Token Black Girl: A Memoir
Racial identity, pop culture, and delusions of perfection collide in an eye-opening and refreshingly frank memoir by fashion and beauty insider Danielle Prescod.
Danielle Prescod grew up Black in an elite and overwhelmingly white community, her identity made more invisible by the whitewashed movies, television, magazines, and books she and her classmates voraciously consumed. Danielle took her cue from the world around her and aspired to shrink her identity into that box, setting increasingly poisonous goals. She started painful and damaging chemical hair treatments in elementary school, began depriving herself of food when puberty hit, and tried to control her image through the most unimpeachable, impeccable fashion choices.
Those obsessions led her to relentlessly pursue a career in beauty and fashion–the eye of the racist and sexist beauty standard storm. Assimilating was hard, but she was practiced. And she was an asset. Their “Token Black Girl.” Toxic, sure. But Danielle was striving to achieve social cache and working her way up the ladder of coveted media jobs, and she looked great, right? So what if she had to endure executives’ questions like “What was it like to drive to school from the ghetto?” Or coworkers’ eager curiosity to know if her parents were on welfare. But after decades of burying her emotions, resentment, and true self, Danielle turned a critical eye inward and confronted the factors that motivated her self-destructive behaviors.
Sharp witted and bracingly candid, Token Black Girl unpacks the adverse effects of insidious white supremacy in the media–both unconscious and strategic–to tell a personal story about recovery from damaging concepts of perfection, celebrating identity, and demolishing social conditioning.
Danielle Prescod is a fifteen-year veteran of the beauty and fashion industry and graduate of NYU’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study. A lifelong fashion obsessive, she was most recently the style director of BET.com. With Chrissy Rutherford, Danielle cofounded 2BG Consulting, which aids fashion and beauty brands and influencers on their anti-racism journeys. She dedicates her time to researching how feminism and social justice intersect with pop culture. An avid reader and writer, Danielle also loves TikTok, the arts, staying active, horseback riding, and exercising at any hour of the day.
“A trenchant, honest, and unique memoir about body image, fashion, and Blackness.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“Former BET style director Prescod lays bare the toxic scaffolding of the fashion and beauty industries in her piercing debut…As she reckons with [these] small- and large-scale oppressions, Prescod maintains a striking self-awareness and even hope that these problems have solutions. The result is sure to galvanize those who are looking to make change from within fraught spaces.” —Publishers Weekly
“An eye-opening account of growing up in an elite white community and her career in fashion, where racist beauty standards are the norm.” —USA Today
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