Romare Bearden was born in Charlotte in 1911. Although his family moved north when he was only four years old, he said of his home state, “Most artists take some place, and like a flower, they sink roots, looking for universal implications. . . . My roots are in North Carolina.” Indeed, many of his paintings and collages were drawn from memories of his time in North Carolina.
The Beardens eventually settled in Harlem, an epicenter of African American culture in the 1920’s. Harlem society was important to Bearden’s development—the young man met many prominent musicians, artists, and writers at social and intellectual gatherings. In 1935 Bearden graduated from New York University and gained employment as a caseworker for the New York City Department of Social Services, a job he would hold until 1969.
“Straight Outta Compton” is having great success and surprising many as it rakes in nearly $60 million during its opening weekend. While the movie is riding on its theatrical high, there are some pretty low downsides for Black women.
In Kimberly Foster’s Black Women Are Never Priority: N.W.A, the Politics of Misogyny and My Battered Body she brought up a valid point about the discussion of N.W.A. “One of the most discomforting truths about living as a Black woman is that there is no safety from said violence. Those who continue to profit from it spread the lie that being “good” offers protection. It’s the kind of falsehood people like 46-year-old Ice Cube perpetuate when they speak of “bitches,” “hoes,” “despicable females,” and “upstanding ladies.”
Before groups like N.W.A. hit the scene, hip hop as a genre was far less negative than it is today, especially lyrics regarding women. But at some point venting about racism, violence, gangs and drugs was intertwined with disrespecting our Black women. And while the murder of Black men seem to be (and rightfully so) the focal point of racist acts of violence such as police brutality, the misogyny woven in the lyrics of gangsta rap and hip hop terrorizes Black women and is never really confronted.
“The trouble is there are few real consequences for unmitigated misogyny,” Foster writes. ” Ice Cube can still call women “bitches” and “hoes” and Dre can still produce woman-hating music. Their legacies will not suffer.”
In many ways, writing lyrics about abusing and objectifying women is just as compromising as writing lyrics about killing people of your own ethnicity. It kinda makes you wonder if these negative concepts about women can ever be forgotten when a biopic about a pioneer group that started these concepts, and gangsta rap that promotes them, hits the big screen.
The next time you sing along to an N.W.A. song, listen to the lyrics. How can we as Black people strive together for equality as a community when we ourselves reduce our women to “b*tches” and “hoes?”
The year was 1928. It was the year that the world saw the first fully air-conditioned office building open, Amelia Earhart make her first Atlantic Ocean flight and the last recording of Ma Rainey, “Mother of Blues.”
That same year in Harlem, where wealthy residents of color were becoming land owners, Dr. Walter Ernest Merrick and Amy Merrick’s child, Norma Merrick Sklarek, was born. Their daughter would later make history as the first female Black architect. Little did they know how impactful the 1928 earmarking of 640 acres of land by the Los Angeles City Council for a new airport would be to Sklarek, until 58 years later when her completed design on the historic Terminal One for the landmark Los Angeles International Airport was unveiled.
“Until the end of World War II, I think there was strong discrimination against women in architecture. The schools had a quota, it was obvious, a quota against women and a quota against blacks. In architecture, I had absolutely no role model. I’m happy today to be a role model for others that follow,” Sklarek said.
Known as the “Rosa Parks of Architecture,” Norma Merrick Sklarek was born to a father from St. Vincent and a mother from Barbados. Raised as an African-American woman with West Indian heritage, her father is credited with urging the young Merrick to interest herself in nontraditional leisure activities like fishing and assisting him with housework.
A week after making national headlines by using a racially offensive term on the air, Kristi Capel returned to WJW Channel 8’s morning newscast. And it was a business-as-usual 4:30-10 a.m. Monday run for the Cleveland anchor.
“Good morning, everyone, I’m Kristi Capel,” were the familiar words heard as the newscast kicked off at 4:30. She then introduced a story about snow-plow operators, settling back into her anchor chair on the Channel 8 news set.
Owned by Tribune Media Group, the Cleveland Fox affiliate pulled Capel from the morning news for three days. She was missing from the station’s Studio A for last week’s Wednesday-Friday newscasts, although Channel 8 executives did not confirm whether this was an actual suspension, paid or unpaid. Stacey Frey filled in for Capel.
Capel ignited an Internet firestorm after using the word “jigaboo,” a derogatory term for African-Americans, while praising Lady Gaga’s performance at the 87th Academy Awards. She apologized to Channel 8 viewers during last Tuesday’s morning newscast.
It’s been a slow death for the legend of Bill Cosby. As allegations of sexual assault — decades-old claims that are now being treated with appropriate gravity — envelop the 77-year-old Cosby, it’s easy to forget it’s been nearly 20 years since the Autumn Jackson trial showed us that America’s Dad might have been a lot more like a deadbeat than you realized. That was before social media, so her attempt to extort money from Cosby so she wouldn’t tell the world about his affair with her mother (and her claim that he was her father) vanished from mainstream memory.
Anyone who pretends to be incapable of believing he could do anything wrong is lying. Even if he wasn’t Jackson’s father, Cosby must’ve noticed the smoke from the fire that had been set to his pristine image. But the only person striking a match in public was a woman who seemed unhinged, and that was enough for many to ignore something few wished to consider: the possibility that Bill Cosby was a fraud.
It’s a lot harder to ignore 15 women, though, even if we don’t know very much about whether or not Cosby is a sexual predator. Sexual assault is a crime that few women claim falsely, but few isn’t none, and a certain presumption of innocence is responsible, even if it isn’t required. But the breadth and sheer volume of these allegations make it difficult to afford Cosby the benefit of the doubt for any reason other than obligation. Some of those women may be lying, but the likelihood that they all – 15 women and counting – are is asymptotically approaching zero. That small chance is enough to keep him out of jail, but not enough for reasonable people to dismiss.