55 pages 1 hour read

Zakiya Dalila Harris

The Other Black Girl

Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 2021

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Important Quotes

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“Black history is Black horror. —Tanarive Due, Horror Noire: A History of Black Horror.


(Epigraph, Page n/a)

The opening epigraph of the book, this quote foreshadows the racial identities of the central characters in the story and its central themes: the historical and ongoing oppression of and violence against Black Americans. The epigraph also introduces the tension between genres in the novel: On the one hand, The Other Black Girl is a psychological thriller with elements of science fiction horror; on the other, it is a realist novel that describes the hideously ordinary injustices Black people face every day, whether at the scale of police brutality or of microaggressions in the office.

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“Imani says it’s not supposed to burn.”


(Prologue, Page 3)

This is one of the earliest clues that Diana, Imani, and Richard collaborated to control young Black women using hair grease. As Kendra Rae scratches her irritated scalp, she remembers overhearing this line on the phone and realizes that Diana and Imani are conspiring against her. Terrified, Kendra Rae leaves Manhattan and cuts all ties to her former life. As Diana reveals much later, this early formula of hair grease effectively lobotomizes the user and viciously burns the scalp. It isn’t until much later that Imani perfects the formula in the form of Smooth’d Out so that it no longer burns.

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