17 December 2021 - Feminist scholar bell hooks dies aged 69
bell hooks, author and activist, dies aged 69
Lucy Knight (The Guardian, 15/12/21)
Gloria Jean Watkins, better known by her pen name bell hooks, has died aged 69.
Her niece Ebony Motley tweeted: “The family of @bellhooks is sad to announce the passing of our sister, aunt, great aunt and great great aunt.”
She also attached a statement, which said that “the family of Gloria Jean Watkins is deeply saddened at the passing of our beloved sister on December 15, 2021. The family honored her request to transition at home with family and friends by her side.”
How bell hooks got me through a tumultuous year of my life
Alice Driver (CNN, 15/12/21)
In 2004, while waiting for customers at the local coffee shop where I worked in Berea, Kentucky, I wrote in my notebook, "The one person who will never leave us, whom we will never lose, is ourself. Learning to love our female selves is where our search for love must begin." I read bell hooks's "Communion: The Search for Female Love" -- the book from which this line is taken and whose words have stayed with me ever since -- during my free time at work, storing it under the cash register when I had customers. I had discovered "Ain't I a Woman" -- hooks's most famous book -- in a women's studies course at Berea College. It was my first encounter with a more inclusive idea of feminism, one that centered the experience, history and labor of Black women.
The Revolutionary Writing of bell hooks
Hua Hsu (The New Yorker, 15/12/21)
Before she became bell hooks, one of the great cultural critics and writers of the twentieth century, and before she inspired generations of readers—especially Black women—to understand their own axis-tilting power, she was Gloria Jean Watkins, daughter of Rosa Bell and Veodis Watkins. hooks, who died on Wednesday, was raised in Hopkinsville, a small, segregated town in Kentucky. Everything she would become began there. She was born in 1952 and attended segregated schools up until college; it was in the classroom that she, eager to learn, began glimpsing the liberatory possibilities of education. She loved movies, yet the ways in which the theatre made us occasionally captive to small-mindedness and stereotype compelled her to wonder if there were ways to look (and talk) back at the screen’s moving images. Growing up, her father was a janitor and her mother worked as a maid for white families; their work, rife with minor indignities, brought into focus the everyday power of an impolite glare, or rolling your eyes. A new world is born out of such small gestures of resistance—of affirming your rightful space.
bell hooks remembered: ‘She embodied everything I wanted to be’
Reni Eddo-Lodge, David Olusoga, Jay Bernard, Johny Pitts, Jeffrey Boakye, Margaret Atwood, Candice Carty-Williams, Aminatta Forna, Afua Hirsch (The Guardian, 16/12/21)
Reni Eddo-Lodge: ‘When I tried to develop my own writing, I read hers’
British journalist and author of the bestselling Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race
It was bell hooks who planted the seed of a book in my brain. In a 2013 in-conversation event with Melissa Harris-Perry, she said she didn’t trust the internet, that a plug could be pulled at any time and that everything we put there could one day be lost. I was writing for the internet at the time – ephemeral articles that often got swept away on busy timelines. Hearing her musings persuaded me to slow down on putting my work online, and instead seek to put my political energy towards writing something physical that could be held and referred to, handed to someone, used as a tool.