Laverne Cox Tearfully Remembers bell hooks: "So Much Love"

But meeting her intellectual idol also introduced Cox to hooks’ talent for gently reading someone down to the quick. hooks quietly called attention to Cox’s hair — at the time, worn pin-straight and blonde — and her high heels, both of which she observed were representative of “traditional femininity being called out and reveled in” by some trans women.

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The most famous Black trans actress in the world feels the political weight of her success — and knows her career goes beyond broken ceilings.

“bell was so shady,” Cox laughed, but “shady in a good way. bell would read, but there was always love there. There was always so much love, and bell had so much love for me.”

Here, Cox’s laughter quickly turned to tears, and she again took time to collect herself before explaining. “It’s complicated, and in some ways, she’s absolutely right. And in other ways, that gaze is subverted, because of the nature of who I am […] walking the streets of New York, early in my transition, throughout my transition it was about [having] armor, it was about survival. You know, if I’m fem enough, and can get through, maybe I won’t get killed today.”

“A lot of the conversations we’re having now that are intersectional, feminist conversations, would not happen without bell hooks,” Cox continued. “All our critiques of pop culture started with that woman. I love you, bell hooks.”

Watch Them’s full career retrospective with Laverne Cox above, or visit our YouTube channel for more.

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