Let's Get CrunkWomen in Hip Hop Get A Magnum Opus in “The Crunk Feminist Collection”

Book Reviews{ The Feminist Press at CUNY }
Release date: December 19, 2016
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This article appears in our 2017 Spring issue, Family Values. Subscribe today!

The Crunk Feminist Collection is a printed best-of anthology of the Crunk Feminist Collective’s blog that also operates as a guidebook for navigating how to care for yourself, your sisters, and world more or less in that order. The Crunk Feminist Collective defines itself as brown-skinned girls “writing and riding for freedom…rooted in the foundational texts of Black feminism.” As such, the collective has led the charge online for intersectionality that includes hip hop generation feminists who don’t bifurcate their identities to appease either white feminists or Black men wedded to the privileges of patriarchy or respectability politics. The main contributors to the site and the book are also the editors of this collection: Crunk academics and writers Brittney Cooper, Susana Morris and Robin Boylorn, but they include the voices of others in this collection as well.

This collection expands their universe of Crunk feminists from the hip hop generation to anyone who can relate to their adventures (or misadventures) in daily life, whether that’s the challenge of finding a partner secure enough to date a woman with a doctorate or the alienation of being the only woman of color in the room. Moving real feminist talk from the ephemeral, attention-span—deprived internet to the take-your-time space of the printed page is not an easy feat or translation. But in this anthology, the risk yields great rewards in a book that centers young Black feminists without excluding their elders.

There is welcome candor about the necessary work that needs to be done to help survivors of sexual assault and intimate partner violence heal, the ongoing and complicated nature of a feminism that supports hip hop but also understands and critiques its misgynoir. It is also a necessary reading of popular culture through a diverse lens that is sadly lacking in American life. There is important praise for Black feminist forebears such as Audre Lorde and bell hooks, as well as constructive criticism of weird moments, such as the time bell hooks referred to Beyoncé as a terrorist.

By centering digital Black feminists and millennials, the collective also makes a bridge to centering women of color generally of all ages, gender identities, and sexualities, urging them to put themselves first, to drown out haters, to interrogate norms that seek to silence, demean, and oppress them. The tone, approach, diversity, and nuance of each piece is refreshing and timely. Whether they are critiquing the erasure of Black women who are victims of violence or affirming sex-positive Black women to learn more about their sisters, the CFC is blazingly on-point, funny, and crunk.

This article was published in Family Values Issue #74 | Spring 2017
by Joshunda Sanders
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Joshunda Sanders is a Bronx native and the author of four books including two published last year, All City, a novella, and a memoir, The Beautiful Darkness: A Handbook for Orphans. She lives in New York City.

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