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Powell's Books Presents Shayla Lawson & Emma Dabiri
Shayla Lawson is major. You don’t know who she is. Yet. But that’s okay. She is on a mission to move black girls like herself from best supporting actress to a starring role in the major narrative. Whether she’s taking on workplace microaggressions or upending racist stereotypes about her home state of Kentucky, she looks for the side of the story that isn’t always told, the places where the voices of black girls haven’t been heard.

The essays in Lawson’s THIS IS MAJOR: NOTES ON DIANA ROSS, DARK GIRLS, AND BEING DOPE (Harper Perennial) ask questions like: Why are black women invisible to AI? What is “black girl magic”? Or: Am I one viral tweet away from becoming Twitter famous? And: How much magic does it take to land a Tinder date?

With a unique mix of personal stories, pop culture observations, and insights into politics and history, Lawson sheds light on these questions, as well as the many ways black women and girls have influenced mainstream culture. Timely, enlightening, and wickedly sharp, THIS IS MAJOR places black women at the center — no longer silenced, no longer the minority.


From Guardian contributor and prominent BBC race correspondent Emma Dabiri comes TWISTED: THE TANGLED HISTORY OF BLACK HAIR CULTURE (Harper Perennial), a timely and resonant essay collection exploring the ways in which black hair has been appropriated and stigmatized throughout history, with ruminations on body politics, race, pop culture, and Dabiri's own journey to loving her hair.

For as long as Emma can remember, her hair has been a source of insecurity, shame, and — from strangers and family alike — discrimination. And she is not alone.

Through the lens of hair texture, Dabiri leads us on a historical and cultural investigation of the global history of racism — and her own journey of self-love and finally, acceptance. TWISTED proves that far from being only hair, black hairstyling culture can be understood as an allegory for black oppression and, ultimately, liberation.

Oct 25, 2020 02:00 PM in Pacific Time (US and Canada)

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Speakers

Shayla Lawson
Shayla Lawson is the author of three books of poetry—A Speed Education in Human Being, the chapbook Pantone, and I Think I’m Ready to see Frank Ocean. She was born in Rochester, Minnesota, grew up in Lexington, Kentucky, studied architecture in Italy and spent a few years as a Dutch housewife—milkmaid braids and all. She teaches at Amherst College and lives in Brooklyn, NY.
Emma Dabiri
Emma Dabiri is a regular presenter on BBC and contributor for The Guardian. She is a teaching fellow in the Africa department at SOAS and a Visual Sociology PhD researcher at Goldsmiths. Her writing has been published in a number of anthologies, academic journals, and the national press. She lives in London.