A piece of my heart broke this week with the announcement of the loss of bell hooks. It is comforting to know that I belong to a sacred collective of mourners who felt a shift within themselves- Black women, femmes, and writers whose lives forever changed when they held bell hooks’ work in their hands.
Within hooks’ writing, I found myself connected to a living elder, a mentor, a titan that affirmed my complicated relationship with existing as a whole person in this society as we know it. She provided words and language for experiences I perceived but told I was imagining. The nuance and complexity I can acknowledge in my writing are due to the influences and guidance of ancestors such as bell hooks, Toni Morrison, and Audre Lorde. They showed us that Black womanhood is a unique experience. That there was a place for me in feminism. They illustrated that the words of Black women and femmes, my words, are an apothecary- we create our own medicine for healing each other and our communities.
The complex relationship that I have and explore every day with my Blackness, queerness, gender, love, trauma, education, imagination, and politics comes from the fearlessness of Black trailblazers who loved us and wanted more for us. They were not perfect, but they knew all too well that we are perfect as is, that we belong, that we deserve justice, equity, and equality. That the world we live in, a white supremacist capitalist patriarchy created by man, can be dismantled and reimagined. These are gifts that we can continue to expand on and pass to each other in this lifetime and generations to come.
I am grateful to have been inspired, affected, and taught by brilliant minds that expand my thinking and push me to practice love as resistance. The gifts left by bell hooks and other prolific writers are well within our reach and will help us as we continue to create new futures and possibilities. This loss hurts but, “love empowers us to live fully and die well. Death becomes, then, not an end to life but a part of living.” Thank you, bell hooks.
Categories: Social Commentary