When you think of the word “feminist,” who comes to mind?
A thought provoking article in the latest issue of EBONY explores how the Internet, particularly social media, has played a large role in expanding and including the feminist image firmly within the Black community. With the media’s barriers to entry having been drastically lowered thanks to the bullhorn effect of #BlackTwitter and other strength-in-number tactics that are impossible to ignore, so individuals of all genders are eagerly stepping up to the mic.
“Black Twitter” is routinely buzzing with debates that go beyond the trite Mars/Venus politicking and instead finds women and men engaged in deep conversations about how gender impacts equality, access and freedom,” writes EBONY.com Senior Editor Jamilah Lemieux.
“Is feminism simply the latest hot topic, or are we witnessing the beginning of a new Black liberation movement?”
At the crux of this examination is Beyoncé and her recent self-titled album, an art work that has been widely disputed and celebrated for its unapologetically sexual and women-focused subject matter.
Lemieux claims that the star’s public engagement with the word “feminist” has led to “rapid-fire discussion” and “dynamic dialogue” on platforms like Twitter and Facebook. The most notable moment of explicit feminism appeared in “****Flawless”, a southern hip hop track featuring a powerful sample from Chimamanda Ngozi Adighie’s TEDx talk “Why We Should All Be Feminists.”
With much of the recent thought pieces around pop star feminism having been inspired by Mrs. Carter’s seemingly sexual awakening, Lemieux also makes sure to credit a number of influential Black women musicians who paved the way for Bey, such as pop phenomenon Janet Jackson, Blues godmothers Bessie Smith and Ma Rainey, the fierce folk tunes of Odetta and rock goddesses Betty Davis and Grace Jones.
There’s also the new school of “boldly Black feminist thought spreading via big and small screens,” Lemieux added in reference to CNN’s Marc Lamont Hill, MSNBC’s Joy Reid and Goldie Taylor and the a host of other brilliant scholars, professionals and activist women of power who have taken to digital platforms to advocate gender equality.
But, the most interesting wave of Black feminists who have emerged in the digital space are those women traditionally marginalized and restricted from mainstream discussion.
Brittney Cooper, assistant professor in the Department of Women’s and Gender Studies at Rutgers University and Crunk Feminist Collective co-founder told EBONY that she thinks “Black feminism is in one of the strongest moments it has seen in a while.”
“From Melissa Harris-Perry on MSNBC, to Laverne Cox on ‘Orange Is the New Black’ to Beyoncé…we have prominent Black women identifying publicly with the term,” said Cooper. “There is also a robust crop of young Black feminists online who keep pushing the conversation forward, doing activist work in communities and generally taking no prisoners when it comes to racism and sexism.”
Also On HelloBeautiful:
Celebs Tweet Their Thoughts About #JusticeForSandraBland
1. Jesse Williams
#SandraBland's treatment while attempting to travel freely on HER public roadways has been acknowledged as unlawful. She is already dead.
2. Taraji P. Henson
"SAY HER NAME #SandraBland"
3. Ava DuVernay
"'Why are you arresting me?' Because you know your rights. Because I can. Because no one'll believe you. #SandraBland"
4. Kim Kardashian
#WhatHappenedToSandraBland We need answers!!!! This is NOT ok! This is all shady! They need to own up to this & tell the truth!
5. Jussie Smollet
"A loss 4 words. #SandraBlandMatters #BlackLivesMatter 👈🏿tell me this should change once the nation shows that we do. "
6. Snoop Dogg
🙏🌹. Sandra. Rip. 🌹🌹
7. K. Michelle
R.I.P to this queen. This could've been any of us. My prayers go out to her family. #sandrabland https://instagram.com/p/5fvlO_AhCf/
8. Gabrielle Union
SAY HER NAME!!! #SandraBland #SandraBland #SandraBland #SayHerName
"We must get to the cause of #sandrabland death because this CANNOT happen again #deathorfreedom"
10. David Banner
"When will we fight back. A man's duty on earth is to protect women and children. Where are the gangsters? Preachers? We need you. Please."
11. Nicki Minaj
"Rest In Peace #SandraBland"
12. Talib Kweli
"We the people ask @LorettaLynch to investigate #SandraBland #KimberleeRandleKing RETWEET "
Signs. Signs. Signs all around us. The Message is Here. #SandraBland
14. Missy Elliot
"When I look at the #SandraBland traffic video it brings so many emotions😳😢😡😡😤!"
15. Jessie J
"God bless your soul Sandra | #sandrabland | Change needs to come |Justice needs to be served | Heart… https://instagram.com/p/5fV79mQ0aw/ "
16. Jackee Harry
"It's time y'all, it's time.." #SandraBland #BlackLivesMatter
"In memory of #SandraBland these things don't make no kinda sense "
18. Holly Robinson Peete
I really don't look forward to having ANOTHER difficult conversation w my kids tonight...but here we go again😧💔 #SandraBland #SayHerName 😢
19. Jeffrey White
Sadly, doesn't matter by whose hand she died. Unjustified arrested set the outcome in motion. The state murdered her. #JusticeForSandraBland
Sandra could have been your mother, sister, aunt, friend or if she wasn't killed the community outreach advisor A&M. #SandraBland
21. Joan Smalls
"My heart is broken. Sending my deepest condolence to her family and friends. May you find Strength, Peace and Justice. When will this stop? #EqualityForAll #RIP #Why #SayHerName
22. Gladys Knight
Sandra Bland.... #SayHerName #SandraBland
23. Cara Delevigne
Things need to change NOW #SANDRABLAND #Justice #Equality
24. Meek Mill
"Rip to that young lady that lost her life about a traffic stop! 🙏 ima make sure I pray for her and her family! 🙏😄😄😄"