The Sista Hood on the Mic by E-Fierce
I bought this book in August and after consuming it in less than a few days, I'm really disappointed in myself for taking such a long time to read it! It had everything a girl could ask for in a book!
1.An Afro-Latina main character.
2.Characters that come from a lower socio-economic background.
3.Queer female characters of color, especially Black and Latina characters of color.
4. Characters that reflected the Hip-Hop culture without being offensive, appropriating or stereotypical.
The Sista Hood on the Mic follows Mariposa Colon aka MC Patria, an Afro-Puerto Rican girl from San Francisco, CA with a love for Hip Hop and making a name for herself but she needs a fly crew to do it! That is where The Sista Hood comes in.
This was a book about a girl but most important it was about a girl who maybe likes girls. A girl who valued friendships with girls. This book is about empowerment between girls and I think it's sad that more people don't know about this book. The friendship between the girls is something I think is missing from YA. Everything always seems to be centered on getting a boyfriend and while Mariposa wanted to be with someone, her friends were more important. That's, like, a big high five for me!
I think that there was a lot going on in this book but not to the point were it seemed like TOO much was going on. It shed some light on Teen pregnancy, Divorce, Abuse in teen relationships, the queer identity particularly in women as well as racial identity.
The main character was in love with a boy but then suddenly was intrigued by a girl. I don't know how many stories I've read that featured Queer white men but I can count on one hand of Queer women of color i've read in YA. The playing fields are not level. It almost appears as though readers are uncomfortable reading a love story that doesn't feature a man in it. Gotta say this book had me lighting a torch for "Book Girlfriends".
Evita, Sadie and Mariposa, they all my boos!
I'm not certain if this book is traditionally published or Independently published and to be honest that's a good thing. If it is Indie, I really can't tell and that's what makes a really good Indie book. If I can't tell that it's Indie then that means it meets an industry standard.Formatting, editing, POV and writing style were all pretty much on point. If this is traditionally published book then I congratulate the people who were willing to take a chance on this book!
This was one of the few books i've picked up that featured characters that spoke with a vernacular similar to my own. I grew up in Hip Hop culture so i know how to spot a fake when I see one and this book is no fake. It was really nice to see teenage girls so in love with Hip Hop as Hip Hop is a male dominated field that leaves very few chances for women to shine without selling sex. All four ladies were so dedicated to the culture to the point where they lived and breathed it. I'm pretty sure the author has to be either from the East Coast, where hip hop started because it shows in how hard she goes for it.
This book was so diverse, there was basically a character for everyone to relate to! The main character herself was a blend of identities. She was a black Latina like myself. A black Latina with two Black Latino parents. Many Afro-Latino characters i've had the pleasure of reading have been mixed race Black Latinas, where one parent was African American and the other was Latino. And while it's a start, it's very rare when I see an Afro-Latina in books that has two Afro-Latino parents like I did.
I think lots of people are misinformed about Afro-Latino identity, they automatically think that it means mixed race, and while that's the truth for some Latinas, it's not the truth for me. I'm always super excited to find books that feature Latina characters that don't fit the popular mold. The author isn't Afro-Latina as far as i can tell but she must have family members or friends who are because she made me believe that she knew what it was like. The questions like:
"Are you Latina or are you black? Because you look black..."
Or the "You don't look like all the other [Insert Latino demographic most common in your area], why are you so black?"
Mariposa was great at giving people the history lesson to strangers I've been giving people my entire life:
BLACK PEOPLE LIVE IN LATIN AMERICA.
A large percentage OF Latin America are black people and I'm never sure why people find this so hard to understand.
Being a Puerto Rican in San Francisco was like me being a Cuban in Connecticut. You don't look like anyone and you're the minority amongst Latinos(with me it's Puerto Rican and Dominican and with Mariposa, she's surrounded by Central Americans but mostly kids of Mexican Descent). It was like E-Fierce wrote this book for specifically me in mind.
This was definitely one of those books that prove why representation matters so much to me. I wasn't erased in this book. I was the main character. I got to tell my story. I wish there were more books featuring Afro-Latina characters, but if there were I probably wouldn't be so eager to put some of my own work out there. Books like this make me want to be a writer and tell the world my story. Maybe not mine specifically but girls like me:
Black, Latina and with a name no one can pronounce.
I loved how she described the characters, especially herself. I had a clear image of everyone from their introduction and i loved the fact that she pressed the fact that she was a black Latina. The character names were so hot especially their hip-hop aliases. Mariposa means butterfly in Spanish and it's not a real common name to have, maybe as a nickname but not a first name. So I loved Mariposa's name as well as her sobriquet MC Patria, which was an homage to her heritage(Patria means homeland or native country). This book would have gotten a full 5 stars for me if it hadn't been for the cover art. The cover suggests that she's stereotypically what the media portrays Latinas to look like but Mari constantly reminded us that she was a BLACK Latina with dark skin and kinky hair.
And now off to my DreamCast! This has been my favorite book to dreamcast because it was soooooooo diverse! All Mariposa's bff's were women of color and that pretty much made me want to socially stalk the author for writing a book that made such a big impact on me. Here are the characters who were on my mind while i was reading:
Amara La Negra was my Mariposa aka MC Patria
Yanni King was my Sadie aka Soul Siren
Chloe Bennett from The Shield was my Liza aka Pinay-1
Bianca Santos was my Evita aka DJ-Esa
Will Gilbert was my Ezekiel aka MC EZ1
Kendall Jenner was my Jennifer Hoffman aka J-Ho
My actual score was 4.75 which would have been a 5 if it hadn't been for the misleading cover, but I just rounded it to a 5.