Thursday, October 2, 2014

Love Liberates

This week’s brown bag, “ Remembering Dr. Maya Angelou”  hosted by panelists Professor Spring, Drea Finley and Che Hatter, paid respect to the work of Dr. Angelou. Each reflected on how she has affected them personally by altering their understanding of the world and themselves. They opened the Brown Bag by bringing Dr. Angelou’s voice into the space by playing one of her videos

Love liberates. It doesn't just hold—that's ego. Love liberates. It doesn't bind. Love says, 'I love you. I love you if you're in China. I love you if you're across town. I love you if you're in Harlem. I love you. I would like to be near you. I'd like to have your arms around me. I'd like to hear your voice in my ear. But that's not possible now, so I love you. Go.'"- Maya Angelou

Sitting in the dimmed light, I heard her, I watched her, captivated. I looked at her face, her wrinkles, her red lipstick,  the graying of her hair,  I watched. I listened to her speak of love and the way she described love made me feel something in me that said, “I too want this type of love.”
I could not help but be captivated by her voice and her eyes.  Dr. Angelou’s description of love resonated deeply with me. I understood her description of love as one that gives permission to the self and other people to be themselves. It is a love that knows no boundary in regards to race, gender, religion, class, sexuality and culture. It is a love for all. Listening to her words, I could not help but wonder how do I understand love? What is love and how do I love myself and the people in my life?

When I attempted to grasp Dr. Angelou’s understanding of love,  I could not help but think about the women in my life. My mother who always told me, “you will always be the head never the tail.” My grandmother who told me to be myself and to work for what I believe in. Finally, my aunt who always called me niece and always reminded me of how proud she is of me. These three women with their words have shown me a love that is liberating, a love that gives me permission to be myself, they freed me. Since coming to understand how Dr. Angelou’s concept of love exist in my life, I could not help but ask myself, how can I too use this concept to better understand myself and how can this alter the interactions I have with people, in the spaces I pass through at Colgate and in the World? How can I too use love to heal, to liberate? I start this journey today, to better understand myself, to love myself, to create the possibility to love others as Dr. Angelou has.  

- Noufo Nabine


  1. This really resonates with me. Love is complicated in a world that is still not completely accepting of diversity. Love can only happen when we open our spirit up completely to someone else. But this is more easily said then done when there is a large chance that the person we open ourselves up to might not like what they see staring back at them. I hope that this world can become more accepting of differences because the more accepting we are, the more we learn about the people that surround us and the more we love. Why is it that so many of us are so afraid of love? I encourage people to forget about their fear of rejection and share their soul because you never know what you could get in return.

    -Taite Brunetta (FSEM 145: Intro to Women's Studies)

  2. Thinking abou the question of how do we, how do I, understand love, I come across the term 'unconditional love.' I almost was about to write that we all receive this from our parents, but I realize that this isn't always true for everyone. I feel extremely lucky to know and have been told by my parents that they love me unconditionally, and I know this to be proof because even when I've messed up, in school, socially, or in my relationships with them, there is always forgiveness granted and the love between us is still there. I think that this feeling of unconditional love, of knowing that someone out there will always love me, reassures me because I know that no one is required to love anyone unconditionally. When you have love for someone or receive it, it is the best feeling in the world because you know that someone accepts you and chooses you regardless of your flaws. Loving yourself can be the hardest thing, in my opinion, to do because we are constantly focused on what makes us different, weird, bad, or unacceptable. We focus on these negativities and try to improve, instead of accepting the person that we are and refusing to make excuses for that. The quote here by Maya Angelou is so beautiful to me because she is saying that she will always love this person regardless of where they go and of what they do. She accepts that they may stray from her, but she has faith that love will forever bond them together.

  3. Love is what holds the Feminist movement together. Love for oneself and recognizing one's own self worth gives purpose to fight for one's rights and comfort. Love for others, despite racial, religious, or cultural differences, binds women to fight together and makes the movement more powerful as a whole. Love for the unbelievable strong women in my life including my grandmother, mother, sisters, and aunts, reminds me every day why women deserve equality and a life that isn't tainted by fear and prejudice.

  4. Love is a huge component of feminism and as Tailia correctly said it is one of the main factors holding the feminist movement together. There are different types of love that we must embody in order to be a complete individual. We must learn how to love and we must love ourselves. Learning to love is a funny thing-it sometimes takes trial and error but can also be found at "first-sight." In order to love someone else we must feel an incredible bond to them, be willing to sacrifice for them and most importantly love them for who they are. Loving yourself requires maturity, this type of love is established through trial and error, learning what makes you happy, what makes you fulfilled as a female and what makes you happy-becuase thats all the really matters in the end. Love is unconditional it cannot be turned on and off it must be fully embraced at all times. Maya Angelou's quote really resonated with me, she really embraces the aspect of unconditional love. Again agreeing with Talia, love is something that is embodied by strong, independent honest females.

  5. I often find it much easier to love, be proud of, and stick up for others than it is to love, be proud of, and stick up for yourself. However we must change this common theme, for once we learn to love ourselves, we are then able to recognize what we need from others and how we deserve to be treated and thus actively pursue our personal interests as well as the interests of others. We see these types of love a lot in feminist movements, where women stand aside one another to fight oppressions against their neighbors as well as themselves, although the two ends goals may be different. We often see this love through our elders as they teach us to be responsible, successful, and happy women.