Black Herstory: Jamaica’s Other National Hero


On this day, the late Bob Marley would have turned 67 years old. In honor of the “soul rebel” who encouraged Jamaicans and the rest of the world to embrace a black consciousness and support liberation struggles, I invoke the memory of another Jamaican hero for our Black “Herstory” Month series: the fierce fugitive slave […]

My Problem with “Slave Rape,” or Why I Love the Story of Sukie

sukie do lord remember me slave rape

Early in the new year, a black woman student at my university invited me to guest lecture for a special Black History Month event that would highlight the history of black women. My heart leaped. “I would be delighted to participate,” I said. “What would you like me to discuss?” She was very specific: She […]

Black Herstory Month Begins Today!


Several Februaries ago, I stumbled across a Black History Month TV series highlighting famous black people of history. To my dismay, the episodes almost exclusively profiled black men. The one exception was Sally Hemings, whose claim to fame was being Thomas Jefferson’s “mistress.” The choice of Hemings alone seemed to imply that a black woman can […]

End of the World, Or End of Patriarchy?


From Independence Day to Armageddon to 2012 to Legion, movies have certainly mastered the art of fetishizing the end of the world in glorious special-effects fashion. However, 2011 marks a turning point in which we can now view such destructive spectacles not just in Hollywood blockbusters but in art-house and indie-film fare. Terrence Malick’s visually exquisite The Tree of […]

Gaming: Tool of Pedagogy or Oppression?

Slavery the game

Last month, a trailer for a new video game, Slavery the Game, was released on YouTube and instantly went viral. It also elicited worldwide outrage and indignation, as well as racially abusive rhetoric in the YouTube comments section from those who must have eagerly awaited a game that invites players to take on the roles […]

Should Black Women Oppose the SlutWalk?


An Open Letter from Black Women to the SlutWalk, signed by a hefty list of black anti-violence activists, scholars and community leaders, has been stirring conversation online since it was posted on Friday. Like previous Black feminist critiques of SlutWalk, the letter calls into question the anti-rape march’s reclamation of the word slut. The authors […]

Scapegoating Black Women in a Recession


You know the media spin cycle and the propagandists are winning when you advise a young, promising black woman undergraduate student about her prospects for doctoral studies, and she immediately takes herself out of the running. Not because there are fewer fellowships to help pay for graduate school or because she wants to pursue a […]

Rise of the Planet of the Apes Provides Lessons in Liberation


A chill-inducing moment turned Rise of the Planet of the Apes, a potentially campy summer action movie, into serious drama. It occurred right after the prison guard Dodge Landon (played by Tom Felton) delivered the iconic phrase from the original Planet of the Apes, immortalized by Charlton Heston: “Take your stinking paws off me, you […]

Loaded Guns, Loaded Metaphors: Rihanna’s “Man Down” Video


Rihanna has a genius for controversy.  As soon as the music video for her latest single, “Man Down,” premiered this week on BET’s 106 & Park, it created an instant backlash from various groups demanding it be banned from television. However, the outcry is not about depictions of S&M fantasies or a same-sex kiss or […]

Beyonce: Girls Run the World (Cue the Apocalypse!)

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I’ve been an admirer of Beyonce since her Destiny’s Child days and always appreciated that group’s “girl power” anthems (think “Bills, Bills, Bills,” “Independent Women,” or “I’m a Survivor,” ignoring for the moment that they’ve also put out more submissive songs like “Cater 2  U“–which I’ve been guilty of playing on a loop).  I’ve attempted to […]