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I was listening to the radio which I really don’t do a lot of anymore, but Hit ‘em up came on and I am never not amused at that being one of Spanky’s favorite diss tracks ESPECIALLY since she was BARELY one when it was released which I guess says a lot about my parenting but also I’ve talked a lot about how I used to play catch with The Boy when he was a baby so is anybody really surprised to learn that Spank learned this song before she was in pre-K?  ANYWAY. I was listening and thinking to myself it’s Friday and there is no reason at all I can’t do a fact on music ‘cause some of the stereotypes are true you guys. I love music. And I’m not sorry at all for finding completely ridiculous but true stories to tell you about Black History. So let’s talk about black on black crime diss tracks!

DID YOU KNOW that one of the earliest examples of a diss track is a song to called “You Keep Her” by Joe Tex? Because y’all. R & B singers was WILIN’ OUT. This is what had happened: Joe Tex and James Brown were label mates at King Records. [I didn’t think I knew who Joe Tex was, but I do because my auntie used to always play this song called Ain’t Gonna Bump No More (With No Big Fat Woman) and can I just tell you that song ALWAYS makes me laugh. Even right now. I was 5 when that song came out. And I’m still 5.]

BACK TO MY STORY: Their beef started when  when Brown reportedly called out on Tex for a “battle” during a dance at a local juke joint. In 1960, Tex left King and recorded a few songs for Detroit-based Anna Records; one of the songs he recorded was the ballad “Baby, You’re Right”. A year later, Brown recorded the song and released it in 1961, changing the lyrics and the musical composition, earning Brown co-songwriting credits along with Tex. By then, Brown had “recruited” singer Bea Ford, who had been married to Tex but had divorced him in 1959. In 1960, Brown and Ford recorded the song, “You’ve Got the Power”. Not too long after, Tex got a personal letter from Brown telling him that he was through with Ford and if Tex wanted her back, he could have her. Tex responded by recording the diss record “You Keep Her” in 1962, where he basically told him “I taught her er’thang she knows; you’re welcome. Gon’ and keep her ‘cause I got me a new boo thang”

ALSO THOUGH. When you start taking people’s girl/boy friends you just gotta assume that they will continuously wish the bad things in life happen to you and nobody but you, right? SO. In 1963, James and Joe used to hang out at this after hours spot called Club 15. One night Joe did a performance making fun of Brown’s cape act. And James…was not amused. So one night James went in with two shotguns, and started shooting up the place while Otis Redding and the Pinetoppers were playing. James Brown ended up shooting 6 or 7 people before jumping into his tour bus and peeling out. A member of his entourage stayed behind and handed out $100 bills to keep everyone (including the people he shot) quiet. This story lives rent free in my head. And I wanted to share it with you. Because it too, it’s Black History.

And just like that I’ve knocked out an entire week of BHFOTD! Hope you enjoyed, blah blah blah, Stay tuned to find out what other ridiculousness I decide to share or if I decide to use my weekend to PLAN OUT A FACT instead of “no plans, just vibin’ my way through Black History Month” (hint: I already have plans for a beach walk, a bubble bath, and a nap. And that’s all)

See y’all next week! Don’t forget to tip your server (me. I am your server) BYEEEEE

Like, high as giraffe pussy high.

SNOOP DOGG HIGH. Dig?

Two years ago (or so), I called my cable provider and was like, hey listen: I don’t want to pay this much for my cable. But I also do not want to lose any of my services. Please keep in mind before you tell me that I have to, that I’ve already priced other service providers. And so they took enough off my bill that I kept the service. But whatever they did expired and I wanted to slap somebody when I saw my bill for January. FINE. I did the little chat thing on the website and repeated the whole spiel. And because they outsource customer service usually, the person was not able to help me, but promised I’d be getting an email with some options for discounts. THEN. I clicked out and completed the survey. I was VERY complimentary. “He was friendly, polite, and courteous. But I’m not playing with y’all. My bill is too damn high and I *will* cancel this service if y’all don’t lower it. Thanks for your help!” That is pretty much a direct quote. It me. Charming. But with the shits.

I said all that to say that bullying works guys. Sometimes though, it takes constant bullying to make it stick. Would you like another example because I have a BHFOTD to share? No?

Wonderful! If I was writing this fact YESTERDAY (which I did not), I woulda told you that YESTERDAY in 1988, the president of the Alabama NAACP and 13 other Black people were arrested for trying to scale an 8-foot fence around the Alabama State Capitol in an effort to take down a confederate flag atop the building. “The Blacks” (a direct quote from a NYT article in 1988) contend that the Rebel battle flag (/flag of the confederate* states which lost a WHOLE ASS WAR because they wanted to keep Black people enslaved/ flag of LOSERS)  is a racist symbol of slavery and oppression. The NAACP was also campaigning to bring down a confederate flag over the South Carolina Statehouse, AND remove the rebel flag from the designs of the Georgia** and Mississippi state flags.

White people across from the Alabama Capitol sang “Dixie” and carried signs reading “Heritage, Honor, Pride, Not Racist” , “Save Our Flag” and “Jews will not replace us”. Oh wait. That last one was South Carolina racists. My bad. A smaller crowd of blacks sang “Knuck if you Buck”. I’m kidding. They sang “We Shall Overcome” But I still say the former is more appropriate.

State Troopers and Capitol police confronted State Rep Thomas Reed, the President of the state chapter of the NAACP. Wow. State Troopers at a Capitol Building to confront black people protesting? WHO WOULD HAVE THOUGHT? Certainly not any Black person protesting anywhere ever. ANYWAY. All 14 were charged with 2nd degree criminal trespassing and each was released on bond.

It didn’t work that time, but guess what? People were not done! In 2015, After the murder of nine parishioners at a historic black church in Charleston, South Carolina, the protests got a little louder. ‘Cause let’s face it. Plenty of people have pointed out this flag is racist AF, but racists in power continued to Heritage and History the flag. Conveniently forgetting that the Heritage AND History was Slavery.   The murderer of nine people, whose name deserves no mention, had MANY photos holding the rebel flag. Bree Newsome, tired of talking, scaled a 30-foot flagpole at the South Carolina Statehouse and took down the confederate flag. She was arrested (Naturalmente. You can’t just storm a Capitol building and not expect to get arrested. OR CAN YOU? HAHAHAHAHAHA *clears throat*)  But then the Governor Nikki Haley signed a bill removing the flag from the statehouse grounds, describing it as “a reminder of systemic oppression and racial subjugation.” [POST Charleston Church shooting. Not one second before.]  And then, New Orleans removed several confederate monuments.

BUT WAIT. THERE’S MORE: On June 18, 2020, the commissioner of the Southeastern Conference, announced the SEC would consider banning championship events in Mississippi until the flag was changed. The SEC is the athletic conference for the two largest universities in Mississippi, Ole Miss and Mississippi State. On June 19, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) banned all post-season play from occurring in Mississippi until the flag is changed. The NCAA had previously banned predetermined events such as football bowl games and men’s basketball tournament games in 2001 from occurring in the state. The new rule would have also banned merit-based championship sites, such as baseball regionals, softball regionals, women’s basketball tournament games and tennis tournament games. Ole Miss hosted both baseball and softball regionals in 2019. Mississippi State hosted a baseball regional, men’s tennis tournament games and women’s basketball tournament games in 2019. AND THEN. June 22, Conference USA banned all postseason play in Mississippi until the removal of the Confederate emblem from the state flag. Conference USA is home to the state’s third largest university, Southern Miss, and has hosted its annual baseball tournament in Mississippi for eight of the past nine years. On June 23, presidents of the fifteen community colleges in Mississippi issued a joint statement showing their support for a new flag.

Just call Mississippi Sun City.

And wouldn’t you know it, JUST LIKE THAT, Lieutenant Governor Delbert Hosemann announced his support for a new flag on June 24th. Hosemann was joined by Attorney General Lynn Fitch, State Auditor Shad White, Agriculture Commissioner Andy Gipson and Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney. On June 27, 2020, the Mississippi Legislature passed a resolution, House Concurrent Resolution 79, that suspended rules in the legislative chambers in order to debate and vote on a bill to remove and replace the state flag. The motion was passed with the House approving by a vote of 85–34 and the Senate approving by a vote of 36–14.

See kids? Bullying people for being racist works! KEEP GOING. One flag down, ONE TO GO.

*The word confederate does not deserve capitalization. It knows what it did.

**Georgia’s flag hasn’t been changed YET. BUT ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE WITH BLACK WOMEN WHO STRENGTHEN ME FLIPPED GEORGIA BLUE

One of my favorite ones (surprise surprise!) was working at 24 hour fitness. In the corporate office guys. I still had to people, but I didn’t have to LOOK at them. I sent them nicety emails when they complained about things that weren’t our fault and credited them free months when it was. A surprising amount of military personnel have memberships and honestly I don’t know why ‘cause a) they get “free workouts” just about every day AND b) there is a FREE GYM on every base (but damn near everyone there is military or attached in some way and I suppose it’s easier to ogle women when you don’t know if they are also military and will beat you up for being inappropriate and/or know your spouse and rat you out you still end up getting beaten up). Anyway. Not the point of this story.

While I was working there, I decided to get a part time gig at Frederick’s of Hollywood which was truly a terrible decision because you get 40% everything even the stuff on sale, you could BUY stuff and have them take it out of your check AND if you wore skirts/dresses you had to wear pantyhose. And if you know me at all, you definitely know that was the straw that made me tell them I broke my leg and I was never coming back. (I was young, okay? But it was also nicer than just saying y’all done lost your damn mind and this is all a BunchOfBullshit. I had to dress nicer there than I did at my REAL JOB!) I did make it through Christmas/New Year’s shopping but whew I was glad to be shut of that job and back in my jeans. Like can you imagine getting a job that SEEMS like it’s gonna be amazing and then realizing that no? No it wasn’t?

I like to think that William Hastie, probably knew. But I’m just guessing. Who is that?

Before I tell you, lemme tell you ANOTHER story! I’ll try to keep it short, but no guarantees [still not sorry! But at least it’s SFW].

SO! Imagine you’re a Black* (and native with some *possible* European mixed in because massa just refused to stay outta slave quarters, I’m sure for a little razzle dazzle) graduate of Harvard Law School, in private practice with your cousin in DC serving  as assistant solicitor of the US Department of the Interior advising the agency on racial issues.  It’s 1937, and FDR just appointed YOU, to the District Court of the Virgin Islands, making you the first African American federal judge. Because america is yannow…AMERICA, the Chairman of the US Senate Committee on the Judiciary calls your appointment a blunder. World War II is happening and Black people are complaining about discrimination at home while fighting against intolerance overseas (side note: I promise you that I randomly chose this fact today, probably about an hour ago and I am continuously amused at how closely sometimes the past facts mirror the present tense. Okay. Back to my story). You do your job for 2 years, and then in 1939, you resign from the court to go about your black ass business be the Dean of the Howard University School of Law. Where you become a member of Omega Psi Phi [I clearly was not kidding when I said his black ass business], and teach Thurgood Marshall, who went on to be the first black US Supreme Court Justice.

Now. I’m not saying that he quit ‘cause he was probably SICK of racists talking slick to him as the FIRST BLACK to do something that they ain’t think he had a right to do because how DARE HE THINK HE’S EQUAL, but I’m not saying he didn’t either.

Also? FDR’s successor, Harry Truman, appointed Hastie as Territorial Governor of the US Virgin Islands. A position he held from 1946-49 before THEN receiving a recess appointment to the US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, to a new seat authorized by 63 Stat. 493, becoming the first African-American federal appellate judge. He was nominated to the same position by President Truman on January 5, 1950. He was confirmed by the United States Senate on July 19, 1950, and received his commission on July 22, 1950. He served as Chief officer as a member of the Judicial Conference of the United States from 1968 to 1971. He assumed senior status on May 31, 1971. He was a Judge of the Temporary Emergency Court of Appeals from 1972 to 1976. His service terminated on April 14, 1976, due to his death in Philadelphia, while playing golf. So maybe it WAS the people he worked with before that chapped his ass since it CLEARLY wasn’t the Judgin’.

*please note that if EYE specifically mention racial makeup it’s ‘cause it was SPECIFICALLY mentioned somewhere. Not that it mattered, ‘cause when you’re racist, even a drop of black genetics makes you black and mentioning that he *might* have European ancestry is strictly to give him some legitimacy. But let’s all be clear that any whiteness in his veins was most likely because his family was owned by some white folks. Okay byeeeeee

Sometime last year, I locked myself out of my bedroom. Spanky was harassing me and I told her I was gonna lock my door if she didn’t leave me alone. Which, is saying something ‘cause I never lock my door. And then I did it. I locked it. But instead of closing it, I came out to do something and then guess what I did? I did exactly what you think I did. And because I didn’t have one of those locks where you just kinda stick a pin in it and pop the thingy out, I was LOCKED OUT locked out.  THEN I thought, well maybe I can just take apart the doorknob except I took it apart and since I didn’t know what I was doing now I had a deconstructed knob but a still locked door that I couldn’t figure out how to unlock. So I did what anybody who is not good with thingabobs would do. I went to my neighbor’s house and asked them to help me. And because he and his wife love me, he came over to tell me that I effed up the doorknob. INSTEAD he helped me get Spank through a window. Who in turn, unlocked the door from the inside and let me in. (Yes. I got a new doorknob. SO FAR SO GOOD)

And if you were wondering if this was a metaphor for you getting in where you fit in so that you can just open the damn door for somebody else/ DID I JUST GET TO THE BHFOTD? The answer is yes! Because today’s fact is a gimme. Because I’m lazy and even though EVERY DAMN YEAR I say, “Last year was SO HECTIC. I should definitely, absolutely plan these” I. DO. NOT. But I know y’all come for the bullsh!t, and stay for the fact, so let’s get into Robert Hayden.

*cracks knuckles*

Robert Hayden was a Black American poet, essayist and educator. He served as Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 1976 to 1978. Whew that title is QUITE a mouthful. [That’s what she said? No?]  He was the first African American to climb through a window to hold the office. Who made it easier for Gwendolyn Brooks, first African American to receive a Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1950, to become the  Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress for the 1985-86 term. Anyway. Ms. Brooks, cleared the way for Rita Dove, SECOND African American to win a Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, first AND youngest African American to have been appointed to Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress, since the position was created by an act of Congress in 1986 from the previous “consultant in poetry” position (1937–86). And Rita Dove (I just love her name!) just went on and opened the door for Amanda Gorman to walk through.

In 2017 Amanda Gorman, poet and activist, was the FIRST PERSON to be named  National Youth Poet Laureate. The National Youth Poet Laureate is a title held in the United States by a young person who demonstrates skill in the arts, particularly poetry and/or spoken word, is a strong leader, is committed to social justice, and is active in civic discourse and advocacy. It is a title awarded annually to one winner among five finalists, most of whom have been chosen as the Poet Laureate for their city or region. Amanda was named Poet Laureate of Los Angeles in 2014.

She was also the first youth poet (of…any color, if we’re keeping track. AND WE ARE) to open the literary season for the Library of Congress! AND the youngest poet to read at a presidential inauguration* in united states history. She will also be making MORE history the first poet to perform at the super bowl. I guess the NFL LIKES activists now? Who would have thought that after years of talking wild sh!t about Colin Kaepernick kneeling for the national anthem [No. I am not sorry] in protest against racial injustice and police brutality and kicking him out the NFL and then having to SETTLE a lawsuit for an undisclosed (and probably ungodly) amount of money, while america was america-ing  and the police proving time and time again that they ARE in fact, violent and racist up to and including participating in an insurrection, the NFL would invite a poet and activist to speak? CERTAINLY NOT ME.

*hey! Did y’all know Maya Angelou DID NOT win a Pulitzer Prize, and was never a Poet Laureate? I mean, I *KNEW*, but I didn’t *KNOW* if that makes sense? But it do not matter ‘cause you know what she DID do? She was the first black poet to speak at a presidential inauguration. I didn’t add her up top ‘cause she was neither a pulitzer prize winner OR a poet laureate but ALSO IT DO NOT MATTER ‘cause mama Maya still blazed one hell of a trail that put Amanda Gorman on the write (get it? See what I did there?!) path.

Hello! It’s February and you know what dat mean! It means that I am going to be pulling black history facts out of a grab bag and then writing things. Hope y’all are ready, ‘cause I never am!

(also hi hello strangers and friends new to Black History Facts of the Day. I’m Briya, your “host”. I get to write about whatever I want and if you somehow managed to get on this list, IT’S YOUR OWN FAULT THIS IS HAPPENING TO YOU. Enjoy! Or don’t! I’m doin’ it anyway)

I know I know…it’s been a while. But also, it’s not February, so you get what you pay for. And this is free.

Today is Juneteenth! And normally I would do a post about it, but TBH I didn’t feel like it for various reasons (really hard to celebrating being “freed” when the cops are out here acting like this is in Pimp Your Ride except with cops being like, I’m finna put some police brutality at your protest about police brutality – with bonus war crimes!). Ahem. I’m not here to talk about that right now. Because these facts are about HISTORY. Says so right in the title. WHICH MEANS this is about the PAST and not the PRESENT.

So anyway, on this day, in 1971, a civil rights lawsuit and March triggered rioting that ended in the Mayor of Columbus Georgia declaring a state of emergency.

The Grinch Smiling GIF by The Good Films - Find & Share on GIPHY

(I am NOT SORRY)

PLOT TWIST: This all started ‘cause the Black policemen of the Columbus Georgia PD complained of segregation, discrimination during promotions and overall favoritism to white policemen. IMAGINE! The po-lice being racist. WHO WOULD HAVE THOUGHT.

Anyway. This season of racial hostility started May 31 when 7 Black policemen ripped the american flag from their uniforms during a picket outside their headquarters and were all fired on the basis of “conduct unbecoming a police officer”.  They argued there was no justice and probably no peace in the CPD and they would not wear the flag until they received the equality, justice, and respect for which it stood (HAHAHAHAHA *cough*). Many conflicts ensued due to the racial tension caused by the policemen’s gesture (‘cause I guess white people BEEN on that ReSpEcT tHe fLaG BS).

THEN. On Saturday, June 19, 1971, Hosea Williams, regional VP of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), helped organize a protest march in support of demands made in a class-action lawsuit against the city, and to protest the city’s failure to address grievances of the Afro-American Police League. The lawsuit’s plaintiffs sought to eliminate longstanding discriminatory practices in the department, and to reinstate officers who had protested against said practices. Although the protest march was peaceful, racial tensions were high in Columbus, and violence escalated dramatically after the demonstration. Rioting reached a height on June 21, 1971, when a white officer, L. A. Jacks, shot and killed a twenty-year old African American youth named Willie J. Osborne after an alleged armed robbery. Safety Director Sargis, said the Osborne youth and a companion were sighted by policemen on the watch for two blacks wanted for a $241 market hold up before midnight. He said the police had chased the two men at speeds reaching 100 mph before forcing their vehicle to a halt. If you were wondering if it the “getaway” car was a Hyundai (est. in 1968 but the first american model wasn’t until 1986), it wasn’t. Detectives who had joined the chase attempted to stop the men from escaping after they fled from the car, Mr. Sargis said, and warning shots were fired. One of the fleeing men stumbled, and when the man recovered his balance the policemen said they saw a “shiny object” in his hand.

Whew chile! The people were BIG MAD. There were riots, arson attacks, policemen and firemen being fired at by snipers, and rocks and bottles were being thrown into the wind shields of moving cars. The continuing protests prompted the Columbus City Council to invoke an emergency ordinance, and Columbus mayor J. R. Allen to declare a state of emergency.

As it turns out though, the disturbances of that week end had their origin in another shooting of a young Columbus Black. [Quelle surprise! It’s almost like the police had…a pattern]

The previous year, Columbus policemen wounded a 17‐year‐old boy after a high‐speed auto chase. The youth, one of four riding in a stolen car, was shot in the back as he ran from the car after it was stopped by the police. He was later charged with conspiracy to commit an armed robbery. The Afro‐American Police League, formed earlier that year by 39 of the police department’s 52 black officers, protested that shooting and contended that it was part of a general wave of police violence directed at the black community.

*Closes alllll the tabs I had open to dig up this story*

I certainly don’t want y’all to think that I’ve found some sympathy for the black police being discriminated against because deFund/Fuck The Police all day over here. I just thought it was INTERESTING that even a random black history fact from 49 years ago was about police violence in the black community, with a side of racism(and probably some police on police violence. do we talk about that?) in the police department. And then, here we are in the year 2020 with The National Assoc. of Black Law Enforcement Officers talmbout “The institution of policing has been inherently biased against POC (but also specifically black people who should not be lumped in with POC when they really mean BLACK – my emphasis, not theirs)”

Also, if’n I were prone to seeing connections, and I’m not – I’m just here to share some history with y’all, I’d wonder all things being equal WHY IS IT that white police officers seem to feel so… hostile towards OTHER officers  that are just like them, only… Black? As a side note: Did you know that slave patrols were america’s early form of policing? I know y’all know I ain’t making shit up, BUT AGAIN I AM SHOWING MY WORK [I also wanna point out for anybody too lazy to click that I found this on the National Law Enforcement Museum website]

OR.

If I were the type to compare things, which, I also I am not, I would compare the microcosm of the police department to the greater world where black people have been systemically disenfranchised since they were brought here up to and including being enslaved for TWO AND ONE HALF ADDITIONAL YEARS AFTER THEY’D BEEN EMANCIPATED (Happy Juneteenth, y’all! I didn’t think I’d manage to drop this somewhere in this fact, but look at me) and I squinted JUST RIGHT I feel like I could maybe see some similarities.

BUT. I am not here to connect, or compare, or even contrast (three is always the magic number, friends). EYE am just here to share black history facts with you. Hope you enjoyed today’s random NOT Juneteenth Fact. In a surprise move, I’m actually off today and sending this email from the past. Hope y’all do something extra black today. Like keep fighting to get free for real.

 

 

 

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And that’s why y’all ain’t get sh*t last Thursday and Friday.
I went to Alabama. On vacation. On purpose.
I was in the COUNTRY country, y’all.
And I did stuff that is so unlike me that I have to tell you about it:
I got a fried catfish plate. With mac & cheese and green beans
(because while I enjoy being a stereotype when it comes to loving music and watermelon I hate greens)
Anyway. Not the surprising part. BUT. I GOT IT AT A GAS STATION.
Honestly, y’all. It was SO GOOD. But I would still never do that in Los Angeles, California.

You know something else I’d never do in LA? Go to a Mardi Gras parade! Because we don’t have them!
But I kinda did. Because I went to Lower Alabama (LA)/Mobile, Al and went to theirs!
I had the BEST TIME. Not so much drunken revelry (it was early), but lots of beads and moon pies.

And then I came back home and said to myself (per usual): “Self, WTF kinda BHFOTD are you gonna pull outta you’re a$$ when you spent your entire vacation eating at questionable eating establishments with the locals?”
SO THEN I looked up “What Mobile Alabama known for?”
TURNS OUT, Mobile is known for having the oldest organized Carnival/Mardi Gras in the US!
It was started when Mobile was the capital of Louisiana, 15 years before New Orleans was founded.
The More You EFFING Know, right?! Because I truly did not know EITHER of these things!
There’s more. Of course. But since my fact is actually NOT about Mardi Gras, I’m gonna move on.

Anyway. My point was that I was completely surprised that Mobile was not most known for racism*!
Because ALABAMA. Ya dig? Like. I was totally nervous about driving the back roads after dark because
I WAS IN ALABAMA, which seems pretty ridiculous only my family is from the South and so maybe not as ridiculous as you’d think.
So Mardi Gras was a day trip. And on the way back to the car I saw this:

The Slave Market Marker

Inscription: After the abolition of international slave trading in 1808, dealers transported slaves from all over the South into Mobile. On this site, Africans were sold as chattel to southern planters through public auction. Between auctions, a three-story holding facility housed the slaves until they were displayed and sold. In an attempt to make this inhumane and abhorrent aspect of slavery less conspicuous, the City banned slave depots from the downtown area. A developing rail system eventually made Montgomery, Alabama, the principal slave market. However, planters who sold cotton in Mobile continued to buy and sell slaves in this City.

And that’s today’s BHFOTD kids.

** Also I was kinda right about racism: Laws in Mobile regulated activities based on race during Carnival season. In 1845, A Mobile city ordinance prohibited free blacks or slaves from holding balls at their place of residence. In 1866, laws restricted noise or any party where “immoral or disorderly persons” might gather. Give you one guess who was assumed to be immoral and/or disorderly?

 

So. One random afternoon I went out with a friend to grab a beer. Or rather HE got a beer and I got booze because Imma just keep it a buck with y’all and tell you that booze > beer and the only time I MIGHT choose beer over booze is if they have SOURS and this bar didn’t. I’ll tell you what else this bar didn’t have: the beer that my friend wanted to have. But because this dude was a good bartender, he asked what kind of beers he liked so that he could try something comparable.

 

Friend: I like dark beers.

Bartender: How dark?

Asshole & Bartender::::: looks at me::::

“Friend”: Darker

Me: F*CK THE BOTH OF Y’ALL.

ANYWAY. I’m telling y’all this completely ridiculous story about skin tones (and I guess black ones* in particular) to STILL not talk about the Oscars. Not because I don’t have a fact (because I do and it’s a gimme per usual), OR EVEN because there wasn’t a lot to work with ‘cause there were only 5 black nominees this year – down from 15 last year and I guess we can all go back to runnin’ our business since they gave so many black people nominations LAST YEAR and that should be plenty to show that the Oscars aren’t racist  #SOWHITE right? Because it’s not like the Oscars and the Movies haven’t been biased down to the very FILM from the very beginning right?

Wait. What?

WELL YOU GUYS.  GUESS WHAT I LEARNED TODAY?

Today I learned that if you developed film between the 1940’s through 1990’s (which was 30 years ago!) the accuracy of your photos were based on this photo or a photo like it with some random white woman.

Shirley

This photo is called a color reference card. Also known as a Shirley card. Interesting. Not Becky or Karen. Okay. Alright. (But can I just say that whenever I think of Shirley, I think of HER not this woman in her graduation photo wrap? No?)

ANYWAY. After that card became an industry standard, many color reference cards began to be known as “Shirley cards.” These cards generally showed a single white woman dressed in bright clothes, and color film chemistry at the time was designed with a bias towards light skin. IMAGINE THAT. The bias towards skin with higher reflectivity meant that there were often exposure issues when shooting non-white folks.

Things started changing in the 1970’s when WOOD FURNITURE AND CHOCOLATE MAKERS BEGAN COMPLAINING THAT KODAK FILM WASN’T CAPTURING THE DIFFERENCE IN WOOD GRAINS AND CHOCOLATE TYPES*. (NOT. BECAUSE. OF. PEOPLE. :::rage screams into the void:::: clears throat:::: Coincidentally, film and TV industries ALSO began becoming more diverse.

In 1995, Kodak introduced a new multi-racial skin color reference card that featured a Caucasian, Asian, and African woman with different skin and clothing colors:

everyone card

Kodak also began advertising its films as being able to capture darker tones in low light.

Color film and digital color sensors have a much broader dynamic range, and many of the technological biases have since been corrected, but the LEARNED BIAS toward lighter skin in technology (and film, and loans, and education, and housing and jobs) still exists.

*tbh, describing my skin tone in beer color is way better than describing in chocolate or wood. Unless, of course, it’s this wood..

 

 

 

 

 

 

I wish I was back on vacation. I had a great time! I did NOT take a lot of pictures because I spent most of my vacation in sweats and no makeup. MOST. I don’t need to put on brows if I’m not leavin’ the house you guys. Which, YOU ARE WELCOME. We’ve taken lots of photos over the years where I look like a PERSON and I’m in PUBLIC and I’m wearing makeup. I was going to add that I was acting like a normal person only… have we met?

THEN I thought to myself (WTF AM I GONNA WRITE THIS FACT ON?!): MAYBE I HAVE A PHOTO OF ME ACTING LIKE A NORMAL PERSON WITH PEOPLE. And I did! But. WHERE IS THE FUN IN THAT AND ALSO HOW THE FREAKINGFUCK CAN I TIE IT INTO A BHFOTD?

So here’s a picture of me giving Zero Fux in front of the police. This is 100% the level of NotGivingAFuckness that I aspire to daily, but ESPECIALLY this month:

color crime

And if you’re wondering HOW in all the world I’m about to turn this into a fact, well. Today while I was doing stuff, I ran across this photo that gave me the same energy. Like to see it? Here it go:

water fountain

[This photo, taken by Rendell Harper, is a picture of Cecil Williams coming back from a trip in 1956 photographing South Carolina’s segregated beaches for Jet Magazine. They stopped at a (closed) filling station, and Cecil grabs a drink from the “white only” water fountain.]

Cecil J Williams is an American photographer, publisher, author AND inventor (!!!) who is best known for (the above photo. And) his photography documenting the civil rights movement in South Carolina in the 1950’s.

When Cecil was 9, his brother passed down his camera and he was the picture taking-est child from that moment on. At 11, he photographed his first wedding and at 12, he was asked to take photos of churches of Clarendon County – which happened to hold the families of the DeLaine and the Pearson families from the Briggs vs. Elliott petition (one of the five cases that was combined into Brown vs. Board of Education). At the age of 14, he was one of 25 photographers around the world freelancing for JET magazine. JET caught wind of the movement growing in Orangeburg, they needed an onsite correspondent for constant updates, and someone to be there all the time documenting the events for them. The only time Williams made the cover of JET was during the 1969 Charleston hospital workers’ strike, and his picture of Coretta Scott King speaking at the protest.

In 1960, Williams graduated from Claflin University with a degree in Art. Although better known for photography, Williams’ painting, art, graphics, and architectural renderings, represent proficiency, especially among minimalists. Because of his race, he was barred from attending Clemson University in his state to study architecture, he drew plans for several residences; one of which was featured in the June 1977 issue of Ebony; Space Age Home.

And since he couldn’t be a student at Clemson, he documented Harvey Gantt’s desegregation of Clemson University in 1963. HE ALSO documented the 1969 Charleston hospital workers’ strike and the 1968 Orangeburg Massacre. The massacre involved the South Carolina Highway Patrol shooting and killing three African American males and injuring 27 other South Carolina State University students. AND He worked as the official photographer for the South Carolina branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, South Carolina State University, Claflin University and National Conference of Black Mayors, Inc. for more than 20 years, beginning in the 1960s. His work has been exhibited at many institutions and museums, such as Claflin University, University of South Carolina, Columbia Museum of Art, Clemson University, Columbia College, Furman University, Rice Museum in Georgetown, South Carolina State University, Museum of the New South in Charlotte.

In 2015, he invented the FilmToaster, a camera scanning platform and system and digitizes film negatives faster than other methods.

He CURRENTLY owns a portrait studio, event, wedding photography business based in Orangeburg, South Carolina. He serves as the director of Historic Preservation at Claflin University. He is a Getty Images contributor and photographer. He also tours the nation giving presentations at conferences, events and institutions about his work during the civil rights movement. He is 82 and I am tired just copying all this sh*t he did.

AND LAST SUMMER, Williams opened the Cecil Williams Civil Rights Museum to house hundreds of images and artifacts from the civil rights movement.  The Cecil Williams Civil Rights Museum looks like an ultra-modern day home which Williams designed himself in 1983-36 years before he made it into his own museum. The theme for his museum is “The South Carolina Events that Changed America”. The museum will also double as the neighborhood community center.

 

Hope it has a water fountain. It gets hot in the South Carolina.

 

 

 

Alllll my bosses skipped out early and I had done all I was gonna do before I spent several days not giving work a second thought, I was just here spinning around in my chair and I took a long lunch and personally hand walked things over to people that I normally woulda just scanned because OHMYGAHIAMSOFAKINGBORRRRED, but THEN I remembered that my job had been stalking me because HEY WE NEED BLOOD AND WE HEARD YOU HAVE THE GOOD SH*T AND IF YOU COULD JUST SPARE SOME WE’LL GIVE YOU A MOVIE TICKET. And generally there’s a raffle, but they were BEGGING BEGGING so strictly quid pro quo. [<- – – did you need a definition? Because I linked one here] One blood for one ticket.

 

Normally, I don’t have to enter a raffle when I donate ‘cause I DO in fact have that good good (blood. Although…never mind) and my blood is given to patients with particular blood disorders who can only receive blood from people with specific blood types and markers. And all I did to find this out was donate. They did all the type matching and checking for fancy stuff and then they ASKED ME if I would agree to being in this program to help patients.  That’s as specific as I can get because “Mitochondria is the power-house of the cell” is really as scientific as I can get at any given point in time. I AM NON-CLINICAL STAFF, YOU GUYS. I DON’T *HAVE* TO SCIENCE. BUT I’M *GONNA* (sorta) SCIENCE BECAUSE THAT IS THE PERFECT LEAD TO TODAY’S BHFOTD, which is…Loretta Pleasant.

 

SOME BACK STORY:

Loretta Pleasant was born to Eliza and Johnny Pleasant August 1, 1920. Nobody (??) seems to know when her name changed from Loretta to HENRIETTA, but did you know that Hennessy was created in 1765? *she was nicknamed Hennie. When Henrietta was 4, her mother died giving birth to her 10th (10th!!!) child and her father moved the family to Virginia where the family was distributed among family. Henrietta ended up with her grandfather, Tommy Lacks, and shared a room with her cousin/future husband David Lacks. They married and moved to Maryland in 1941.

In 1951, Henrietta Lacks went to Johns Hopkins, the only hospital in the area that treated black patients, because she felt a “knot” in her womb. She had told her cousins previously about said knot and they assumed correctly that she was pregnant. But after giving birth, things did NOT get better. She went back to Johns Hopkins where her MD took a biopsy of the mass on Lacks’ cervix and was told she had malignant epidermoid carcinoma of the cervix. [in 1970, physicians discovered they’d misdiagnosed and she had an adenocarcinoma, but this would not have changed treatment options] She was treated with radium tube inserts and discharged with instructions to return for x-ray treatments. During her treatments, two samples were taken from Lacks’ cervix WITHOUT HER PERMISSION OR KNOWLEDGE (healthy tissue/cancerous tissue) and given to George Otto Gey, an MD and cancer researcher at Johns Hopkins. The cells from the cancerous sample eventually became known as the HeLa immortal cell line, a commonly used cell line in contemporary biomedical research.

SOME SCIENCE SH*T:

George Otto Gey, the first researcher to study Lacks’s cancerous cells, observed that her cells were unique in that they reproduced at a very high rate and could be kept alive long enough to allow more in-depth examination. Lacks’s cells were the first to be observed that could be divided multiple times without dying, which is why they became known as “immortal.” Gey was able to start a cell line from Lacks’s sample by isolating one specific cell and repeatedly dividing it, meaning that the same cell could then be used for conducting many experiments. They became known as HeLa cells, because Gey’s standard method for labeling samples was to use the first two letters of the patient’s first and last names.

The ability to rapidly reproduce HeLa cells in a laboratory setting has led to many important breakthroughs in biomedical research. SUCH AS:

Jonas Salk using HeLa cells to develop the polio vaccine.

Research into cancer, AIDS, effects of radiation and toxic substances, and gene mapping.

Testing human sensitivity to tape, glue, cosmetics, etc.

 

ALSO:

HeLa cells were the first human cells successfully cloned in 1955.

Since the 1950s, scientists have grown as much as 50 million metric tons of her cells, and there are almost 11,000 patents involving HeLa cells.

 

ANYWAY. Neither Henrietta Lacks nor her family gave her physicians permission to harvest her cells. At that time, permission was neither required nor customarily sought. And I’m pretty sure this had nothing AT ALL to do with her being a black woman in the 50’s. I’ve skipped over a lot of things because this is getting long BUT. In March 2013, researchers published the DNA sequence of the genome of a strain of HeLa cells. There were objections from the Lacks family about the genetic information that was available for public access. In August 2013, an agreement was announced between the family and the NIH (National Institutes of Health) that gave the family some control over access to the cells’ DNA sequence found in the two studies along with a promise of acknowledgement in scientific papers. In addition, two family members will join the six-member committee which will regulate access to the sequence data.

 

Some OTHER SH*T

 

ON MY BORN DAY, 1996, Morehouse School of Medicine shamed Johns Hopkins held its first annual HeLa Women’s Health Conference. Led by physician Roland Pattillo, the conference is held to give recognition to Henrietta Lacks, her cell line, and “the valuable contribution made by African Americans to medical research and clinical practice” [Chile. Can’t nobody shade you like southern Black folk]. The mayor of Atlanta declared the date of the first conference, October 11, 1996, “Henrietta Lacks Day”

 

Some other stuff happened here, but again. This is getting long and I have things to do.

 

In 2010, the Johns Hopkins Institute for Clinical and Translational Research established the annual Henrietta Lacks Memorial Lecture Series to honor Henrietta Lacks and the global impact of HeLa cells on medicine and research.

 

AND THEN. On October 6, 2018, Johns Hopkins University announced plans to name a research building in honor of Lacks at the 9th annual Henrietta Lacks memorial Lecture surrounded by several of Lacks’ descendants. “Through her life and her immortal cells, Henrietta Lacks made an immeasurable impact on science and medicine that has touched countless lives around the world,” Daniels said. “This building will stand as a testament to her transformative impact on scientific discovery and the ethics that must undergird its pursuit. We at Johns Hopkins are profoundly grateful to the Lacks family for their partnership as we continue to learn from Mrs. Lacks’ life and to honor her enduring legacy.” The building will adjoin the Berman Institute of Bioethics’ Deering Hall, located at the corner of Ashland and Rutland Avenues and “will support programs that enhance participation and partnership with members of the community in research that can benefit the community, as well as extend the opportunities to further study and promote research ethics and community engagement in research through an expansion of the Berman Institute and its work.”

 

**closes Wikipedia**

 

And so there you have the story of how a black woman has been/is saving [what’s left of] the world.  And per usual was getting NO CREDIT. The End.

 

 

*TO BE FAIR, her great-grandpa and great-uncle were rapists slave owners so maybe it’s possible they knew what henny was? No?

 

 

Which means that y’all ain’t getting’ another fact until Monday.

 

I KNOW. How effing DARE me?

Short answer: I DO WHAT I WANT.

Long Answer:

Every year for the last few years I’ve been taking some time off to watch the Oscar’s Best Picture Nominated flicks with friends.

That’s right, you guys. I have friends. SURPRISE!

What does that mean exactly?

It means that instead of harassing y’all with black history facts, I’m gonna be watching movies with little to no black people

Because the Oscars continue to be SO SO WHITE. (And also very male, but I’m totally not here for this. RIGHT NOW)

 

 

BUT NEVER FEAR.

Because even though today’s BHFOTD IS about the Oscars, I still managed to find the blackest thing I could find about it.

Which is that in 1971, Isaac Hayes was the first African American to win an Oscar in a non-acting category: Best Original Song*.

He was ALSO the first person to write and perform an Oscar winning song during the televised ceremony.

What song, you ask? The “Theme from Shaft” from the blaxploitation film, um…*checks notes* Shaft.

 

I don’t think you can get blacker than that guys. So anyway, that’s today’s fact.

See you guys Monday with possibly ANOTHER Oscar BHFOTD if I can pull one out of all this whiteness.

Who knows?

[I know you’re thinking EYE do, but even though I keep saying Imma plan these out, I don’t, so honestly I won’t know until Monday rolls around]

But until then. Please enjoy this picture of Isaac Hayes looking like your mama’s favorite rapper. You’re welcome in advance.

 

[No. I am not sorry]

 

 

 

*I feel like there’s an inappropriate joke in there about the only other category where there are a large amount of black Oscar winners are in music (including my faves Oscar winners 3 six mafia) but *squints* I’m not gonna make it. TODAY. (Month’s not over folks. There’s a pretty good chance I’ll make it before the month is over)