George M. Johnson
Wow, what an extraordinary book from LGBTQ+ activist George M. Johnson. This is their powerful memoir-manifesto which follows as they explore their childhood, adolescence, and college years, growing up under the duality of being Black and Queer in New Jersey and Virginia. In a series of essays, we read of hideous bullying, attacked and teeth kicked out at only 5 years old, of precious cherishing times with a Grandmother, filled with understanding, patience and unconditional love.
Johnson shares their life in unflinching detail, with no excuses or apologies this is fierce reclaiming of space for young Queer Black men. The pain so candidly written about is accompanied by the healing they’ve learned and shared. They write with searing passion about the experience which have forged, changed and defined them, calling out the daemon’s who have attempted to stifle, and naming the forces, like toxic masculinity, which aim to silence men about celebrating difference. With insights into sex, love, gender identities, families, inequality, consent and brotherhood Johnson’s all-seeing American eye picks out the details in this rich intersecting tapestry of living and serves us Black Joy. It’s a roadmap for young Queer people of colour.
We meet characters , like the eponymously names Hope who inspire and drive change. Johnson’s clarion call is for personal responsibility and commitment to community, for people to understand themselves and celebrate their power, to own their faults and love their scars. This is a vehemently vulnerable memoir, told with warmth and humour, sharing hard won insights and demanding to be seen. It asks you to ask yourself, what happens if I don’t do something, if I don’t intervene when I can. It throbs in the hand with the power of a life lived with a ferocious passion and urgent knowledge to share, it’s a powerful insight into the lives of younger black LGBTQ communities and deserve a read.
Out now £8.99
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