We are certainly entering a new era when Beyoncé, our most celebrated Black pop star, can access a dominant worldwide corporation like Disney—responsible for some of the most troubling anti-Black representations for nearly a century—and utilize its platform to correct our image and offer us a grand, divine mirror to see ourselves anew. “Black is King” is Oshun’s mirror by way of Beyoncé’s artistic vision.
George Floyd was killed over an imagined counterfeit $20 in a country that can’t keep its promise to place Tubman on the $20, counterfeit security issues or otherwise. Which is the real counterfeit here? George Floyd’s $20, Harriet Tubman’s $20 redesign or a country that still pretends there is “liberty and justice for all”?
“On the Record”—which premieres on HBO Max on Wednesday, May 27—gives voice to women survivors, suggesting a pattern of predatory behavior from Def Jam co-founder Russell Simmons, who has been accused of assault by 20 different women.
“I would love to see our stories believed with the same passion and fervor that black women support and believe men when they say they have been victims of police brutality and violence.”
Will African American women like Kizzmekia Corbett—lead scientist at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases working on a vaccine for the virus— be able to follow in the trajectories of black women healers, like Marie Laveau, Harriet Tubman or the “signares” in West Africa?
“I think the future of black feminism will either help to change the world or how we deal with the end of the world as we know it. And maybe these two things aren’t antithetical.”
To mark Morrison’s birthday today, black feminist scholars talk to Ms. columnist Janell Hobson their own best practices, their favorite texts from Morrison and how they choose to teach it in the classroom.
“I think people who dismiss her as somehow being a lightweight or a pretty girl with some lucky breaks—as if you can create at that level without thinking critically!—that is actually just another sign of misogyny and how women are discounted for what they create. When we make exquisite things, people assume there are fairies in the night who do it with magic dust instead of looking at the work and the research and the effort that goes into it.”
Rose’s classic study, Black Noise: Rap Music and and Black Culture in Contemporary America, turned 25 this year—and was also named one of the top books of the 20th century by Black Issues in Higher Education. To mark the occasion, the American Studies Association featured a panel celebrating Rose and Black Noise featuring hip-hop and black cultural scholars. Rose sat down for an interview with Ms. to talk about hip-hop, feminism and the state of popular culture.
Given recent activism on the part of celebrity women—from the #MeToo movement to the Time’s Up Campaign—it’s easy to forget there was a time not that long ago when the link between fame and feminism was viewed with suspicion and even incredulity. Here, we chart the evolution—and increasing impact—of celebrity feminism over this millennium.
From Lizzo’s rapid rise to fame to Meghan Markle’s feminist takeover of “Vogue”—with a lot of Rihanna, Beyoncé and Harriet Tubman in-between.