Candice Carty-William's debut novel, "Queenie," tells the story of a young black woman handing her sexual agency over to white men in an attempt to redeem herself."In the stirrups now.Wish you were here...I locked my phone and carried on looking at the ceiling before unlocking it and sending a follow-up "xx." That would prove to Tom that I wasnt as emotionally detached as he accuses me of being." (1)
The novel's opening lines immediately reveals the turmoil that Queenie and her boyfriend, Tom, are experiencing in their relationship. Their relationship is hanging on by a thread and for a second I feel sorry for her because every girl has that one guy that broke their heart and changed them forever. But as Queenie talks about her relationship with Tom it seems like she's dating him to protect herself from her own blackness, not because she loves him."Your grandma. At dinner she said that our future baby should have your nice straight nose...let's hope that our children don't get any of my squashed features." (7)
Queenie is constantly trying to validate herself through her physicality and after an explosive evening with Tom's family, Queenie finds herself now looking for validation through her sexual experiences with white men who are either married, involved with other women or just want sex from her. Needless to say her experiences with these men are terrible. Every. Single. One.
At some point during these experiences, she decides to go to the clinic to get a check up and the doctor expresses deep concerns for Queenie."The nurse put the pamphlets on his desk, and although they were upside down, I read the words victim support." (111)
It is important to note that Queenie refuses to date black men. When reminiscing on a time a black guy tried to talk to her at at party, she states," I was so stressed by it I started crying...I just can't do it, Kyazike. I'm scared of black guys. I'll always think they hate me." (223)
Her encounters, however with black men in this novel are mild and hardly enough to categorize all black men as trash. Williams tries to hint that Queenie's fears come from seeing her mom in abusive relationships with black men, which is understandable. But her own personal experience of abuse doesn't come from black men, it comes from white men.
It's interesting to see how easy it is for her to still date white men but be totally against dating black men, regardless of what she has recently experienced.
For some black women interracial dating is preferred because they have experiences dating black men and decided that white men were a better alternative for them because of how they were being treated. And I understand that, but this is not the case for Queenie. Queenie engages herself with men who don't respect her body or her person. She has romanticized white as better than black even when it's not, and that's a problem.
You can buy the book here!
It’s officially been one year since I loc’d my hair and it has literally been the best decision I have ever made! When you hear people refer to growing locs in the community, you will usually hear them call it a ‘journey’. I used to think that your ‘loc journey’ was all about your hair, but it’s about so much more than that! Here are the top 5 things I learned about my hair and myself during this glorious journey.
1. Just let it be.
Before I loc’d my hair I wore it natural. Braids, Afros, twist outs, you name it. Back then I had a daily regimen. That I enjoyed. It was so therapeutic. But once I loc’d my hair that regimen had to GO! All these creams and products were slowing my process down and if I wanted my hair to loc, I had to learn how to leave it alone and just let it be. I had to learn how to sit and be still, as church folk would say. And as I did I watched my hair go into its own beautifully wild journey.
2. Keep your regimen simple.
Even though I really did love my daily regimen, I knew that if I wanted my locs to be healthy and strong I had to change my regimen and keep it simple. Instead of moisturizing every single day, I do it every other day. Instead of massaging my scalp with oils every day, I do it once or twice a week, so there are no oils blocking my pores. I still wash my hair every other month and deep condition it every other month but my regimen is way less complicated than before. It is important that you keep your regimen simple but listening to how your personal hair responds is just as important.
3. Don’t compare. Just don’t do it.
I would spend hours on Instagram looking at all the different kinds of locs and styles and hoping mine would look like the pictures I saw. But one thing you should never do is compare your locs to others! First of all everyone isn’t going through the same journey you are: some people want uniformed locs, some want to just let their locs free form or semi-free form and some want sister locs. Second, your hair texture is most likely different from whoever’s photos or videos your watching. That’s not to say your YouTuber isn’t giving you great info, just remember when your hair locs it might look different from theirs and that’s OK because we’re all different!
4. There’s no such thing as an ugly phase.
If you’re someone that’s reading this as part of your in depth research in deciding whether or not you should loc your hair, you’ve probably read or seen on YouTube that you may go through an ‘ugly’ phase and I’m here to reassure you….you won’t. There’s no such thing. What people are calling ‘ugly’ is really just how your hair is naturally growing out of your head and there is nothing ugly about that. Part of the beauty in just letting your hair be is in discovering how beautiful you actually are. Granted I’ve always been kind of a free thinker when it comes to my hair just being natural, but even I had some hesitant feelings about what I was seeing in the mirror at first. But once my hair loc’d I began to appreciate my self in it’s natural state and carry that confidence everywhere I went, frizz and all.
5. It’s versatile!
One of the things I feared before loc’ing my hair was being limited from trying different hair styles. I was so happy to learn that wasn’t the case at all! I can do ponytails, bantus, curls, braids if I really want to switch it up, I can always wear a wig or crochet a weave over my locs! There is really nothing you CAN’T do with loc’d hair. The possibilities are infinite!
Honestly, being part of the loc’d community has been such a great experience and I encourage anyone whose considering it to give it a try!