Fly Girl, Fast Girl-Sexualization In Media 

What is the target demographic for this book? Am I too old to be reading this? Regardless, I’m also uncomfortable with the idea of pre-teen or early teens reading this. Why are these descriptions of teenagers having sex so graphic? Amongst others, these were the main thoughts that went through my head as I read 2/3 of this book ( I could not finish it).

I was reminded of this much-debated discourse prevalent among social commentary YouTubers about the weird obsession adults in media have with teenagers’ sex lives. I mean most young adult’s tv shows past and present include storylines (actually these are the driving storylines) with teenagers and sex. Is it really necessary for teenagers to be sexualized this much? 

I understand the importance of reflecting on true experiences that may/do occur to many teenagers. However, there are also sources that show that teenagers are not leading as much of a sexualized life as depicted in tv. I’m not here to slut shame, I truly hope my words are not interpreted that way. I do support safe and healthy sex for all people and find actual sexual education as important as the next. Those conversations do need to occur.

What I do find an issue with is the constant saturation and depictions in the media with sexualized teens. It’s not reflective of all, and I want to (and wish there were more stories that did) make it clear that it’s completely normal if your life is not reflective of a Gossip Girl character. It’s okay if you’re 15,16, 17, 20 something, shoot whatever age and still haven’t had a sexual experience. Young people are not just individuals with crazy hormones just focused on the next sexual/romantic encounter. And even if so, it is much deeper than that. And even if not, it is completely normal.

There are only a few shows like Sex Education and The Sex Lives of College Girls (by my favorite Mindy Kaling) which tackle sex in young people’s lives in an authentic way. Where it is not a spectacle for viewers, an insert of sex to glamorize or add a shock/edgy factor to the story.

As a Black woman as well, reading the first chapters of this book, it was triggering to see how early being sexualized starts and how much of that is blamed on the young girl rather than the world who has placed these labels on her way before she was born. 

For a long time even as an adult, I felt uncomfortable with being comfortable with my own body because of how much it was sexualized. I felt like loving myself and being comfortable with my curves was a way of making those misconceptions of “young Black girls being fast” true. I didn’t want to wear certain things because I did not want to confirm stereotypes that people would have about me. It has been taking quite a long time, and a lot of practice (sometimes literally standing in the mirror and repeating “do not change, do not change” or even avoiding looking in the mirror and over-analyzing myself before going out) to slowly liberate me from these ideas that were placed on my persona by the media and society. 

All to say to writers, producers, showrunners, to truly think about how they are depicting young teenagers when creating. Is that sexualization necessary to the character? Is the idea that “sex sells” really worth the burden being placed on your audience? To viewers, what and why is that you enjoy when watching that? Whose viewpoint are these narratives from? Why is it that when a girl decides to take control of her body, she’s objectifying herself, but when a teenage girl is getting sexualized on tv you don’t even notice? Where is this difference in reaction coming from?

I know in these past years, we have been more welcoming of how a person is defined by different identities, and more self-aware of how correctly depict stories and individuals…nonetheless that right and understanding may be extending more to certain individuals than others. We must be extending that grace and respect to everyone, not just people with a certain body size/shape, certain job, age, race, or cultural background. Don’t sexualize Chloe for wearing the same thing Halle is wearing.

Video to watch: let’s talk about the Japanese Schoolgirl by Mina Le ( I don’t think I have introduced you to one of my Youtube favorites so I chose one of her videos for this subject, well said with a side fashion/cultural history)

Video to watch: Y’all are desperate to humble Chloe Bailey by Khadija Mbowe

A Letter to Elena Greco (My Brilliant Friend Series by Elena Ferrante)

I see parts of myself in you and Lila but yet found myself rooting more for Lila. I couldn’t particularly understand why until the third book when I saw you taking more confidence in yourself and I started taking more of your side. I failed to root for you because you weren’t rooting for yourself, especially as much as, despite however much you claimed to wish her dead, you rooted for Lila. Lila understood earlier the need to live for herself, which I guess is something I valued more. Maybe she was pushed by the excruciating beatings from life early on, that lacked in your life.

I wanted you to recognize in yourself the same tenacity and “evilness” you saw in Lila. You had it too, I wanted you to be able to see that you did demonstrate that same aura you saw in Lila. The difference is solely in that Lila was not able to hide hers, it was expressed outwards. Instead you, you Elena, had learned how to hide it, internalize it. Doing evil only to yourself.

It’s often obvious that you forget or don’t understand that just because someone else’s light shines bright, doesn’t mean yours doesn’t. One’s light doesn’t have to dim for yours to shine. Too many times in this friendship was that the tone. The expectation. Be proud you left the neighborhood, be proud Lila stayed.

You give importance to everyone surrounding you even when they are not worth it, failing to see how important and spectacular you are, you could be. How spectacular you could be if you lived life for yourself, rather than how you should as the poor girl allowed to study at these places with these people. You forget the part where YOU earned those opportunities. You continue to live life as expected but no one is doing the expecting but yourself.

You fail to see the greatness in you, just yourself without Lila. The only time I ever liked Nino was when he said to you “you ended up attributing to Lila capacities that are only yours.”

I can not and will not judge you for your relationship with Nino. The bond between two people can only be fully understood by those in it. When it comes to love, I have learned that the statement “that could never be me” can easily become untrue.
Yet I hope to not make the decisions you did.
I hope not to be proud of my accomplishments only when recognized by others. I hope not to dismiss my feelings when they are not shared by others. I hope to not shrink myself to comfort others or when others are greater than me. My lights shine, even when others do not shine or shine brighter.

Yet I hope, Elena, to have the bravery you emulated by recognizing my strengths and passions and having the courage to pursue them. To not give up because things do not come easily. To love Love as much as you did. To invest in my imagination even when others do not see its worth. To see the beauty in the people around me when they failed to see it.

Elena, you lived a full life, one I hope to see you proud of.

Videos To Watch:

My Brilliant Friend series on HBO Max…duhhhh.

In addition: The lasting legacy of r*cist pseudo sciences | Khadija Mbowe

The Art of Language “Nameless Serenade” by Maurizio De Giovanni

Descriptive, wordy. At first it was hard to follow due to things not being explicitly clear but I guess that’s what mysteries do? I haven’t read a mystery novel since I was a kid, and it took some time to get adjusted. 

Some language used can be quite let’s say culturally unacceptable in our current time…but I had to actively remind myself that the book is set in a different time, in a different environment. Made me think about how much (also how little) things have changed. Made me realize that my recent reading choices have been much on the modern side (more concerned with trying to highlight what can be improved in world) while this book was pure fiction, with no intent to educate or induce change in society. I hadn’t read something like that in a long time. 

I could definitely tell that this book had been translated from a different language not just because the author is Italian, but also because as I read I got the feeling that some sayings do not quite fit, don’t run as smoothly. In addition, the use of and/or transitions to Italian words created a sense of warmth in me but also brought a bit of confusion. I understand the importance of keeping some words in their original language (some sayings just can’t be translated), however sometimes it was abrupt. I would say the translation could have used some more work in my humble opinion.

However, overall, the book was able to carry the sense of the story, and quite a well written novel I will surely say. It was a story that I kept thinking about even when I paused reading to go on my with my real life. While reading I found myself fully emerged in the town, time period, lives of the characters.

The way of speaking, languages used in the novel are something to pay particularly attention to. I think it carries a great significance into not just the story but also understanding the characters. The words used by the characters while conversing gave me a little bit more understanding about their views on life, their surroundings, and even themselves.

At times, this novel was such a poetic read, with verses about love, conflicting emotions, filled with metaphors, a yearn for that deep connection of love…very characteristic of Latin languages and cultures.I loved how different this book was from the ones I have been reading lately. It was like a breath of fresh air, with the deep descriptions of various characters, the romance integrated in the story but without taking it over, the complicated thoughts and lives of the characters, the message stated implicitly in between the lines.

Left me desiring more.   

Ghana Travel Blog: Reading While Traveling

Whenever I travel, I always have multiple books with me to read. It helps pass time at the airport while waiting to board, a great alternative for entertainment in case of a phone dying or a lack of internet connection, or during a long car trip. I mostly like the idea that as my body travels to new different places, my mind also travels to different worlds through books. During my trip to Ghana I finally finished up “The Handmaid’s Tale” and read “The Peacock Emporium”. Enjoy the reviews for each below!

  • The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

Uhmmm…so no. I don’t know how I feel about this book. I’m not sure if it’s because I am already watching the show but I have watched something before reading the book and I have always ended up preferring the original work rather than the visual. This time that wasn’t the case at all. It was a hard read in the sense that I wasn’t intrigued by it. If I had only read the book, I wouldn’t have been interested in the show.

It is a well written book. Unexpectedly funny at times, the whit of the main character is definitely what makes the book interesting. Again I might be biased in this review due to exposure to the Hulu series based on the book. Yet I do have to say that the novel lacked something. Depth.

It gives little glimpse of the characters, and I do appreciate the subtle and grey transitions between the present and the past, however you are left starving. Not the good kind where you are craving more. But the one that leads to disinterest. In a way I had to force myself to pick up the book to read. When I stopped, I didn’t think about it. I guess that’s why it took me so long to finish.

I have purchased the recently published sequel, but I don’t know if it’s worth reading. Knowing myself, I probably will because I feel unfinished with this story and I don’t like not completing things. However if you are new to the Handmaid’s tale I would say just watch the series on Hulu.

Why did I decide to read the book when I was already watching the series you may ask?

Well…in my experience the book has always been better than the movie. Additionally with the sequel published and no idea of when a new season of the show will resume due to COVID-19, I decided to read it. I did not want to start with “The Testaments” (the sequel) because I didn’t know where the story was going to pick up based on either the book or show.

Well that’s all for this review. Hope my next read is better!

  • The Peacock Emporium by Jojo Moyes

I’m not sure I could understand or relate to main character, Suzanna. She was particularly complicated, and one can’t exactly pin point what is rendering her so unhappy or what exactly she wants to be happy. I don’t think she herself knew, or maybe she did but felt afraid to make it a reality.

Nonetheless, it pleases me to see a character written with such depth because people are complicated, life is complicated and sometimes one can’t really know why or how to fix it.

A part of me (that I have bene working on through therapy) wanted the storyline to immediately find a way to fix her unhappiness. Usually characters would be on a journey to reach that “happily ever after”, but it was quite refreshing to see that wasn’t the case for Suzanna. And that’s very true to life. Sometimes shit is fucked up, you’re fucked up and there’s nothing you can or want to do.

I think that’s where her family was doing wrong as well, always trying to do something or make her do something to fix her unhappiness.

Sometimes you just need to be there that’s it.

I think the best part of this book was that it allowed Suzanna to be a complicated character in a way that made everyone (characters and readers) uncomfortable and at least for me, questioning why such discomfort takes place when life is not so perfect.

Definitely would recommend.

Getting to hangout with my grandma after 14 years was definitely worth the 7 hour drive to the Volta Region, Ghana.
Kaneshie Market, Accra


Girls like us by rachel lloyd

This book was moving, heartbreaking, empowering, enraging, truthful…a great book. The narration of how young girls are exploited at a young age and the harsh treatment received by society brought to light an undeniable truth. The realities that these real young girls are forced to live through showed me a cruel side of this world.

Reading this book, I also became aware of my own implicit bias about sexually exploited and domestically abused girls and women. I have been an advocate against gender-based violence since a young age reading accounts of real women in books such as “Burned Alive” (by Souad), learning more about the topic by being on the Commission on the Status of Women in Model UN and classes taken in undergrad. Nonetheless, even educated people can carry implicit bias and this book served to challenge me to bring forth and dismantle some subconscious bias.

Reading this book reignited my commitment to pursue advocating for women safety and rights. I am still not sure how that is going to happen but I do have a desire to include in my career the pursuit of providing safety and health to marginalized girls in my neighborhood and around the world.

The accounts in this book (and other stories) of how people, the justice system, cops can be so cruel and disregarding to victims is something that we ought to change. It is imperative that we work to not persecute but to protect all victims, especially women, especially women of color.

If you would like to learn more about the author’s story and donate to help her organization Girls Educational & Mentoring Services (GEMS) more information can be found at


the boy who harnessed the wind-william kamkwamba

So much about this book made me feel fulfilled, inspired and made me realize the importance African stories.

The author’s perseverance, love for education, resilience in not giving up even through hardships made me realize that there is nothing that should stop me from pursuing my dreams.I have been blessed with opportunities and resources and as the author stated “If you want to make it, all you have to do is try.”

I have been really appreciating and finding a different kind of satisfaction, solidarity, understanding when reading African stories.

While reading I had to pause several time just to appreciate parents, parents like William’s, parents like mine who sacrifice so much to give us plenty. Many cheers to them!

daily reads with trevor

Born a crime by trevor noah

I have always loved reading about (and I particularly cherish) stories by African authors. Not only am I inspired by them, I see myself and my family in them. I devoured this book in a matter of hours. I just laid in bed on a rainy Saturday and read it. This did not come to me as a surprise because: 1. I wanted to escape the world and my problems for a bit and a good book is perfect for that, 2. I love watching Trevor Noah and I knew I would love reading his story equally, if not a bit more. Now that I think about it is not often that I read a book where the protagonist is male, and a black male at that (this year two so far, and that is because I am making a conscious effort to read more black stories); so I was particularly curious to read about someone I have been watching for a long time.

Now unto the story…fyi I hate spoilers so I won’t include too give many details in that regard!

Due to my cultural background I found parts of it very relatable (the dynamics of hours spent at church and daily life in school, the mix of faith and cultural superstitions, family dynamics). Nonetheless, I was also submerged in new environments that made me think about how I would react and evaluate the different perspectives presented by the characters in the book. 

In addition, I loved the insight to history and culture I got from the book. It’s like you don’t know much about an historical event you personally did not live through, but you hear about it, you learn about its impact from textbooks, you see social changes it created…however you rarely get to hear a personal story of how a person’s life was affected by it. In a way this book gave me something like that with describing how the Apartheid affected Trevor’s life. With the little chapter introductions (I just refer to them as that) the author gives little historical context about racism, colonialism that relate to actual events in his life. The book discusses heavy topics mixed with life events in a way that forces you think even though sometimes you can’t help but laugh. Just as in his talk show his words can make you laugh but you can also comprehend the significance and impact of what he talking about. And also, wow, to hear the story of Trevor’s mom, her resilience, strength, faith is truly inspiring. 

Lastly, I was totally hearing his voice in my head the entire time. Which makes me think when you read whose voice do you hear? 

Discovering My Roots

I remember when I first moved to Italy as a young girl and it dawned on me that I was black. It dawned on me that my home country from the rich continent of Africa was seen as a hopeless land filled with nothing but poverty. I was hurt and ashamed. My ignorant self desired to not be from there. I attached to Italy as my home. Which it did become, but I shouldn’t have negated my homeland. As I grew up I began to understand how wrong people’s perceptions of Africa were. I began to appreciate my parents for never letting me forget my native tongue, (Twi), I began to love my non-English name, I began to take pride in my people, found no feeling than that of being surrounded by fellow Africans and dancing to our music, no better satisfaction than eating jollof rice or yams with nktombre stew.

I always bother my parents with questions of where they’re from, what tribe do we belong to, the traditions, meanings of different cloths and why we wear them. I’ve always been an avid reader but in Italy they didn’t print (or maybe I couldn’t find) books with black or African authors. When I was 16 and discovered authors like Lesley Lokko and Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche who opened the door for me to African literature and authors that have led me discover more about the history of Africa (I always don’t understand why this and history of other “developing countries” are not taught in schools like I’m tired of hearing about French Revolution for the 10th time as a senior in college-but that’s another story) and myself as an African woman.

I’ve been reading this book “Homegoing” by Yaa Gyasi (I recommend you all to read) that explores the lineage of two half sisters (one who remained in Ghana while the other captured as a slave to America). The description of the different tribes and the importance the characters place on their background challenged me to find more about myself. *checkout my tribe lineage below*

As I move away on my own, away from my first direct contact with my homeland, my parents, I really fear to loose my connection and touch with my African culture. I can’t read twi, only speak it. There aren’t many shows in that language or i can’t just go to any store and buy shitor or the ingredients to make it. The things that connect me to my homeland are harder to come by.

But I’ve made a vow to never loose touch with that, because as I grow up I’ve come to realize how important my culture is to me and how much it affects who am I.

*Note spellings of locations interpreted to the best of my abilities*