The Problem with My Normal Penis
Myths of Race, Sex and Masculinity
by Obioma Ugoala
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Pub Date 4 May 2022 | Archive Date 17 Mar 2022
Simon and Schuster UK, Scribner UK
A POWERFUL MEMOIR AND MANIFESTO CHALLENGING WHAT IT MEANS TO BE A BLACK MAN IN BRITAIN
You’re a black man.
It’s limiting. It’s tiring. And it’s not true.
In this important and inspiring book, Obioma Ugoala tells his own story as he examines the problems with how race, sex and masculinity are portrayed and experienced by Black men – and how to change that.
‘Whipsmart and refreshingly vulnerable. In this book, Obioma Ugoala brilliantly exposes the systems and the individuals that have long perpetuated dangerous and irresponsible ideals around Blackness and masculinity.’ Candice Carty-Williams, author of Queenie
“A blisteringly honest take on contemporary Britishness that manages to be both nuanced and shocking. Highly recommended.” Afua Hirsch, author of Brit(ish)
"A valiant venture of a book that is somehow both tender memoir and unflinching excavation of the sociological blights that affect both self and society. Looking outward, inwards and forward, it lucidly explores complicated truths. Hopeful and honest, uncomfortable and encouraging, it is a book this country needs." Bolu Babalola, author of Love in Colour
“An urgent, personal, compassionate book that never backs away from the difficulty of what we are facing but provides a forgiving mirror and a useable map so we can truly reflect & navigate. Obioma Ugoala’s treatise should be a set text for a world in crisis.” Deborah Frances White
'In his enquiring memoir, he astutely explores where the expectations of his race and masculinity meet, unpicking and challenging his past experiences of prejudice. His personal stories are told in the context of the wider culture, and the book is a compassionate rallying cry to be more conscious.' Evening Standard
‘Why can’t I be seen for who I am? What is the problem with my normal penis?’
Obioma Ugoala is an actor, activist, singer, writer, Arsenal supporter and rugby player. A brother, son and loyal friend whose passions and influences range from Mozart to Mariah Carey, from The Karate Kid to Sidney Poitier. He is also a man of mixed Nigerian and Irish heritage and throughout his life, whether in the classroom, the changing room, the rehearsal room or the bedroom, he has had to contend with people failing to address their own prejudices about what they conceive a Black man to be.
In this ground-breaking and revealing account, Ugoala confronts these prejudices head on, challenging notions of race, sex and masculinity that have over centuries become embedded in British society, poisoning the public discourse and blighting people’s lives – including, on occasion, his own. With unflinching honesty, Ugoala talks about his own experiences and challenges us all to face our personal failings, while offering a vision of a more positive future if we dare to do better.
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 6 members
The Problem With My Normal Penis ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Obi is a screen and stage actor, in fact it was only once I’d started reading that I realised I saw him recently in Frozen! He is also a man of mixed Nigerian and Irish heritage, two cultures which his parents went to great lengths to ensure he and his brothers embraced.
In this book he shares his own personal story and experiences of growing up as a black man in Britain, and how race and masculinity are portrayed in our society.
Judging by the title you would think that I (a white, middle aged woman from Kent) wouldn’t necessarily be the target audience for this book but, as the author points out it is all of our responsibilities to educate ourselves, and in turn our children. Would urge everyone to pick this one up when it’s published on 31st March.
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This book is fantastic, I have been recommending it left and right since first reading it. Not only is it incredibly readable, thought provoking and entertaining, it is massively commercial and genre influencing. Not only is it a millennial memoir, with it's comments on changing politics, online dating and pop culture references, it speaks originally on race and gender in a manner I've not come across before in a major publication. It seems backwards to recommend a book as original on the basis that its author is a man, but the millennial memoir genre is overwhelmingly filled with books by ciswomen. The stories Ugoala shares are shocking, often deeply so, and as a white millennial ciswoman I felt spoken to firmly but kindly, and included in the audience for the book whilst not necessarily it's primary target. The balance of competing aims was so wonderfully trod. I was nervous, knowing Ugoala from his work on Hamilton and Frozen, my expectations were tempered, but he is immensely skilled as a writer, and his "other" career is almost an irrelevance to this book.
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