"Self-care" is a commodified notion that sounds like a marketing gimmick to sell you an app or a livestreamed fitness course, but as @LenoraSheWrote writes in @TeenVogue, its roots are in the radical struggle for Black liberation.


The Black Panthers popularized what had been an obscure medical term in the 1960s, using it to refer to everything from mindfulness to yoga to meditation, all practiced by incarcerated Panther leaders like Angela Davis and Ericka Huggins to help survive prison.

After their release, Davis and Huggins created nutrition and movement programs in Black neighborhoods around the country. Over time, this focus on wellness was integrated into the "self-defense" component of the Panthers' 10-point program.

Houseworth quotes Penn state postdoc Maryam K Aziz: "Rather than focusing on the physicality of such moves, the [Black Panther] Party’s martial arts program emphasized appreciating one’s Black body as it was."

This radical tradition carries over to the works of such icons as Audre Lorde, whose writing about surviving cancer and campaigning for civil rights draws an explicit connection between self-care and struggle.

The racially disproportionate trauma of covid and the BLM uprising have increased the need for - and the politicization of - self-care.

Houseworth quotes @PholkBeauty founder Niambi Cacchioli: "If social justice work is your calling, then now is the time to look after your mental and physical wellbeing. There’s plenty of fight ahead of us."


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