January Reads: D. Daye's Monthly Book Reviews
Dominique Daye Hunter
My new year challenge for 2023 is to read and review 4 books per month. Here are my January picks!
📚 𝙃𝙪𝙢𝙢𝙞𝙣𝙜𝙗𝙞𝙧𝙙 𝙃𝙚𝙖𝙧𝙩
written by Kinsale Drake, illustrated by Alice Mao
In this ethereal collection, Indigenous poet Kinsale Drake explores the delicate intricacies of queer identity in a grounding way. Soft, tender illustrations of nature and the human form compliment the author’s reflections on intimacy, grief, and growth.
This journey begins in an unexpected place. Kinsale comments on the irony of basic, palatable white poetry being both predictably cringey and yet aesthetically attractive. Mao’s style of imagery and Kinsale’s delicate words convey the tender and powerful sentiments from their perspectives as queer women of color.
𝙃𝙪𝙢𝙢𝙞𝙣𝙜𝙗𝙞𝙧𝙙 𝙃𝙚𝙖𝙧𝙩 has allowed me to further explore my queer identity in a safe space free of judgment and stereotype. It is also a safe space for me to accept the paradox that is being an artist of color resisting colonialism while having a knack for the aesthetics that live at the intersection of the white gaze and my own interests.
📚 𝙏𝙝𝙚 𝙏𝙧𝙞𝙘𝙠𝙨𝙩𝙚𝙧 𝙍𝙞𝙤𝙩𝙨
written by Taté Walker, illustrated by Ohíya Walker
This collection of poetry is equal parts powerful imagery and genderless Auntie sass. The concepts, word choice, and truth of author Taté Walker lay thick on the tongue of the reader, especially when read aloud… especially that Frybread poem *wink*
Taté tackles mascots and other stereotypes perpetuated by the white colonized lens. They also dispel patriarchal misconceptions and misrepresentations of sacred cultural cornerstones like Lakota legend Tapun Sa Win (Red Cheek Woman). Taté explains in poetic form Tapun Sa Win is often portrayed through the Eurocentric lens of a “polite” woman. Taté “remixes” this story into her own inspired version which depicts this power house as a queer, polyamorous free spirit whose got their name because she makes people blush with her naughty Auntie antics…and / or because her cheeks are flushed from constantly fluttering about.
My favorite quote in this collaborative collection by Taté and their child Ohíya is “Bounty hunters tracking pretendians…they begin with sites set on accountability and harm reduction but soon seek the like-and-share thrill of public takedowns grossly attacking those relatives already existing in the margins Afro-Indigenous and mixed Indigenous relatives, adopted relatives, displaced urban relatives, and those questioning the process. Their tool of choice is a rusty pair of scissors found buried in the remnants of boarding schools, a tool once used by the agents of [boarding schools] to cut the braids of Indigenous children.”
📚 𝙒𝙚 𝙎𝙝𝙤𝙪𝙡𝙙 𝘼𝙡𝙡 𝘽𝙚 𝙈𝙞𝙡𝙡𝙞𝙤𝙣𝙖𝙞𝙧𝙚𝙨
by Rachel Rodgers, Esq.
Firstly, shout out to @inspiredbydb for recommending this book because it is a MUST read for any business owners ready to turn the hustle into a major glow up. Rachel shares her story living in poverty with her single mother. She saw the possibilities of financial stability through babysitting and summer visits with her Auntie. Rachel’s delivery is raw and authentic, which I appreciated as a woman of color. She relays an understanding of the systemic issues facing people of color, especially women. The author encourages us to achieve financial freedom our own way rather than feel that we need to align ourselves with white male patriarchy to be successful.
Rachel explains to readers the differences of Broke Ass Decisions (BADs) and Million Dollar Decisions (MDD). A BAD is any decision or mindset that keeps you broke and disempowered. An MDD doesn’t have to be an expensive purchase; it’s anything that inspires you and moves you towards being a millionaire. Replacing your raggedy undies, refusing to work for free, increasing your prices, saying “no” to over extending yourself for others, and hiring an assistant or laundry service to free up time to do what you do best are all examples of Million Dollar Decisions. And don’t feel guilty about buying yourself that latte or treating yourself to that new bag whe n you’re able. Everything in balance.
If you want to learn more about how to get into your zone of genius to make a clear path from point A (broke, tired) to point B (living in your purpose and financially free) I highly recommend reading Rachel’s book or listening to it on Audible like I did!
📚 𝙒𝙝𝙞𝙩𝙚 𝙁𝙧𝙖𝙜𝙞𝙡𝙞𝙩𝙮
by Robin Diangelo
A book by a white woman calling out her white counterparts on their fragility? We love to see it. In this piece, the author outlines what people of color have known for years: white fragility is real and most dangerous due to its complictness and accomplice to racism which kills thousands of people of color (POC) every day.
Diangelo explains the history of white fragility as it pertains to the white male ego, threatening their power and control, and to white woman tears which have been guilty for the murders of innocent Black and other men and boys of color, like Emmitt Till, over hundreds of years.
The author explains that because white people are born and conditioned in a racist society where we benefit from white privilege and racist hierarchies, they inherently hold racist beliefs. This triggers most white people as, after seeing the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s on TV, they see racist people and bad people as synonymous. “If I really want to unlearn my racist behaviors, I will listen and validate the stories and lived experiences of people of color and actual victims of racism and racist ignorances instead of redirecting attention back to me as the “victim.”
Though 𝙒𝙝𝙞𝙩𝙚 𝙁𝙧𝙖𝙜𝙞𝙡𝙞𝙩𝙮 was written by a white person for white people to unlearn their racism, which was refreshing in and of itself, it helped give me the language, tools, and furthered confidence to address racism head on in both professional and personal settings.
Like this article if you’d like to see my February book picks next month!
Dominique Daye Hunter is a storyteller, artist, and advocate of Black/ Saponi/ Nansemond /Irish/ Polish descent. Hunter's work explores the complex connections between historical trauma and healing in BIPOC. The author of “Seeds: Stories of Afro-Indigenous Resilience,” lives between Arizona and North Carolina.
📕 Buy @ddayehunter ‘s book 𝑺𝒆𝒆𝒅𝒔: 𝑺𝒕𝒐𝒓𝒊𝒆𝒔 𝒐𝒇 𝑨𝒇𝒓𝒐 𝑰𝒏𝒅𝒊𝒈𝒆𝒏𝒐𝒖𝒔 𝑹𝒆𝒔𝒊𝒍𝒊𝒆𝒏𝒄𝒆 at ddayehunter.com/books (link in bio)