How about Ursula Burns? Angie Thomas? Dorothy Vaughn? However, I will still recommend this to EVERYONE! I am so excited that the librarian who checked this out to me put it on hold before I left the building. Book power! This really gets a 4.9. I love the message and the stunning illustrations. However, I wish the women on the "SHINE! SHINE! SHINE!" page had included more than performers. How about Ursula Burns? Angie Thomas? Dorothy Vaughn? However, I will still recommend this to EVERYONE! I am so excited that the librarian who checked this out to me put it on hold before I left the building. Book power!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    2019 Amelia Bloomer Early Readers Nonfiction

  21. 4 out of 5

    Kirsten

    This is a powerful poem, gorgeously illustrated by Jess X. Snow. While this appears to be a picture book, it will speak most strongly to teens and young adults.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Aaron Dennis

    This was a great reminder for me, as a teacher in a diverse classroom, to make space for those voices who may be too often relegated to background noise.

  23. 5 out of 5

    shelovestoreadtoo

    I loved this! I enjoyed the flow of this and the important message behind the words. Not just black girls but black boys need to read this, so important for young children!!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Zulfiya

    Illustrations are gorgeous, and the message of the poem is very powerful, but I do not think it is worth turning one poem into a book. Plus, it is more a recital, a slogan, a manifesto rather the poem. I am quite subjective here, but would it not be powerful as a message for any girl, not necessary a girl from a black community? On the other hand, I am a white immigrant who lives in a white bubble often enjoying its benefits without even noticing it. My main peeve is that nearly all the famous n Illustrations are gorgeous, and the message of the poem is very powerful, but I do not think it is worth turning one poem into a book. Plus, it is more a recital, a slogan, a manifesto rather the poem. I am quite subjective here, but would it not be powerful as a message for any girl, not necessary a girl from a black community? On the other hand, I am a white immigrant who lives in a white bubble often enjoying its benefits without even noticing it. My main peeve is that nearly all the famous name that are alluded to for inspiration are all actors and musicians. This is so wrong. According to the book blurb, the author is an educator, and it would be more inspiring to list other names, writers and poets, scientists and public figures, and if people do not know them, well, this is one of the purposes of the book - educate and empower. Let them research and educate themselves. Otherwise, it had that feeling of glamorizing pop culture, and it was not a very good aftertaste. I know these names are easier to relate to, but the unsung heroes of Toni Morrison, Maya Angelou, Octavia Butler, Katherine Johnson, Shirley Ann Jackson are completely ignored. Damn it, as a former educator myself, I do want to tell the author - it is your job to enlighten us.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    Absolutely beautiful words and illustrations!

  26. 4 out of 5

    Kris

    Beautifully illustrated and poetic. The imagery is powerful.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Suad Shamma

    This was a good book, strongly written poem, with some memorable lines. I guess, given all the reviews, I just expected more. Much more. It seemed to fall a little short for me, but I think that's only because of where my expectations took me. This was a good book, strongly written poem, with some memorable lines. I guess, given all the reviews, I just expected more. Much more. It seemed to fall a little short for me, but I think that's only because of where my expectations took me.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Katy

    Compelling illustrations and Powerful words

  29. 4 out of 5

    Baby Bookworm

    This review was originally written for The Baby Bookworm. Visit us for new picture books reviews daily! Hello, friends! Our book today is Black Girl Magic: A Poem, written by Mahogany L. Browne and illustrated by Jess X. Snow, a moving tribute to struggles, inner strength, and triumphant spirit of black girls and women. These are the rules: Don’t wear red lipstick. Don’t wear high heels. Don’t smile in public. Don’t share your opinion. Don’t HAVE an opinion. Carry weaves, families, households, bur This review was originally written for The Baby Bookworm. Visit us for new picture books reviews daily! Hello, friends! Our book today is Black Girl Magic: A Poem, written by Mahogany L. Browne and illustrated by Jess X. Snow, a moving tribute to struggles, inner strength, and triumphant spirit of black girls and women. These are the rules: Don’t wear red lipstick. Don’t wear high heels. Don’t smile in public. Don’t share your opinion. Don’t HAVE an opinion. Carry weaves, families, households, burdens, but never your own dreams or aspirations. These are the rules by which black girls and women are expected to live their lives – but these rules were made to be broken. Follow the example of fierce, intelligent, talented women that came before, and carve your own path. Never let anyone tell you that you are not worthy enough to have what you deserve. You are growing more into a beautiful black woman every day, and you already have within you the most precious of intangibles – Black Girl Magic. Absolutely gorgeous. The words of Browne’s powerful poem and Snow’s raw, emotional art blend together seamlessly to give an honest, uplifting, and encouraging examination of black girl- and womanhood. The language of the poem is frank, covering both the societal oppression of black women as well as a call to break expectations and limitations. The black, white, red woodcut-inspired art is both intimate and broad, creating a sense of individuality as well as community. The length is great, and JJ and I both enjoyed it, but it’s more than all that. This is a book that should be read to and by little black girls of every age to remind that that the world may be ugly, but they are beautiful, they are worthy, and they are limitless. Baby Bookworm approved. (Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.) Be sure to check out The Baby Bookworm for more reviews!

  30. 5 out of 5

    Rich in Color

    Review copy: library copy The end papers speak even before the poem begins. The red pages are filled with names of those who paved the way for this poet. The end note explains that this Roll Call is paying homage to those who “allowed this #BlackGirlMagic to exist.” Before I even began reading, I was admiring the design of the book. It’s a small, slim, square book decorated with braids. The color scheme is black, red, white, with occasional gold. Stars are a recurring theme along with the braids. Review copy: library copy The end papers speak even before the poem begins. The red pages are filled with names of those who paved the way for this poet. The end note explains that this Roll Call is paying homage to those who “allowed this #BlackGirlMagic to exist.” Before I even began reading, I was admiring the design of the book. It’s a small, slim, square book decorated with braids. The color scheme is black, red, white, with occasional gold. Stars are a recurring theme along with the braids. The art supports the poem wonderfully without being a distraction. And the poem. It’s a celebration of Black Girl Magic transcending a variety of expectations many people have for Black girls. It’s a love letter to Black girls and to the women who have brought this book into being. It’s a testimony of the power of this Black Girl Magic. It will likely be a keepsake for many women in the future. It’s an inspirational book many people will want to share with the women and girls in their lives. Recommendation: This is a lovely book and would be an excellent purchase for all ages. It would be a great one to share in classrooms too.

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