Growing Out

Growing Out

Black Hair and Black Pride in the Swinging 60s


'A gorgeously exuberant account. . . writing that is natural and vivacious . . . a fascinating and hugely enjoyable read.' Bernardine Evaristo, from the Introduction

Travelling over from Jamaica as a teenager, Barbara's journey is remarkable. She finds her footing in TV, and blossoms. Covering incredible celebrity stories, travelling around the world and rubbing shoulders with the likes of Germaine Greer and Michael Caine - her life sparkles. But with the responsibility of being the first black woman reporting on TV comes an enormous amount of pressure, and a flood of hateful letters and complaints from viewers that eventually costs her the job.

In the aftermath of this fallout, she goes through a period of self-discovery that allows her to carve out a new space for herself first in the UK and then back home in Jamaica - one that allows her to embrace and celebrate her black identity, rather than feeling suffocated in her attempts to emulate whiteness and conform to the culture around her.

Growing Out provides a dazzling, revelatory depiction of race and womanhood in the 1960s from an entirely unique perspective.

A title in the Black Britain: Writing Back series - selected by Booker Prize-winning author Bernardine Evaristo, this series rediscovers and celebrates pioneering books depicting black Britain that remap the nation.


  • A beautiful book. Her writing is just so dynamic and alive
    Bernardine Evaristo

About the author

Barbara Blake Hannah

Barbara Blake Hannah is a Jamaican author, journalist, filmmaker and cultural consultant. She trained as a journalist, then emigrated to London and worked as a PR Executive for the Jamaica Tourist Board and Government. She became the first Black TV journalist in the UK in 1968, starring in TV programmes 'TODAY with Eammon Andrews' and 'ATV TODAY', and working as a producer on BBC-TV's 'MAN ALIVE'. In 1972 she returned to Jamaica as a PR Officer for the first Jamaican film "The Harder They Come" and continued writing articles and books, becoming a Rastafari and articulate campaigner for acceptance of the religion. In 1984 she was appointed an Independent Opposition Senator, the first Rastafari to sit in the Jamaican Parliament. In 2001, she served as a member of the Jamaican delegation to the UN World Conference Against Racism (WCAR) in Durban, South Africa, where she was appointed a member of the special plenary on Reparations, after which she established the Jamaica Reparations Movement that led to the establishment of the government's Parliamentary Commission on Reparations (2008). She presently serves as Cultural Liaison to the Jamaican Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment & Sport, and continues to work in the film industry.
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