A Letter to Edwidge Danticat

Breath, Eyes, Memory is one of my favorite books. I read and reread parts of  it throughout my undergraduate years at Princeton because, in many ways, the text nourished and empowered me. At the very end of my senior year, about a month before graduation, I wrote Edwidge Danticat a letter. I never sent her this letter, and I don’t think I ever will. But it deserves to be shared… Continue reading “A Letter to Edwidge Danticat”


Hood Love Is Good Love

Why is it that success is always marked by one’s “ascension” from the hood? 

I came to ponder this question after thinking about a lesser known track from Destiny’s Child’s The Writing’s on the Wall. Continue reading “Hood Love Is Good Love”

Saturday Mornings at Rhonica’s

Ben Biayenda
“Fix This Braid, and Roll Those Knots” by Benjamin Biayenda

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about the politics of Black women’s beauty. To be more specific, I’ve been thinking about the politics of Black women’s hair. But I don’t want to engage in a discussion about the sociopolitical dimensions of the Natural Hair Movement. Nuanced conversations on that topic are (and have been) occurring in numerous places…

What I want to talk about are the sacred spaces that have revolved around Black women’s hair. I want to talk about Black beauty shops. These places are complicated sites for not all salon experiences can be recalled fondly. However, there is a culture, a vibrancy, and a rhythm to Black hair salons that I’ve yet to find in any other space. Let me share a story.

Continue reading “Saturday Mornings at Rhonica’s”