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Black feminist author, professor and poet Gloria Jean Watkins, known by her pen name bell hooks, has died at age 69.

Hooks took her pen name from her great-grandmother -- "a sharp-tongued woman, a woman who spoke her mind."

She died peacefully at her home in Berea, Kentucky on Wednesday. Her death was confirmed by her family.

Her niece, Ebony Motley, said hooks was surrounded by family and friends, including author and TV personality Kevin Powell, who wrote an emotional tribute to his friend and mentor on Instagram.

Powell captioned a B&W photo of hooks:

"I am profoundly saddened by the death of bell hooks, my mentor, friend, sister, one of our greatest writers and thinkers... I cried sitting there with her as she slept, thinking of our 27-year history, of the man I am now because of her. Like others who visited privately in bell’s final days, I held her hands, I touched her knees, I rubbed her feet, as she laid in a hospital bed in her living room. I told bell over and over again how much I loved her, I told her over and over again, THANK YOU."

Motley said hooks had been terminally ill with cancer.

Hooks once referred to singer Beyonce as a "sexual terrorist" and said she wasn't interested in aligning Beyonce with feminism.

Hooks, who was childless and never married, described herself as "queer-pas-gay" and routinely criticized gay marriage. She argued that gay marriage oppresses women and black people.

She theorized that the ultimate expression of feminism and sexual freedom is celibacy.

When asked about her own journey to sexual freedom, hooks said:

"People don't ask me much, I guess I'm getting old... I identify myself as queer-pass-gay and I came up with this with one of my white colleagues, lesbian colleagues where we were saying that all of our lives we've experienced ourselves as queer as not belonging, as the essence of queer."


Nora Carol Photography / Moment

Happy Mother's Day to all the mothers who work tirelessly to raise your children. We wouldn't be who we are today without you! We Love and Honor you on this day.

We celebrate the mothers who are no longer with us. Thank you for inspiring us, giving us strength and putting us on the right path to success in life. You are our pillar of strength. You will always remain in our hearts.

Ariel Skelley / The Image Bank

Not everyone grew up with a loving mother. We celebrate those of you who showed Love and Kindness to the children of another mother.

God blessed us with you. You loved us unconditionally and we will never forget the many sacrifices you made for us.
Poet, journalist, activist and Kevin Powell wrote a touching poem titled "Mother's Day," dedicated to his aunt Birdie Lou Powell who passed away this month.

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About Kevin

Kevin Powell is one of the most prolific literary, political, cultural, and hip-hop voices in America. He is a poet, journalist, civil and human rights activist, public speaker, filmmaker, a former two-time candidate for the United States Congress in New York City, and author or editor of 14 books. Kevin’s newest book is When We Free The World, a short collection of essays plus one poem about the present and future of America. His next book will be a biography of Tupac Shakur, the global pop culture and hip-hop icon. Kevin’s writings have appeared in a wide range of publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, HuffPost, CNN, The Guardian, British GQ, The Nation, Utne Reader, Vibe, Esquire, NPR, and The Progressive. Kevin is currently completing an indie film as a first-time director/writer/producer entitled What’s Going On, about healthy manhood versus toxic manhood, about fathers and sons, inspired by Marvin Gaye’s landmark album of the same title. Kevin lives in New
York City, the borough of Brooklyn.

Follow Kevin Powell

Twitter: @kevin_powell


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Jay Z, Beyonce, Kanye West, Rihanna Cover EBONY Magazine

In celebration of Black History Month, EBONY magazine published 4 different covers for its Black Music Month special collector’s edition featuring black glitterati Jay Z, Beyonce, Kanye West, and Rihanna. The covers are color-coded with sub headings that reflect the star's public image. For instance, Rihanna's cover says "Rebel", while Beyonce is "The Diva".

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