African American women

Who determines if Black Women are Beautiful? | Mommafucious

While catching up on Season 2 of the “Being Mary Jane” television series, I came upon a scene in Episode 9 where Gabrielle Union as Mary Jane Paul hosts a discussion on the Black woman’s image. Is she ugly?

The guest are real life activist and scholars, singer-songwriter, actress, musician, and record producer India Arie; Mark Anthony Neal a Professor of African & African American Studies and the founding director of the Center for Arts, Digital Culture and Entrepreneurship (CADCE) at Duke University; and Michaela Angela Davis, image activist, feminist, and CNN contributor. Professor Neal hosts many Black scholars on his weekly webcast, “Left of Black,” so this was right up his alley.

The question is: Black women. Do you feel Beautiful?WE have to say we are magic,” says Davis. Watch and Learn!!!

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Think Out Loud: The Emerging Black Digital Intelligentsia | The New Republic

Along with [Ta-Nehisi] Coates, a cohort of what I would like to call the “black digital intelligentsia” has emerged. They wrestle with ideas, stake out political territory, and lead, very much in the same way that my generation did, only without needing, or necessarily wanting, a home in the Ivy League—and by making their name online. They include, to name only a few, Jamelle Bouie at Slate, Nikole Hannah-Jones at The New York Times Magazine, Joy Reid at MSNBC, Jamilah Lemieux at Ebony, and the New Republic’s Jamil Smith. Brilliant, eloquent, deeply learned writers and thinkers, they contend with the issues of the day, online, on television, wherever they can. Academics haven’t disappeared, of course. Their influence, however, isn’t exclusively dependent on validation at the university level. Podcasts, blog posts, social media, and television shows are of vital importance for them. Among this number, I would also include Marc Lamont Hill, James Braxton Peterson, Brittney Cooper, Jelani Cobb, and Melissa Harris-Perry

 Despite all the talk of the digital divide—the very real gulf that separates those with access to technology from the black and brown folk who lack it—the black digital intelligentsia has ingeniously used technology to extend and explore thought and fight injustice. Black folk, and particularly well-educated, elite black folk, have taken more quickly and creatively to technology than their white peers, and turned its myriad functions to our social and professional use. “Black Twitter” may be infamous for scorning white women like Rachel Dolezal who think they are black, but it has also pioneered the idea of hashtag activism, such as #SayHerName, which highlighted the invisibility of black women in discussions of police violence in black communities, or #SolidarityIsForWhiteWomen, with its allusion to tensions between black and white feminists, to offer but two examples. 

Source: Think Out Loud: The Emerging Black Digital Intelligentsia | The New Republic

Black Americans Wearing African Clothing Is NOT Cultural Appropriation | Our Legaci

Source: Black Americans Wearing African Clothing Is NOT Cultural Appropriation | Our Legaci

Cultural appropriation is when a dominant culture takes, claims and establishes itself the creator of the cultural heritage and artifacts of a minority and or marginalized culture thereby erasing the history of the marginalized culture.

Cheryl Barnes, Largest Voice the World Forgot | Habari Gani, America!

The first time I heard Cheryl Barnes sing was at a Brooklyn theater where a group of friends and I went to see a 1979 highly advertised film, “Hair.” The music and choreography were amazing. It was filmed in New York, which made it ever so homey while full of energy. The leading cast was young and multicultural.

Cheryl Barnes, Hair

Cheryl Barnes singing with cast, Hair intro Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In

Leading with the cast, Cheryl Barnes ushers in the excitement that is Hair. Later on in the film a Black woman, played by Barnes, child in tow appeared giving context to the character LaFayette “Hud” Johnson, played by Dorsey Wright. She was the nameless fiance and represented all of the women and children left behind as our men took on the world. This representation may have been missed except for the voice that suddenly sparked, “Hooow Can People Be So Heartless…” The theater was torn. We were all captured and wanted more.

In the hunt for what became of Cheryl Barnes, I found that many bought the soundtrack to “Hair” just to get another moment of “Easy To Be Hard.” Over the years as I transferred the album to cassette and later bought a digital version, I often wondered why Barnes with such a strong voice disappeared from the stage considering her great talent.

This short bio was provided by IMDB (http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0055540/board/thread/59895317):

“Cheryl Barnes – Raised in New Jersey, Cheryl has sang with groups such as the Classics Five and Ten Wheel Drive. She was also a back up singer for Genya Raven. Cheryl performed in Leonard Bernstein’s “Mass” and on Broadway in last Sweet Days of Isaac, Godspell and Jesus Christ Superstar. She portrayed Deena, the handmaiden in Doug Henning’s “The Magic Show”.

You can experience the depth and breath of Barnes’s voice in her performance of “Solid Silver Platform Shoes” in “The Magic Show.”

Cheryl Barnes also had a single out, “Save and Spend” in 1977 during the Disco era.

There are various stories traversing the internet as to the history of Barnes, but one holds true. Barnes was also the original Effie in the stage production of  “Dreamgirls” on Broadway previous to Jennifer Holliday.

In 1987, Cheryl Barnes reappeared as a contestant on “Star Search,” hosted by Ed McMahon, winning $100,00 in the Female Competition. Below is a video of Cheryl Barnes from that period.

Cheryl Barnes has many fans researching her past and present location. There are many conspiracy theories lurking about on the internet. This may be part of her charm along with an outstanding voice. We may have more to add to this posting, but we can only hope.

Lyrics to “Easy To Be Hard”

How can people be so heartless?
How can people be so cruel?
Easy to be hard
Easy to be cold
How can people have no feelings?
How can they ignore their friends?
Easy to be proud
Easy to say no
And especially people
Who care about strangers
Who care about evil
And social injustice
Do you only
Care about the bleeding crowd?
How about a needing friend?
I need a friend
How can people be so heartless
You know I’m hung up on you
Easy to give in
Easy to help out
And especially people
Who care about strangers
Who say they care about social injustice
Do you only
Care about the bleeding crowd
How about a needing friend?
I need a friend
How can people have no feelings
How can they ignore their friends
Easy to be hard
Easy to be cold
Easy to be proud
Easy to say no

Self-Care for Black Women: A Photography Exhibit Focuses on What It Looks Like | The Root

More from The RootThe Beautiful Project

The Beautiful Project, a Durham, N.C.-based nonprofit, has launched an online exhibit—“The Self Care Exhibit: A Word and Image Act of Self-Preservation and Political Warfare”—to help us see, through a photographic collective, how that self-preservation Sister Audre was referencing takes shape. The organization has long empowered black girls by making them partners in reframing their images in the media, but this is the first time it is applying its unique artistic activism through photography to an issue specific to adult black women.

The concept emerged during a conversation in 2013 when Jamaica Gilmer, a professional photographer gifted in the art of storytelling with her lens, and fellow co-founders of the Beautiful Project, writer and educator Pamela Thompson and educator and activist Erin Stephens, led a discussion with their group of contributors.

via Self-Care for Black Women: A Photography Exhibit Focuses on What It Looks Like – The Root.

Black Then | The Price Slave Women Paid For The “Birth” Of Modern Gynecology

Dr. James Marion Sims was heralded as the father of gynecology, yet at whose expense?

Since the mid- twentieth century, academia has debated whether Sims was an ingenuous doctor who furthered the progression of medical science for women or a 19th monster who conducted painful unethical experiments on women who couldn’t say “No.”

In 1993 Durrenda Ojanuga, Ph.D. wrote that the problem with Sims’ experiments were that he used the institution of slavery to harbor human guinea pigs to perfect his procedures. Violating all concepts of human rights and medical ethics, the women were property subject to Sims’ trial and error experiments.

via Black Then | The Price Slave Women Paid For The “Birth” Of Modern Gynecology.

8 Black Women of the Civil Rights Era Who Don’t Get the Praise They Deserve – Atlanta Blackstar

8 Black Women of the Civil Rights Era Who Don't Get the Praise They Deserve - Atlanta Blackstar

Mary Seacole (1805 – May 14, 1881)

Mary Seacole was a Jamaican nurse who cared for British soldiers at the battlefront during the Crimean War. She assisted the wounded at the military hospitals and was a familiar figure at the transfer points for casualties from the front. Her remedies for cholera and dysentery were particularly valued.Septima Pointsette Clark (May 3, 1898 - Dec. 15, 1987)

Septima Poinsette Clark (May 3, 1898 – Dec. 15, 1987)

Septima Clark was an American educator and civil rights activist. Clark developed the literacy and citizenship workshops that played an important role in the drive for voting rights and civil rights for African-Americans in the American Civil Rights Movement.

Clark, along with future Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall and others, worked on a 1945 case that sought equal pay for Black and white teachers. She described it as her “first effort in a social action challenging the status quo.” Her salary increased threefold when the case was won.

via 8 Black Women of the Civil Rights Era Who Don’t Get the Praise They Deserve – Atlanta Blackstar.

Study: Black Girls Are Being Pushed Out of School : Code Switch : NPR

Columbia University law professor Kimberle Williams Crenshaw and her associates, Priscilla Ocen and Jyoti Nanda, set out to explain in their study, Black Girls Matter: Pushed Out, Overpoliced and Underprotected.

They examined data from public schools in Boston and New York City, and the results are startling: Girls of color, and especially black girls, are subject to discipline that is harsher and more frequent than that of their white peers, and are six times more likely to be suspended than white girls. The racial disparities in punishment are greater for girls than for boys.

via Study: Black Girls Are Being Pushed Out of School : Code Switch : NPR.

MLK’s Mother Was Assassinated, Too: The Forgotten Women Of Black History Month | Talking Points

Alberta Williams King

Absent from most discussion about Martin Luther King, Jr is his mother’s assassination. As our author, Aurin Squire, gasps at her lack of knowledge, we should realize that what we read is filled with holes waiting to be filled. The main question is, do we wait for others to do our jobs or we going to fill those spaces with our stories.

Historical omission points toward a culture’s subconscious beliefs that some people matter less than others. When female stories are muted, we are teaching our kids that their dignity is second class and the historical accounts of their lives is less relevant. This lowered value carries over when women face sexual objectification and systemic brutalization from inside and outside the community. When we can’t see ourselves in our history, we begin to think that we are disconnected and suffering alone. Historical ignorance always precedes cultural imbalances and individual despair. Too many lives are still lived in the blank space, too many march for racial equality while subjugating their gender and even sexual orientation.

via MLK’s Mother Was Assassinated, Too: The Forgotten Women Of Black History Month.

Surprising Facts About Black Women | MadameNoire

Madame Noire

Madame Noire lists 15 fast facts about the African American woman that may astound you. Among this list are characteristics, strengths, and accomplishments seldom noted in the current conversations African American women have with each other. Drink up, Ladies!

Think you know all there is to know about the African-American experience? These surprising facts about black women just might surprise you.

via Surprising Facts About Black Women | MadameNoire.