Reading came first: how I journeyed from hotep to Black queer feminist

By Myles E. Johnson

“Solitude can be a must-be-desired condition. In silence, we listen to ourselves, and in the quietude we may even hear the voice of God.” – Maya Angelou

The search, as it were, began in wanting to deep-dive into something that was about me, and it began early. I wanted a nappy-headed God. I wanted a history dipped in tar, baby, and I wanted to know about political leaders with Jackson 5 nostrils. This history was not being served to me anywhere, so I reimagined my middle-school classes as spaces for me to find this new world where I was the sun, where I was centered. While my teacher taught the day’s arithmetic, I was slowly, quietly being radicalized by the contents of books. With each page turn, a bomb exploded, and a window was being opened, and nobody was any the wiser.

The authors that I discovered–including Alex Haley, Frederick Douglass, and WEB Dubois–are part of what guided my 13 year-old brain into the place it is currently, and where it is developing into. However, I had a desire for something that made sense of the world I was occupying the way religion does for a new initiate.

Why intersectional feminism needs reproductive justice approaches to HIV

By Jallicia Jolly

Amidst the recent attacks on access to quality health care and sexual and reproductive health services, the assaults on the lives of racial and sexual minorities specifically reveal the systematic violation reserved for poor women of color, particularly Black and transgender women.

The neglect of Black women’s intersectional health experiences in national discussions about HIV/AIDS, coupled with the growing rates of HIV/AIDS in black communities, beg a critical question: How can a reproductive justice approach allow governments and decision makers to properly invest in Black health?

Beyoncé Opens Up During Interview with ELLE Magazine

It’s been approximately three years since Beyoncé has given the world a public interview. To be honest, I think the last interview she gave was with Oprah on Oprah’s Next Chapter before she released her documentary Life is But a Dream. Well, nevertheless, she is back gracing the covers of Elle Magazine Worldwide to discuss “Formation,” feminism, Ivy Park (her new athleisure line) and more. Here are some of the highlights from the interview:

The Academy is Silencing Beyoncé to Protect Racist White Feminism

As a graduate student in Race Politics and Black Feminism, I am entirely too familiar with what it means to be silenced and excluded from feminist theories and narratives which have historically been focused on middle class White women.

In my academic career at private White institutions (PWIs), I have had liberal White students – usually young women who consider themselves feminists – say things to me like “sorry we’re not all from the ghetto” and “this conversation is about women, not Black people.” These experiences are precisely why the Politicizing Beyoncé course at Rutgers University is so vital. But, it’s been cancelled. And, it is simply a travesty that the institutions meant to educate this country’s next generation of leaders and scholars do not use courses like these to disrupt the racist tendencies of mainstream White feminism. Instead, they reinscribe a status quo which ostracizes Black feminism and its most prominent members, namely Beyoncé.

Guest Post: “An Open Letter to Nelly”

Dear Nelly,

At the urging of others, I am taking a hesitant trip down memory lane. I was a 19 year old junior and president of the feminist group at Spelman College when you decided to hold a bone marrow registration drive on our campus on behalf of your sister, who needed a transplant. Your now-infamous video “Tip Drill” had started airing on shows like BET’s Uncut. It features, most memorably, a scene where you slide a credit card down the crack of a black woman’s butt. My group raised questions about the misogynoir in the video and lyrics, and when we heard that you were invited to campus by our Student Government Association, it seemed fair to us that we could ask you about the dehumanizing treatment of black women while you were asking us for our help.