Transcript for Author Zakiya Dalila Harris talks about ‘GMA' June Book Club pick
We play music during the break. For some reason we were talking about mixed tapes. You're telling your age when you know about mixed Back on "Gma," it's time for our June book club pick, "The other black girl" by zakira Dalila Harris. I had the opportunity to speak with the young author about her "New York Times" best seller, one of the hottest books of the summer. Break out author zakira Dalila Harris is reriveting readers. How does it feel? It feels surreal. I wanted to write since I was 5 or 6 years old. Reporter: The novel tells the story of 26-year-old editorial assistant Nella who is forced to navigate being the only black employee in the office. She got used to being around white people for most of her life. Then hazel the new girl who comes to work, born and bred in Harlem, has been around black people all her life. Has really cool dread locks. When hazel comes into this space, she has this assumption we got into this white world Reporter: The book tackles micro aggressions and workplace politics. I wrote this book for black women who have been in those workplaces, but anyone who has been an "Other" in those types of spaces. What it's like to go through certain things on your own. There was a poignant line, you wrote it would be great to have another black girl working at Wagner, but Nella was hesitant to do a celebratory electric slide sequence. Over the last two years, the only people hired were very specific people who came from a very specific box. Yes. There's the burden, feeling like you have to speak for all black people in the world when you're the only one which is it a self-imposed burden versus one that people ask for you to do. How much of you is Nella? So much. Maybe too much. Reporter: Zakira used her own experiences, including hair. We're in the sunny salon in Harlem because hair is almost a character itself in your book. Yeah. I grew up like Nella, the main character, in very white spaces in Connecticut. For most of my young life I wanted straight hair like my young friends. I wanted to explore how hair is supposed to bring them together. You're getting rave reviews, brilliant, twisty, highly relevant. What impact are you hoping to have? I want readers to come away with another example of what blackness can be, what black women can be. Reporter: Now being adapted into a hulu series co-written with Rashida Jones, zakira says it's a cross pattern. Your hope is when you close the book you'll want to throw it against the wall and have a conversation. Yes. What do you want that conversation to be? I want readers to talk about diversity and workplaces an how to make those spaces more diverse and how to retain the diversity and make it an environment where people can be themselves. I want it to be better for black women, for people of color, any marginalized groups not represented way they they should in the workplaces. Anyone whoever felt they were the only -- not felt that way, but they were. If you didn't know it, you wouldn't tell this is her debut novel. She weaved in so many different timelines which is complex. Just 28 years old. She's also old school. Her first draft written by hand. I love that. Written by hand. I think we have some of her work you saw that she did by hand right there. Isn't that amazing? Incredible. So many folks can relate to that story. She said she wrote it for black women, a lot of people in the office have been in that you make it. I'm the only one that looks like me. Workplace politics. And a cross between "Get out" and "Devil wears Prada," I'm in. Be sure to read along on our gram.
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