Who’s the Fairest of Them All? On Hilton Als’ ‘White Girls’

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Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is Flawless

The BeyHive has been swarming about since Thursday’s surprise album drop. What Melissa Harris-Perry has deemed Bey’s “Feminist Manifesto” has also gotten a good deal of attention. While I’ll save my discussion of the nuances of “liberal” and “radical” feminism(s) for a later post, I am excited that “Flawless,” Beyoncé’s sonic interpretation of feminism can introduce folks that might not have read or even heard of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie to the writer’s brilliant voice and work.

Yoncé cites the writer’s critique of gender inequality and the expectations that girls must marry. But the line that stuck out to me from Adichie’s talk deals with the power of anger:

I am angry. Gender as it functions today is a grave injustice. We should all be angry. Anger has a long history of bringing about positive change. But, in addition to being angry, I am also hopeful because I believe deeply in the ability of human beings to make and remake themselves for the better.

Flawless!

Writing Black Feminism

ImageThis week a list has gone viral on Facebook, at least among several of my friends. The readers among us have been exchanging 9, 10, or even 20 novels or essays that have moved us in some way. Of course for a literature professor, condensing valuable texts to a concise list is nearly impossible. But in the spirit of year-end list making, here are 10 Black Feminist Novels that have stayed with me (in no particular order):

1. Toni Morrison’s Sula

2. Nella Larsen’s Passing

3. Audre Lorde’s Zami

4. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Half of a Yellow Sun

5. Ann Petry’s The Street

6. Tsitsi Dangarembga’s Nervous Conditions

7. Harriet Jacobs’ Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl (not a novel, but …)

8. Jamaica Kincaid’s Lucy

9. Alice Walker’s Meridian

10. Ntozake Shange’s for colored girls who’ve considered suicide when the rainbow is enuf

What black feminist works continue to inspire you?