I hope you enjoyed my tour through black history month! USUALLY I have more time, but THIS HAS BEEN A BUSY MONTH. And I’m only one person.

It happens. But I feel like I’ve failed you! I didn’t even give you your annual Why I Hate Disney post!

I mean to be honest, I could still do that easily. Between the surge pricing to go to Disneyland AND the insane amount of money it costs to eat crappy pizza and…

You know what? I’m not going to do that this year.*

But I WILL talk about why I do this. Because [full offense] people need to know that Black History doesn’t begin with Harriet Tubman and end with Reverend Dr. Martin Luther (the) King, Junior. And here some people *cough*whitepeople*cough* tell it, dassit it. DO BETTER, SCHOOLS.

And ‘cause trick love the kids y’all. I believe the children are our future and alladat.

And because I do. I’m ending this year’s BHFOTD with a story about students:

In the third week of April 1969, 100 young Americans in the Afro-American Society (AAS) at Cornell University took part in an illegal occupation of Willard Straight Hall. The takeover was spurred by a faculty-student judicial board’s decision to punish black students for a disruptive protest the previous December, and by a cross-burning at a black women’s dorm. In an attempt to take the building back, white Delta Upsilon fraternity brothers entered the Straight and fought with AAS students in the Ivy Room before being ejected. Fearing further attacks, the black students brought guns into the Straight to defend themselves. Members of Students for a Democratic Society — students far to the left of many of the black students inside — formed a ring around the Straight to lend support.

After the AAS marched out of the Straight a day later, thousands of other students and a core of progressive faculty formed what became known as the Barton Hall Community. This occupation effectively shut down the campus until the faculty reversed its initial position, and ratified the administration’s agreement to drop the penalties from the December protests.

Within Cornell, the takeover has come to be seen as an event that gave birth to enormous social, governance and ideological change. Students assumed campus leadership when galvanized by obvious wrongs that rally a clear majority of students, like the Vietnam War and gun control apartheid.

The end of both, BY THE BY, was hastened by disruptive campus protests. [They’re workin’ on the third thing, guys. Give ‘em time]

ALSO. I guess I’d like to say that it’s interesting how kids are “just kids” until they’re out here doin’ the damn thing. Like kids do. There’s that whole thing about not learning from the past [which clearly some people ::side eye:: have not]. But I’d like to submit that some people ARE learning. And holding lie-ins outside the [VERY] white house. And clapping back on social media. And Ferguson taught them.

ANYWAYS. Thanks for reading “What kind of BS does Briya have to say today?”/ BHFOTD! See you next year, or whenever I feel like work is bullshit and I wanna share some stuffs with y’all, or harass my sissie or whatever. As usual, please note the internet is free and anytime you wanna learn you something you can google that shit up.

 

 

*mostly because Disney is on the way to redeeming itself by making an ACTUAL BLACK GIRL PERSON A DISNEY PRINCESS. NOT A FROG. OR A LION. A PERSON.
FROM THE BEGINNING OF THE MF’ING MOVIE UNTIL THE END. I SAID WHAT I SAID.

 

 

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I took Monday off because I spent all weekend watching (and occasionally sleeping through) Oscar Best Picture nominated movies.
It’s tradition.

I used to do it at the movies theater, because some movie theaters offer a chance to see all the Best Pic noms back to back
They USED to let you bring in food which is awesome because I’m not eatin’ movie hot dogs, cardboard pizza and candy for 12-ish hours.
But then they stopped because “buy our shitty overpriced food you guys, no more B.Y.O.”
AND THEN, a friend started hosting movie madness at her house which meant I could really eat whatever I want
(and by that I mean WHATEVER SHE COOKS, PLUS ALL THE DRINKS) …and wear pjs
AND BRING MY FAVORITE BLANKET. Yes. I do all of those things. Because that’s what being grown is really about.

Anyways. There were a LOT of movies.
But apparently not a lot of actors.
You ever watch a movie and then realize that RANDOM DUDE was in the movie you just saw?
Yeah. That was us this weekend.
Isn’t that…
…The brother in Get Out as the Billboard guy in that other movie?
…The guy in Lady Bird is the brother in Three Billboards movie?
…That dude in Lady Bird is that kid in Call Me by Your Name?
…The Dad from Call Me By Your Name is the doctor from Shape of Water is that dude from The Post?

It was like playing the easiest game of six degrees ever.
If the actor was not black. Which. They weren’t (for the most part. We’re just talking Best Picture, here) I mean, Oscars may not be #SOWHITE but they are definitely still #WHITE-ISH

MY two cents (and that’s probably all it’s really worth) is that Get Out should win Best Picture. It’s well written, and horrifying and a pretty interesting take on race relations
Which honestly why I don’t think it will win.

But that’s not going to stop me from tossing you a gimme on Jordan Peele.
Because days off means that I come back to a bajillion emails and a ton of work to catch up on*

*opens Wikipedia page*

Peele rose to fame starring in the Comedy Central sketch series Key & Peele and for five seasons as a cast member on Mad TV. In 2014, he had a recurring role in the first season of the FX anthology series Fargo, based on the 1996 film of the same name.

Peele had a career breakthrough in 2017 with his solo directorial debut, the horror film Get Out, which earned critical acclaim and was a box office success. He received numerous accolades, including Academy Award nominations for Best Director, Best Picture, and Best Original Screenplay, becoming just the third person to receive the three nominations for a debut film, and the first black person to receive them for any one film. He also earned the Bingham Ray Breakthrough Director Award at the 2017 Gotham Independent Film Awards and nominations for a DGA Award and BAFTA for Best Original Screenplay.

*closes Wikipedia page*

I really do be lazy AF sometimes. But I toldja the important part, so my work here is done.

 

*but because whenever I come back to a pile of work to do, I tend to get caught up in nonsense, how does everyone feel about a quick round of six degrees of Jordan Peele featuring all the black nominees for this year?

(For the sake of brevity – Dee Rees/Virgil Williams/ Mary J. Blige are all from Mudbound, so Mary J it is!)

Common (Marshall, Best Music/Original Song) was in The Odd Life of Timothy Green w/ Ron Livingston who was in Pretty Persuasion w/ Octavia Spencer (The Shape of Water, First black actress to be nominated twice after previously winning. First black actress to be nominated two years in a row.)

Octavia was ALSO in Paradise w/ Russel Brand who was in Rock of Ages w/ Mary J Blige (Mudbound, First black woman to receive multiple noms in the same year, First PERSON to be nominated for acting and writing an original song in the same year, her nomination made Dee Rees the first black woman to direct a film in which an actor was nominated for an Oscar)

Who was in Black Nativity w/ Nas who was in John Q w/ Denzel Washington (Roman J Israel, Esq. , Best Actor, Most nominations for a black actor)

And Denzel was in Cry Freedom w/ Louis Mahoney who was in Jonah with Daniel Kaluuya who starred in Get Out (2nd British actor to be nominated for Best Actor) w/ Ian Casselberry who was in Keanu with Jordan Peele, who ALSO wrote and directed Get Out, but I always get carried away on these things so looks like they got more than one connection.

And the green grass grows all around all around and the green grass grows all around.

 

Okie Doke folks. ONE MORE DAY of learnin’ about some black people and stuff black people are STILL doing. See you tomorrow!

 

Do you ever wonder about nick names? Because I do. Because OF COURSE I DO.

I am ever called my name (and Briya, IF I ALLOW IT).

Please also know that I only ever respond to my name, unless of course you’re the Starbucks barista because honestly I don’t have time in the mornings to spell out my name and if y’all could see the daily variations of my name when you say HELLO SABRIYA to me pretty much every damn day, while I’m wearing a badge WITH MY NAME ON IT, you would just…

*cough*

Sorry. Off topic.
Anyways. I always wondered about how Richard became Dick.
Because also, OF COURSE I DID.

So anyways, lemme tell you what I read on the internets:

How Dick became a nickname for Richard is known and is one of those “knee bone connected to the thigh bone” type progressions. Due to people having to write everything by hand, shortened versions of Richard were common, such as ‘Ric’ or ‘Rich’.  This in turn gave rise to nicknames like ‘Richie’, ‘Rick’, among others.  People also used to like to use rhyming names; so someone who was nicknamed Rich might further be nicknamed Hitch.  Thus, Richard -> Ric -> Rick gave rise to nicknames like Dick and Hick around the early 13th century.

While few today call Richards ‘Hick’, the nickname ‘Dick’ has stuck around, and of course has come to mean many other things as well.  Its persistence as associated with Richard is probably in part because around the 16th century Dick started to be synonymous with ‘man’, ‘lad’, or ‘fellow’, sort of a general name for any ‘Tom, Dick, or Harry” (with Dick at this point firmly established as an “every man” name).  It may well be that this association with ‘man’ is in turn how ‘dick’ eventually came to mean ‘penis’.

I know. WHY ARE YOU LIKE THIS, BRIYA?
Because I just am. And I ain’t sorry.
And I how else am I gonna talk about to talk about a man named Nat (pronounced Nate – yeah, I dunno either) “Deadwood Dick” Love?

AHEM.

Nat Love (pronounced “Nate” Love) (June 1854 – 1921) was an African-American cowboy and former slave in the period following the American Civil War. His self-reported exploits and claims (as found in his published autobiography) have made him the most famous black hero of the Old West

Love was born a slave on the plantation of Robert Love in Davidson County, Tennessee around 1854. Despite slavery-era statutes that outlawed black literacy, he learned to read and write as a child with the help of his father, Sampson. When slavery ended, Love’s parents stayed on the Love plantation as sharecroppers, attempting to raise tobacco and corn on about 20 acres, but Sampson died shortly after the second crop was planted. Afterward, Nat took a second job working on a local farm to help make ends meet. At about this time, he was noted as having a gift for breaking horses. After some time of working extra odd jobs in the area, he won a horse in a raffle, which he then sold back to the owner for $50. He used the money to leave town and, at the age of 16, headed West.

Love traveled to Dodge City, Kansas, where he found work as a cowboy with cattle drivers from the Duval Ranch (located on the Palo Duro River in the Texas Panhandle). He trained himself to become an expert marksman and cowboy, for which he earned from his co-workers the moniker “Red River Dick.” In 1872, Love moved to Arizona, where he found work at the Gallinger Ranch located along the Gila River. He claims in his autobiography that while working the cattle drives in Arizona he met Pat Garrett, Bat Masterson, Billy the Kid and others.

After driving a herd of cattle to the rail head in Deadwood, Dakota Territory, he entered a rodeo on the 4th of July in 1876. He won the rope, throw, tie, bridle, saddle, and bronco riding contests. It was at this rodeo that he claims friends and fans gave him the nickname “Deadwood Dick”, a reference to a literary character created by Edward Lytton Wheeler, a dime novelist of the day.

In 1889, Love decided he needed to leave the cowboy life. He married his wife Alice and settled down, initially in Denver, before finally moving to Southern California. In 1907, Love published his autobiography entitled Life and Adventures of Nat Love, Better Known in the Cattle Country as ‘Deadwood Dick’. [NOT a Tale of Two Dicks. How do you end up with TWO nicknames with Dick in the title? These are Questions That Need Answers]

ANYWAYS. Love spent the latter part of his life as a courier and guard for a Los Angeles securities company. Love died there in 1921, at the age of 67.

 

What’s orange and sounds like a parrot?

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

A CARROT.

 

I mean, I like legit laughed. And I’ll be honest and say that I’m kinda laughing now.
That wasn’t at ALL what I was expecting.
‘Cause yannow. ORANGE.
Parrots repeat things (like, perhaps maybe things they heard on Fox News?).
But no. CARROT.

Issa good joke, guys.
More importantly, it was a good way to start a workday because
AS USUAL, the rest of y’all are off and I’m at work.
Damn y’all and y’all’s fake holidays. What do you mean, “President’s Day”?
WE AIN’T EVEN GOT A PRESIDENT.

 

But that’s fine. EVERYTHING IS FINE.

 

Since we ain’t got no president, I’ll just talk about this former President of the Arkansas State Conference of the NAACP: Daisy Lee Gatson Bates, American civil rights activist, publisher, journalist, and lecturer who played a leading role in the Little Rock Integration Crisis of 1957.

 

Daisy Lee Gatson Bates was born on November 11, 1914. She grew up in southern Arkansas in the small sawmill town of Huttig. Her biological mother was raped, then murdered by 3 local white men. After the murder of her mother, Daisy was handed off to Gatson’s close friends, Orlee and Susie Smith. She never saw her biological father after that. Her adoptive father, Orlee Smith, told her that the killers were never found due to the lack of devotion to the case from the police. Orlee Smith died when Bates was a teenager, leaving her with some advice on his deathbed “If you hate, make it count for something. Hate the humiliations we are living under in the South. Hate the discrimination that eats away at the South. Hate the discrimination that eats away at the soul of every black man and woman. Hate the insults hurled at us by white scum—and then try to do something about it, or your hate won’t spell a thing”

 

Daisy met Lucius Christopher Bates when she was 13. They started dating when she was 25 and after a few months they married and moved to Little Rock, Arkansas. After their move to Little Rock, the Bateses decided to act on a dream of theirs, the ownership of a newspaper. They leased a printing plant that belonged to a church publication and inaugurated the Arkansas State Press, a weekly statewide newspaper. The first issue appeared on May 9, 1941. The Arkansas State Press was primarily concerned with advocacy journalism and was modeled off other African-American publications of the era, such as the Chicago Defender and The Crisis. Stories about civil rights often ran on the front page with the rest of the paper mainly filled with other stories that spotlighted achievements of black Arkansans. The paper became an avid voice for civil rights even before a nationally recognized movement had emerged. Daisy Bates was later recognized as co-publisher of the paper.

 

Mrs. Daisy Bates immediately joined the local branch of the NAACP upon moving to Little Rock, and was elected President of the Arkansas Conference of Branches in 1952. She remained active and a member of the National NAACP Board for the next twenty years.  In an interview she explains her history with the organization and that all her “dreams were tied with this organization”. In the same interview when asked what she and the organization were focused on changing, Bates responded “the whole darned system”. However, it was after the Brown v. Board of Education decision that she began to focus mostly on education. Bates’ childhood included the attendance to Huttig’s segregated public schools, where she learned firsthand the poor conditions to which black students were exposed. Bates and her husband used their newspaper to publicize violations of the Supreme Court’s desegregation rulings.

 

The plan for desegregating the schools of Little Rock was to be implemented in three phases, starting first with the senior and junior high schools, and then only after the successful integration of senior and junior schools would the elementary schools be integrated. After two years and still no progress, a suit was filed against the Little Rock School District in 1956. The court ordered the School Board to integrate the schools as of September 1957. Realizing her intense involvement and dedication to education and school integration, Daisy was the chosen agent. After the nine black students were selected to attend Central High Mrs. Bates would be with them every step of the way. Her home, not far from Central High, became the organizing and strategy center for nine African American students selected to desegregate the school in 1957. Bates walked into the schools daily with the children for an entire school year (1957-58). She received numerous death threats and she and her husband were forced to close The Arkansas State Press, because white advertisers began to boycott to punish the paper for supporting desegregation.

 

She was named Woman of the Year by the National Council of Negro Women in 1957. Along with the Little Rock Nine, Bates received the Spingarn Medal, the NAACP’s highest award, in 1958. Bates later wrote about her struggles in a memoir titled The Long Shadow of Little Rock, published in 1962. The introduction was written by former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt. And in 1987, the Daisy Bates Elementary School was dedicated in Little Rock, and the state named the third Monday in February George Washington’s Birthday and Daisy Gatson Bates Day.

 

Daisy Lee Gatson Bates died of a heart attack in Little Rock on November 4, 1999. She was the first African American to rest “In State” in the Arkansas State Capitol Building.  The Congressional Gold Medal was posthumously awarded to her by President Bill Clinton, and a documentary entitled “Daisy Bates: First Lady of Little Rock” aired on PBS in February of 2012.

 

SO BASICALLY WHAT I’M SAYIN’ IS THAT SINCE WE DON’T HAVE A PRESIDENT, I’M OFFICIALLY CALLING TODAY DAISY GATSON BATES DAY.

 

Because…I do.

But not just ANY hello kitty tees. But not just ANY hello kitty tee. These kind:

hello kitty

I have an impressive…collection of tees. [:::whistles and looks away:::]

Apparently I can never resist them. And I’ve pretty much been on a shopping moratorium because WHERE I’M GON’ PUT ALL THESE TEES?!

So, when I got the email for this shirt, I ignored it because I’M NOT SUPPOSED TO BE SHOPPING and I AM KICKING MYSELF BECAUSE GOOD LAWD*

hello panther

Hello! Sometimes you get gimmes because I get lazy, but also it’s something EYE think is interesting and because I write the facts, you get what I give you.

RELATEDLY. I’m pretty capable of finding a #BHFOTD anywhere, so let’s do this:

LET’S TALK ABOUT BLACK PANTHER Y’ALL.

It was VERY. VERY. Good. That’s really all I’m gon’ say because it JUST came out and I’m not spoilin’ this movie for anybody.

 

BUT. There are things that I can talk about that won’t ruin this at all:

(Black Panther firsts lightning round)

  • First Marvel Studios production to feature a primarily African-American cast.
  • First MCU film to be converted to ScreenX, a 270-degree wraparound format, that played in over 101 locations in eight countries.
  • First Disney film with a “cross-nation release in Africa” (OMG y’all. Have you seen people cosplaying the SHIT outta this movie at the moving picture shows? HEART. EYES.)
  • First 24 hours of ticket presales were the largest ever for a Marvel film. Two weeks ahead of its release, Fandango announced that the film outsold all previous superhero films at the same point in the sales cycle, breaking the record previously held by Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. AMC also revealed that the film was out-selling all previous Marvel films, with strong sales in both urban areas and suburban locations [because I guess black folks will support movies that show black folks being represented BECAUSE REPRESENTATION MATTERS.]

 

AND SPEAKING OF REPRESENTATION – In early January 2018, New York resident Frederick Joseph created a GoFundMe campaign in hopes to raise money to help children of color at the Boys & Girls Club in Harlem see Black Panther. oseph called the release of Black Panther a “rare opportunity for young students (primarily of color) to see a black major cinematic and comic book character come to life. This representation is truly fundamental for young people, especially those who are often underserved, unprivileged, and marginalized both nationally and globally.” The campaign exceeded its goal, and given the popularity of its intent, Joseph asked others to create their own campaigns in their own communities to take more children to see the film, which he named the “Black Panther Challenge” Over 400 additional campaigns were started around the world, with many celebrities offering their support and contributions to the campaigns, such as actress Octavia Spencer who intended to buy out a theater in Mississippi for underserved members of the community. Obi Umunna, a Jacksonville, Florida-based attorney born to Nigerian immigrants, participated in the challenge saying, “I just want for kids in my community to have the same opportunity and to see this movie… I think this is an awesome opportunity for them to see themselves represented in a very positive light… compared to some of the negative images that you see on a daily basis”. The campaign became the largest GoFundMe in history for an entertainment event and raised over $400,000.

ANYWAYS. Go see it. And FFS, STAY UNTIL THE VERY DAMN END. IT’S A GOTDAMN MARVEL MOVIE, STAY FOR THE BONUS CLIPS AT THE END.

*do not worry, I’ll be righting this wrong IMMEDIATELY, RIGHT AWAY (on payday)

 

Because I’m busy.
But. Since I was talkin’ about me in the LAST BHFOTD, I’m gonna continue talkin’ ‘bout me:

Yesterday was Seminar Day.
So I spent all of yesterday, taking the guest speaker all over campus to meet various people, which means that I was away from my desk more than I was at it.
And since I don’t learn and STILL refuse to plan these facts out, you didn’t get one.

But never fear! Today is ALSO Seminar Day (more like a half day, really and I didn’t have to do half as much stuff for this dude as I usually do), but I got time.
So let’s talk about the A-hole MD from Brown sommore.
Because he cancelled.
AFTER ALL OF THAT, THAT MOTHER FUNKER CANCELLED.
Y’all know I was furious, right?

My doc was copied on the e-mail, and when he saw me, the first thing he said was “I’M SORRY IT’S NOT MY FAULT”
Because while I don’t ALWAYS speak my mind (because concert tickets are expensive and I can’t go if I get fired from my job)
I feel like I always get my point across.

Kinda like Barbara Jordan, lawyer, educator and politician.

Ms. Jordan was the first African American elected to the Texas Senate after Reconstruction, the first Southern African-American woman elected to the United States House of Representatives. She was best known for her eloquent opening statement at the House Judiciary Committee hearings during the impeachment process against Richard Nixon, and as the first African-American woman to deliver a keynote address at a Democratic National Convention. She received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, among numerous other honors. She was a member of the Peabody Awards Board of Jurors from 1978 to 1980. She was the first African-American woman to be buried in the Texas State Cemetery

Jordan credited a speech she heard in her high school years by Edith S. Sampson with inspiring her to become a lawyer. Because of segregation, she could not attend The University of Texas at Austin and instead chose Texas Southern University (HBCU), majoring in political science and history, and pledging Delta Sigma Theta. She graduated magna cum laude, then attended Boston University School of Law, graduating in 1959.

Jordan taught political science at Tuskegee Institute for a year, then in 1960, she returned to Houston, passed the bar and started a private practice. Jordan campaigned unsuccessfully in 1962 and 1964 for the Texas House of Representatives. She won a seat in the Texas Senate in 1966, then was re-elected to a full term in the Texas Senate in 1968, she served until 1972. She was the first African-American female to serve as president pro tem of the state senate and served one day, June 10, 1972, as acting governor of Texas. To date Jordan is the only African-American woman to serve as governor of a state (excluding lieutenant governors).

In 1972, she was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, the first woman in her own right to represent Texas in the House. She received extensive support from former President Lyndon B. Johnson, who helped her secure a position on the House Judiciary Committee. In 1974, she made an influential televised speech before the House Judiciary Committee supporting the impeachment of President Richard Nixon, Johnson’s successor as President. She delivered a 15-minute televised speech in front of the members of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee that were part of the impeachment process against Richard Nixon. This speech is thought to be one of the best speeches of the 20th century. She defended the checks and balances system, which was set in place to inhibit any politician from abusing their power. :::side eye:::

Jordan never flat out said that she wanted Nixon impeached, but rather subtly and cleverly implied her thoughts. She simply stated facts that proved Nixon to be untrustworthy and heavily involved in illegal situations, and quoted the drafters of the Constitution in order to argue that actions like Nixon’s during the scandal corresponded with their understanding of impeachable offenses . She protested that the Russian hacking scandal will forever ruin the trust American citizens have for their government. Oh, did I say Russian hacking? I definitely meant to say Watergate. Ahem. Maybe I should also fix those links* This powerful and influential statement earned Jordan national praise for her rhetoric, morals, and wisdom.

Jordan supported the Community Reinvestment Act of 1977, legislation that required banks to lend and make services available to underserved poor and minority communities. She supported the renewal of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and expansion of that act to cover language minorities; this extended protection to Hispanics in Texas and was opposed by Texas Governor Dolph Briscoe and Secretary of State Mark White. She also authored an act that ended federal authorization of price fixing by manufacturers. During Jordan’s tenure as a Congresswoman she sponsored or cosponsored over 300 bills or resolutions, several of which are still in effect today as law.

And there you go! Black women being first, so other black women can be next. Because REPRESENTATION MATTERS.

Relatedly. I wanna acknowledge that Barbara had one more first: She would have been the first lesbian known to have been elected to the United States Congress. Although Jordan never publicly acknowledged her sexual orientation, her Houston Chronicle obituary mentioned her longtime companion of more than 20 years, Nancy Earl. Her legacy inspired the Jordan Rustin Coalition, a Los Angeles-based organization dedicated to the empowerment of Black LGBT people and families.

 

*I’m not going to fix those links. Go on and look at them.

 

One of the things that I do is schedule Seminars.
My docs invite other doctors (PhDs, MDs, DVMs, DMVs <- okay. I made that one up) to come talk to them and the rest of the researchers.
THEN I e-mail the guest speaker, and set up all his stuff – flights and lodging and alladat.
Seems not that bad, right?
For the most part these guests have been super nice and easy going and they made all of this relatively painless.

BUT THERE’S ALWAYS ONE.
THIS ONE couldn’t fly anything but first class because BLAH BLAH BLAH
THIS ONE needed a VERY. SPECIFIC. FLIGHT. because he wanted to be back at a very specific time.
THIS ONE has an EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT, but his wife called me because she ALSO had requests about his travel.
(that I ignored, because ma’am… if you don’t get…)

ANYWAYS.
I finally get him all squared away, then his assistant calls me TO CHANGE HIS FLIGHT.
[which, OF COURSE was nonrefundable and a million dollars because first class]
After I stop screaming internally, I call the assistant back:

Me: So. He can have the same flight on a different day, with just a change fee. Otherwise, I’ll have to buy A WHOLE NEW MILLION DOLLAR FIRST CLASS TICKET. PLEASE DO NOT MAKE ME TO THAT.
Her: Let me ask him. Because I don’t want to say yes, and then he changes his mind.
Me: I don’t want to have to fly all the way to Rhode Island to strangle your doctor.
Her, thinking that I’m kidding: Ohh, hahahahaha.
Me: …
Her: Okay then. I’ll find out and call back.

I am very, VERY professional. But I was also very serious.

And here I was thinking that if ONLY it were true that all black people knew each other*
Because then I coulda called Ruth Simmons, 18th president of Brown University, and the FIRST black President of an Ivy League institution, to get him together.
[oh, look! A president I can acknowledge! – says the girl who has no president]

Ahem.
Simmons was elected Brown’s first female president in November 2000, assuming that office in the fall of 2001. In 2002, Newsweek selected her as Woman of the Year, while in 2001, Time named her as America’s best college president.

Ruth Simmons was born in Grapeland, Texas, the last of 12 children of Fanny (née Campbell) and Isaac Stubblefield. Her father was a sharecropper, until the family moved to Houston during her school years. Her paternal grandfather descends partly from the Benza and Kota people, slaves from Gabon, while her maternal line is traced back to the indigenous peoples of the Caribbean who were enslaved by the Spaniards.

She earned her bachelor’s degree, on scholarship, from Dillard University in New Orleans, Louisiana, in 1967. She went on to earn her master’s and doctorate in Romance literature from Harvard University in 1970 and 1973, respectively.

After that she was a VERY busy lady: Assistant professor of French at the University of New Orleans from 1973-1976 and Assistant Dean of the UNO College of Liberal Arts from 1975-76. She moved to California State University, Northridge in 1977 as administrative coordinator of its NEH Liberal Studies Project. From 1978-79, she was acting director of CSU-Northridge’s International Programs and visiting associate professor of Pan-African Studies. She moved to the University of Southern California in 1979 as assistant dean of graduate studies, and then as associate dean of graduate studies. THEN She moved to Princeton University in 1983 and served as assistant dean of faculty and then associate dean of faculty from 1986 to 1990. Simmons served as provost at Spelman College from 1990 to 1991 and returned to Princeton as its vice provost from 1992 to 1995. And in 1995, Simmons became the first African-American woman to head a major college or university when she was selected as president of Smith College, which she led until 2001. As president of Smith College, Simmons started the first engineering program in a U.S. woman’s college.

Simmons became president of Brown in October 2001, succeeding Gordon Gee. At Brown, she completed a $1.4 billion initiative – the largest in Brown’s history – known as Boldly Brown: The Campaign for Academic Enrichment in order to enhance Brown’s academic programs. And in 2013, she established the University Steering Committee on Slavery and Justice to examine this complex history of slavery and the founding Brown family wealth, and make recommendations for how the university might approach the relevant issues.

On September 15, 2011, Simmons announced that she would step down from the Brown presidency at the end of the academic year, June 30, 2012. On June 19, 2017, she was named interim president of Prairie View A&M University, a Historically Black University and a member of the Texas A&M University System, assuming the office on July 1, 2017. On December 4, 2017, she was officially named the eighth president of Prairie View. She is the first woman to serve as president of the university.

*closes up Wikipedia tab*

I would say that it’s interesting it took until 1995 to see First Black Presidents (of major colleges and universities), but maybe it’s not so much interesting as it is ABOUT TIME that the descendants of the enslaved people who built these institutions/ and or created the wealth of the people who did, are now making history in these institutions. But yannow. I’m just providing facts, not commentary.

 

*We don’t all know each other, but I feel like the degrees of separation are in my favor:
This one time my auntie met Michelle Obama, who in, incidentally married to President Barack Obama.
Who appointed Dr. Simmons to the President’s Commission on White House Fellowships in 2009.
So basically, I’m the man, sitting next to the man, who’s sitting NEXT to the goddamn man who knows Ruth Stubblefield Simmons.

 

I’ve kinda been on a black women in black history kick. [Aside from Monday because, SUPER BOWL]
Because I am one. Because I was raised by one. And because I’m raising/raised? one.
And I love us. A LOT.
We’re innovative, and brilliant, and beautiful, and funny AND SHADY AF.

aunties baby

Dis auntie’s baby, y’all. And she don’t care if the ENTIRE FACEBOOK knows she don’t like your boyfriend.
Yes, Yes…I know the rest of y’all are tryna get on our level.So please don’t with the, “but all…”

BECAUSE LISTEN.

We been doin’ this for a long time. And the older we get, the more fucks we lose.

Like today’s BHFOTD, April D. Ryan, former White House Correspondent.

ADR

The internet is undefeated guys. Everybody can get it.

April D. Ryan is a graduate of Morgan State University (HBCU alumni!)and was awarded an honorary doctorate from her alma mater in 2017. She began her media career as a jazz disc jockey before turning to reporting. Ryan has been a member of the White House press corps for American Urban Radio Networks since January 1997 and has long been the only black female reporter among the White House correspondents. She is a member of the National Press Club and is one of only three African Americans to have served on the board of the White House Correspondent’s Association.

As a White House correspondent, Ryan has covered four presidential administrations. Following the election of President Donald Trump, Ryan gained notoriety in 2017 after notable exchanges with him and his press secretary Sean Spicer. At a February press conference, when Trump began talking about “inner city places” and urban crime, she asked him if he planned to meet with the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC). He responded by telling her to set up the meeting with them before asking, “Are they friends of yours?” Because OBVIOUSLY all black people know each other.

As one of the few African Americans in the White House press corps, Ryan is often the only journalist asking questions on issues concerning minorities, which she has come to resent. She said in an interview in May 2017, “Why can’t the dynamic of all people be in that room? Why can’t it be? All people are covered under the White House. Am I correct? So I really dislike that, but I have no qualms with it. If you want to call me a black reporter, I am the black reporter who also asks other issues and questions on China, Russia, Syria, North Korea. So if you want to label me a black reporter, I’LL BE DAT [I’m kiddin’…she actually said I take it with a badge of honor. But she meant what *I* said.].”

In May 2017, the National Association of Black Journalists named Ryan as the “Journalist of the Year”. She joined CNN as a political analyst in 2017.

Her first book, The Presidency in Black and White: My Up-Close View of Three Presidents and Race in America, was published in 2015 and won an NAACP Image Award. Her second book, At Mama’s Knee: Mothers and Race in Black and White, was published in 2016. Her work has also appeared in Politico. Her blog, Fabric of America, is devoted to minority issues and stories in the United States.

 

Empty elevator means #mirroredelevatordoorselfie

A post shared by briya (@briya) on

A mirrored elevator selfie.

Even though I know good and well the elevators in my building have closed circuit TV.
Guess who has two thumbs and gives zero damns? THIS GIRL.
And those security guards have probably seen me:
• Put on lipstick
• Check for food stuck in my teeth
• Check for mocos
• Fix my tights/stockings/leggings (as leggings not pants)
• Stretch. What? An empty elevator is a great place to stretch out for a couple seconds.
• Flee. Because one time this dude DUCKED to get into the elevator and y’all KNOW I’m not having that.

I’m pretty sure they’ve seen worse. Because people are gross when they think they’re alone. [You’re neverrrr alooooone] *

And basically we have Marie Van Brittan Brown to thank for that.

Marie was an African-American inventor, who became the originator of the home security system (patent number 3,482,037) in 1966, along with her husband Albert Brown (the patent was granted in 1969). For her invention she received an award from the National Science Committee.

Marie worked as a nurse and her husband, Albert Brown, worked as an electronics technician. Their work hours were not the standard 9-5, and the crime rate in their Queens, New York City neighborhood was very high. Even when the police were contacted in the event of an emergency, the response time tended to be slow.** [The more things change, the more they stay the same] As a result, Brown looked for ways to increase her level of personal security. She needed to create a system that would allow her to know who was at her home and contact relevant authorities as quickly as possible.

Brown’s security system was the basis for the two-way communication and surveillance features of modern security. Her original invention was comprised of peepholes, a camera, monitors, and a two-way microphone. The final element was an alarm button that could be pressed to contact the police immediately.

Although the system was originally intended for domestic uses, many businesses began to adopt her system due to its effectiveness. The Browns’ patent was later referenced by thirteen other inventors including some as recently as 2013.

 

* You know how certain phrases make you think of song lyrics (and people)? This one does that. HI KAREN. LOVE YOU!
** Just in case all you thought I listened to was alternative and gospel. YOU’RE WELCOME.

 

By that, I mostly mean I don’t go to church. I mean, I HAVE BELIEFS* but going to church is not really my jam.
[You may call your higher power whatever you like. Or maybe you don’t believe at all and that’s fine too]

I’m mostly a do no harm, take no shit kinda person.
[Please note that you should try Jesus. You should not try me]
And as such, I spend a lot of Sundays volunteering at a Health Clinic as an pro-choice escort.
Yes. ONE OF THOSE clinics. I! AIN’T! SHAME!

Depending on where I’m assigned, my job is:
To walk whoever is visiting the clinic for whatever reason they’re visiting ** from the parking lot to the door.
To stand around and block protesters from yelling at/harassing patients (basically me standing in front of people yelling)
Opening the door to let them in.
And wear this fancy vest:
BLM Pro Choice
Dassit.

No. I don’t have to fist fight antis. Or tell them they all wrong as two left shoes.
In fact, I’M NOT SUPPOSED TO TALK TO THEM AT ALL.
That’s right kids! The policy is not to engage, so they do not get the pleasure of me telling them to go FUCK THEMSELVES
And that’s a lot harder than you think, guys. Because if you think all pro-choice escorts get treated the same, HAVE I GOT NEWS FOR YOU.
I get a lot of crap for being black. A LOT!
SO MUCH that once I tapped out and moved to a different post before I flying kicked some anti in the mouth.
That ain’t gon’ make me quit, doe.

Because I believe in reproductive rights. And everyone’s right to have them. Much like today’s BHFOTD.

Faye Wattleton. First African American, AND the youngest president ever elected to Planned Parenthood Federation of America, AND the first woman since Margaret Sanger to hold the position.

Faye earned her Master of Science degree in maternal and infant care, with certification as a nurse-midwife, from Columbia University in 1967. While working towards her master’s degree, she interned at a hospital in Harlem. There, she saw first-hand the “life-threatening effects of unsafe abortions performed on female patients” and she began to work in women’s health advocacy. In 1967, she was an assistant director of Public Health Nursing services in Dayton, Ohio. This is where she “began her career as an effective coalition builder for reproductive rights.” The same year, she also joined the board of the local Planned Parenthood and shortly after, Wattleton became the president of the Planned Parenthood of Dayton.

During her presidency at Planned Parenthood Federation of America, from 1978 to 1992, Fay transformed the organization into the politically engaged entity that it is today, while at the same time dramatically increasing its health-care services. Anticipating that the 1980s would bring many political challenges, she restructured the organization so that it could respond to the new environment created by the Ronald Reagan administration and the rise of the Religious Right. She also led Planned Parenthood’s growth as a health-care provider. By the time she left the organization, it had more than 170 affiliates in 49 states and Washington, D.C., and operated more than 800 health centers.

She also:
• has received 14 honorary doctoral degrees
• was named Humanist of the Year
• formed (along w/ 15 other black men and women) African American Women for Reproductive Freedom
• received the S. Roger Horchow Award for Greatest Public Service by a Private Citizen
• was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame
• AND served as the president of the Center for the Advancement of Women, which she helped found.

And now, I’m climbing off my soapbox and wrapping up this BHFOTD. As a side note, I almost never know who the fact is gonna be about in advance. This is one I randomly found while looking for something else. But now I wish that I COULD talk to the antis, just so I could tell them this. Could I maybe just scatter fliers around to learn ‘em something? No? FINE.

 

*I also have a weird sense of humor and a ridiculously varied taste in music. Deal with it!
** MY SPECIFIC PLACE is not a Planned Parenthood, but offers all kinds of services also. Because it’s a HEALTH CLINIC.