American Negra: A Memoir (Hardcover)

American Negra: A Memoir By Natasha S. Alford Cover Image
Usually Ships in 1-5 Days


Award-winning journalist Natasha S. Alford grew up between two worlds as the daughter of an African American father and Puerto Rican mother. In American Negra, a narrative that is part memoir, part cultural analysis, Alford reflects on growing up in a working-class family from the city of Syracuse, NY.

In smart, vivid prose, Alford illustrates the complexity of being multiethnic in Upstate New York and society’s flawed teachings about matters of identity. When she travels to Puerto Rico for the first time, she is the darkest in her family, and navigates shame for not speaking Spanish fluently. She visits African-American hair salons where she’s told that she has “good” hair, while internalizing images that as a Latina she has "bad” hair or pelo malo.

When Alford goes from an underfunded public school system to Harvard University surrounded by privilege and pedigree, she wrestles with more than her own ethnic identity, as she is faced with imposter syndrome, a shocking medical diagnosis, and a struggle to define success on her own terms. A study abroad trip to the Dominican Republic changes her perspective on Afro-Latinidad and sets her on a path to better understand her own Latin roots.

Alford then embarks on a whirlwind journey to find her authentic voice, taking her across the United States from a hedge fund boardroom to a classroom and ultimately a newsroom, as a journalist.  

A coming-of-age story about what it's like to live at the intersections of race, culture, gender, and class, all while staying true to yourself, American Negra is a captivating look at one woman’s experience being Negra in the United States.

As the movement to highlight Afro-Latin identity and overlooked histories of the African diaspora grows, American Negra illustrates the diversity of the Black experience in the larger fabric of American society.

About the Author

Natasha S. Alford is an award-winning journalist, host, and media executive driven by the power of storytelling to inspire and change people’s lives. Natasha serves as vice president of digital content for theGrio and an anchor for theGrio TV. She is also a CNN political analyst, where she offers commentary on the news, politics, and movements of the moment. Her work has also been published in the New York Times, the Guardian, Oprah Daily, Time magazine, and Vogue. Natasha is currently completing a Master in Public Policy at Princeton University and resides with her family in New Jersey.

Praise For…

An Essence "Best Book To Consider Adding To Your 'Must-Read' List" * An Elle "Most Anticipated Book"

"In her searing debut, Alford smartly and candidly examines what it means to be Black and Latina in America, and interrogates identity, class, race and success—on her terms. American Negra is required reading for anyone longing to understand the intricacies of intersectionality in this country, and be inspired in the process." — Sunny Hostin, 3x Emmy Award-winning co-host of ABC’s “The View” and New York Times best-selling author

"A heartening and instructive portrait of a young woman’s search for identity." — Kirkus Reviews

"Alford's story is one of belonging and feeling a connection to her past and her present. Alford’s journalistic writing style is engaging and accessible, and her account is never overly sentimental or nostalgic." — Booklist

"American Negra is one of those rare books that offers an eye-opening and entirely different perspective on not just the world around us, but our own identities and experiences. I read it in one sitting, compelled to keep turning pages by Alford’s accessible, engaging and insightful prose, and a story that is both distinctive and entirely relatable. Watching her navigate her multiple identities in a world that has always been keen to box her in, find her power and learn to put herself, her dreams and her wellbeing at the center was an inspiration. " — Alisha Fernandez Miranda, author of My What If Year

"Drawing on her rich intellectual resources and masterful storytelling abilities, Alford effortlessly avoids the stale clichés and tired tropes that undermine most literary explorations of Afro-latinidad. Instead, she gifts us with a refreshingly critical, deeply vulnerable and wholly original text that promises to radically rearrange our understandings of race, class, ethnicity, and culture within modern U.S. Society. For years, Natasha has proven herself to be one of Black America's leading journalistic voices. With this wonderful new book, she also makes a compelling case for being one of our most talented new writers." — Marc Lamont Hill (Instagram)

Product Details
ISBN: 9780063237100
ISBN-10: 0063237105
Publisher: Harper
Publication Date: February 27th, 2024
Pages: 288
Language: English