You Are Your Best Thing: Vulnerability, Shame Resilience, and the Black Experience

May 4, 2021
You Are Your Best Thing: Vulnerability, Shame Resilience, and the Black Experience

Tarana Burke and Dr. Brené Brown bring together adynamic group of Black writers, organizers, artists, academics, andcultural figures to discuss the topics the two have dedicated theirlives to understanding and teaching: vulnerability and shameresilience.Contributions by Kiese Laymon, Imani Perry, Laverne Cox, JasonReynolds, Austin Channing Brown, and moreIt started as a text between two friends.Tarana Burke, founder of the ‘me too.’ Movement, texted researcherand writer Brené Brown to see if she was free to jump on a call.Brené assumed that Tarana wanted to talk about wallpaper. They hadbeen trading home decorating inspiration boards in their last textconversation so Brené started scrolling to find her latestPinterest pictures when the phone rang.But it was immediately clear to Brené that the conversation wasn’tgoing to be about wallpaper. Tarana’s hello was serious and shehesitated for a bit before saying, “Brené, you know your workaffected me so deeply, but as a Black woman, I’ve sometimes had tofeel like I have to contort myself to fit into some of your words.The core of it rings so true for me, but the application has beenharder.”Brené replied, “I’m so glad we’re talking about this. It makessense to me. Especially in terms of vulnerability. How do you takethe armor off in a country where you’re not physically oremotionally safe?”Long pause.“That’s why I’m calling,” said Tarana. “What do you think aboutworking together on a book about the Black experience withvulnerability and shame resilience?”There was no hesitation.Burke and Brown are the perfect pair to usher in this stark, potentcollection of essays on Black shame and healing. Along with theanthology contributors, they create a space to recognize andprocess the trauma of white supremacy, a space to be vulnerable andaffirm the fullness of Black love and Black life.