Red Lip Theology REFLECTION
Updated: Feb 7
RED LIP THEOLOGY: For Church Girls Who've Considered Tithing to the Beauty Supply Store When Sunday Morning Isn't Enough is an essay collection from Black feminist theologian Candice Marie Benbow. She gave us the widely popular #LemonadeSyllabus and is known on social media for challenging the misogynoir and patriarchy that permeates faith spaces. Now Benbow's debut introduces us to the woman behind her poignant essays.
RED LIP THEOLOGY is for the Black girls, the millennials, both the churched and the unchurched. It is a masterful journey through Benbow’s life as she wrestles with identity, acceptance and worthiness, love and betrayal, faith and academic spaces, grief and depression, and the ease of her mother's love. Benbow welcomes us into the intimacies of her life and lessons that shaped her own understanding of God and herself, which she’s coined as red lip theology.
“What is that? Who started it?” a pompous male classmate (yes, he was) demanded. To which Benbow responds: “I did. Just now.”
According to Benbow, “Red lip theology is the space in which young, Black churchwomen can sit with the parts of ourselves and be honest about them all.” And this is what attracted me to Benbow's work years ago. For me, Benbow's writing, ethics, and existence testify to the possibilities of a liberated faith for Black millennial women. In my life, Candice Benbow was the first person who embodied what it means to hold onto God without letting go of yourself. That maintaining faith does not necessitate self-abandonment.
This book is a celebration of self as much as it is about faith. It causes us church girls to confront what we have grown up believing about God and our ourselves that never served us, that never told the truth. It challenges us to liberate ourselves from traditional (white, male, and straight) views of God. It encourages us to see God in ourselves—Spirit dwelling in Black women.
Red Lip Theology also gives us a stunning portrait of an everlasting mother’s love for her daughter and an unshakeable, undying adoration and reverence a daughter has for her mother. Benbow offers this book as a gift to her mother, a stellar display of ancestor veneration.
Reading RED LIP THEOLOGY felt like sitting down with an older, wiser sister who, after surviving deep pain and grief, is mindful of how her story can free someone else. I am grateful for this work. I am grateful for Candice Marie Benbow. Do yourself a favor and add this book to your collection!
This is the book for you, if you love:
The South + Black Church
Black liberation, womanist, queer theology
A writer who tells it like it is
Purchase Red Lip Theology Now!
Special thanks to Convergent Books, Penguin Random House, and NetGalley for the ARC!
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