Brittney Cooper Talks Beyoncé, White Feminists and Black Women’s Oh-So-Eloquent Rage

The anger of black girls is potent. And given what we deal with, it’s sometimes masked. Or internalized and regurgitated in harmful ways.

But Brittney Cooper—Professor Crunk to you, sir— is here to tell y’all all about it.

Her book Eloquent Rage: A Black Feminist Discovers Her Superpower is about how we can use rage to liberate ourselves. Her writing voice—at turns incredibly smart and homegirl slick—will slide right into black feminist cannon along with bell hooks’ Talking Back, Joan Morgan’s When Chickenheads Come Home to Roost and, of course, Audre Lorde’s Sister Outsider.


Cooper is a black girl’s black girl and writes with the authority and the love of someone who loves black women. My book is earmarked, underlined, co-signed and sanctified. Especially when she drops jewels like this:

White women and Black men share a kind of narcissism that comes from being viewed as the most vulnerable entities within their respective races. Black people hesitate to call out Black men for male privilege because they have experienced such devastation at the hands of a white supremacist system. And white women frequently don’t recognize that though women are oppressed around the world, whiteness elevates the value of their femininity and allows them to get away with shit women of color pay royally for.

It is, in a word, excellence. In another, necessary. Or a third, meaningful. Check out the video above, where Cooper talks about Beyoncé, allying with white feminists, and patriarchy within the black community.

Cop the book. For all the black girls in your life. It is a word.

Ms. Bronner Helm is the Senior Editorial Director at Colorlines. Mouthy Black Girl. Rosalynn Carter Mental Health Fellow. Shea Butter Feminist. Virgo Sun, Aries Moon.

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I’m reading her book now, and I highly recommend it as a really thoughtful, honest, resourceful examination of black feminism. The way she talks about this topic gets to some serious revelations. It can be tough at times, and there are points on which I disagree, but the points themselves are exactly the kinds of conversations I’d like to see more of.

All the stuff on the way we engage about white women is my jam, and I think it’s often true about how we dialogue on whiteness generally. Though, I like this explanation on Beyonce better than the book. Yes, I agree that Beyonce should be allowed to own her feminism just like anyone else, but I also don’t look to Beyonce as any kind of touchstone on the issue either. That’s why I found the whole debate around it kind of forgettable.