Black Women Caught in the Digital Crosshairs

Black women are often in the crosshairs of abusive discourse driven by social media. That recent targets are often public figures suggests that social media abusers find it profitable to attack high-profile Black women who have become symbolic avatars for the group as a whole.

(This article originally appears in the Spring 2024 issue of Ms. Join the Ms. community today and you’ll get issues delivered straight to your mailbox!)

Keeping Score: Women’s Basketball Reaches New Heights; France Protects Abortion, While Florida Tightens Its Ban

In every issue of Ms., we track research on our progress in the fight for equality, catalogue can’t-miss quotes from feminist voices and keep tabs on the feminist movement’s many milestones. We’re Keeping Score online, too—in this biweekly roundup.

This week: Women’s college basketball smashed viewership records; France passed a constitutional amendment protecting abortion; Florida will soon have a six-week abortion ban; Beyoncé makes history on the country album charts; IWMF honors Palestinian journalist Samar Abu Elouf; Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) managed to include $1 billion for childcare in the fiscal year 2024 appropriations bills; federal employees will soon have access to insurance plans that cover fertility services; President Biden announced a new plan to cancel student debt; the Supreme Court allowed Idaho to maintain its ban on gender-affirming care for minors; and more.

Beyoncé’s Country Accent in ‘Cowboy Carter’

Beyoncé’s voice of discontent resonates strongly, as does her once-considered “too country” accent, on Cowboy Carter. This, her eighth studio solo album, is a brilliant and genre-bending album rooted in country music that transcends the genre through its audacious, boundary-pushing and aggressive remixes and interpolations that have honored the hybrid space that is Southern culture. 

The Legacy of Black Cowgirls

Ahead of Beyoncé’s release of Cowboy Carter, we spoke to Black women and girls making waves in rodeo.

When Beyoncé announced the ode to her country and Southern roots, it sent some fans and naysayers into a social media frenzy. But for real-life cowgirls and rodeo veterans, it was a time to feel nothing but pride. Their wish for all the Beyoncé uproar? Those folks will finally recognize that Black women and girls reign supreme at the rodeo.

Can Beyoncé’s Foray into Country Music Change the Genre’s Conservative Views?

Beyoncé’s much-anticipated country album, Cowboy Carter, drops on Friday, March 29. Beyoncé’s immense success in country music is a clear signal that there is a huge audience for country music around the world, but that audience won’t settle for the music’s often conservative conventions. Black music and musicians are at the heart of country music, and recognition of Black women’s music on this scale is long overdue.

Beyoncé doesn’t need country music. But, if it’s going get the global traction the CMA and other parts of the industry desire, country music needs artists like Beyoncé.

From ‘Fast Cars’ to Self-Gifted ‘Flowers’: What Pop Music Reveals about the Status of Women

The narrator of “Fast Car,” who finally finds the strength at song’s end to tell her no-count trifling lover to “take your fast car and keep on driving,” is an earlier version of Sza’s narrator on the heartbreak and revenge-fantasy songs that comprise her Grammy-nominated album SOS—a worthy project that many had hoped would break the 25-year-drought of a Black woman winning the Album of the Year Grammy, since Lauryn Hill’s The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill.

Still, we have come a long way from passively waiting for someone else’s “fast car” to move us out of poverty—and failing to doing so—while the latest songs imagine us killing our exes or shimmering like diamonds once we move on. We have arrived at that moment in which we are more than eager to celebrate the women who can drive in their own fast cars—accrued debts and generational poverty be damned.

2023’s Top Feminist Moments in Pop Culture

In a year when women seemed to dominate both culturally and economically, it was not hard to find many feminist moments in pop culture that defined 2023.

Here are our top 10 favorites—including Rihanna’s historic Super Bowl performance; breakthroughs for women in TV, film and music; iconic moments in women’s leadership, and more.

Shine Your Light: Reflections on ‘Renaissance: A Film by Beyoncé’

Renaissance—Beyoncé Knowles-Carter’s fifth self-directed film—is about how to shine your light, how to give others shine, and how to sit in darkness until the light comes again.

In this season of light, we have a tremendous opportunity to observe a Black woman in her prime at 42 years old making art, working at her craft, raising her children, and surrounded by a strong network.