Let me just say this: I stan Luvvie Ajayi Jones. STAN HER!
Note: I, like Luvvie, have a grandmother that is no longer with me, and it is indeed to the memory of her grandmother if this book is written and dedicated.
Being the bibliophile that I am, there are a few books I have read where I recommend the author carte blanche.
Getting steel, anything by Luvvie Ajayi Jones is on that *immediate recommendation list. When I got started following her career better than five years ago, I loved everything that she was doing! She was unapologetically Black, her wit was razor sharp, she was my highlight on social media, and completely herself. There’s an honesty with Luvvie that is infectious! And once you get exposed to it? You, too, will begin to tap in to your own power source to be much like Luvvie!
Since I started following her podcast and blog better than 4-5 years ago (and in following her podcast which was Rants & Randomness which is now the Professional Troublemaker podcast), I got wind that she was writing another book (the first is I’m Judging You, The Do-Better Manual). Now I have both books by Luvvie (both New York Times Best-Selling books mind you!) on my Kindle right now. So, when I heard she was actually writing this book, I knew I had to read it.
I knew I had to give it to you, Torches!
When I tell you that this book freed me on levels I didn’t even know I was imprisoned on?! It truly truly did!
The beautiful thing about this book is it is a love letter to ambitious women. It is a love letter to Black women who desire to change the world through their gifts, talents, space, and ability! Luvvie makes no excuses as to why we as Black women, when we as women, when we as people reach what we want to reach for! Which again goes back into her renaming of her podcast from Rants & Randomness to the Professional Troublemaker podcast–which can be found on Apple Podcast. I suggest you download that, follow it, subscribe to it, and listen immediately! The topics on that podcast correspond and intersect with every chapter of her newest book.
For practical things, such as being able to ask for what you want, for being able to hold space in place–doing it in front of those whom may not be welcoming to your melaninated self!–to even to stop being so hard on yourself when you miss it! Everything in this book with chicken soup for the woman, man, woman, boy, girl who wants to change the world!
It is written in three segments: Be, Say and Do. In the 14 chapters of this particular book, I have decided that I need to give it out to every woman I knew who I am certain is destined to change the world!
One of the key things that I take away from this book is as a Black woman, I have every every right to exist in my body; existing whatever space I’m in; to value everything that I bring to it! Love you makes no mistake about that. The thing that is exponentially incredible about this book is because it helps you to examine where your fears would be coming from, how to avoid them, and not to be oppressed by them! What are the dopest things that I learned in this book (especially as one who is who is a creative) is this analogy of the pickle juice.
Sometime ago Nicki Minaj (the infamous rapper who I love and adore), was that a photo shoot and none of her requests were honored. And when she went back to catering, there was none of the food she requested! But, there was a jar of pickles. Again, nothing Nikki had asked for was honored, and because it wasn’t honored? Nikki bounced! And then with her agent try to get her to stay? Nikki said that she refused to be devalued, and refused and stay in the space! The thing that Luvvie said that was so powerful is this (the book’s SAY section):
“People that want to pay us pickle juice for champagne work need to get used to hearing no.“Luvvie Ajayi Jones, PROFESSIONAL TROUBLEMAKERL THE FEAR FIGHTER MANUAL
“I’m not expensive, I’m valuable.”Luvvie Ajayi Jones, PROFESSIONAL TROUBLEMAKER: THE FEAR FIGHTER MANUAL
Did you see how Luvvie just gathered us?! Did you see it?!
The beautiful thing about this is it is a reminder that you are entitled to ask for what you need or want. If those involved do not meet criteria, or not met if those desires, have the absolute right to preserve your sanity space (and pockets!) and leave the situation! It is just this level of practicality which shines through this book. And after reading this book, I personally, as the admin of this particular space, have gotten more confidence to walk into any area that opportunities from this platform garners. Why? In order to maximize whatever opportunity that is given to me.
Luvvie also goes on to confront Impostor Syndrome, shrinking to fit spaces, and fake friends they will never celebrate celebrate you. She even touches on the role faith in a higher power, and yourself, can/does play in your life! When I tell you she kicks over this idol of shrinking (not bringing all of yourself in a space to suit the comfort of other people)? Luvvie dismantles it and kicks over! She also sets fire to the altar of this same fear idol that says, “I can’t do because I’m scared!”
Believe it or not, this is not a (complete) Luvvie Ajayi Jones stan post.
The one thing I want to impress upon you, my dear Torches, is that you have everything in you to do everything you want to do. Fear, as Luvvie says in the book often, is ‘the everlasting hater’. While there are biological needs and causes for fear (because again without fear we would just be out here doing all kind of stuff without that inkling in the back of your mind which says “This may not be a good idea!”) . But the fact that we can identify what is a rational fear is and what is an irrational fear is? Monumental!
You always have things that scare you! It is how you react to them, how you handle them, even how you identify them, that will determine just how able you are to do what you’re destined to do! You need to start book groups about this book! Fear is a hater, and it cannot take up space or pay rent in the life of any Torch.
Watch the space during the month of April. We will be giving out three copies of the Professional Troublemaker: The Fear-Fighting Manual by Luvvie Ajayi Jones. If this if you read nothing else for the for the year 2021, let this be essential reading for you. This essential reading for any Black woman who has felt unseen in a room, and knew that she was a smartest person in the room! This book is for any Black girl who sees the world, and she wants to leave it better. Thanks to our Forever Vice President Kamala D. Harris, also for reminding us to to “eat no’s for breakfast”. Last shameless shout out: you need to read this book! Need to re-read this book!