Friday, October 15

Sista Sister by Candice Brathwaite Review – Powerful Life Lessons | Autobiography and memoirs


INorth Sister sister Candice Brathwaite, author of I I am not Your baby mother, reflects on her past mistakes in friendships, finances, and family in an attempt to make the road less bumpy for other black women. As she bravely touches sex work and drugs, Sister sister focuses on “universal” topics like social media, dating, and self-esteem, echoing the kind of speeches you might find in group chats. Each chapter ends with vignettes: “think before you tweet” and “not everyone is a bredrin” are just some of the feelings I wish I had known as a young man.

The first lesson is about hair and the euphoria and suffering that Brathwaite experiences in the pursuit of beauty, ever since her hair is braided and she feels like Lauryn Hill in Sister Act 2 to chemically straighten his hair so much that it burned his scalp. Brathwaite now sports a shaved head, something that is not easily achieved: she visited several hairdressers, but they rejected her because they did not want to be responsible for putting her femininity to the test. “What happened? Yuh goes lesbian, “says one of them, but it is her father’s comment that is deeper:” Good luck trying to find a guy with that appearance, “she says.

Beauty standards are addressed again in a section on colorism. She talks about being persuaded by teens to use bleaching products and to be the last “ugly friend” on the charts, behind her lighter skinned peers. These memories are buried deep in your spirit; later, when Brathwaite has a daughter, he watches her closely for two years, fearing that she will become as dark as she is. It refers to a time when she mistakenly thought it would happen later that a lighter-skinned woman had taken her to work. “I wanted to unbutton, peel off my skin, a bit like a snake, and leave this tortuous dark coat behind.” His relapse into self-hatred is distressing to read.

An article on “demonstration” (a pseudoscientific self-help tactic) looks like a sponsored post for The secret, Rhonda Byrne’s 2006 Self-Help Book on the Law of Attraction; the idea that positive or negative thoughts influence future events. “I was stunned by how all of a sudden things that I thought were suitable obstacles just didn’t seem to be an obstacle to me. I always got the job, ”he writes. There is power in positive thinking, but with black youth unemployment at the same rate as during the riots of the 80s, there is something a little awkward about suggesting to the Sistas that their thoughts are responsible for their conditions, while overlooking it. capitalism and structural bias.

Brathwaite’s strongest writing deals with pain. “For years, I learned to apply my makeup without making eye contact with myself. With him, ”he writes about the death of his beloved father, who died suddenly after suffering from a severe flu when the author was in his early 20s. Years later, Brathwaite has a conversation with her husband after speaking with a therapist. “I can’t be sure if my dad loved me,” she confesses. It’s hard to condense his thoughts about the loss of a loved one into one list, but it’s Brathwaite’s non-linear thinking that makes his musings powerfully unsettling.

Sister sister by Candice Brathwaite is published by Quercus (£ 16.99). To support the guardian Y Observer order your copy at guardianbookshop.com. Shipping charges may apply


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