GROWING OUT – Black Hair & Black Pride

‘GROWING OUT” – My new book

by Barbara Blake Hannah

TODAY host Eamonn Andrews, Jane Probyn & Barbara Blake

In 1968, seeking a change from my position with a London PR company as Executive for the Jamaica Tourist Board account, I applied for a job as a journalist with the new THAMES TV daily magazine programme “TODAY”.  I was invited to do an audition as an on-screen presenter and within days was invited to be one of 3 daily reporter/interviewers on the show, hosted by TV personality Eamonn Andrews.

It was the first time that a Black person had appeared on British TV in a news capacity, other than as entertainers, and the news made national front pages. However, racists sent daily hate messages to the station, which bowed under the pressure and after 9 months my contract was not renewed.

In GROWING OUT, I write about my early years growing up in Jamaica and how from childhood Black women’s hair influences their self-esteem negatively. I carried this self-hate to a decade in England in the “Swinging Sixties”, where the racism I encountered was counterbalanced by an education in Black consciousness generated by the cultural, political and racial events of the time. GROWING OUT describes how the psychological and actual experience lead me to grow out my natural hair and emancipate my mind from colonial mental slavery.

On the TODAY set with Jane Probyn

It was the decade of ‘Black Is Beautiful”, “Make Love Not War”, Angela Davis and George Jackson, The Black Panthers, The Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, James Brown and the Supremes, the Maharishi and the hippies, whose philosophies and actions changed the thinking of that generation and ended the Vietnam War. Woven within ‘GROWING OUT’ is the sub-story of “Mr. Jones”, a narrative that illustrates the typical lives of Jamaican immigrants in the 1960s.

The experience of a decade in England made me a strong advocate for Black self-awareness and I credit my years in England as a profitable experience which opened my mind to the full knowledge of my African racial history and pride in my natural self. The book is ‘livi-cated’ to Amy Jacques Garvey, widow of National Hero Marcus Garvey and publisher of his Philosophy and Opinions.

Published by Hansib Publications, UK,  GROWING OUT was officially launched in Jamaica on Thursday, October 28, 2010 at the Bob Marley Museum, 56 Hope Road, Kingston, with Guest speaker Beverly Anderson Manley.  The soft-cover book can also be purchased online at



5 thoughts on “GROWING OUT – Black Hair & Black Pride

  1. I just love the punning title and I definitely look forward to reading the book. I hope that both Media and Cultural Studies students and teachers will realise that this is a valuable text for the study of Caribbean identity – particularly in cross-cultural contexts. Gwaan same way!


  2. Lady of confidence and pride got respect from her presentation. Congratulations Mrs. Barbara Blake-Hannah for opening the doors
    that was sealed. Many people that had nostaligia of Jamaica and other West Indian Islands tuned into Thames Tv daily and pretended
    they were in Jamaica after seeing you on Air, it gave them hope to
    survive and retain their sanity. London was so diffrent from what
    they vision before leaving Jamaica and the other west Indian Islands.
    The Tv Banks income rose from the coins they had to place in the
    Television (TV) to see the program. Blessing you are so blessed.
    Cancellation of the program was Thames Tv loss and your steping stone.


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