Black History Month: Who Put This Song On? by Morgan Parker


It's Black History Month and what better occasion than this to talk about one of the best books - and most relatable! - I've ever read?

Loosely based on her teenage life and diaries, Who Put This Song On?* follows Morgan, a teenage black girl with anxiety and depression, trying to find her place in a too white world.

What I loved about Morgan was that she doesn't really care to impress people, she has a weird fashion style that she loves and rocks, even if it means getting the attention of strangers and her own peers give her weird looks. She's unapologetically herself, she's smart and loud whenever she has to stand up for herself and express her opinions and she's bloody funny and relatable. 

I kept laughing with her n various points throughout the book and nodding in agreement whenever her anxiety showed up. How she thought her parents deserved better than a broke daughter, how her brother was still scared to find her in pain, how her friends didn't know the whole truth. I don't think I've ever found a book more relatable than this, tbh.

Morgan Parker is searching for her identity in a world that rarely looks like it's a good fit for her and with people that don't really understand her, thinking her depression is just a lack of attention or faith and her blackness is something that should be politely ignored.
If I was white, I could come across as a knockoff Scarjo in Ghost World, or maybe the girl in Girl, Interrupted. I might even be cool or cool-adjacent, a manic pixie dream girl that guys go crazy for. But no one gives a shit about the black version of that.


Her thoughts are exhilarating! The whole book reads like you're really there or like you're reading a journal from Morgan herself, where you get to be close enough to hear her thoughts, feel her fears and you will inevitably feel like she's your friend, one you need to hug whenever a guy treat her badly or whenever she feels lonely and like she's fighting a battle nobody understand.

I especially loved the fact that she doesn't shy away from anything.
She often talks about religion, and sex and mental health. She's just a girl surviving in a big white world, full of white privilege and people still thinking that depression and anxiety are taboos nobody wants to talk about or hear. Because nobody wants to know what's going on with your head. Except, someone does want to know and when you found that crowd, you keep them close, like Morgan does with her new friends that sometimes drive her mad, sometimes don't understand her point, but are always there to hold her hand and getting drunk together.
I don't care; now is about getting happy and comfortable, moving forward. I've looked into the face of the end of the world, and guess what?  No one from school was there. 

It's still so sad that today we still make that difference between being black or white or whatever. We're careful whenever we speak about mental health because if you're in the middle of a panic attack, everyone looks at you like you're about to die. Or explode. Or infect them. With your mental issues, with your blackness. Like it's a disease.
But don't we all have atoms and cells and hearts and thoughts?

My mental health doesn't define who I am. My skin doesn't either. Nor my sexual orientation.
Don't we all have minds and dreams of our own? We're under the same sky and yet, we still get to decide who can live under it. Who's worthy.

Well, I guess we really are under some sort of spell, it seems like we really are listening to the same song over and over again. The one that tells us what to do, how to act, who to vote, what god we should pray. And I, very much like Morgan, have a playlist of my own.

Have you read this book? What did you think?


*Early press copy was kindly gifted by Atom

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