News of twenty year old, Asia McGowan’s murder in the hands of twenty eight year old, Anthony Powell was all over the news in April of 2009. Asia McGowan was shot to death by Anthony Powell before he turned the gun on himself. Anthony Powell was a man that posted videos that said that Black women didn’t deserve respect and posted other misogynistic videos on Youtube about Black women. Yet he was infatuated with the beautiful, Asia McGowan. Unfortunately, this story is an example of how dangerous and deadly infatuation coupled with misogynoir can be especially when it comes to the safety and livelihood of Black women.
Anthony Powell is to the left while Asia McGowan is to the right.
What is misogynoir?
I will start first off with defining misogyny because misogyny is somewhat related to misogynoir. Misogyny is blatant contempt or disdain for women. Women of all races and socio economic background have and will experience misogyny sometime in their lives however only one group of women will experience misogynoir. Misogynoir is how racially based misogyny that combines elements of anti Blackness and misogyny.Misogynoir was coined by queer feminist, Moya Bailey at on an article called They Aren’t Talking About Me on Crunch Feminist Collective blog. And misogynoir through words and actions is targeted towards Black women by many people in society and by others in their own communities.
Many men in American society exclude Black women from their dating pool or say ignorant and racist comments about them that they wouldn’t dare say about women of other races. I have heard comments from many men that group Black women into stereotypes of being masculine, loud, angry, unattractive etc. based on the images depicted of Black women in the media and society on whole. While others put down Black women in order to gain approval from others and elevate non Black particularly White women in the process.
Misogynoir also shapes the dating patterns and behaviors of young, Black men coming up in society. Many Black men especially Black women of the younger generation, have vowed to never date Black women or stay clear of them due to society depicting Black women in a bad light or they had a bad relationship with a Black woman and decided that they wouldn’t date them anymore. And if they do date a ”Black woman”, oftentimes, she is a biracial woman or light skin woman with Eurocentric features and loosely curled hair or they would date non Black women exclusively. Also many Black men put down Black women publically or online to justify why they prefer to date interracially and why no one wants a Black woman. Worst of all, there are some Black men who go out of their way to make Black women’s lives miserable by attacking them on and offline, beating them, verbally abusing them and even robbing and killing them.
What does this have to do with Asia McGowan’s murder?
Anthony Powell, Asia McGowan’s murderer, was an misogynist who suffered from mental illness for years. He hated Black women and made video after video on Youtube bashing them. Like most Black male misogynists, he hated Black women because he hated himself and because Black women are the easiest targets to pick on in society. His most notorious Youtube video was called Black Women Don’t Deserve Any Respect. His admirers and influences were Black women hating bashers such as Sergeant Willie Pete, who also bashed Black women on Youtube. All the while, he had a crush on Asia McGowan but Asia McGowan turned him down. He was upset that he was turned down by Asia McGowan. So he left scathing comments on Asia McGowan’s Youtube channel. However, the world wouldn’t realize how far one would go as far as murdering someone to prove something to the world.
On April 10th, 2009, an armed Anthony Powell went inside of Henry Ford College in Dearborn, Michigan and shot Asia McGowan to death. Then he turned the gun on himself and killed himself. The college was on lockdown for a few days. News of the incident spread across the nation as her family and friends mourned the death of a promising, beautiful young woman. His parents, Sam and Doris Powell were aware of his mental health issues and tried to get him some help for years but he wouldn’t listen. Most of all, the words from his mother, Doris Powell was truly heartbreaking:
‘‘If my child was going to kill himself, I would prefer he do himself, and not anybody else who was innocent,”
Asia McGowan’s funeral was held on April 18th, 2009 at the Mount Zion Baptist Church. Friends, family and mourners came to grief her death and to pay their respects. People and those who went to school with her still remember her and how her death shocked the area. However, her spirit will always live in the minds and hearts of those who knew and loved her.
Ultimately, her death should serve as a cautionary tale for young, Black women everywhere. For too long, Black women have experienced being put down, ridiculed and picked on by those in their own communities and wider society in general. More and more people are putting down Black women online and in public and get away with it because Black women are the easiest scapegoats, being the most unprotected in our society. However, sometimes, some people would go as far as to killing another person to prove a point. Thus, it is important for Black women everywhere to protect herself from those who seek to hurt them.
Sources of where I got the information from: