All Articles Tagged "black women"

Why Black Women Don’t Report Their Sexual Assaults

March 25th, 2015 - By Veronica Wells
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Why Black Women Don't Report Their Sexual Assaults

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I’ve been gravely disappointed during this ongoing Cosby scandal. Partially because the Bill Cosby I’d watched and admired was now marred by this scandal but mostly because of the people in my circles who tried to demonize the women who spoke out against him. After all, I never knew Bill Cosby. I do, however, know the family members, friends, distant associates and others who asked questions like “why are these women just now coming forward?”

Sad.

This type of thought pattern just showed that there is a gross ignorance among people about sexual assault and what happens, emotionally and psychologically, to the women who have endured it.

And while I’ve tried to fight the good fight on my Facebook page and in conversations where it happened to come up, explaining that there is no set way to process trauma; now there is empirical, anecdotal evidence to support what I had been saying all along, especially as it pertains to Black women.

A New York based human right’s organization, called Black Women’s Blueprint, is conducting an ongoing study which found that nearly 60 percent of Black women have been involved in a coercive sexual assault by the time they are 18-years-old.

And in relaying her own story, one of these women explained in an article with Raw Story why it’s so hard for Black women to report their sexual assaults to the authorities.

If we report our assaults to police, we risk being retraumatized not only by the inhumane process of reliving a violent experience through sharing its gory details – but also by the violence of the criminal justice system itself , which treats rape victims like suspects . Worse yet, the police themselves commit assault with impunity ; often, they target black women in particular , knowing our existence at the intersections of racism and misogyny make crimes against us far less likely to be investigated .

To be a “ good rape victim ” is to immediately report your assault to the police (even knowing you will likely never see “justice” ), but to be a good black person is to avoid the police entirely because your life quite literally depends on it . The tightrope walk is impossible.

These words sound alarmingly like the ones Beverly Johnson wrote when she detailed her sexual assault with Cosby. You might recall that she hesitated coming forward because, with all the racial tension in the country these days, she didn’t want to be the Black woman attempting to drag a Black man down.  

She knew before the essay was even published that she would be in for a world of scrutiny and judgement.

And she was right. My heart broke as I watched people, some of them MN readers (women), call Johnson everything but a child of God for daring to step forward with this story.

If Johnson, with her illustrious career and the respect she’s earned in the industry, was torn down in this way, imagine what happens to the “unknown” women who tell their doubting family members and law enforcement officers about their own sexual assaults? The outcome is not likely to provide any closure. In fact, the experience of being doubted, questioned or further victimized might just result in even more trauma.

To paraphrase one of my Facebook and real life friends: ladies and gentlemen, the women in your life, who’ve been quietly living with the secrets and burdens of their own sexual assaults, are watching you and your reaction to this whole Bill Cosby situation, wondering if they should continue to remain silent and whether or not you’ll doubt them too.

Snob Hair Couture Giveaway: Win Two Free Bundles!

March 18th, 2015 - By Lauren R.D. Fox
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Snob Hair Couture

Snob Hair Couture

With Spring on its way, we’re sure you want your hair to be on fleek!

Thanks to Snob Hair Couture, that wish can come true! Known for its long-lasting versatility, natural flow and movement, with minimal shedding, Snob Hair Couture is available in a variety of lustrous textures such as Brazilian (relaxed straight, loose deep, amazon wave),Malaysian (Curly), and Mongolian (Curly, Silky). With Lightweight and supple bundles, Snob Hair Couture is chemical free, guaranteeing a flawlessly natural and refined extension style. In order for you to get your hair laid to the gods,  founder of Snob Hair Couture, Doris Perry, and MadameNoire are giving away two free bundles and Snob apparel to one lucky winner.

To enter the contest be sure to follow Snob Hair Couture at @SnobHairCouture and @MadameNoiredotcom on Instagram and post a fierce selfie or photo of yourself channeling your inner alter ego with the hashtag #SNOBBIN

Check out Snob Hair Couture’s promo video from their latest hair shoot and good luck!

Artist Makeda Lewis Releases Black Feminist Coloring Book, “Avies Dreams”

March 10th, 2015 - By Lauren R.D. Fox
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Makeda Lewis

Makeda Lewis

Artist Makeda Lewis has created the coloring book you’ve dreamed of having since you were a socially-conscious little girl. Titled, Avies Dreams, Lewis’s adult coloring book is based on illustrations of the dreams a girl named Avie had after she saw the world in its truth.

Unfortunately for Avie, she was institutionalized because she didn’t live up to the world’s standard and the status quo. Because of this, Lewis’s coloring book depicts the effect feminism, afrocentricity, death and rebirth, gender identity and power dynamics has on Black women reports Blavity. That might be a bit much for a young girl to digest, but as grown women we clearly see ourselves in the adult coloring book’s drawings. Besides her newly released coloring book, Lewis is also selling coffee mugs with in-your-face phrases that will make you feel powerful via her BigCartel commerce site.

To purchase Avies Dreams, click here and know that you’re putting your hard-earned dollars towards a good cause. A third of the proceeds will go to WellSpring Living, an organization that houses young women who have been rescued from sex trafficking.

Here is a preview of a page from Avies Dreams. What do you think?

Makeda Lewis

Makeda Lewis

Support Your Sister: Black Women Come To Zendaya’s Defense

February 25th, 2015 - By Veronica Wells
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black women come to zendaya's defense feat

Though Giuliana Rancic’s apology last night seemed sincere and heartfelt to me, there are still some who are refusing to accept it. But more importantly, other Black women in the limelight who stepping forward to show their support and solidarity.

First, there was fellow loced sister Selma director Ava DuVernay, who wrote this under Zendaya’s initial open letter.

Then “Scandal” actress Kerry Washington commended Zendaya on her open letter to Giuliana.

And finally, Solange spoke about the ways in which the show had been speaking about the fro on the red carpets for years. And she even referenced the time In Touch Weekly compared her hair to a dog. That didn’t go unnoticed. In true Solange fashion, she provided the perfect response for it.

India Arie even released a “Songversation” about this whole thing. See what she said. 


I wanted to jump in and defend Zendaya – but she’s doing that BEAUTIFULLY  herself.

VERY. WELL.  DONE.  It’s a powerful thing to be a TEENAGER in the public eye, and feel empowered to speak up in your own defense. STUNNING!

In my opinion, Entitlement in and of itself, BLINDS people to that very entitlement …  THUS allowing the behavior exhibited.

I’m not calling Giuliana Rancic a RACIST, .. but OF COURSE  it has to do with RACE.   To say it has “Nothing to do with race” .. THAT’S why people get mad.

But lets remember HOW difficult it is for a person of Gullianna Ranci’s social context to really UNDERSTAND how we see race in this issue. How race is a pervasive ISSUE in the entertainment industries as a whole.

We  need more more compassion in this world. Period

So I’m not MAD at Giuliana Rancic I’m SAD at her.  I’m Sad that things LIKE THIS keep happening.

Black Women Have Made Large Strides In Politics In Recent Years

February 23rd, 2015 - By Kimberly Gedeon
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CBC Chair, Rep. Marcia Fudge (OH-11). via Facebook

CBC Chair, Rep. Marcia Fudge (OH-11). via Facebook

Black female representation in political world has flourished in recent years, the Huffington Post reports.

A new report delves into the progress of Black women holding office in American political seats. Zooming in on 2014, Black women seem to be gaining traction in U.S. politics.  Let’s take a look at the Black female breakthrough, at all levels of government, when it comes to matters of our nation:

Congress:

There are 18 Black women serving in the 114th Congress; 17 are Democrats and one Republican (We see you, Mia Love). That’s four more than the number of women who served Congress before Election Day 2014. Another two Black female politicians are seated as delegates for Washington, D.C. and the Virgin Islands.

“Black women are one third of the new women elected to the 114th Congress,” HuffPo wrote.

Interesting Tidbit:

Alma Adams (D-North Carolina) was seated as the 100th woman in Congress upon her special election when she filled a vacant seat for the remainder of the 113th Congress.

Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-New Jersey) became the first Black woman to represent her state in Congress ever. Mia Love (R-Utah) achieved the same feat as Coleman, but on top of that, she made history when she became the first Black Republican to serve Congress.

Statewide Elected Executive Office

At this level, Black women are “severely” underrepresented. Just two Black women, State Treasurer Denise Nappier (D-Connecticut) and Attorney General Kamala Harris (D-California), currently hold these offices — the same figure as 2014. “They represent 2.6 percent of the 77 women serving in these offices,” HuffPo said.

Interesting Tidbit:

Throughout history, only 10 Black women have ever held a seat at a statewide elected executive office.

State Legislatures

When it comes to the state level, Black women are better represented. Of all women at this political strata, Black women make up 14 percent of state legislators in 2015. Before Election Day 2014, 13.5 percent of Black women held positions at this level. “Unsurprisingly, Black women fare much better among Democratic legislators, representing 7.8 percent of all Democratic state legislators and 23 percent of all Democratic women state legislators in 2015,” HuffPo wrote.

Interesting Tidbit:

Maine, South Dakota, and North Dakota have never elected a Black woman as a delegate for their respective states.

Utah elected its first Black female state rep, Sandra Cullen (D), in 2014.

Looking ahead, Black women in politics are looking promising. We may have our first Black female U.S. attorney general in 2015 and Harris announced her bid for a seat at the Senate in 2016.

This study was compiled by the Center for American Women and Politics and Higher Heights.

“I Apologize And I Love You.” Woman Writes Open Letter To Black Women, Says Sorry For Judging Them

February 16th, 2015 - By Madame Noire
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Image Source: Shutterstock.com

Image Source: Shutterstock.com

 

From BlackVoices 

American black women have always been painted negatively in the U.S. media, which also influences the international community. From the Mammy to Jezebel to Sapphire, these stereotypes have affected society’s view of the black woman, setting the tone for her treatment by other communities before she is even given the opportunity to prove otherwise.

I remember when I first started middle school in the predominantly white community of Midlothian, Texas. Not only was I one of a handful of black students, but our family was the only African family in the entire city. Having to make friends turned my stomach upside down, as somebody who had always been very shy. The fear of rejection was too difficult to get over in my mind. I was drawn to quiet, intellectual individuals like myself. Even at that age, I was very focused, thanks to a mother who drilled the importance of academic success into my head day and night. I found it difficult to relate to my African-American classmates due to our cultural differences.

My first encounter with a fellow black female classmate was a nightmare. I had taken my hair out of braids for the first time, and she accused me of wearing a wig. She began jabbing in my hair and yelling out to the whole class that I had a weave on. At the time, I did not understand that she was simply a bully and that bullies can be found across all racial groups. I allowed myself to carry this particular memory with me throughout school, and did not have a single African-American friend until years after I graduated. Now I find the whole idea to be ridiculous, but it made sense in my mind at the time, due to the preconceived notions my family had about American black women.

Read more of Nancy Laws’ letter to Black women at BlackVoices.com 

‘Sorority Sisters’ Isn’t Alone… 10 Reality Shows That Were A Bad Look For Black Women

February 3rd, 2015 - By Deron Dalton
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10 Reality Shows That Were A Bad Look For Black Women

Source: VH1

“Sorority Sisters”  wasn’t liked from the jump. Folks were ready to boycott Mona Scott-Young and VH1 the moment they saw the previews. Enough was enough already with portraying Black women in such a negative light. Even though some of these reality shows are now off the air, there have been many more over the years that have given Black women a bad look. Unfortunately, these shows are just a few portrayals of Black women we find on television.

Meet The Grandmother of Rock And Roll: Sister Rosetta Tharpe, A Black Woman

February 2nd, 2015 - By Veronica Wells
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Black History Month is here y’all! And I know I’m excited. As much as our history is hidden, twisted or completely disregarded, I always take great pleasure in learning something new and wonderful about our people. And being that this is a Black women’s site, we’ll be featuring Black women who’ve changed the world in one way or another but somehow failed to get the recognition they deserved.

And today, that lady is Sister Rosetta Tharpe.

While the mainstream would have you believe that Rock and Roll was created by an Elvis Presley type, the truth of the matter is, the fundamentals of the genre were started by Black people. The genre was propelled by people like Little Richard, (He jokes about not getting his just due, but he’s telling the truth.) and Chuck Berry. But guess who Little Richard and Chuck Berry list as one of their favorite singers and greatest influence: Sister Rosetta Tharpe.

So who is this woman?

Tharpe was born Rosetta Nubin in Cotton Plant, Arkansas on March 20, 1915. And like the name of her town suggests, her parents, Katie Bell Nubin and Willis Atkins, were cotton pickers. Though little is known about her father, both of her parents had a musical background. Her mother Katie, was a musician, singer as well as a preacher in the COGIC denomination. COGIC was different from other Christian sects at that time because it encouraged rhythmic music and allowed women to preach in church. Rosetta, following in her parents’ footsteps, started singing and playing the guitar at four and was labeled a musical prodigy. By six,  she and her mother were traveling throughout the south on an evangelical tour.

In the mid 1920’s, Tharpe and her mother relocated to Chicago, Illinois where they continued to perform religious concerts, occasionally performing at conventions throughout  the country.

It wasn’t long before Rosetta had created a name for herself, particularly since there weren’t that many Black, female guitarists during the time. At 19, Rosetta married a COGIC preacher named Thomas Tharpe and he began traveling with her and her mother. The two weren’t married long; and Rosetta would eventually remarry (twice), but she kept the last name and called herself Sister Rosetta Tharpe when she took the stage.

In 1938, at 23, Tharpe moved to New York City where she recorded her first album with Decca Records. She recorded four songs, “Rock Me,” “That’s All,” “The Man and I” and “The Lonesome Road.” All of the songs became hits and Tharpe became the country’s first gospel artist to enjoy commercial success.

In December of that same year, she performed in Carnegie Hall. The performance was unique in that she performed her gospel music in front of a secular audience. And then there was the style of music. Her guitar playing, which blended blues and folk songs with a swing sound, had all the makings of the early Rock and Roll sound.

The audience responded favorably and Tharpe continued to gain more fame. She became a regular a Cab Calloway’s famous Cotton Club in Harlem.

Her songs called “Shout Sister Shout” and “I Want A Tall Skinny Papa” featured Tharpe playing the electric guitar for the first time. This specifically, was the sound that would turn up in Chuck Berry and Elvis Presley’s music.

In 1944, Tharpe recorded “Strange Things Happening Every Day.” The record showcased her clever lyrics, delivery and guitar skills. The song ended up being the first gospel song to make Billboard’s Harlem Hit Parade (later known as Race Records and finally, R&B). She would go on to do this several more times in her career. But the 1944 record has been credited as the “First rock and roll record.”

The next year, Little Richard was at the same venue as one of her concerts and Tharpe happened to hear him sing. Afterward, she invited him on the stage with her. It was his first public performance outside of church. Little Richard would later say that performance inspired him to pursue music as a career.

In the 1950’s Tharpe and her singing partner Marie Knight recorded several blues songs. The fact that she was doing secular music didn’t sit well with her gospel fans. And though she wanted to remain the in the church, her core audience had turned their backs on her. On the outs with some of her American fans, Tharpe booked a month-long tour in Europe.

In 1970, while still in Europe and on tour with Muddy Waters, she suddenly got sick and was rushed back to the United States. When she arrived, she suffered from a stroke and had to have her leg amputated as a side effect from diabetes complications. Despite the setback, Tharpe continued to perform.

In 1973, the day before she was scheduled to go to the studio to record, she had another stroke and passed away three days later on October 9, 1973. She was 58 years old.

Over 20 years after her death, in 1998, the United States Postal Service honored Tharpe with a commemorative stamp. And in 2007, she was inducted, posthumously into the Blues Hall of Fame.

Source: USPS

Source: USPS

15 Surprising Facts About Black Women

December 9th, 2014 - By Meg Butler
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Think you know all there is to know about the African-American experience? These surprising facts about black women just might surprise you.

A Black Woman Designed The Playboy Bunny Outfit

Zelda Wynn Valdes was designer-to-the-stars in the ’40s and ’50s known for her form-fitting designs for stars like Dorothy Dandridge, Josephine Baker, Ella Fitzgerald and Mae West. Hugh Hefner hired her to design costumes for his Playboy bunnies and history was born.

Here’s Why Black Girls Workout Too!

December 1st, 2014 - By jade
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In this new series, One Bold Move, MadameNoire profiled four popular bloggers in the categories of Hair, Makeup, Style, and Fitness. These bloggers discussed the one bold decision that placed their life on a completely different trajectory. In this episode, mother and daughter duo Ellen and Lana Ector discuss their motivation for working out and why it’s important for black women to workout.

 

To join their gym, purchase workout DVD’s or workout gear visit their website.

 

Episode 1 – Curly Nikki 

Episode 2 – Missy Lynn 

Episode 3 – Black Girls Run!

Episode 5 – The Curvy Fashionista

Episode 6 – Series Extras