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“A manual for fixing our culture…In writing that is elegant and penetratingly simple, [hooks] gives voice to some things we may know in our hearts but need an interpreter like her to process.”—Black Issues Book Review Bestselling author, acclaimed visionary and cultural critic bell hooks continues her exploration of the meaning of love in contemporary American society, off “A manual for fixing our culture…In writing that is elegant and penetratingly simple, [hooks] gives voice to some things we may know in our hearts but need an interpreter like her to process.”—Black Issues Book Review Bestselling author, acclaimed visionary and cultural critic bell hooks continues her exploration of the meaning of love in contemporary American society, offering groundbreaking, critical insight about Black people and love. Written from both historical and cultural perspectives, Salvation takes an incisive look at the transformative power of love in the lives of African Americans. Whether talking about the legacy of slavery, relationships and marriage in Black life, the prose and poetry of Martin Luther King, Jr., James Baldwin, and Maya Angelou, the liberation movements of the 1950s, 60s, and 70s, or hip hop and gangsta rap culture, hooks lets us know what love’s got to do with it. Combining the passionate politics of W.E.B. DuBois with fresh, contemporary insights, hooks brilliantly offers new visions that will heal our nation’s wounds from a culture of lovelessness. Her writings on love and its impact on race, class, family, history, and popular culture raise all the relevant issues. This is work that helps us heal. Salvation shows us how to create beloved American communities.


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“A manual for fixing our culture…In writing that is elegant and penetratingly simple, [hooks] gives voice to some things we may know in our hearts but need an interpreter like her to process.”—Black Issues Book Review Bestselling author, acclaimed visionary and cultural critic bell hooks continues her exploration of the meaning of love in contemporary American society, off “A manual for fixing our culture…In writing that is elegant and penetratingly simple, [hooks] gives voice to some things we may know in our hearts but need an interpreter like her to process.”—Black Issues Book Review Bestselling author, acclaimed visionary and cultural critic bell hooks continues her exploration of the meaning of love in contemporary American society, offering groundbreaking, critical insight about Black people and love. Written from both historical and cultural perspectives, Salvation takes an incisive look at the transformative power of love in the lives of African Americans. Whether talking about the legacy of slavery, relationships and marriage in Black life, the prose and poetry of Martin Luther King, Jr., James Baldwin, and Maya Angelou, the liberation movements of the 1950s, 60s, and 70s, or hip hop and gangsta rap culture, hooks lets us know what love’s got to do with it. Combining the passionate politics of W.E.B. DuBois with fresh, contemporary insights, hooks brilliantly offers new visions that will heal our nation’s wounds from a culture of lovelessness. Her writings on love and its impact on race, class, family, history, and popular culture raise all the relevant issues. This is work that helps us heal. Salvation shows us how to create beloved American communities.

30 review for Salvation: Black People and Love

  1. 4 out of 5

    Trish

    bell hooks was especially prolific in the early part of this century, publishing sometimes two books a year. This book, published in 2001, has two epigraphs to set the tone. “Salvation is being on the right road, not having reached a destination.” —MLK, Jr. “…to be aware of who we are, what we are, what we are doing, what we are thinking, seems to be a very easy thing to do—and yet it is the most important thing; to remember—the starting point of the salvation of oneself.” —Thich Nhat Hanh in T bell hooks was especially prolific in the early part of this century, publishing sometimes two books a year. This book, published in 2001, has two epigraphs to set the tone. “Salvation is being on the right road, not having reached a destination.” —MLK, Jr. “…to be aware of who we are, what we are, what we are doing, what we are thinking, seems to be a very easy thing to do—and yet it is the most important thing; to remember—the starting point of the salvation of oneself.” —Thich Nhat Hanh in The Raft is Not the ShoreThis is another of hooks' conversational books, not so academic that we stumble on the words or the concepts, but with clear sentences. Perhaps one day, with all the struggle for fairness, justice, and rights, black people will lead the nation and show the world how to resist domination. She quotes Lorraine Hansberry, the playwright who died so tragically young and who will nonetheless never be forgotten for her timeless play, Raisin in the Sun: ‘Perhaps we shall be the teachers when it is done. Out of the depths of pain we have thought to be our sole heritage for this world—O we know about love’ hooks points out that “Baldwin and Hansberry believed that black identity was forged in triumphant struggle to resist dehumanization, that the choice to love was a necessary dimension of liberation.” In Chapter One, hooks lays out a spiritual crisis—an emotional and material crisis—in the black community, members of which are experiencing lovelessness. hooks wrote this is 2001, but it is something we can see clear as day in our society right now. “As long as black folks normalize loss and abandonment, acting as though is an easy feat to overcome the psychological wounds this pain inflicts, we will not lay the groundwork for emotional well being that makes love possible.” That just makes so much sense to me, and it is clear that some white and black folks don’t expect love from anyone, and they don’t know how to share it, either. Love does not play a part in their lives at all. hooks’ chapter headings in this book give us some idea of where she is going with the thinking in this book: The Issue of Self-Love Valuing Ourselves Rightly Moving Beyond Shame Mama Love Cherishing Single Mothers Loving Black Masculinity Heterosexual Love Union & Reunion Embracing Gayness Unbroken Circles Loving Justice On this 50th anniversary of the death of Martin Luther King, it is appropriate for bell hooks to praise what MLK got entirely right: that his love ethic is central to any meaningful challenge to domination. But what he missed, hooks says, is that although MLK addressed the need for black folk to love their enemies and oppressors, but he did not address enough the need for black folk to love themselves. hooks tells us that MLK and Malcom X were both assassinated just when they’d begun to hone a truly revolutionary vision of liberation, one rooted both in a love ethic and a willingness to resist domination in all its forms. But we’re still here, and we need that vision more than ever in this world of haves and have-nots. We are all foot soldiers in this battle for right.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Smileitsjoy (JoyMelody)

    I am on a mission to read everything bell hooks has written and just when i think the last book i read by them is the book that is my favorite, I read another and love it just as much if not more. This book was eye opening and I took a lot of notes. I think this is a must read for people who are trying to understand the way love works and how it is plays a role in the Black community

  3. 5 out of 5

    Zaynab

    I bought this book at AMC 2015 and decided after a healing session on Wednesday that I should pick it up and read it. I think if I had read it the year I bought it, my perspective would be completely different. Yet 5 years of rigorous reading allows me to appreciate the heartfelt wisdom of hook's writing while at the same time believing the archive of Black cultural production she mines could be more expansive than it is. I also say this well aware that I am not her target audience: I am not a B I bought this book at AMC 2015 and decided after a healing session on Wednesday that I should pick it up and read it. I think if I had read it the year I bought it, my perspective would be completely different. Yet 5 years of rigorous reading allows me to appreciate the heartfelt wisdom of hook's writing while at the same time believing the archive of Black cultural production she mines could be more expansive than it is. I also say this well aware that I am not her target audience: I am not a Black heterosexual, nor am I a believer in the "progressive" movement for reasons that are too numerous for a goodreads book review. So, with this in mind, I think her book offers a lot of helpful insights to Black cisgender heterosexual men and women who are aiming to be in relationship with each other. Since I am a black genderqueer femme dyke, reading her treatment of how to heal these relationships is effectively like watching a documentary. I am an outsider looking in at relationship that I effectively have no desire to have. With that being said, I couldn't help but wonder some things: -Her pathologization of Black militancy as "unloving" in comparison to the civil rights movement marked by King seemed like a comparison rooted in the very logic of white supremacy that she seeks to undo. I don't know how you talk about the civil rights movement without talking about how respectability and church culture sets the stage for the reinforcement of lateral/domestic violence of its own kind, and does little to intervene. The entire time I kept wondering how you write about Black militancy without writing about Assata Shakur, who literally penned poems about her love of people while exiled in Cuba. Or Mumia Abu-Jamal, who continues to write and educate from death row. Or the MOVE 9 who literally continue to express the sort of love I think hooks attempts to scratch at here. I think the CRM and the BPM had different definitions of love that can't easily be compared to each other, but both can be mined for the lessons learned and the things not to be repeated. - If you're going to anchor Christianity as the place where the majority of Black people learn about love, then you need to not only address the spiritual trauma that the Black church inflicts on its parishioners as well as non-Christian Black people, but you need to talk about why Black liberation theology, particularly womanism and Black queer theology, became necessary to counteract the damage of spiritual trauma. Similarly, I disagree with her contention that the panopticon of religions she mentions in her chapter on religion share a common notion of love. They don't, and that's honestly okay. Maybe what's more important is that different theologies of love move the world in different ways, all of which bend towards the arc of justice. - I didn't care for her chapter on how Black heterosexual people need to accept that gay people are part of the fabric of black community. If hook's oeuvre is predicated upon asking people to divest from patriarchy, it would do wise to ask Black cishet people to divest from cisheteropatriarchy, not simply "accept" that Black gay people exist. I don't need "acceptance" from people whose relationships are so dysfunctional that they warrant the writing of a series on Black love and relationships in the first place. I also think its interesting that Cheryl Clarke called her out on her inattention to Black lesbians ages ago and she doesn't acknowledge that in this chapter. I wonder why... - In a book about Black love, I didn't care to hear about white allyship, even as a form of analogy. Her love and desire to talk about the merits of white anti-racist allyship while addressing Black people is something I don't share or care for. -How might her definition about love be different if it went outside the romantic? Again taking a page from Hartman's Wayward Lives. How might her own exceptionally Black heterosexist frame been expanded by thinking of the decolonization of relations and kinship outside of the romantic? How might it be different to talk about a poetics of relation like Glissant? Ultimately, I think my readings of Christina Sharpe and Saidiya Hartman alert me to the fact that the archive of Black life needs to be read in careful ways. hook's style of cultural criticism worked for a particular era of Black thinkers. But it's also important to avail ourselves of the new ideas and ways of thinking that are made available. I wonder how might this book be re-written in light of Wayward Lives, Lose Your Mother, the work of Dionne Brand, Hortense Spillers, Sylvia Wynter, etc.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Ahndrea Sprattling

    Like I said before, Bell's writing is poetically beautiful and tells the truth. I always have to have a pen and paper to jot down quotes from Hooks. This is my 8th book I had read from Bell Hooks. Like I said before, Bell's writing is poetically beautiful and tells the truth. I always have to have a pen and paper to jot down quotes from Hooks. This is my 8th book I had read from Bell Hooks.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Kristenhaynes2

    I really like this book, but some of the views were so seasoned by a child of the fifties that it was ever so slightly difficult to translate those views to modern day. Sometimes hooks presents examples too much to one extreme, making it difficult for those who not accustomed to her sometimes sarcastic but straight-forward nature to be put off by such "radical" thinking. But the book is a well-articulated commentary on the way the history of African Americans, especially those in poverty to midd I really like this book, but some of the views were so seasoned by a child of the fifties that it was ever so slightly difficult to translate those views to modern day. Sometimes hooks presents examples too much to one extreme, making it difficult for those who not accustomed to her sometimes sarcastic but straight-forward nature to be put off by such "radical" thinking. But the book is a well-articulated commentary on the way the history of African Americans, especially those in poverty to middle classes, have shaped their views on love, and why exactly it is "we" love the way "we" do, why "good" black men seem to be fewer and fewer, and why "strong" black women seem to face the same scarcity. It also provides a message of hope supported by Christian and American ideals.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Lawrence

    brilliant read expanding on hooks' thinking in all about love, the first book in her love trilogy. in each chapter, hooks lays out amazing insights about love in different contexts. hooks weaves together of other intelligent thinkers, historical contexts, and personal insights in a way that produces incredible instruction for how to actually make progress as individuals, groups, and societies. she points out that, without a love ethic, our social movements are bound to recreate the same problema brilliant read expanding on hooks' thinking in all about love, the first book in her love trilogy. in each chapter, hooks lays out amazing insights about love in different contexts. hooks weaves together of other intelligent thinkers, historical contexts, and personal insights in a way that produces incredible instruction for how to actually make progress as individuals, groups, and societies. she points out that, without a love ethic, our social movements are bound to recreate the same problematic structures that generated the need for the movements in the first place.

  7. 5 out of 5

    McKenzie Watson-Fore

    I'm embarrassed to admit this is my first whole book by bell hooks. I'd heard of her before in general sweeps of feminist thinkers and Black woman authors, and knew enough to lump her with Audre Lorde, but I would consider it a lamentable condition of my homogenous upbringing that it took me so long to finally encounter hooks' work on its own terms. [The stage I'm at with my own writing and exploring tools for personal revelation means that these reviews are often going to be more about me and wh I'm embarrassed to admit this is my first whole book by bell hooks. I'd heard of her before in general sweeps of feminist thinkers and Black woman authors, and knew enough to lump her with Audre Lorde, but I would consider it a lamentable condition of my homogenous upbringing that it took me so long to finally encounter hooks' work on its own terms. [The stage I'm at with my own writing and exploring tools for personal revelation means that these reviews are often going to be more about me and why I read a particular book than the book itself, providing a sort of travel log for my literary explorations.] In early May, bell hooks paid a few days' visit to my work at Project Row Houses, and I got to not only meet but also spend time alone with her - AMAZING. That drove me to finally check out about four of her books from the public library, to continue the suspended conversation of learning from her. bell is remarkable as a cultural critic, weaving in film references and intellectual and systemic development, clarifying major societal shifts and making the sweep of the cultural pendulum totally obvious. Salvation looks critically at the absolute necessity of a love ethic to undergird decolonization. In that sense, Salvation reminded me of Howard Thurman's Jesus and the Disinherited. hooks recognizes that books seeking to contribute to the literature of love as revolution are scarce, and she laments the lack of substantial scholarship throughout. She writes with such distilled focus that everything she says seems instantly self-evident, though the entire time I was also conscious of being brought into deeper perception than I would be able to construct for myself. The way that she explores love, in readable, succinct chapters organized by specific categories, dislodges it from the realm of impractical, intangible goodwill and firmly situates it at the heart of a movement towards decolonization. She illustrates the ways that colonization continues to determine the mindset and lifestyles of people living with white supremacist capitalist patriarchy and skillfully exposes the way that certain developments in the civil rights movement (particularly, black male leaders who began seeking how to 'win at' the current system rather than subvert and reimagine the system as a whole) planted a fiercely sexist and homophobic patriarchy within black culture. The book was easily readable, far more accessible than Howard Thurman's work, straightforward and digestible. If anything, the prose was less poetic than I might have anticipated, but it still read with the velocity of a story, because I was so engaged with her historic retelling of the roots and the development of our current cultural situation. I think bell hooks is wonderful and this book expresses it, as well as a lot of vital lessons for a culture in a crisis of love.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Beverlee

    Usually reading a bell hooks book is an enlightening experience where it’s the norm for me to have commented in agreement all over the pages. This time I still have my pen and I still wrote though not always in agreement. And I realize that’s not a bad thing to disagree with a writer. I still believe one indicator of a good book is if I disagree with the writer’s perspective but I continue reading just because I’m interested in the message. Salvation is the second book in a love trilogy. The mea Usually reading a bell hooks book is an enlightening experience where it’s the norm for me to have commented in agreement all over the pages. This time I still have my pen and I still wrote though not always in agreement. And I realize that’s not a bad thing to disagree with a writer. I still believe one indicator of a good book is if I disagree with the writer’s perspective but I continue reading just because I’m interested in the message. Salvation is the second book in a love trilogy. The meaning of salvation is “preservation or deliverance from harm, ruin, or loss” (Oxford dictionary). In the introduction, hooks reminds the reader of a question that has been debated for hundreds of years- are Black people capable of feeling and expressing love? This book is written as an affirmative response, but only if certain steps are taken, namely to remember that we are a naturally loving people and to exercise the ways of our elders-unwavering commitment to family and community-rather than adopting the way of society-looking out for self first. “To give ourselves to love, to love blackness, is to restore the true meaning of freedom, hope, and possibility in all of our lives” (xxiv). Why the side eye- I think hooks tends to think of the past in general and her childhood experience as the norm and paints it as the gold standard for the Black experience. She speaks eloquently about long lasting marriage and strong morals passed down from one generation to the next...essentially a household with the husband as leader and the wife deferring to the husband. In the next breath, she speaks out against patriarchy...correct me if I’m wrong but isn’t a fundamentalist Christian household one and the same as a patriarchy? The second side eye is the continual reference of men as male and women as females. To me, this is distasteful, borderline dehumanizing because it doesn’t acknowledge a person and makes the assumption that all people are gender binary. A third side eye comes from the assumption that Black people don’t read and that tv is root of the lack love in Black communities. “Black consumers have become complacent. A movie or book that has black characters is often hailed and celebrated no matter its quality. Trashy work by the McMillan sisters or male author Omar Tyree are often wrongly viewed as serious literary work” (186). A bit elitist and stuck in the ivory tower too long maybe?? I’m all for people reading for leisure and that should be a matter of preference, be it a so-called respectable book or not. The point is that people read and not everyone has a major platform to share their critique...but that doesn’t mean it never happens. Maybe a better solution is to continually create images that affirm our humanity and show us as a loving people instead of simply turning off the tv, no longer watch movies, or read “trashy novels”. What I liked-I agree with hooks that a love ethic is needed and that domination and love cannot coexist. That positive and loving images of Black love are needed and should be the norm-this should be present in reality first. Media should never be upheld as an accurate portrayal of African American culture. Decolonization of the mind is a phrase hooks uses throughout the text and I take it to me seeking the truth rather than believing without question what’s told or stated. This is crucial to loving self and others. Passages to think about: “The transformative power of love is the foundation of all meaningful social change. Without love our lives are without meaning. Love is the heart of the matter. When all else has fallen away, love sustains” (17). “Too much focus on ‘realistic’ images has led the mass media to identify black experience solely with that which is most violently depraved, impoverished, and brutal. Yet these images are only one aspect of black life. Even if they constitute the norm in underclass neighborhoods, they do not represent the true reality of black experience, which is complex, multidimensional, and diverse” (48). “When any black female acts out in a manner that is in keeping with negative stereotypes, there is more room for her in the existing social structure than there is for decolonized black women who challenge the status quo”(106). “Patriarchal thinking certainly does not encourage men to be self-loving. Instead, it encourages them to believe power is more important than love, particularly the power to dominate and control others” (145). “Making the choice to love can heal our wounded spirits and our body politic. It is the deepest revolution, the turning away from the world as we know it, toward the world we must make if we are to be one with the planet-one healing heart giving and sustaining life. Love is our hope and our salvation” (225).

  9. 5 out of 5

    Zainab

    Originally published in 2001, this book is an intimate social commentary and history-conscious media analysis, orchestrated in the immersive accessible style that bell hooks is known for. It’s personal, it’s open, it’s honest. It makes important distinctions between giving care, giving discipline and giving love. It feels ahead of its time in its critique of understandings of black masculinity – and bell hooks really tries to unpack where these understandings come from. You’ll find a plethora of Originally published in 2001, this book is an intimate social commentary and history-conscious media analysis, orchestrated in the immersive accessible style that bell hooks is known for. It’s personal, it’s open, it’s honest. It makes important distinctions between giving care, giving discipline and giving love. It feels ahead of its time in its critique of understandings of black masculinity – and bell hooks really tries to unpack where these understandings come from. You’ll find a plethora of film, music and literature influences discussed – with clues about a few of those personalities who’ve now been further exposed (e.g. R. Kelly). No black male activists are spared criticism either: she discusses colourism, misogyny and infidelity among the ranks of Martin Luther King Jr and Malcolm X, with a focus on how sexism operates at home. In fact, perhaps the text is most relatable in its exposure of politically progressive males in the public sphere who behave regressively in the private sphere. I enjoyed how hooks moves smoothly between community introspection and interrogating the colonial/institutional projects that led us here. The only clear downside is that there are a lot of sweeping generalisations and speculative conclusions based on anecdotal evidence and conversations. By the book’s own admission, there haven’t been many studies that investigate the social problems that bell hooks is pointing to. I wasn’t convinced with some of the arguments precisely because the finer details were not well-evidenced. For instance, she leaves out Malcolm’s famous “who taught you to hate yourself” speech in a chapter which argues that black leaders didn’t address self-hatred. With this in mind, I still feel the book is invaluable for black males, black couples and black parents – but also for immigrant families more generally, as it provides the tools to assess our practices and assumptions, and to re-centre a love ethic in the home. I picked this up at random from the library, but really enjoyed it. I hadn’t realised this book was part of a ‘trilogy’ on love, but it certainly works as a standalone book. I’m really curious to see what she thinks of contemporary developments, including the adaptation of Baldwin’s ‘If Beale Street Could Talk’ directed by Barry Jenkins, Stormzy’s lyrics and videos, or the upcoming Queen & Slim movie. In short, I look forward to reading more of hooks’ work.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Lauren Elizabeth

    I enjoyed reading this book due to the fact that it helped bring to focus the loving, kindness that has enriched the history of the Black community. hooks makes it clear in each chapter, that a love ethic is needed to heal the wounds of black people left by the ills of white supremacy, capitalism, sexism, etc.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Kristen

    A spiritual sequel to All About Love, hooks does it again in this engrossing book about all different facets of love, specifically in the African American community. She clearly outlines how the intersectionality of race, gender and sexuality affects how we love ourselves and others. A definite must read for those who want to nourish their souls.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jonathan David Pope

    "It is always the love, whether we look in the spirit of Fannie Lou Hamer or the spirit of Agostinho Neto, it is always the love that will carry the action into positive new places." — June Jordan, Where Is The Love Written in 2001 as a follow up to her acclaimed All About Love, Salvation focuses on Black life. This is one small critique I had about the first volume on, talking about love is a bit more simple when you're not factoring in race, class, and the lasting effects of chattel slavery, Ji "It is always the love, whether we look in the spirit of Fannie Lou Hamer or the spirit of Agostinho Neto, it is always the love that will carry the action into positive new places." — June Jordan, Where Is The Love Written in 2001 as a follow up to her acclaimed All About Love, Salvation focuses on Black life. This is one small critique I had about the first volume on, talking about love is a bit more simple when you're not factoring in race, class, and the lasting effects of chattel slavery, Jim Crow, and mass incarceration. hooks definitely tackles all of this in Salvation. The points and critiques she makes often feel uncomfortable, but they're necessary. I find hooks in-text citations to be some of the most compelling aspects of her works. She pulls from the words of Martin Luther King Jr., Toni Cade Bambara, James Baldwin, Essex Hemphill, Audre Lorde, and truly integrates their thoughts and history to discuss the relationship between Black people and love. What is harming us, and where do we go from here? She tackles the media representation of Black love, demonization of single mothers, homophobia in the Black community, shame, self-love, motherhood, black masculinity, and you begin to see how the white supremacist capitalist patriarchy has hurt us all. Moving towards establishing a love ethic in all of our lives is necessary. "Love remains for black people a crucial path to healing... It is not to late for black people to return to love, to ask again the metaphysical questions commonly raised by black artists and thinkers during the heyday of freedom struggles, questions about the relationship between dehumanization and our capacity to love, questions about internalized racism and self-hatred." (14)

  13. 5 out of 5

    Clay

    I discuss Salvation, love, and the Obamas here: morethanaweekend.com or continue reading below. Salvation of the Black Family (?) In the world of an Obama presidency, race relations in this country have never been more confusing. After the election, CNN conducted a poll asking both African Americans and European Americans if Martin Luther King's Dream has come true on January 19, 2009. The results, I believe, are astonishing. A full %69 of African Americans believe that his Dream has been fulfilled, I discuss Salvation, love, and the Obamas here: morethanaweekend.com or continue reading below. Salvation of the Black Family (?) In the world of an Obama presidency, race relations in this country have never been more confusing. After the election, CNN conducted a poll asking both African Americans and European Americans if Martin Luther King's Dream has come true on January 19, 2009. The results, I believe, are astonishing. A full %69 of African Americans believe that his Dream has been fulfilled, compared to %46 of European Americans. Is anyone else shocked by this? Maybe I am just cynical. Or maybe I am scared that by declaring King's Dream fulfilled, whites will write off Obama's election as the end of racial turmoil, especially if blacks begin to believe that King's Dream has been fulfilled. Race still matters. I've had the privilege to get a liberal arts education, and I'd like to think that I have encountered (and am still encountering) a vast array of American and foreign voices in my college experience, whether in literature, art, or film, or in person. I am currently in the middle of bell hooks'Salvation, a national bestseller about "black people and love." So far, it has been eye-opening. Now, I am not even going to pretend like this superficial taste of the African experience in America has "enlightened me" or whatever, but it has given me a sense of the immense decolonization that African Americans have had to undergo and are still undergoing. Does Obama's election mean that blacks are "decolonized?" hooks writes about love in black families, and all of the obstacles of love, beginning with slavery and its effects to problems that face every American family like addiction (food, drugs, alcohol), materialism, and patriarchy. One or her main arguments--and something that really clicked for me--is our nation's treatment of the black single mother, and the treatment of single parents no matter what their race. She writes, "many of the men, black and nonblack, who have become important leaders in our society, men of wisdom, integrity, and right action, were raised by single mothers" (122). Immediately, Barack Obama comes to mind. Barack Obama, in actuality was raised a great deal by his grandparents. And, of course, Obama's mother was white, and he spent most of his adolescence in Indonesia and Hawaii. Did Obama escape the cycles that many others of his generation did not? hooks writes (of her brother): "He wanted life to be easy. When it was not, he and the males of his generation looked for someone to blame. Our father and the black men of his generation always knew white supremacy was the problem, not black women. When the younger generation of black males could not blame everything on white racism, they targeted black women" (135). hooks elaborates on the absence of explicit white racism that contributed to the "lovelessness" within some black families. She seems to argue that it is the patriarchal power dynamics between the black man and black woman that have led to both the stereotypes and realities of black American families. Of course, every family has problems, and bell hooks spends a great deal of time affirming the amount of love that can be found between black mothers and their sons and daughters, and the love between father and children. She eloquently (and stereotype-breakingly) expands on the intense love between the African American single mother and her children. In the end, despite the feelings of hopelessness, love can be a beautiful thing. Speaking of love, I think that's why America is so head over heels for the Obamas. While, yes, it all reaffirms the nuclear family, the obvious love that fills the Obama family is so gushy and intense that it literally gives me that warm fuzzy feeling. My perceptions of the family paint Obama and Michelle as absolute equals. He is not the patriarch that hooks discusses, and it's clear that he fulfills his daughters emotional needs just as Michelle does. Michelle is also not one of the "black women [who:] raise their daughters and love their sons" (108). This family is full of love. Now, this isn't only refreshing because the Obamas are a positive portrayal of a (black) family, but also because of the youth and love they bring to the White House--feelings that have been absent for decades. And, while King's Dream may not be realized, I think bell hooks would agree with me that the Obamas have brought us one step closer. And so would the %80 of African Americans who admit that his election is a "dream come true."

  14. 4 out of 5

    J Percell Lakin

    When I started this book in 2021 bell hooks was still with us. This book was deeply challenging and deeply beautiful. It reminds me of what James Baldwin wrote: “Love does not begin and end the way we seem to think it does. Love is a battle, love is a war; love is a growing up.” This was an invitation to grow up. I found myself reading and then going to the people I love and journey with to process and reflect on what I was discovering. This offer of love brought a measure of healing to my life. When I started this book in 2021 bell hooks was still with us. This book was deeply challenging and deeply beautiful. It reminds me of what James Baldwin wrote: “Love does not begin and end the way we seem to think it does. Love is a battle, love is a war; love is a growing up.” This was an invitation to grow up. I found myself reading and then going to the people I love and journey with to process and reflect on what I was discovering. This offer of love brought a measure of healing to my life. A great read that I will come back to again. To quote the last sentence of the book, “love is our hope and our salvation. Although she is no longer with us, her words and her memory will forever be a blessing.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Melody

    contains surprising and wonderful chapters on Black queer love & intriguing critique of patriarchal militant Black struggle and a dialectic of Malcolm X and MLK's organizing approaches. this concludes my reading of the love trilogy. thank you, bell, for your remarkable visionary work. contains surprising and wonderful chapters on Black queer love & intriguing critique of patriarchal militant Black struggle and a dialectic of Malcolm X and MLK's organizing approaches. this concludes my reading of the love trilogy. thank you, bell, for your remarkable visionary work.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Amiri Hill

    Very interesting and informative book!!! Puts a lot of things into perspective. The last chapter was a little boring.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Christina

    bell hooks is a very enlightening writer, one in which you always learn something from her, or feel compelled to write notes regarding her thoughts on topics, such as black people, feminism, black life, and culture. This book is no different. There are many ideas, topics, and analysis that bell hooks discusses in this book about Black People and Love. Originally, this book was published in 2001, as part of a trilogy of love, and it shows the infamous style in which the writer expresses her socia bell hooks is a very enlightening writer, one in which you always learn something from her, or feel compelled to write notes regarding her thoughts on topics, such as black people, feminism, black life, and culture. This book is no different. There are many ideas, topics, and analysis that bell hooks discusses in this book about Black People and Love. Originally, this book was published in 2001, as part of a trilogy of love, and it shows the infamous style in which the writer expresses her social commentary, critique, and history-infused ideals that she shares with us regarding this broad topic of love. This book is personal, open, honest, and definitely makes a clear distinction between care, discipline, and love. hooks is very critical in her critique of understanding the love shared between black parents, the love expressed from black males and females, and love shared as a black couple. She explains that “this book is a response to this crisis of lovelessness. It dares us to courageously create the love our children need to be whole, to live fully, and well.” (xvii) “Prophetically, Salvation calls us to return to love. Addressing the meaning of love as the platform on which to renew progressive anti-racist struggle, and offering a blueprint for black survival and self-determination, this work courageously takes us to the heart of the matter. To give ourselves love, to love blackness, is to restore the true meaning of freedom, hope, and the possibility in all our lives.” (xxiv) However, as great of an introduction she gives us into where she comes from in writing this book, there is an over-arching blanketing of generalizations that doesn’t work for me in this book. She talks in great detail of when she grew up in a two-parent patriarchal home, but also discusses how she identifies with Christian ideals. As a Christian myself, it is understood that God ordained marriage to be so that males are the head of the household. Women are to be the helpmate, and to be submissive to their husbands and respect him, and he is instructed to love his wife, as Christ loved the church and sacrificed his life for it. However, hooks, massively critiques the patriarchal marriage and has much disdain for how her father raised her and her siblings, pretty much blaming her father for her brother’s choices/outcome in life. She says, “homes should become sites of resistance, where we create the oppositional spaces where we can be self-loving. Homeplace is the site where love that is the foundation of all healthy self-love/self-esteem exists.” (p. 92) She describes that her home was not like this at all while being raised by her father and mother. She is heavily critical of a patriarchal relationship in the home because her father was very patriarchal and detrimental to her brother’s demise in life. I had numerous conversations with my husband in regards to what hooks discussed in regards to black masculinity and black love with women and parents. We both agreed that she makes sweeping generalizations regarding the black male, love and family life. There are many speculative conclusions based on conversations, but without specific studies or evidence pointing to this as true, I just couldn’t agree wholeheartedly with her on many things, without specific evidence. For example, she states that verbally abusive and domineering mothers who shame and humiliate their sons, breed men who has a penchant for violence against women later in life. Although that may be true for some, it is not true for all. In her writing, she makes it seem as if this is true for all black men who were raised in this type of environment. Where I agree with hooks is that there is much need for a love ethic in all spheres of living. Domination and love cannot coexist together. Representation of loving black people are needed in mass media, and the depictions of black people in media should never be used as the only portrayal of African American culture. Self-love and self-care is paramount to having healthy relationships, for which we have seen increased in the recent years. Overall, I think this is still a great resource for black males and females, black couples, and black parents to assess or reassess how you portray love to others and yourself, especially in the home. I would rate this book a 3.5 (rounded up to 4) due to the heavy critique and blanketed generalizations she has without definitive evidence and using her upbringing as the gold standard to which all is judged.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Luna

    I don't have much to add to the reviews section of this book, I definitely agree with the criticisms folks have made about the section on heterosexual love and queer love -- that inclusion and tolerance are not enough for a love ethic, we need radical acceptance and for queer Black love to take center of creating a love ethic because queerness will and has always challenged the status quo and could "advance" for lack of better work, a deep and radical love ethic for everyone. In particular this I don't have much to add to the reviews section of this book, I definitely agree with the criticisms folks have made about the section on heterosexual love and queer love -- that inclusion and tolerance are not enough for a love ethic, we need radical acceptance and for queer Black love to take center of creating a love ethic because queerness will and has always challenged the status quo and could "advance" for lack of better work, a deep and radical love ethic for everyone. In particular this quote I was confused about: material deprivation caused by exploitation and oppressed based on race and class meant that gender roles in Black life could not conform to sexist norms (161) Is hooks asserting here that poor people cannot also uphold the patriarchy as well? Could not be sexist? As someone who presents as a woman, I'm often catcalled by men without homes on the street. They yell at me or say, loud enough for me to hear and quiet enough that others may not get it, that I have a nice ass or I should show them more skin. It's all disgusting. But this quote confused me because hooks often writes about being anti-racist and anti-sexist across classes and class lines. Some quotes that stood out to me: From Maya Angelou: "Black men talk about change where what they really mean... is exchange. They want to take over the positions of power white men have" (page 16) Mean-spirited, aggressive speech wounds (84) Children who are constantly shamed cannot build healthy self-esteem These were the lessons many Black folks learned in the context of slavery: protect evil rather than correct it (102) In my adult life, I rarely hear a white person express his contempt and disdain for Black womanhood, but I see it int he images white people create (107) While white male patriarchs were pretending to respond to the demands of the feminist movement, they were allowing and even encouraging Black males to give voice to violent woman-hating sentiments (136) From Toni Cade Bambara: It seems to me that you find your Self in destroying illusions, smashing myths, laundering the head of whitewash, being responsible to some truth, to the struggle. That entails at the very least cracking through the veneer of this sick society's definition of 'masculine' and 'feminine' (165) I'm inspired to read more Toni Cade Bambara's work because of that quote!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Kari B

    One of the many bell hooks’ books that she’s written has surfaced again, in light of the subject of Black Family Studies. A cultural critic and feminist, bell hooks takes on issues of the decolonization of black folks, urbanization, ghettoization, poverty, the system of black male patriarchy, queerness, subordination, denigration of non-nuclear families (single mothers, neglectful fathers), rap culture and misogyny, self-love/self-hatred, normalized violence of black bodies (specifically black w One of the many bell hooks’ books that she’s written has surfaced again, in light of the subject of Black Family Studies. A cultural critic and feminist, bell hooks takes on issues of the decolonization of black folks, urbanization, ghettoization, poverty, the system of black male patriarchy, queerness, subordination, denigration of non-nuclear families (single mothers, neglectful fathers), rap culture and misogyny, self-love/self-hatred, normalized violence of black bodies (specifically black women), and white supremacy. The significance of this book brings about the discourse necessary to move America into a more positive direction by eliminating systems of oppression that target black folks—while our non-black folks tend to think we live in a post-racial, post-sexist society. The perspective of bell hooks’ analysis of white supremacist, imperialist, colonialist patriarchal culture and politics as a black heterosexual woman offers a critical feminist lens towards the issues that surround women, facing discrimination by white women and males, black males, and even black women with their internalized misogyny. bell hooks is currently a professor of English at CUNY-Hunter College and has taught as Yale University—her writings with black intellectuals of our time deeply highlight her importance to discourse about race, gender, and sexuality in America. This book had 11 chapters, of which were marked “love is our hope”, “the heart of the matter”, we wear the mask”, “the issue of self-love”, “valuing ourselves rightly”, “moving beyond shame”, “mama love”, “cherishing single mothers”, “loving black masculinity—fathers, lovers, friends”, “heterosexual love—union and reunion”, “embracing gayness—unbroken circles”, and “loving justice.” All of these chapters, in the end, summarized the importance of revolution and resistance, solidarity, communalism, and self-love. While America thinks we live in a post-racial, post-sexist society, more and more of our white allies have turned the other cheek when racism or sexism comes up—to them it seems as if the struggles of African Americans in America have been diminished. What this book does, is revolutionalize the idea of black love as it pertains to colorism in African American and white culture, beauty standards, and determining the worth of black bodies based off of how light/dark they are, among other things. The only short-comings that this book had, for me at least, would be the discussion of loving justice. A direct quote from this chapter follows: “This generation is often rightfully angry because its members do not have equal access to the top spheres of power and privilege—to the best, highest-paying jobs. But they have no lived experience of what is like to be unable to find work no matter what your level of intelligence, skill, or need” (hooks 212). My annotation on the side column was, ‘times have changed. But that doesn’t necessarily mean we still can’t be mad at the system that institutionally makes things harder for POC on an everyday basis. Job discrimination is still prevalent, even though it may not be as blunt.’ Another short-coming from the book in which I thought was valuable to bring up was the lack of discussion of POC-inclusive feminist spaces in the 60’s—the feminist movement that created 2nd-wave feminism was centralized around white straight and gay women dismantling patriarchy whereas our fellow POC and trans* brothers and sisters were casted aside, constantly having their issues of delegitimization of trying to uphold masculinity to appease straight macho males, femininity, and whiteness that was indicative to the struggles of POC at that time. Other than that, my annotations for this book consisted of thick, multiple underlines, all-caps “YES!!!” and points of resonation as my struggle with being a queer person of color. As a person who has intensely implemented critical race and feminist theory onto daily life, this book didn’t change my ideologies; though I did learn a lot more about black masculinity and the movements that ensued in the 60’s by our beloved black leaders, it still brought to light that there is still work to be done, and the issue of self-love remains prevalent to any person of color that lives within the racial binary system (darkness vs. lightness determining your worth). Personal experiences that have been reflected from this book has, in part, been associated to my identity as a person of color and as a pursuing radical pedagogy thinker and teacher. It is incredibly critical of me to read theory and legitimize experiences that exist out of my own realm of understanding in order for me to create and facilitate a welcoming environment for my students once I enter this field—the only thing working against me is combating textbooks and instilled ideologies that reinforce patriarchy, white supremacy, and colonialism—but reading Salvation: Black Love and People, it makes me all the more aware of the solidarity that other people of color communities should extend to their colored folk. We all live in America, and we have all been told that our skin color determines our worth, that our identity and sense of self will ever only be validated by how well we can speak English and how well we can assimilate to white culture—which is why bell hooks calls for an act of resistance that not only speaks to diverse black communities, but also reaches out to our [email protected], Asian, Middle-Eastern, Native folks to stand against whiteness and love ourselves for enduring ongoing oppression and institutionalized racism, sexism, classicism, heteronormativity, cissexism, homophobia, etc. Now is not the time for neglection of our bodies, our minds, or our politics—it’s a time for revolutionary self-love and solidarity. The only way we can achieve that, as bell hooks has reiterated all throughout the book, is through education, positive reinforcement in families, acceptance of all shapes and forms, rejection of patriarchal and sexist thinking, and rejection of the white supremacist norms that have been forced on them as Black folk and as people of color. Black is beautiful, and it is time for radical self-love.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Kyra Alexandria

    Surprisingly fresh considering its publication date, hooks' Salvation summarizes her argument for a politic of love in the Black community. While it's hard to imagine anyone disagreeing with the need hooks identifies, Stevie said it best in 1976 "love's in need of love today," hooks' writing style is definitive, sure without always laying a convincing argument or evidence to ground it. She weaves personal experiences with personal observations—all of which are presented as if they're quantifiabl Surprisingly fresh considering its publication date, hooks' Salvation summarizes her argument for a politic of love in the Black community. While it's hard to imagine anyone disagreeing with the need hooks identifies, Stevie said it best in 1976 "love's in need of love today," hooks' writing style is definitive, sure without always laying a convincing argument or evidence to ground it. She weaves personal experiences with personal observations—all of which are presented as if they're quantifiable data; I found it difficult to follow her thought processes at times. What I found most fascinating was her 1st person account of Black life before integration, though that too is questionable (she asserts that Black queer individuals were less likely to experience harassment or violence in all Black communities which has been well and truly debunked over time). Overall, an interesting but far from compelling read. For more quick, spoiler-free reviews, visit my blog kyrasimmortallongings.wordpress.com 📚🎞📺

  21. 5 out of 5

    CARE at SARC

    Our favorite quotes: “Wisely, Baldwin insisted that we are always more than our pain. Not only did he believe in our capacity to love, he felt Black people were uniquely situated to risk loving because we had suffered.” “Until Black people, and our allies in love and struggle, become militant about how we are represented on television, in movies, and in books, we will not see imaginative work that offers images of Black characters who love. If love is not present in our imaginations, it will not Our favorite quotes: “Wisely, Baldwin insisted that we are always more than our pain. Not only did he believe in our capacity to love, he felt Black people were uniquely situated to risk loving because we had suffered.” “Until Black people, and our allies in love and struggle, become militant about how we are represented on television, in movies, and in books, we will not see imaginative work that offers images of Black characters who love. If love is not present in our imaginations, it will not be there in our lives.” How it relates to our theme: Hooks makes it very clear how the systemic oppression of Black people has created barriers to the building of healthy Black communities. She insists on removing stereotypes that hinder the spread of Black love and celebrates the strength and determination of love in Black communities, urging individuals to feel right in sharing and spreading emotional integrity.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Xavier

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I cannot begin to describe my disappointment with this book. I found myself writing retorts and responses to some of the claims here not because the latter was a series of inconvenient truths but because it suffered from a peculiar form of condescending romanticism of the past that was jarring to say the least given hooks' approach to the first book, All About Love. She makes claims such as black people don't know what it's like to get lynched in modern America, the previous generation of black I cannot begin to describe my disappointment with this book. I found myself writing retorts and responses to some of the claims here not because the latter was a series of inconvenient truths but because it suffered from a peculiar form of condescending romanticism of the past that was jarring to say the least given hooks' approach to the first book, All About Love. She makes claims such as black people don't know what it's like to get lynched in modern America, the previous generation of black people knew how to love, and even blames black parents for teaching children to hate formal education. Indeed, all of these claims were made without institutional analysis and the claim on previous generations of black love recant some of her points in her first book as she seems to idolize her father here. It is an off-putting following up that is all critique without the critical lens.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Melissa Ramirez

    With another incredible book, bell hooks gifts us her genius in her writing. It provided tons of insight on the role of love within liberatory movements and misognoir within Black communities that are enlightening. Nonetheless, I don't know that I agreed with everything, especially when she talks about how current generations fail politically by not living/acting within a love-ethic or by living a kind of cushioned life by not directly experiencing the trauma of slavery or racial aparteid. Thoug With another incredible book, bell hooks gifts us her genius in her writing. It provided tons of insight on the role of love within liberatory movements and misognoir within Black communities that are enlightening. Nonetheless, I don't know that I agreed with everything, especially when she talks about how current generations fail politically by not living/acting within a love-ethic or by living a kind of cushioned life by not directly experiencing the trauma of slavery or racial aparteid. Though it's difficult to pinpoint exactly what generations she's talking about (presumably gen-x), I don't know that this is a fair point to make. Nonetheless, this point of dissent is an essential reminder that no literary work is perfect, that even the most influential scholars have disagreeable ideas, and that our activism is always a work in progress.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Erica

    every black person should read this book and I don’t say that lightly. I think it gives a great view point of how white supremacy knowingly and unknowingly have shaped the way black people as whole express love and learn self-love. Towards the end there is a heavy focus on black men but she is not blaming them for their “behavior” or “ viewpoints” she is showing how all black people have been groomed to look at our worlds a certain way and especially each other. Some may say she is bashing the b every black person should read this book and I don’t say that lightly. I think it gives a great view point of how white supremacy knowingly and unknowingly have shaped the way black people as whole express love and learn self-love. Towards the end there is a heavy focus on black men but she is not blaming them for their “behavior” or “ viewpoints” she is showing how all black people have been groomed to look at our worlds a certain way and especially each other. Some may say she is bashing the black man but I would completely disagree If anything I am left with a better understanding of the types of black men she talks about. The book is an amazing examination on black people and love and how we can get back to truly loving one another and stop filling the “ roles “ that were set for us. My one critique is some chapters do feel as if she rambling after she has made her point.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    bell hooks never disappoints me. This book is a triumph. It is cathartic, illuminating and transforming. I feel as if my soul has been prised open and put back together again. Love really is the salvation we need as a race of Black people hooks outlines that in this book. She writes about how the lack of love amongst Black people in our communities has left us desolate. The lies spread through patriarchy, racism and white supremacy has left our communities barren and desolate from lack of knowle bell hooks never disappoints me. This book is a triumph. It is cathartic, illuminating and transforming. I feel as if my soul has been prised open and put back together again. Love really is the salvation we need as a race of Black people hooks outlines that in this book. She writes about how the lack of love amongst Black people in our communities has left us desolate. The lies spread through patriarchy, racism and white supremacy has left our communities barren and desolate from lack of knowledge on the art of loving but this book can help us to discover the healing power of love and reunite all facets of our people putting what’s broken back together again. I loved this book it touched me deeply, it was like a lesson in the Japanese art of Kintsugi.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Molly

    I underlined, boxed, and commented on almost every page. Her criticism about the shortcomings of the civil rights movement,, be it MLK or Malcolm X was insightful and rightfully intersectional. The moral of the book that i got from it was if you're black or white, male or female, we need to listen to the decolonized black females who know how to love. The love she describes that has been missing in civil rights activism, I see happening in the BLM movement which is very encouraging. Our nation n I underlined, boxed, and commented on almost every page. Her criticism about the shortcomings of the civil rights movement,, be it MLK or Malcolm X was insightful and rightfully intersectional. The moral of the book that i got from it was if you're black or white, male or female, we need to listen to the decolonized black females who know how to love. The love she describes that has been missing in civil rights activism, I see happening in the BLM movement which is very encouraging. Our nation needs a lesson on self love (and I don't mean the stupid self help book kind) in order to decolonize our minds and heart

  27. 4 out of 5

    Maya

    It really took me a long time to read this book, not because it was boring. Salvation was really intense for me because I had to come to terms with the ways in which myself and others have been taught to love or what we equate with love. The book is a great breakdown of the different ways in which we love, who we love, who we believe deserves love, etc. I wondered for years why it was on my syllabus for an African American history class at Howard and now I know why. I now know that it is a refle It really took me a long time to read this book, not because it was boring. Salvation was really intense for me because I had to come to terms with the ways in which myself and others have been taught to love or what we equate with love. The book is a great breakdown of the different ways in which we love, who we love, who we believe deserves love, etc. I wondered for years why it was on my syllabus for an African American history class at Howard and now I know why. I now know that it is a reflection of how things have played out for African Americans in history in terms of treatment.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Letlhogonolo Mokgoroane

    This is possibly one of the best books I will read this year. Salvation really reminded me of the importance of love and the role it plays in our lives. bell hooks in the book writes "Love remains for black people are a crucial path to healing". I wholeheartedly agree with this. I think that as Black people we need to be aware of the role that love can play in our lives and the fight for justice. In another part of the book she says "Love is profoundly political" and this has stayed with me sinc This is possibly one of the best books I will read this year. Salvation really reminded me of the importance of love and the role it plays in our lives. bell hooks in the book writes "Love remains for black people are a crucial path to healing". I wholeheartedly agree with this. I think that as Black people we need to be aware of the role that love can play in our lives and the fight for justice. In another part of the book she says "Love is profoundly political" and this has stayed with me since. I would recommend it over and over again.

  29. 4 out of 5

    JaLeesa Manley

    "Love is our hope and our salvation." This book was such a mesmerizing journey of the story of love in our black community. Without self-love and self realization, we cannot fully love others and the outside forces of the world. The history of bondage and hate our ancestors had to experience is still ever present in today's society. In the story of love, you have to reflect on that time because it affects us til this day. I highly recommend this book for anyone wanting to understand the complex s "Love is our hope and our salvation." This book was such a mesmerizing journey of the story of love in our black community. Without self-love and self realization, we cannot fully love others and the outside forces of the world. The history of bondage and hate our ancestors had to experience is still ever present in today's society. In the story of love, you have to reflect on that time because it affects us til this day. I highly recommend this book for anyone wanting to understand the complex structure of love, particularly my black community.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Sanaa Tetteh

    i really enjoyed reading this book. it was a pretty easy read, not too difficult. i felt myself easily grasping what bell hooks was saying. this book definitely opened my eyes more and further made me realize how interconnected white supremacy, capitalism, and patriarchy really are. it’s also helped me be more compassionate with myself with regards for how i view and love myself and is making me want to do better for myself, which is pretty refreshing. anyway this book was really good, i can’t w i really enjoyed reading this book. it was a pretty easy read, not too difficult. i felt myself easily grasping what bell hooks was saying. this book definitely opened my eyes more and further made me realize how interconnected white supremacy, capitalism, and patriarchy really are. it’s also helped me be more compassionate with myself with regards for how i view and love myself and is making me want to do better for myself, which is pretty refreshing. anyway this book was really good, i can’t wait to check out her other books! rip bell hooks you will never be forgotten.

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