Author Quits Job to Tell Tales of Hair, Race, and Rage

7 comments
December 27, 2011 ‐ By

Craving  a way to give back and tell the stories of black women in a unique way, Nicole Sconiers, a former senior web producer at Dr.Phil.com, decided to put her master’s degree in creative writing to work when she penned “Escape from Beckyville: Tales of Race, Hair and Rage”— a collection of 10 short stories.

While writing a book would’ve been enough of a massive undertaking for most people, Sconiers knew she didn’t want to stop there; she wanted to travel and speak about the ideas in her book. So, Sconiers quit her job in June, and over the summer she set out on the road with her mother and 34 boxes of her tales inside the Beckyville Bookmobile, a purple van wrapped in the book’s cover design. Together, they traveled from Philadelphia to Los Angeles, stopping at cultural centers and Indie bookstores along the way to discuss the book.

“I talk about controversial, taboo issues but in a way that is accessible, not preachy,” Sconiers told The Times Herald. She explained that much of her writing is a “play on how society sees women of color not being able to have any type of righteous rage.”

“I have a story called ‘Happy Black B****es,’ and the Rage Patrol is this police force that goes around policing black women to make sure they’re not angry. Black women can’t walk around with a frown because they’re being policed with their emotions. There are all types of issues — homelessness, domestic violence — for us to be angry about, and I wanted to explore that we can’t be righteously angry.”

Beckyville, she said, refers to a place filled with clueless, antagonistic people who have not “critiqued [their] privilege.”

So far, Sconiers has managed to sell her book in more than a dozen stores across the country and the Purdue University Department of Anthropology has decided to include the text in their Blackness and Culture curriculum next semester.

Despite a few snags along the way and advisement to those thinking of taking a similar path to at least draft a six-month plan before making any major moves, Sconiers says she would’ve missed out on these opportunities, “had I just stayed at my cubicle at ‘Dr. Phil.’”

“You can create your own opportunities and be your own boss.I left my job in the middle of a recession,” she said. “When you see the job market, opportunities are shrinking. You have to think of creative ways to generate income.

“You have to just get out of your comfort zone and create the images you want to see.”

Have you heard of Escape from Beckyville? Could you see yourself quitting a job to pursue a dream like Sconiers?

Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.

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  • reese

    I will check it out.  I love to read especially from black women authors.  If yall aren’t reading now you might want to check out some of these black authors because our stories aren’t being told on tv or big screen.

  • Cherie

     I truly hope that works out for her, in this economy i would never recommend quitting a job regardless of the hassle unless you are independently wealthy. It is too hard to find employment, especially employment that covers all your expenses. 
    Regardless of the risk, her book sounds interesting and i would like to buy/read it.

  • WickedlyAwesome

    My hair has always been the topic of discussion. It’s kind of annoying. I’ve had people ask me why don’t I just keep my hair in one style like normal girls. I’m like, do you not realize my hair will look one way today and look another tomorrow NATURALLY? I’ve also had people ask to touch my hair. NO! I’m not a damn animal that you shall pet! Ignorance is sooo annoying. 

    On a positive note: I really like the title of the book and the fact that the author took the risk to follow her passion. It’s motivating :)

  • Cocolicious

    “Black women can’t walk around with a frown because they’re being policed with their emotions”

    Exactly!

  • Eestoomuch

    wonderful!

  • Salon22w

    why is everything always about black hair… what about white folks hair..errrgggg! i love my natural thick wavy hair and wouldnt have it any other way! i almost dies when i saw the article about white folks wanting to touch black folks hair.. WTF? keep your hands to yourself… i would never ever ever think about touching white folks hair and never have!

    • Lovely

      Girl….you’d be suprised how many “curious” people are in Corporate America…. I wear weaves, fros straightened..etc they always want to touch it or comment on it….One time I just announced in a meeting that my hair is my platform for self expression, its subject to change at will….Jeez , you wouldn’t think hair would cause such amusement!