Token Black Girl: A Memoir by Danielle Prescod
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
To say I had no idea is putting it mildly. I hear you, but I have difficulty seeing you because you were never okay with yourself and by your own statement condemned all of us for not loving you for you. Yes, this is your reality, but that kindergarten self-portrait told the whole story and white people did not do that to you. You deluded yourself, hated yourself, and lied to yourself but you blame everybody else for your self-induced psychosis.
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Racial identity, pop culture, and delusions of perfection collide in an eye-opening and refreshingly frank memoir by fashion and beauty insider Danielle Prescod.
Danielle Prescod grew up Black in an elite and overwhelmingly white community, her identity made more invisible by the whitewashed movies, television, magazines, and books she and her classmates voraciously consumed. Danielle took her cue from the world around her and aspired to shrink her identity into that box, setting increasingly poisonous goals. She started painful and damaging chemical hair treatments in elementary school, began depriving herself of food when puberty hit and tried to control her image through the most unimpeachable, impeccable fashion choices.
Those obsessions led her to relentlessly pursue a career in beauty and fashion—the eye of the racist and sexist beauty standard storm. Assimilating was hard, but she practiced. And she was an asset. Their “Token Black Girl.” Toxic, sure. But Danielle was striving to achieve social cache and working her way up the ladder of coveted media jobs, and she looked great, right? So what if she had to endure executives’ questions like “What was it like to drive to school from the ghetto?” Or coworkers’ eager curiosity to know if her parents were on welfare. But after decades of burying her emotions, resentment, and true self, Danielle turned a critical eye inward and confronted the factors that motivated her self-destructive behaviors.
Sharp-witted and bracingly candid, Token Black Girl unpacks the adverse effects of insidious white supremacy in the media—both unconscious and strategic—to tell a personal story about recovery from damaging concepts of perfection, celebrating identity, and demolishing social conditioning.
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