Skip to main content

Black Womanhood in Britain

Yesterday I attended my first feminist meeting which was hosted by Black Feminist UK and was aimed at women of colour (not specifically black).
Not knowing what to expect from the event and to be honest a little nervous, I ended up having an amazing evening talking to and listening to other similar minded women.

The organisers had invited members of the Brixton Black Women’s Group who in the 60s, 70s and early 80s actively campaigned and supported the black UK community as well as highlighting and supporting the plights of black people in African and America back in the days. The group disbanded in the late 80s/ early 90s as many of the women left the country or focused their energies elsewhere, though what they managed to achieve has made a profound effect on the present lives of black people in London.

I won’t lie at times I felt a little out of my depths, aside from the women elders I was in a room filled with PHD students, organisation/social workers and activist. My introduction to the group was feeble and so were my contributions to the small group discussions, were my correlation of ‘direct action’ to fashion and consumerism didn’t go down to well!
So I simply sat and listened most of the evening, which wasn’t hard considering so many great pearls of wisdom were expressed, such as, the Brixton Black Women’s Group protested against the contraceptive injection being trialled in Britain on black women, also they supported their community through race riots and fires back in the racial hostile days in Britain.

The feeling of female solidarity in the room was amazing but what stood out to me most was their definition of ‘black’. With the room filled with women from Caribbean, African and Asian descent, I love the fact that they all proudly described themselves as ‘black women’, all eager to highlight the gender and racial struggles of ‘black women’. 
Black for once wasn’t being used to denote a person of African heritage; instead it was used to define the struggle of being oppressed by their white patriarch oppressors.

I found this refreshing and bizarrely liberating, I guess because it linked me to a collective entity instead of the defragmented identity surrounded with being black British as apposed to Caribbean, American or African.

I’m pleased I attended the meeting and am looking forward to attending more in future.  My personal understanding of the importance and need for black feminism in a tangent to feminism (which is reserved for white women), comes from writing by my favourite author and idol Bell Hooks, along with other black American women such as Ida B and Angela Davis. To hear that black British women have such an interesting history (or herstory) enthrals and incites curiosity in me. It also deeply saddens me that access to this sort of information is limited and goes unpublished.

I guess today marks the first day of my journey as a black feminist.

Reference Links:
Remember Olive Morris

Recommended Reads:
Ain't I A Woman, Bell Hooks
Black Looks: Race and Representation, Bell Hooks


Popular posts from this blog

Music Review: The Weeknd Trilogy

Rarely do I buy new music these days, with it being even more of a rarity that I buy music from male artists. Reason being that I just can not stomach the lies and hypocrisy commercially viable male solo artists spin with their predictable music and unoriginal public image clashing fiercely with the reality of their private lives.

With music today being so limited in the topics sung about and (in making myself sound old - which I'm not) the lack of experience, soul and true artistry in today's predominately young artists, I was surprised and delight to find out about Canadian singer The Weeknd. I'm told that this artist has actually been around for a while, though it is only now that The Weeknd's music is reaching commercial heights with the song Wicked Games played regularly on the radio. While I have liked the song since hearing it, it wasn't until I had seen its music video that I really became interested in what this young male solo artist has to offer.


Rise Of The Beta Male

Interesting article in last week’s Shortlist discussing the demise of the 'Alpha' male and rise of the 'Beta' male.
In a nutshell, the article was discussing recent culture changes in male behaviour and attitudes which has contributed to the emergence of the Beta male.
Beta males are smart sensitivity men who invest in their appearance, they are said to have turned their backs on the old Alpha male ways of male domination, aggression and exploitation, instead they embody intelligence, charisma and are liberal thinking. According to the article beta males are changing the way we do business!

I was pleased to see that the article had made a connection with this new male attitude and behaviour to the adaption (for the better) to the feminist movement and the study's of masculinity, since the process of women demanding and slowly achieving gender equality has encouraged many men to relieve themselves of the emotional castration once promoted as the alpha male image of…

Book Review: We Real Cool: Black Men and Masculinity

We Real Cool take's a deep look at black masculinity and offers up a fantastic critical analyst of the pros and cons of being a black male in the US.
Hooks acknowledges early in the book that as a female her view point on this subject maybe subjective, though We Real Cool is written with much intellect and heart. It is with great passion for her black males that Hooks writes with, saying that the lack of critical writings on the subject by black males was the catalysis for why she wrote the book.

The book is a real eye opener on the issues and daily assault out black males face and easily related to black males in the UK. Hooks dicusses black male incarceration, Hip-Hop & gang culture, black male misogyny and absentee fatherhood. As a female reader the book spoke volumes to me, and in usual fashion Hooks drew from her personal experiences and relationships with black males when writting the book. This not only helped draw parallels between the black males in my life (i.e. fat…