Wannabe: Reckonings with the Pop Culture That Shapes Me by Aisha Harris
Harper One Press
"Aisha Harris is one of our smartest, most entertaining modern cultural critics. The nine pieces offer insight on Stevie Wonder, the Spice Girls, Pen15, and New Girl--among many other pop artifacts, of course--which might as well be parlance for, 'Read me immediately.'"
Aisha Harris has made a name for herself as someone you can turn to for a razor-sharp take on whatever show or movie everyone is talking about. Now, she turns her talents inward, mining the benchmarks of her nineties childhood and beyond to analyze the tropes that are shaping all of us, and our ability to shape them right back.
In the opening essay, an interaction with Chance the Rapper prompts an investigation into the origin myth of her name. Elsewhere, Aisha traces the evolution of the "Black Friend" trope from its Twainian origins through to the heyday of the Spice Girls, teen comedies like Clueless, and sitcoms of the New Girl variety. And she examines the overlap of taste and identity in this era, rejecting the patriarchal ethos that you are what you like. Whatever the subject, sitting down with her book feels like hanging out with your smart, hilarious, pop culture-obsessed friend--and it's a delight.