For Black History Month, I wanted to do a post on black feminist authors. The most inclusive and thought provoking feminism comes from authors of marginalized groups, most notably black authors. Kimberlé Crenshaw and Angela Davis have both made important arguments for feminist theory. Kimberlé Crenshaw is known for coming up with the term intersectionality. Intersectionality is the understanding that people experience intersections of identity. Black women experience hatred both as women and as black people, making their identity a separate experience from black men and white women. Intersectional feminism considers all the intersections of identities people experience. It does not make feminism exclusive to white cis women.
Tarana Burke is another feminist often forgotten. As the founder of the #metoo movement, she is instrumental in the fight for women’s rights. Frequently erased by white women, Burke’s work often stays forgotten in favor of making the fight against sexual assault and harassment all about white women. We should recognize the intelligence of all these women for their hard earned work.
I wanted to hightlight and recognize the intelligence of black feminists. These authors are doing amazing thought provoking work in the book community. I chose to highlight authors from different intersections of black identities.
Roanhorse is african-american, Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo and Diné in law. She allows hardened girls with traumatic pasts to be complex and unlikeable. She tells those of us with trauma it’s okay to heal. It’s okay to love ourselves. It’s okay to ask those we love to be there for us. She includes a full cast of native people and black queer people. In her middle grade, she wrote black native characters all the while writing about environmental justice. She’s one of my favorite authors.
Dhonielle Clayton gives young people a book that looks at the problems society creates with beauty standards. She uses opulence and obsession with beauty to dissect what we do to ourselves. She wrote ambitious black girls in a publishing field that normally does not allow black girls to be so. She is an entire reason to read.
Rivers Solomon wrote a book where black pregnant women were once thrown from the slave ships. They tell a story of their descendents, creatures much like mermaids. They weave a tale like a historian telling something of the past, making history part of the present. They wrote one of the most powerful f/f romances I’ve read. Feminists should not be exclusive to women. I chose this book not only because it’s an amazing feminist narrative but because it’s written by a non-binary author.
Roxane Gay is a fat queer black professor and a non-fiction author. She writes about those experiences. I am always here for her words about fat women’s bodies. That’s some good feminism. She has more to deal with than me. I am not a black woman. Fat black women deal with much more than fat white women, like me. She has amazing things to say and everybody should listen.
This is one of those seminal texts every feminist should read. Throw out your ideas of the white suffragettes because Davis has a lot to say about that. She is one of my favorite feminists and this book is one of my absolute favorites.
I’m a big fan of Phoebe Robinson. She’s one of the best comedians out there. The woman deserves her own show. Her own everything. A Crown. A statue. Whatever she wants. She’s known for her HBO comedy series (2 Dope Queens) she does with her best friend Jessica Williams. Please love her.
Jenkins is canon. A powerhouse, Jenkins contributes to a lot of hard work in the romance genre many haven’t realized until recently. The reason why should be obvious. Racism. The reason is racism.
The romance genre is going through a lot right now. She and other AOC are currently working hard to make romance a better place for the future.
This book feautures an afro-latinx pirate lady. There’s a great scene where she swordfights the hero. The heroine is difficult and proud. She’s not this weird fantasy people have of wanting heroines to be “strong” but still nice and submissive. She’s complicated and I love her. It’s a beautiful book.
Alyssa Cole is god tier. As far as I’m concerned, her books are without imperfections. This book is the most feminist romance book I’ve ever read. I’ve been reading this genre for 10 years and haven’t found a single one as feminist and as brilliant as this book. It shows misogynoir in the workplace. It lets black people have a royal love story. The imagined kingdom Cole creates for her books doesn’t have the royal family as victims of colonizers but as heroes of their people. I loved how Cole wrote a hero making mistakes and owning up to that. She further won my heart when she allowed the heroine time to figure out what she wanted for herself. There’s no speech to fix everything. She allowed the heroine to process her life. I love it.
Adriana Herrera is Afro-Dominicana. She writes gorgeous books highlighting black love, latinx love, queer love, and the intersections of those experiences. Her christmas novella is a f/f romance set in scotland. It’s the Great British Bake Off but make it sexy. One of my favorite things about this novella is the discussion of privilege between non-citizen Dominican immigrants and Dominican-American citizens. The romance is at the center but it’s got a powerful feminist narrative threaded through.