When Chickenheads Come Home to Roost

A Hip-Hop Feminist Breaks It Down

When Chickenheads Come Home to Roost

“Morgan has given an entire generation of black feminists space and language to center their pleasures alongside their politics.” —Janet Mock, New York Times bestselling author of Redefining Realness

“All that and then some, Chickenheads informs and educates, confronts and charms, raises the bar high by getting down low, and, to steal my favorite Joan Morgan phrase, bounced me out of the room.” —Marlon James, Man Booker Prize–winning author of A Brief History of Seven Killings

Still fresh, funny, and irreverent after eighteen years, When Chickenheads Come Home to Roost gives voice to the most intimate thoughts of the post-Civil Rights, post-feminist, post-soul generation.

Joan Morgan offers a provocative and powerful look into the life of the modern black woman: a complex world in which feminists often have not-so-clandestine affairs with the most sexist of men, where women who treasure their independence frequently prefer men who pick up the tab, where the deluge of babymothers and babyfathers reminds black women who long for marriage that traditional nuclear families are a reality for less than forty percent of the population, and where black women are forced to make sense of a world where truth is no longer black and white but subtle, intriguing shades of gray.
  • Simon & Schuster | 
  • 240 pages | 
  • ISBN 9780684868615 | 
  • February 2000
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Reading Group Guide

TOUCHSTONE READING GROUP GUIDE
When Chickenheads Come Home to Roost
1. Morgan says that, more than any other generation before, this generation needs a feminism committed to "keeping it real." How does this translate day-to-day, person-to-person? Is it possible for a woman to be a good feminist and not pay for her own dinner, not hold the door open, or not become a master mechanic, as Morgan's feminism prescribes? Are you a feminist? What does Morgan mean when she says that "the empowerment of the black community [has] to include its women" or that "sexism [stands] stubbornly in the way of black men and women loving each other or sistas loving themselves"?
2. Hip-hop and rap have come under attack lately on many fronts. Is it possible to like this music despite the fact that it contains so much misogyny? Are you able to listen to the music and use it as a tool to understand how the community works, as Morgan advocates, or would it be better to silence its violent content?
3. Morgan says, "We're all winners when space exists for brothers to honestly state and explore the roots of their pain and subsequently their misogyny, sans judgment." Besides rap and hip-hop, what are some effective ways, or forums, in which black men and women can "lovingly address the uncomfortable issues of [their] failing self-esteem, the ways [they] sexualize and objectify [themselves, and their] confusion about sex and love"? How about ways to address the "unhealthy, unloving, uns see more

About the Author

Joan Morgan
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Joan Morgan

A pioneering hip-hop journalist and award-winning feminist author, Joan Morgan coined the term “hip-hop feminism” in 1999 with the publication of When Chickenheads Come Home to Roost, which is now used at colleges across the country. Morgan has taught at Duke University, Stanford University, and The New School.

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