Why you should read Assata Shakur in times of Ferguson

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Having witnessed police officers mercilessly beat up a group of young hippies, Assata Olugbala Shakur, at the time a young activist in the Black Students Union in New York, had an epiphany. It was this: she was not going to change a thing by smoking weed in the park and complaining about brutally racist police….

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Review of Fruitvale Station

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“The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice,” said Martin Luther King famously in this speech. This may be so, but for Americans of African descent, one might add that it bends toward justice only when the unjustly treated bend it. Few groups of people have collectively been so wronged, over so…

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The African Femme Fatale

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As the year comes to an end, I thought that I would like my last post of the year to be about something exciting, a feminine energy we could do well channeling more of in 2014. Scrolling through old posts and comments, I recognised an energy brewing, one not yet defined but one which can…

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Meditations with Lorna Simpson

Lorna Simpson

Why do I like pictures that seem ghostly? I’m not religious and I am no more spiritual than any one else. I’m not an atheist either but I cherish rational argument. I spend quite a lot of my time upside down, in Adho Mukha Svanasana and occasionally Urdhva Dhanurasana and so on, and yet despite my fondness for…

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What I liked about Louise Mensch’s reality-based feminism piece

In a much debated OpEd last week by former conservative MP, Louise Mensch, Mensch defiantly declares that intersectionality is bollocks and that she for one, has “no intention of checking her privilege”. Mensch went on to hold this intersectional bollocks culpable for “the modern feminist movement […] wasting most of its time in frenzied internal debate about…

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Apart from Chinua Achebe, which other African writers deserve the Nobel Prize in Literature?

In the lead up to the short list announcement for the Nobel Prize in Literature on 30 May, headlines this week brought to the fore the problematic obsession that some people have with the Nobel Prize in Literature being awarded to the late Chinua Achebe. For years, the pre-announcement period has seen speculations demands as to whether…

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Why African women should blog

The world has never been as patriarchal as it is today. I’m not claiming that individual societies don’t treat their women better than they did previously, but in the globalised, interconnected world we live in, we can no longer consider issues in an isolated fashion. So as we now consider the situation of women everywhere,…

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Why Spike Lee was right about Django Unchained

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Spike Lee did the right thing in publicly taking issue with Django Unchained, the latest Quentin Tarantino movie about a freed African slave who embarks on a violent journey to save his wife. The wife character, Broomhilda, played by Kerry Washington is monotonous to discuss for hers is a shockingly flat role. Her character serves…

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Does an increasingly mixed race Britain mean that British society is postracial?

  I have a post at Black Feminists UK today, Results of the 2011 census were published in the UK this week revealing that the number of mixed-race people in Britain has almost doubled in ten years. As a result, several journalists distributed what I’d call “unwarranted postracialism”, suggesting, for instance, that thanks to people like Jessica Ennis…

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A cultural history of intersectionality, and it dates back to Sojourner Truth

Femmynest

This is part II of three blogs about intersectionality. Read the first post here. “Woman is the Nigger of the World” and “The Black Man’s Burden” When Kimberlé Crenshaw coined the term intersectionality in 1989, she was criticising work that treated race and gender as exclusive parts of human experience and that as a result…

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Why you need to know about intersectionality

Animating folklore with a feminist twist

My next three blogs are going to be about intersectionality, a theory that originates from the black feminist struggle and that has since truly revolutionised academic thought and even state policy. Following dishonest and misleading claims that feminism has always been a white middle class movement by Vagenda Magazine, publications such as the New Statesman, the guardian and The Independent among others have…

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Black History Month reminds us that it is time to revive the dialogue on racism in the UK

the elephant in the room

Twenty-five years ago Black History Month was officially launched in the UK with an aim to “Promote race equality, equality of opportunity and good relations between persons of different racial groups”. The premise was that it would eventually be eliminated when black history became fundamental to general history. Since then, year after year, come October, black…

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History meets present-day in Queens of the Undead by Kimathi Donkor

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In my view, if Kimathi Donkor‘s painting of Queen Nanny of the Maroons was an antique, precious Tarot card, she would be ‘The High Priestess’, standing as a veil between life and death, her arms outstretched; one mercifully forgiving, the other holding a deadly sword, reminding us that when it comes to life, she both…

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Who is an African woman?

African Profile at Peace with the World

When people ask me what I do, and I respond that I’m a blogger, and that I blog about topics that primarily concern African women, quite often they proceed to either tell me about an humanitarian or developmental cause they are involved with or have read about. Sometimes they ask me how my blog reaches…

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Huffington Post: Meditate Your Way Through Negative Articles About Black Women

I submitted the below post to the Huffington Post editors before the racist and sexist cover image of Michelle Obama as a nude slave appeared in one of Spain’s biggest newspapers, El Mundo’s, supplement. This morning an interview with Gabby Douglas went live revealing that her teammates called her a slave. Unfortunately, the constant tending…

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7 key issues in African feminist thought

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  Firstly, it is important to say that when it comes to theory, it’s more accurate to speak of African feminisms than of one almighty African feminism. Not all African feminists agree with each other–luckily, I’d add, as this would hinder deep reflection of issues such as those listed below–yet respecting differences whilst recognizing a common…

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Beyonce, skin colour and carrots

Carrots anyone ??

Beyonce was crowned most beautiful woman in the world by People Magazine this week and that resurfaced the skin colour topic with many debating whether the light skinned Beyonce is an accurate representation of “Black Beauty”. The skin colour conversation is important, crucial even, for similar reasons that I think we should upkeep the hair conversation….

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An Open Letter from African women to the Minister of Culture: The Venus Hottentot Cake

Cross-Post with Black Feminists UK and Honestly Abroad We the undersigned women of African /African descent and  our supporters, which include anti-racist activists, scholars community leaders and Faith leaders wish to address the Swedish  Venus Hottentot Cake Incident.  First, we commend our Swedish friends and colleagues, and those from the African-Swedish Diaspora for their substantial contribution to…

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The power of images – African women and Swedish politicians

Lena Liljeroth Adelsohn ger regeringens syn på Kreativa Europa

I don’t tend to get surprised about racist acts, at least not when it’s so stereotypical as this whole tragic ordeal with the Swedish culture minister eating a cake of what is supposed to be a mutilated African woman. As a mixed race person I’ve experienced racism from the places where it possibly chafes the…

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The real reason African patriarchs have a problem with African feminism

Upon hearing the term African feminist, many African men and women will say, we as Africans don’t need feminism, we just need to return to our roots to see that there was harmony between the genders. The first problem with such a statement is that Africa is not that simple. African pasts are complex and…

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Some reflections on post-racialism

Starting with the words of Indian professor Homi K Bhabha who said: Our existence today is marked by a tenebrous sense of survival, living on the borderlines of the ‘present’, for which there seems to be no proper name other than the current and controversial shiftiness of the prefix ‘post’: postmodernism, postcolonialism, postfeminism… Another post-prefix that feels…

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White Women, Black Men & African Feminists

Occasionally I worry I’ll hurt my mum with some of the stuff that I write about white people, or that my dad will be offended by my criticism of African men. Then I visit them in Lagos and I’m reminded of how, and why, my concerns are completely unnecessary. They expected, and are pleased, with…

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Learning to love white men

I’d hate for my experience on earth to be lived with a heart containing animosity towards fellow human beings. We may act like different races are different species due to the irrational inventions of some power hungry ancestors of the human race, but I don’t want that confusion to make me equally disillusioned about our…

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My feature in (1)ne Drop – dialogues on racial politics and identity

Being black is not a matter of pigmentation being black kis a reflection of a mental attitude  - Steve Bantu Biko I am participating in an upcoming collaborative project by Africana Studies scholar Yaba Blay, Ph.D. and award-winning photographer Noelle Théard. (1)ne Drop, as the documentary is called, is going to be a thought-provoking look…

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My channel 4 interview on mixed race identity

My dear parents in the 60s

How can someone who claims to be a chosen messenger of god advocate such divisive, confused and love-lacking opinion as Pastor Tapiwa Muzvidziwa? “God”, he says, disapproves of mixed marriages as these are “wrong” and detrimental to the children born of such relationships. Doesn’t he understand that the whole idea of banning interracial and interfaith relationships is…

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