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Janae Johnson

Lessons On Being Tenderheaded

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In Janae Johnson's debut poetry collection, the concept of being tenderheaded is less about Black hair; more how we are taught to disguise pain through suppression of macro and micro traumas. What began as a book of poetry about women's basketball transformed into a coming-of-age story centering Black queer masculinity, emotional restoration and belonging. From lyrically experimental to personified prose, each poem encourages humor to rise after an eight hour hair appointment and ultimately decide to wear a ponytail.