Feminism | Posted by Faatimah Solomon on 09/23/2016
The History Of Banning Black Women’s Hair
Amandla Stenberg wearing her hair natural
When I turned twelve, I started faithfully straightening my hair every single week. By the time I was fourteen years old, therefore, I had straightened my hair at least one hundred and four times. At least. But eventually my hair started falling out in large clumps and my mom demanded that I stop severely damaging my hair.
It was then that I began the emotionally draining process of learning how to love myself. I read countless books about feeling beautiful in your own skin and body, stuck a number of pictures of beautiful black women wearing their natural hair on the walls of my closet, and followed Instagram accounts that celebrated the beauty of having black curly hair. With time, I began to love …
Pop-Culture | Posted by David G on 06/22/2016
The Problem With Gossiping About Beyoncé and ‘Lemonade’
We missed the point.
We are now almost two months into the post-Lemonade universe, and it still seems the biggest public conversation the album has inspired is a debate about the true identity of “Becky with the good hair.”
Look, I can’t say I didn’t have loads of fun with “Sorry” (the song in which Becky is infamously referenced) and Lemonade as a whole. “Becky with the good hair” was my entire Twitter bio for an obscene amount of time and I was undeniably entertained by the tabloid-worthy speculation about the state of Bey’s marriage. I think we’re all at least a little guilty of indulging in this type of gossip. But these conversations not only insult the integrity of Beyoncé’s work, but also ultimately go completely against Lemonade…
Feminism | Posted by Roberta Nin Feliz on 07/30/2015
Black Women and Violence in America: #SayHerName
#SayHerName protest in Union Square, New York City.
In recent years, the media has arguably made the racial violence African Americans continue to experience in the post-Civil Rights era — especially at the hands of law enforcement — more visible than ever before. But while this increased coverage is commendable, it often overlooks the violence African American women specifically face, including their experience of double marginalization as the subordinate gender of an already belittled race.
Some cases of female victims of police brutality have notably, and rightfully, garnered media attention, including Natasha McKenna, a 37 year old woman who was restrained and violently tasered by 6 police officers until she died; Renisha McBride, who was shot by a white man after she crashed her car on a street in …
Pop-Culture | Posted by Aph Ko on 07/27/2015
Rihanna’s ‘BBHMM’ Video and Our Resistance To Black Women’s Subjectivity
Rihanna performing BBHMM live at the 2015 iHeart Radio Music Awards.
As anyone even mildly interested in pop culture likely knows, Rihanna recently dropped a new music video for her song Bitch Better Have My Money. I found the video itself interesting, but honestly found the critiques of it even more so. Many of these critiques demonstrate that mainstream culture still doesn’t know how to meaningfully engage with black women and the popularity of the work they create. Specifically, it seems that critics of black, female artists try to understand their work through the lens of static theories that reiterate racist tropes, and which produce prescriptive, limiting understandings of their work. We’ve seen this with panic over Beyoncé’s feminism, shock in response to Nicki Minaj’s Anaconda album cover, …
Feminism | Posted by Cheyenne T on 07/6/2015
The Complexity of Being A Black Feminist in a Relationship
On losing your first love.
It’s hard being alone after having been with someone for a long time. It’s hard to detach from your first love, to not have that person on whom you can rely for comfort, happiness and safety. You miss falling in love every time you see that person — your best friend — walk towards you.
I recently found myself in this situation, alone after almost two years of partnership. My boyfriend was mother and father, friend and lover to me. Losing all of those people at once — and knowing that he lost the same — was heartbreaking. But knowing that he was one less black man and I one less black woman the other could protect was the most heartbreaking part of all.
Feminism, Pop-Culture | Posted by Joneka P on 03/17/2014
Black Women Create: Highlighting Black Women in Film and TV
Many people underestimate the power that representation in the media can have for young girls, and especially young girls of color–but connecting with the experiences of another person and empathizing with their stories and lives is powerful. Whenever we talk about why representation matters, I always think about this quote from actress Whoopi Goldberg:
“When I was nine years old Star Trek came on. I looked at it and I went screaming through the house, ‘Come here, mum, everybody, come quick, come quick, there’s a black lady on television and she ain’t no maid!’ I knew right then and there I could be anything I wanted to be.”
Now, though, television seems overwhelmingly white. It wasn’t always this way. I grew up watching shows like Good Times, A Different …
Pop-Culture | Posted by Angela B on 11/18/2013
The SNL Scandal
I love Kerry Washington. She is probably one of my all time favorite actresses. Her character on Scandal is smart, intelligent and well written, a rarity for black actresses today. When I found out Washington was going to be on Saturday Night Live, I was beyond stoked and couldn’t wait to see the episode when it aired on November 3rd.
The week before the episode, there was a large amount of news coverage about the lack of diversity in the SNL cast. Specifically, since the show premiered in 1975, there have been only four black female cast members. SNL cast member Kenan Thompson told TV Guide Magazine that the reason SNL isn’t hiring black female comedians is because they “just aren’t ready and the talent pool is limited.” …
Pop-Culture | Posted by Sam H on 10/28/2013
The Black Girl Conundrum
I will never forget the noise that my mother made when she first saw it. We were navigating the streets of New York on a busy Saturday in 2011, running late for a hair appointment. She was walking so briskly that I struggled to keep up. But then she stopped dead in her tracks and made a sound of absolute disgust. I looked around, trying to figure what would make my mother risk being late for an appointment. Then I saw the massive billboard with a black child and the words “The Most Dangerous Place for an African American is in the Womb.” At the time I didn’t understand the message: I could think of hundreds of places that I felt unsafe as a black child. To me, volcanoes, tigers, …