Legendary author bell hooks, who believed ‘feminism is for everyone’, tragically dies aged 69
On Wednesday (15 December), legendary Black feminist author bell hooks passed away in her home in Berea, Kentucky, at the age of 69.
The Pulitzer Prize-winning author and activist, one of the most influential feminist scholars in the US, penned more than 40 books in her lifetime, with her first – Ain’t I a Woman? Black Women and Feminism – published in 1981.
She wrote about feminism, race, class, gender and sexuality among many other topics, and she was one of the first writers to extensively explore intersectional feminism. Her books included essays, poetry and even children’s books.
bell hooks is to my mind the mother of much of the current black feminist theory we see today online and beyond. She is endlessly complex and her work is vast in scope. She is simply everything. pic.twitter.com/U9DIiv0b6H
— M Lamar (@M_Lamar) December 14, 2021
She taught at Kentucky’s Berea College, which in 2010 open the bell hooks Institute, which she envisioned as a “democratic location” for high-profile figures to come and talk with local people, according to the Lexington Herald Leader.
The institute is also home to her personal collection of artefacts and African-American art, as well as her books “is an inclusive space where historically underrepresented students can come to be as they are, outside of the social scripts that circumscribe their living”.
According to the institute: “We curate programs, collaborations and events that affirm these students’ sense of self and belonging – on campus and in the world.
“Our work is motivated by bell hooks’ famous insights that ‘patriarchy has no gender’ and that, therefore, ‘feminism is for everybody’.”
hooks’ family released a statement, in which they said that she died with “family and friends by her side”.
They continued: “The family is honoured that Gloria received numerous awards, honours, and international fame for her works as poet, author, feminist, professor, cultural critic, and social activist.
“We are proud to just call her sister, friend, confidant, and influencer.”
The family asked that contributions and memorials be made to the Christian County Literacy Council via Paypal or the Museums of Historic Hopkinsville Christian County.
The world mourns bell hooks: ‘How fortunate the world was to have had her in it’
As the world learned of bell hooks’ death, tributes to her life and legacy flooded social media.
Gratitude for Bell Hooks.
May she Rest in Power.
May we all learn to love ourselves and each other better as 2021 unfolds into 2022. pic.twitter.com/iIRoDwMw8Z
— Sara Ramirez 🐜 (@SaraRamirez) December 15, 2021
Roxane Gay described her passing as an “incalculable loss”, while journalist Mona Eltahawy tweeted: “I am deeply saddened. This is devastating. bell hooks is one of my feminist guiding stars. Rest in power and peace.”
Oh my heart. bell hooks. May she rest in power. Her loss is incalculable.
— roxane gay (@rgay) December 15, 2021
I am deeply saddened. This is devastating. #bellhooks is one of my feminist guiding stars. Rest in power and peace.
‘The world is a lesser place today without her.’ Acclaimed author bell hooks dies at 69. https://t.co/FtfQgO15k0
— Mona Eltahawy (@monaeltahawy) December 15, 2021
I am heartbroken. bell hooks' words helped to make me the writer i am, taught me me that there is no shame in centering love and tenderness, in approaching and embracing it. with ferocity.she is an everlasting force and blessing may she rest in perfect peace
— Bolu Babalola (@BeeBabs) December 15, 2021
Bolu Babalola, author of Love in Colour, wrote: “I am heartbroken. bell hooks’ words helped to make me the writer I am, taught me that there is no shame in centring love and tenderness, in approaching and embracing it. With ferocity. She is an everlasting force and blessing, may she rest in perfect peace.”
RIP the great bell hooks. She made us better. pic.twitter.com/2p4qgx7JLK
— sarah schulman (@sarahschulman3) December 15, 2021
bell hooks made me want to fight and write and love.
— Chani Nicholas (@chaninicholas) December 15, 2021
bell hooks’ writing shaped so much of my relationship with myself, my identity, and my worth in my younger days and continues to now…how fortunate the world was to have had her in it 💜
— taylor garron (@taylorgarron) December 15, 2021
“Love is an action, never simply a feeling” ― bell hooks
We mourn the tremendous loss of bell hooks. A woman of great compassion, courage, & extraordinary intellect. Thank you for always putting your love for Black people in action – for challenging us to imagine a bolder future pic.twitter.com/9tydxdgJsg
— Well-Read Black Girl ™ (@wellreadblkgirl) December 15, 2021