#ReadWithMC Reviews 'Token Black Girl'

"The honesty does not let up…A memoir you won’t soon forget."

Token Black Girl book cover and portrait of Danielle Prescod
(Image credit: Little A / Brittany Holloway-Brown)

For October, #ReadWithMC readers dove into Token Black Girl by Danielle Prescod—a fashion insider's memoir on growing up in a very white, affluent part of Connecticut and, later, New York City. In the refreshingly frank memoir, Prescod examines her life as a Black woman forced to confront the influence of media and its effect on her mental health and body image. Using anecdotes from her own life, Prescod's memoir emphasizes the prevalence of white supremacy in our daily lives, and especially in the fashion and beauty industries. 

Prescod's honest introspection is particularly what got readers hooked on Token Black Girl. "The brutal honesty—including about the author’s own behavior and meanness—are what make this book," writes @ashleykritzer. "She is so candid on every topic she covers." Additionally, @thereadinggay says, "I personally loved the author’s ability to examine deeply internalized racism, and the effects on her mental health and relationships with others..."

Readers like @booktherapyphilly also loved Prescod's ability to turn important conversations like racism and body image into accessible topics. "Prescod writes like a best friend speaking candidly on something that was never openly discussed until very, very recently," they write. 

Each month, we gather up the reviews of our virtual book club members so anyone else looking for their next great read has a collection of recommendations. Here's what #ReadWithMC readers had to say about Token Black Girl.


"✊🏿BOOK REVIEW✊🏿

Danielle Prescod examines her life as a black woman growing up in a white world from life as a teen through to being a fashion magazine employee and editor. Policing of black women’s bodies, hair, moods and temperament feature heavily in this book that takes a deep dive into the fashion industry, the influence of media. If you were around in the 90s to 00s era you will relate to much portrayed about the media messaging to our generation.

I personally loved the author’s ability to examine deeply internalised Racism, and the effects on her mental health and relationships with others, some of which was very relatable as a POC, others which have made me a better ally to the black community. She points out the faults of white supremacy and it’s prevalence in our daily lives and workplaces while vulnerably and gracefully admitting her mistakes along the way. Fashion lovers in particular will love this one, but for others it may feel repetitive.

(strong TW for eating disorders).

⭐️⭐️⭐️💫

QoTD: what was the last memoir you read?

Thanks to @netgalley and Little A for an ARC in exchange for an honest opinion. Token Black Girl comes out on 1 of October! #readwithmc"

@thereadinggay

"A memoir about growing up Black in very affluent, very white Greenwich, CT and then transitioning to the also very white and absurdly affluent NYC fashion world.

Danielle Prescod was raised in the same specific time and place in pop culture as me-The Hills, Paris Hilton, tall, blonde, skinny, tan, glamorized magazine era that shoved unrealistic and unhealthy beauty standards down young girls’ throats. The era that laughed at Britney Spears when she had a mental health breakdown and put Hilary Duff front and center with Raven-Symone as the non-sexual comedic relief.

Prescod writes like a best friend speaking candidly on something that was never openly discussed until very, very recently- race relations and racism amongst the environment that creates the trends and sets the beauty bar.

She reflects on body image as an upper middle class woman who has resources at her disposal and strives for perfectionism, but is constantly never satisfied with her self-image due to the beauty ideal not even remotely reflecting the natural features of Black women, causing Prescod to try and manipulate herself into the white ideal and the long lasting mental health effects this has on a person’s identity and feelings of self-worth, let alone physical health.

Token Black Girl is social justice writing for the girl next door in the best way possible. It tells readers to pay attention to the micro aggressions (and straight up aggressions) in pop beauty/fashion culture and to create an inclusive beauty standard that reflects all-not just the affluent white. It’s a memoir of our times that speaks with open candor and what is clearly years of good quality therapy.

Thank you to @amazonpublishing and @netgalley for a digital ARC of this timely and poignant memoir (that I ultimately ended up checking out from the library 😉). Token Black Girl by Danielle Prescod is on shelves as of October 1.

#ReadWithMC"

@booktherapyphilly

"The honesty does not let up…. A memoir you won’t soon forget.

So happy to get my hand on Danielle Prescod’s memoir 'TOKEN BLACK GIRL…'. While I have seen Prescod’s work on my newsfeed, I don’t think I was prepared for how real her memoir would be. I think she perfectly details what it is like being the only Black woman in certain spaces, especially in the fashion industry.

Danielle Prescod grew up Black in an overwhelming white community, a lot of her identity was shaped based on the media she had access to which was predominantly white. We see how the media she engaged with shaped how she saw the world and herself and I think it was very jarring at times to read. I particularly loved how she spoke about her hair journey and how her body stacked up against that of her white counterparts.

For a first-time memoir I felt this book was particularly honest, engaging and had a lot of teachable moments. An insightful read.

Thanks LITTLE A for sending me an ARC, this book comes out in October 2022, be sure to look out for it! We need more Black Women memoirs!

P.S. This is not the final cover!
#TokenBlackGirl #20BlackWomenIn2022 #ReadBlackWomen #LittleA #ReadThis #ReadWithMC"

@bookofcinz

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“'Token Black Girl' by @danielleprescod was exactly what I hoped it would be: an extended format version of the truth and humor Danielle brings to social media.⁣

I got this ebook for free via Amazon Prime’s First Reads, but I wish I’d purchased the physical book (still might — if you’re a Prime member it’s 60% off). It’s a beautiful book with foil text on the cover. ⁣

⭐️ rating: 5⁣
📚genre: memoir ⁣
#️⃣ length: 256 pages⁣
🗓 pub date: 10/1⁣
⏳pace: moderate ⁣
👩🏾 the vibe: raw honesty, but make (some of) it funny ⁣

This book felt like reading one long magazine essay. I love the voice Danielle brings to social media; she’s unapologetic, smart and funny. As an added bonus, she’s a horse girl 🦄🤩⁣

Danielle grew up in a white, wealthy community in Connecticut, and she takes us deep inside what that did to her psyche, from hair treatments to an eating disorder. She uses her own experiences to bring to life examples of white supremacy, from micro-aggressions to big picture/systemic issues. ⁣

Danielle did a recent post on the ⏰ app about how likability is a trap and something that is only weaponized against women and especially women of color. If you need to be convinced to read her memoir, go find that post. She talks about how the only way to truly write this book was to share the terrible thoughts she used to have in order to hold herself accountable. As a white woman who’s been tone policed and fallen into the likability trap, I cannot imagine how Black women are treated. This book shares the Black experience. ⁣

The brutal honesty — including about the author’s own behavior and meanness — are what make this book. She is so candid on every topic she covers. Danielle has referenced her eating disorder recovery on social media, but the book is really a deep dive into her experience. I can’t recommend this one enough!⁣"

@ashleykritzer

Brooke Knappenberger
Editorial Fellow

Brooke Knappenberger is the Editorial Fellow at Marie Claire, where she writes across the board from books and celebrities to fashion and beauty. As a pop culture junkie, Brooke obsessively consumes and writes about the latest movie releases, streaming TV shows, and celebrity scandals. Brooke is a proud St. Louis native and is currently living in New York City. Outside of work, you can find her either jamming out to Drake, reading a Sarah J. Maas novel, or shamelessly online shopping.