‘The function of art is to do more than tell it like it is – it’s to imagine what is possible.’

All About Love, The Will To Change, Bone Black, Feminism Is For Everybody and Communion, are just a handful of the 30 acclaimed books bell hooks left behind when she passed away aged 69 this week.

Born Gloria Jean Watkins, the author and feminist cultural critic published an insightful, inspiring and emotive collection of writing, with her death sparking grief across the globe.

She named herself after her great-grandmother Bell Blair Hooks but spelt her pen name in lower case to point direction towards her ideas rather than her identity.

Her prolific body of work focused on gender, race, capitalism and the ways in which they intersect, with many considering her to have paved the way for intersectional feminism.

In honour of her intelligence and influence, here are our top ten bell hooks quotes.


‘The one person who will never leave us, whom we will never lose, is ourself. Learning to love our female selves is where our search for love must begin.’

– Communion: The Search for Female Love, 2002


‘If any female feels she need anything beyond herself to legitimate and validate her existence, she is already giving away her power to be self-defining, her agency.’

– Feminism is for Everybody: Passionate Politics, 2000


‘All our silences in the face of racist assault are acts of complicity.’

– Killing Rage: Ending Racism, 1995


‘The function of art is to do more than tell it like it is – it’s to imagine what is possible.’

– Outlaw Culture: Resisting Representations, 2012


‘Knowing how to be solitary is central to the art of loving. When we can be alone, we can be with others without using them as a means of escape.’

– All About Love: New Visions, 1999


‘Young girls often feel strong, courageous, highly creative, and powerful until they begin to receive undermining sexist messages that encourage them to conform to conventional notions of femininity. To conform they have to give up power.’

– Communion: The Female Search for Love, 2002


‘Love is profoundly political. Our deepest revolution will come when we understand this truth.’

– Salvation: Black People and Love, 2001


‘Sometimes people try to destroy you, precisely because they recognize your power — not because they don’t see it, but because they see it and they don’t want it to exist.’

– Quoted in Janet Mock’s Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More, 2014


‘To be truly visionary we have to root our imagination in our concrete reality while simultaneously imagining possibilities beyond that reality.’

– Feminism is for Everybody: Passionate Politics, 2014


‘When we face pain in relationships our first response is often to sever bonds rather than to maintain commitment.’

– All About Love: New Visions, 1999