Imagining Black womanhood : the negotiation of power and identity within the Girls Empowerment Project
Examines how Black girls and women negotiate and resist dominant stereotypes in the context of an Africentric, womanist youth organization for disadvantaged girls.
Imagining Black Womanhood illuminates the experiences of the women and girls of the Girls Empowerment Project, an Africentric, womanist, single-sex, after-school program located in one of the Bay Area’s largest and most impoverished housing developments. Stephanie D. Sears carefully examines the stakes of the complex negotiations of Black womanhood for both the girls served by the project and for the women who staffed it. Rather than a multigenerational alliance committed to women’s and girls’ empowerment, the women and girls often appeared to struggle against each other, with the girls’ “politics of respect” often in conflict with the staff’s “politics of respectability,” a conflict especially highlighted in the public contexts of dance performances. This groundbreaking case study offers significant insights into practices of resistance, identity work, youth empowerment, cultural politics, and organizational power.
State University of New York Press
African American Studies | Politics and Social Change