Happy birthday Melissa Harris Perry!

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Image via @MHPShow

I was 16 years old when I met Melissa Harris Perry. Back then she was Melissa Harris-Lacewell, and she spent time with me and a group of other Kenwood Academy high schoolers to talk about feminism and hip hop. Our sessions were building up to the first national Feminism and Hip Hop conference at the University of Chicago. You can watch videos from the conference’s sessions here.

This was the first public space I’d be in that would validate my feminist critiques of hip hop without attempting to invalidate my love for the genre. It was a pivotal moment in my understanding of identity politics and although it would be years before I identified as a feminist, Melissa Harris-Perry was the first person to let me be one.

So today I hope all of you will join me in celebrating the life of an amazing thinker, writer, professor, host, and black girl!

Happy birthday Melissa Harris-Perry!

Feministing's resident "sexpert", Sesali is a published writer and professional shit talker. She is a queer Black girl, fat girl, and trainer. She was the former Training Director at the United States Student Association and later a member of the Youth Organizing team at Planned Parenthood Federation of America. She received her bachelors in Women's and Gender Studies from Depaul University in 2012 and is currently pursuing a master's in Women's, Gender, and Sexuality studies at Georgia State University in Atlanta. A self identified "trap" feminist, and trained with a reproductive justice background, her interests include the intersections of feminism and: pop culture, youth culture, social media, hip hop, girlhood, sexuality, race, gender, and Beyonce. Sesali joined the team in 2010 as one of the winners of our So You Think You Can Blog contest.

is Feministing's resident sexpert and cynic.

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