Penn State Penn State: College of the Liberal Arts

AFIAfrican Feminist Initiative

AFI Deeply Saddened by the Passing of bell hooks

AFI Deeply Saddened by the Passing of bell hooks

The AFI community has been deeply saddened to hear of the passing of bell hooks. Her work has been so important to feminist understanding and her loss is being felt by African Feminists in the Global North and on the continent. We stand on the shoulders of giants, and we are grateful to all those who have come before us as we strive for a world where a vision of social justice for all people is realized.

We wanted to share some of the reflections our members shared of their sorrow and the impact she has had on them over the years. These reflections were shared by different members on the AFI listserv:

A staggering and heartbreaking loss. 

bell hooks showed us what it means to live as a freedom thinker and a freedom writer. In her radical pedagogy, her oppositional gaze, her claiming of the margin as a locus of power, of theory as a location of healing. Her naming of  “imperialist white-supremacist capitalist patriarchy: the interlocking systems of oppression that determine our reality.” She wrote towards freedom, always. She wrote herself free, and wrote us into liberation. 

I am immensely grateful for her extraordinary body of work, for her prolific brilliance and superhuman labors. I am immensely sad at the cost they exacted from her, the many violences she had to write through, the theft of her life energies. Sixty-nine is too young, too young, too obscenely young. 

A global call and response is lighting up social media in mourning and celebration of bell hooks. From every corner of the world, feminists of all ages, nationalities, and genders are singing the revolutions she made in their lives. On every continent, institutions and movements are testifying to her legacies. Her largeness and reach are made manifest in the beauty of this collective, dialogic, planetary wake. #bellhooks #bellhookstaughtme

May our spiritual sister and colleague, bell hooks, rest in peace and power. She was only 69. How should we spend our days…

What a loss! Scholars of her caliber don’t die.

May her dear soul rest in peace. bell hooks lives on in the many things she has taught us.

May bell hooks soul rest in peace and power. We continue to celebrate bell hooks beautiful gift to the world through the dialogue with her generous transformative works in our teaching and research.

OHHH! What a loss!!! for all of us who feel her as a sister, a friend, a guide with her thinking and action…  rest in peace and power. Te vamos a extrañar, ya te extrañamos!!!!

May bell hooks rest in peace and power. Thank you for all that I learned from you!

a great soul has gone to join our ancestors. 

my first consideration of feminism was through her books… 

may we honor her spirit by basking in the light of the truth that she opened for so many…

69 was too young. Black people, we die too young. Her beautiful works and words will live on. RIP

WHAT IS THIS NEWS?? I am stunned. May she rest in peace and rise in glory. What a legacy she has left us.  The sisterhood remains forever in her debt.

bell hook’s passing is a great loss to all of us! Our deepest condolences and sympathy to her family and friends, she will remain luminous in our memory and inspiring. May your soul rest in peace.

This is sad news indeed. I can’t believe it…

May bell hooks soul rest in peace. She has greatly contributed to the growth of black feminism and feminism in general. I feel like I have known her all my life and like I should travel all the way from Kenya to US to attend her funeral and say Pole to her family. Sleep in peace my sister. You will continue to live through your words. As the Luos in Kenya say ” Burry my bones and keep my words” Your words, thoughts and hopes for Black Women and Women in general will live on.

This is such a loss! May bell hooks rest in power.

Rest in Power bell hooks. You impacted generations past and generations to come.

Rest in peace great one. You came, you saw and you conquered. 

One AFI member shared this bell hooks quote:

Feminism, as liberation struggle, must exist apart from and as a part of the larger struggle to eradicate domination in all its formsThat aspect of feminist revolution that calls women to love womanness, that calls men to resist dehumanizing concepts of masculinity, is an essential aspect of our struggle. It is the process by which we move from seeing ourselves as objects to acting as subjects. When women and men understand that working to eradicate patriarchal domination is a struggle rooted in the longing to make a world where everyone can live fully and freely, then we know our work to be a gesture of love. Let us draw upon that love to heighten our awareness, deepen our compassion, intensify our courage, and strenghen our commitment” from Feminism: A Transformational Politics 

Ashe bell hooks Ashe – 1952 – 2021