The Fantasy of Mammy, the Truth of Patsey

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It was not lost on some that, 75 years after Hattie McDaniel became the first African American to win a Best Supporting Actress Oscar, the beautiful, poised and talented Lupita Nyong’o would become the sixth black woman to win that same Oscar—and for playing the same type of role, a slave. If we count Halle […]

Beyoncé: The Grown Woman Album

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This has been quite the year for Beyoncé: singing the national anthem at President Obama’s second-term inauguration, electrifying the Super Bowl’s halftime show (to the point of a blackout!), headlining a world tour and solidifying her feminist credentials by gracing the cover of Ms. magazine’s Spring 2013 issue (recognized by Huffington Post as one of […]

Black Women, White Women and the Solidarity Question

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If [Lily Allen] cannot employ women of color in her obvious attempt to call attention to the system by amplifying its absurdity, and she can’t ever critique women of color in any way via satire with legitimacy or without horizontal hostility presented as feminist criticism, we as feminists have a problem. So wrote a former […]

Healing from Historic Trauma: “12 Years a Slave”

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It never looked as terrible as it was and it made her wonder if hell was a pretty place too. Fire and brimstone all right, but hidden in lacy groves. Such is the “rememory” of Sethe, the main character in Toni Morrison’s Beloved, who recalls the glorious splendor of the trees on the farm where […]

The Rape of Harriet Tubman

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This year marked the 100th anniversary of the passing of Harriet Tubman. I had the opportunity to celebrate that fact when organizing a special symposium back in March, resulting in some thought-provoking critical papers on her legacy of resistance, which I’m currently guest-editing for Meridians: Feminism, Race, Transnationalism. One of the more interesting conversations that […]

Race, White Womanhood, and Trayvon Martin

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Reflecting upon the verdict in the George Zimmerman trial, I’m struck by the expectations so many in mainstream and social media held for the six women jurors who found Zimmerman not guilty 0f second-degree murder. This jury was more often “gendered” than they were “raced.” Many of us—whatever “side” one took in this controversial high-profile […]

Policing Feminism: Regulating the Bodies of Women of Color

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The decision to feature Beyoncé Knowles-Carter on the cover of the latest issue of Ms. magazine ignited controversy among its feminist readership, and as the author of that cover story I’m not all that surprised. Indeed, my article is precisely about the “debates” over such a high-profile celebrity and sex symbol identifying as a feminist. […]

100 Years Later: The Harriet Tubman Symposium

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We don’t know the exact date when the great and powerful Harriet Tubman (ca. 1820-1913) came into this temporal world, but we do know when she left it. One hundred years ago on this day, Harriet Tubman exhaled her final breath and spoke her last words to those at her side: “I go away to […]

The Onion CEO Takes Quvenzhane Wallis to Disney World!

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Well, not really.  What Steve Hannah, CEO for The Onion, the popular satirical news source (otherwise known as “America’s Finest News Source”), actually did was issue an apology to Quvenzhane Wallis after an immediate backlash on social media greeted an inappropriate tweet from The Onion‘s live Twitter feed during the Academy Awards telecast Sunday night. […]

Django Unchained: Unspeakable Things Unseen

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(Beware: Spoilers below) I was hesitant to see Django Unchained, having read an earlier script floating around the Internet, until actress Kerry Washington said this about her role as long-suffering slave and love interest, Broomhilda: Look I can see how it’s not particularly feminist to play the princess in the tower, waiting to be saved. […]