Shahrazad Ali (1954 – ) Best Selling Author & Activist

“I want our young people to see this…a black woman on TV without fake hair, being Afrocentric and being myself,” daring words spoken by the best selling author and activist Shahrazad Ali. Shahrazad has written several books and is best known for her groundbreaking best-seller, The Blackman’s Guide to Understanding the Blackwoman (1989). The book’s brutal honesty sparked a swarm of controversy among many, which resulted in community forums, pickets and debates.

As the book grew in popularity, articles were published in the Los Angeles TimesThe New York TimesThe Washington PostNewsday, and Newsweek. Shahrazad appeared on a number of talk shows including The Oprah Winfrey Show, The Sally Jessy Raphaël ShowThe Phil Donahue Show, Tony Brown’s Journal and Geraldo. The book brought new business black bookstores, while other black bookstores banned it. The impact of The Blackman’s Guide was significant and lead to other discussions regarding the negative effects of slavery on the nuclear black family.

Shahrazad used her platforms to not only address issues that plague the black community, she has been steadfast in her outcry on racism, America’s history of slavery, and the white power structure. She has been featured in the documentary history film series Hidden Colors, as well as the 2012 TV series Trisha.

Published Works:

  • How Not to Eat Pork (Or Life without the Pig (1985)
  • The Blackman’s Guide to Understanding the Blackwoman (1989)
  • The Blackwoman’s Guide to Understanding the Blackman (1992)
  • Are You Still a Slave? (1994)
  • Day by Day (1996)
  • How to Tell If Your Man Is Gay or Bisexual (2003)
  • Urban Survival for the Year 2000 (1999)
  • How to Prepare for the Y2K Computer Problem in the ‘Hood’ (1999)


“I wrote the book because black women in America have been protected and insulated against certain kinds of criticism and examination.”

“I want our young people to see this…a black woman on TV without fake hair, being Afrocentric and being myself.”

“We have a three-point program….We complain, we march, then we throw a tantrum. You people call it a riot.”

“The history of our people could not be complete until we (black women) also examined and forced ourselves to accept our share of the responsibility.”

“It’s (Blackman’s Guide) straight-talk that cuts through all the jive and cuts through . . . all of the systems and symbols set up by other people,”

“We need the black men in our homes because they provide guidance, protection, direction, instruction, discipline, gratification and fulfillment which a lot of black women are pretending they don’t even need no more, they run around trying to act like men! or God!”



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Photographer of Recreated Photo: Jasmine Y. Mallory


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