March 26, 2015

Wednesday's Woman to Woman Salute:
The Next Generation of Women

The news over the past year has been pretty terrible. Any pessimist could easily point to the CNN news cycle as a reason to finish stockpiling their fall-out shelter with canned goods and guns, but I digress. The point is that in spite of the near apocalyptic state of things, there have been some amazing women who have and are continuing to blaze the trail. What you are about to read in awesome number and bullet-list fashion is brief Star-Trekian analysis of women's history. Speaking of, let's start with space:

1) Going Where No Man Has Gone...
  • Then: It takes a lot to be an astronaut. The tests are rigorous, and if you are even somewhat of a basket case they won't let you fly. I love this sentence from Wikipedia: "Mae Carol Jemison is an American physician and NASA astronaut." She also just happened to be Black and a woman. Oh, and she's also been on "Star Trek: The Next Generation." 
  • Now: Empowering girls to believe they can do the impossible is exactly what the world needs. Fortunately, Kimberly Bryant has been doing exactly that with her organization Black Girls Code. Teaching young women that they have a place in science and technology has taken the form of workshops, camps, and conferences across the nation. Love.
    Founder of Black Girls Code, Kimberly Bryant
*Must mention: Nichelle Nichols is most well known for her role as officer Lieutenant Uhura aboard the USS Enterprise on the original Star Trek TV series that aired in 1966. She is still rocking out and looking fabulous at 82. Trekkie Salute.

2) Building It Up in Business...
  • Then: Of course I'm going to talk about entrepreneurs. The local businessperson is Part 6, Section 8 of what it means to be an American. No, there is no real manual on how to be an American, but Maggie L. Walker certainly deserves her chapter in the history books. Chartering the St. Luke Penny Savings Bank in Richmond, VA in 1902 made her the first female bank president in America.
  • Now: Mellody Hobson is not just the Mrs. to George Lucas. How do you think you snag a billionaire fantasy world maker in the first place? The woman has smarts- like finance and investing smarts. Hobson plays with the big boys and also speaks out against structural racism. Yeah, I'm a fan. Get Money Salute!
*Must Mention: Tyra Banks. Yes, a model who built an empire. Say what you want, but you low-key were working on your "Smies."

3) In Writers' Pages We Trust...
  • Then: There is this weird thing about women writing, we're awesome at it and men hate it. Every woman who has ever tried to write about her life, the lives of her friends, or even a scholarly stroke of genius have had to defend it like a small child. Zora Neal Hurston being among one of the most amazing writers of the 20th century died with little recognition for her work. However, her resurgence in the 70s was no accident. The lady was everything. 
  • Now: Michelle Alexander is the author of the award-winning book, The New Jim Crow and has shaken up bookshelves everywhere. 
*Must Mention: Maya Angelou, duh.

4) Don't Stop the Music...
  • Then: Lena Horne was a talented singer, dancer, and actress who hung out with Harry Belefonte. I mean, just go watch this because these sentences will quickly become babble.
  • Now: While it is easy to go by record sales and Twitter followers as setting the bar for "Most Influential" people, I can't. When you can be successful without compromising your values, it's remarkable. Even Cover Girl couldn't deny it. Yes, I'm talking about Janelle Monáe, and she is about the only artist right now I would empty my bank account to go see. Electric Lady Salute!
*Must Mention: Donna Summer had such a beautiful spirit. I didn't know her, but "Last Dance" got me home when I was getting off work from Sonic's at 11 or 12 at night. I can honestly say, I didn't fall asleep and die because that song gave me life.

5) We Shall Overcome... 
Florynce Kennedy
Photo Credit: Richard Avedon
  • Then: Florynce Kennedy is an unsung hero. She does not appear in many history books, but not only did the woman have style, she could lead. Kennedy graduated from Columbia law school in 1951 and went on to found the Feminist Party, which nominated Shirley Chishlom for President.
  • Now: Aja Brown is currently the mayor of Compton, CA. She is the youngest mayor to ever serve the city, but has already made big changes. Political Maverick Salute!
*Must mention: First Lady of New York City Chirlane McCray. I want to be her. That is all.

There you go. I highlighted some women that I love and have loved learning about over the years, but this is no where close to being THE LIST. I could make a list post every day for three years and it wouldn't come close. Just venturing outside the U.S. would have me up for a lifetime. Eva Perón anyone? So go check out this list, and this one, and this one too just in case you thought
your va-jay-jay made you weak.

March 4, 2015

Wednesday's Woman to Woman Salute:
Who Is Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie?

This is the book that had me caught up.

The title of this post should really be, "The Baddest Chick: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie." Adichie has inspired me over the past year and got me all in my feelings with her words. As I slowly finished her collection of short stories in Trinidad last April, I had to pour some out for the homies who read on a second grade level.

Brought into American mainstream consciousness by Beyoncé, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is not an underground rapper or R&B artist. She is a 38-year-old literary juggernaut from Nigeria. Listed as one of the Leading Women in 2014 by CNN, Adichie has won numerous awards and received generous accolades for her three published novels: Purple Hibiscus (2003), Half of a Yellow Sun (2006), and Americanah (2013). Half of a Yellow Sun was adopted to film and released in 2013. Lupita Nyong'o is slated to star in the film version of Americanah.

In addition to creating the most beautiful sentences I have ever seen, her voice makes me want to achieve all the things in life. Confident, proud, and melodic- I have listened to her complete TEDTalk, "We should all be feminists," at least twice. While it is cool to hear part of it over Beyoncé's scales, you really have to check the entire speech. Most importantly, Adichie describes her battles with the negative baggage of the term "feminist" through relatable stories, and the deceptive dangers of masculinity. (However, do not read the comments of this video if you plan to have a nice day.)

My favorite part about her success, is how proudly and beautifully she represents Nigeria (and by extension, Western Africa). Her wax print tops are gorgeous and her braided hair sits atop her head like a crown.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Photo Credit: FevaTV.com


Yeah, I'd bow down to Ms. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, but as two motivated feminists in a room, we'd probably salute. 

February 22, 2015

4 Top Feminists Posts This Week
from non-Feminist Blogs

Rarely do I venture into blog curation-land. Mainly because there are other sites that do it better. I tell stories, and believe in staying in my lane. However, I came across a few posts this week that blew my mind. This is also something that rarely happens because I'm can be a critical little bee. Anywho! Take this top 4, cherish it, share it, look cooler to your friends, etc.

1) Black, queer, feminist, erased from history: Meet the most important legal scholar you’ve likely never heard of. By:

Now, Salon actually bothers me. As in, I boycotted them after the "Inner N*gger" article about President Obama. No, I will not link. It was trash. I also do not always agree with Professor Cooper. This article, however, was a beautifully simple re-telling of history- history that I would never had known otherwise. As the piece is hardly controversial, I also doubt it received the clicks it deserved, so go do that.

2) Fifty Shades of Gilded Cages. By: Arthur Chu

This is one of the best "50 Shades" critiques I have ever read. No, I have not read the book. I saw two pages of the physical book and refused to subject myself to torture. Is literary BDSM a thing? Anywho, Mr. Chu broke down real appeal of this Christian Grey guy and it seemed pretty spot on. Not only that, but he wove his analysis into the gendered consumer nonsense that gets hurled at us daily. I love when an author can link pop culture to broader issues, kind of like this blogger I know... ;)  

3) Mo'Nique: I Was "Blackballed" After Winning My Oscar. By: Seth Abramovitch

I am listing this article because it makes sense. Of course there are always two sides to every story, so whether or not she deserves to be pushed out of roles and is actually "difficult" depends on who you talk to. The deliberate course of action however- taking her name off the table for roles- is very real. I haven't seen her in ANYTHING lately. I mean, not even in a BET commercial, and this is after her being EVERYWHERE for nearly a decade. The specifics may be murky, but there is no doubt that gender/race/size play a part in this. It is a reminder that it is never good enough to "get skin in the game," but that you have to always be ready for the unwritten and ever-changing rules.

4) 5 Mistakes We Make in Relationships By: Superwoman

OK, I'm cheating a little bit with this one, but I was on her channel for 50 minutes yesterday, so this mention is happening. I've also come to the conclusion that we should be friends/Bhangra dance partners, or maybe I'll just stalk her on-line like a normal person. Either way, I really like what she has to say, and I dig the way she says it. (And Yes, I'm Columbusing because she's been doing her thing for about two years.)

There you have it. These were just a few things that stood out to me this week. For regular feminist news, definitely check out Feministing.com. For more Diamondback musings sound off on Twitter!