200 girls are missing in Nigeria – so why doesn’t anybody care?


Where are they?

Every morning for a week the news has been dominated by the South Korean ferry tragedy. The terrible grief of the parents, the shocking response of the crew to the unfolding disaster, and the inexorably rising body count.

Two days before the South Korean students boarded their ferry for a study trip to the nearby island of Jeju, terroists broke into a girls’ school in Chibok, in the remote state of Borno, in north-eastern Nigeria. They shot guards and abducted about 200 students, who were loaded into trucks and, it seems, taken off into the forest. Two groups of the girls, perhaps 30 in all, managed to escape. The rest have simply disappeared.

No one has admitted carrying out the mass kidnapping, although it is assumed to be the work of Boko Haram, the al-Qaida-linked jihadi group. Amnesty International says 1,500 people have been killed this year in the conflict between Boko Haram and Nigerian security forces, more than half of them civilians. The latest bombing by the group was in Abuja, on the same day the girls were abducted, in which at least 70 people died. Nigeria’s president, Goodluck Jonathan, was soon on the scene. The first appearance of the Borno state governor in Chibok came yesterday, eight days after the attack.


[Read more at The Guardian]


Meet the Black Female Judge Who Will Decide Oscar Pistorius’ Fate


South Africa’s biggest murder trial is under way, and there’s a black woman at its helm.

Oscar Pistorius—one of that nation’s most renowned paralympics professional athletes and a former Olympian—stands accused of murdering his 29-year-old model girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp.

With the world watching, Judge Thokozile Matilda Masipa—and only Masipa—will decide if Pistorius intentionally killed his girlfriend or if he sincerely thought she was an intruder and thereby killed her by accident, as Pistorius claims. Unlike murder trials in the United States and most modern judicial systems, South Africa does not have trials decided by jurors because it was nearly impossible to find jurors not influenced by the racial effects of apartheid.

Masipa has had an impressive career. Her tough background, which The Root culled from global news reports, lends credence to court watchers’ speculation that she will not be influenced by the defendant’s emotional breakdowns or the crying and vomiting in court.

Here are seven things to know about the judge:

[Finish Reading at TheRoot.com]

Black Female Voices: Melissa Harris- Perry and bell hooks

The New School, hosted an amazing dialogue between MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry and acclaimed writer bell hooks on…

“Black Female Voices….who is listening?”

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Watch the discussion below… 90 minutes will seem too short as these brilliant women delve into Black Feminism and Black womanhood. 



Thank You, The New School for bringing us this remarkable discussion.

Michelle Obama Talks Education w/ a High School Senior

“Education played such an important role in my life…I know how important it is for other young people, particularly young people of color…. They have to own their education…they have to start with themselves” —- Michelle Obama




Imagine being able to sit and ask the First Lady Michelle Obama, anything?

Would you ask how the girls are doing?

What was her fondest memory at Harvard?

Or maybe how is it after 20+ years, her and Barack seem to still look at each other with eyes of high school sweethearts?

18 year old, NeNe Sy, a senior at the Young Women’s Leadership School of East Harlem, took full advantage and delved right in with questions on education… take a look at the video below.



Black Feminism Goes Viral [EBONY]

[This piece was originally posted on Ebony.com]

In the March issue of EBONY, Jamilah Lemieux examines how social media is creating a new Black power.

Beyonce, Chimimanda Adeche and Melissa Harris Perry

When Beyoncé released her ‘surprise’ self-titled album late last year, cameos from artists such as Drake, Frank Ocean and her husband, Jay Z, were upstaged by someone unknown to many members of the “Bey Hive.” An excerpt of Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s powerful TEDx talk titled “Why We Should All Be Feminists” can be heard on “Flawless,” as the song previously released as “Bow Down” is reimagined as a thorough read of the gender police: We teach girls to shrink themselves, to make themselves smaller. We say to girls, You can have ambition, but not too much. You should aim to be successful but not too successful, otherwise you will threaten the man … We raise girls to see each other as competitors not for jobs or for accomplishments … but for the attention of men … The author ended her speech with her definition of a feminist: A person who believes in the economic, social and political equality of the sexes.

Bey is hardly the first Black female megastar to make a boldly feminist move. There is the sexual autonomy Janet Jackson inherited from Blues godmothers Bessie Smith and Ma Rainey, the fierce folk tunes of Odetta and rock goddesses Betty Davis and Grace Jones, which are not to be dismissed. Beyoncé’s public engagement of the word “feminism” sparked a rapid-fire discussion on social media platforms, continuing a dynamic dialogue that has been bubbling up on Twitter and Facebook.

Black Feminism Goes Pop

Gone are the days in which feminism is easily dismissed as the territory of privileged White women or limited largely to those who live in academic and activist circles. There is an emergence of boldly Black feminist thought spreading via big and small screens, from the whip-smart progressive voices of pundits such as MSNBC’s Joy Reid and Goldie Taylor and CNN’s Marc Lamont Hill to the blogosphere. “Black Twitter” is routinely buzzing with debates that go beyond the trite Mars/Venus politicking and instead finds women and men engaged in deep conversations about how gender impacts equality, access and freedom. Is feminism simply the latest hot topic, or are we witnessing the beginning of a new Black liberation movement?

“I think Black feminism is in one of the strongest moments it has seen in a while,” says Brittney Cooper, assistant professor in the Department of Women’s and Gender Studies at Rutgers University. “From Melissa Harris-Perry on MSNBC, to Laverne Cox on Orange Is the New Black to Beyoncé … we have prominent Black women identifying publicly with the term. There is also a robust crop of young Black feminists online who keep pushing the conversation forward, doing activist work in communities and generally taking no prisoners when it comes to racism and sexism.”

Black women and men have engaged in feminist work for centuries. Abolitionist Maria Stewart’s 1832 speech “Why Sit Ye Here and Die?” denounced the lack of access to education and employment afforded to even free Black women. In 1892, pioneering scholar Anna Julia Cooper published A Voice from the South, one of the first texts to thoroughly examine the ways in which Black women are subject to unique forms of discrimination and oppression based on race and gender. W.E.B. Du Bois’ The Damnation of Women, published in 1920, makes a case for the improvement of living conditions for Black women and is considered one of the first Black male feminist writings.

To speak the names of the Black women—and men—who have done critical feminist work, regardless of whether they ever embraced feminist as a moniker, would require half the pages of this magazine: Sojourner Truth, Angela Davis, Audre Lorde, bell hooks, Beverly Guy-Sheftall, Alice Walker (who coined the term “womanism” to speak specifically to the contributions of Black women to feminist work), Rebecca Walker, Patricia Hill Collins, Toni Morrison, and the list goes on. (Visit EBONY.com for “100 Black Feminists You Should Know.”)

Although Beyoncé has certainly captured our attention, it would be absurd to consider her a leader of a movement. She’s a student, an admittedly new one at that, and she’s also not above feminist criticism. Adichie has declined comment on her voice being used by the pop star, so one may wonder just how she feels about Beyoncé’s brand of feminism (and Jay Z’s controversial “eat the cake, Anna Mae” bar reveals that there’s certainly room for some critical feminist discourse in the Carter household, to say the least). Yet she serves as a valuable entry point to discussions of feminism for people of all ages.

Between Race and Gender

Conversations about Black feminism are often charged with first establishing the unique space in which Black women exist: subject to both sexism and racism (and that’s without mentioning classism, homophobia, ableism and any other number of ways in which a Black woman can be “othered” by society), yet largely marginalized by White women and Black men when those issues are being addressed. Racial privilege allows White women increased ability to challenge gender-based oppression while still maintaining access and freedoms that women of color are routinely denied.
Read FULL article here

Lupita Nyong’o Delivers Moving ‘Black Women in Hollywood’ Acceptance Speech

“And so I hope that my presence on your screens and in the magazines may lead you, young girl, on a similar journey. That you will feel the validation of your external beauty but also get to the deeper business of being beautiful inside.”
Lupita Nyongo

(This article was originally posted on Essence.com)

Newcomer Lupita Nyong’o was honored with the Best Breakthrough Performance Award at the 7th annual Black Women in Hollywood Luncheon for her work in critically acclaimed film, 12 Years a Slave, presented by fellow actress, Alfre Woodard. The following is her acceptance speech in full (and below that is the video of the majority of the speech):

I wrote down this speech that I had no time to practice so this will be the practicing session. Thank you Alfre, for such an amazing, amazing introduction and celebration of my work. And thank you very much for inviting me to be a part of such an extraordinary community. I am surrounded by people who have inspired me, women in particular whose presence on screen made me feel a little more seen and heard and understood. That it is ESSENCE that holds this event celebrating our professional gains of the year is significant, a beauty magazine that recognizes the beauty that we not just possess but also produce.

I want to take this opportunity to talk about beauty. Black beauty. Dark beauty. I received a letter from a girl and I’d like to share just a small part of it with you: “Dear Lupita,” it reads, “I think you’re really lucky to be this Black but yet this successful in Hollywood overnight. I was just about to buy Dencia’s Whitenicious cream to lighten my skin when you appeared on the world map and saved me.”

My heart bled a little when I read those words. I could never have guessed that my first job out of school would be so powerful in and of itself and that it would propel me to be such an image of hope in the same way that the women of The Color Purple were to me.

I remember a time when I too felt unbeautiful. I put on the TV and only saw pale skin. I got teased and taunted about my night-shaded skin. And my one prayer to God, the miracle worker, was that I would wake up lighter-skinned. The morning would come and I would be so excited about seeing my new skin that I would refuse to look down at myself until I was in front of a mirror because I wanted to see my fair face first. And every day I experienced the same disappointment of being just as dark as I had been the day before. I tried to negotiate with God: I told him I would stop stealing sugar cubes at night if he gave me what I wanted; I would listen to my mother’s every word and never lose my school sweater again if he just made me a little lighter. But I guess God was unimpressed with my bargaining chips because He never listened.

And when I was a teenager my self-hate grew worse, as you can imagine happens with adolescence. My mother reminded me often that she thought that I was beautiful but that was no consolation: She’s my mother, of course she’s supposed to think I am beautiful. And then Alek Wek came on the international scene. A celebrated model, she was dark as night, she was on all of the runways and in every magazine and everyone was talking about how beautiful she was. Even Oprah called her beautiful and that made it a fact. I couldn’t believe that people were embracing a woman who looked so much like me as beautiful. My complexion had always been an obstacle to overcome and all of a sudden, Oprah was telling me it wasn’t. It was perplexing and I wanted to reject it because I had begun to enjoy the seduction of inadequacy. But a flower couldn’t help but bloom inside of me. When I saw Alek I inadvertently saw a reflection of myself that I could not deny. Now, I had a spring in my step because I felt more seen, more appreciated by the far away gatekeepers of beauty, but around me the preference for light skin prevailed. To the beholders that I thought mattered, I was still unbeautiful. And my mother again would say to me, “You can’t eat beauty. It doesn’t feed you.” And these words plagued and bothered me; I didn’t really understand them until finally I realized that beauty was not a thing that I could acquire or consume, it was something that I just had to be.

(Finish the article here.)