In conversation with… Hoodrat Feminist

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Who is Hoodratfeminist? What is Durag Diaries?

Hoodrat Feminist is the voice I needed to hear when I was younger, she’s wise and fearless. Drug Diaries are one minute Instagram videos where I share my experiences to help people feel less alone and as cautionary tales for young people who may be on their way to experiencing the same things.

Tell us about where you grew up. What does your neighbourhood mean to you?

I grew up in East Orange, New Jersey, I still live here. It’s a really small city that’s predominately Black and Brown and pretty low-income. Everyone knows everyone, because of how small it is. I didn’t spend a lot of time outside growing up, because my mom didn’t think it was safe for a young girl. She always let me have my friends over our house, because she felt safer if she knew where I was. My neighborhood means everything to me, because it’s all I know. I care about the people here, because there’d be no Hoodrat Feminist without them. My hood is on my back, so when I win, we all win.

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I hear you talk a lot about being a bad bitch, what is your definition of a bad bitch and why do you think it’s so important for females to be one?

Being a BAD BITCH is important for a woman’s survival. I’ve redefined the term bitch, because it’s something I couldn’t escape. I”m a huge fan of hip hop, especially women in hip hop, and two of my favorite rappers, Nicki Minaj and Trina have songs titled, “The Baddest Bitch”, those songs are my theme songs. Bad Bitches believe in themselves, and they are in love with themselves, despite what anyone else may think or say. A bad bitch walks around like her shit doesn’t stink. The fight to be a bad bitch, is a daily one. Bad Bitches know we live in a world that hates women, so we do all we can to win, against all odds. Only the strong survive and thrive.

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Who are your role models? Would you consider yourself a role model?

My role models are anyone who came from the bottom, and fought their way to the top. From Jay-Z to Cardi B.
I think I’m a role model to some people because of my confidence and will power, but I’m so hard on myself and I haven’t done half of what I plan to do.

How do you think women can let go of shame and double standards and achieve sexual liberation?

It starts with self-love and knowing you deserve to be happy, by any means necessary. If your sexual liberation is a part of your happiness, then you’ll work to make that happen for yourself. It’s all about YOU, fuck what anyone else thinks. What you eat, doesn’t make anyone else shit.

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Do you ever feel nervous about voicing your opinion to the world on the internet?

I feel very nervous, and I actually hate the internet, because of internet trolls and people who think their opinions actually matter. I use the internet as my platform, because it’s the best way to reach people. People are always DMing me, telling me they felt like I was talking to them in my videos, and that makes it all worthwhile. I’m a very sensitive person, but I know I’m doing something that people enjoy.

Do you get a lot of feedback from your fans? What is the most commonly asked question?

My DMs are always active, and I try my best to respond to any questions and comments, because Hoodrat Feminist is a conversation space before all. People ALWAYS ask me, “How did you become so confident?” I have to be honest and tell them that it’s a daily struggle, and there isn’t one prescriptive method to gain confidence. It’s different for everyone. I say my affirmations and force myself to love what I see in the mirror.

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What sparked the The Tasia Tale? How do we follow?

I read a lot, almost more than I talk. It’s a time for me to paint pictures in my head and really experience something alone. I can read the same book as someone else, and have a totally different experience. I started reading urban fiction as a child, and my favorite writers would always make Black girls in the hood, their protagonists. I had never experienced such personal representation before. My favorite writer used to be Nini Simone, her books took place in Newark, New Jersey, and the characters went to the local high schools and hung out at places I knew and loved. It sparked my love for books, because I could really see myself and my friends. I wanted to be just like them when I was a teenager. The Tasia Tale was inspired by them. I loved those books so much, so I decided I’d write one. I started on Instagram, because having readers is more important to me, than making money off of it. I released a chapter every Tuesday for weeks using the Instagram gallery feature. I had over 50 faithful readers, and I was so surprised and happy. Over 60 people tuned into my Instagram live, where I read the full story from start to finish. I’m working on The Tasia Tale 2, this time I have to finish the full story before I share, because I was writing the chapters the morning before I was due to share. That was a lot of pressure, and I can’t do that again. The Tasia Tale 2 will be shared on my website that I’m set to drop for the new year. I’m really interested in creating a space that is more private than Instagram.

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You talked a lot about men who weren’t worth your time, why is your new partner different?

I am only 20 years old, turning 21 on October 21st, so all of my previous relationships were really young, immature, inexperienced relationships. That leaves a lot of space for dangerous things to happen. I’ve experienced a lot of different traumatic experiences like, betrayal, heart break, sexual abuse, and other things that happen when young people don’t know any better. I’ve been dating since I was 12 and having sex since I was 14. My current boyfriend is a breath of fresh air, he’s older than me, and he’s gentle and cautious. He understands my past experiences inform my current beliefs, and he works with me to heal. He has a very nurturing spirit that is rare for men that I know. I’ve never met a man who communicates like him and expresses himself so freely. I am definitely blessed and I know he’s the perfect person to grow with. He supports me, and I support him. I’m so used to women taking a back seat for a man to pursue his dream, but Beyoncé taught me, and I say fuck that, we hustle and grind together.

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Meet: Hoodrat Feminist

ft Tasneem @Hoodratfeminist

Photographed by Brittany Carmichael @britcarmichael