How does Zakiya Dalila Harris employ elements of the horror genre in The Other Black Girl?

In The Other Black Girl, Zakiya Dalila Harris uses elements of the horror genre such as a mysterious frightened woman, threatening notes, spooky surveillance, and mind-controlling hair grease to increase suspense in the novel.

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Zakiya Dalila Harris uses several horror elements in her novel The Other Black Girl in order to raise the tension and set readers on the edges of their seats.

The book begins in 1983, with a Black woman who believes she is being followed. Her mind and body are on edge, and all she wants to do is get away from everything and everybody. She purchases a train ticket north and leaves town (and the story for quite some time, leaving readers to wonder who she is). Here is a classic horror trick that builds suspense.

Another horror element revolves around the threatening notes that Nella begins getting at work. Someone is trying to scare her and either force her out or force her into submission, and she is good and scared. “Leave Wagner. Now.” is never a good message to find on one's desk. Naturally, Nella is terrified. Another note gives a phone number, and Nella calls it, leaving distressed messages to Kendra Rae, who turns out to be the woman at the beginning of the story.

Another horror aspect of the plot revolves around hair grease, a concoction that usually is not at all dangerous, but in this case, it is a tool of mind control. The OBGs (Other Black Girls) are a group of Black women out to control other Black women (through a special hair grease) and sabotage their careers and lives to turn them into mere robots who play right into the white system. Hazel is one of the OBGs, and Nella becomes frightened when she discovers a folder with lots of pictures and fact sheets about Black women, including Nella herself. Someone is clearly watching her. The OBGs get Nella eventually, though, and she becomes an agent for the group.

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