I have a reluctant relationship to labels, especially when I feel forced to clothe myself in them to signify my identity. James Baldwin created this beautiful line about identity that I included in my book which speaks closely to how I feel about labels: “Identity would seem to be the garment with which one covers the nakedness of the self, in which case, it is best that the garment be loose, a little like the robes of the desert, through which one’s nakedness can always be felt, and, sometimes, discerned.”
Trepidation is a solid word to describe my feelings surrounding terms like activist, spokesperson and feminist. I remember bell hooks, one of the most widely read black feminist thinkers, reading an interview I gave to Bitch magazine, in which I boldly state that I don’t personally identify as a feminist. Immediately, she called me for a longer explanation.