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Dressed in Dreams


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About the Author

Tanisha C. Ford is a pop culture expert and star academic. A Professor of History at the CUNY Graduate Center, she has written for the New York Times,, the Atlantic, the Root, and featured on NPR, among other places. Ford is the author of Dressed in Dreams, Kwame Brathwaite: Black is Beautiful, and Liberated Threads, which won the 2016 Organization of American Historians' Liberty Legacy Foundation Award for best book on civil rights history. She lives in Harlem.


Essence's 10 BOOKS WE'RE DYING TO TOSS INTO OUR SUMMER TOTES The Philadelphia Inquirer's BIG SUMMER BOOKS FOR 2019 6 BOOKS THAT COMPLICATE THE IDEA OF INDEPENDENCE by Colorlines Bitch Media's 15 NONFICTION BOOKS FEMINISTS SHOULD READ THIS SPRING ONE OF The Root's FAVORITE READS OF 2019 For Ford, fashion isn't just about how we look--she knows that what we wear is both personal and political. --The Root Poignant yet funny ... Ford does a brilliant job tracing the roots of fashion and its intersection with African-American culture, music and social movements. --Diverse A professor and pop-culture observer finds insight behind the statement, 'clothes are never just garments'... An entertaining coming-of-age memoir from 'a proud dashiki daughter, dressed in my own dreams.' --Kirkus Reviews Ford's memoir explores the connections between Black style and Black struggle; her nostalgia for Nike
"kicks" is tempered with pain over the crack and gang era they represented ("We watched as our parents'
freedom dreams morphed into crack vapor) and anger at Nike executives who "for damn sure weren't
showing up on our doorsteps to give their condolences to so-and-so's mama after her kid was gunned
down in their shoes or beaten and robbed for them." Ford's ultimate fashion achievement, successfully
bucking racial profiling at a Louis Vuitton store, represents "enfranchisement . . . a feeling few black folk
in this country get to feel. --Booklist (starred review) A rich and exciting book that focuses on family love, girlhood, the black arts movement and the closet. I loved this book. I am still smiling and embracing my memories of coming of age and creating and finding multiple identities while styling in and out of my own closet. Groundbreaking. --Deborah Willis, New York University and author of Posing Beauty "Tanisha Ford explores and explicates the intricacies and politics of black style with the rigor of a critic and the heart of a writer. Deconstructing everything from Afros, dashikis, bamboo earrings, baggy jeans, sneakers, and hoodies, she's a master at letting us see and feel how what we wear expresses our politics and our deepest desires." --Michael Eric Dyson, New York Times bestselling author of What Truth Sounds Like

What a charming and endearing collection of memories that will inspire future fashionistas who dare to dream beyond their surroundings. --Mimi Plange, fashion designer and creative director In Dressed in Dreams, Tanisha Ford gets Hurston with it, fearlessly and tenderly combing through the closet of her own black girlhood to unearth a treasure trove of sartorial choices - ones that reveal the innovative, rich and delicious complexity of black female identity. Dressed in Dreams proves that when it comes to black women 'we are what we wear' is much more than a threadbare adage. In Ford's capable hands, it's elevated to homage." --Joan Morgan, cultural critic and author of She Begat This: 20 Years of The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill There is no one more deft at weaving the fabric of our collective story together with our fashion choices and the politics that shape them than Tanisha Ford. This book will make you reminisce, reconnect and reflect anew on the fashion of the nineties, but with a Midwestern girls twist. Like your favorite album, you will want to take this journey from beginning to end. --Brittney Cooper, author of Eloquent Rage I love this book. It's a very funny and rare take on Black American style, and it's a Black girl's coming of age story that isn't tragic. --Akiba Solomon, co-author of How We Fight White Supremacy "Surprisingly blunt yet lingeringly nuanced, Dressed in Dreams is a socioeconomic exploration of race, class and gender, dressed up as simple, personal coming-of-age stories. Ultimately, it's not about the clothes." --Aja Raden, author of Stoned A winning look at black girl fashion. --Library Journal (starred review)

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