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Why I Love Black Women

Posted Apr 12 2006

OK, so this book isn't a "hip-hop book." Yet since hip hop is rooted in the Black community and Dyson is one of hip hop's most critical analysts and scholars, it would be a crime to leave this book off this list.

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Cover of Why I Love Black WomenOK, so this book isn't a "hip-hop book." Yet since hip hop is rooted in the Black community and Dyson is one of hip hop's most critical analysts and scholars, it would be a crime to leave this book off this list. There are a few minor hip-hop references, including the portrayal of Black women in videos and Congressional hearings regarding gangsta rap, but the bulk of this book revolves around celebrating Black women of all ages and backgrounds. Through the use of anecdotes and highlights of specific women, ranging from housecleaner Debbie Bethea to author Toni Morrison, Dyson touches upon why Black women should be respected, cherished, and honored in society, particularly by themselves and Black men. The Black church is an undercurrent throughout the book, although other forms of spirituality are also present.

Topically, Dyson addresses interracial marriages, terrorism and economics, weaving personal stories with a larger societal context and putting Black women on a social pedestal. He celebrates their spirituality, their intellect, their humanity, and yes their bodies. He describes congresswoman Maxine Waters and "her alluringly handsome, rich-cocoa face, her gorgeously voluptuous lips, her petite and shapely frame, and her formidable intelligence." In describing his own wife he writes "I was able to glimpse her glorious gluteus, a spherical wonder of taut flesh to which I would later devote passionate poetry." Woah, Nellie! Don't get it twisted however, the bulk of Dyson's celebration revolves around the ability of these women to persevere and excel in the face of hardship. And quite frankly, much of the allure of these special women is their way their bodies and sexuality/sensuality mesh with their intellect, ambition, and passion. Dyson is just real enough to acknowledge it. Nonetheless, his constant adulation of the physical beauty of each and every Black woman he encounters gets to be a bit distracting and feels contrived at times. I get excited in the presence of an attractive sista too, but dang!

Although the intended audience seems to be African-American, this is a good read for anyone and helps offset the countless negative images and perceptions of Black women in our world. Although the book does suffer from romanticizing all Black women, it'll undoubtedly open more eyes than it should have to.

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