Langston Hughes Legacy Revived Through Arts Collective

So, I’m killing two birds with one stone on this post, actually three because I love doing the most.

Giving much deserved props to my fave poet–Langston Hughes–during National Poetry Month (check).

And featuring an arts collective org launched by Coretta Scott King Award winner. Introducing our other #WCW…Renee Watson.

The New York Times Bestselling author of “Piecing Me Together” was so inspired by Langston Hughes’ work she created “I, Too, Arts Collective” org (a nod to the iconic poem) in the scribe’s own Harlem brownstone.

Yes Ma’am!! The same parlor Langston used his famous typewriter, is now being occupied by kids taking part in African drumming and adult poetry readings.

It’s among the many creative programs offered by the non-profit, whose goal is to foster creativity within Harlem and sustain Langston’s legacy.

“This was a person that didn’t just write about Harlem, but loved Harlem,” Watson told CBS News.

What better way to repay that love affair than preserving the last creative space Langston Hughes worked in.

Through crowd sourcing and using hashtag #LangstonLegacy to get support, Watson was able to lease the brownstone in 2016.

The new goal is getting the collective to buy the building, which should’ve been a museum, anyway.

“There’s stories about Langston sitting in the parlor room with friends, and just talking politics, and talking about art, and we do that here. And so I hope that, yeah, if he knew it was going on, I think he would be proud. I feel like he’s cheering us on,” Watson said.

I am too.

Beyonce Donates to Young, Gifted and Black at HBCU’s

My edges have officially grown back, so that Beyonce can snatch them right off again come Saturday for Beychella 2.0.

Not only has the Queen of showtime put on the blackest of black performances celebrating…um…Black culture that wasn’t featured on an Apollo stage, Beyonce is donating to the cause.

Our girl is shelling out $100 Gs worth of scholarships at HBCU’s through her BEYGOOD charity initiative.

Xavier, Wilberforce, Tuskegee and Bethune-Cookman (sorry Howard, we know you needed that W) will receive $25K each for Homecoming Scholars Award Program.

Four students from each school can apply. Just like with the merit scholarship she debuted after release of Lemonade, students concentration has to be art based.

Winners will be announced this summer.

May your odds be as favorable as Beyonce’s killing the stage on Saturday. #Blackexcellence

This is No Laughing Matter to Chris Tucker

So we’re all use to Chris Tucker making us laugh…okay, at least during his Friday and Rush Hour years.

Well, now our high-pitched voiced funnyman is getting deadly serious about saving Black men’s lives.

Chris Tucker is the new spokesperson for Prostate Cancer Foundation–an org dedicated to research and funding of prostate cancer–he’s joining the org to raise awareness for the huge differences between Black and White men facing prostrate cancer.

Three million men are diagnosed with the disease, but Black men are 74% more likely to get the illness in their 50s, and 2 times more likely to die, according to Look to the Stars.

“It was shocking for me to learn that African American men have the highest death rate and shortest survival of any racial and ethnic group in the U.S. most cancer and that prostate cancer is the number one diagnosed cancer among veterans.” says Chris in a statement.

Now we know.

To prevent this ugly disease from taking more of our Black men’s lives requires more research. Our men have to do their part too, like a change of lifestyle.

Good looking out, Chris.

In My DNA: First Black Woman to Grace Canadian Money

new-10-bill-unveiled-featuring-civil-rights-icon-viola-desmond-0

I got, I got, I got, I got/ Loyalty, got royalty inside my DNA/ Cocaine quarter piece, got war and peace inside my DNA/ I got power, poison, pain and joy inside my DNA/ I got hustle though, ambition, flow, inside my DNA

Sorry y’all, I can’t stop singing this Kendrick Lamar joint ever since I heard my cousin is the first Black woman to grace Canada’s $10 banknote.

Naturally, Viola Desmond is our WCW. For not only refusing to leave a white’s only section of a movie theater in the late ‘40s, but more importantly her defiance was the jump off to the civil rights movement, which led to the end of segregation in Nova Scotia.

For not only refusing to leave a white’s only section of a movie theater in the late ‘40s, but more importantly her defiance was the jump off to the civil rights movement, which led to the end of segregation in Nova Scotia.

No wonder out of more than 26,000 submissions, cousin Vi was selected as the Canadian woman reppin the new banknote.

Fair warning this post will be bias as a mofo, but I’m hoping you guys will indulge me in this proud moment.

Viola Desmond did for Canada what Rosa Parks did for us. Only she did it a decade before Rosa. My cuz Vi stumbled upon her role as a civil rights pioneer. Much like Rosa, she was sick and tired of being sick and tired. 

So this is how she landed in textbooks:

In 1946, Vi’s car broke down while traveling and had to stop in New Glasgow to get it fixed. To kill time, she went to the movies.

It was obvi segregated because it’s 1946—whites took the floor seats and Blacks were forced in the balcony section.

There was no way cousin Vi was getting a floor seat, so she paid for the balcony. Yet still sat in the white’s only section. My cousin.

She refused to leave and had to be dragged out of the theater by police. She spent 12 hours in the clink.

Cousin Vi was convicted and ordered to pay what amounted to $26 in fines. She fought the charges up until her death in 1965.

It wasn’t until 2010 the charges were dismissed by Nova Scotia’s first African Lieutenant general. “Here I am, 64 years later – a black woman giving freedom to another black woman,” Mayann Francis told Maclean’s magazine.

Yup that’s called black girl magic. Now get out and spend those Desmond’s.

 

Will Smith Donates Bottled Water to Flint Schools

Will and Jada Smith are using their new bottled water company– JUST–for good.

The power couple is donating their eco-friendly water to Flint, Michigan public schools each month, until city’s water becomes drink-able again, Huffington Post reports.

So far 9,200 b̶o̶t̶t̶l̶e̶s̶ cartons have been shipped to the schools.

With so much more of the plant-based H20 on the way, says JUST CEO Ira Laufer.

“This just makes sense for us to do,” Laufer told MLive. “After reading more about [Flint’s] challenges and the mayor objecting to pulling bottled water from the schools, we thought, ‘Let’s help these kids.’”

Where there is a will there’s a way. Sorry, had too.

On a serious note this is a great gesture for a company that is barely four years old. Given how toxic the water levels still are in Flint–EPA rated city’s lead at 397 parts per billion, the standard is 15 ppb.

Yeah, keep them cartons coming, big Willy.

What We Wish For on Int’l Woman’s Day

If this past year has taught me anything, it’s that women are unbreakable. We are unstoppable and our gentle exterior may show we come in peace, but our tenacity, strength and smarts most certainly exude that we. mean. bizness.

We get shit done that no one (*cough* men *cough*) else want to handle. Or better yet don’t know how to manage. Not us. We can study for that midterm and feed our newborn. Cook dinner and clean the house. Eff an apron, where is our cape?

We most certainly need one today because…drum roll please…it’s International Woman’s Day.

On this day we tip our hat to all the 3.96 billion women (thanks Alexi…ok, stop laughing) around the planet, helping to make this world a safer more worthwhile place.

To truly accomplish this goal, we need a favor from the fellas. And you have to say yes because it’s our day. However, we will need today, tomorrow, next week and even next year to get it done. You need to recognize our worth. Our abilities. Our talents. And most importantly: our symmetry with you.

We demand equal treatment. The time for asking is over. We are ready. Yaasss SHE’s ready (in my Tiffany Haddish voice) for that board seat, equal pay and for goodness sake being respected for our brain and not our boobs.

It’s 2018, guys. The clock moved past 1952, *checking watch* 66 years ago. A time machine doesn’t exist to go backwards, women are getting in formation to claim our rightful place of power.

Because our time is now.

Cheers to all the overlooked, underpaid and unappreciated women that don’t know you are a bulletproof spirit, waiting to soar like a shooting star above our orbit.