Every once in a while I ghost social media. It is my way of practicing a little digital minimalism (shoutout to Cal Newport). My hiatuses are cute or whatever but they don’t last long at all and every single time I do one I am reminded just how much social media, Twitter in particular, is my morning paper and like a bish in a toxic relationship I’m gonna spin the block.
December 15th a friend of mine (thank you sis!) sent me a link for bell hooks book Art on My Mind. I clicked the link, I ordered it and went about my day. The next day, literally 24 hours, after my decision to ghost socials I was back scrolling (judge your mama not me) only to find out she (bell hooks) had passed the day before. I swear I never want to be out of the loop like that again.
I’m not going to act like she was my favorite author, an idol, or someone I referenced often (or at all) because she wasn’t (I, like many others, have only done the bare minimum by reading all about love – an incredible book by the way) but I am forever grateful for her contributions to the literary world and of course to the feminist movement (to be clear the feminist movement that included Black women – PURRR).
I watched my timeline mourn in real time. The weirdly comforting thing about death, in the culture, is that folks will dig deep into their archives and pull out memories to share for everyone to revel in. We gather (virtually) to pay our respects and often times learn more that makes us love them even more. bell hooks meant so much to so many people and it was beautiful to see how many were influenced and moved to write because of their exposure to her. What a beautiful impact! My favorite tweet from a bell hooks enthusiast @NicoleFoio:
“bell hooks’ body of work taught me that I can just write if I want to. she didn’t care about pleasing academia, she cared about her work being accessible and about thinking though sides of an issue. she taught me that thinking is never in vain, and that writing is an action.”
Writing is an action! Whew. (She also mentions access. Access is my “why” and the fact that b.h. thought through all sides – I just knew sis was a Libra. bell hooks was born the Sept 25th by the way lol that proximity to my birthday makes me feel special LOL.) I’m, currently, in the middle of reading Art on My Mind and bell hooks is giving me words, lines, phrases to articulate things I NEVER thought I would be able to articulate about the power of art in the Black community. Wait till I finish this book and get my shit off – that blog post will be dedicated to hooks fo sho!
If you haven’t read any of her books or watched any of her interviews please do yourself a favor and look her up. We lost a giant and her work can only live on if we keep it alive.
December has a tendency to take all the greats – my godmother Rosie and now bell hooks. RIP and thank you for everything.
“No Black woman writer….can write “too much.” Indeed, no woman writer can write “too much”…no woman has every written enough.” – bell hooks