The Other Black Girl is a fiction and thriller novel known for the stunning black woman on the cover. However, its bold approach towards white-dominated industries and the struggles of being a token and not being taken seriously makes this novel unique.
Nella Rogers has been working as an editorial assistant for almost two years, and she has been trying to climb up the ladder within her publishing company. Vera, Nella’s boss, has unfair reasons against her achieving her well-earned promotion. Vera sees her efforts of running diversity workshops as extracurricular activities, justifying that she is not ready for more responsibility. Nella knows through this and other flags that she is up to a hard road because she is the only black girl in a highly predominantly white company.
In this company, they sell the concept of the perfect worker as someone that is there 24/7 and has no time for anything else. Warner Publishing and its employees do not see race, aka color blindness, and they do not understand racism and have little knowledge about it. A company, like many others, sinning on performative activism who shines in inaction. However, Nella’s astonishment hits the fan when Warner Publishing hires another black girl.
Nella believes she will finally have an ally to fight with for diversity. She will no longer be isolated. She will have someone that understands what being black is a company that understands nothing about discrimination. A company that thinks publishing one black author a few years ago and having a token makes them diverse. Nella is thrilled, but something is wrong, but did she figure it out before it was too late?
The Other Black Girl moves between different points of view and time stamps. Sometimes we see what happened in the 80s, and other times what is happening right now, but in different parts of the city. An intricate story weaved slowly, and when finished, the reader will be gasping for air like a fish outside the water.
Zakiya Dalila Harris confirms she wrote this novel for black readers, hence the lack of explanation of the Afro-American culture portrayed in the story, a trait that many consider unique for this book. Gratefully, the editorial decision of leaving outside the need to explain cultural elements allows the readers to learn by researching. By doing this, the readers will understand and even celebrate the cultural differences of the black community.
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