This is the ninth edition of “This week in black women,” a weekly column dedicated to signal-boosting the black women who make the world spin.
This week, I’m shouting out Vogue’s youngest cover model, a much-needed resource to help black women get credit, a warm reception for our future president, a photo series to celebrate, and more.
Remember these women! Pay these women! Encourage these women!
Let’s do this.
“Yes, young queen!”: Alexis Olympia Ohanian, Jr. and her mom, Serena Williams
The adorable first child of Serena Williams and Alexis Ohanian, Sr. graced the cover of Vogue magazine with her mother. Just 3 months old during the shoot, she’s the youngest cover star in the history of the magazine.
The cover story, however, leaned a bit heavier on new mom Williams and her transition from greatest athlete of all time to greatest athlete of all time/mom. Williams shared the harrowing moments following Olympia’s birth when she developed blood clots and had to be her own fierce medical advocate to get the lifesaving care she needed.
When a star of Serena Williams’ caliber has to fight for her own life, it’s no wonder black women are three to four times more likely to die from pregnancy or delivery complications than white women. This is a well-documented, dangerous issue that demands our full attention.
“We’ve got your back”: Cite Black Women
I talk a lot in this space about the need to fairly compensate black women for their time and talent. One way to make sure this happens is to give black women the credit they deserve by accurately citing them as sources in syllabi or research.
The Twitter account @citeblackwomen encourages academics to share the literature and research they’re teaching and referencing. Not only does this give black women their shine, it may inspire others to incorporate the content into their syllabi as well. Win-win.
And even if your school days are long-gone, follow the account anyway to bolster your reading list. There’s some great stuff on there.
“Speak on it, madame president!”: Oprah Winfrey
Oprah Winfrey became the first black women to receive the Cecil B. deMille Award from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association for her contributions to the entertainment industry. Her acceptance speech at the Golden Globes provided a much-needed jolt of inspiration and hope in the media and political landscape starved for both.
Social media jumped on the Winfrey wagon with a chorus of tweets suggesting Oprah run for president in 2020, followed by even more tweets suggesting she’s not qualified. (The internet will find a way to ruin everything you love.)
Whether she throws her own hat into the ring or actively supports another candidate, it’s great to see people get excited and optimistic about the state of the country again — something that seemed impossible for so long.
What can’t black women do?
“Go off, sis!” Erin Jackson
Erin Jackson of Ocala, Florida made the U.S. Winter Olympic team in long track speed skating after on ice full-time for just four months. FOUR MONTHS!
“I’ve been an inline speed skater for 15 years,” Jackson told Team USA. “I came out to Salt Lake City for the first time … in the end of February into March. Then I went back to inline for the summer and came back to Salt Lake in September, so it’s been about four months combined.”
Final Thought: Shonda Rhimes
Eating with my sister. We hear a gasp: “Girl, that is Shonda Rhimes.” Her friend doesn’t look up from her plate:”Fool, that ain’t Shonda Rhimes. What the hell would Shonda Rhimes be doing in Chili’s?” You can take a girl out of the Midwest but don’t come for her baby back ribs.
— shonda rhimes (@shondarhimes) January 5, 2018
And don’t forget the barbecue sauce!
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