There's been an uproar in New York all this week about an anti-abortion billboard in Soho. The billboard featured a little black girl with the message, "The most dangerous place for an African American is in the womb." Launched by anti-abortion group Life Always, the billboard served as a controversial way to bring attention to the fact that black women have a disproportionately high abortion rate in New York City and nationwide. While that's clearly worrisome, suggesting that black women are a threat to black children for exercising their reproductive rights is extremely offensive. One of the top reasons women get abortions is because they can't afford to raise children. Rather than address this dynamic as well as the disproportionate number of African Americans who lack health insurance, Life Always chose to publicly disparage black women.
Saturday Night Live's "Bride of Blackenstein" skit did black women no favors. In this blaxploitation-like spoof of The Bride of Frankenstein, which aired Jan. 30, we learn that even a black chick created from scratch in a laboratory is demanding, bossy and built like an extra from the "Baby Got Back" video. Starring SNL guest host Jesse Eisenberg as Igor and musical guest Nicki Minaj as the Bride, the skit opens as the latter first emerges from her coffin:
Born Chloe Anthony Wofford in 1931, Toni Morrison is one of the most iconic literary figures of the twentieth century. She was born in Ohio, to which her parents, Ramah Willis Wofford and George Wofford, moved in order to escape the racist climate of the US South. I'll be referring to her by the name by which she is known professionally, Toni Morrison, throughout this piece, but I want to point out that Toni is the nickname, and Chloe Wofford preferred. She writes a lot about being denied one's true self, and, as naming is a powerful determinant here, I don't care to be one to let this writer's true self go unacknowledged. Morrison, then, won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1993–the eighth woman to be awarded this honour–and the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1988. Morrison's services to literature have not just been through her own fiction, however; she's edited writers such as Angela Davis, promoting black literature every which way she can.
In January, New Jersey-based business executive Neenah Picket, 43, rang in the New Year with a resolution: She would find a husband in 52 weeks with the help of six of her closest friends...and pretty much anyone who stops by her website, 52Weeks2FindHim.com. Now that much of the media hoopla around Neenah's experiment has died down, I thought I'd check in and see if she's found Him...or at the very least, if the trolls on her discussion board have stopped giving her unsolicited diet and exercise tips, calling her boring, and insulting her hairdo.
There are three books about black women and motherhood that rocked my world when I read them: Rise Up Singing: Black Women Writers on Motherhood; I'm Every Woman: Remixed Stories of Marriage, Motherhood, and Work; and a novel, Jump at the Sun. Lucky me, I also got to interview the authors, Cecelie S. Berry, Lonnae O'Neal Parker, and Kim McLarin, respectively. Read on for those interviews and my reviews of the books...
"The average age of entry into prostitution today in the Untied States is 13 years old." The stories of some of the girls whose lives bear out this disturbing statistic are told in Very Young Girls, one of three documentaries in recent years that examine the lives of black girls and women.
According to a recent Entertainment Weekly article:
'''Tyler Perry understands that much of his audience is African-American women — the most ignored group in Hollywood — so he's doing movies that speak to them,' Bogle says. 'You could see these films as parables or fables. There's a black prince figure who shows up for black women who've been frustrated, unhappy, or abused.' That's the real reason critics don't like Perry's movies, says Nelson George: They're made for churchgoing, working-class black women, not urban hipsters (or tenured professors)."
I'm neither an urban hipster nor a tenured professor, but I'm not a fan of Tyler Perry's movies either. Are you?