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Celebrating Twenty Years of Black Girlhood

The Lauryn Hill Reader


Edited By M. Billye Sankofa Waters, Venus E. Evans-Winters and Bettina L. Love

The album The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill sold over 420,000 copies in its first week, received ten Grammy nominations (winning five). Celebrating Twenty Years of Black Girlhood: The Lauryn Hill Reader critically engages the work of Ms. Hill, highlighting the interdisciplinary nature of the album. Beyond the album’s commercial success, Ms. Hill’s radical self-consciousness and exuberance for life led listeners through her Black girl journey of love, motherhood, admonition, redemption, spirituality, sexuality, politics, and nostalgia that affirmed the power of creativity, resistance, and the tradition of African storytelling. Ms. Hill’s album provides inspirational energies that serve as a foundational text for Black girlhood. In many ways it is the definitive work of Black girlhood for the Hip Hop generation and beyond because it opened our eyes to a holistic narrative of woman and mother. Twenty years after the release of the album, we pay tribute to this work by adding to the quilt of Black girls’ stories with the threads of feminist consciousness, which are particularly imperative in this space where we declare: Black girls matter.

Celebrating Twenty Years of Black Girlhood is the first book to academically engage the work of the incomparable Ms. Hill. It intellectually wrestles with the interdisciplinary nature of Ms. Hill’s album, centering the connection between the music of Ms. Hill and the lives of Black girls. The essays in this collection utilize personal narratives and professional pedagogies and invite students, scholars, and readers to reflect on how Ms. Hill’s album influenced their past, present, and future.

M. Billye Sankofa Waters: Liner Notes: Introducing a 20-Year Reflection – Grisel Y. Acosta: Hard Rock (The Truth about Jezebel) – Adrienne R. Washington/Diana A. Burnett: Examining Linguistic Continuity and the Richness and Multidimensionality of Black Atlantic Communicative Practices through the Lyricism of Lauryn Hill – Qiana M. Cutts: Blackgirl Praxis through Rhetorical Architecture: An Ethnopoetic Reading of Miseducation – Alexis McGee: Black Feminist Rhetorical Praxis: The Agency of Holistic Black Women in Lauryn Hill’s The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill and Contemporary Works – Aja D. Reynolds: Give Me My Crooked Crown Momma – Grisel Y. Acosta: Nothing but Us – Dawn N. Hicks Tafari/Nwachi G.E. Tafari: Care for Me: One Black Girl’s Road to Acknowledging the Ex-Factor – Grisel Y. Acosta: Revolution Mami – Raven Jones Stanbrough/Ashley Newby: The Rhetoric of the Womb: (Academic) Mothering in Trying Times on the Road to Zion – Geneva L. Sarcedo/Cheryl E. Matias: Forgive Them Father for They Know Not What They Do… But What If They Do Know?!: The Impact of Unforgivable Whiteness on Black and Brown Women – Sherell A. McArthur: My Sister, Myself: Why the Miseducation of Black Girls Requires Spaces and Places for Their Healing – Nazera Sadiq Wright: Saving Me Softly: A Black Girl in Japan – Sarah Abdelaziz: Father, You Saved Me – Robin M. Boylorn: "Somebody/anybody, sing a black girl’s song": The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill as Blackgirl Autoethnography – Torie Weiston-Serdan: Tell Me Who I Can Be: Mentoring Queer Black Girls in Hostile Educational Spaces – Nadrea R. Njoku/Shawna M. Patterson-Stephens/Lori D. Patton/Maurisa Li-A-Ping/Ellise Smith: Fantasy, Reality, and What Is Needed: Debunking Fantasy and Centering Truth in Black Women College Students’ Experiences – Jessica Edwards: Lauryn Hill and the Power of Digital Storytelling in Writing Classrooms – David Green: Lauryn Hill and Pedagogies of Critical Hip-Hop – Tara Betts: The Miseducation Was Ms. Lauryn Hill’s Education: The Inspiration and Activism of an Emcee – Shanyce L. Campbell: Forgive Them: The Silencing of Black Women in Graduate School – ReAnna S. Roby/Elizabeth J. Cook: A Re-Storying of the Academy by the Lost Ones – Tanja Burkhard/Valerie Kinloch: Black Feminist Auto-Ethnography on Black Womanhood across Space – Stephanie Troutman/Eric A. House: Wrecking Patriarchy and Capitalism in Lauryn Hill’s Hip Hop – Conā S.M. Marshall: The Hill from Whence My Help Comes: Black Women Rapping and Preaching Activism and Liberation – Marta Mack-Washington/Magaela C. Bethune/Ahmad R. Washington: Negotiating Complicated Relationships with Misogynoir in Hip Hop – Lauren Leigh Kelly: Lessons from a Black Feminist Critical Scholar – Stephanie Latty/Sefanit Habtom/Eve Tuck: Practice Extending across the Atlas: Black Girls’ Geographies in Settler Societies – Contributors.