For Colored Girls Who Considered Black Feminism When Riot Grrrl Wasn't Enough

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For Colored Girls Who Considered Black Feminism When Riot Grrrl Wasn't Enough

lacked issues concerning black women and failed to intersect blackness with riot grrrl ideologies. I began to venture off in search of black people within the punk rock subculture.

During my search I stumbled upon the afro-punk documentary by James Spooner. The documentary meant so much to me. It was absolutely perfect and came at a time when I needed it most. I was the only Black kid I knew that liked Punk. Through this documentary, I began to discover Black women that had loved riot grrrl at some point in their lives. I even discovered an intense love for Tamar-Kali after a scene in the documentary when she explained that she knew the latest rap songs when with her friends, but loved punk as well. There is definitely room for both. She talked to me on Twitter from time to time & continues to be a major inspiration. My hunt for like minded individuals was found on the internet! My mission to merge the Feminist ideologies with my Blackness ultimately came with the Dorm Room Diaries of a Fem Nerd video podcast on the Afro-Punk website.

The show host Twyla referred me to some literature written by Black women such as Alice Walker. This sparked an interest to read books written by my Black Feminist foremothers. Just to name a few I read:Yearning, Ain’t I a Woman. Feminist Theory: From Margin to Center by bell hooks; Women, Race, & Class; Angela Davis: An Autobiography, by my idol Angela Davis. Also, The Black Woman: An Anthology edited by Toni Cade Bambara became a personal favorite because of the section with articles by black women in my hometown of Mount Vernon, NY. I got more suggestions through Twitter and the many people I interact with on the internet.

I personally subscribe to this definition of feminism:

“Feminism is the political theory and practice to free all women: women of color, working-class women, poor women, physically challenged women, lesbians, old women as well as white economically privileged heterosexual women. Anything less than this is not feminism, but merely female self-aggrandizement.”

Barbara Smith in This Bridge Called My Back (1981)

My hope is to apply this definition and tie it with social media in an attempt to further Feminism, as a movement to end oppression. Social media can be a direct tool to link up and discuss important issues with other activists. I believe feminism discourse has surrounded itself with a white form of feminism, and we need to hear the voices of black women and women of color.

We’ve heard the narratives of many white feminists and even white teenaged feminists via social media, with online magazines such as Rookie, but they fail to address issues that are directed toward black feminists, like myself. My goal is to eradicate all forms of oppression and to create feasible solutions toward liberation that will outlive me. Whether it is racism, sexism, homophobia, ableism, transphobia, etc.

We have to realize that patriarchy affects all people. I hope that through this column I can communicate with other black feminist teenagers such as myself and to be as inclusive as possible through this medium. 

I will not post much about the riot grrrl movement. While it was a direct influence on how I became a Feminist, it is no longer relevant to the kind of Feminism I subscribe to. I have found community in Black Feminism. In the words of Audre Lorde, “Black Feminism is not White Feminism in blackface.” 


This piece first appeared at e-feminist.