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Historically Black Phrases: From I Ain't One of Your Lil' Friends to Who All Gon' Be There?

A fun and thoughtful dictionary of Black language you didn't know you needed, this is a love letter to the Black community and the ways it drives culture.

Black vernacular doesn't often get its due--despite its enormous influence on mainstream culture--but Historically Black Phrases is here to give Black language its flowers. A celebration of over two hundred staples of Black conversation from church sayings and units of measure to compliments and reprimands, this sharp and witty guide explores the unique importance of Black expression and communication.

Historically Black Phrases offers definitions and highlights notable pop culture moments when Black vernacular took center stage, as well as tips on pronunciation and usage for phrases like "feelin' yourself," "don't get it twisted," and "pop off." In addition to the phrases, short essays offer insight on different facets of Black language from scholars, entertainers, and pop culture commentators (i.e. everybody and they mama).

Authors, journalists, and hosts of the award-winning podcast FANTI, jarrett hill and Tre'vell Anderson examine each phrase with humor and cultural precision, making Historically Black Phrases a vital ode to how Black language influences the world.


jarrett hill (he/him) is an award-winning journalist, sought-after host, moderator, and writer. He is president of the National Association of Black Journalists of Los Angeles and was named to the Ebony Power 100 in 2016. He is most notably known for breaking the 2016 Melania Trump/Michelle Obama RNC plagiarism story. He currently teaches at the University of Southern California and is a co-host of the widely popular podcast FANTI.

Tre'vell Anderson (they/them) is an award-winning journalist, social curator, and world changer. Named to The Root's 2020 list of 100 most influential African Americans, they have dedicated their career to centering those in the margins, grey spaces, and at the intersections of life through a pop culture lens. Tre'vell is currently Editor-At-Large for Toronto's Xtra Magazine and co-hosts two podcasts, Crooked Media's What A Day and Maximum Fun's FANTI.


  • Publisher: Ten Speed Press (September 19, 2023)
  • Language: English
  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • ISBN-10: 1984861719
  • ISBN-13: 9781984861719
  • Item Weight: 1.25 pounds
  • Trevell Anderson, Jarett Hill
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