Cover Image: Buy Black

Buy Black

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Member Reviews

This is a very comprehensive, slightly complex academia type read about black women, and the contribution made to popculture, using exampels like Cinerella with Brandi/The Princess and the Frog, as well as Nicki Minaj and The first making of the black barbie doll.  Even if you not in academia, there are still a few things that anyone can glean and learn from it.
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This book is academic and may *feel* dense at times for those who aren't used to reading this kind of text(I recognize I only am because I am in academia) but it is incredibly informative and fascinating. The book is based on her discussion on Black cultural creators/producers creating content with two audiences in mind -- the non-Black audience and the Black audience. She discusses how these two operate so differently and how difficult it is to balance. One poses education of the Black experience, while the other uplifts and validates the Black experience. Representation is a popular topic in popular culture these days but Halliday brings historical and modern context of these dichotomies and who they serve.

I also had no idea of the history of the Black Barbie (actually, before reading this, I didn't even know the history of Barbie either!) and Mattel's relationship to it all. I didn't realize the impact that Barbie was intended to make from the very beginning; Halliday tells us that Barbies were meant to introduce young girls to "womanhood" and to "represent their future self". WOW. Maybe I should look into the history of all of my childhood toys! "Girls, therefore, shape and are shaped by the material conditions and the visual representations with which they interact." (Halliday, p. 50, 2022) Halliday highlights [not only] the symbolic power of Barbie within Black communities, but also the way that "consumers broadly understood the relationship between Barbie, American femininity and blackness."

I've always loved Cinderella (1997) with Brandy as our leading lady. However, I never caught onto the subtle discrepancies which make it that much more powerful. The fact that she tells the prince that she simply wants to be treated "like a person -with kindness and respect," speaks to my own privilege and it also speaks to how well this Cinderella represents Black women, rather than erasing her Black identity. Black women propel the narrative forward in this version of Cinderella and it's empowering. The fantastic song, "Impossible", holds even deeper meaning that I imagined and because of Halliday's book, I am able to properly articulate it now.

I won't say too much else but I squealed with delight at the entire chapter on Nicki Minaj " and anaconda feminism". I think this book should be required reading in any communication, sociology, feminist/women's/gender studies or pop culture college/university course.
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Such an important and interesting read! A great educative tool for many on the importance of accurate and true representation of black women. The author uses popular black celebrities such as Nicki Minaj to discuss black womens' role in pop culture. The author also discusses how black women often sacrifice their own culture and mute themselves for white people which I think is an incredibly important conversation to have. I think this book can be used as a very important learning tool for anti-racists. I highly recommend this book to everyone, especially white people. The only criticism I would have of this book is that the author defends or dismisses some of the controversy around Nicki Minaj
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Buy Black is a thoughtful and in-depth exploration of the the effects of consumerism on establishing the Black identity of girls and women. Tracing the history of different iconic cultural icons such as Princess Tiana and Nicki Minaj, it examines the struggles of many Black producers to get their input in crafting tangible representations and in weathering double standards that threaten to diminish their worth. I really admire the people featured here, be it doll designers who aim for anatomical correctness or scholars who patiently archive work.

As someone who is not Black nor living in the US, this book has been such an eye-opener, and its extensive footnotes and bibliography makes me excited to read more.
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This is an exciting and important book about Black American women as cultural creators. The book follows a compelling cumulative structure that situates Nicki Minaj, Disney and Whitney Houston’s Cinderella, and The Princess and the Frog in the context of black Barbie and dolls developed by and for Black girls. Halliday’s writing is clear and accessible. Although this book will be of massive interest to students and academics, I am certain it will be enjoyable for a massive readership. Unlike a standard history, Buy Black situates Black women as actors, creators, and consumers who have shaped and informed visions of Black girl- and womanhood. 

I have posted a review on that is being moderated and will also share a post on Instagram in the next few days.
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This is a very dense and detailed book that will primarily appeal to scholars. But it is worth skimming for aspects that the reader may be particularly interested in. There is certainly a lot to absorb and it fills a necessary gap in this genre.
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#NetGalley (publishing date 4/26/2022)

I tried to read this. It was a DNF for me. Now that I see that it was published by the #universityofillinoispress, it makes much more sense. I felt like I was reading a college thesis. And now I'm pretty sure it actually was a thesis. I'm sure it was well written for the university to choose publish it. But I don't think I'm smart enough to get through it.

The author starts off by giving some of the history of black companies and black products starting in the early 20th century. I did find what I managed to read interesting. But this book is just not for me mentally. 

I really wish I could read it but most sentences are a chore for me to understand. Since this book was obviously not written for an audience like me, I will not give it a rating except on @netgally where I'm required to for the review. And there I will leave a neutral 3⭐ review. I feel it's only fair. 

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Super interesting read! A deep, insightful look into the role that Black women play in influencing traditionally womanhood and pop culture. It made me think more about how there is so much history that people—myself included—don't know about when they think of certain words, music, society, and more.

I have a bunch of notes so I will come back to update this review later.
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A very interesting read on the importance of true representation in the media, and how black creators are often forced to sacrifice culture to appeal to a whiter audience. The use and analysis of popular examples such as Barbie and Nicki Minaj made it current and engaging. 
I do think some parts of the book could have been broken into smaller parts for an easier read. I also found whilst the author rightfully praises Nicki Minaj for her contribution to pop culture, she also readily dismisses or defends some controversies surrounding her too.
Overall I really enjoyed it and hope to read more about representation amongst other ethnic minorities too in the future. 
Thanks NetGalley for the ARC!
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I received a copy of this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

This is an informative read!

The book is a bit more dense than I expected and feels academic at times. Halliday explores the influence of Black women on pop culture from Barbi to Nicki Minaj and beyond. She talks about the historical context that shapes Black girls and women and how pop culture and capitalism have helped shape and been shaped. 

Overall it's an interesting read about representation and pop culture.
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This book, baked by research and accounts of how black women are portrayed in the society and the effect that kind of representation has had on young black girls and women in America. 
It's the author's insight into aspects that I wouldn't think of, like dolls and even the role Nicki Minaj and other young black women in popular culture that had me baffled and intrigued because I never thought of such aspects of pop culture.
Thanks Netgalley for the eARC.
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