Sidewalk Talk

Black Feminism and Sensuous Knowledge with Minna Salami

October 4, 2022

Hailed as a “blistering new literary voice”, Minna Salami is a Nigerian-Finnish and Swedish writer and social critic, and the founder of the multiple award-winning blog, MsAfropolitan, which connects feminism with critical reflections on contemporary culture from an Africa-centred perspective.

Traci talks with Minna following the publication of her new book, Sensuous Knowledge, which was described by Bernadine Evaristo as “intellectual soul food”. Their conversation is a deep, rich and wonderful romp through Minna’s muti-faceted identity and how her experiences have shaped her writings on Black feminism, Minna’s fresh cultural insights and the need to create space for growth and grappling in today’s world.


Episode Timeline

  • [00:09] Intro 
  • [00:57] Meet Minna
  • [2:38] The five(!) languages Minna speaks, and how they have shaped the way she thinks of Black feminism 
  • [10:55] how Blackness is tied to the African American experience
  • [14:50] the impact Minna wants to create through her writing
  • [20:26] Making room for growth and grappling
  • [26:00] Minna’s intuitive writing process
  • [43:12] Having ownership of your inner world
  • [45:56] Closing
  • [46:35] Outro

Resources Mentioned

Sensuous Knowledge (Minna’s book) 

Standout Quotes

  • “Blackness right now is very much tied to the African American experience and the kind of definitions of Blackness as African Americans. It formulates them. And the way that Blackness would be formulated in a kind of Diasporic sensibility outside of America and in the African continent certainly overlaps and is connected. There would be context, sort of dialectic contexts that are siblings, but there are also differences.” (Minna)
  • “I think the closest analogy to how I feel when I'm writing is a bit like an archaeologist might feel when they're trying to find some very specific object and they have to sort of excavate everything that's in the way and remove obstacles in order to gain the kind of clarity of how they might find their objects.” (Minna)
  • “a personal process of growth is of course completely tied to a collective process of growth.” (Minna)
  • “I also started the blog out of frustration and rage, maybe even because of the state of exclusion that Black women face, especially in the ideas world, which is a world that I very much see myself as contributing to, as well as the kind of feminist theory and feminist activism world.” (Minna)
  • “I think there's this invitation that how we move from our unconscious bias is that we do have to begin to learn a different kind of knowledge and we have to make it a regular practice where we're listening to more stories, the land, people from different viewpoints, our own bodies.” (Traci)
  • “ wanting to think up or to conjure a way of knowing that is simultaneously utopian and pragmatic. There's a lot of radical ideas in the world, many of which I am really inspired by and thankful for but many that I also can feel are impractical and I sometimes approach more as poems or something to kind of plant a seed of something.” (Minna)
  • “I will say that the inner world and the things that you choose to pay attention to, things that you choose to be preoccupied with. Those are the spaces which have not been taken over… And so it's very important, it's incredibly important that you cater to that space and that you have ownership of that space. And it's by no means a space that isn't full of complex feelings. It's that inner world where joy resides, but also sorrow and suffering. But it's the space you own.” (Minna)




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