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Who’s making the ‘Lemonade’? On bell hooks’ and Beyoncé’s Feminisms

I wasn’t going to get into the bell hooks versus Beyoncé fray over Lemonade and its myriad implications. I resisted the echo chamber hoping the frenzy would die down sooner rather than later. I told myself that there really was no point of debating the merits of either side since most of the dialogue has been forced into imaginary binaries like “old feminism” versus “new feminism”, intellectual versus artistic expression, academic versus non-academic, and the like. But, after seeing a Feministing article called “A Black Feminist Roundtable on bell hooks, Beyoncé, and “Moving Beyond Pain”,” I think it might be time we start thinking more critically about how we situate both women’s feminisms and who we foreground when critiquing them.

Image via Jim Beckwith

The Current State of Criminal Justice Reform: An Interview with Shaka Senghor

From POTUS, to the Hill, and even sheriffs, America’s legal and political powerhouses are finally confronting our overly punitive and discriminatory criminal justice system. The ever-growing list of the Department of Justice’s investigation into local policing practices has revealed a fuller realm of the effects of the 1994 crime bill. But as the wave of criminal justice reform takes the country by storm, will it reconcile racial injustice along the way? I spoke with Shaka Senghor, a formerly incarcerated man who is now an activist, author, and Director of Strategy for #Cut50, to get his perspective.

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These Four Poems About Black Hair, Resistance, and Love Will Brighten Your Day

Lamont Lilly is a writer, activist, and father whose work echoes the struggles for justice and ambitions of our generation.  These four poems push us to think differently about blackness in the contemporary moment.
From the author:
“Each piece is a reflection of the people, places and experiences of struggle that have shaped who I am–The Movement, the Black Aesthetic, strong Black women, our continued pursuit of Black Liberation. I just hope the people can receive it.”
 His forthcoming debut, Honor in the Ghetto was edited by Shahida Muhammad and will be out this fall.
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Panther Power: Afeni Shakur and the ‘New York 21’

By Lamont Lilly

On April 2, 1969, twenty-one members of the Harlem Chapter of the Black Panther Party were formally indicted and charged with 156 counts of “conspiracy” to blow up subway and police stations, five local department stores, six railroads, and the Bronx based New York Botanical Garden.

By the early morning hours of April 3, mass sweeps were conducted city wide by combat squads of armed police. Law enforcement agencies ranging from the CIA, FBI, U.S. Marshalls and NY state police worked simultaneously to coordinate assaults on panther homes and community based offices. After numerous raids, ten panther men and two panther women were formally arrested, processed and quickly jailed. To anyone who supported radical politics of the 1960’s, there was no doubt that the indictment of the Panther ‘New York 21’ was a political and racist frame-up to not only “disrupt, discredit and destroy,” but to utterly dismantle the Black Panther Party from the inside out.

West Point Cadets

These Black West Point Cadets’ Raised Fists Are Not All That Political

If pictures are worth 1,000 words, the same must be said for symbols. But the words that people see in them can greatly vary depending on the lens they use.

For many, the Confederate flag is looked upon as a visual ode to a time no one living today even saw, yet many idolize it with a sense of nostalgia. On the other hand, a lot of people can’t ignore the centuries of slavery and racism that raised the flag in the first place. While this juxtaposition isn’t surprising, it can often be divisive like many other symbols that touch on racial identity and history.

For example, this year’s graduating class from the U.S. Military Academy in West Point holds more than 900 cadets, according to CNN. 18 of them are black women. 16 of those same black women got together for a group photo that’s bringing out vastly different reactions from the public and military alike.

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President of Morehouse College Joins Spelman Student in Solidarity

The president of Morehouse College has spoken up about the Spelman student who had been raped. The college is pursuing an investigation regarding allegations that a women attending the neighboring Spelman College was gang-raped by four Morehouse students at a party,which the student anonymously shared on Twitter under the moniker @RapedAtSpelman.

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Viola Davis and Kerry Washington are Creating Production Companies

So far, 2016 has been a wonderful year for Black woman seizing their own opportunities. Early this spring, Kelly Rowland announced that she plans on starting a makeup line for dark-skinned women.  Shea Moisture is taking a stand against the racism in the beauty industry. Recently, it was announced that Kerry Washington and Viola Davis are launching independent production companies. Take a moment to embrace all this Black girl magic.

Picture from Pierre Jean-Louis' Instagram.

Jean-Louis’ Images are a Reminder of the Beauty and Power of Black Hair

Earlier this year, Pierre Jean-Louis, an artist based on the East Coast, posted a photo of a Black woman’s hair that he reimagined as a piece of art that looked like a perfectly coiled galaxy. Since then, Jean-Louise has continued to post artistic renditions of Black women’s hair on Instagram, and every photo is as beautiful as the last.  

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7 Black Sitcom Moms We Love In Our Bones

There have always been beautiful Black mothers – whether from our birth, adopted, or chosen families – who offered words of wisdom, care, and safety to each of us. Similarly, it was our imaginary moms and aunties who held a special place in our hearts too.

Most of the moms on television are White and represent the mainstream ideals of society. But, Black moms on television often must contend with a host of issues which are typically invisible on mainstream shows. These 8 moms fit that description perfectly.

Jahana Hayes Barack Obama

President Obama Introduced National Teacher Of the Year

Jahana Hayes, a history teacher at John F. Kennedy High School in Waterbury, Conn., didn’t even think she would become a teacher when she was growing up, better yet the National Teacher of the Year. But with the help of some teachers in her own life, she was able to set higher standards for herself than what was expected in her local community.

Now, Hayes not only excels in the classroom, but encourages students to play a role in their neighborhoods through community service and fundraising, according to the Root.