I’m calling September 2015 the month of the black woman. Incredible things have happened. Not just in terms of what black women have accomplished – that has been happening for many years – but in terms of ACKNOWLEDGEMENT by the media. This is a hot topic that has been talked about in The Huffington Post, The New York Times and others news/media outlets. I’m summarizing a few of the awesome news stories / articles you can read up on at your leisure, complete with pictures, videos and tweets from social media.
The Emmy’s: How to Get Away with Murder’s Viola Davis became the the first African-American to win the Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama. Viola is amazing and her speech was perfect – she came out rocking her natural hair and did not shy away from the significance of the moment, quoting Harriet Tubman. Also, Orange is the New Black’s Uzo Aduba won Best Supporting Actress Drama category and American Crime‘s Regina King as Supporting Actress in a Limited Series Or Movie — a record for diversity in the top categories. (Deadspin).
TV and Advertising: Shonda Rimes had an amazing spotlight in Essence magazine, called ShondaLand, featuring her hit shows on ABC: Grey’s Anatomy, How to Get Away with Murder and Scandal. You should definitely buy this issue – all the covers are fabulous. It was also just announced that the hit show Empire on Fox, produce by Lee Daniels, starring Emmy nominee Taraji P. Henson, is getting Getting Half a Million Dollars for 30 Seconds of Ad Time – that’s as much as it costs in some top-tier NFL programming. #score
Movies. The Perfect Guy, starring Sanaa Lathan, won the box office its opening weekend with a gross of nearly $26 million.
Magazine Covers: We’re talking majors here. Vogue (Beyonce), New York (Serena Williams), Self (Kerry Washington), Essence (Misty Copeland), i-D (Willow), Dazed (Amandla Stenberg), Shape (Ciara), Variety (Queen Latifah) – all in the month of September. This is definitely first. Buy one or all of them. Check out Black Enterprise for more great shots. When black women are on the cover of major magazines, we should support it with our dollars by purchasing a copy of the magazine.
Music: Last night during The Emmy’s, Apple released a new ad featuring Mary J. Blige, Kerry Washington and Taraji P. Henson promoting Apple Music. You can watch it here. Beyonce also headlined Jay Z’s Made In America fest in Philadelphia and brought the house down! #wishiwasthere You can watch her full performance here.
Sports: Serena Williams is #1 tennis player in the world. She is also the first person since Stephie Graff (1988) to play for a chance to complete a Calendar year Grand Slam. She also launched a new campaign with Chase. (This is a happy post so I won’t talk about her pay discrepancy or endorsement deals, you can read more about that in The Atlantic).
Politics. Loretta Lynch was recently photographed for Vogue Magazine and recently spoke to the Congressional Black Caucus (transcript here). She has an even more magnificent spread in the October issue of Essence. President Obama also paid homage to Amelia Boynton Robinson who died last month at age 104 and other female civil rights leaders. “Even if they weren’t allowed to run the civil rights organizations on paper, behind the scenes they were the thinkers and the doers making things happen each and every day, doing the work that no one else wanted to do.” At this conference Essence and BWR also release the results from its survey, “The Power of the Sister Vote.” The results are not alarming. #wevote Read the results here.
Fashion and Beauty.Janelle Monae is the Face of COVERGIRL’s Star Wars Collaboration and Samira Wiley will hit the runway for Christian Siriano.
The very essence of this post alone shows that the country is showing the positive faces of many Black Americans in an array of fields.The many faces of Black American Women. And I’m almost sure I missed something we should feel good about. These features should make us all proud, they certainly make me smile. And while our individual efforts may not be showcased to the general public, the question I have for you is, “What are you doing to continue to display and embody these positive messages and themes?” #BeTheChange #readAnything
“The only thing that separates women of color from anyone is opportunity,” Viola Davis
Chime for Change, founded by Gucci, is asking women everywhere to speak up for change all over the world. The kind of change that benefits girls and women everywhere. “Education. Health. Justice. For every girl. Every woman. Everywhere. Because none of us can move forward if half of us are held back.” Pick a cause and donate to hundreds of projects.
I ran across this initiative soon after I read, “6 simple ways to save the world” in the November issue of Marie Claire via NextIssue on my iPad mine. Seeing some of the solutions people are coming up with to address women’s issues globally is eye-opening. Here are a few relevant highlights:
Did you know that (opening your heart and mind to) love was the key to success, the key to happiness? How about that Kanye West had a pig part in developing John Legend‘s career when everyone else said no? These are revelations made in John’s address to the Class of 2014 at The University of Pennsylvania. You can read his entire speech here but I want to highlight a few words that stood out to me:
ON SUCCESS: The key to success, the key to happiness, is opening your mind and your heart to love. Spending your time doing things you love and with people you love.
ON CHARACTER: They [his parents] taught us about character, about what it meant to live a good life.
ON BEING BETTER: I put a lot of energy into becoming a better artist, a better writer and a better performer. Keyword BETTER.
ON QUALITY RELATIONSHIPS: But years from now, when you look back on your time here on earth, your life and your happiness will be way more defined by the quality of your relationships, not the quantity. You’ll get much more joy out of depth, not breadth.
ON MARRIAGE: I’ve found someone who makes me want to try, someone who makes me want to take that risk. And it’s made all the difference.
ON FEAR: Hate comes from one thing: fear. And fear is the opposite of love.
ON JUSTICE:If you’re committed to loving in public, it requires you opening your eyes to injustice, to see the world through the eyes of another.
And in closing
“I want you to live the best life you can. You can be world-changers. When you leave here today, you’re going to be looking for a lot of things: security, money, friendships, sex, all kinds of things. But the most important thing you’ll find is love.
So love your self, love your work, love the people around you. Dare to love those who are different from you, no matter where they’re from, what they look like, and who they love. Pursue this life of love with focus and passion and ambition and courage. Give it your all. And that will be your path to true success.”