In a world where the maligning glare of society teaches them to do otherwise, Mahogany L. Browne wants Black girls to love themselves.
“The conversation about self-love is always a worthy discussion. Especially for young people who are just trying to etch a space, a little nook, for themselves in a chaotic world. Especially for young Black and brown girls,” the California-born, Brooklyn-based writer, educator and activist tells R29Unbothered. “Look at the news feed, look at the magazines — we rarely see ourselves revered. There are so many different voices judging us for ‘being’ too loud or too angry or too dark — it's a constant state of flux.”
But there is magic in being femme and Black, Browne adds, and in Chlorine Sky — her forthcoming novel-in-verse about a young Black girl finding her way — it’s this realisation she wants her readers to have. A coming-of-age book, Chlorine Sky tells the story of Sky, who embarks on a self-discovery journey after stepping out from her former best friend’s shadow. Painstakingly honest and profoundly relatable, Browne’s debut young adult opus aptly encapsulates the nuances of Black girlhood in a way that’s raw and revitalising.
“I want [readers] to feel the churn of what it feels like to experience self-doubt, to try and show up as a good person and fail,” Browne shares. “The reward of finding your strength is far more powerful than the uncertainty. The person you will become will be your choice and there is so much miracle in choosing who you want the world to see (and respect) when they look at you.”
“This is about forgiving yourself for being vulnerable,” she continues. “This story is about celebrating the small brave steps.”
You can get a first look at the cover above.
Listen to Browne recite an exclusive excerpt below:
Book-ish is R29Unbothered’s book hub for Black girls who put the “lit” in literature. An extension of Refinery29's #OnMyNightstand series, Book-ish is a space for Black women who love to read, by Black women who love to read. We’re excited to bring you content highlighting must-read Black women authors and more.