Bell Hooks argued for the necessity of black men and women loving one another in the face of oppression and abuse by white power structures. When black people love one another, it has a profound impact on the people involved in the love affair, as we learn to appreciate and cherish our bodies. We embrace our scars, our fat, and even our random moles, curves, and dips with pride and appreciation. In a world that both objectifies and seeks to transcend the black body, deep love allows us to find solace and comfort in the midst of relentless brutality. We witness the pain of black bodies brutalized on a daily basis, the bloodstained rocks and the haunting silence that follows. We know the feeling of touching a deceased relative’s body, the unreal sensation. Love is what we need in a nation that values money above all else; it is love that nurtures us and provides the strength to survive. Bell Hooks speaks about the revolutionary nature of black men learning to love one another, by embracing black bodies saying:
“Black men loving black men was the most revolutionary act.” To Marlon this statement was an affirmation of the importance of self-love. He believed that a self-hating individual black male, irrespective of his sexual preference, would never be able to love another black male.
We judge ourselves by impossible standards, overlooking the true foundation of love between us. Wealth should not determine how we love one another. Our generation of women, responding to the pain caused by our brutality and heartbreak, sometimes reacts with hatred and anger. Black men, in turn, respond with ignorance and a hardened attitude, hindering our ability to love each other. Our standards are unreasonable, suggesting that a man is emasculated if he doesn’t work three jobs, or a woman is unfit for marriage if she has more than four partners. These conversations disrupt the solidarity built through years of making love work. As we strive to establish new paradigms of love and affection, let us remember that we have always, and only, had each other. Bell Hooks speaks about the necessity of going back to sacred texts on love saying:
“That huge majority of black folks who identify as Christian or as believers in other religious faiths (Islam, Buddhism, Yoruba, and so on) need to return to sacred writings about love and embrace these as guides showing us the way to lead our lives.”
Bell Hooks highlights the evolution of music, comparing the tender melodies of Otis Redding’s “Try a Little Tenderness” to the explicit lyrics of R. Kelly’s “You Remind Me of My Jeep.” She argues that the prevailing music of our time reflects our own consciousness rather than being solely influenced by mass media or music corporations with intentions to harm Black individuals. Hooks suggests that our internal conflicts and personal lives contribute to embracing content that perpetuates misogyny, ignorance, and white supremacy disguised in a Black context. The popularity of podcasters discussing topics like “Who Pays for the First Date” and the subsequent wealth they accumulate are not forced upon people, but rather reflect a lack of critical thinking within our society. Hooks encourages us to examine how mass media shapes our perceptions of Black love.
“Our capacity to value art is severely corrupted and perverted by a politics of the visual that suggest we [black artists] must limit our responses… Clearly it is only as we move away from the tendency to define ourselves in reaction to white racism that we are able to move toward that practice of freedom which requires us first to decolonize our minds. We can liberate ourselves and others only by forging in resistance identities that transcend narrowly defined limits.”
In my essay, I delve into the profound significance of love, specifically within the context of black men and women, as highlighted by bell hooks in Salvation. I emphasize the necessity of black individuals loving one another as a means to counter the oppression and abuse perpetuated by white power structures. When we genuinely love and appreciate one another, it has a transformative impact on our lives, enabling us to embrace our bodies and all their unique aspects without shame or insecurity. We learn to cherish our scars, embrace our curves and imperfections, and find pride in every part of ourselves. In a world that both objectifies and seeks to transcend the black body, deep love becomes our solace and refuge amidst relentless brutality. Witnessing the daily pain inflicted upon black bodies, the bloodstained rocks, and the haunting silence that ensues, we intimately understand the gravity of loss. Love becomes the essential pillar in a nation that often prioritizes money above all else, nurturing us and providing the strength to persevere.
There are three ways to become apart of our community:
1. Become a sustaining Patron by joining our membership program. It includes full access to over 200+ essays, discounts on merch, books, and first notice on Yoga classes and events.
2. Provide a donation the price of a Chai Tea Latte or Sunday Brunch.
3. Subscribe to Our “Pick Me Up Wednesday” and “Sunday Meditation” newsletters.
|The Peace and Love Lifestyle Mature Plan||$10.00 per Month.||Select|
|The Peace and Love Lifestyle Youth Plan||$5.00 per Month.||Select|
|The Peace and Love Lifestyle Educator Plan||$6.00 per Month.||Select|