Author Tamara Winfrey-Harris addresses misogynoir and tells the real experiences of black women while shedding light on the journey to break free of stereotypes in her book, “The Sisters Are Alright: Changing the Broken Narrative of Black Women in America. Winfrey-Harris challenges the notions of caricatures that have sought to define black women for over a century. From the servile “mammy,” angry “sapphire,” and lustful “Jezebel,” Winfrey-Harris challenges these stereotypes with interviews from diverse black women who share their stories and experiences. She says, “I want to tell the stories of black women and girls and deliver the truth to all those folks who got us twisted-tangled up in racists and sexist lies. I want my writing to advocate for my sisters. We are better than alright. We are amazing.”
This exploration into intersectional feminism covers marriage, motherhood, health, and sexuality with women who defy the stereotypes. Winfrey-Harris is unapologetic in her approach to black womanhood. She exposes anti-black woman propaganda and illustrates how black women continue to push back against distorted versions of themselves portrayed in media, social media platforms, and elsewhere.
What was your inspiration for this book?
Tamara Winfrey-Harris: I was exhausted by how black women are portrayed. I wanted to know why society, including our communities refuse to see or acknowledge our complexities. We aren’t seen as human. Part of being black in America and getting along is wearing the mask. We are forced to hide our authentic selves to survive.
Who is this book for?
Tamara Winfrey-Harris: This book is for black women and anyone who has followed my writing. I wanted to amplify the voices of diverse black women and share these stories that push back against anti-black women propaganda.
You talk about blackfishing and digital blackface in the book. What do you mean when you say, digital blackface?
Tamara Winfrey-Harris: It helps white women rise to fame. Think of women like Rachel Dolezal or the Kardashians or several “Influencers” who now wear bronzer to darken their skin tones, etc. It’s the “trying on” of our culture until it ceases to be convenient.
We are in a time when black women are doing amazing things in every area of life. Do you think these negative stereotypes are beginning to change?
Tamara Winfrey-Harris: At moments, yes, but it is happening slowly. Black women are bolder, more unapologetic for sure. But, they are pushing back and against these negative narratives more than ever.
“We have facets like diamonds, the trouble is the people who refuse to see us sparkling”-Tamara Winfrey-Harris.
What does it mean to be a black woman in America? Winfrey-Harris speaks about the evolution of stereotypes, blackfishing, digital blackface, and the continued fascination with black women and their sexuality. From dispelling the myth of the poor, uneducated black single mother to addressing “respectability politics” as it pertains to black women and the policing of our bodies and sexuality to highlighting the increase of black women in power with women like Stacey Abrams or VP Kamala Harris.
Actress Gabrielle Union’s production company has optioned Winfrey-Harris’ award-winning book and is developing a Dramedy series based on the book.
“The Sisters are Alright: Changing the Broken Narrative of Black Women in America” is available on Amazon and wherever books are sold. For more on Author, Tamara Winfrey-Harris visit her website.