Mychal Denzel Smith

Mychal Denzel Smith is a Knobler Fellow at The Nation Institute and contributing writer for The Nation Magazine, as well as columnist for Feministing.com and Salon. As a freelance writer, social commentator, and mental health advocate his work has been seen online in outlets such as The New York Times, The Atlantic, Salon, Al Jazeera English, Gawker, The Guardian, Ebony.com, Huffington Post, The Root, and The Grio.

Posts Written by Mychal

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Lincoln University president expresses great concern for the futures of accused rapists

Because of the work by activists such as our very own Alexandra and Dana, the issue of sexual assault on college campuses is now one of national priority. With the increased scrutiny, colleges and universities should now be taking extra care to address sexual assault and work toward implementing more effective preventive measures and protections for those who are assaulted. Enter Robert R. Jennings. 

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Cari Champion, Artie Lange, and the price of being a black woman in public

While the country was voting, or trying to convince people to vote, or wondering if Lil’ Jon would make it to Georgia in order to vote, or debating Lena Dunham, comedian Artie Lange was being a racist, sexist asshole. 

While the country was voting, or trying to convince people to vote, or wondering if Lil’ Jon would make it to Georgia in order to vote, or debating Lena Dunham, comedian Artie Lange was being a racist, ...

Why we need to get over Clair Huxtable

Brittney Cooper has a provocative piece up over at the Crunk Feminist Collective about (symbolically) slaying the patriarch and matriarch of The Cosby Show clan, Cliff and Clair Huxtable, in light of resurfaced concerns over real life patriarch Bill Cosby’s rape accusations. There’s a lot there to make you reconsider just how warm and fuzzy and lovable the character of Cliff Huxtable was. But here I want to talk about Clair.

I was born into a world where the Huxtables were near-universally beloved and held as the gold standard of black romantic possibilities. Each was an ideal partner in the context of a heteronormative relationship. But Clair even more so.

Brittney Cooper has a provocative piece up over at the Crunk Feminist Collective about (symbolically) slaying the patriarch and matriarch of The Cosby Show clan, Cliff and Clair Huxtable, in light of resurfaced concerns ...

When black women die from street harassment

Who cries when black women die?

I’m not asking that as some type of rhetorical, poetic question, meant to move you toward ferocious finger snaps. I want to know. Who cries when black women die?

Further, who cries when black women are killed?

Mary Spears was killed. The man who killed her did so because she refused to give him her phone number. She told him “I have a man I can’t talk to you,” and yet he persisted. Rather than respect her wishes to be left alone, he shot her.

Who cries when black women die from street harassment? 

Who cries when black women die?

I’m not asking that as some type of rhetorical, poetic question, meant to move you toward ferocious finger snaps. I want to know. Who cries when black women die?

Further, who cries ...

Keeping Marissa in mind

I was honored to participate in this campaign, Keeping Marissa in Mind, organized by the extraordinary activist Mariame Kaba. The poem I’m reading in this video is called “Flare” and it’s written by National Book Award winner Nikky Finney

I was honored to participate in this campaign, Keeping Marissa in Mind, organized by the extraordinary activist Mariame Kaba. The poem I’m reading in this video is called “Flare” and it’s written by ...

On sexism in the alt-lit community and a message for all us wannabe male feminists

I find myself rereading Kiese Laymon’s essay “Kanye West is Better At His Job Than I Am at Mine (But I’m Way Better at Being a Fake-Ass Feminist)” a lot.

Kiese’s a friend now, but I knew this essay before I knew him, and it’s when I read it for the first time that I knew I loved him and that he loved me. I could tell because he was willing to tell the truth about us. “I am a wannabe black male feminist who is really bad at loving women who are really good at loving me,” he wrote. It made me tense up, breathe oddly, and mutter a bunch of ‘fuck’s to myself. Truth, man. That shit ...

I find myself rereading Kiese Laymon’s essay “Kanye West is Better At His Job Than I Am at Mine (But I’m Way Better at Being a Fake-Ass Feminist)” a lot.

Kiese’s a friend now, but ...

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Feminism shouldn’t make men comfortable

Emma Watson’s speech on gender equality at the UN got a lot of attention, and that’s great. The more that hop the feminism train and use their platforms to spread the message, the merrier. But there’s a tiny little thing I’d like to disagree with her about.

The thrust of the speech is about getting men on board with the mission of gender equality. Watson said: “How can we affect change in the world when only half of it is invited or feel welcome to participate in the conversation? Men—I would like to take this opportunity to extend your formal invitation. Gender equality is your issue, too.” That last part is true. In fact, I’d say ...

Emma Watson’s speech on gender equality at the UN got a lot of attention, and that’s great. The more that hop the feminism train and use their platforms to spread the message, ...

How about everyone who isn’t a black woman just stops writing about black women

After reading the New York Times story about television producing mogul Shonda Rhimes that starts by saying “When Shonda Rhimes writes her autobiography, it should be called ‘How to Get Away With Being an Angry Black Woman,'” I have a modest proposal. No one who isn’t a black woman should be allowed to write about the cultural products created by black women.

Not a forever moratorium, but at least, I don’t know, a couple decades. And this isn’t to say there aren’t talented, non-black woman cultural critics who have done good work around the music, art, film, and television produced by and centering black women. Slate has a decent piece up about “Clair Huxtable, feminist hero” written by ...

After reading the New York Times story about television producing mogul Shonda Rhimes that starts by saying “When Shonda Rhimes writes her autobiography, it should be called ‘How to Get Away With Being an Angry ...

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