ALWAYS WEAR JOY: MY MOTHER BOLD AND BEAUTIFUL
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1. Susan Fales-Hill says in the book, "clothing represented freedom for my mother. 'I may not get this part, I may not get to stay in that hotel -- but nobody's going to control how I present myself, and I'm going to present myself magnificently.'" Discuss the symbolic role of style and clothing in Josephine Premice's life.
2. Mothers are the models for self-esteem development in their daughters. Discuss how Josephine Premice was a model for Susan Fales-Hill in both her childhood and in her working life and how being a black woman raising a biracial daughter in a white world affected this.
3. In relation to people's perceptions on both sides of her racial heritage, Fales-Hill has said, "There is always someone who says, 'You're not singing the song I want you to sing.' I could have moved to Europe and married a white guy and not had to deal with race at all, frankly." From what we've learned about her in this memoir, discuss why you think she chose to stay in America and live the life she does.
4. In 2002, we saw a black actor and actress both win Oscars for their lead roles in film for the first time in history. Susan Fales-Hill talks about the Friends of the Black Emmys, an organization created to honor black actors, writers, directors and producers, most often overlooked at the mainstream Emmys. We often think of the arts as being a very progressive industry so why are the Oscars and Emmys still lagging behind? Why do you think it is important that the arts do better?
5. Always Wear Joy is a memoir of a mother as the heroine in her daughter's life. If you were to write a memoir about your mother, what would be some of the themes?
6. If Always Wear Joy has a driving theme, it is that families are complex units. Discuss the complexities in your own families and how that has affected your relationship with your parents and with the world you encounter every day.