For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Politics, by Donna Brazile, Yolanda Caraway, Leah Daughtry, Minyon Moore, with Veronica Chambers (St. Martin’s Press, New York, NY, 2018, 316 pages).
Book Review by Dennis Moore
somebody/anybody sing a black girl’s song, bring her out to know herself, to know you, but sing her rhythms … sing her sighs, sing the song of her possibilities, sing a righteous gospel, the makin of a melody, let her be born, let her be born & handled warmly.
May 8, 2019 (San Diego) - Ironically, in my earlier review of Donna Brazile’s book Hacks in the East County Magazine in San Diego, she makes the profound statement; “I am not Patsey the Slave.” This was in reference to her involvement in the Clinton campaign and her being chairman of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), and despite that fact, Brazile being marginalized by Clinton’s brain trust in New York, with Brazile specifically stating: “Y’all keep whipping me and you never give me any money or any way to do my damn job. I am not going to be your whipping girl!”
This book is rich in history and politics, which includes the personal insight from four fabulous and acclaimed black women!
For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Politics, is actually a take on noted activist and author Ntozake Shange’s iconic and revolutionary book; For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow Is Enuf, involving four powerful black women that have been in the forefront of politics.
It should be noted that Shange admitted publicly to having attempted suicide on four different occasions. That should put into perspective the Colored Girls’ story, and why their insistence or identifying with Shange and her above quote.
Donna Brazile, a veteran Democratic political strategist, is an adjunct professor at Georgetown University, author, television political commentator, and former interim chair of the Democratic Party. She is the author of Cooking with Grease and the New York Times bestseller Hacks.
Yolanda Caraway is the founder of the Caraway Group, Inc., a nationally recognized public relations and public affairs agency. She has played a major role in shaping the goals and objectives of the national Democratic Party.
The Reverend Leah Daughtry is a nationally recognized preacher, speaker, organizer, leader, strategist, and CEO of the 2008 and 2016 Democratic National Conventions.
Minyon Moore is a partner at the Dewey Square Group, was formerly CEO of the Democratic National Committee, and served as assistant to the president of the United States, director of the White House Office of Political Affairs under President Bill Clinton.
These four acclaimed women have written this book to indicate how far we have come as a people, and how much farther we have to go in order to achieve a modicum of freedom that we all aspire for. Throughout the telling of their story they call on and identify other black women that have been activists and political warriors, such as Nina Simone and the Rev. Willie Barrow of Operation Push in Chicago.
It was not always a movement of togetherness for these women, as there were times and instances when it seemed that their personal political preferences would drive a wedge between them, as demonstrated in this poignant and revealing passage in For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Politics; “The 2008 election tried our friendship like no other. Those of us who were with Hillary (Minyon, Tina, and Yolanda) had to take Donna off our emails. We go ‘book, chapter, and verse’ on email – going back and forth in messages that would zip as fast as a teenager’s texts and could number a hundred messages in just a few hours. Donna missed the lifeline of friendships that the emails represented. She remembers that she ‘felt the chilliness. I felt the cold shoulder.’ So many people were telling us, ‘You’re black; you’ve got to be for Obama.’ And then others, mostly white women, were saying, ‘You’re a woman; you’ve got to be for Hillary.’ Donna remembers telling one person, ‘Yes, I’m black; yes, I’m a woman, but I’m getting old and grumpy, and I’m going to support John McCain if y’all don’t stop.’ ‘It was ugly,’ Minyon says.”
The aforementioned has me wondering, and possibly others, that if Donna Brazile was not for Hillary Clinton in 2008, how is it she was with Hillary later when Clinton was running for President the 2nd time? It also goes back to those in Clinton’s campaign evoking from Brazile the statement: “I am not Patsey the slave” and “Y’all keep whipping me and you never give me any money or any way to do my damn job. I am not going to be your whipping girl!” This is insightful, yet complexing! It makes one wonder, are the Colored Girls conflicted over race and politics?
It should be noted that an Angela de Joseph, writing for the East County Magazine, wrote an article titled "Women of Color roared at She the People 2020 Presidential Forum" on April 24, 2019 at Texas Southern University (TSU) in Houston, Texas. Ironically, Leah Daughtry hosted a group of women at this event, as pictured here. The majority of the Democratic contenders for president spoke at this event, namely Senator Kamala Harris, Senator Elizabeth Warren, Beto O'Rourke, Senator Cory Booker and others.
Perhaps the most poignant passage in this revealing and well documented book is the chapter titled “Alabama Godd*m”, which specifically states: “In 1964, Nina Simone sat down to write what she called her ‘first civil rights song,’ in response to the murder of Medgar Evers in Mississippi and to the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing that killed four little black girls on a Sunday morning in Birmingham, Alabama. Simone said she wrote ‘Mississippi Goddam’ in less than an hour.” Click to listen to this prophetic song here.
For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Politics is a revealing and well written book that captures the essence of the current political movement, but from a black female perspective, a book that I highly recommend.
Dennis Moore is a writer and book reviewer for the East County Magazine in San Diego and has been the book review editor for SDWriteway, an online newsletter in San Diego that has partnered with the East County Magazine. He is also the author of a book about Chicago politics. Mr. Moore can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can follow him onTwitter at: @DennisMoore8.