In the tradition of bell hooks, Roxane Gay and Audre Lorde, America’s leading young black feminist celebrates dissent—both personal and public. So what if it’s true that Black women are mad as hell? They have the right to be. In Eloquent Rage: A Black Feminist Discovers Her Superpower, Brittney Cooper reminds us that anger is a powerful source of energy that can give us the strength to keep on fighting.
Far too often, Black women’s anger has been caricatured into an ugly and destructive force that threatens the civility and social fabric of American democracy. But Eloquent Rage shows us that there is more to the story than that. Black women’s eloquent rage is what makes Serena Williams such a powerful tennis player. It’s what makes Beyoncé’s girl power anthems resonate so hard. It’s what makes Michelle Obama an icon. Eloquent rage keeps us all honest and accountable. It reminds women that they don’t have to settle for less.
In ELOQUENT RAGE, Cooper, a Black woman who has come to peace with her rage, shows that what Black women get collectively angry about are the things all Americans should be angry about. It is Black women who stand up and protest when the police kill Black citizens with impunity, robbing them of due process. It is Black women who tried to stand up to the rise of Donald Trump withholding their votes for him to the tune of 94%. At the core of Black women’s anger is the kind of honesty and clarity that comes from legitimate and righteous outrage.
ELOQUENT RAGE is about the power of rage to be a clarifying and essential political resource in a shifting political landscape. This anger points us to the ugliest, but perhaps the most powerful and transformative truths about American democracy, and about what it will take to make this place more just for all. Ultimately, feminism, friendship, and faith in one's own superpowers are all we really need to turn things right side up again.
BRITTNEY COOPER writes a popular monthly column on race, gender and politics for Cosmopolitan. A professor of Women’s and Gender Studies and Africana Studies at Rutgers University, she co-founded the Crunk Feminist Collective. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, Salon, Ebony.com, and The Root.com, among many others. She received the Black Feminist Rising Award from Black Women’s Blueprint and the Newswomen’s Club of New York Award for best blogging.