Hey guys, I hope you’re all doing well. I’m excited to bring you all up to speed about what I got up to at the weekend so let’s get straight to it.
As I write this, I’m buzzing because I’m still on such a high from the event I attended last Saturday – The Black Girls Book Club Presents: Black Girls Are Magic Brunch. I’ve always wanted to be part of an intimate community like a women’s book club so when I saw a tweet promoting this event, especially for black women, I knew I had to go.
There aren’t many spaces like this where black women can come together to network in a safe haven, empower each other, discuss amazing literature and just unapologetically be! But just FYI:
“Whilst the black girls are magic brunch is celebrating black women it is open to all who wish to attend. However, please be aware that our mission is to create a space which allows black women to come together on a positive vibe and we won’t tolerate any individual who seeks to derail that. BGBOOKCLUB is a judgement free zone and as such as we want to create an environment that allows them to be great, open and honest without any fear.” – BGBOOKCLUB
So to clear things up, everyone is most definitely welcome.
I paid £30 for my ticket to the brunch. I’ll be honest, I felt uneasy about this price at first (as you guys should know by now, I’m all about saving £££). But upon reflection it was completely worth it! My £30 was very well spent because it included:
- A copy of Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie conveniently posted to my door
- Such a thoughtful goody bag
- (Great company too! #blackgirlmagic)
Once the secret location of the brunch was finally revealed, I was excited: Corney & Barrow Paternoster Square (St. Paul’s, London).
I arrived (slightly late… yes) and was met with a warm reception and great vibes from the outset. There were peach bellinis, prosecco and mimosas on tap and conversations were flowing. I especially loved the amount of attention and care that went into the presentation of the tables. Along with the glorious goody bag, every attendee received a handwritten personalised card and food menu.
The goody bag had lots of samples from cocolemuk, puriskin, premaeskincare, ORS Haircare UK, black|UP Cosmetics and more. We also received a Black Lives Matter badge by the lovely @AndGloTweets [get yours here: paypal.me/blmbadges/3], a little bottle of Echo Falls wine, a planner (which I really need!!) as well as a mixtape CD which I’m excited to give a listen.
Thankfully I knew a handful of people attending the brunch already (shout out to Zainab, Kitan, Esmé, Lara and Moyo, Susy) but I definitely met so many amazing women. It really wasn’t that scary talking to a room full of strangers because surprisingly everyone was so chatty. Honestly, it was refreshing. That settled any nerves I had about awkward small talk.
Being that this was promoted as a “brunch & booze” style event, I had high expectations for the food. I pre-ordered the full English breakfast as the menu was sent out a few weeks prior to the event (I’m telling you, the event organisers Natalie and Melissa, are so efficient). Brunch did not disappoint! It was delicious… although I would have loved a couple more sausages as they were particularly nice 😉
Brunch was followed by tea, coffee, cupcakes and a lighthearted interactive quiz based on the facts of Americanah. Let’s just say I didn’t score too highly… but the well deserved winner received the October edition of the UK’s first monthly subscription box curated for women of colour, My Ebony Box.
We then eased into the main event – discussion of Americanah and the many issues and complexities which the book raises. There were some really thought provoking questions and opinions thrown out. Some of my favourites were:
Is there a danger of the discussion around black hair in the book being taken for gospel?
What role do our parents have to play in preparing us for fitting in/assimilating? Are they to blame for us not knowing our mother tongue?
Ifemelu’s character is criticised or judged harshly for her arrogance and unapologetic sexual promiscuity. Had she been a male character, wouldn’t we just say she’s “confident” and that’s all?
We talked about so many issues ranging from race and identity to warped marriage aspirations and hair politics. Just in case you’re wondering, generally I enjoyed Americanah. Adichie’s writing style is very gripping and descriptive. This was my second time reading Americanah because I borrowed it last year (Thanks Tani!). However, I will say that the ending is highly frustrating and at times I felt the level of description for insignificant characters was unnecessary. It is also a little bit long in my opinion but that’s probably just because I’m a slow reader anyway. It’s definitely a good read and I won’t ruin it for anyone who is yet to read it.
Overall I’m happy to say that I truly learned a lot from the room full of knowledgeable black women. I could relate to some of their experiences and it was liberating to be able to discuss such topics freely. I’m already looking forward to the next Black Girls Book Club event which I hear is in January 2017. To stay up to date and be in the loop make sure you follow them:
Have you read Americanah? What did you think of the book? And what are your thoughts on the issues raised regarding assimilation, parental responsibility and confidence vs arrogance in our discussion above? Let me know in the comment section below.
“Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.” – Romans 14:19 NIV
God bless you!