After hip hop icon Dr. Dre brutally assaulted trailblazing emcee and television personality Dee Barnes in 1991, his career continued to skyrocket while she was effectively blacklisted from the entertainment industry -- despite his own admission of wrongdoing. Nearly three decades later, Dre, who has allegedly assaulted several other women in addition to Dee, continues to enjoy a celebrated career in which his heinous misdeeds have become mere footnotes. The combination of racism and patriarchy is the condition of possibility that allows Beats by Dre to be well-known commodities while beatings by Dre remain largely overlooked.
As part of their fifth annual event series, Her Dream Deferred: A Week on the Status of Black Women, the African American Policy Forum, in partnership with the Hammer Museum, convened a panel called “Black Women and #MeToo”. Along with Dee, the panel included such leading lights as actor and Times Up WOC activist Rashida Jones, supermodel and Bill Cosby accuser Beverly Johnson, cultural critic Jamilah Lemieux, historian Stephanie E. Jones-Rogers and #MuteRKelly co-founder Kenyette Tisha Barnes. The panel was moderated by AAPF Executive Director and Intersectionality Matters host Kimberlé Crenshaw.
The panel uplifted the unsung genealogy of the Me Too movement by acknowledging forerunners like Tarana Burke, who coined the hashtag #MeToo to raise awareness around the question of Black women’s vulnerability to sexual violence, and Anita Hill, who told the world her story about what a Supreme Court nominee had done to her as a young lawyer. Black feminists like bell hooks and Alice Walker were recognized also for laying bare the realities of gender-based violence that impacts Black women.
Tune into this profound and pathbreaking episode of Intersectionality Mattersfor a thorough post-mortem on the powerful insights shared on the panel, as well as a look into what the movement’s path forward might look like.
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