Recommended Reading | The Unboxing of a Black Girl by Angela Shanté

poetry for black women

Published Date: May 6, 2024

The Unboxing of a Black Girl by Angela Shanté is a beautiful, and sometimes heavy, account of a black girl's coming-of-age. The author delicately shares her life unfolding through her experiences, teachings from others, and her unique view of the world around her. 

Reading about how black girls get forced into boxes just by existing was an affirming experience. In many instances, I found myself relating to so much of what she shared. Some of the poems even felt as though she wrote them just for me. Those Alanis Morrisette and Fefe Dobson references were just too specific! Any young girl enjoying something perceived to be outside of her "culture" or "box" will know what I mean when they read this.

I was also captivated by the ways in which the author shed those proverbial boxes. Black girls are not a monolith, but society tends to see us as such. And though we are often forced to assimilate, with the threat of being overlooked or ostracized, we find our way out of those boxes. Angela Shanté illustrates this so gracefully with her words. 

Another thing that stood out to me in the reading was the footnotes accompanying the poems. If there is something the author speaks of that one is unfamiliar with, she went the extra mile to make readers familiar outside of the margins. That's not something I see a lot, but I did appreciate that. 

The Unboxing of a Black Girl by Angela Shanté is truly a gem. It's an ode to the black girls finding their way out of the boxes they've been placed in their whole lives. Many thanks to the author, the publisher, and Netgalley for the opportunity to read this ARC.  

4.5 Stars

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