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The Crunk Feminists Are Crushing Girlhood in Crown Heights

The new handbook on navigating adolescence for young Black and Brown girls and non-binary people quotes feminists from Audre Lorde to Cardi B.
Co-authors and crunk feminists Susana Morris, Brittney Cooper and Chanel Craft Tanner.

How do you balance your identities if you’re an immigrant or a child of immigrants? What do you do if you feel like your natural hair is ugly, or when classmates keep touching it? How do you handle your self-confidence if your family or culture prizes fair-skinned women over darker-skinned ones?

The Crunk Feminists Brittney Cooper, Susana Morris and Chanel Craft Tanner have all the answers, and it's all in their new book, Feminist AF: A Guide to Crushing Girlhood.

The new release is a comprehensive handbook on navigating adolesence for young Black and Brown girls and nonbinary people. The authors quote feminist legends like Audre Lorde and Cardi B, discuss tough topics with sensitivity and write with all the empathy and swagger of a cool older sister who's got it all figured out when it comes to navigating teenhood.

“Trying to be a damn lady has never been the goal of our feminism,” the authors write. “[Crunk music] always gets the party started, and once you’ve experienced it, you are forever changed…that’s also what feminism means to us.” Photo: Miranda Levingston for BK Reader.

"In this guidebook, we center Black and Brown girls unapologetically," Susana Morris, co-author and professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology, said. "It's important for them to be armed with this knowledge."

The knowledge Morris is talking about ranges from intersectional feminist frameworks to the anatomy of an apology. The manual contains playlists, definitions, resources and words to live by for navigating mental health, body image, sexuality, racism, gender identity, talking to your grown ups, new relationship dynamics and more.

The release of the guidebook was celebrated with a talk hosted by Daughter, a verdant cafe and wine bar with a social conscience, and Cafe Con Libros, an intersectional feminist bookstore, both in Crown Heights.

Daughter, a cafe and wine bar with a social cause in Crown Heights. Photo: Miranda Levingston for BK Reader.
The book talk was at Daughter, a buzzy cafe and wine bar with a social cause in Crown Heights. Photo: Miranda Levingston for BK Reader.

At the event, the authors told stories of their own lives, talked about their favorite sections of the book, the revolutionary Lil Nas X, and discussed the experience of being a Black women in the feminist movement. Above all, the night was a radical celebration of Black girlhood.

"I'm so inspired by tonight," Brooke Lynn Williams, an 8th grader at the event, said. "The authors got into some deep stuff. I'm really excited to read this book. I feel like it's perfect for me."

Many of the book’s values are inspired by those of the Crunk Feminist Collective, a group of feminists of color to which the authors belong, such as community well-being, irreverence and, obviously, smashing the patriarchy.

Feminist AF Brooke Lynn and Sirlenda Williams. Photo: Miranda Levingston for BK Reader.
Brooke Lynn and Sirlenda Williams are Feminist AF. Photo: Miranda Levingston for BK Reader.

"It's important to meet kids where they are â€" they go through some real shit," Morris said.

"You might be in the tenth grade and your best friend has stopped talking to you, or maybe your teacher is only calling on students who are percieved as boys. We talk about feminism beyond the superficial 'girl power' stuff. We're saying we are connected to these larger systems of power, and this is how we can combat it together!"

The book, which was published earlier this week by W. W. Norton & Company, is available to purchase in paperback at $16.95 and ebook at $9.99 wherever books are sold.

Miranda Levingston

About the Author: Miranda Levingston

Miranda Levingston is an award-winning reporter and editor passionate about covering the change-makers in her borough.
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