Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Black Feminisms, Womanism, and Hip-Hop Feminisms

photo of bell hooks:  from 
Greetings, Class Community.

In class we discussed many philosophies and expressions of Black Feminisms. I will list a few of the philosophies discussed in this post.

Black Feminism  -“a process of self-conscious struggle that empowers women and men to actualize a humanist vision of community.” – Patricia HillCollins

Black feminism - argues that Black feminism argues that sexism, class oppression, and racism are inextricably bound together. The way these relate to each other is called intersectionality. Forms of feminism that strive to overcome sexism and class oppression but ignore race can discriminate against many people, including women, through racial bias. The Combahee River Collective argued in 1974 that the liberation of black women entails freedom for all people, since it would require the end of racism, sexism, and class oppression.
photo of Alice Walker:  from

Womanism - at its core, womanism is a social change perspective based upon the everyday problems and experiences of black women and other women of color, but more broadly seeks methods to eradicate inequalities not just for black women, but for all people.[1] The self- authored spirit of activism, spirituality, and the women's relationship with herself, other women, and her surroundings comprise an essential part of the ideology. -

Alice Walker’s Definition of a “Womanist” from In Search of Our Mothers’ Gardens: Womanist Prose Copyright 1983. WOMANIST   
1. From womanish.  (Opp. of “girlish,” i.e. frivolous, irresponsible, not serious.)  A black feminist or feminist of color.  From the black folk expression of mothers to female children, “you acting womanish,” i.e., like a woman.  Usually referring to outrageous, audacious, courageous or willful behavior.  Wanting to know more and in greater depth than is considered “good” for one.  Interested in grown up doings.  Acting grown up.  Being grown up.  Interchangeable with another black folk expression: “You trying to be grown.”  Responsible.  In charge. Serious.
2. Also: A woman who loves other women, sexually and/or nonsexually.  Appreciates and prefers women’s culture, women’s emotional flexibility (values tears as natural counterbalance of laughter), and women’s strength.  Sometimes loves individual men, sexually and/or nonsexually.  Committed to survival and wholeness of entire people, male and female.  Not a separatist, except periodically, for health.  Traditionally a universalist, as in: “Mama, why are we brown, pink, and yellow, and our cousins are white, beige and black?” Ans. “Well, you know the colored race is just like a flower garden, with every color flower represented.”  Traditionally capable, as in: “Mama, I’m walking to Canada and I’m taking you and a bunch of other slaves with me.” Reply: “It wouldn’t be the first time.”
3. Loves music.  Loves dance.  Loves the moon. Loves the Spirit. Loves love and food and roundness.  Loves struggle. Loves the Folk.  Loves herself. Regardless.

photo of Chamara Kwakye: from
"Hip-hopfeminism is loosely defined as young feminists born after 1964 who approach the political with a mixture of feminist and hip-hop sensibilities. It shares many similarities with black feminism and third wave feminism, but is a distinct self-identification that carries its own weight and creates its own political spaces.

Hip-hop feminism was created by feminists who felt that black feminism was not equipped to consider the issues of women belonging to the hip-hop generation. The term Hip Hop Feminism was coined by the provocative cultural critic JoanMorgan in 1999 when she published the book "When Chickenheads Come Home toRoost: A Hip Hop Feminist Breaks it Down."" from

How does this information about black feminisms affirm, change or complicate  what you know about American culture, African American culture, or feminisms?


  1. I think black feminists have a stronger influence in the African American community rather than the average feminist in the American community. They can relate to the African American community because we all have the same history. It is easier to pass information through individuals when there is a similarity involved.

  2. I would say that in a way what we learned about black feminism complicated my knowledge on feminism. I have had a gender studies before and learned about the waves of feminism but black feminism was hardly mentioned (or not emphasized enough for me to remember). Therefore, prior to this most of the information I knew about feminism didn't have much to do with black feminism. That is why it was interesting for me to see how black feminism coincided with feminism. Learning about black feminism's history and how it grew to be what it is actually changed what I knew about feminism in American culture versus complicating it.

  3. I recently was asked by a friend of mine to do an interview for her hip hop feminism class this semester. I was asked whether or not I find myself to be a feminist. I said no, although I am all for empowering other women, attending conferences and etc. I do not find myself to be a true feminist. I am still learning more about feminism in particular black feminism