bell hooks: feminist icon: presente!
© 12/21/21 by Mumia Abu-Jamal
She was born Gloria Watkins 69 years ago in Hopkinsville, Kentucky on September 25th, 1952. But the world knew her by pen name, bell hooks, and readers recognize that name by its distinctive use of lowercase letters. Why lower case? Two principal reasons: one, to remind readers it wasn’t about her but about her work, and two, it was a tribute to her great grandmother.
She was a towering feminist, poet, author, and social critic who published more than 40 books, from essays to children’s books, and taught as a professor at Yale, Oberlin, and the University of California, Santa Cruz. In 2015, she founded the bell hooks Institute at Berea College which houses her archives.
I distinctly remember her interviewing the notorious rapper Little Kim. When she asked her about love, Kim answered quickly and quietly that she didn’t know what loved was, for she never felt loved.
bell hooks explored these things in her institute and in interviews as well as her ideological target: what she called “imperialist white supremacist capitalist patriarchy power structure.” In a 2015 interview with the New York Times, hooks explained that the system of domination consists of many parts, not one thing, and therefore had to be named.
She thought about love a great deal, and here are some of her thoughts. To get the love we always wanted but never had, to have the love we want but are not prepared to give, we seek romantic relationships. We believe these relationships more than any other will rescue and redeem us. True love does have the power to redeem, but only if we are ready for redemption. Love saves us only if we want to be saved. bell.
Many readers know of a book by myself and Marc Lamont-Hill, From a Clasroom to a Cell. Marc and I prepared for this book by reading Breaking Bread by bell hooks and Cornell West, two intellectual giants. We also read a similar text by Margaret Mead, the anthropologist, and the renowned writer, James Baldwin.
bell hooks returns to her mothers with a message: love, not fear.
This is Mumia Abu-Jamal.
These commentaries are recorded by Prison Radio.