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Queenie

by Candace Carty-Williams

I was expecting a sort of an African-British Bridget Jones, but I soon found the book had a strong undercurrent of the specific troubles of a young black woman. So glad I have read this because it made me understand just a fraction of the everyday, frustrating racism Queenie and many people like her go through. Having said that, it’s also a funny, moving and very human story - I was rooting for Queenie all the way.

Extract

We went to slide our way inside and were stopped by a drunk girl with short pink hair who reached out and ran her hands through my twists like they weren't attached to my scalp.
`OhmygodIlovethemsomuuuch!' she gasped, mesmerised.
`What the fuck do you think you're doing?' Kyazike said, grabbing the girl by the wrist and pushing her hand away. 'You can't do that!'
`Oh my god,' the girl whimpered, clutching her wrist as if Kyazike had snapped it.
`Don't fucking touch people like they're your property!' Kyazike shouted at the girl. 'You dick-head!'
The girl's friend hurried around her and cooed over her drunkenly as Kyazike and I started to walk away, me tucking my hair into my scarf so that we didn't have a repeat performance.
`What's going on here?' A bouncer with dyed red hair that matched a tight T-shirt straining over his muscles appeared suddenly from the darkness and put each of his giant hands on mine and Kyazike's shoulders.
`Eh, take your hands off me.' Kyazike stepped away from him. 'Ask her what's going on.' She gestured at my handler.
`I was only being nice,' the blonde girl said, looking with big blinking eyes at the bouncer.
`Right, you two, you'll have to leave.' The bouncer put his hand back on Kyazike's shoulder and pushed us towards the door.
`We're leaving your shit club anyway,' Kyazike told him. 'But if you like your clientele reaching out to touch black people like we're animals in a petting zoo, then fair play, innit.'

Parallels

How Stella Got Her Groove Back by Terry McMillan
  • Gina Yashere Live at the Apollo - https://youtu.be/zhslr_hGRSg
  • The Secret Women by Sheila Williams
     

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