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Broadside: Tressie McMillan Cottom

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Photograph of Tressie McMillan Cottom

Tressie McMillan Cottom — Photo: Hannah Koelmeyer

'People really like to consume [black women] – our emotions, our cultural exchanges, the way we look, the way we speak, our experiences, our traumas. We do not have as much capacity for rendering visible our intellectual work … Can I evoke an emotional response from an audience? Publishers will want me to publish something that will be evocative, without being thought-provoking.'

With Thick, Tressie McMillan Cottom delivered a treatise on beauty, media, money, misogyny and race, a searing analysis animated by the ‘radical idea …[that] black women are rational and human’.

An award-winning sociologist, professor and author described as ‘transgressive, provocative, and brilliant’ by her Hear to Slay co-host Roxane Gay, McMillan Cottom works her way through politics, history, sociology and culture with critical dexterity and unapologetic force. 

In this episode, recorded at the inaugural Broadside festival of feminist ideas, McMillan Cottom joins Aminatou Sow to discuss her work and career – including navigating academia, the publishing industry and addressing perceptions of how her work fits into various categories.

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