What’s Next?

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I have not written a post since the election because it took me some time to process everything. I wanted to make sure that I truly understood what was occurring. I wanted to wait and see if Trump was going to try to unite our country, or would we the fruits of his divisiveness throughout his presidency. Always the optimist, I gave him a chance, and I said maybe things would be better.

Throughout the past 10 days, however, I have seen Trump pick people in his administration that all seem to share one scary perspective of hate in their past. He says that he wants unity, but you question the sincerity of his acceptance speech when you look at his picks. Steve Bannon has been openly connected to white supremacists and anti-Semites. Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn has been open about his anti-Muslim beliefs, and said on Twitter that the “fear of Muslims is rational.” And lest we forget good ol’ Alabama Sen. Jefferson Beauregard Sessions. His view of African-Americans sends chills through my spine because he represents that stereotypical old, white racist man from the deep South. You know the ones that many thought were dead and gone by now, but are now loud and proud again since Trump was elected. Thirty years ago, the Senate Judiciary Committee denied Jeff Sessions a federal judgeship due to his racist remarks. He has called the NAACP and the ACLU “un-American” and “Communist-like.” In addition, it was alleged that he called a black US attorney that worked for him “boy” on numerous occasions.

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I am scared. I believe that the civil rights of many will now be considered irrelevant. We must fight harder for every right that we have and each one that we know we still deserve. Yes, we can continue to still protest peacefully. But then what…what’s next? We must unite and mobilize. Each group may be considered a minority separately, but together we are the powerful majority. This goes beyond black, brown, or yellow; Christian, Jewish, or Muslim; straight, bi, or gay; male, female, or non-gender specific. This is the right to live with freedom and equality.

So, tell me, what do you plan to do protect your civil rights?

The Success of Malcolm: The Death of a Dream

This was an interesting post about the recent events, racial movements such as Black Lives Matter, and equality. I would love to hear your thoughts.

I’ve been having a hard time with the recent Dallas shooting of 12 police officers, almost entirely because the progressive people who I have on my Facebook friends list, who make a point of acknowledging that the terrorists attacks in Turkey or Sudan are just as worthy of sympathy as the ones in France or Belgium, are noticeably silent about it. My guess is because they interpret Martin Luther King’s quote, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere” as applicable only to the dominant group. Of course, there are far more victims of police shootings than officers being shot, but when violence is carried out in the name of a progressive movement, and to be clear that is exactly what happened, then a good, hard look is required.

Read the entire article at The Success of Malcolm: The Death of a Dream

Jesse Williams: 2016 BET Humanitarian Award Speech

“Peace peace. Thank you, Debra. Thank you, BET. Thank you Nate Parker, Harry and Debbie Allen for participating in that (video).

Before we get into it, I just want to say I brought my parents out tonight. I just want to thank them for being here, for teaching me to focus on comprehension over career, and that they make sure I learn what the schools were afraid to teach us. And also thank my amazing wife for changing my life.

Now, this award—this is not for me. This is for the real organizers all over the country—the activists, the civil rights attorneys, the struggling parents, the families, the teachers, the students that are realizing that a system built to divide and impoverish and destroy us cannot stand if we do.

It’s kind of basic mathematics—the more we learn about who we are and how we got here, the more we will mobilize.

Now, this is also in particular for the black women in particular who have spent their lifetimes dedicated to nurturing everyone before themselves. We can and will do better for you.

Now, what we’ve been doing is looking at the data and we know that police somehow manage to de-escalate, disarm and not kill white people every day. So what’s going to happen is we are going to have equal rights and justice in our own country or we will restructure their function and ours.

Now…I got more y’all—yesterday would have been young Tamir Rice’s 14th birthday so I don’t want to hear any more about how far we’ve come when paid public servants can pull a drive-by on 12-year-old playing alone in the park in broad daylight, killing him on television and then going home to make a sandwich. Tell Rekia Boyd how it’s so much better than it is to live in 2012 than it is to live in 1612 or 1712. Tell that to Eric Garner. Tell that to Sandra Bland. Tell that to Dorian Hunt.

Now the thing is, though, all of us in here getting money—that alone isn’t gonna stop this. Alright, now dedicating our lives, dedicating our lives to getting money just to give it right back for someone’s brand on our body when we spent centuries praying with brands on our bodies, and now we pray to get paid for brands on our bodies.

There has been no war that we have not fought and died on the front lines of. There has been no job we haven’t done. There is no tax they haven’t levied against us—and we’ve paid all of them. But freedom is somehow always conditional here. “You’re free,” they keep telling us. But she would have been alive if she hadn’t acted so…free.

Now, freedom is always coming in the hereafter, but you know what, though, the hereafter is a hustle. We want it now.

And let’s get a couple things straight, just a little side note—the burden of the brutalized is not to comfort the bystander. That’s not our job, alright—stop with all that. If you have a critique for the resistance, for our resistance, then you better have an established record of critique of our oppression. If you have no interest, if you have no interest in equal rights for black people then do not make suggestions to those who do. Sit down.

We’ve been floating this country on credit for centuries, yo, and we’re done watching and waiting while this invention called whiteness uses and abuses us, burying black people out of sight and out of mind while extracting our culture, our dollars, our entertainment like oil—black gold, ghettoizing and demeaning our creations then stealing them, gentrifying our genius and then trying us on like costumes before discarding our bodies like rinds of strange fruit. The thing is though…the thing is that just because we’re magic doesn’t mean we’re not real.

Thank you.”

Jesse Williams, 2016 BET Humanitarian Award Speech

The Thugs of North Beach Avenue #ChangeTheNarrative

“The truth can never be known. It can only be told in a story.”—Alex Haley, Roots

Earlier today, I saw this video of the beach brawl that occurred at North Avenue Beach in Chicago during Memorial Weekend. For the first time in media reporting, I was not surprised by what I saw. There was no mention of these hoodlums being called thugs. That’s what they are. The police did not arrest any of these gangbangers for this uprising. That’s what it was. These delinquents left the place a mess with trash littered all over the place like it was a riot. Yet, the media just said that these lovely ‘beachgoers” were only involved in a brawl or melee.

It’s time to change the narrative. If we are supposed to be all-inclusive and say that #AllLivesMatter, then we need to be all-inclusive in our offensive reporting. Let’s discuss how these thugs had a terroristic uprising. Isn’t that what you said my people did in Ferguson and Baltimore? We were protesting the unlawful death of two young Black men. What were these thugs protesting at North Avenue Beach? Too much sunshine…not enough beer? Talk about privilege.

Why aren’t we talking about their families? It’s obvious that roughnecks like the people in this video must come from broken homes. I know that people from good homes just don’t act like this. Their mothers must be drunks, hos, and prostitutes. They have to have at least five or six kids. Let’s not even start on their fathers. You know their fathers were in and out of their lives, and they were either in jail or slinging drugs on the corner. You know how those white men are (wink wink). They are all the same. Convicts and brutes. I can’t wait to hear about their criminal records. Only people from broken homes act like this.

I am no longer waiting on mainstream media to change the narrative. Our truth will only be known when we tell our own stories. Let’s continue to tell our truth, our way, without the offensive descriptions. In the meantime, let’s rewrite their stories by using the offensive language that they naturally use on us. So the next time they decide to burn a city during a pumpkin smashing or flip cars after a football game, repost the uprising with your narrative. #ChangeTheNarrative

Viola Davis & Kerry Washington Launch Independent Production Companies, Partner with ABC

When the opportunities aren’t there, you have to go and create your own. I am so proud that Viola Davis and Kerry Washington are creating their own spaces and places. Davis and Washington are breaking through the glass ceilings within the entertainment industry, which will benefit generations for decades to come. Keep marching to your own beat and create your own opportunities. 

Reposted from Not Just a Girl In a Dress:

The only thing that separates women of color from anyone else is opportunity. You cannot win an Emmy for roles that are simply not there.” – Voila Davis

It looks like Viola Davis isn’t waiting for her chance to help the next generation of actresses. The “How To Get Away with Murder” star recently entered her production company – JuVee Productions – into a deal with ABC Studios to create projects for digital, streaming, broadcast and cable content.

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The company which Davis launched with her husband Julius Tennon is headed by Andrew Wang. Wang is the former vice president of scripted television development and production at Bravo and responsible for the network’s first scripted series, comedy “Odd Mom Out,” and the drama “Girlfriends Guide to Divorce”.

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Davis shared with Variety, “We started JuVee because we wanted to see narratives that reflected our multi-ethnic and multi-faceted culture. We wanted to be a part of classic storytelling, and we didn’t want to wait.”

2016-05-02_8-33-09The Emmy Award winner isn’t the only one making power moves to behind the camera. “Scandal” star Kerry Washington also announced her newly launched production company Simpson Street has also inked a deal to create projects for ABC Studios and ABC Signature.

2016-05-02_8-29-15Named for the street where her mom grew up in the Bronx, the company has already seen strong success from its first project – the Anita Hill/Clarence Thomas HBO movie Confirmation.

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Washington told Deadline, “I believe strongly in the importance of having a seat at the table, which makes starting this production company thrilling for me. It’s an honor to be at a point in my career when I can help generate projects that that are exciting, necessary and truly reflect the world around us.”

Based in LA the company “aims to become the go-to creative hub where the next generation of filmmakers and artists have the space to craft dynamic stories spanning the broad spectrum of humanity.”

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The fact that both Viola Davis & Kerry Washington launched independent production companies and partnered with ABC is huge news. These women are total Bosses. Bravo to them for stepping into their power and helping to create more opportunities for women of color and also for working to create stories that are as diverse as the world we live in. Continue reading here.

Dear Bethenny…

Dear Bethenny,

I would like to thank you for taking the opportunity for pushing women back, particularly black women, at least 30 years. I thought we were past the age of needing to sleep our way to the top, or at least having to give a little Lewinsky every now and then (sorry Monica). Darn it…those dry cleaning bills are going to rise again as women will need to remove the evidence of those infamous stains. In the same week that we nationally fight to close the gender wage gap, we discover that you still believe the key to success is through a man. How do you expect women to get equal pay by laying on our backs?

You were given this amazingly empowering opportunity to be the keynote speaker at Project Entrepeneur, a women’s entrepreneurial summit. How could you tell black women to hire white men to represent their businesses? Do you realize how racist and sexist that is? One of the attendees, Mary Pryor, tried to call your attention to your faux pas, but she was silenced.

Thankfully, she and other attendees did not remain silent. And I will not either. As a black woman and an entrepreneur, I stopped having other people representing me the day I stopped working in corporate America. The face of my business is me, with my caramel skin, natural hair, and thick thighs. If per chance, you cannot guesstimate that I am a not a minority by my name, then I also have my picture on my website. I have never slept my way to the top, and I’m sure enough not going to start be somebody’s Sally Hemmings to get a contract. I have my God-given talent, creativity, and intelligence for that. And what I lack, networking will fill in.

For many years, women, whether they consider themselves feminists or not, have been cracking those glass ceilings, and a select few have been fortunate enough to break them. Yet, with your one incredulous appearance last weekend, you have filled those cracks with Gorilla Glue and superglued the broken pieces back together. I have always been interested in time travel, but this is not what I was thinking. Next time, Bethenny, do us all a favor. Stay on Real Housewives where your lines are scripted, and you can feel free to lay up with whomever you please. Just stop messing with the lives of self-made women like me.

Smooches,

Aronya