Yesterday, my partner and I planned a day trip. We were thinking about just getting away from it all after a tough week of violence against Black people and the racist mainstream news cycle to accompany it. We looked up some spots that were within an hour driving distance from Chicago, thinking this might be a good opportunity to let the kids experience something new. Then, we remembered that we are Black and we are unsafe everywhere.
Jesse Williams’ speech at the BET Awards was an instant classic. It was a quotable, resonating soliloquy that brought attention to many people who have been obscured in past and present movements for black lives, including women, on-the-ground activists, and young people. However, many on Twitter asserted that people were excited about the speech primarily because Williams is a light-skinned, light-eyed black actor. Some tweets claimed that black men of darker skin tones had spoken on these issues in this manner before, and had not received nearly the attention that Williams had received.
Only one day after the horrible attacks at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Donald Trump wielded a tried and true political strategy in American presidential politics: fear-mongering and xenophobia.
On June 13th, Trump once again called for a ban on Muslim immigration to the United States and suggested that President Obama is not a real American and that he may have been, in some vague and pernicious way, involved in the attacks. The scary part about Donald Trump’s strategy? It works.
Rookie Magazine hosted a Q&A video for Amandla Stenberg about a week ago for their “How We Live” series. We already love Amandla for so many reasons, but this video is awesome, even with the opener, where Stenberg says, “I’m actually getting ready for my senior prom.”
“If it gets to be too much, or if you start feeling like you’re in danger, you call the university and tell them to bring you right back to Chicago.”
I was on the phone with my mother discussing my upcoming study abroad trip to Europe. “I hope they like Black people there”, I joked with a tinge of seriousness. Though I spoke solid French, I deliberately chose to complete my minor in a German-speaking country: Austria. After committing to the program, I caught up with a friend who had recently studied abroad and he shared the rampant racism he both witnessed and experienced in Mexico.
Many people of color face implicit and explicit racism in their daily lives. A byproduct of that reality is something called “colorism.” In short, colorism is the discrimination against people who have darker skin. And Chika Okoro, a Stanford University graduate student, recently gave a TED Talk encouraging corporations to do something about it.
So far, 2016 has been a wonderful year for Black woman seizing their own opportunities. Early this spring, Kelly Rowland announced that she plans on starting a makeup line for dark-skinned women. Shea Moisture is taking a stand against the racism in the beauty industry. Recently, it was announced that Kerry Washington and Viola Davis are launching independent production companies. Take a moment to embrace all this Black girl magic.
Earlier this year, Pierre Jean-Louis, an artist based on the East Coast, posted a photo of a Black woman’s hair that he reimagined as a piece of art that looked like a perfectly coiled galaxy. Since then, Jean-Louise has continued to post artistic renditions of Black women’s hair on Instagram, and every photo is as beautiful as the last.
Although she did not aspire to become a professional ballet dancer, Tuany Nascimento never stopped practicing ballet while in Brazil. Whenever she practiced, groups of young girls always followed her, wanting to learn and emulate her skills as a dancer. Nascimento not only taught these young girls, in 2013 she opened the dance studio, Na Ponta dos Pés, and started teaching young girls ballet.
Seven weeks ago, En Pointe Studio, which is located in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, made their first post on Instagram, and ever since then, they have dedicated every post to celebrating young Black dance talent. A week ago, they released a photo of all their talented dancers. En Pointe Studio is shattering the imposed color lines in the dance world, and it is truly inspiring.