Read You Can't Touch My Hair: And Other Things I Still Have to Explain by Phoebe Robinson Online


A hilarious and affecting essay collection about race, gender, and pop culture from celebrated stand-up comedian and WNYC podcaster Phoebe Robinson. Phoebe Robinson is a stand-up comic, which means that, often, her everyday experiences become points of comedic fodder. And as a black woman in America, she maintains, sometimes you need to have a sense of humor to deal with tA hilarious and affecting essay collection about race, gender, and pop culture from celebrated stand-up comedian and WNYC podcaster Phoebe Robinson. Phoebe Robinson is a stand-up comic, which means that, often, her everyday experiences become points of comedic fodder. And as a black woman in America, she maintains, sometimes you need to have a sense of humor to deal with the absurdity you are handed every day. Robinson has experienced her fair share over the years: she's been unceremoniously relegated to the role of "the black friend," as if she is somehow the authority on all things racial; she's been questioned about her love of U2 and Billy Joel ("isn t that . . . white people music?"); she's been called "uppity" for having an opinion in the workplace; she's been followed around stores by security guards; and yes, people do ask her whether they can touch her hair all. the. time. Now, she's ready to take these topics to the page and she s going to make you laugh as she s doing it. Using her trademark wit alongside pop-culture references galore, Robinson explores everything from why Lisa Bonet is "Queen. Bae. Jesus," to breaking down the terrible nature of casting calls, to giving her less-than-traditional advice to the future female president, and demanding that the NFL clean up its act, all told in the same conversational voice that launched her podcast, "2 Dope Queens," to the top spot on iTunes. As personal as it is political, "You Can't Touch My Hair" examines our cultural climate and skewers our biases with humor and heart, announcing Robinson as a writer on the rise."...

Title : You Can't Touch My Hair: And Other Things I Still Have to Explain
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781524735609
Format Type : Audiobook
Number of Pages : 261 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

You Can't Touch My Hair: And Other Things I Still Have to Explain Reviews

  • Petra X
    2018-10-28 14:48

    Is this book an American thing? It might be you have to be American to enjoy it, to get the references, like her particular brand of humour. Feel the catharsism of being berated for being racist although it's not your personal fault, if you are White but don't worry, she likes White people especially dudes. No matter how much you and everyone else might want this time to be Post-Racist, it can't be, Whites are holding it back. The author says that there are BPS, Black People's Secrets which are kept from Whites and tells one that I didn't get. Like having to say someone could act even though he couldn't because White people said he couldn't. Was that supposed to be enlightening or funny? I didn't get either. I did try. I read the first 50 pages even the forewords which were boring as most forewords are, then I swapped to the audio book, but although I liked the premise of the book - a racial education for the ignorant (Whites) done in a warm and humourous way. As Robinson herself says, she isn't Ta-Nehisi Coates. I wasn't enlightened and I wasn't amused. I found the authors' voices strident and trying too hard. After reading the South African Trevor Noah's 10-star Born a Crime I was raring to go on this book. But it's chalk and cheese. Trevor Noah is a brilliant writer, and Phoebe Robinson might be all right with the politically involved skits but a book? It's like bloggers writing a book. Just because you can write in one way doesn't mean that you will be equally able in other formats or genres. It came across to me like going to a comedy theatre. No matter how hard the comedian tries, it's just so obvious that the insights and jokes aren't fresh, it's the same show repeated nightly only the audience differs.Caribbean women and hair-touching. (view spoiler)[I asked a clerk today about hair touching and she said it is more Black people touching hair. Like if it has been relaxed and is long, they want to touch it to see if it is all yours. They want to touch children's hair to see how soft it is, if it is 'good' hair. (I like touching babies' hair especially if they have a lot and it's like a fluffy cloud). She said it's a black people thing, always touching each other's hair but she'd never had a white person do it. I get Black kids fascinated with my red ringlets. They like to get a fistful and tug. (hide spoiler)]Why 2 star if I didn't finish it? I could have, it wasn't that bad, but there are other potential 5 star books I would really rather read.

  • Esil
    2018-11-02 10:45

    I was inspired to read You Can't Touch My Hair at GR friend Taryn's suggestion as a counterpoint to Jodie Picoult's portrayal of Ruth in Great Small Things. I didn't know anything about Phoebe Robinson -- who I now know is a young writer, feminist, actor and comic -- but I'm glad I read her book of personal essays. She writes about her views and experiences of being an African American woman -- she writes about experiences as a student, in casting calls, on the set, shopping, dealing with her hair and much more. She doesn't purport to speak on behalf of all African American women, but to the extent that she sheds some light on the experience of living in the shadow of mainstream expectations and stereotypes, her anecdotes and observations go well beyond the personal. She has a great narrative style -- she's funny but direct and unapologetic. Robinson's book is a timely and compelling counterpoint to the ugly morass into which current American politics have descended. I suspect that the audio version of her book would be even better because there's a lovely spoken quality to her writing. Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for an opportunity to read an advance copy.

  • Nenia ✨ Queen of Literary Trash, Protector of Out-of-Print Gems, Khaleesi of Bodice Rippers, Mother of Smut, the Unrepentant, Breaker of Convention ✨ Campbell
    2018-10-21 15:53

    Instagram || Twitter || Facebook || Amazon || PinterestI just read Amy Schumer's GIRL WITH THE LOWER BACK TATTOO, and if you follow me, you'll remember that I had some complaints. Mainly that comedians, for whatever reason, write unfunny memoirs that are either a) self-promotional, b) long, shopping lists of gratitude, or c) boring & dry. It's like they have to prove a point - that they're not just the funny man or woman, they can be serious, just you watch. But...that's not why people are going to buy your memoirs. It's not why I buy your memoirs.Phoebe Robinson's memoir is not like that at all. It opens with the history and the politics of "natural" hair and why it's rude to ask to touch it. Robinson discusses how different hairstyles can make a statement if you're a woman of color, the hours and effort that go into maintaining natural hair, and the frustration she and other women feel when they are othered based on their appearance.After this, as a bit of a wind down, she discusses some of the famous (black) celebrities who contributed to the pop cultural lexicon of black hairstyles. This section includes pictures and commentary, and I really enjoyed seeing the evolving looks.The middle section is a bit about Phoebe herself, and some of the things she loves, as a sort of belated meet-cute before she gets into the heavy stuff. Try not falling for this woman, I dare you. She's so charming, and funny, and self-effacing. She drops pop culture references and slang like a pro, and her voice is so strong that you really get the feeling that you're having a dialogue with her - right now.It can be surprisingly difficult to capture a "voice" on paper, and she does it really, really well.After the meet-cute, Phoebe gets into the Deep Stuff. Race. Stereotypes. Bigotry. Guilt. Othering. Coded language. Privilege. The stuff that will send a small population running for the hills (or their laptops), screaming about rabid SJWs. But Phoebe discusses these topics in a really great way, supporting her points with examples that help give you an idea of what she feels and why when people use insensitive words like "exotic", "urban", or "uppity", or why she got so angry when a woman burst into tears after Phoebe was forced to read aloud and then later criticized her offensive lesbian master/slave love story and claimed that she - a white college student - felt "picked on."Riiiiiiiight.Phoebe gets right to the point. Even now, decades after the civil rights movement and about a century after the end of slavery, we are still pretty damn discriminatory as a society. And discrimination doesn't have to be overt. You don't have to say the N-word to discriminate. Discrimination can be as implicit as designing camera film for white skin, treating your black friend like they're the ambassador for all people of color, or only carrying lighter shades of foundation at a drug store. Buzzfeed did a few role reversal videos (1, 2) that help illustrate what things look like from the outside the privilege zone, but the fact that it feels so ridiculous just goes to show how heavily integrated such stereotypes are within the structure of society, and why we still need change.The book ends with Phoebe writing a series of letters to her young niece about what it means to be black, biracial, and a woman, and the importance of being an authentic, compassionate individual who is open to new experiences but also not afraid to stand up for her principles. She brings up some more great points, too, but after the previous section, it feels a bit anticlimactic. I can see why Phoebe chose to end her book this way, though. You don't want to leave your readers on a note of moral outrage (for better, or for worse), and it helps bring the memoir full circle, as Phoebe starts out talking about the politics of the parts of the individual, and ends with the politics of the whole article.This is probably one of my top 5 favorite female memoirs, ranking right up there with Felicia Day's YOU'RE NEVER WEIRD ON THE INTERNET and Tina Fey's BOSSYPANTS. It made me cry out, "I relate to that!" "I am interested in that!" "I am outraged by that!" and "I want to be your friend!" by turns. I love memoirs that are passionate, and political, and energized, and this book was all of those things. It was also thought-provoking, and honest in a way that a lot of memoirs these days aren't (I think you've probably heard me complain that too many celebrity memoirs are too "nice"; nice is nice, but it isn't controversial and it doesn't make a statement and it doesn't get you talking, either).I loved that. And I love Phoebe. (And now I'm off to check out her comedy and stalk her on Twitter.)Thank you so much, Netgalley, for the free copy! 4.5 to 5 stars!

  • Book Riot Community
    2018-11-11 08:30

    This book had been on my radar since before it published in October of last year. A collection of personal essays that tackle issues of race and identity, it gave me a glimpse of racism as it is experienced by marginalized populations, in much the same way Claudia Rankine’s Citizen did. Except that, where Citizen was lyrical, a breathtaking work of prose poetry, Robinson’s book is knock-you-on-your-ass hysterical. Which makes sense, considering that Robinson is a stand-up comic with a resume that includes Late Night With Seth Meyers, Broad City, and her WNYC podcast 2 Dope Queens. I feel grateful that she has so much out there that I can still explore.— Steph Auterifrom The Best Books We Read In March 2017: ____________________An utter delight of a book, from Jessica Williams’ forward to Phoebe Robinson’s last page. You Can’t Touch My Hair is a collection of essays dripping in humor, honesty, and pop-culture references that weaves effortlessly between important conversations about race/gender to silly conversations like ranking U2 members for bow-chicka-wow-wow purposes. And if Jessica Williams doesn’t have a book deal yet someone needs to get on that.–Jamie Canavesfrom The Best Books We Read In June 2016:

  • Taryn
    2018-10-29 10:56

    Comedian Phoebe Robinson addresses race, gender, and pop culture in this collection of eleven humorous essays. Robinson is the creator and one of the hosts of the 2 Dope Queens podcast. She also has a series on YouTube called Woke Bae. I'm behind the times and had never encountered her work before! The foreword is written by 2 Dope Queens cohost and Daily Show correspondent Jessica Williams, which is what made me interested in this book. It's not the typical celebrity memoir that I could breeze through in a few hours, but it's entertaining and thought-provoking.The kind of growth required to move past race is nearly impossible to achieve because racism is rooted in the foundation of America. … Without awareness or acknowledgment of how these things have left a permanent stain on our country, then no amount of blind hope is going to remedy the erosion that race and racism have done to this country.Robinson writes about her experiences as a black woman, both in and out of the entertainment industry. Some of the issues she covers are America's uncomfortable relationship with black hair, the evolution of her attitude towards her own hair, being the black friend, Hollywood casting, microaggressions, coded language, and the angry black woman myth. She reveals the subtle ways that racism and sexism are ingrained in modern culture. These are all serious topics, but the book is not an academic treatise. She tackles all the issues with her unique brand of humor. Even though I have zero comedic timing, I was able to enjoy the print version because her writing voice is so distinctive. However, I would've opted for the audio book if given the chance.The writing style is conversational. You can get a good sense of her writing by visiting her blog, Blaria. She uses a lot of hashtags and modern slang ("#WayHarshTai", ""). Every paragraph is packed with pop culture references. Best part? I actually recognized 95% of them, which is rare for me! If you came of age in the late 90s/early 00s and have a deep appreciation of The West Wing and Shonda Rhimes's productions, you should definitely be in the clear! She had my interest clinched with mentions '99 Ricky Martin and Kids Incorporated. I do get a little bored when I'm not as invested in the people or shows mentioned, like the "Ranking Members of U2 in the Order of Whom I Want to Sleep With" section of "My Nine Favorite Guilty Pleasures". I was most interested in her personal experiences that diverged from my own, so my mind would start drifting off when it veered away from those topics. While not all of the book resonated with me personally, she struck a perfect balance between light and heavy subject matter.Explaining your life to a world that doesn't care to listen is often more draining than living in it.There's something for everyone in this book. Many readers will be able to directly relate to Robinson's experiences. For others, there are important lessons: being aware that racism still exists in a variety of ways and to not dismiss someone else's experience simply because it isn't your own or it's too uncomfortable to deal with. Two of the anecdotes were especially memorable for me: the director who called Robinson "uppity" and the classmate who wrote creative fiction about a romance between a slave and a slave owner's daughter. Instead of learning and gaining a more well-rounded viewpoint, these two immediately put their defenses up and completely flipped out when confronted. (Coincidently, I read these chapters when White Fragility Training was making the rounds on Facebook.)Despite the seriousness and importance of the topics addressed, it's one of the rare books that has actually made me laugh out loud. It's also one of the few celebrity memoirs that made me think, even weeks after I read the last page. If you are interested in further exploring the topics addressed in this book, you might be interested in:• Born a Crime by Trevor Noah (pub. date 11/15/16) - This one is about coming of age in South Africa from a male point of view, but there is a lot of overlap with themes. (Humor/Nonfiction)• Citizen by Claudia Rankine - Especially the sections on microaggressions and Serena Williams. (Nonfiction)• We Love You Charlie Freeman - Charlotte's chapters/Enrolling in an predominately white school/Coded language. (Fiction)______________________I received this book for free from Penguin Random House in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. The publication date is October 4, 2016.

  • Trish
    2018-11-11 08:43

    We may not be in a post racial society but I tell you what: when funky, funny Phoebe can tell us what white people do that makes her crazy, and why she doesn’t want to be anybody’s token black friend, I think we’ve moved the needle since the last century. I remember the first time an African man told me that the only pictures he’d had taken in his years of graduate school were those taken by a Singaporean man who knew how to get the camera to register his skin color and expression. Robinson says something similar here: maybe it’s best if we first acknowledge a color difference before we declare it doesn’t matter.Robinson does plenty of things in this “breakout book deal” but the thing that drew me in was the chance to learn, unfiltered, how black women had such dope-fantastic hair while white folk have to make do with boring thin stuff that flies away and looks pretty much the same everyday, no matter what we do to it. I first learned a little about the time and energy and money serious black hair coiffeurs require in Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s novel Americanah, but now I think I get it. And no, I don’t think anyone should have to do this so that other folks will love them more. It is, however, an art form, another art form that black folk have created, perfected, and strutted. Shonda Rhimes, in her book Year of Yes, tells us as a teen she tried to get her hair looking like Diana Ross every morning before classes. Oh girl…I did the same thing with some magazine model or other whose look was so far from mine that a million years of evolution wouldn’t have changed that difference between us. It is definitely not worth the effort. And the “creamy crack” or “crack cream” (break me up, girl!) sounds positively dangerous. Forget it immediately. Get a wig if you want to toss straight hair so much and definitely don’t subject yourself to chemical burns. Come on. If that is what’s required, f- them. I wouldn’t do it. Who the heck is calling the shots here?When Robinson describes a bedroom scene where the woman is wearing an elastic do-rag to protect her afro and she insists that a real man would still get a boner regardless, I laughed all right. But then it occurred to me that is the definition of drop-dead sexy: strong and sexy, when black womanhood doesn’t even need to fling her hair around to get to home base. She commands the stage. I’m impressed. Personally, I’d kill for the simplicity of a close crop and call it quits. But I ain’t no Phoebe Robinson.Jessica Williams, Phoebe’s “werk wife,” writes the introduction to this book. Williams was a writer/correspondent on The Daily Show and now the two perform standup at various locations in Brooklyn and work a podcast (WYNC) called 2 Dope Queens. Robinson had a vision of where she wanted to go and to that end began a blog called Blaria in 2014. When the Robinson and Williams standup routine started to take off, a new piece in the NYT tried to keep track. Robinson also has a talk-show style podcast she started last year called Sooo Many White Guys. She's angling for Oprah's job, and I think she's becoming a worthy successor. She certainly has drive.If the material is sometimes juvenile, well, juvenile can be funny. There is one thing that may eventually limit the range of the women, though: all their references for jokes relate to TV or movies. When it works, it’s very good indeed, but not everyone is so deep into popular culture, or have looked at it with such seriousness and depth of understanding. It is fascinating to watch Robinson deconstruct an old movie like a college professor does a piece of literature, but then our mind starts thinking…what else can this woman do that would be—less fun, maybe—but more important? Then I remember what she is doing, desensitizing race relations, telling white folk what bothers black folk, sharing some intimacies and some vulnerabilities, and I realize she is doing exactly what she needs to be doing right now, and she is doing it funny, she is doing it sexy, she is doing it in braids, in long soft curls, in dreads, and in a bust-'em afro. She’s strong, she’s sexy, she’s outspoken, and she’s unstoppable now. I’m a fan.I have loaded a 2 Dope Queens holiday video podcast on my blog for you to see what you’re missing.

  • Jessica Woodbury
    2018-11-13 13:36

    Phoebe Robinson's delivers more laughs per page than any other book of essays by a female comedian in recent memory. (Yes, I'm including Tina Fey. And Amy Poehler.) Not only that, she dispenses wisdom and tackles issues that go beyond the typical "being-a-woman-in-comedy-is-hard" thing a lot of these books do. You know how sometimes you're reading the new Mindy Kaling book and she'll start talking about the realities of being a woman of color in entertainment and you think she's just about to start going for it and then she starts talking about zits or B. J. Novak or some other thing and never really goes there? Phoebe Robinson goes there. This book is about those realities, and yet it is so constantly hilarious that it's hard to figure out how she does it. She talks about microaggressions and then she's ranking the members of U2 based on bone-ability. This tightrope walk defines the whole book and it's pretty masterful.Often with this kind of book that's kind of a mix between essay and memoir there will be the occasional weak section or the short, fluffy chapters thrown in so it doesn't look to short. But not this one. Every chapter felt solid and consistent and you could read for a long stretch or a little bit and feel really good about it.If you're a fan of the 2 Dope Queens podcast, this book is probably already high up on your list. It will only confirm that Phoebe is even funnier than you thought she was.

  • Taryn Pierson
    2018-11-06 09:56

    Forgive me for this, but can I just say I am Super First-World Frustrated that I didn't get to listen to an audio version of this book? I knew as soon as I read that Phoebe Robinson of the 2 Dope Queens podcast had a book coming out that I wanted it in audio. I mean, why wouldn't I? I've read a bunch of books this year by comedians, and there's nothing better than hearing their words straight from the horses' hilarious mouths. But every time I checked Amazon in the months leading up to release date, they showed only paperback and ebook as purchase options. I sighed, shrugged, and requested an ebook version—and the entire time I was reading, I was imagining how much better the book would be if I could hear it in Phoebe's voice.So imagine my surprise, dismay, and eyebrow twitchiness when I just checked Amazon to confirm that there really is no audio version available—you know, before I post something on the Internet claiming it as fact—and there it is, smirking in my face—the audio version! The temerity! It's a good thing I am not a comic book villain and thus unable to shoot Hate Lasers from my eyeballs, because my laptop screen would have been toast.I guess my loss is your gain (you lucky bastards), because I'm here to tell you from personal experience, listening to this book is almost certainly going to be more fun than reading a print copy, especially if you haven't ever had the pleasure of experiencing Robinson's antics on her podcast. I've listened to a handful of episodes in the past few weeks so I was able to color in the gaps with my imagination, but trust me, Robinson has a unique voice and it's a lot funnier out loud. She covers a wide range of topics, including microaggressions, Michael Fassbender, being called “uppity,” a list of demands for the first female president, and as you might have guessed, black hair and why white people lose their minds over it. She makes even the tough parts at least a little funny (which, as she points out, is necessary to avoid being labeled an angry black woman). She walks that tightrope between too silly and too serious really well. The best comedians know you can unload a lot of truth on people if you package it up the right way. With regards to Plume and NetGalley for the review copy (even though, you know, it wasn't an audio version). On sale now!More book recommendations by me at

  • Kay
    2018-10-26 09:43

    You Can't Touch My Hair is a good representation of today's pop culture, one replete with hostages, movie and music references. While this made it interesting for about the first 30% of the book, I found it very difficult to continue after "Dear Future Female President." While Phoebe's comedy is hilarious in its honesty and rawness, I wish issues raised in the latter part of the book seemed more like "first world problems." Moreover, in some instances Phoebe came across as judgemental and whiny there was even an instance of fat shaming, making the read extremely jarring, mores because this is often waved off as totally acceptable and understandable. Overall, I found this book to be okay. What started off with a bang started to get less interesting as it progressed. Thank you Netgalley and the publisher for approving my request for a free digital copy in exchange for a honest review.

  • Monica
    2018-10-27 07:51

    I enjoyed this very smart and humorous book. This is not the stuff of Pulitzer, but I think Robinson has something here. I appreciated this book for the intelligent commentary on race and feminism and its youthful voice. The essays are uneven in quality that vacillate between utterly personal, emotional, intelligent and brilliant to sophmoric, juvenille and silly. Robinson is a standup comic and has a popular podcast that make fine use of both traits.Overall I'm glad to have read the book and happy to recommend it. No minds were changed during the listening but I'm happy to report that in my view the current youthful generation seems to get it (examples of that are sometimes lacking in my own family...;-)). Robinson has proven to this old lady that she sees and understands the issues that (I think) are important and their impact on her generation and beyond. She's also happens to be quite funny and suprisingly optimistic.4 StarsEdited to Add: The use of John Hodgeman to pen a Letter to Olivia was superb! (view spoiler)[ In the letter, Hodgeman explains white culture to 10 month old bi-racial Olivia. Poignant and funny(hide spoiler)]Listened to the Audio version narrated by the author. It was superb.

  • Julie Ehlers
    2018-11-14 10:43

    This made some excellent points and I would not want to discourage anyone from reading it, but I think I was just not in the target audience, agewise. The relentless pop-culture references and meandering style made me feel like my brain was leaking out of my ears.

  • Didi
    2018-10-29 10:58

    I started reading this in paperback and couldn't get into it. Allyn suggested I listen to it on audio and I have to be honest, it's the best way to stay interested in it. It should have only come out in audio. IT just doesn't work on paper. As a whole I liked but I didn't love it. She got me to smirk and shake my head Yes quite a bit but there was something that didn't win me over totally. If you're interested in this book and you're not familiar with pop culture, you should give this one a mss. You won't understand the jokes if you don't know who or what she's referencing.

  • Renee
    2018-10-21 09:54

    Let me start by saying that this title is everything. I have curly hair, and people ask to touch it ALL.The.TIME. As soon as I heard about this book, I knew I had to read it. Phoebe Robinson is hilarious. I want to hang out with her, and I feel like she's my new literary best friend. This was a total blast, but a smart one filled with perspective and power. I switched between the audiobook and physical book,  and laughed out loud many times throughout. Nothing is better than listening to a comedian narrate their own book. It's amazing. She's a comedian and writer, and her talents come together beautifully in this short book of essays. Phoebe is bold and unapologetic in her takes on race, feminism, sexuality, and more.  I loved, LOVED, Phoebe's sections on music. I may not love U2 the way she does, but I don't listen to much music that would be expected for a non-white person. She talks about how people assume she knows what's new in hip hop, when in reality she's about to listen to Arcade Fire or Phil Collins. Cultural stereotypes, gotta love them. Phoebe, you'll never read this, but I need to talk to you! This book is written as though only people of colour (POC for short) will be reading it. I wanted Phoebe to be a little more inclusive with her audience, to assume that enlightened or curious (or any!) white people may want to read this book! I think she may keep her non POC readers a little at bay with this assumption, but hey, I'm a biracial reader, so maybe I just see both sides of the fence?Speaking of being biracial, I adored Phoebe's letters to her infant niece Olivia. She offers solutions for getting through life female and biracial. She even offers her a plethora of biracial celebrities to look to for identity: Lisa Bonet, Prince, Bob Marley, and more!Don't let all the fun fool you, Phoebe is on a mission with this book. She dives deep into her personal experiences with sexism and racism with a strength that I truly admire. She puts herself out there, exposing times when she felt weak and used, and made to feel less than. She discusses the young black people killed at the hands of police in America, and injustices that are difficult to swallow.I loved reading about these topics in a practical, everyday sort of manner. Phoebe, at least for me, is so relatable that it made this book feel like a conversation with a good friend. I really enjoyed this, and will be looking out for whatever Phoebe does next. 

  • Michelle
    2018-11-16 15:52

    Phoebe Robinson is a comedian, actress and writer. Her work has appeared in Vanity Fair, Huffington Post and the New York Times. TV credits include NBC's Last Comic Standing, the Today show, Late Night with Seth Meyers, and Last Call with Carson Daly. You Can’t Touch My Hair is her first book and has been featured by Goodreads Choice Awards as one of the Best Humor Books of 2016.“But what will the White people think?”Comical yet spot on in her delivery Robinson goes beyond merely illuminating microaggressions like strangers touching our crowns. You Can’t Touch My Hair tackles everything from being the token Black friend to being called “uppity” and other racial slights that typically go by unanswered. Some of the topics she touches upon include:*Being expected to be the representative for all Black people when hot button topics arise in discussions**Double standards for women in the entertainment business and society at large**Being labeled the “Angry Black Woman” whenever you disagree with someone or feel violated in some way*

  • Chris
    2018-11-13 08:51

    In the sake of fairness, I should note that like Robinson, I think Lisa Bonet is the da bomb. I always loved Denise best, mostly because she was the oldest girl who was regularly on the Cosby Show. However, I do think it is interesting that Robinson slights as proof as Bonet's awesome ablitiy her husbands (Lennie Kratvitz and Jason Moma). Not that I blame her, and not that I am innocent of doing it. Perhaps that itself is proof about why feminism is so needed today.The best essays in this collection are the ones about hair, hence the title. As a white person, I never knew people asked African Americans if they could touch the woman's hair - it never occured to me that any such request was anything other than rude. But when I started teaching, I did learn about the rude behavior.Robinson's essays on hair are also about why women style thier hair (and some of these points are true for any woman). It balances nicely Chris Rock's movie about hair. I wish this had been out about two years ago when a student of mine wrote her research paper about the issue. I would love to know what the student thought of this book.The most compelling essay outside of the hair is about Robinson's experience on television or attempting to audtion for roles. The pop culture tone of the book can wear a little thing. There are almost too many jokes.

  • Hannah
    2018-10-30 14:36

    "My driver looked like Villain #4 from the Taken movies, you know, just real Slavic AF" says the author who swears she would make white people rub her legs down with lotion as a greeting if she were queen of a country. Maybe I'm not the right audience for a book that uses hashtags and laughs at its own jokes with an L to the O to the L, but I just couldn't get jiggy with Robinson's sense of humor. Not my cup of tea.

  • Joce (squibblesreads)
    2018-10-21 12:43

    I'd highly recommend the audiobook! It is written in conversational, informal language so I feel like my experience was enhanced by Phoebe's vivacious personality discussing serious and personal topics, whereas I wouldn't have received that in the physical copy.

  • Taylor Reid
    2018-11-19 09:45

    Phoebe Robinson is so freakin funny. I laughed out loud multiple times.

  • Elizabeth
    2018-11-14 13:39

    Why I picked this up: #DiverseAThon + the cover! Also, it looked like it would be a funny read but at the same time a good dose of truth.Did it deliver: YES. - She has a chapter on hair, and she continues to talk about black culture as well as how she got into comedy and writing. - She writes a letter to the future female POTUS and several letters to her young niece. - She is so very, very funny. And honest. She talks openly about things that have happened because people judged her based on her skin color. She also talks about casting calls that are absolutely real and ridiculous.- She's just amazing. What I learned:- All of her bits about Black People Secrets - I knew very basic things about black hair, but this dove a bit deeper. She definitely had fun with it, but also I felt like I learned a lot from it. - John Hodgman is literally the whitest man, but sees his privilege. - I should probably binge Scandal and HTGAWM soon!

  • Erica
    2018-11-11 12:45

    I'm going with 3 stars on this, the audiobook, specifically. First, though, I hope Phoebe appreciates that this is #69 on my Biographical shelf. I feel that some of her humor is juvenile enough for that to make some sort of impact.Ok, so all of you who are familiar with Phoebe Robinson, like if you've read her blog or listened to the podcast she does with her work-wife, Jessica Williams, are already well aware of her communication style.I went into this blind because I am an old person and not hip to today's youth indie trend culture. If you, too, are unaware, like I am, here's a quick rundown on Phoebe: She's a comedian and writer and discusses race, feminism, and pop culture. You probably could have figured that out simply by reading the summary for this book or her Goodreads bio, but whatever. I deal in information, people, and sharing is caring.In these essays, Robinson touches on often-trod ground but via a younger perspective. I got the sense she expected her audience to be even younger than she is (31 at the time of writing) because she kept throwing out references that were appropriate to her age (and a few that predated even me and I am a crone!) and then had to explain them because they were too old for the reader. It was almost as if this were geared toward a young- or new-adult audience.She starts with black hair or, as my hair magician likes to call it, ethnic hair, which I find amusing, as if all hair comes in Ethnic or Not Ethnic. But anyway, if you're black, you already know all this but, as she points out, no one was talking about black hair when she was young and it only came in a few styles so it was kind of a secret thing but now pretty much anything is embraced by mainstream culture ... only ... not really. If you're white and haven't read or seen anything that touches on what it's like to have kinky hair, then this will all be news and you will learn a lot, which is pretty cool.You know what's not so cool, though? The media continuing to embrace black stereotypes on both sides of the screen, which Phoebe breaks down in her next topic. Until very recently (thank you, Shonda Rhimes), TV and movies portrayed typecast black characters. Robinson explains that casting calls ask for those typecast black characters so it's been hard to break this cycle. However, it can and will be broken as more people who are not straight, fully-abled, white men start working in production and direction and writing and casting and all those other jobs that create popular entertainment.She talks about feminism and how to not be a judgey asshole toward people who are not you. For instance, she talks about "guilty" pleasures, things which any sane member of society shouldn't enjoy because of stigmas surrounding said things, quite often related to the stigmas surrounding anything female or feminine. But who gets to say what a person can or can't enjoy and what does anyone else care if someone likes to watch TV that is considered bad by the masses? Norms are a societal construct and the pursuit of pleasure, as long as it's not hurting anyone, should only be defined by the pleasure-seeker. So if you like painting your toenails pink while watching "Sex in the City," that's fine. That's not one of her examples, by the way. That's something I judge because I do not like painting my toenails pink and I did not like "Sex in the City" but, again, only I can define my own pleasure, not anyone else's. One of her examples was looking yourself up on the internet because, apparently, everyone does it but nobody admits it. I disagree with her there because I think a lot of people admit to Googling themselves. I mean, where's the shame? How are you going to know what other people are going to see if they Google you if you don't do it yourself? Stay armed, people! KNOW YOUR INFORMATION!She also talks about being female in a male-dominated career (comedy), something we've been hearing more about since Louis C.K. got busted for being a harasser. It's pretty dismal that, despite the ever increasing number of mainstream female comics, the industry is still so incredibly bleak when it comes to being a woman comedian.She tells the reader, up front, that there are going to be zillions of pop culture references all throughout her essays and she is not wrong. I got 98% of what she was talking about, only getting lost in the most recent phenomena. I appreciated that she has a huge chunk of nerd in her, I felt like I could connect with her if we had to have a conversation because we got stuck in an elevator together. So while I normally sigh heavily over pop culture references, these ones worked and made sense and I was not left on the outskirts of the essays because I didn't get what she was talking about. Hooray!Overall, she shared lots of insights that either resonated with me or that made me go, "Oh! Yeah, sure, I get that now. Cool."So why didn't this get the 4 stars the actual content merited?I am too old for this shit, people. Too damn old, too curmudgeonly, too unwilling to embrace certain changes in society because I am comfortable and don't care about your comfort. Obviously.So you know how sorority girls talk on TV? Or Tom Haverford (played by Aziz Ansari) in "Parks and Recreation?" With the whine and the holding onto words for way too loooo-oooong and the making of cutesy words dot com-a-rama and the overall juvenile way of speaking? You know, like we all did once but then stopped doing outside of our circle of friends who also used to talk like that? The majority of this audiobook is read in that voice. I felt like I was sitting in Starbucks, one table over from some 20-year-old talking on her iPhone to her bestieeeee, which is weird because I don't go to Starbucks and do 20-year-olds even know they can talk on their phones to anyone other than their parents? Is that something of which they're aware?So what I'm saying, and probably doing so in the shittiest and potentially most racist, in addition to age-ist, way possible is that, for old ears like mine, her reading style starts off grating, goes to cute for a bit (translation: I got used to it), but then goes right back to grating (translation: I had enough.) It's the whine. I cannot deal with the whine. There is no reason to whine like that as an adult. And I completely understand that I now sound like the old person who complained about kids these days using terms like, "Groovy" or "Wicked" or "Cray-cray" or, worse, the old fuddy duddy who went off on eubonics because it wasn't English or was, at the very least, a terrible bastardization of our fine [school-taught white people] language. I know I'm doing that and I know it's stupid and I also know that my irritation at that speaking style kept me from appreciating the actual content of the book as much as I should have.Aaaand, the musical interludes between essays did not work for me. At all. It sounded like something you'd hear in a trendy dressing room...or, worse, on a trendy vlog where you're being shown the outfits coming out of the trendy dressing room. Musical interludes of that length may work to kill time in podcasts but it's too much for an audiobook. TOO MUCH! *shaking my old lady cane*This is one of those books I should have read with my eyeballs, not my earholes. Unless she spelled "Fine" as "Fi-yi-yi-yi-yine," which is how she pronounced it (with a whine) In that case, I should have found the abridged notes and just read those.Highly recommended to people 31 and younger who have their finger on the pulse of popular culture. Recommended for everyone who needs or wants to hear perspectives on feminism and race relations in America. Not as recommended for hateful crones like myself.

  • Alana Benjamin
    2018-11-08 13:51

    *I received this book for free through Goodreads Giveaways*Two things. 1. I think this book would be better consumed as an audiobook because the jokes, colloquialisms and popular culture references would land better and be better understood in the overall context of the short stories. 2. If you are unfamiliar with TV, movie and music references in the past 30 years, most of the references will probably go over your head. That being said, I felt that this book had more misses than hits. The first short short 'From Little Rock Nine to Nappy Hair, Don't Care in Eighteen-and-Half-ish Years' was really touching and I think EVERY black girl can relate. I thought the second story 'A Brief History of Black Hair in Film, TV, Music and Media' was a great nostalgic flashback. My favorite line of the book was 'bitch is an insomniac, that's how woke she is.'After that, it went progressively downhill for me. I appreciated the essays 'Welcome to Being Black', 'How to Avoid Being the Black Friend', 'Uppity' and 'The Angry Black Woman Myth'. I feel like these were stories you can share with your 'friend' who doesn't fully get the black experience. They are light enough that the heavy aspects of the conversation do not get lost in translation. Everything else is a miss for me. Overall, I think I was just not the target audience for this book. I am a fan of her podcasts and standup but I think her jokes don't really translate in the literary format ...for me at least.Just a side bar. I don't think Prince is bi-racial. A fact check is definitely necessary there.

  • Nnenna
    2018-11-20 15:48

    I listened to the audiobook version of this book, and I think it was the right call. Before reading this, I wasn't super familiar with Phoebe Robinson, but I knew she was a comedian and that she has a podcast with Jessica Williams called 2 Dope Queens. I was sold by the title (seriously, so good), and the description. The book is full of essays about race, gender, pop culture, and more. This was a pretty fun to listen to. I was able to identify with some of her experiences and, as a black woman, I found a lot of Robinson's observations on race spot on. Of course, she puts a humorous spin on things, but sometimes she takes a step back and uses a more serious tone. At some point, she talks about using humor as a coping mechanism, as a way to deal with and process some of the experiences she's had to face. She and I have led very different lives, but it's always nice to read something by someone who gets it, who knows what it's like. Consider me now a fan of Phoebe Robinson, and I'll be keeping an eye out for whatever she does next.---The audiobook was fun! 3.5 stars

  • Natasha
    2018-10-25 12:30

    Very cute, quirky and yes humor filled book. It's mostly a comical vent session given light-heartedly with some informative segments ending with letters to her niece. The only part of the book that I didn't like was Ms. Robinson declaration that she hates the Steelers lol... while I'm not into football I still feel some loyalty since I reside in the Burgh. Sorry for that tiny spoiler... I really did enjoy her raw and comical narration of life as a quirky, eclectic black woman trying to make a way for herself in the comedy/acting industry. I have not read her blog but this book definitely peeked my interest to check it out!

  • Erin
    2018-11-13 10:33

    A fun, smart, & witty collection of essay's about class & black feminism. It was not laugh out loud funny but it was definitely funny in a real & relatable way. I highly recommend it.

  • Natasha
    2018-10-29 08:59

    Great read. Phoebe Robinson is hilarious!

  • Julie Zantopoulos
    2018-10-25 13:36

    This was a super awesome look at the cultural differences between black women and myself (a white woman). I loved Phoebe's voice and narration and the humor that she lent to the stories. I respect her voice, her journey, and her advice for her niece (seriously, so cute). I could relate to a portion of this as a woman and loved the look at her life, experiences, and hardships as a black female in today's America and also as a comedian.

  • Barbara (The Bibliophage)
    2018-11-18 10:53

    You Can't Touch My Hair by Phoebe Robinson wasn't the book for me. I picked it up from the library on a whim, based on enthusiasm from Litsy users. Although I appreciated the look into a young African-American woman's life, her writing style left me cold. I guess I'm too old for hashtags and other such things in books. It's odd that Robinson's use of her own vernacular or dialect didn't affect me the same way as Zora Neale Hurston's. It rang less true somehow, despite its nonfiction usage. Seriously, the word is truth not troof. I think what frustrated me was Robinson's point that she's a well-educated woman, which she chose to juxtapose against all the slang talk. It was jarring. On the other hand, Robinson writes with strength about positive female body image, which I endorse heartily. Her essay "Dear Future Female President" was especially poignant (and still funny) given the outcome of the 2016 election. Her essay about Black hair in the media reminded me that I still haven't watched Chris Rock's documentary about the same topic. Robinson did make me chuckle with her not-so-guilty pleasures, and I felt her frustration over the angry Black woman conundrum. Robinson ends You Can't Touch My Hair with a few letters to her niece about the realities of an African-American woman's life. As often happens to me, in a case of bookish synchronicity I couldn't help but compare them to Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions. Robinson doesn't come out on top.Nevertheless, not every essay hit home with me and I skimmed the end of the book. I think it's a case of "it's me, not you."

  • Bookishrealm
    2018-11-10 10:40

    This was definitely an interesting book. And I have a few thoughts so let me go ahead and lay them out: -Do no be misguided into thinking that this book is solely about hair. It does have sections on hair; however, for the most part this book is definitely more about the experience of black women in America. She also touches on women in general, but for the most part it does focus on what it's like to grow up, live, and attempt to be successful when you are a black woman. -This book does have some crude humor, but it works and I loved that she included her humor to make this book even easier to relate to. -If you don't want to hear the truth about the black experience in America then don't read this book because Robinson doesn't allow anyone to censor or silence her and I loved that about her. She definitely took control of her story and that's what I loved about this book. -There are some sections of the book in which Robinson proves to be a little wordy and she rambles to the point that can bore the reader, but I think overall the information contained in the book is worth reading. -I read about 80 pages and I honestly thought I wasn't going to like it; however, the more I read it and the more topics that were covered I realized how much I truly appreciated reading about the information she was discussing within the book. It was amazing how she took so many seemingly simple topics and explained them from the perspective of a black American female---and this is something that I definitely needed. Overall, I enjoyed the book and I would recommend it to any one that is wishing to learn more about the experience of black females in America. I think this is one that I will either do a full written review for or at least a discussion video! : )

  • Kathryn
    2018-11-14 07:47

    I had been looking forward to reading this and tried reading this back in October and DNF'd it. I then got it as an audiobook, hoping I'd enjoy it this way, since Phoebe Robinson is a comedian and narrates this book. Had I read a bit more in the book back in October, I would not have spent the time doing so. Although the issues she discusses were relevant and could be considered informational, the way she delivers the content is less than enjoyable. She is quite crude in language, an occasional swear word where needed is fine and understandable, but every paragraph it seems is littered with this type of language, which isn't quite necessary, especially to the degree that it is used. She also makes sexual references constantly. Although this is probably part of her appeal as a comedian, it did not appeal to me. Without all the bad language and sexual references, this book could have been interesting and informative. I was deeply disappointed in this book that I was looking forward to. I will try the book by Ta'Nehisi Coates for I think this will be an informative collection of essays which since they were originally written to his son, I would think they may be written in a language that may be of more interest and enjoyment than You Can't Touch My Hair. Although I did not read/listen to this entire book, I read close to half, so I feel a rating is appropriate.

  • David Yoon
    2018-11-16 11:51

    Phoebe Robinson is one half of the podcast 2 Dope Queens which is part of a podcast continuum that includes Animatou Sow from Call Your Girlfriend to Heben and Tracy over at Another Round. They’re all great but, duh, best served aurally. The freewheeling nature of podcast conversations simply don’t translate as well on the page. Lingo like b.t.dubs and as well as the difference between truth and troof work better heard than read. And while I get the impulse to leaven the medicine of speaking to the idea of the angry black woman, micro-aggressions and the politics of hair with the order in which you would sex the members of U2 — this did feel all over the place. So hey, an easy non-threatening primer on the black experience in America shot through with humour. Totally has its place - but do yourself a favour, level up and read Citizen by Claudia Rankine, Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates.