And this week has been A WEEK. These people are actually expecting me to WORK at my place of employment [no. I’m not sorry. You know what you signed up for]. I’m just kidding people who get these emails who ALSO work here. I am always on my job. ALWAYS. I EAT, SLEEP AND SH*T THIS JOB.

Did I… go too far?

Anyway. My point is that I’m busy. But I love you* and so I took the a break to “write” you a fun fact about how even though people pretend everything can’t POSSIBLY be about race in america it very much is. And really I ain’t write this fact either, but I’m passing it along like I did because it’s what I do. Along with praise. And also not sleep. And this next fact definitely sounds like a fact somebody found because they weren’t sleeping.

Do y’all know why Oklahoma is shaped like a pan?

WELL. Lemme tell you a story about Texas and ITS panhandle! The panhandle traces its origins as being part of New Spain [aka colonizing, ¡pero en español!] The Adams-Onis Treaty of 1819 between Spain and the United States set the western boundary of this portion of the Louisiana Purchase at the 100th meridian. With Mexican independence in 1821, these lands became part of Mexico. With the formation of the Texas Republic, they became part of Texas. When Texas sought to enter the Union in 1845 as a slave state, federal law in the United States, based on the Missouri Compromise, prohibited slavery north of 36°30′ parallel north. And Texas said EFF THAT. WE KEEPIN’ OUR SLAVES. Y’ALL CAN HAVE THAT RAGGEDY PIECE OF LAND! And they surrendered its lands north of 36°30′ latitude.

The 170-mile strip of land, a “neutral strip”, was left with no state or territorial ownership from 1850 until 1890. It was officially called the “Public Land Strip” and was commonly referred to as “No Man’s Land.” The Compromise of 1850 also established the eastern boundary of New Mexico Territory at the 103rd meridian, thus setting the western boundary of the strip. The Kansas–Nebraska Act of 1854 set the southern border of Kansas Territory as the 37th parallel. This became the northern boundary of “No Man’s Land.” When Kansas joined the Union in 1861, the western part of Kansas Territory was assigned to the Colorado Territory but did not change the boundary of “No Man’s Land.”

After the Civil War, cattlemen moved in to the area and started organizing themselves into ranches and whatnot, but the land was still considered public domain because it hadn’t been surveyed. And because it hadn’t been surveyed, the land could not be officially settled. Settlers by the thousands flooded in screaming BOOMER SOONER to assert their “squatter’s rights” anyway. They surveyed their own land and by September 1886 had organized a self-governing and self-policing jurisdiction, which they named the Cimarron Territory and tried to attached the territory to Kansas. That clearly did not happen.

In 1889 the unassigned land were opened for settlement and The passing of the Organic Act in 1890 assigned the Public Land Strip  to the new Oklahoma Territory. The End.

So TL;DR – Race. Texas preferred to keep people enslaved rather than keep land. Which isn’t surprising when you consider that Juneteenth exist because Texas did not tell enslaved people they were free TWO FULL F*CKING YEARS after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed.

ALSO: Isn’t it funny how that strip of public domain was originally called Cimarron Territory most likely named after the Indigenous people who were most likely booted off that land to give to SETTLERS while they were shipped off to reservations of land that they mostly THEN took from them and or violated in the name of gold or oil or both? No?


*been a while my favorite song is BACK, baby! Also, can you believe this is a SEVEN MINUTE SONG?

Because I be busy! I mean, sometimes it’s also because I’m not here, but this time I was busier’n a cat covering up shit on a marble floor [I’m gonna pause for just a second to give y’all a second to ACTUALLY VISUALIZE THAT. You’re welcome] I know. Sometimes I say some country*ass*shit* [my work filters work hard but I work harder] and that’s just the way it is because also my mama’s family is country so even though I am a born and bred Cali girl with deep California love (except for the middle part of Cali because WTF do they be doing over there?), I sometimes say things that make people question if when I say I’m from LA do I really mean Lower Alabama or Los Angeles. Which is Very Amusing, if you know me at all. If you don’t and somehow you ended up here, ask whoever signed you up for this nonsense.

But it’s whatever. I can see how being raised by people from the South can trip me up. What I never understand though, is how you confuse me with someone who looks nothing like me aside from yannow. Us both being black*[you guys I have a new story!].

And with that let’s get to the super bowl BHFOTD!

SO. The Black woman on the right is  Jhene Aiko. She’s a hodgepodge of color! Her ancestry is listed as: Spanish, Dominican, Japanese, Native American, Black and German-Jewish. She’s a singer, and she sang at the super bowl. NBC confused her for the Black woman on the left. Look closely kids. Embiggen that picture if you hafta. Squint if it helps because you’re too lazy to put on your reading glasses to Get A Good Look. They are BOTH singers that sang at the super bowl. They are BOTH Black. And yet. Here we are. Not being able to recognize two different looking black people. Like, EYE didn’t know who Black woman on the left was but IT WASN’T MY JOB TO KNOW. But I definitely knew who it was not. In fact, Not Jhene Aiko sang the “National Anthem” and is the BHFOTD: The super bowl edition.

That there on the left is Mickey Guyton. Country Singer. Which is absolutely the reason I had never heard of her. BUT I GUESS I NEED TO KNOW ABOUT HA.

Mickey Guyton, born in Arlington, Texas is the 2nd oldest of 4 kids. Her family moved around a lot due to her father’s job, and in an interview with NPR discussed how she continued to experience racism all over Texas which is Very Surprising because I heard we live in a post-racial society. Something about The Reverend Doctor Martin Luther (the) King Jr. Anyway. Mickey began singing as a child and developed an interest in music around 5 years old. She often performed in her local church because of course she did. She was inspired to begin a singing career after she saw LeAnn Rimes sing “The Star-Spangled Banner” at the start of a Texas Rangers game, and moved to Los Angeles after high school to pursue country music professionally while studying at Santa Monica College. She studied business and also worked several jobs to support herself. Several of the jobs included work as a background vocalist, including an appearance singing in Nick Cannon’s film Underclassman [without getting pregnant ‘cause babeh I bet you that was REAL WORK]. AND, she sang on demonstration records and auditioned for American Idol.

After moving to Los Angeles, Guyton met record producer Julian Raymond. Impressed by her singing voice, he introduced her to country music industry professionals Gary Borman and Steve Moir. Both men helped launch the music careers of country artists such as Faith Hill and Keith Urban. The initial meetings with Borman and Moir prompted her to move to Nashville, Tennessee in 2011. Guyton soon became part of the city’s country music songwriting community. she was then signed to UMG’s Capitol Records Nashville division. With her signing, she became the genre’s only black female artist signed to a major label. In 2011. As she developed her artistry, Guyton was warned by industry professionals that she would be unsuccessful if went outside traditional country music boundaries: “Make sure your songs sound really country because white listeners are racist might think you’re being disingenuous. Don’t make your songs sound too Black R&B,” she recalled to CNN. In 2016, she began moving away from what was considered safe for country performers: “I did Nashville the Nashville way for so long, and I had seen so many women do Nashville the Nashville way, with very little results.”

In 2019, Guyton chose to write music that reflected more of her struggles as a Black woman. In early 2020, she released a single that came from those songwriting sessions titled “What Are You Gonna Tell Her?” During this period she also wrote the song “Black Like Me”. Based on the book of the same name, the song described Guyton’s experiences with racial discrimination. The song was largely ignored by commercial country music radio [Quelle Surprise!], but received significant attention via social media platforms and streaming services, with Spotify including “Black Like Me” on their “Hot Country Playlist”. Critics ALSO took notice of the track with Jewly Hight of NPR praising Guyton’s blend of country, gospel and pop vocal styles. The song was since nominated for Best Country Solo Performance at the 63rd Annual Grammy Awards. The Grammy nomination put Mickey on the way to several firsts:

  • First Black female to be nominated in the country category
  • first Black female artist to perform at the Academy of Country Music awards
  • Due to a song she collaborated on with Canadian country singer Dean Brody, first Black woman to top the Canada Country chart
  • In 2021, Guyton co-hosted the Academy of Country Music Awards with Keith Urban, becoming the first black woman to host the ceremony

Mickey’s debut album came out in 2021, called Remember Her Name, Stephen Thomas Erlewine of AllMusic wrote that “Guyton’s specific experiences of being a Black woman in country music are a distinctly American experience, and those struggles inform the heartbreaking ‘What Are You Gonna Tell Her’ and rousing title track. A good portion of the record is devoted to lighter songs of love, dancing, and drinking — the topics that are country music’s bread and butter — and they showcase Guyton’s versatility as a singer”. He concluded that “Guyton is broadening and expanding the genre-bending sounds of 1990s country-pop”. I guess we ain’t seen the best of her yet. [I know you didn’t think I wasn’t gonna figure out a way to add this in here. Also it’s streaming on HBOmax right now]

*THE NEW STORY: So my boss emailed me to say that one of my docs said he gave me a document.

Me: I’m working from home. I can assure you he didn’t give it to me. He must have given it to my co-w. Who is there. In the Office.


I haven’t really been watching (the first/last game I saw were the games that decided who was going to the Super Bowl) because honestly the NFL is just RIDICULOUS and I’m tired. But also whew did y’all see Brandy sang the National Anthem ( not MY National Anthem, but yannow, Brandy be SINGING singing)? So nice to see a hometown girl, sing for her hometown football team.

Anyway. I totally don’t know where I want to go with this since IN THEORY this is just the warm up BHFOTD before the Super Bowl BHFOTD because SURPRISINGLY, there is always a fact tucked away in these football games even though the football is just lousy with black people that play football. Play. Not coach. To date there is exactly 1.5 Head Black Coaches (they fired Houston Texans and Brian Flores. And they replaced Brian Flores with Mike McDaniel who identifies* as a Human Being but has a Black Father, and chile, I guess. He said HE ain’t no diversity hire).

Do I want to talk about Kenny Washington?  The first Black man to sign a contract with a National Football League (NFL) team in the modern (post-World War II) era (1946). When the Cleveland Rams moved to Los Angeles, Los Angeles said if you want to pay in the Coliseum that was paid for by the public and that includes the Black public, we better see some Black people playing some football.

Or maybe Greg Coleman? The first Black punter for the NFL; he was drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals. Though the Bengals drafted him, Coleman never played a single game with them. He started his career with the Cleveland Browns in 1977. Strangely enough, there have only been 5 black kickers. Turns out that like coaches, it’s just so hard to find blacks for this position.

SO. MANY. CHOICES. I could even talk about the SIXTY EIGHT YEARS between the first Black head coach, Fritz Pollard (1921) and the SECOND Black head coach, Art Shell (1989). Shit. For all of that Art Shell is the second FIRST coach ’cause DANG.

But I’m not. Imma just tell y’all that today while I was looking for something to talk about I found all of this AND I found out that Snoop dogg and Brandy (and I guess, Ray J) are first cousins.

*I also just want to point out that the REASON Mike McDaniel “identifies” as Human and not Black is because whether or not he said it out loud, he is white passing Very Well Aware of how they treat Black people here in ‘murica. I started to say contiguous states because honestly, saying that these states are united is…quite a stretch, but I guess they are firmly united in their racism, so I guess there’s that.

I get up V V early to workout and then even though it SHOULDN’T take forever to get dressed it does. Mostly because every morning there is a dance party while I shower, but listen…WHO DOESN’T NEED A MORNING DANCE PARTY? Yeah, I’m sorry people who are not morning people, I am an annoying morning person who does not need coffee to be bright eyed and bushy tailed also if I drank coffee in the morning my co-workers would probably murder me because this one time I saw a tweet that said doing some drug (can’t remember what) is like drinking a 1,000 red bulls and while I DO NOT DO DRUGS ( I am, in fact writing this from my work email because I like to live on the edge and also my parents and kids get these emails so anyway I said what I said), this is exactly how I feel when I drink coffee. For reference once I accidentally got a shot of coffee by accident (I *wanted* a caramel macchiato but since I rarely get coffee I ordered the wrong thing and I figured it’d be fine ‘cause it was just a little bit of coffee) and I ran an interoffice memo to the 24th floor from the 10th floor. And back down. My co-worker said if I ever drank coffee in the office again she was gonna lock her office door to keep me away from her.

Anyway. THEN I have to drive from my house to Beverly Hills and it’s 13 miles but in LA minutes ISSA LOT.


It could be the fact that I sleep like crap and when I should be trying to go back to sleep, I’m not. In fact, this meme is definitely a gratuitous picture of me:  

How was I only 2 when this song came out and I knew this song word for word?

I gotta be honest with y’all and say that I concluded that Barbara probably was playing on her phone* and Barbara got tired. Seems far fetched except that did y’all know that Barbara is the reason that we all be looking at our phone ring instead of picking up when certain people call?

That’s right! Dr. Shirley Ann Jackson is an American physicist, and the eighteenth president of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. She is the first African-American woman to have earned a doctorate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). She is also the second African-American woman in the United States to earn a doctorate in physics.

In 1964, she graduated as valedictorian from her high school and proceeded to M.I.T., where she was one of the very few women and black students. Her professors at the time thought that science was not appropriate for a black woman but I’m guessing she was not interested what most assuredly was a white man’s opinion in that age and time and earned her B.S. in 1968. In 1973, she earned her PhD and went ahead to complete several years of postdoctoral research at various laboratories, including Fermi in Illinois, before being hired by AT&T Bell Laboratories in 1976, where she worked for 15 years.

During that time, Shirley worked in the Scattering and Low Energy Physics Research Department from 1978, and moved to the Solid State and Quantum Physics Research Department in 1988. At Bell Labs, Jackson researched the optical and electronic properties of two-dimensional and quasi-two-dimensional systems. I don’t know what any of that means but I do know that just now I was looking at my cell ringing and did not pick up because the caller ID said Scam Likely. Thanks Shirley! You a real one!

Dr. Jackson taught at Rutgers University from 1991–1995. She was subsequently appointed the chair of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission by Bill Clinton. In 1999, Jackson became 18th President of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, where she served until 2017. In February 2020, Shirley Ann Jackson joined the Nature Conservancy Global Board due to her accolades and her dedication to nature conservation. She will be serving on this board till October 2029. That’s right y’all. This history fact is about a person who is still with us!

She’s accumulated an impressive amount of honors in her lifetime: Martin Marietta Aircraft Company Scholarship and Fellowship, the Prince Hall Masons Scholarship, the National Science Foundation Traineeship, and a Ford Foundation Advanced Study Fellowship. She has been elected to numerous special societies, including the American Philosophical Society. In 2014, she was named a recipient of the National Medal of Science. She’s received a bajillion honorary doctorates, as well as being the recipient of the Hanz Christian Oersted award, which was awarded to her in summer 2021.

*AS AN FYI: Caller ID was invented in 1987 and woman to woman was released in 1974 and ALSO Shirley BROWN sang it but I’m absolutely Shirley Jackson knows exactly how Shirley Brown felt. Also Shirley girl, I hope you rid of that raggedy man. You definitely deserved better.

But I didn’t find it/ did a light google search and it’s entirely possible I talked about this in the time before y’all bullied me into blogging these, SO ALLOW ME TO RE(PEAT)INTRODUCE MYSELF, MY NAME IS BRIYA! And I’m a foo fighter* fan. And yes! I can say that three times fast. Anyway. In the before time (long before covid and I could stay out late on a school night) The Foo Fighters did a pile of secret shows all over LA and I went to… a lot of them.  Because also, they were free. Sometimes living in LA is pretty fun you guys. This is back when I had a shitty flip phone, but I would absolutely blow up my facebook feed with music clips. My favorite has ALWAYS been monkey wrench. Because Dave ALWAYS does a Very Chuck Berry riff and I really do love that brown eyed handsome man. I also really love a guitar playin’ dude (HELLO BOY.)

One of the things that I love specifically, is how EASILY the Chuck Berry riff FITS. That also makes sense when you remember that Chuck Berry** is the “Father of Rock and Roll” even though people like to pretend that Elvis didn’t slap a white face on black music is. In fact, your favorite white rock and roller has DEFINITELY been influenced by black music. Dave Grohl recently did an interview with Pharrell where he tells him that he ripped off Nirvana’s most famous drum beat [click the link guys! It’s safe for work!]

And! If you wanna get EVEN DEEPER, and you know I do *waggles eyebrows*: Did y’all know that Kurt Cobain was both a fan, and a roadie for the band Bam Bam, led by the Black Woman Tina Bell, known as the “Godmother of Grunge”?(!)

Tina Marie Bell. Badass.

Tina Marie Bell was the front woman of the Seattle based band Bam Bam. The band with Bell was considered one of the founders of the grunge music scene. Bell was born and raised in Seattle, Washington, the eldest of 10 siblings. She got her start as a singer by singing at the Mount Zion Baptist Church in Seattle, and her first experience on stage was performing with the Langston Hughes Theater, also in Seattle. While looking for a French tutor so that she could sing French lyrics in a Langston Hughes Theater production, she met guitarist Tommy Martin, who she eventually married and formed the band Bam Bam with. The band also included bassist Scott Ledgerwood, and drummer Matt Cameron (Cameron went on to join Soundgarden and then Pearl Jam).

According to Seattle Times: “The legacy of Bell, a Black woman, has often been overlooked in a genre typically associated with long-haired white guys.” These include Seattle breakout bands like Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains, Soundgarden, and others of that ilk. She was sometimes the victim of racial attacks while on stage, but the Bell-led Bam Bam was popular with local audiences. Although Bam Bam were courted by punk rock label C/Z Records, they opted instead to independently release their EP Villains (Also Wear White) in 1984. This was the first grunge record made at Reciprocal Recording studio, the location where later Nirvana made their demos for the Bleach and Incesticide albums. Villains predated the better known grunge recordings by about a year.

After the mid 80’s, both Ledgerwood and Hendrickson left the band, but Bell continued to front the band with a new rhythm section, along with Martin on guitar. In the late 80’s and early 90’s, Bam Bam performed in concerts with popular bands such as Pearl Jam, Soundgarden and Alice in Chains. After not receiving the local recognition of the other emerging “Seattle Sound” bands, Bell and the band left Seattle for London in the late ’80s, hoping for success in Europe, which did not happen.

Bell left Bam Bam in 1990, and eventually quit music entirely. Bam Bam chose not to replace her, and instead continued as a 3-piece instrumental band. Her story didn’t have a happy ending. Bell died in her Las Vegas apartment of cirrhosis of the liver at age 55, and the coroner estimated her time of death as a couple weeks before her body was found. All of her belongings — except for a DVD player, a poster, and a chair — had been thrown away. All of her writings such as lyrics, poems, diaries, along with Bam Bam music, videos, and other memorabilia went in the trash without her family even being notified.

Woulda been nice if she coulda gotten her flowers while she was around to smell them, BUT. On July 9, 2021, Seattle musicians formed a tribute band and played a show at Central Saloon to honor Bell’s legacy. Om Johari, singer for Bad Brains tribute band Re-Ignition, had the idea for the show after CBS News’ Gayle King contacted her to do a story on Bell. The Bam Bam tribute band included musicians such as Matt Cameron, guitarist Kendall Jones of Fishbone, guitarist Ayron Jones, and bassist Jenelle Roccaforte. Pearl Jam guitarist Stone Gossard also participated, as did black women Johari selected who were influenced by Bell’s music. This included Eva Walker of The Black Tones, Shaina Shepherd of BEARAXE, Dmitra Smith of Ex’s With Benefits and Dejha Colantuono, songwriter. The band played a selection of Bam Bam songs at the show.

*Wow! I managed to slide the foo into these facts EARLY this year! Even EYE am impressed!

** Do I have a favorite Chuck Berry song? Of course I do! Brown Eyed Handsome Man is my second favorite.

So this weekend, I was flipping through HBOmax looking for a movie to watch with my mama and every time I have to CHOOSE a movie I get anxiety because one thing about me is that if you present me with too many options I WILL NOT BE ABLE TO CHOOSE. Also, I get distracted because HEY did you know that 3:10 to Yuma (2007) is streaming? I added it to my list ‘cause nobody in my house likes cowboy movies but me really, and I actually REALLY LIKE this movie both the old one AND the new one (because I REALLY LIKE Christian Bale) which I first saw coincidentally when I lived in Yuma. I used to work in graveyard shift and I watched whatever movies they had to rent for guests in this hotel where I used to work and NO this is not part of the BHFOTD this is just how my brain works when I’m writing so I hope nobody ever expects anything different. ANYWAY, THEN I got to thinking about how a) I love cowboy MOVIES but not SHOWS which are two VERY different things in my brain and b) there really aren’t a LOT of black cowboy movies (I looked, because I like to show my work and I am insulted to say that they called the dark tower a black cowboy movie and NO).

And then I remembered that a black cowboy movie JUST came out last year and REASON that I remembered it at all is because it Yuma Territorial Prison is a main character in BOTH of these movies. I loved this movie guys! And while I was looking into this NOT BHFOTD I realized a couple things:

  1. I wrote a fact already about the star of this movie, Nat Love and this story wasn’t in it because it’s fiction! But still a good story. Also,
  2. Did you know the original Lone Ranger was black?
  3. He was ALSO in The Harder They Fall, by his actual name: Bass Reeves!

Bass Reeves was born into slavery in Crawford County, Arkansas, in 1838. He was named after his grandfather, Bass Washington. Reeves and his family were enslaved by Arkansas state legislator William Steele Reeves. When Bass was eight (about 1846), William Reeves moved to Grayson County, Texas, near Sherman in the Peters Colony. It appears plausible that Reeves was kept in bondage by William Steele Reeves’s son, Colonel George R. Reeves. When the American Civil War began, George Reeves joined the Confederate Army, taking Bass with him. It is unclear how, and exactly when, Bass Reeves escaped, but at some point during the Civil War, he gained his freedom. One account recalls how Bass Reeves and George Reeves had an altercation over a card game. Bass beat the brakes off George, and fled to the Indian Territory where he lived (and learned their languages) among the Cherokee, Creeks and Seminoles until he was freed by the 13rd amendment in 1865.

As a freedman, Reeves moved to Arkansas and farmed until 1875 when Isaac Parker was appointed federal judge for the Indian Territory. Parker appointed James F. Fagan as U.S. marshal, directing him to hire 200 deputy U.S. marshals. Fagan had heard about Reeves, who knew the Territory and could speak several Native languages. He recruited him as a deputy; Reeves was the first black deputy to serve west of the Mississippi River (where the green grass grows all around all around, where the green grass grows all around). *Clears throat* Reeves was assigned as a deputy U.S. marshal for the Western District of Arkansas, which had responsibility also for the Native reservation Territory. He served there until 1893. That year he transferred to the Eastern District of Texas in Paris, Texas, for a short while. In 1897, he was transferred again, serving at the Muskogee Federal Court in the Native Territory.

Reeves worked for 32 years as a federal peace officer in the Indian Territory, and became one of Judge Parker’s most valued deputies. When he retired in 1907, Reeves had on his record over 3,000 arrests of felons. Historian Art Burton makes the argument that based on the sheer number of people Reeves arrested without taking any serious injury, coupled with the fact that many of these arrested were incarcerated in the Detroit House of Correction, the same city where the Lone Ranger radio plays were broadcast on WXYZ.

This theory has been disputed. Because Hollywood would Never Change the Race of A Real Person To Make Them White. [Again. I like to show my work, kids]

Anyway. Bass Reeves’s legacy lives on!

  • In 1992, he was inducted into the Hall of Great Westerners of the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum.
  • In 2011, the US-62 Bridge, which spans the Arkansas River between Muskogee and Fort Gibson, Oklahoma, was renamed the Bass Reeves Memorial Bridge.
  • In May 2012, a bronze statue of Reeves by Oklahoma sculptor Harold Holden was erected in Pendergraft Park in Fort Smith, Arkansas.
  • And in 2013, he was inducted into the Texas Trail of Fame.  
  • He has also been memorialized in books, games, television and film. He was most recently played by Delroy Lindo’s fine ass in The Harder They Fall in 2021. Ride ‘em, cowboy, or whatever the gals be saying.

Happy Monday! Hope you enjoyed today’s blackity black fact! If you’re wondering what I ended up choosing to watch, I chose Miss Congeniality, then promptly took a 2 hour nap and missed the entire movie.

I say a lot of ridiculous sh*t to my friends guys. I do a lot of ridiculous things as well. Truly. Ion’t know how the lot of y’all put up with me at all. BUT YOU DO, AND I LOVE YOU FOR IT.

IN FACT, just yesterday I said something so ridiculous that I am still pretty unclear on how I’m not blocked.

And then I said: it’s me and the rules don’t really apply to me. It’s maybe my favorite perk.

(If you know me, then you know how true this is in general)

The response: Ok, white man.

(Some of you will guess who said this to me. Some of you don’t know them. REST ASSURED THAT IT TAKES ONE TO KNOW ONE, SIR)

ANYWAY. It all sounds like foolishness until you find out that Sarah Rector was so rich that in 1913, Oklahoma legislature declared her as white so that she could reap the benefits that all of her cash money dollars could afford her.

Ahem. Sarah Rector was born in 1902 near the all-black town of Taft, located in the eastern portion of Oklahoma. Her parents were the grandchildren of enslaved Blacks owned by Creek Indians before the Civil War. And so they and their descendants were listed as freedmen and were entitled to land allotments under the Treaty of 1866 made by the united states with the Five Civilized Tribes. Which meant that around 600 Black children were allotted land. Sarah was allotted 159.14 acres. This was a mandatory step in the process of integration of the Indian Territory with Oklahoma Territory to form what is now the State of Oklahoma.

The land that Sarah was allotted was not suitable for farming and her dad leased it to Standard Oil Company to cover the expenses of maintaining all that land. YOU WILL NEVER GUESS WHAT HAPPENED GUYS. In 1913, the independent oil driller B.B. Jones drilled a well on the property which produced a “gusher” that began to bring in 2,500 barrels (400 m3) of oil a day. Rector began to receive a daily income of $300 from this strike. The law at the time required full-blooded Indians, black adults, and children who were citizens of Indian Territory with significant property and money, to be assigned “well-respected” white guardians [I can’t see anybody being called “well-respected” whose sole purpose is take money from black people but *looks around* you know what…? Nevermind] There was pressure to change Rector’s guardianship from her parents to a local white resident named T.J. (or J.T.) Porter, an individual known to the family. Rector’s allotment subsequently became part of the Cushing-Drumright Oil Field. In October 1913, Rector received royalties of $11,567.

In 1914, an African American journal, The Chicago Defender, began to take an interest in Rector, just as rumors began to fly that she was a white immigrant who was being kept in poverty. The newspaper published an article claiming that her estate was being mismanaged by her family and that she was uneducated, and had a poor quality of life. This caused National African American leaders Booker T. Washington and W. E. B. Du Bois to become concerned about her welfare, later creating Children’s Department of the NAACP, which would investigate claims of white guardians who were suspected of depriving black children of their land and wealth. Washington also intervened to help the Rector family. In October of that year, she was enrolled in the Children’s School, a boarding school at the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama, headed by Washington. Upon graduation, she attended the Institute.

Rector was already a millionaire by the time she had turned 18 in 1920. She owned stocks, bonds, a boarding house, businesses, and a 2,000-acre piece of prime river bottomland. At that point, she left Tuskegee and, with her entire family, moved to Kansas City, Missouri. She purchased a house on 12th Street, known as the Rector House, which is currently owned by a local nonprofit, with the intention of restoration and historical and cultural preservation.

Rector was living her best life.[hey. Don’t listen to that at work] She threw lavish parties and entertained celebrities such as Count Basie and Duke Ellington. She died in 1967, at the age of 65. She’s interred in her childhood hometown of Taft.

I have lots to say about this and not a lot of time to say it but the main point is that she died NOT THAT LONG before I was born. Also can you imagine being so rich that they call you white just so you can live your life with YOUR GODDAMN money?

That’s all folks! Happy Friday!

See you next week. Up to you to figure out if that’s a threat or a promise!

Today is one of these days where I wanna talk about me. Like, I love dropping random songs into my facts. I also love corny jokes (which most of y’all know) I am a number nerd. I LOOOOVE numbers (And numerology! Because numbers! FOR INSTANCE. Yesterday was 2/2/22. Yes. I was very excited about this. So many 2s! DID Y’ALL KNOW that the number 2 is about partnerships? The balance of 2 individual people, concepts, or things. A yin and yang, if you will. OR, in the context of what I’m doing here BLACK AND WHITE.

What does being a number weirdo have to do with any of this? WELL. Yesterday while I was not sending a new fact, I saw a fact that happened yesterday and I was slightly sad that I didn’t send it yesterday because also happened on 2/2 but, in 1948. Which lacks 2s. 74* years ago. But then I said to myself: I can send/write this tomorrow! Because I run this show and I run it on black people time.

ANYWAY Did you know that 74 years ago Harry Truman sent a special message to Congress about Civil rights?  AND BECAUSE I CARE, I read the whole message and it’s a lot (ahem. That’s what she said?), and because I know we don’t all have the bandwidth to read a bunch of bullsh*t, I mean…the entire message, Imma just…. Give y’all some cliff notes, because while TECHNICALLY I’m not writing this fact, Imma show my work because I don’t want y’all thinking I just be out here cutting and pasting all willy nilly.

Y’all ready to get into today’s fact?

AHEM :::pushes up glasses and cracks knuckles:::

By 1947 the question of black civil rights in the South** had become a national issue when a committee President Harry S. Truman appointed to study the issue called for legislation which among other things would to protect voting rights for Southern blacks and provide federal protection against lynching.  In response to the report President Truman sent a special message to Congress on the issue on February 2, 1948.  That message, the first by a sitting president to address the question of black civil rights, is linked here because I know ain’t nobody finna read all that.

The Beginning of the message:

To the Congress of the United States:

In the State of the Union Message on January 7, 1948, I spoke of five great goals toward which we should strive in our constant effort to strengthen our democracy and improve the welfare of our people. The first of these is to secure fully our essential human rights. I am now presenting to the Congress my recommendations for legislation to carry us forward toward that goal.

This Nation was founded by men and women who sought these shores that they might enjoy greater freedom and greater opportunity than they had known before. The founders of the United States proclaimed to the world the American belief that all men are created equal, and that governments are instituted to secure the inalienable rights with which all men are endowed. In the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States, they eloquently expressed the aspirations of all mankind for equality and freedom.

These ideals inspired the peoples of other lands, and their practical fulfillment made the United States the hope of the oppressed everywhere. Throughout our history men and women of all colors and creeds, of all races and religions, have come to this country to escape tyranny and discrimination. Millions strong, they have helped build this democratic Nation and have constantly reinforced our devotion to the great ideals of liberty and equality. With those who preceded them, they have helped to fashion and strengthen our American faith—a faith that can be simply stated:

We believe that all [white] men are created equal and that they have the right to equal justice under law. *Please note that I ADDED white here because I think it was there originally? I am only 3/5ths confident that I’m correct though.

We believe that all white men have the right to freedom of thought and of expression and the right to worship as they please.

We believe that all white men are entitled to equal opportunities for jobs, for homes, for good health and for education.

We believe that all white men should have a voice in their government and that government should protect, not usurp, the rights of the people.

These are the basic civil rights which have historically only been offered to white men are the source and the support of our democracy.

Today, the American white people enjoy more freedom and opportunity than ever before. Never in our history has there been better reason to hope for the complete realization of the ideals of liberty and equality. HAHAHAHAHA…*serious face*

I could stop here (and I promise, he had SO MUCH MORE TO SAY and I really don’t know why considering the Reverend Doctor Martin Luther (thee) King Jr’s Montgomery Bus Boycott was in 1955 so clearly not a damn thang had changed between now and then), but I will not! Or at least, I’m not just gonna stop talking. Imma wrap this up all cute for y’all because already this is longer than I would like. [Yes. I am definitely stopping myself from saying something deeply inappropriate here]

BACK TO THIS MESSAGE: He goes on to say that This is Not Who America Is™. Okay, he didn’t. He said that something about achieving the ideals that this Nation was founded on so long ago and well.  I’m pretty sure these statements are Separate but Equal(ly offensive statements to Black People) in meaning. He said other stuff that I don’t feel like getting into about providing statehood for Hawaii and Alaska, and equalizing the opportunities for residents to become naturalized citizens (WHEW, CHILE), and settling evacuation claims of Japanese-Americans (again, Not My Lane)

He ends with this:

If we wish to inspire the peoples of the world whose freedom is in jeopardy, if we wish to restore hope to those who have already lost their civil liberties, if we wish to fulfill the promise that is ours, we must correct the remaining imperfections in our practice of democracy.

We know the way. We need only the will.

And ALL I’m going to say about that is that nothing. Imma just gently place this tweet down and you can read into that what you will.

*Also I guess I can’t say that I’m into numbers and numerology without pointing out that 74 years is really 7+4 that is really 11 which is technically 1+1 which equals. Two. SO MANY 2’S YESTERDAY!

BUT THREE IS ALWAYS GONNA BE THE MAGIC NUMBER. I know. I am definitely insane. But it’s also why these facts are so much fun.

It’s MEEE, baby – Erykah Badu. And me. Because I am definitely singing out loud as I type. Sorry, not sorry to my co-workers.

Welcome to February! It’s been a VERY long time, but we back! And by “we” I definitely mean me – this remains a one woman show. WHICH IS FINE, because that means I can say what I wanna say (which I was gon’ do anyway). Y’all excited yet? I’m just going to assume the silent eyerolling I heard all the way from here means yes. Can you believe that in 2022 there are still Black history firsts for me to write about on the first day of February we made it to another year?! While still being in a panorama?! Amazing! Congratulations! Glad to see we’re all here being annoyed by the current state of things. Hope you’re doing something to fix it in your corner of the world wherever that is! Yes. I’m starting early on my BS. You’re welcome.

Also! Welcome new people! Hi Erica! [My mama told her I was funny! She did not tell her that when I add you to the list, you run the risk of me dragging you into my foolishness.]

ANYWAY. Today is probably the ONLY day that I have, scheduled (sorta) a fact. I’m sending this from the past! I wrote this yesterday! So that tomorrow I can look for ANOTHER FACT because even though I SAID I was going to do better and stop lollygagging when I know I have facts to write, I. HAVE. NOT. New Year. Same me. Mostly.

I also want to say that somebody needs to do something nice for me for getting this out when I am hungover. WHY AM I HUNGOVER? Glad you asked! Because I make poor decisions while watching football and drinking whiskey. YOU GUYS. I haven’t watched football in I honestly cannot remember, but it was on where I was so I did. I watched the KC snatch defeat from the jaws of victory (FYI: Your team name is racist). AND THEN, drunk me cried watching OBJ comfort Deebo Samuel because OF COURSE I DID. And then I remembered how much I love play off games because now everyone is emotionally invested and how it’s the only place men are really allowed to cry because yannow boys don’t cry. Or so they say. Unless sportsball. Only women are “allowed”* to cry. BUT WHAT IF WOMEN WERE IN FOOTBALL? WOULD WOMEN IN FOOTBALL ALLOWED TO CRY?


YES! That is the sound of me getting to the point of this email! Y’all know I love doing firsts for the first day of BHFOTD! [Yes! Imma use allll the exclamation points!! Because I do what I want!!]

Jennifer King (no relation to Reverend Doctor Martin Luther the King – I am assuming this because I’m sure if she was they’d be shouting it from the mountain top…did y’all…see what I did there?) born in Eden, North Carolina became the first Black woman to become a full-time coach in NFL History. In December of 2021. She attended Guilford College, where she played college basketball and softball, before graduating with a degree in sports management in 2006. She went on to play in the Women’s Football Alliance from 2006 – 2019. She was an assistant coach at Greensboro College from 2006 to 2016. AND THEN she was hired as the women’s basketball head coach at Johnson & Wales University in North Carolina, where she turned around a program that had existed for only two years prior into a national champion within two seasons.

King was one of 40 women to attend the NFL’s Women’s Forum in 2018, where she met then-Carolina Panthers head coach Ron Rivera and expressed her interest in working with in the NFL. She was hired as an intern by the Panthers later that year, where she assisting in coaching their wide receivers. She got her first full-time coaching gig in 2018 as an assistant wide receivers and special teams coach for the Arizona Hotshots of the Alliance of American Football (AAF). After the AAF folded in 2019, King was once again brought on as an intern for the Panthers, this time working with the running backs. She interned once more as a coach with the Washington Football Team in 2020, working once again under Rivera who joined Washington that season. She was promoted to assistant running backs coach the following year, making her the first (only) black woman to become a full-time coach in NFL history. In 2021.

As a sidenote, I checked to see how many NFL head coaches have never played in the NFL. The answer is 11 (12, I guess if you count Jenny, yes now that I’ve written about her I can call her that, but also women don’t play in the NFL?). There is exactly ONE person that coached an NFL team AND a major league baseball team. But it’s looking like Ms. King is the only coach that PLAYED basketball, football AND softball and coached Basketball (and won a national championship) and now Football. It’s giving being twice as good to get half as much, but I’m SURE there are other reasons that it took so long to add a Very Qualified Person to their roster that had nothing to do with not having a penis. [comic sans remains the sarcasm font of choice]

And here we are! Fact #1 down for February 1. *cue the soca horns* Hope you enjoyed the only fact is not going to be a last minute scramble because I continue to be a menace to both myself and you. Woo! See you tomorrow with a flashback fact because I’m gonna continue to take Wednesdays off! Happy February everyone! Let’s get ready to learn y’all some sh!t about black folks you may or may not have known because the only time we talk about black folk accomplishments is February ruuuuumbbbllle!

*women are allowed to do whatever TF we want. Including cry. But also know we will cry and still cut you.

I do not know about y’all (I know about some of y’all. But there are things about y’all I do not know), but EYE come from a fairly musical family. I have a sister that sings well, a daughter that umm…SINGS. A son that can sing AND play a bunch of instruments (Hi, Boy!). Cousins that sing and play instruments. And that is just on *MY* side of the family. If you’re wondering about me, if you had me a note Very Gently, and I do mean *VERY GENTLY* I can carry it around for a little bit. But dassit. But I LOVE MUSIC! And probably not just because I’m black. [By the way guys, I definitely do make liberal use of that stereotype/joke BECAUSE *I* CAN. It is up to you to decide if this is a joke you can make. Just remember that freedom of speech =/= freedom from consequence, so choose wisely]

I also listen to a lot of music. All kinds. But also all day. Like, this morning when I was getting dressed for work I listened to Outkast. Because it’s great for getting you UP and moving (and yes there is also dancing at before 7AM while I’m getting dressed/putting on makeup) and then I get to work and listen to Lo-Fi while I’m hard at work procrastinating the fact that I *KNOW* I have a fact that I need to write but also I GOT WORK TO DO because also I HAVE A JOB THAT IS NOT ACTUALLY WRITING YOU JOKERS FACTS EVERY DAY. But. I do it ’cause I love you. Except you. You know who you are. Anyway. I want y’all to know that lo-fi is the perfect music to write to! I love it and yes this very last BHFOTD is a thank you to the late, great J Dilla, Godfather of Lo-Fi hip hop!

James Dewitt Yancey aka J Dilla aka Jay Dee was a record producer and rapper who emerged in the mid-‘90’s hip hop scene in Detroit, Michigan, as 1/3 of the music group Slum Village. He was also a member of the Soulquarians.

Dilla’s family had a musical background. His mother, Maureen “Ma Dukes” Yancey is a former opera singer and his father Beverly Dewitt Yancey was a jazz bassist AND performed Globetrotters half-time shows for several years (I..I mean okay, but it seems like A LOT). His brother John started making music later as Illa J. Along with a wide range of other musical genres, Jay developed a passion for hip hop music. After transferring to Pershing HS he met classmates T3 and Baatin and became friends with them through their mutual interest in rap battles. The three formed the rap group called Slum Village He also took up beat-making using a simple tape deck as the center of his studio. During these teenage years he “stayed in the basement alone” in order to train himself to produce beats with his growing record collection.

In 1992, he met the Detroit musician Amp Fiddler, who let Jay Dee use his Akai MPC, of which he quickly gained mastery. Fiddler, while playing keyboards with Funkadelic on the group’s slot on the 1994 Lollapalooza tour, met Q-Tip of A Tribe Called Quest, who were also on the lineup. This is where Fiddler introduced Q-Tip to Jay Dee, who gave Q-Tip a Slum Village demo tape. In 1995, Jay Dee and MC Phat Kat formed 1st Down and became the first Detroit hip hop group to sign with a major label. In ’96, Slum Village recorded what would become their debut album Fantastic, Vol 1. The album quickly became a hit on the Detroit hip hop scene. By the mid-90’s Dilla had a string of singles and remix projects for Janet Jackson, The Pharcyde, De La Soul, Busta Rhymes, A Tribe Called Quest, Q-Tip’s solo album and others. Many of these productions were released without his name recognition, being credited to The Ummah, a production collective composed of him, Q-Tip and Ali Shaheed Muhammad of A Tribe Called Quest, and later Raphael Saadiq of Tony! Toni! Toné!. However, he was given songwriting credit on all of his non-remix productions under The Ummah.

2000 marked the major label debut of Slum Village with Fantastic, Vol. 2, creating a new following for J Dilla as a producer and an MC. He was also a founding member of the production collective known as The Soulquarians . Fun fact! The reason that I know about J Dilla is through Bilal, who was part of the Soulquarians collective. Who sings one of my favorite songs ever, who said this about him: “He had this thing where no matter what he picked up he could bend his will into it. Just because you hear it so strong in your head you can throw the funk in it.”

Dilla was signed to a solo deal with MCA Records in 2002. Although Dilla was known as a producer rather than an MC, he chose to rap on the album and have the music produced by some of his favorite producers, such as Madlib, Pete Rock, Hi-Tek, Supa Dave West, Kanye West, Nottz, Waajeed and others. The album was shelved due to internal changes at the label and MCA.

J Dilla’s illness and medication caused dramatic weight loss in 2003 onwards, forcing him to publicly confirm speculation about his health in 2004. The seriousness of his condition became public in November 2005 when J Dilla toured Europe performing from a wheelchair. J Dilla died on February 10, 2006, at his home in Los Angeles, California, three days after his 32nd birthday and the release of his final album Donuts. [Sorry guys. I know this week has been filled with dead musicians, but it is what it is]

Dilla’s musical legacy, much like The Marathon, continues. At the time of his death, J Dilla had 150 unreleased beats, some of which were featured on Slum Village’s album  “Yes!”, His album Ruff Draft was reissued as a double LP/CD and is considered his 3rd solo album. Yancey Boys, an album by J Dilla’s younger brother Illa J was released in 2008. It’s produced entirely by J Dilla. In 2020, Dres of Black Sheep announced that he would be releasing a collaborative album with J Dilla titled No Words, with unreleased instrumentals of Dilla’s provided with the cooperation of Ma Dukes Yancey. His music is used in various TV programs and commercials. Common’s album Finding Forever is an album entirely dedicated to J Dilla, in which Kanye West cut up the samples in methods that J Dilla used. De La Soul pay tribute to Dilla on the track “La La La” with the line: “Dilla, if you hear me, we are missing you so much.” Y’all. I could go on and on because there are SO MANY ARTISTS that paid tribute. Love is knowing that you’ve touched so many creators that they love on you even after you’ve gone.

In fact, if I planned this out better, I coulda gave y’all this fact on Dilla Day (February 6th) The annual celebration of Dilla’s music and spirit in various cities complete with concerts and lectures and more (oh my!) MAYBE NEXT YEAR.

ANYWAY. That’s my time! Hope you enjoyed this years random facts about Black people, and Black people things! If you did, I accept well wishes, hugs and tips. If you didn’t, it’s because you’re terrible and don’t know culture when you see it! SEE YOU NEXT YEAR. Or…yannow. Whenever.

[Also yes. ONE of those song links is a Slum Village song. NO. I’m not going to tell you which one.]