Why the Black Community Needs to Uplift Our Black Trans Sisters and Nonbinary Members

My latest story for People’s World garner some great praise from the Human Rights Campaign. You can read the article here. Black Transgender Community Carries Extra Heavy Burden

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Art by Micah Bazant. You can purchase this print and others at https://www.micahbazant.com/

I am writing this as another trans woman was murdered, the 8th this year. So many people are giving lip service to the cause, saying it must stop. No one is offering solutions. Write my Congressmen? Sure, we all can do that, but what’s next. How can we activate in our own communities to help our sisters who are more endangered than black women?

I don’t have answers–yet. My next article on the topic will be a resource guide for those who want to and for our trans sisters who need it. If you know of a cause, post it in the comments or send it to me. Pastor McBride said that we all need to do our part. First, we need to know what that is.

Jo

Please Renew Our Boys “Hap and Leonard”: A Letter To AMC Sundance

You’ve heard the new by now that the AMC and Sundance execs are on the fence about giving their hit show “Hap and Leonard” a fourth season. This after season 3 was their most engaging in social media and their most critically acclaimed. For some reason, they are completely convinced on giving the show another go.

That’s where you come in.

Below is a letter you can copy and paste into your email to send to feedback@sundance.tv . Put “Renew Hap and Leonard” in the subject line or something to that effect.

Feel free to adjust the following text as you wish:

Dear Sundance,

“Hap and Leonard: The Two-Bear Mambo” was the best season that the show has ever had. The story of the guys going to racist Grovetown to find Florida was just the setup for a complex and engaging mystery. The ending is something the fans will be talking about this one for years. 

The one thing that you all have to know is how socially relevant the show was this year. The Grovetown racism, a missing black woman, and the struggle to understand how such evil works forced so many conversations from viewers. These were conversations that this country needed right now. “Hap and Leonard” was like therapy.

For those reasons and many more, I am asking you to renew the show for a fourth season. You can’t just stop the show after the best and most socially relevant season its ever had. Seasons 1 and 2 were the guys finding their stride. In “Two-Bear Mambo,” everything finally came together. So, give us a fourth season of the guys, and we can once again at their best.

A Hap and Leonard Fan Always,

[Your Name]

Adjust the text as you wish. We, the Hap and Leonard fandom, just ask that you send something to the execs today. Maybe send it again before the week is up.

Also, continue to like, share, retweet, etc.

Catch me on Twitter as @SurviTeensNtots

My Sorors

 

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Hours after the press conference, Bernice King gave a rousing speech on her father’s lost sermon and his legacy.

I was at my first press conference recently, at the MLK 50 and I Am 2018 conferences. I got to see how journalists like me can turn a room into a den of screaming, flashbulb madness the starts the moment the publicist give the proverbial “Go” signal. It was intoxicating. What stuck with me though is not the way the veteran journos framed their questions or clung to a topic until it was satisfied. I was moved by unspoken code, a connection, that black women share. A code which crosses the lines of celebrity and is more important than the next scoop. I am talking about the words, “Sista, are you okay?”

 

There were about four black women, including myself and my People’s World colleague (we were on assignment for the mag) in the journalist pool of 10-15 people. The public figures under our scrutiny were Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s children–Bernice and Martin III. He was first and things went smoothly. Once he and his family were hustled out the door, Bernice came with her much smaller entourage. She was visibly weary and sat down for the interviews instead of standing. Flashbulbs started and were quickly stopped by someone on her team. They visibly upset the woman who spoke so softly that the throng had to lean forward as a body to hear her every word.

One of the black women amongst us saw what we all had. Bernice King was not well.  It was probably because we were drilling her on the anniversary of the day her father was murdered. The crowd shouted out the first two questions and she answered. Then we all heard, “Sista, are you okay?” The words activated something in the black women in the room. I felt it and saw the others. Some leaned in closer as if to pounce if she answered in the negative. Others studied the woman to see if there was any sign of damage from press’s verbal attack so far. I don’t know what we all would have done if she would have said, “No, I am not okay,” but I think it would have been something that lifted us journos out of our positions and to her aide.

You see, every time I heard those words, it seemed to flip a switch inside of black women. We go from perfect strangers to members of an ancient sorority, ready to help our sisters in need, however, she needs it. I remember hearing my mom ask my aunt this question as she cried over a man she had run away from. I also remember my mom and her friends sitting alert, some leaning in to hear closely, but all ready to act if needed. I’ve experienced it in a grocery store with my young children in tow. I frantically combed my body and bags for my debit card only to hear those words. Followed up with, “I got you, sis,” when my answer was a near crying, “no”.

In that press room, however, I kinda knew the great Bernice King would not answer in the negative. She did flash a smile and answered the next questions with a more vibrant voice than before. The men and white women in the room were stunned for a moment, thinking that this black woman who called herself a journalist broke protocol. She didn’t. That woman just knew that we black women are a part of the largest and oldest sorority ever organized and we had a soror in need.

She made the call, protocol be damned.

Here is one of the articles that I wrote from the interviews and coverage of the conferences.

peoplesworld.org/article/an-interview-with-the-striking-memphis-sanitation-workers-of-1968/

Do Not Pass Me By

What a time to be a Black creator!!

I saw 5 calls for Black and POC (people of color) work today on Twitter. (I’ll link them at the end) That’s more than the usual 0-1. And 3 were for film/television creatives. How about that? I feel like those of us who have been collecting rejections for years can now dust off those old projects, do a tweak or two, and submit. First though, you will need a bad ass pitch. I am working on my Scribd to help you with that. Stay tuned.

But seriously, many of us have those half done, unedited, or perfectly ready to go projects just waiting for a reason, a sign. Well, here it is honey.

We are in the midst of a drought in the area of content for all media. Nobody wants another revamp or staid reboot. They want something new. A new perspective, a new point of view. They are thirsting for something fresh–some color. Wakanda got them wet, but it ain’t enough. The thirst for new content is real, and we got just what they need, baby!

So, pull out that White flight to Mars sci-fi script, that expose on modern-day segregation in education, that new media campaign based on Sunken Place gifs. Y’all know what I mean. It’s our time Black creatives. This is what we have been waiting for, praying for. Here is your reason, your season, and your sign.

Do. Not. Pass. It. By.

Read more about how Black Panther is a signal of a Black Arts Movement in my article for Real Clear Life here:

http://www.realclearlife.com/movies/black-panther-always-tied-black-history-month/

My 2018

I will not be in the classroom this semester so it’s time to boost my writing for this year. What does that mean? Well, pitching more stories and developing more stories to pitch. I have writing projects that I would love to finish for publication and subjects I would love to delve into for future work. This also means more random postings here. Get ready folks. I also have some cool journalist work (like real Lois Lane ish) for Black Girl Nerds coming down the pipeline. Stay tuned!

The Importance of Hair and More

Here is a rundown of the latest articles I have published on the web.

The Importance of Hair

“Aw! Somebody’s black hair came in!” My oldest daughter, Vivi age 20, was talking to the youngest, Ivy who is just a year old, as she sat in my lap, my fingers tangled into her brown curls.

“I am just trying to get her used to sitting,” I answered, as I scooped the toddler up in her attempted escape from my lap. I repositioned the small, disappointed body and continued manipulating her wild natural curl into a neat braid. Vivi handed her the toy she dropped and sat down close by to try and comfort her sister…..

How to Protect Black Girls in America: The Experts Weigh In

Over the summer, researchers at the Georgetown Center on Poverty and Inequality published a study that offered proof of a phenomenon in American black communities that has existed since slavery: By being perceived as more mature, black girls fall victim to what researchers are calling a “perception trap,” and are treated negatively as a result…..

#MeToo, Weinstein, and Real Stories

See my latest post on Medium. Here’s a preview:

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Harvey Weinstein is outed. Women all over the world are revealing their abuse at his hands. Too soon after that, the criticism starts — not of the predator, but of his prey.

“Why didn’t she speak up?”

“Why did she go to to the hotel.”

“She must have wanted it.”

Someone eventually utters that age-old excuse for misogyny, “they asked for it.”

Today, however, those words are the catalyst for a social media movement where #MeToo was born. The stories are from everyone and everywhere, and the black community is not exempt.

Read more at Medium.

Fresh off the Presses!

Here are some new work published in recent weeks. I am posting from newest to oldest. The first was freshly published today!

This Mama is Tapping Out: The NRA, Gun Lobby, or President Trump Can Explain This Mass Shooting My Kids

From Medium.

WHAT MY KID’S (VERY SHORT) FOOTBALL CAREER CAN TEACH PRESIDENT TRUMP ABOUT “RESPECT”

From Wear You Voice Magazine

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When my son was five, we signed him up to play America’s game. No not baseball—football! It was the Pop Warner League, which worked to teach young boys the basic football skills. I remember spending August through October at the side of the field with other parents (because the coach had threatened us at orientation with “the boot” if we wandered onto his field during practice and games) as we watched the tiny guys clad in tanks, tees, and cleats running around the field like little bobbleheads in their helmets. The coach, whose kid was also on the team, told us that he only had a few goals for the boys that year:

  •    To learn respect for adults
  •    To learn to work as a team
  •    To learn the basics of football
  •    To form a straight, unmoving line on the field…

THE BEAUTY OF BLACKNESS AND REPRESENTATION IN ‘THE POWERPUFF GIRLS’

On Wear Youn Voice Magazine

There used to be only one way to get my three girls, ages 2, 4, and 6 to settle down long enough to give me a break. I would pop in a DVD of The Powerpuff Girls cartoons or turn to a marathon on Cartoon Network. The girls would watch the show, mesmerized by the colors, the story, and the action for at least a half hour.

They each had a designated Powerpuff Girl. The oldest was Blossom, the four-year-old was Buttercup, and the youngest was always Bubbles. They would keep these parts for years, and act out their own fights for the safety of Townsville in my living room. Many a lamp and three couches were sacrificed to the cause….

 

 

View story at Medium.com

View story at Medium.com

I Will Not Let Your Affirmative Action Ignorance Belittle My Daughter’s Acheivement

My latest for Washington Post. Let me know what you think.

“Let me set the record straight … ” is how I began a Facebook post on the day after President Trump announced that he would investigate colleges for discrimination against white applicants. Using the term “white rights,” the announcement was a thinly veiled promise to go after Affirmative Action. That policy, which stems from the Civil Rights Act of 1964, is a remedy to discrimination by increasing the underrepresented classes on a campus.

This administration’s statement on discrimination against white applicants is yet another illustration of the myth of affirmative action: that white applicants are rejected and their spots are given to less qualified women and people of color. The move was also another presidential green light for racists to once again start attacking black culture.

For the  rest, visit On Parenting at the Washington Post

 

 

 

GOT on BGN!!!

I am reflecting on GOT on BGN. Follow me.

I am declaring Samwell Tarly the winner of the first episode of Season 7 of Game of Thrones.

Why? I know he didn’t win a kingdom. He wasn’t even fresh from battle. GOT’s most famous nerd, however, did succeed in his mission, which was the most important of anything any of the characters did in that first episode.

Samwell Tarly spent most of “Dragonstone” cleaning chamber pots and trying not to gag. He was there for the long game, a mission his best [jock friend] Jon sent him on long before the former Keeper of the Watch became the King of the North. As Arya continues her kill list, Cersei contemplates her next move, and Dany begins her surprise attack on Westeros, Sam has the real fight in mind and is biding his time until he can make his own contribution.

See more at:

https://blackgirlnerds.com/nerds-won-game-thrones-week/