Tupac Amaru Shakur, " I'm Loosing It...We MUST Unite!"

Thursday, September 28, 2023

Pen and Purpose: Black Journalists Who Changed the Game

The power of the pen is undeniable, but what happens when that pen is wielded by someone who's been told their story doesn't matter? Buckle up. We're diving into the untold impact of Black journalists who not only reported the news but changed the narrative.

Let's cut to the chase: journalism isn't just about reporting facts. Oh no, it's alchemy, a transformative force that can transmute society's base metals into gold. If you think I'm overstepping, hold onto your coffee cups, LinkedIn mavens, because I'm about to turn your daily news-skimming habit into a quest for hidden treasure.

Imagine scrolling through your news feed every morning and instead of the daily humdrum or soul-crushing headlines, you pause to reflect on the narrative architects behind the articles. These are the folks who weave facts into stories that inform your perspective, and what if I told you that some of the most transformative narratives were penned by Black journalists? You see, the act of writing the news for many Black journalists hasn't just been a job—it's been a revolution, a subtle daily mutiny against the prevailing winds of societal narratives. These are the knights and dames in ink-stained armor, who used their quills like swords to cut through prejudices and stereotypes.

Now, imagine adding a twist to your daily routine. Instead of passively consuming news, become an active partaker. As you sip your latte or green tea, hunt for articles by journalists who've reshaped the landscape, writers who've stood in the fire and came out wielding flaming pens of change. Take a moment to share their articles, contribute to their platforms, and tag a thought leader or two, thereby adding depth and color to the often monochrome canvas of mainstream news. This isn't just about sharing an article; it's about sharing a movement.

I promise you, it's as thrilling as cliff diving in the Aegean Sea, as awe-inducing as standing on the edge of the Grand Canyon. Imagine your LinkedIn network lighting up with conversations that have an emotional core, where the stories discussed are as pivotal as quarterly earnings or the latest productivity hacks. It's not just business; it's personal. It's human. It's life-affirming and life-altering.

Picture this: Ida B. Wells, gripping her pen in the late 19th century, bringing the horrors of lynching to the American conscience. Fast forward to the civil rights era, when Ethel Payne wasn't just reporting news; she was the news, pushing U.S. Presidents on their stance toward civil rights during press conferences. Now, rocket ahead to the modern digital age, where writers like Nikole Hannah-Jones are dissecting the very DNA of America to expose the complexities and inequalities that persist. They don't just report the game; they've changed it. In every jot and tittle, in every published article, they’ve inked their purpose into the annals of time.

Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Unveiling Excellence: The Role of Black Architects in Shaping Skylines

When you gaze up at the architectural marvels that decorate our cities, the blend of concrete and sky that heralds both human achievement and nature's grandeur, have you ever considered the hands that molded these modern-day pyramids? Not just any hands, but those steeped in a rich tapestry of perseverance and creativity, tracing back centuries. This is not just an ode to architects but a revelation about a particular group of architects who've indelibly imprinted the skyline.

You think skyscrapers just shoot out of the ground like some kind of steel bamboo, huh? Or maybe you think they're hatched, fully formed, from golden eggs laid by futuristic cranes. Nah, these architectural symphonies—these skyline stalwarts—they have architects. But not just any architects. I'm talking about Black architects. Yep, these creators take more than just bricks and mortar to mold the silhouettes of our cities; they imbue them with history, courage, and resilience.

Picture your morning coffee. Whether you grab it from the corner café with the snobbish barista who insists on calling it an "Americano" or you brew it yourself to the soft whirring of a Keurig, there's a habit in there, a ritual. Now imagine if each sip reminded you of the marvels of our cityscapes, specifically, the contributions of Black architects. How, you ask? By seeing that cup as half full, not of coffee, but of untold stories, of underrepresented talent.

Mind blown? Let me turn that notch of awe up a little. Ever heard of Norma Merrick Sklarek? She was the first African American woman architect licensed in New York and California and the first female fellow of the American Institute of Architects. She was essentially the Aretha Franklin of architecture, belting out hits like the Pacific Design Center in Los Angeles. Queen of Soul meets Queen of Skylines. You'll find yourself humming "R-E-S-P-E-C-T" the next time you walk past a towering structure, I guarantee it.

So, let's weave this into a narrative, shall we? Imagine a young girl, perhaps your daughter, niece, or simply a curious kid next door. She's mesmerized by the tall buildings she sees in a magazine. Each page flip is punctuated by her wide-eyed "wows" and "awesomes." Then she stumbles upon a feature about Norma Merrick Sklarek or Paul Revere Williams—another legendary Black architect—and suddenly, her "wows" gain depth. Her eyes see possibilities, her mind imagines a future, and her heart soaks up the pride of representation. This is the magic of unveiling excellence. It's not merely the role of Black architects in shaping skylines; it's their role in shaping dreams, aspirations, and yes, even morning coffee musings.

Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Medical Mavericks: African American Innovators in Health Care

They say innovation is the child of necessity. But let's not forget its other parent: audacity. Today we're walking the corridors of history—sterile, glaringly white, filled with the smell of antiseptic—to meet the mavericks who donned their white coats and stethoscopes against the odds.

Let's talk about "Medical Mavericks" but before you yawn out of professional courtesy, think of it not as a sci-fi Netflix series you swipe left on, but as a visceral journey into unsung brilliance. Imagine the OR as a jazz lounge—scalpels and sutures as instruments, each incision a soulful note. Here, the unsung jazz musicians of the operating room are African American innovators in health care. Yes, the medical mavericks who jive to the bluesy rhythms of innovation.

Ah, daily habits! You sip that morning coffee, skim through emails, and maybe, just maybe, take that multivitamin you've been forgetting for weeks. Make it a habit to recognize the innovators who make those vitamins effective or that MRI scan possible. Celebrate a Medical Maverick each day, whether it's Dr. Charles Drew, who revolutionized blood transfusions, or Dr. Patricia Bath, the inventor of laser cataract surgery. Trust me, it's more refreshing than your kale smoothie and energizing as a double espresso. Make it a hashtag. Make it a movement. Make it a habit.

I know, you're not easily impressed. You've seen it all. But even you can't help but be gripped by a sense of awe when you consider Dr. Daniel Hale Williams, who performed one of the world's first successful open-heart surgeries. And he did it without a Google search or a YouTube tutorial. It's not just innovation; it's a lyrical composition in an era of static noise. If you can’t get excited about that, you might want to check your own pulse.

So let's wrap this narrative in a way that pays homage to our medical mavericks. Imagine if Dr. Alexa Canady, the first African American woman neurosurgeon, had shied away from her destiny because society had pre-written her script? What if Dr. Jane Cooke Wright, a pioneer in chemotherapy, had let systemic barriers turn her away? Each of them has inscribed their legacy, not as footnotes but as headlines, redefining what it means to be a Medical Maverick. They didn't just save lives; they changed the game.

Monday, September 25, 2023

Bridging Worlds: Afro-Asian Connections in the Americas

Let's take a stroll through the leafy lanes of history, shall we? Ever think about the strands that weave the fabric of the Americas? No, I’m not talking about the threads your great aunt Gertrude uses to knit those god-awful Christmas sweaters. I mean the rich, vibrant, and sometimes hidden connections that make up our cultural landscape. Buckle up, because today, we're diving deep into Afro-Asian connections in the Americas. You heard that right. Buckle up, Karen. It's going to be a bumpy, enlightening ride.

Ever thought about the impact of Bruce Lee's iconic flying kicks on breakdancing in the Bronx? Or considered the threads of Africa's kente cloth mingling with the intricate stitches of Japan's kimono? There's a tale here, woven tighter than your grandma's cornrows or your uncle's samurai topknot. The Afro-Asian connection in the Americas is like the culinary magic that happens when jerk seasoning meets sushi rice—unprecedented, under-acknowledged, but oh-so-tantalizing.

Now, I challenge you—yes, you hiding behind that cup of morning coffee, to partake in what I call the "Unity in Diversity Breakfast Ritual." It's simple: every morning, take your regular breakfast and mix it up with one element from a different culture. Maybe it's a dash of wasabi on your scrambled eggs or a sprinkle of curry powder in your grits. Let your taste buds become ambassadors for Afro-Asian unity, and let it remind you that beneath the labels, we share dreams, desires, and yes, flavors.

You're excited, aren't you? And you should be. Because when you bite into that wasabi-infused avocado toast, you're not just tackling a culinary experiment; you're biting into history, politics, and a multitude of intersecting narratives. You're reminding yourself that the Black Panthers and Asian activists once locked arms against racial injustice. You're invoking the spirit of Yuri Kochiyama, who cradled Malcolm X's head in her lap as he lay dying, forging a bond that screamed that solidarity wasn't just possible but necessary.

We talk about diversity like it’s a trend, something to put on our corporate websites or sprinkle into our mission statements. But I want you to realize that it's so much more than that. It’s Grandma Okoye and Grandma Nakamura swapping gardening tips over the fence, or the Afro-Cuban beats that intermingle seamlessly with the twang of a Chinese erhu. It's realizing that Marcus Garvey and Sun Yat-sen might have had more in common than our history books would have us believe. It's understanding that bridging worlds isn't just about crossing oceans; it’s about crossing the street.

Friday, September 22, 2023

Rock, Rap, and Resistance: Black Voices in American Music

Ever wonder how the beats we bump and the lyrics we belt carry the very DNA of resistance and resilience? Stick around; we're diving deep into the soundtrack of American history, and guess what—it's got some serious soul.

You see, when we talk about rock, rap, and resistance, we're not just talking about genres or political slogans. We're talking about the soul of Black America—woven into each guitar string, sprayed onto graffiti murals, and scribbled in lyric notebooks. A musical score not only to our joys and sorrows but also to our collective struggle. If music is a universal language, then the Black American experience has been its most potent dialect, alternately belting out and whispering anthems of resistance.

Let's talk about Chuck Berry's guitar, Little Richard's theatrics, or Jimi Hendrix's riffs that rewired rock. Do you know what they're actually saying? They're saying, "We're here, we're not going anywhere, and we're flipping your norms while we're at it." Yes, from its birth, rock has been an audacious slap to the status quo. A radical rejection of a system that could contain everything except our spirit.

Imagine this: every morning, you scroll through your playlist, selecting a track to kickstart your day. Make that track a declaration, a manifesto. It doesn't have to be "Fight the Power" or "We Shall Overcome," though they're excellent choices. It could be Kendrick Lamar's "Alright," or even Beyoncé's "Freedom." Let the lyrics steep in your psyche, like morning coffee invigorating your veins, reminding you to resist complacency. Feel those high-arousal emotions? Good, you should. Now, go on and share that electricity. A LinkedIn post, a tweet, or an Instagram story can be your platform to amplify the anthems of defiance that fuel you.

Remember when Kanye West said, "George Bush doesn't care about black people" live on national television? It was shocking, unexpected, but oh so raw. When he did that, he didn't just wield his fame; he wielded the ancestral voices of rap and rock legends who came before him, screaming from their lyrics that Black Lives Matter before it was a hashtag. This is our narrative. It's not a sidebar; it's the feature presentation, integral to the broader tale of America. Whether through Tupac's piercing reflections on inequality or Nina Simone's haunting calls for liberation, these are not just tunes; they're touchstones of our communal psyche.

In a nutshell, if you've ever wondered what the backbone of American music really is, don't look any further. It's the irrefutable evidence that in rock and rap, Black voices didn't just make music; they sculpted the melody of resistance. It's in the vibrato of Aretha Franklin's voice, the cadence of Jay-Z's flow, and the anguished scream of a Hendrix guitar solo. So next time you bob your head to a beat or lose yourself in a guitar riff, remember—it's not just a song; it's an anthem of resistance.

Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Green Thumbs: The Influence of Black Gardeners and Horticulturists

What's the root of your existence? Before you shrug off this seemingly existential question with a laugh or eye roll, consider this: We're talking literal roots. Today, we dig deep into the influence of Black gardeners and horticulturists—those unseen architects of what you may call your "garden-variety life."

So you wake up, brew your coffee, and sigh at your basil plant wilting on your kitchen windowsill. Yeah, I said it, your basil plant. Now, consider for a moment the hands, brown and calloused, that first recognized the alchemy of soil, seed, and water. Have you ever heard the tale of George Washington Carver? The man didn’t just find 300 uses for peanuts; he basically wrote the love language between humans and the Earth.

Speaking of love languages, let's spice it up a bit. Next time you decide to snap a selfie, do it next to a potted plant. Make it a daily ritual. A literal breath of fresh air in your never-ending scroll of LinkedIn profiles and motivational quotes. Your smile next to that Monstera leaf isn’t just #PlantDad or #PlantMom vibes; it’s an homage to a legacy of Black horticultural prowess that's been nurturing life and economy for centuries.

Do you remember that moment of sheer wonder when you first watched a seed sprout into a sapling? That’s not just botany; it's ancient poetry written in the language of chlorophyll and photosynthesis. It’s the same awe that gripped the early Black horticulturists who looked beyond the fields they were forced to till and saw instead a canvas—no, a stage—for a green revolution.

Imagine the drama of it all. The soil is the stage, worms are the backstage crew, and each plant is a character in a plot that unfolds with the seasons. And in the midst of it all are the Black horticulturists, not just as laborers but as the true directors of this botanical theater. It was these Black thumbs that turned 'uncultivable' land into a symphony of crops, spices, and medicinal herbs. From the indigenous practices of enslaved Africans to the horticultural science of today’s Black botanists, this green odyssey has been integral to our very existence.

So when you lean back in your ergonomic chair, sipping that herbal tea, remember: it's not just a plant; it's not just a sip; it's a story—a rich narrative that speaks volumes about the unsung Black hands that nurtured the roots of what we so often take for granted.

Tuesday, September 19, 2023

A Dance Through Time: The African Roots of Salsa and Samba

Ah, salsa and samba. Two dances that can make even the most reserved among us tap a foot or bob a head. These rhythmic extravaganzas aren't just a casual Saturday night affair; they are tapestries woven with threads from the African diaspora. Buckle up, LinkedIn fam; we're taking a groove-laden journey through history.

You step into a dimly-lit room; the air is thick with tension and hope. Is it a sales meeting? No, folks. It's a salsa club on a Tuesday night. Red and blue lights spin, caressing the faces of everyone, including José, a middle manager by day, a salsa king by night. Why does José, who can run a budget meeting without breaking a sweat, seem even more alive here? Perhaps because José is dancing to a beat that has journeyed through continents, endured the Middle Passage, and survived cultural extinction.

Hey LinkedIn, if you want to climb that corporate ladder, you also need to recognize the layers in your world, the different dances you perform—negotiating, networking, even the morning scrum. It’s like salsa and samba; at first glance, a swirl of color and sound, but with a backstory as compelling as any corporate saga. Both are born of resistance and survival, legacies of African rhythms brought to Latin America through slave trade. Feel the awe yet? You should. Imagine a melody so potent, so irrefutable that it transcends generations and geographies.

Now, here's a tip to keep that awe alive—incorporate a little of that history into your daily routine. Wake up every morning and listen to a salsa or samba track. As you lace up your “business-casual” shoes, remember that these rhythms were worn into existence by feet shackled in iron. As the brass blares and drums beat, remind yourself of the unquenchable spirit that gave birth to the dance and to so much more. LinkedIn, it will make your daily grind seem less like grinding and more like... dancing.

Consider the story of Ella, an Afro-Latinx woman who leveraged her love for salsa into her business acumen. Ella knew the origins of salsa, the mix of African, European, and Indigenous influences. She leveraged this knowledge into her marketing role, creating campaigns that had the same blended richness. The secret sauce? A dance through time from Africa to the Americas. Like Ella, we all are dancing through a complex choreography of life, careers, and global histories.

The dances of salsa and samba are not just social pastimes or entries on a Zumba playlist. They are complex tapestries that embody the triumph, pain, and resilience of the African diaspora. Dance, like business, is a blend of technique, history, and a touch of something ineffable. Whether you're closing a deal, or nailing that complicated salsa turn, remember: You are part of a dance that has been evolving for centuries, and it's one that will continue long after we've logged off our last LinkedIn update.

Monday, September 18, 2023

Behind the Lens: Black Filmmakers Changing the Narrative

In an industry that has long favored one perspective, a seismic shift is cracking the lens and reframing the scene. You've heard of Spielberg, Coppola, and Tarantino, but there are other names you need to start recognizing. Hold your popcorn and recline that seat; we're going Behind the Lens.

Hollywood, that fabled land where dreams come to fruition or crash like a failed blockbuster, has often presented a rather monochrome version of America. The narrative has been controlled, for the most part, by a singular vision. Now, I'm not here to get all preachy on you; I want to do something better: I want to jolt you out of your comfort zone and let you in on a little secret. That secret? The faces behind the camera are changing, and it's changing the story we see on screen. And guess what? It's more compelling than ever.

Think about the last time you watched a movie that tugged at your heartstrings, or left you pondering the deeper layers of life long after you left the theater. Chances are, that film was crafted with layers of nuanced storytelling, a diverse set of characters, and a perspective that goes beyond the surface. This is the creative genius we're getting from Black filmmakers who are finally—FINALLY—getting their shot at the director's chair. It's not a "Black movie." It's a movie. Period. With real people, real issues, and an authentic lens.

Now, I'm not saying you should quit your day job and become a film critic. But what if you turned this into a daily habit: pick a film or a scene directed by a Black filmmaker each day and analyze it. Dive into its narrative arcs, its characters, and its cultural impacts. Become an armchair movie connoisseur who doesn't just consume but critiques and understands. Imagine the richness it'll add to your cinematic vocabulary. Imagine how you'll impress your date on movie night, or shock your friends with a hot take that's actually backed by substance.

You see, it's not just about entertainment; it's about a tectonic shift in culture, a revolution that's rearranging the landscape of storytelling. And boy, does it make you feel something! Be it awe, excitement, or a visceral reaction you can't quite put your finger on—this is a wave you don't want to miss. So, sit up, put your phone away, and let yourself get lost in a story that's no longer just black and white but teeming with shades of reality.

Thursday, September 14, 2023

Golden Gloves: The Legacy of Black Boxers from 1619 to Now

If you think boxing is just about throwing punches, then honey, you're punching way below your weight. In the next few minutes, let me take you on a journey—a pilgrimage to the very soul of Black America, using boxing gloves as our compass.

We often look at boxing as a sport of muscle and grit. You throw some punches, take some, and—if you're good—you win a couple of shiny belts. But for Black America, those gloves symbolize more than just athletic prowess; they represent centuries of struggle and triumph. Now, I'm not here to glorify violence or even the sport itself; I'm here to let you in on an unsung legacy, one that shadow-boxes with us through every facet of life.

You see, every time a Black boxer throws a jab or ducks a punch, it's not just a physical act—it's a rebuttal to history, a counter-punch against centuries of injustice. We’ve been fighting since 1619, just not always in the ring. Now, we’re not just speaking about fighting against a system but also fighting to build our own legacy, just like a boxer building up their record punch by punch, win by win.

Now, don't just take my word for it—incorporate a little boxing into your daily routine. No, I’m not suggesting you start throwing hooks at your coworkers, but maybe the next time you're shadow-boxing life’s challenges, throw a jab of audacity and a right hook of resilience. See how you feel. See how you confront adversity, dodging its punches like Muhammad Ali in his prime, saying, "You can't hit what you can't see."

This legacy doesn't just fill us with nostalgia; it injects us with adrenaline. There's a reason boxing films are so damn electrifying, making you want to jump off your couch and into the ring—or the world—to battle your own obstacles. Just think about every fight as a metaphor for struggle, and every boxer as an emblem of survival. Now tell me that doesn't fill you with the kind of awe that makes you want to share this legacy with the world!

Look, when we talk about "Golden Gloves," we're not merely reminiscing about champions and their accolades. We're remembering the Black men and women who have, quite literally, fought for recognition in a world eager to count them out. From Tom Molineaux to Jack Johnson, Joe Louis to Muhammad Ali, and every glove-wearing warrior in between and beyond, they are the epitome of resistance and resilience. And as we navigate the complexities of today’s world, their legacy stands as an indelible part of not just Black history but American history.

Thursday, September 7, 2023

Reclaiming Identity: The Afro-Brazilian Movement in Modern Brazil

In a world increasingly molded by hashtags and viral movements, how often do we stop to consider the transformative power of identity? The Afro-Brazilian Movement in modern Brazil is not just a call to remember; it's a vivid illustration of cultural renaissance. Buckle up; we're heading on a transcultural journey that weaves through forgotten histories, modern politics, and a dose of raw emotion.

Ah, Brazil. Land of Carnival, samba, and... identity crisis? Hold up. Let's switch up the tune for a minute. When you think Brazil, you probably picture tropical paradises and sizzling dance floors. But how often do you think about its Afro-Brazilian roots? Probably as often as you think about kale during a barbecue, right? But it's high time we put the Afro back in Afro-Brazilian, and this isn't just a matter of semantics.

Here's an interesting tidbit that will have you clutching your coffee cups: Brazil imported ten times as many enslaved Africans as the United States. The question is, where has that rich African heritage vanished? Well, it didn’t vanish; it's been submerged, brushed under the cultural rug. The Afro-Brazilian Movement in modern Brazil is yanking that rug away, unraveling years of neglected history and rediscovered pride. Feel that excitement? That's the thrill of witnessing a cultural earthquake in real-time.

So, I know what you're thinking. "That’s all great, but what's it got to do with my daily life?" Well, here's your daily habit, your new LinkedIn mantra: Identity isn't a checkbox, it's a life’s work. Each time you scroll through your LinkedIn feed, look for stories that challenge the usual narratives. Ask yourself, what’s missing here? Who’s missing here? Then, contribute to the conversation. You'll find your scroll-and-click routine taking on a flavor of its own—intentionality.

Just imagine the Afro-Brazilian Movement as a Broadway production; not the cliche type with an easy plot, but the kind that leaves you emotionally rattled, pondering existential questions. If you were a cast member in this grand spectacle, would you be the lead, the hero claiming back his or her identity? Or, would you settle for a background role, obscured by popular narratives and caricatured traditions? Oh, the drama! The excitement! That's the reason this topic should become a conversation at our tables, both physical and virtual.

Wednesday, September 6, 2023

Grit Behind the Glamour: Black Entrepreneurs in Hollywood

Grit Behind the Glamour: Black Entrepreneurs in Hollywood. A glimpse into the untold journey and struggle that Black entrepreneurs face in the Hollywood glitz, where the walk of fame isn't a walk in the park.

Ah, Hollywood! The land where dreams come true, right? The dazzling lights, the Oscars, the red carpets—it's all glamour and glitz until you zoom into the experiences of Black entrepreneurs in the industry. Now, we're talking about a different script altogether—a screenplay of grit, hustle, and unparalleled resilience.

Let's rewind the reel for a second. Hollywood promises everyone a fairytale ending, but let's get real: not all fairytales are created equal. For a Black entrepreneur in Hollywood, the movie often starts in hard mode. Imagine building a castle with bricks made from sheer will and an unyielding spirit, while others inherit theirs, complete with a moat. But you know what? It's the castles built from grit that withstand the test of time.

So, let's talk about a daily routine that encapsulates this essence of entrepreneurial endurance. Consider the ritual of script revisions—an endless cycle of red ink, crumpled paper, and tireless brainstorming. Every aspiring producer, director, or studio exec goes through it, but for a Black entrepreneur, the script revisions are more than textual—they're existential. Every "no" from an investor, every denied permit, every closed door is a call for a life revision. The narrative changes but the title remains the same: Grit Behind the Glamour.

Ah, the thrill of finally "making it!" Think about that moment when the odds are shattered, and the entrepreneur rises, like a phoenix, out of the ashes of systemic barriers. That's not just success; that's a revolution in slow motion, a full-on, jaw-dropping, awe-inspiring saga that belongs in IMAX 3D. This sensation isn't just a fleeting high. It's the kind of story that brings a tear to your eye, a lump in your throat, and a share on your LinkedIn feed.

So picture this: a young Black entrepreneur, full of grit and moxie, finally walks down the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Except now, it's their name on one of those stars. And as they step over it, not in arrogance but in humble triumph, the whole story replays like a movie montage. Only this time, the most crucial frame isn't just the shining star but all the gritty frames that led to it—the late nights, the "no's," the relentless hustle, and yes, the undeniable grit behind the glamour.

Tuesday, September 5, 2023

Redefining Beauty: The Impact of Black Models in Fashion

Redefining beauty is no runway show. It’s a strut against decades of racial biases, a saunter into the industry’s casting rooms with a mission beyond aesthetics. We're talking about a revolution brought about by those who dared to be fashionably audacious—Black models. Read on if you're ready for a vibe check, a beauty check, and an ambition check, all wrapped in one.

It's no secret that fashion—this glamorous world of stitch and strut—has long been dominated by one standard of beauty: one that's thin, tall, and predominantly white. But let's face it; fashion isn't just about clothes. It's about storytelling. It's about breaking barriers. Most importantly, it's about real people. So, let's rip apart this narrow tapestry of beauty and weave in the kaleidoscopic narrative that Black models bring to the runway.

Want something unexpected? Here it is: In this industry, Black models aren't merely trendsetters; they're gatekeepers of a new ethic, heralds of a shift in social consciousness. Naomi Campbell isn't just a supermodel; she's a super force of change. Tyra Banks isn't just "smizing"; she's electrifying an audience to see beauty beyond color lines. These women have made it their daily habit to redefine beauty standards—one runway, one photoshoot, one "smize" at a time.

And before you sip your morning coffee or swipe your LinkedIn feed, make it a habit to search for these trailblazers, these innovators of aesthetic, and share their work, their narratives, their stories. Make this your new routine, and trust me, the impact of Black models in fashion will be more than lingering; it will be transformative.

Hold onto your seats because we're about to spark some high-arousal emotions like excitement and awe. Imagine a world where every runway, every magazine, and every advert celebrates a spectrum of skin tones. Imagine Black models not just as supporting roles in a season's narrative but as the heroes of an industry's evolution. I’m talking about Beverly Johnson gracing the cover of Vogue; Alek Wek owning her deep skin tone and redefining elegance; Adut Akech becoming Model of the Year and offering us an entire mood board of courage and resilience. Feels invigorating, right? That’s the power of representation; that’s the power of shattering the glass ceiling, or in this case, the glass runway.

To wrap it up, Black models are doing far more than just bringing diversity to the runway. They are redefining the very concept of beauty, diversifying an industry stuck in its ways, and spearheading a revolution in social consciousness. They're setting the rhythm, writing the lyrics, and singing the melody of a new anthem—an anthem of inclusivity, representation, and undying ambition.

Monday, September 4, 2023

Black in Blue: The Complex History of African Americans in Law Enforcement

When we think about the term "Black in Blue," it conjures a landscape of complex histories, emotions, and experiences that shape African Americans in the field of law enforcement. Buckle up, because we're diving deep into the layers that exist beneath that uniform.

The Chessboard of Life

Black in Blue. Sounds almost poetic, doesn't it? But make no mistake, it's more like a chessboard where every move is calculated, every piece holds multiple meanings, and where the stakes are much higher than a simple checkmate. Why chess? Because in this game, the blue knights—our Black officers—are navigating a maze that's etched with the ink of history and punctuated by the rook of public opinion. On one hand, they are part of an institution criticized for racial profiling and excessive force. On the other, they stand as individuals, often hoping to enact change from within. It's not just a uniform; it's a coat of many colors, sewn with threads of loyalty, responsibility, and, unfortunately, perception.

The Morning Routine

Imagine waking up each morning and putting on that uniform, the very fabric that can label you as both protector and predator, depending on the eyes that see you. As you knot that tie, here's something to dwell on: what if each LinkedIn user took a moment in their morning routine—let's say, while brushing those pearly whites—to think about the complexities that come with that uniform? The blue one. The one that many of us both need and critique. A daily mental exercise that could help us become more empathetic advocates for a change. A system that's beneficial for everyone involved, including the Black knights on our societal chessboard.

The Audacity of Change

It's awe-inspiring to think about the audacity of those who step into this role. We're talking about individuals who are opting to shake the system from within—raising eyebrows and, sometimes, hopes. These officers aren't just serving and protecting; they're rebelling and reconstructing. Their presence challenges the very norms that both vilify and vindicate them. It's a heart-pounding, pulse-quickening tale of courage and conviction, the kind of story that ought to be shared, celebrated, and most importantly, understood.

The Story Behind the Badge

Now, picture Officer Johnson, a dedicated African American cop patrolling a predominantly Black neighborhood. His shifts are more than just routes; they're rife with moral dilemmas. When he puts on his badge, he's donning a heavy legacy: that of the Black officers before him who battled prejudice from their own colleagues while being accused of betrayal by their own communities. Johnson sees a group of teens hanging out and must decide—in an instant—how to approach them. To the teens, he's Black in Blue; the epitome of a contradiction. To his department, he's often seen as just another blue, albeit one who understands "those people" a bit more. Johnson navigates this intricate dynamic every single day, a vivid exemplification of the complexities of being Black in Blue.

Friday, September 1, 2023

Makers of Modern Art: The Black Artists You Need to Know

In a world saturated with art that often "forgets" to reflect the full spectrum of human experience, let's turn the spotlight onto those who've been in the shadows for far too long. Yes, I'm talking about the masters of modern art whose skin happens to be tinted with the beautiful hues of Blackness.

A Palette of Hidden Hues

So you think you know modern art? You can wax lyrical about Van Gogh's swirls, Picasso's angles, and Dali's surrealist mustache? Lovely. But how much can you say about Jacob Lawrence, Jean-Michel Basquiat, or Augusta Savage? Didn't think so. The irony is, if modern art was a big ol' American quilt, the threads of Black artists would be woven so deeply into it that removing them would unravel the whole darn thing.

The Breakfast of Art Champions

How do you start your mornings? Coffee, bagel, a side of The New York Times? Consider adding a splash of culture. No, not yogurt—art! Specifically, modern art by Black artists. Thanks to this wonderful thing called the internet, you can take a virtual tour of an art gallery while you munch on your avocado toast. Start with Alma Thomas' vibrant, abstract pieces, and let it set the mood for your day. Heck, make it a weekly habit—#MuralMondays, anyone?

A Brush with Awe

Now, let's kick it up a notch. Ever heard of Kara Walker's silhouette installations? If not, brace yourselves. Her pieces are like walking into a historical panorama that punches you right in the gut. You feel awe, excitement, discomfort, and, strangely, an urge to be better, do better. Not many artworks can inspire such a visceral blend of emotions. We're talking Michelangelo-level awe here, people. Except, instead of frescoes on a chapel ceiling, it's cut-paper silhouettes that speak a thousand words—each with the weight of history.

From the Canvas to the Culture

Picture this: It's the 1950s, a time when the U.S. is steeped in racial segregation. Enter Norman Lewis, a painter so extraordinary that critics couldn't ignore him—even if they wanted to. His masterpiece, "American Totem," depicts a Klan rally in abstract forms, so haunting that you can't look away. Fast-forward to today, and his work still echoes in our collective conscience. The point is, Black artists aren't just "making art." They're shaping dialogue, challenging norms, and yes, making history.

The Unveiling

So, as you sip your next espresso or scroll through LinkedIn during your "productive procrastination," remember this: Modern art isn't just a canvas painted with Eurocentric hues. It’s a kaleidoscope, a diverse melange, a cacophony of voices. And some of the most compelling ones come from Black artists. So, go ahead, diversify your palette. You’ll be richer for it, both in spirit and in cultural wealth.

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