Ride or Die: A Feminist Manifesto for the Well-Being of Black Women

Legacy Lit. Nov. 2022. 192p. ISBN 9780306874673. $27. WOMEN’S STUDIES
Award-winning writer Hubbard (journalism, Univ. of Toronto) pens a conflicted love letter to hip-hop, arguing that the “ride-or-die chick” cultural phenomenon is a double-edged sword. Growing up, Hubbard was inspired by the storytelling in hip-hop’s depictions of life in lower-income areas. She cites The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill as a seminal album that made her feel seen as a Black woman. It wasn’t until her worldview expanded and diversified that she began to see the misogyny in some hip-hop songs. She saw the ways in which many lyrics serve to oppress Black women and reinforce stereotypes that they should be self-sacrificing. She examines Jay-Z’s 4:44, noting that public declarations of contrition are not enough. Hubbard also recounts revealing conversations with a friend of hers, who is Black, a woman, and gay, which led to her confronting her own latent homophobic attitudes that she attributes to the influence of the hip-hop lyrics she grew up listening to. Ultimately, she seeks a world where Black women are free to be themselves, without judgment for being either ride-or-die or choosing to reject that paradigm.
VERDICT Perfect for fans of Brittney Cooper’s Eloquent Rage and Mikki Kendall’s Hood Feminism.
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