This will make you light up like a Christmas tree.
Rapper DMX has released a cover of “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” and it’s everything you didn’t know you needed.
The song is part of Spotify Singles: Christmas, an exclusive playlist on the streaming service featuring new recordings of classic holiday tunes by artists like Miley Cyrus, Kelly Clarkson and Sam Smith.
The DMX cover, however, is the icing on the gingerbread house. -huffpost
Miss Universe second runner-up Jamaican Davina Bennett arrived at the Norman Manley International Airport yesterday to a heartfelt homecoming orchestrated by Uzuri International Designs and Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sports Olivia 'Babsy' Grange.
Though battling the flu, which came suddenly after the event, Bennett exuded poise, grace and confidence, which radiated during the press conference held within the Executive Pineapple Lounge at the Kingston airport. She was overwhelmed by the outpouring of love from all in attendance and the welcome far exceeded her expectations.
Coach Karl Williams from Uzuri International Designs beamed with pride as he congratulated Bennett on her success in the competition. While Grange praised her on portraying authentic, natural beauty throughout the competition.
Bennett shared with The Gleaner her experience being in the competition.
"This journey was hard. There was a lot of gym time that I had to put in, along with dieting, speech training, training with Yendi in terms of stage presentation and runway. A lot of persons came on board. The whole experience was based on revamping my complete self to fit the part of a queen," she explained.
This helped to prepare her for the gruesome prep days of the competition that sometimes took her from 4 a.m. to 10 p.m. At one point, she was uncertain if her body would hold up, but it did.
Bennett also admitted that the composure that many saw on stage was a bit of a faÁade, as she was nervous. The traditional tricks that people gave her did not quite work, but she developed some tricks of her own.
One thing that was not difficult for the queen was making friends. The bond that she created with many is one that she will hold dear.
PRAISED FOR AFRO
Several international magazines such as Essence and People praised Bennett on competing with her natural Afro and being crucial to changing the perception of beauty. This is something that she is proud of.
"I had the Afro before the competition and I decided that I was not going to change to fit the standard of beauty of how pageant girls should look. My hair should not be a barrier from succeeding in the pageant. I am happy that I made the decision to follow my mind," she explained.
While some believe that she was robbed of the coveted crown because of her Afro she disagrees.
"If it was the Afro or my skin tone, I would not have made it to the top 16. I would like to think my hard work and dedication allowed me to get this far and created the impact that I wanted," said the beauty queen.
When the cameras stopped rolling, Bennett received a standing ovation within the The AXIS at Planet Hollywood auditorium in Las Vegas, United States.
"I was on stage and I got the standing ovation, and everybody from the crowd was chanting Jamaica. That moment will stick with me forever," she beamed. -jamaicagleaner
Get ready for some good performances from a few of your favorites actors.
Viola Davis and Mahershala Ali have snagged some new roles and we can’t wait to see what they serve up.
Davis is set to star as Georgia Young in I Almost Forgot About You, based on Terry McMillian’s novel.
Her character is a divorced optometrist who is looking to shake up her life by looking for love on a wild journey of self-discovery.
Davis will produce the film alongside her husband, Julius Tennon.
McMillian will work on the script along with Oscar-winning screenwriter, Ron Bass.
Mahershala Ali will produce and star in Burn, a true-crime thriller by A.J. Wolfe. The film is being adapted from the book that highlights the violent underbelly of organized crime and follows an undercover detective who brought down the cartel while hiding his risky work from his family. -thegrio
At the 2017 Miss Universe pageant, Miss Jamaica Davina Bennett became the talk of the night for wearing an Afro. She stood out among the sea of blown-out, straight styles you typically see on beauty queens and was celebrated across social media for proudly wearing her natural hair, especially considering how we still hear stories about women being told their curls are "inappropriate" at work and school.
Even if Davina ultimately didn't win the crown (she was in the top three, named second runner-up), seeing her on stage wearing her Afro throughout the competition was a major win for inclusivity.
The 23-year-old model and philanthropist has been outspoken about wanting to shatter existing Eurocentric beauty standards. "I did not win but I got what I was seeking," she wrote on Instagram following the competition, "I stand as the first Afro queen to have made it thus far."
In an interview with Jamaica Observer in September, in response to beauty stereotypesthat need to be challenged, she responded, "Short, natural hair which I feel should be embraced more, and not ignored." -popsugar
‘We Cannot Remain Silent’: Rwanda Offers to Take in 30,000 African Migrants at Risk for Being Sold Into Slavery
It has almost become mantra these days: “I can’t believe that this is happening in 2017.” The way race relations in the U.S. are going, we could be in 1917, or 1817, especially with the recent expose of the sale of people – black people – in this the year of our Lord.
After a critical CNN report showing Footage of African migrants being sold at auctions in Libya has been circulating the internet, and many are shocked and highly disturbed that human beings are being traded for as little as $400.
Libya, which has fallen into a void since the death of Muammar Gaddafi, is the last stopping point on the continent before migrating the treacherous Mediterranean to Europe. Hundreds of thousands of Africans from countries all over the continent have attempted to travel to Europe in recent years, resulting in thousands of drowning deaths.
Incredibly the East African country of Rwanda has offered refuge to around 30,000 African migrants who are being exploited and living in slave-like conditions in Libya.
The Rwandan foreign ministry released a statement last week saying it stands in solidarity with its “African brothers and sisters still held in captivity.”
Rwanda, like the rest of the world, was horrified by the images of the tragedy currently unfolding in Libya, where African men, women and children who were on the road to exile, have been held and turned into slaves. Given Rwanda’s political philosophy and our own history, we cannot remain silent when human beings are being mistreated and auctioned off like cattle.
The Government and people of Rwanda stand in solidarity with our African brothers and sisters still held in captivity. Rwanda may not be able to welcome everyone but our door is wide open. We are ready to work closely with the African Union, the private sector, as well as other friends and partners to ensure that we can provide minimum comfort to those in need.
The “history” that the Rwandan government speaks of is a four-year Civil War which left 800,000 Rwandans killed and many more maimed. Rwanda was at the center of one of the largest refugee crises of the 20th century and two million fled the nation to neighboring countries.
Libyan officials have condemned the practice of slave trading but said that they required more support from the international community.
The United Nations held an emergency session on Wednesday, calling the practice a “crime against humanity” and many Parisians took to the streets last week in protest (of course, the majority of them being black on the Champs-Élysées it went bad ). –theroot
Nationwide — Visa has announced the addition of three athletes who make up the Nigerian Women’s Bobsled Team to Team Visa, currently training to become the first ever African representatives, men or women, to qualify for the Olympic Winter Games in the sport of Bobsled. Together, Bobsled pilot Seun Adigun, and brakemen Ngozi Onwumere and Akuoma Omeoga, combine their elite track backgrounds to chase their bobsled dreams.
Without access to proper training equipment or valuable ice time to perfect their skills, the members of the Nigerian Women’s Bobsled Team started their journey on the snow-less grounds of Houston, Texas, in a wooden sled they nicknamed ‘The Maeflower.’ Once the team set their sights on the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018, they established a crowdfunding website hoping to raise the much-needed funds to get to PyeongChang. Upon discovering the page, Visa was inspired by their story and determination to carve out a place in history and pledged to help solidify the team’s trip to the Olympic Winter Games.
“When we first heard their story we recognized the collective spirit of these athletes as a perfect fit for Team Visa,” said Chris Curtin, chief brand and innovation marketing officer at Visa. “By joining Team Visa, we hope to provide this group of determined athletes with a global stage to tell their story and inspire athletes all over the world to follow their dreams and never give up.”
The athleticism and determination of each member of the Nigerian Women’s Bobsled Team is palpable, as they push to rewrite history in their sport:
* Seun Adigun (Nigeria, Bobsled Driver):Adigun represented Nigeria in the 100m hurdles at the London 2012 Olympic Games. Wanting to get back on the Olympic stage, she began training for bobsled in 2014.
* Ngozi Onwumere (Nigeria, Bobsled Breakmen): Onwumere, a former competitive sprinter, clinched a Silver and Gold medal at the 2015 African Games in Republic of the Congo in the 200m and 4x100m relay, respectively. Onwumere started training after being recruited by Adigun in 2016.
* Akuoma Omeoga (Nigeria, Bobsled Breakmen): Omeoga is a graduate of the University of Minnesota where she was a sprinter for the university’s track and field team, competing in the 100m and 200m races. The Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 will be the first time she is representing Nigeria.
“Already the support and encouragement we have felt as part of Team Visa has been a dream come true,” said Seun Adigun, driver of the Nigerian Women’s Bobsled Team. “We are proud to be part of a team that shares our mission and has connected us with the resources we needed to reach our goal, and hopefully empower others to do the same.”
Since the program began in 2000, Team Visa has supported over 400 Olympic and Paralympic Athletes and hopefuls by providing them with the tools, resources and support they need to reach their highest potential, regardless of origin or background. Team Visa features a diverse group of Olympic and Paralympic athletes who embody our core values – acceptance, partnership and innovation – and was cultivated with the global reach of the Olympic and Paralympic Games in mind.
The women of the Nigerian Women’s Bobsled Team joins Team Visa’s diverse roster of athletes, which includes: Mikaela Shiffrin (USA), Chloe Kim (USA), Gus Kenworthy (USA), Hilary Knight (USA), Oksana Masters (USA), Mark McMorris (Canada), Lee Sang-Hwa (South Korea), Kamil Stoch (Poland) and others. -blacknews
Chicago, IL — The Cook County State’s Attorney in Illinois has dropped all charges against 15 men who combined had 18 convictions. All of them were convicted in 2003 to 2008 for drug crimes that they say that local police framed them for.
The men, all African-American, allege that former police Sgt. Ronald Watts and his team of officers planted the drugs on them, and then falsified police reports.
Leonard Gibson, one of the men exonerated, told reporters that Watts threatened them if they didn’t pay him a so-called “protection tax”. Gibson comments, “If you’re not gonna pay Watts, you were going to jail.” And Gibson did serve 2 years in jail. He says when he was released from prison, Watts tried to put another case on him.
Joshua Tepfer of the Exoneration Project at the University of Chicago says that the officers targeted low income Black men who lived in South Side housing projects. He even said that others in command at the Chicago Police Department knew what was going on, but did nothing to stop it.
“This corruption was covered up by the highest levels of the Chicago Police Department,” Tepfer said. “It was swept under the rug.”
Meanwhile, the 15 men and Tepfer all feel that justice has not been fully served. Sgt. Watts and another officer were convicted, served less than 3 years, and are now free. Even worse, as many as seven others officers were never charged and are still working on the force. -blacknews
Jemele Hill’s name has been hashtagged, dragged and praised heavily this year, and here at The Root, we honor her for her contributions to journalism. As a black female sports journalist, Hill realizes how black athletes are perceived, and she’s bringing that to the table when she discusses them on the air.
You see it when Serena Williams is criticized for being boastful when she wins and a sore loser when (or if) she loses; meanwhile, when John McEnroe had his outbursts, he wasn’t criticized at all. These are just stereotypes that are extended into the sports arena.
Voices of truth like Hill’s are needed, but if you let your president tell it, she needs to be fired. We all know he’s got disdain for the truth. That’s why we must continue to stand with and lift up Hill, because we need her voice.
“I’m hoping to see even more women and women of color just in more positions of influence in our business,” Hill says. -theroot
Thankful for our bond as a line, my relationship with each of you, the memories we share, and being able to support you each on your journeys. 2 years down, a lifetime to go🐘❤️. 11.22.15 #RebelRhoTurns2 #GivingThanks #ΟΩ #DST #TerribleTwos #13isOurNumber #SetItOff
The National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington is giving black families a chance to preserve their memories for free.
As a part of its new initiative, called The Great Migration Home Movie Project, families can schedule an appointment and bring their vintage photos and videos to the Robert F. Smith Explore Your Family History Center, located in the museum. Conservators will digitize motion picture film, obsolete video tape formats and audio formats, according to the project’s website.
“In a very radical way, we recognize the importance of these vernacular, homemade images, this folk cinema, as an alternate history to the kinds of history that the mass media tells,” Walter Forsberg, media archivist with the museum, told The Baltimore Sun. “We wanted to render a public service free of charge because we knew there was a lot of material out there trapped on obsolete formats.”
The museum also has collected home videos from black celebrities and families to use, according to the project’s website, as a tool for “understanding and re-framing black moving image history, and provide a much needed visualization of African American history and culture.”
The collections demonstrate, among other things, “the resiliency of civil rights activists in 1963” in Danville, Virginia, “the optimism and drive of empowered youth in the Bedford-Stuyvesant community” of Brooklyn during the 1960′s, and “the rooted spirituality of black Oklahomans in the face of race riots and segregation in 1920′s Tulsa,” according to the website. -huffpost
Nationwide — Jesse Jackson, long-time civil rights activist and the founder of the Rainbow Push Coalition, has publicly announced that he is battling Parkinson’s Disease. He is currently 76 years old, and has been fighting for equal rights since the 1960’s.
Here’s what he had to say in his official statement to the media:
“On July 17, 1960, I was arrested, along with seven other college students, for advocating for the right to use a public library in my hometown of Greenville, S.C. I remember it like it was yesterday, for that day changed my life forever. From that experience, I lost my fear of being jailed for a righteous cause. I went on to meet Dr. King and dedicate my heart and soul to the fight for justice, equality, and equal access. In the tradition of the Apostle Paul, I have offered myself – my mind, body and soul – as a living sacrifice.”
“Throughout my career of service, God has kept me in the embrace of his loving arms, and protected me and my family from dangers, seen and unseen. Now in the latter years of my life, at 76 years old, I find it increasingly difficult to perform routine tasks, and getting around is more of a challenge. My family and I began to notice changes about three years ago. For a while, I resisted interrupting my work to visit a doctor. But as my daily physical struggles intensified I could no longer ignore the symptoms, so I acquiesced.”
“After a battery of tests, my physicians identified the issue as Parkinson’s disease, a disease that bested my father.”
“Recognition of the effects of this disease on me has been painful, and I have been slow to grasp the gravity of it. For me, a Parkinson’s diagnosis is not a stop sign but rather a signal that I must make lifestyle changes and dedicate myself to physical therapy in hopes of slowing the disease’s progression.”
“I am far from alone. God continues to give me new opportunities to serve. This diagnosis is personal but it is more than that. It is an opportunity for me to use my voice to help in finding a cure for a disease that afflicts 7 to 10 million worldwide. Some 60,000 Americans are diagnosed with Parkinson’s every year.”
“I will continue to try to instill hope in the hopeless, expand our democracy to the disenfranchised and free innocent prisoners around the world. I’m also spending some time working on my memoir so I can share with others the lessons I have learned in my life of public service. I steadfastly affirm that I would rather wear out than rust out.”
“I want to thank my family and friends who continue to care for me and support me. I will need your prayers and graceful understanding as I undertake this new challenge. As we continue in the struggle for human rights, remember that God will see us through, even in our midnight moments.”
“KEEP HOPE ALIVE!”
Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Sr. -blacknews
The rich, iconic city of New Orleans has its first female mayor in 300 years, as LaToya Cantrell was officially elected to the position on Saturday night.
Cantrell defeated Desiree Charbonnet with 60 percent of the vote after a month-long runoff, reports USA Today.
“Almost 300 years, my friends. And New Orleans, we’re still making history,” Cantrell told a cheering crowd in her victory speech.
SF Gate reports that Cantrell moved to the city from California in the late 80s to attend Xavier, an HBCU. Her work as a neighborhood activist in the aftermath of Katrina reportedly helped her win a seat on council in 2012.
As the mayoral inauguration is set for May, there will be a six-month span before Cantrell takes office from fellow Democrat Mitch Landrieu.
Exit polls show that Cantrell likely benefited from African-American voters. Charbonnet, a judge from a prominent New Orleans family, meanwhile, appeared to take the white vote by about 30 percent. -theroot
When Bob Marley sang “I n I liberate Zimbabwe” in 1979, he was praising the efforts of freedom fighters like Robert Mugabe, a Zimbabwean revolutionary who was once jailed for fighting against colonial British rule.
Some 30 plus years later, however, Mugabe is for all intents and purposes, out by his military—and the people—who took to the streets by the tens of thousands on Saturday to urge the leader-turned-dictator to beat it. -theroot
It seems as if you can hear her laugh from miles away. Her smile is so bright it lights up the darkest theater, cabaret, movie or television screen. Jenifer Lewis—of Black-ish; Broadway’s Eubie!; the films Beaches, Poetic Justice and What’s Love Got to Do With It, among scores of others—is fearless. That’s a good thing because she is a bona fide, old-school star.
“I made my career my own. You know I gave up a few times, but I didn’t quit. … It took a little out of my ass, but I stayed with it,” Lewis says. “That’s why I had the right to write this book because I did come through the fire, because I did sustain and because I continue to love it!”
Lewis’ memoir, The Mother of Black Hollywood, is a rollicking, hilarious, emotional and visceral examination of a career most entertainers can only dream of. She knew this would be her life at the tender age of 5. That’s when she did her first solo at the First Baptist Church in her hometown, Kinloch, Mo. Of course, she got a standing ovation. Lewis writes that she gave them her best imitation of gospel artist Dorothy Love Coates, and in that moment, her destiny as a singer was sealed.
“There was never a doubt after that solo—I never looked back. It was like a tsunami of love coming over the pews! I mean, it wasn’t even a shouting kind of church,” Lewis recalls, “but they were up, crying and screaming. I performed, and it was like I was born with it!”
Lewis was so obviously born with it that she got her first Broadway role 11 days after graduating from college. The show was Eubie! It was June 5, 1979, and she was at the Ambassador Theatre standing onstage with the show’s stars, Gregory and Maurice Hines. That catapulted her straight into the iconic black Broadway community—which included the likes of Nell Carter, Hinton Battle, Vivian Reed and André DeShields.
“We were special! We were the gladiators of our time—you know we had trained. You don’t skip onto Broadway because you are pretty,” Lewis says, “and it’s Olympiad shit and no joke. Even at that young age, you had to stay in shape, stretch, take dance classes, take acting classes. I studied, I trained in the classics, Shakespeare, Brecht, and I couldn’t get enough. I drank it all and was thirsty for more.”
The “more” took Lewis through over 300 appearances onstage and in cabaret, film and television, drama and comedy. She has played everything from an unforgettable lead to a scene-stealing supporting character. But she admits that she had a little trouble transitioning from stage to screen because a woman whose voice was trained to hit the back row of a theater was a little loud for a camera.
“In researching a character, you have to gather everything from your own life. If you don’t know who you are, you can’t put those pieces of the puzzle together. I had to do some serious work for that. … You know the camera doesn’t lie. When you are in front of a camera, you have to believe what you say before you say it. It’s either real or it’s not,” Lewis explains.
The woman who’s been seen in everything from the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air to the cult favorite Jackie’s Back clearly got through it. Lewis has played the role of mother to everyone from Whitney Houston and Tupac Shakur to Taraji P. Henson and many others. Plus, the level of work she has put in to cement her status as a legend is a constant thread in her life. Lewis was never going to be a one-trick pony—one of those folks who can only sing or only dance. She does it all.
“See, my idols were Sammy [Davis] and Pearl Bailey—these are the people I study. These were entertainers who were complete. They knew you had to do it all. They were funny. They had great presence. Charisma. They could sing and dance and act, so I knew I had to try and be even better than them,” Lewis says.
But Lewis was nearly stymied by a problem that many African Americans ignore. The woman with a voracious sexual appetite and legendary temper was also crying herself to sleep. It turned out that Lewis had bipolar disorder. It has taken her years of therapy and medication to battle the illness. She has some advice to others experiencing such symptoms.
“You just have to get sick and tired of being sick, and when you’ve done that and you have the courage and the strength to say that’s enough of that, then you make some changes,” Lewis says. “But if you’re not living with the disease or some disorder, somebody you know might be. So just reach out a helping hand and take them to get some help. But I always caution you: If they aren’t going, they aren’t going. So keep it moving so your arms will be strong for the next one.”
As for the sexual harassment scandals rocking Hollywood and Capitol Hill, this woman who once talked her way out of being raped notes that such behavior has been going on since the dawn of time. But it is time, she says, for it to stop.
“Things are changing. Women are sick of being abused and used, beaten and discarded. We’ve got a lunatic in the White House that says ‘Grab ’em by the pussy.’ Come on, now,” Lewis says. “You can only fuck with a person so much. That’s why they’re coming forward.”
She thinks the publicity will change the culture because young women will read about this, and when someone tries to attack them, they’ll fight back because now they’ll know for sure what’s going on.
In a letter to readers at the end of her book, Lewis tells people that she wrote the memoir because she owes. She writes: “Because I survive, I owe. Because I live with bipolar disorder and thrive, I owe. … I owe it to the world to share what I have learned on my journey.”
Lewis is a force of nature—but she’s a human being
“I never give 100 percent. I give 2,000. That’s just how I roll,” Lewis says. “I’m an alpha female. You know I’m in the moment. If it’s not serving the moment, leave me the fuck alone. You know when you turn 60 and realize you’ve got about 30 summers left … that consists of joy.”
You can hear Lewis’ voice when the animated series Big Hero 6: The Series launches on Disney XD and the Disney Channel on Monday. You can also catch her on Black-ish on Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET on ABC. -theroot
Nationwide — A recent ad from J. Crew that featured Black Dominican model, Marihenny Rivera, with unkempt hair was heavily criticized on Black Twitter. The comments were basically saying that it is offensive for J.Crew to think that for a Black woman to go all-natural simply means that she doesn’t brush or comb her hair. The company, however, has released a public apology.
Their statement as posted on their Twitter account reads:
J.Crew strives to represent every race, gender, and background. We sincerely apologize for the styling of this model and the offense that was caused. We assure you that we are taking steps to address it, and to prevent this from happening again.
From the photo, it does seem to appear that J.Crew’s stylists didn’t even try to do anything with the model’s hair before photographing her. Several Black influentials have pointed out that Black women with all-natural hair styles can certainly be presented in a professional way.
Other pictures of the model on her Instagram page prove this to be true. Those interested can follow her at @Marihenny -blacknews
Tracee Ellis Ross might have won a Golden Globe for her breakout performance as 'Bow' on Blackish and launched a clothing line with JC Penney, but in her speech at Glamour's 2017 Women of the Year Summit, she revealed that the world around her often doesn't support all she's achieved.
"It's really interesting to be a woman, and to get to 45, and to not be married, and to not have kids. Especially when you’ve pushed out five kids on TV," she said onstage. That interesting part? According to Ross, it's fielding question after question about when she'll finally have kids and get married.
But Ross isn't here for dated expectations of womanhood: She's perfectly fine being single at 45, thanks. Ross used the rest of her speech to explore four little words that changed her outlook: "My life is mine. Those words stopped me in my tracks," Ross said. "Those words brought tears to my ears because, yes, I’ve been living my life—but not to my own expectations. Not for me."
After writing those words in her journal, Ross said she changed her perspective. "I've become a woman that I am very proud to be," she stated to applause. For her, fulfillment comes from the life she has now. "I’ve decided to own my moment and my training bras. I’m going to make an experience of the good and yucky parts," she said.
Get inspired to live a life for yourself with Ross's full speech, below.
It’s really interesting to be a woman and to get to 45 and not be
married and not have kids. Especially when you have just pushed out your fifth kid on TV. You start hearing crazy shit like: “Oh, you
just haven’t found the right guy yet,” “What are you going to DO?”
“Oh, you poor thing,” “why is someone like you still single,” “have you ever thought of having kids?” “why don’t you just have a kid on your own.” It’s never ending and not helpful.
I grew up planning a wedding. My dress was going to be corseted with multiple antique Victorian camisoles spilling off my shoulders and I would change into a white double-breasted suit, wide leg trouser (with an exaggerated cuff) for the reception. I dreamed about being chosen by a powerful, sexy, kind man who had full lips and gave good hugs and having baby boy named Lauren.
But…I also dreamed of winning an Oscar and being on the cover of
magazines and making a difference in the world, helping women find our voices. And from that dreaming, I have built an incredible life. I have become a woman that I am proud to be.
And then someone tells me about their friend who adopted a child at 52 and how “it’s never too late for your life to have meaning,” and
my worth gets diminished as I am reminded that I have “failed” on the marriage and carriage counts. Me! This bold, liberated, independent woman. I mean, I work out, eat well, I mostly show up to work on time, I’m a good friend, a solid daughter, a hard worker, my credit is good, I take out the garbage before it gets smelly, I recycle, and I won a Golden Globe! I’m killing it! So, why? Why do I get snagged this way? As if all that I have done and who I am doesn’t matter.
I look back and think about all the ways we’re told that those two
goals: being chosen and having kids, are what makes you
I mean: Nursery Rhymes. Fairytales. Books. Movies. Sixteen
Candles, every love song, and even Black-ish—all reiterating this
narrow story of “husband plus child equals woman”. And the
patriarchy—the patriarchy is not pleased with me right now. I’m
failing at my function. Let me tell you, Mike Pence is fucking
confused by me right now.
Frankly, I often get a little confused. So, here is something I have
done way more than I care to admit: Trying to gather the courage to
tell my ex (whom I love by the way) that I want to date other people
even though we were no longer together—we are broken up and have been! And during this last bout of doing just that, I did what
enlightened ladies do and I got out my journal. I’m sitting there free
writing, maybe conversing with my inner child, and I write down: MY
LIFE IS MINE. My life is mine.
Those words stopped me in my tracks and honestly brought so many tears to my eyes. so many tears to my eyes. Seems so obvious, but obviously it wasn’t. Because I have NOT been living my life as if it was my own. I mean to a certain extent yes but on a deep level no. So, if my life is actually mine…then I have to really live it for
myself. I have to put myself first and not be looking for permission
to do so.
But, when I put myself first, what comes back at me from well-meaning people—most men, social media, random ladies at the gym, Mike Pence, whoever—they tell me in all sorts of ways that I am being selfish, pushy, aggressive, controlling, relentless, stubborn, a slut, a nag, oh, and my favorite, a ball breaker, because god forbid a few balls get broken along the way.
When we put ourselves first by doing things like saying no, speaking up, sleeping with who we want, eating what our bodies intuitively tell us to eat, wearing training bra’s instead of push up bras, posting a picture without using Facetune...we are condemned for thinking for ourselves and being ourselves, and being ourselves, for owning our experiences, our bodies, and our lives.
That kind of stuff is seen as threatening and scary and it’s certainly
not what the patriarchy had in mind. Join me for a moment and
imagine: What would it be like for women to completely own our own
power, to have agency over our own glory and our sexuality, not in
order to create a product or to sell it, or to feel worthy of love, or
use it as a tool for safety, but instead as a WAY OF BEING? Imagine
that…truly owning our own power, agency, and sexuality.
Especially at this moment, in all its volatility, with all that is happening as the “Pussy Grab” tree is being shaken and grabbers are dropping like rotten fruit. And at the same time, with the surge of empowerment: Black Lives Matter. Black Girl Magic! The Women’s March! Me Too! I mean me too…you too?
I am trying to gather all this energy around me, step into it, and
match it with my realization that my life is mine. My “I am the
chooser, 45-year-old life” ...is MINE. It’s no coincidence that these
two forces are meeting at the same time. So here I am sorting out what MY LIFE looks like when it’s fully mine. It takes a certain bravery to do that. It means risking being misunderstood, perceived as alone and broken, having no one to focus on, fall into or hide behind, having to be my own support and having to stretch and find family love and connection outside of the traditional places. But, I want to do it. I want to be the Brave Me, the real me, the one whose life is my own.
It means I'm going to have to break an agreement that I didn’t really
officially agree to sign in the first place, a document drawn up by a
bunch of old white guys in a back room, the same group of old white
guys who like to pass laws about our reproductive health and choices without us being there. That agreement says: We are here to be of service to others, that our destiny is to live in the shadow of men, that we are simply objects of desire, and that we are willing to live with having our voices stifled again and again by the misogyny of our culture.
Well listen here, ladies: I’m tearing it up. It’s going bye-bye and
I’m drawing up a new one, and my terms are this: I am going to own my experiences. I'm going to pay attention to the reality of my life and the audacity of my dreams instead of the expectation I was raised with. I'm going to make space for the good and the bad of it, even the yucky scary fear-inducing parts, and embrace all the bits and all the questions. I know that’s how I go from being Tracee to being the Brave Tracee.
Here’s some good news: you too can go from being You, to being The Brave You. And you should definitely try it if you haven’t already! Because Brave You is so beautiful! Not beautiful like your hair all did, or your brows all clean. When I think of what is beautiful, I think of a tree; I think of seeing a bird soar. I think of an embodied
woman; I think of my mom in her ‘this is me’ glory stance, arms up,
heart open, hair big, sexual, powerful, and full of agency.
Beings at the height of their own resonance, their own selfness. Fully in bloom. That’s what bravery and beauty looks like. But most of all because The Brave Me reminds me that I am complete just as me. Not in relation to anyone or anything else, just wholly, fully me.
The Brave You gives you the courage to hold your own agency, your own choice, your own desire, your own longings, your own fear, your own grief, your own future. She’s just one aspect of your soul that helps you become your fully embodied and completely integrated real, true self. She’s in you right now, in your journal, in the back of your mind, in your Netflix queue, waiting for your invitation. So let her out, let her have her glory. This beautiful, powerful part of you is
just waiting for your invitation. -glamour
BOSTON (AP) — A college in Boston will name one of its schools after the late Gwen Ifill (EYE’-ful), a co-host of PBS’ “NewsHour” and veteran journalist who moderated two vice presidential debates.
Simmons College announced Tuesday the Gwen Ifill College of Media, Arts and Humanities in honor of Ifill, who graduated from the private college with a communications degree in 1977.
A former reporter for The New York Times and The Washington Post, Ifill switched to television in the 1990s and covered politics and Congress for NBC News. She moved to PBS in 1999 as host of “Washington Week” and also worked for the nightly “NewsHour” program. She and Judy Woodruff were named co-hosts in 2013.
Ifill died of cancer last year at age 61. -blackamericaweb
MORGAN Heritage is scheduled to perform at the New York Stock Exchange's 94th annual tree lighting ceremony on November 30.
The occasion, which opened to the public, is slated to start at 2:30 pm. The reggae band, however, is earmarked to perform at 5:35 pm.
The rock band Hollis Brown, country star Jackie Lee, singers Karen Rodriguez and Jesse Campbell, the Harlem Globetrotters, and the Radio City Rockettes are also billed to perform.
Formed in 1994, sibling group Morgan Heritage comprises children of reggae singer Denroy Morgan.
Known for their solid live performances, the group won Best Reggae Grammy Album for Strictly Roots in 2016. Other nominees were The Cure by Jah Cure, Branches of The Same Tree by Rocky Dawuni, Barrington Levy's Acousticalevy, and Zion Awake by Luciano.
Avrakedabra, the latest Morgan Heritage album, was recorded on four different continents and features Ziggy and Stephen Marley.
Morgan Heritage is known for songs Don't Haffi Dread, Tell Me How Come, and Let's Make Up. -jamaicaobserver
One of these days, y’all will finally learn to leave black women’s hair alone. But today is apparently not that day, and Grazia UK is facing criticism from actress and all-around queen Lupita Nyong’o after, she says, the magazine edited out her hair “to fit their notion of what beautiful hair looks like.”
Nyong’o shared an Instagram collage that showed Grazia’s November cover alongside the original, unedited photos.
“Had I been consulted, I would have explained that I cannot support or condone the omission of what is my native heritage with the intention that they appreciate that there is still a very long way to go to combat the unconscious prejudice against black women’s complexion, hair style and texture. #dtmh,” Nyong’o wrote in the caption, including the hashtag for “don’t touch my hair.”
The final version of the cover completely erases Nyong’o’s Afro puff and smooths out the rest of her hair.
Of course, this is not the first time a magazine has caught the heat for editing out a black celebrity’s hair. Just last month, Evening Standard Magazine was called out by Solange Knowles (the singer of “Don’t Touch My Hair” of all people!) for cutting her crown.
Nationwide — The next generation digital platform, Official Black Wall Street, is making it even easier to find and support Black-owned businesses with the launch of their highly anticipated new app. Making its mark as the first of its kind to alert users when they’re near a Black-owned business, the app combines social impact and tech, allowing users to seamlessly circulate the Black dollar.
Founded in 2015 by millennial entrepreneur, Mandy Bowman, Official Black Wall Street became known as the largest global directory of Black-owned businesses. With the launch of their app, Mandy hopes to give quality Black businesses the exposure and sales they deserve. “I believe it’s due time for us to make a conscious effort to buy Black. We’ve heard the stats that we have a $1.2 trillion dollar buying power yet a dollar only stays in our community for 6 hours whereas in Jewish and Asian communities, their dollar circulates for 20 days and a month, respectively. With our current political state it’s becoming more evident that supporting Black-owned businesses will allow us to vote with our dollars while strengthening the local economy in the Black community,” said Mandy.
Some of the app’s most notable features include the ability to submit Black-owned businesses, search by category, location, open status, and keyword, view all Black-owned businesses around your current location on a map, leave reviews, and more. Black entrepreneurs are also able to message their followers from the app, get premium search placement, and analytics amongst other features designed to maximize exposure and bridge the gap between the consumer and the business.
When asked about the potential impact of the app Mandy exclaimed, “I believe the OBWS app is our first major step to creating a wealthier and stronger Black community. We’ve gotten feedback from so many Black business owners who saw positive effects from listing their business on our web-based platform. We’re excited to see the app take things to the next level.”
You can download the Official Black Wall Street app now on both Android and Apple devices. If you’re a Black entrepreneur, you can also list your business for more exposure.
To download the app, visit http://onelink.to/obwsapp
Follow the app on social media:
Twitter – www.twitter.com/TheBlackWallSt
Facebook – www.facebook.com/officialblackwallstreet/
Official Black Wall Street
This week at VSB, we’re running a series called Albums That Changed My Life in which different writers let you in on the music that helped shape and mold them into the people they are now. Today we hear from Ashlee Haze as she tells us lessons she learned from Missy Elliott’s Supa Dupa Fly.
Urban Dictionary defines “fly” (adj.) as “cool, in style.” Let’s be honest—Missy Elliott could have stopped there. But she knew that there was something more—something “supa dupa” about this masterpiece of an album. Afrofuturism. Feminism. Body positivity. All terms that would elude 8-year-old me until more than a decade after experiencing Missy’s Supa Dupa Fly in all its glory. Even though I didn’t have the formal language for what I was experiencing, I knew how to call it magic.
I was introduced to Supa Dupa Fly via the video for the title track, “The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly).” I sneaked in my room to watch it on MTV’s TRL in the way most pubescent kids watch scrambled porn on channel 99—I didn’t know exactly what I was looking at, but I knew I wanted in on the action. Who was this fat black woman in the trash bag, and how could I get to know more about her? Who had the keys to the Jeep, and why wouldn’t they come forward?
I had questions that needed answers, dammit. And the answers were there, between Timbaland’s drums and Missy’s seamless transitions from singing to emceeing. I just needed to be a student. In hindsight, I realize I probably had no business listening to this at the time. Who knew Da Brat wasn’t talking about swimming when she mentioned the backstroke in “Sock It to Me”? Some days I think I found Missy before I was ready. I also recognize that some of the best things in life you can’t get ready for.
One of the lessons Supa Dupa Fly teaches is the necessity of women’s voices. It would have been easy for Missy to exclude women from her narrative and to write other female emcees off as catty, like many have done before her, and just make hits with Timbaland.
I think Missy knew what so many didn’t—that another chair at the table doesn’t mean everybody can’t eat. Another light in the room doesn’t make yours dimmer. The smoky voice of the late Aaliyah, coupled with Missy’s alto, creates what the kids today would call “a vibe.” Da Brat, Space, Mocha and Lil’ Kim slay the dragon of ladylikeness and are heroes in their own right. So please, tell me again how there isn’t room for women in hip-hop, and I’ll show you a good fiction story.
Fourteen years after the release of Supa Dupa Fly, I found myself stuck in Atlanta traffic listening to the “old-school” hip-hop station, and I was reminded again of its power. I began to craft a poem about my initial encounter with the album, having no idea the poem, like Missy, would ultimately change my life.
I wrote “For Colored Girls Who Don’t Need Katy Perry When Missy Elliott Is Enough” as an ode to an era. I did not imagine that the poem would go viral and quite literally bring Missy to my front door. It’s one of those stories I hear and forget the main character is me. The story of the black girl who wins. Thank you, Missy, for showing me what winning looks like. For making me believe that I, too, am supa dupa. -theroot
Nationwide — Morehouse College graduate, Rex Barnett, has produced one of the largest documentary catalogs in the nation featuring Black achievers. “We have to own our own media companies that produce programs about us,” said Mr. Barnett. “I started History On Video to show the positive side of Black people. For me, this has been a labor of love.”
Mr. Barnett’s publishing company now has 62 documentaries available covering education, entertainment and sports. Legendary educator Benjamin Mays, mentor of Martin Luther King, Jr., is profiled. Nationally televised on Black Entertainment Television, the Mays program stars President Jimmy Carter.
Other programs include Dr. Charles Drew, founder of the Blood Bank; Dr. Daniel Hale Williams, the first to successfully perform surgery on the human heart, and civil rights legend Fannie Lou Hamer. The Charles Drew program has received favorable national reviews from Booklist, School Library Journal and the National Medical Association. The Daniel Hale Williams documentary has earned favorable national reviews in Science Books and Films. Mr. Barnett is writer, producer, and director.
“Knowledge of our history is what we need for pride and to empower ourselves,” said Mr. Barnett.
Among the influential people endorsing Mr. Barnett’s programs are: President Carter, Chuck D, MC Lyte and Hank Aaron. Other profiles feature Mary McLeod Bethune, Paul Robeson, Richard Wright, Ben Carson, The Last Poets, Chuck D and MC Lyte. There are 62 programs in the series.
For more information, go to www.historyonvideo.net
Follow the company on social media:
Facebook – www.facebook.com/BlackAchieversSeries
Twitter – www.twitter.com/rexbarn
Pinterest – www.pinterest.com/weinstein144002
Rex Barnett, President/Sr. Producer
“Haircuts 4 Homeless’” was created by 29-year-old Brennon Jones in January 2017 to help homeless men on the street.
Jones travels around Philadelphia giving haircuts to men according to the NY Daily News. Well, Jones has received a gift of a lifetime.
He now has a space he can call his own to give haircuts out to the homeless.
“My first haircut, his name is Braden. I cut his hair no 15th & Walnut (Streets). A few days later, I went to check up on him and he wasn’t there. I was hoping nothing bad happened to him. When we did catch up weeks later, he got offered a full-time job,” Jones explained to CBS News.
Ever since that haircut, Jones has provided over 1,000 free haircuts to men all over Philadelphia. Inspired by his compassion and help to the community fellow barber Shawn Johnson felt compelled to do something.
Owner of Taper’s Barbershop, Johnson bought a second location in the city as a future spot for extending his own business. He decided to donate that space to Jones so that he can continue doing his good work.
Jones was surprised on a visit to Johnson’s shop when the keys were handed to him. Johnson had asked if he liked the space and then gave him the keys.
“It wasn’t about me giving a barbershop,” Johnson explained. “When you look at the homeless and the things that they need, I looked at it as more. I built something and I want to see it keep going and I want to see it do a great thing.”
Jones will open to the public at the end of the month and will dedicate Monday’s to cutting hair for the homeless.
Jones explained that, “It’s a safe haven for me to touch and bless those lives that often we forget about.” -blackamericaweb
Southfield, MI — Aaron L. Sanders, founder of the Entrepreneur Development Institute (EDI), has developed a unique FREE online system that provides small business owners an instructional and educational platform for business finance pre-qualification and credit optimization.
Inside the system, business owners can view the approval criteria of over 4,000 business lenders and more than 3,000 vendors offering credit terms for their products and services. The system allows business owners to see exactly what underwriting items they need to address before they apply.
EDI has worked with the major business and personal credit companies to offer small business owners education on what they need to do to optimize their business credit scores and the personal credit scores of the business owners. The system lets business owners see what their business and personal credit scores are now for free and without entering a credit card or creating any credit inquiries.
The process for a small business begins by taking the free pre-qualification assessment. Once inside the system, business owners can see the funding programs they pre-qualify for right now and where they may be short on many others. If they elect to submit for a funding program, they are given competitive bids from the lenders for that program from which they can select the lender best suited for their needs. All for free.
The system teaches business owners how to become qualified, fundable, and ultimately bankable. EDI offers a wealth of services to small business owners to help them grow, succeed, and create jobs. Best of all the pre-qualification assessment and the educational system are free by going to www.smallbizinstitute.info
Aaron L. Sanders
It would cost Baltimore $700 million to demolish and replace 4,000 vacant buildings. So, five Baltimore City Councilors are seeking the city's approval to sell the homes for $1, a program that worked well in the 1980s and preserved historic neighborhoods. But will it work today?
Replace or revive?
Baltimore's Project CORE (Creating Opportunities for Renewal and Enterprise) has nearly $100 million to demolish entire rows of buildings and leave lots that are “clean and green.” In addition, the state has promised $600 million in incentives and subsidies from existing programs to spur new development. The total project would cost $700 million. However, Preservation Maryland and Baltimore Heritage disagree. They are pushing to revive a 1980s program to sell the properties for just $1 each.
Selling properties for $1 would allow prospective owners to purchase the building for $1 and commit to living in and repairing it. The proposal would also include a one percent interest rate which would allow new homeowners to pay as little as $300 per month to repay the loan. The program is designed to provide more housing opportunities for low-income families while also preserving historic neighborhoods.
More than 16,000 vacant buildings
The city's plan to demolish 4,000 vacant buildings would replace the buildings with "clean and green" lots. They also point out that the current deteriorating buildings attracts violent crime and should be demolished. In addition, Baltimore's population has declined from nearly 950,000 to 615,000 people in 2016, leaving an increasing amount of vacant buildings that now numbers 16,000.
Read more about Baltimore's plan for redevelopment, reinvestment, and stabilization of the city by visiting http://planning.baltimorecity.gov/project-core -blacknews
If I shall die before they wake, I pray the Lord my shades are safe.