“A deeply intimate meditation on millennial Black womanhood and a righteous indictment of how this country treats Black girls and women.” —Kirkus (starred review) A LitHub Most Anticipated Book of 2022
“Emotional range without consequence,” Negesti Kaudo writes in her debut collection, Ripe, is a privilege of whiteness. In these essays, she fights back, exhorting readers to follow her through fury, grief, love, and hope as she confronts what it means to own her Blackness and her body in contemporary America. A scathing and nuanced cultural critic, she disentangles intersections of race, class, pop culture, size, sexuality, and more in spaces where she always seems to be either too Black or not Black enough. From attending private school as a poor Black student to the evolution of her hair routine to being fat and sexual when society says she should be neither, Kaudo overlooks nothing as she names the ways that white America simultaneously denigrates and steals Black culture. Most of all, she writes against the idea that a Black woman’s anger makes her an “angry Black woman,” claiming full emotional range as her birthright and as a tool against injustice on her quest to find herself no matter how uncomfortable the journey.