Students and faculty members of Seminole State College had the privilege to attend the presentation of Dr. Kinitra Brooks, co-editor of “The Lemonade Reader: Beyoncé, Black Feminism and Spirituality,” on Jan. 29.
Brooks’ presentation was part of the SSC Speaker Series in partnership with the 31st annual Zora Neale Hurston Festival of the Arts and Humanities.
Brooks discussed the term “conjure feminism” as it relates to Beyoncé and Hurston.
Conjure feminism is described as the tradition of spiritual practices that invoke healing, protection and self-defense. Brooks highlighted the fact that conjure, in her own words, is not associated with any specific religion. It is a mixture of many practices together.
Brooks says when asked what Zora Neale Hurston has to do with afro-futurism, she replies: “Zora Neale Hurston was an afro futurist before there was a word for it! We are catching up with her.”
Beyoncé is said to be portraying a conjure women throughout her Lemonade video narrative which is very much in line with the same philosophies of Hurston. According to Brooks, both iconic women turned to conjure as a form of manifesting the life they wanted and that is what ties them together.
Brooks explained that there is no balance in the coverage of men and women in history. Her goal is not to outcast anyone, in fact it is to shed some light on uncovered truths that black women have buried inside of them so deep that generations later they are still digging to find.
A lot of people are still scared at the thought of spiritual work, but it has become more acceptable to be honest about your nontraditional approach to healing and protection in today’s age.
When asked why that is the case, why do people feel freer to be honest about their spiritual practices today, Brooks replied that the answer was simple. She explained that women now have more economical stability and opportunity giving them the power and freedom to make their own decisions without feeling the need to hide it like before.
Macheal Richardson an active participant of Student Life at Seminole State College. She said she enjoyed hearing Brooks, and she feels as if she was given an incentive to look further in to conjure feminism as she discovered it was a much bigger topic than she anticipated.
“I feel Dr. Brooks spoke of a different type of feminism, she gave the topic a safe place without allowing male dominance to take over,” Richardson said.
Brooks signed autographs and took pictures following her speech for a large crowd who was eager to get a moment with her.
She accredited all her years in Church announcing and speaking since the age of 3 with helping her to find her calling. She comes from a family of educators and speakers but more importantly 12 generations of healers.