What I am Reading Now…
Dr Francesca Sobande
I am grateful for the work of Black women, feminists, and activists which has significantly shaped my thinking and writing, including my understanding of nuanced issues concerning anti-Blackness, intersecting oppressions, and harmful notions of “citizenship”.
The creativity and candour of Black feminists has helped me to learn about the lives and experiences of Black people in different parts of the world, and how such individuals are collectively organising to tackle interconnected anti-Blackness, sexism, misogyny, classism, colourism, ableism, homophobia, transphobia, xenophobia, Islamophobia, and other interrelated forms of oppression.
I find radical hope through the words and work of Black women, feminists, and activists who emphasise the liberatory and joyous potential of collective action, care, and creatively (re)imagining what the future can be. Black feminism is vital—from writing found on the pages of zines, papers, and books, to political messages communicated through visual, sonic, and media creations. However, the determined efforts and continued work of Black feminists should not be fetishised in ways that result in people demanding their work, labour, and time in fundamentally exploitative and oppressive ways.
The work of writers, activists, creatives, and scholars such as Beverley Bryan, Stella Dadzie, Suzanne Scafe, Akwugo Emejulu, Azeezat Johnson, Olive Gallimore, Gail Lewis, Melba Wilson, and Ama Ata Aidoo has been influential in my life and the direction of my work. Therefore, five texts that I highly recommend reading are:
Dr Francesca Sobande is a Lecturer in Digital Media Studies at the School of Journalism, Media and Culture, Cardiff University. Her work focuses on matters related to digital remix culture, Black diaspora, Black feminism, creative work, and popular culture. Francesca is author of The Digital Lives of Black Women in Britain which will be published by Palgrave Macmillan this Autumn.
The Heart of the Race: Black Women’s Lives in Britain, Beverley Bryan, Stella Dadzie and Suzanne Scafe (Verso, 2018)
On the problems and possibilities of feminist solidarity: The Women’s March one year on, Akwugo Emejulu (IPPR Progressive Review, 2018)
Getting comfortable to feel at home: clothing practices of black muslim women in Britain, Azeezat Johnson (Gender, Place & Culture: A Journal of Feminist Geography, 2018)
Black Women Organising, The Brixton Black Women’s Group and the Organisation for Women of African and Asian Descent (compiled and re-published by past tense in 2017)
Our Sister Killjoy, Ama Ata Aidoo (Pearson Education Limited, 1997)