You Are Your Best Thing: Vulnerability, Shame Resilience, and the Black Experience edited by Tarana Burke and Brene Brown was absolutely astounding.
From the moment I saw this duo editing a book together, I knew it was going to be a banger. The combination of Burke’s experience organizing around the #MeToo movement and Brown’s background in shame and vulnerability research with a Black liberation spin is absolutely magical. I was obsessed with them separately, but I am in awe with them together.
This essay collection brings together some heavy hitters in the field of Black racial healing and cultural commentators. My favorites brought together some of my favorites including Prentis Hemphill, Austin Channing Brown, Kiese Laymon, Laverne Cox, and Marc Lamont Hill— to name a few. Some new voices and thoughts introduced to me had me blown away.
In You Are Your Best Thing, they tackle so many issues that prove the Black community is not a monolith. Topics like masculinity, sexuality, disability, gender identity and expression, sexual trauma, motherhood, and faith, just to name a few. I saw myself in all of these stories.
And that’s the magic of community. We can all be so different, but we can still see ourselves in each other.
I listened to the audiobook, which was an extra treat because so many of the contributors read their own work. There’s something about hearing stories read straight from the storyteller.
I will definitely warn potential readers: There are lots of discussion of racial trauma (historical, generational, and contemporary) and other forms of trauma like violence, sexual and relationship abuse, mental health issues, and suicide. However, there are no graphic details or depictions.
You Are Your Best Thing is great for Black folks who love reading about the power and resilience of our community, but also perfect for white folks looking to learn more about the Black experience (without always asking their Black friend).
Five stars for sure!