“Surviving R. Kelly” Serves Up a Toxic Cocktail of Misogynoir and Masculinity

I had some thoughts about music, misogynoir, and masculinity and it’s up at Bitch Media.

Survivors of R. Kelly’s abuse

Surviving R. Kelly unironically tracks the maturation of a predator who learned from his 2008 trial that it’s better to harm girls and women who are just north of 18 because slightly older women don’t garner police interest. Rather than understanding his behavior as predatory and abusive, a punitive justice system taught him to minimize his legal culpability and helped him adapt his behavior and refine his rapacity, becoming more controlling of the women in his life as public scrutiny intensified.

Read more here

“‘Misogynoir’ Coiner Moya Bailey Is Eating Pasta and Channeling Her Inner Black Auntie”

When doing an interview is an absolute joy and the title just fully sums up the way I live my life.

Dr. Moya Bailey believes that good things come from connecting and organizing. After seeing how Black women were stereotyped and miscategorized in medical yearbooks while working on her graduate school dissertation in 2010, Bailey coined the term “misogynoir” (a portmanteau of “misogyny” and the French word for “black”) to describe how Black women are viewed and treated in society vis-à-vis their race and their gender. “It was about creating clarity. Once you’re able to name your oppression, I think you’re better able to address it,” she says.

Read the full interview here.

Honoring Beverly Guy-Sheftall


What follows below are my remarks at the 2018 National Women’s Studies Association Conference honoring the work of Beverly Guy-Sheftall.

It is my great honor to say a few words about the incomparable Beverly Guy-Sheftall. To give her her flowers while she is here. Who would have thought a shy girl from Memphis, Tennessee would become a world renown educational freedom fighter by working on gender justice at Spelman College? As a first year student from little bitty Fayetteville, Arkansas, I was floored when Dr. Guy-Sheftall told my entering class about Sarah Baartman’s experiences as a human exhibit in Europe, the way her body was examined in life and death under the cloak of objective science but which was in reality reflective of scientific racism and sexism. In my first week at Spelman, before I’d even attended a class, Dr. Guy-Sheftall had blown my mind!

After that moment, I knew I wanted to take every class I could with her. At some point she revealed one of my favorite stories about her childhood. Her mother insisted that she did not need to take home economics. Beverly’s mother knew that her daughter had other work to do and other skills to learn. Her mother’s nurturing of her intellect allowed her to become the venerable scholar she is today and her mother’s actions also account for Beverly’s rarely if ever used oven.

Who has time to cook when you are growing a field of scholarship?

In typical Gemini fashion, Beverly is doing all the things all the time. If you ever send Beverly an email, don’t be surprised if you get a response at 2:30am.  A prolific night-owl, Beverly will answer your email while in between books she’s reading and finishing that day. Her nightly productivity has resulted in multiple collaborative texts, the development and flourishing of the Spelman College Women’s and Resource Center and her latest venture with the Mellon Foundation, a Gender and Sexuality Institute dedicated to addressing the violence disproportionately experienced by Black women and girls.

Who has time to sleep when you are remaking institutions?

No one has a more eclectic sense of style or a more pithy set of one liners. Beverly does not dabble in shade. Beverly reads. And her reads are legendary. Some of you were there, in 2004 when Beverly said, at the Chicago hip hop feminism conference organized by Cathy Cohen, that it was ludicrous to compare Madonna’s self fashioned and commercialized eroticism to the exploitation of Black women dancers in rap videos. Beverly said it so simply, “You can’t compare exploitation to the whorification of white women.”

Who has time for propriety when you are telling the truth?

Beverly set the stage for me to be in that room, at that conference, and hear that comment. It was in her Feminist Theory class, that the so-called Nelly protest was born that launched me, Leana Cabral, and Spelman into a national spotlight. How could Spelman, a historically Black women’s institution, host the rapper Nelly on campus for a bone marrow registration drive after depicting Black women as objects in his music and videos? Beverly gave us the time to process, in class, our conflicted feelings about his video “Tip Drill” and his impending visit to campus. She thought our voices mattered and she gave us the space to work it out. Our meek interest in writing a letter blossomed, with her encouragement, to naming Nelly the Misogynist of the Month, which distressed him so much he elected not to come to campus at all. The national attention that Nelly’s bowing out garnered, lead to the  invitation to the Hip Hop Feminism conference, where I got my first honoraria check, and got to see Beverly’s brilliance in action.

Who has time for the theory vs. activism debate when your classroom is a spaceship for praxis?

The resulting media attention raised Beverly’s star as well but she has remained committed to Spelman despite its sometime ambivalent relationship to her. She could be at any institution but she remains dedicated to the students of Spelman College, teaching and mentoring new generations of Black feminists who will be in every sector of society, even some we haven’t thought of yet.

Who has time for the Ivy league or PWIs  when you can make a choice to change the world?

We’ve done this here before, but if you have ever taken a class with Beverly, heard or read her words and been moved? Stand up.

Beverly, look around. This is the profound power of your scholarship in a discipline forged out of necessity for something different. You have inspired generations of Black feminists and feminists writ large. I hope you can feel your impact because we continue to feel yours.

Work in the Intersections: A Black Feminist Disability Framework

It’s here! It’s finally here!

This article took years but I think it was worth the wait!

A Black feminist disability framework allows for methodological considerations of the intersectional nature of oppression. Our work in this article is twofold: to acknowledge the need to consider disability in Black Studies and race in Disability Studies, and to forward an intersectional framework that considers race, gender, and disability to address the gaps in both Black Studies and Disability Studies. By employing a Black feminist disability framework, scholars of African American and Black Studies, Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, and Disability Studies have a flexible and useful methodology through which to consider the historical, social, cultural, political, and economic reverberations of disability.

You can read it here! Also, if you enjoy this piece, please help my co-author Izetta, get her lettas!

What I Hear When You Say…

When I first moved to Boston, I was invited to be a part of a PBS web series that questioned assumptions about sexuality and gender, among other topics. “What I Hear When You Say… When did you become gay?” troubles the heteronormative and trans-antagonistic assumptions that sex, gender, and sexuality are binary. Because it’s been a while, I would probably change my use of “spectrum” to “universe” but on the whole, I think the conversation is useful. Ohh and this episode was also a Webby Honoree!

Take a look!

Some Thoughts on the Queer Eye Reboot

“Frankly, many of these men could be better served if there were a licensed therapist among the Fab Five,” she said, referring to the nickname for hosts Antoni Porowski, Bobby Berk, Karamo Brown, Jonathan Van Ness, and Tan France, who are food, design, lifestyle, grooming, and wardrobe coaches, respectively.

Some of my thoughts on the  Queer Eye Reboot.

On misogynoir: citation, erasure, and plagiarism

This piece has been years in the making! So grateful for you @thetrudz!

We, Moya Bailey and Trudy aka @thetrudz, had significant roles in the creation and proliferation of the term misogynoir. Misogynoir describes the anti-Black racist misogyny that Black women experience. Despite coining the term in 2008 and writing about the term online since 2010, we experience, to varying degrees, our contributions being erased, our writing not cited, or our words plagiarized by people who find the word compelling. It

 is not surprising that misogynoir would be enacted against the Black women who brought the word to public acclaim but it is nonetheless troubling. This is not to say that every time the word is used, our names need to be mentioned, but it does matter that our intellectual interventions are understood in proper context. In

this article, we interview each other and discuss the ramifications of the naming of misogynoir in digital media and its impact on our own lives.

Read the full piece here.


The Flexner Report: Standardizing Medical Students Through Region-, Gender-, and Race-Based Hierarchies

I’m proud to have an article in this special issue of the American Journal of Law & Medicine.  It is a treat to be published alongside scholars I really admire like Ruha Benjamin, Khiara M. Bridges, Terence KeelOsagie K. Obasogie, Patricia J. Williams,  Lundy Braun, and more!

Here’s a taste:

A black and white photo of Abraham Flexner
Abraham Flexner
In 1910, Abraham Flexner, a leading U.S. educational scholar, took on a task issued by the Carnegie Foundation to assess the curricular components of medical schools in the United States and Canada. His groundbreaking report transformed the practice of educating doctors, making institutions more standardized and uniform in their aim to educate the next generations of physicians. It is through his work that medical doctors became well-respected professionals with extensive and complex training.

To read the entire article click here.