bell hooks will continue to hold our hands and live in our hearts as long as we at ESSENCE can turn a page, because books are friends you never have to say goodbye to. 

When hooks passed away from an undisclosed illness at the age of 69 on December 15, Black girls across the globe began to mourn openly after spending decades clinging to the beauty and power of her words. 

The scholar and critic who was a proud Black feminist before Etsy had sweatshirts declaring the title acceptable introduced us to possibilities of what love, salvation, and community could look like if we let go of what we thought it was supposed to be. Her books and essays inspired countless other writers and critical thinkers. Even fictional characters like Insecure’s Kelli Prenny respected the strength in her charismatic arguments.

(Photo by Anthony Barboza/Getty Images)

She was loud, she was inconvenient, she was sometimes unpopular and she was ours. She gave us permission to yearn.

In the enduring legacy of her “passionate politics” voices of women like Kierna Mayo, Jamilah Lemieux and Sesali Bowen, continue to encourage us to reach for more.

She inspired a number of revised cannons full of wordsmiths who continue to helps us celebrate ideas about free Black women and girls that require us to be relentless about our love for ourselves and one another. 

Revisit some of the deeply impactful work by bell hooks below and keep her close – forever.