Say Her Name by Zetta Elliott is a collection of poetry highlighting many injustices African Americans are facing in our country. The book communicates specific issues by referencing numerous cases of police brutality, such as the cases of Tamir Rice, Dajerria Becton, and Sandra Bland; unjust trials, such as those of Bresha Meadows, Ahed Tamimi, and Cyntoia Brown; and murders, such as those of Trayvon Martin, and Sabriya McLean; all of which have happened in recent history. The poetry collection shows Elliot’s perspective of these various tragedies and several more, and it also shows her perspective of what happened in response, such as memorials and protests.
The book is well written and inspirational. Elliott’s use of real-world events, like the stigma around Afro-Textured hair (“natural hair”), conveys several feelings, including anger and sadness. The poem “Don’t Touch My Hair” references the suspension of several girls for how they wore their natural hair. The message of pain the poetry collection portrays is impactful and highlights the unfortunately large number of people that get hurt by acts of violence.
The writing is impressive whether or not you have personally experienced the impact of brutality in our country. It is important for everybody to learn about the various events within the book, because otherwise they will continue happening. Elliot strongly communicates a message of hope for the betterment of society, which is important for all to understand as all people need to contribute for society to improve.
I would rate the book a ten out of ten because it is strong, rousing, and engaging. I suggest the poetry collection for anybody who enjoys poetry, is interested in reading about social justice or would like a good book full of inspiring poetry about many issues that people face in our country today. I would recommend Say Her Name to children 12 and older because of the sensitive topics this poetry covers.