This essay considers the film Born in Flames in the context of the radical black feminism of the 1970s and 1980s, with an eye to the current invigoration of black feminist political action. It focuses on the way the film envisions the formation of a counterpublic and commons by and for working-class black women and women of color through music, sonic connection, and the hijacking of media communication. The film’s political commitment in both its production and content is anarchistic; it questions authority, refuses hierarchical structures, and calls for us to destabilize all dominant and dominating paradigms. The essay argues that the film demands a renewed radical feminism, one not based in appeals for inclusion or protection under the social contract but based in noncompliance, the demand for collectivity and continued revolutionary practice.
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Jayna Brown; A World on Fire: Radical Black Feminism in a Dystopian Age. South Atlantic Quarterly 1 July 2018; 117 (3): 581–597. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00382876-6942171
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