Women’s History Month Keynote: ‘Red Lip Theology’ with Candice Benbow, March 22

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.  – Take a walk down memory lane to explore the intersections of beauty, faith, feminism, and culture in the lives of black women, when Red Lip Theology founder Candice Benbow, discusses the millennial woman’s journey towards progressive theology, wholeness, and freedom on March 22.

The 7 p.m. event will be livestreamed by WPSU. Penn State faculty, staff, students and community members can register and claim their free ticket to access the event through the program’s Eventbrite site.  

This talk will serve as the second keynote for Women’s History Month hosted by the Penn State Gender Equity Center in partnership with the Center for Spiritual and Ethical Development, the Adult Learner Programs and Services, the Multicultural Resource Center, Penn State World Campus, the Wesley Foundation at Penn State, Penn State Alpha Phi Alpha, and the HOPE Center at Lock Haven University.

Becca Geiger, assistant director of the Gender Equity Center, a unit of Penn State Student Affairs, noted the importance of this program given it discusses the integration and intersection of various identities and movements often set in contrast to modern day feminism.

“In recent years, our society has placed feminism in opposition of a variety of different topics, including faith-based traditions and teachings as well as beauty industry participation and engagement,” said Geiger. “Candice’s work seeks to demonstrate that your identities, from your religious beliefs, to the makeup you wear, can be tools of liberation, expression and transformation. The key is to provide crucial reflection and analysis of such systems, how they may need to change, or our participation may need to be transformed or altered in these spaces.”

Through Red Lip Theology, Benbow merges theological ideals with beauty industry participation to celebrate black women’s creativity and spirituality. She annually hosts a “Red Lip Revival,” using the hashtag #redliptheology, where black women are encouraged to pair a red-lip selfie with inspirational quotes and Bible verses. As Red Lip Theology’s creator, Benbow has been featured at many women’s empowerment conferences across the country. In December 2018, Benbow launched Red Lip Theology with Candice Marie Benbow, a theologically progressive podcast designed for black women.

Benbow has written for various outlets including ESSENCE Magazine, Glamour Magazine, The Root, VICE, Shondaland, MadameNoire and the Me Too Movement. She was named by Sojourners as one of “10 Christian Women Shaping the Church in 2020.”

Most notably, in May 2016, following the release of Beyoncé’s visual album “Lemonade,” Benbow created the #LemonadeSyllabus hashtag and social media campaign. With contributions from over 70 Black women, Benbow released the syllabus as a free downloadable resource of over 250 works centered around the lives of Black women. Within the first week, it was downloaded over 40,000 times and has reached over 600,000 downloads. National and international libraries created “Lemonade Stands” to highlight the books from the syllabus that were available. Universities in the U.S. and the U.K. have used the Lemonade Syllabus to design new Black feminist and womanist thought courses and many women formed book clubs to journey through the syllabus together.

For more information on this program and on the Gender Equity Center, visit studentaffairs.psu.edu/genderequity.

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