I want to write a book.
Of course, if you know me, you know that I want to write several books. And, that I come up with a new book idea almost annually. However, this story – The Black Girl Movement – is one I really want to tell.
If you’ve had the opportunity to click around my site, you may have read where I’ve tried to figure out what it means to be in motion, or where I tried to connect those concepts to my research. For me (and I know my adviser Elli would love this), my research interests and this book idea — which is not entirely an academic one — are closely intertwined.
Recently, I had one of those cliché moments while chatting with a friend about my excitement for my most recent SXSW Panel Proposal with black female entrepreneurs Toni Carey (Black Girls RUN!), Andia Winslow (The FitCycle), and Vanessa Parker (PinkBoss).
My friend’s sister had posted an image to Instagram of a massive book purge and at the top of the frame I caught a glimpse of Sophia Amoruso’s “#GIRLBOSS” — one of the books on my long list of post-dissertation (now post-first-year-TT) reading. When I asked what she thought about the book, the response I received was basically a Kanye Shrug: Eh. It was okaaaay. Not really relevant for Black women, though. I found this interesting because this feedback was similar to what I had received from other women about Sheryl Sandberg’s “Lean In” — Great book. Well written. I don’t know if that’s really how Black women succeed, though.
Within the past decade or so there have been several of these best-selling hits – books that offer women mantras and blueprints on how to take control of their lives and rise to the top. But how many of these were written by black women? Or better yet, with black women in mind? Before I knew it, I was halfway through a rant, hurling out phrases like, “this is why this discussion is so important,” and “those are the types of issues that need to be included in a book specifically for black women.”
After conducting my dissertation research on the rapid growth and success of BGR!, it was clear that, for many reasons, technology and media have been crucial to BGR!’s success and to the success of so many other black women-owned ventures comprising the recent boom in black female entrepreneurship.
Technology and new media have enabled black women to move their experiences and interests from the margins to the center. At the same time, global connectivity allows black women to cultivate substantially sized virtual communities around very specific experiences — health, hair, beauty, tech, etc. — in a way that is authentic and accessible.
Through e-commerce, black women can target their buying power toward other black women and propel growth. On the other hand, black women business owners are experiencing freedom and creativity to pursue ventures that matter to them in ways that may not have been as likely to succeed in the past.
It’s an amazing time in history and I’m here on the front lines with pen and paper hoping to document it all. As it is often said, this is one for the books.