All Articles Tagged "black women"

Are We Selling Sex Or Is Sex Selling Black Women?

October 31st, 2014 - By TaMara Griffin
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Selling Sex

Source: WENN

With all the buzz that was surrounding Nicki Minaj’s video “Anaconda,” I have to wonder as a Black women is this all we want for ourselves? Is this really a representation of Black women and our sexuality? Why must we continuously be the focus of hypersexualized videos in order to be relevant? Why must we allow ourselves to continue to be exploited like Mimi Faust and her infamous sex tape? Is this five minutes of fame worth our selling our souls and destroying our people? What statement does this send to our young girls who watch videos and reality TV shows and think that this is a way of life?

While many women are empowered enough to realize that this buffoonery is a form of “entertainment,” many women are not able to make that connection. Unfortunately as a result, many women and young girls end up modeling their lives after these reckless, negligent and thoughtless images. These images don’t represent nor promote sex positivity nor do they denote owning and embracing one’s sexuality. In fact, it’s just the opposite. These images actually represent a conflict of values, morals, and a lack of self esteem
and self-efficacy that contributes to putting oneself at risks for mental health issues, interpersonal violence, substance abuse, HIV and other sexually transmitted infections, etc.

Black women’s sexuality is already stereotyped, stigmatized, taboo and bogged down by layers of negative intergenerational patterns and ideologies that have been passed down from slavery. These ideologies were used to validate the inhumane sexual treatment of enslaved women. They were also used to imply that Black women were despicable and inferior. Unfortunately, these ideologies are still present. Today, the media uses these images in music videos, movies, television shows, and other forms of entertainment to continue to brainwash people into believing the negative stereotypes of Black women.

The prevailing images of Black women in the media include jezebels, baby-mamas, video vixens, chicken heads, gold diggers, angry Black women, and hoes. These images and ideologies, with their highly sexual undertones, helps to influence the way in which Black women view themselves. The more Black women see images of themselves getting famous for fitting into one of the aforementioned categories, the more likely they feel inclined to model what they see. In addition, these images helps to influence the way others value and interact with Black women.

While rappers, actors, entertainers and “reality” TV stars may not have signed up to become role models, they are! Once they step into the spotlight, they become a model for what is considered to be trendy and acceptable. These “celebrities” in many ways, good or bad, set the standard. But what standard are they setting and at what cost to Black women?

Unfortunately, Black women have become desensitized to seeing themselves portrayed negatively. While there aren’t any signs of these unhealthy images disappearing any time soon, there is definitely a need to counteract them in the media. We are in need of a cultural shift in sexuality, one that restores the dignity of Black women. It is time for Black women to reclaim our sexual images in society. We must ask ourselves the following questions: 1)Do we care about the type of women our girls grow up to become, 2) Is their public image worth defending, and 3) Is their sexual integrity worth protecting?

No longer can we sit in silence or stand idly on the sidelines while the images of Black women continue to be destroyed in the media. However, in order to change the trajectory, we need to begin with restoring Black women’s sense of value, worth and sexuality. We need to transform from the “ex’s,” “jezebel,” “angry Black woman,” “video vixen,” “gold digger,” “baby mama,” “chicken heads,” and “‘hoes” to self-respecting women, wives, mothers and leaders in our community. Once we do, we will be able to see a shift in our society that will begin to embrace and celebrate the true authentic essence of Black women’s sexuality.
Dr. TaMara G10517587_10152337526693315_3514000000734284521_nriffin loves nothing more than talking about sex! At the age of 13, she told her mother she wanted to be a Sex Therapist! Her passion is deeply rooted in spreading messages about healthy sexuality. Dr. TaMara is a sexologist, sex therapist, educator and motivational speaker with more than 20 years of experience speaking, writing and teaching about sexuality. She travels the country helping individuals embrace and honor their sexuality. Dr. TaMara has published numerous books and articles. She is the owner of L.I.F.E. by Dr. TaMara Griffin, Live Inspired Feel Empowered LLC-L.I.F.E. She is also the Director of Project Create S.A.F.E. {Sexual Assault Free Environments}

You Think You Know But You Have No Idea: 15 Tired Misconceptions About All Black Women

October 28th, 2014 - By Erica Renee
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Source: Shutterstock

Source: Shutterstock

Black women, to everyone who isn’t a black woman, are mystical, complicated creatures. We are often misunderstood because no one takes the time to understand us (my opinion…not fact). There are stereotypes associated with every race, but many negative ones are attached to black people.

While black men have their own set of misconceptions perceived by others, black women deal with broad generalizations being made about us as well. These are a few of the ones that I’ve heard all too often about how people think we are, but they really have no idea.

Crabs-In-A-Barrel Drama: Why I’m Disappointed In “Hollywood Divas”

October 28th, 2014 - By La Truly
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Hollywood Divas

I thought I had really sworn off ratchet reality TV, but something about seeing famous (or in some cases, semi-famous) Black women come together to create something piqued my interest enough to make me tune into “Hollywood Divas.” Featuring Paula Jai Parker, Golden Brooks, Countess Vaughn, Elise Neal and Lisa Wu, “Hollywood Divas” is a close sister-friend of “R&B Divas.” What I mean by that is, has-been or struggling celebrities of a certain craft come together to become relevant again, constantly listing their credits to validate their current staked claim (READ: struggle).

I’m not sure if I was wrong for expecting a bit more (this IS reality tv), but I was all kinds of confused and disappointed by the rollout of the episodes and the catty/shady behavior of the women on-screen. In my mind, if I’m a struggling actress trying to get my name on somebody’s marquee or credits, I’d come into a collaborative situation with my game face on and my pettiness tucked clean away.

These women don’t think like I do, apparently.

The first two episodes jumped off with tears, fake high-pitched greetings, half-hugs, shade and catty backhanded compliments. One thing that struck me in particular as crazy with a capital C is the fact that Golden Brooks, best known for her role as ‘Maya Wilkes’ on Mara Brock Akil’s groundbreaking show “Girlfriends,” spent every waking moment shading reality stars and blaming them for the reason that “theater-trained” actors with a “certain pedigree” couldn’t get work.

Um, you’re on a reality show now, boo.

She also stated that in order to get work nowadays, actors have to be active on social media with millions of followers. To say that I was annoyed and that I highly disagreed would be the understatement of the year. There are so many examples of actresses, BLACK actresses, who have made it – in RECENT years – based off of their talent and strategic choices in roles not their standing on social media.

Viola Davis, a newcomer to Twitter, gained acclaim because of her work in recent movies like The Help and now her incomparable work as the mysterious and driven Annalise Keating in ABC’s “How To Get Away With Murder.” Her Twitter followers are climbing, but it’s not because she’s so active online. It’s her talent.

Though she boasts 1.8 million followers on Twitter, Kerry Washington was on the map before she ever became active on social networks. Having masterfully portrayed Ray Charles’s wife, a former Black Panther, Kay Amin, a slave woman and now political pistol Olivia Pope, she has garnered a fanbase. This fanbase comes not because of selfies and tweets, but because she has put in the work and taken on roles that align with her values and trajectory.

“Soul Food” actress, Nicole Ari Parker, spoke candidly at last year’s Woman Thou Art Loosed “Girl Talk” segment about hearing a thousand nos before hearing the yes’ that have helped her have success.

The bitterness and jealousy seen within the first few episodes of this show has left a bad taste in my mouth, but I’m still hoping for the best. We, as Black women, already have it tough without blaming one another for what we lack. There is room for all of us to shine, we just have to get in where we fit in and be resilient.

I’m hoping “Hollywood Divas” will eventually showcase strengthened friendships, uplifting creative projects, and a positive answer to the portrayal of Black women, but I won’t hold my breath. However, it’s still early, so we shall see…

La Truly is a writer, higher education professional, and young women’s empowerment enthusiast. She mixes her interest in social and cultural issues with her life experiences  to encourage thought, discussion and positive change among young Women of Color. Follow her on Twitter: @ashleylatruly and check out her site:

Things No Black Woman Can Do Without

October 23rd, 2014 - By Meg Butler
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Hair care products, cocoa butter and a solid support system: these are just some of the things that no black woman can do without.

A photo posted by Alexis Dawn (@axsdwn) on

Hair Oil

And back in the day, it was usually pink lotion.

Why Don’t We Laugh At Iggy Azalea’s Fake Cakes?

September 19th, 2014 - By Charing Ball
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So there is a parody video going around, making fun of Nicki Minaj’s “Anaconda” video.

It’s by Bart Baker and not surprisingly, the gist of his jokes are about her fake cakes, allegedly. But as the blog Stylite wrote of the parody:

Surprisingly, or actually not at all surprisingly since the internet kind of sucks too, the video has already reached almost 900,000 views since being put on YouTube yesterday, with the vast majority of those drawing a very enthusiastic thumbs up for its remarkable rhyming of “surgery bill” and “lips.” Other notable lyrics include “rap about sex nonstop / act like a whore / waste the talent that I got” and “so plastic when I die they’ll throw me in recycling.” LOL. Though our favorite part is how the entire video is basically an ode to Sir Mix A Lot’s “Baby Got Back” when the two songs are about the exactly the same thing only one is told from a female point of view.

When it comes to the formerly rainbow-colored “Starships” rapper, the validity of her cakes appears to be a favorite topic of most comedians and average snarky people on Twitter alike. And when folks are not harassing her about her surgically enhanced figure, they are equally perturbed by the equally large sexual gall in her lyrics.

Honestly, it is hard to say why (in a genre where a song will have the singer shooting two dudes, robbing a bank, going to the club to pop bottles with models, get on a private jet to Barcelona and be back at the ‘hood by morning to push weight – all one verse), folks single her out specifically. But the meme as of late is that Minaj is single-handedly corrupting the tender, impressionable minds of the entire next generation of Black folks, with her exaggerated body and raunchy lyrics.

That’s pretty much what the editor of wrote recently in his open letter to Minaj, more specifically:

The song: “Anaconda.” The art: your booty in a thong. As a man, I can appreciate the virtues of your perfect posterior. The dad guy is not a happy camper, particularly now that his lil’ girl is transitioning into a young lady.”

For the children’s sake.

Meanwhile on the other side of the booty scale, T.I. has this to say to all the people criticizing his protege Iggy Azalea for her less than genuine act:

Me knowing her, knowing where she comes from—for real, the whole racist thing, that’s American—we forget, she’s not American. So the whole Black, White, color divided thing, it isn’t a part of her DNA like it is here in America. It’s just ignorant to me. In this day and age, to be a race of people who are demanding equality and speaking out on injustices and wanting to be treated fairly, to stand up and do the exact same thing in opposite to someone unwarranted for no reason, it’s hypocritical. I’m a ride with her.”

I guess many Aboriginals don’t make it to a T.I show whenever he visits the land down under? I’m sure they would have something to say about the whether “the whole Black, White, color divided thing,” really exists or if it is just a figment of their Rabbit Proof Fenced-in imaginations. Or as Michael Arceneaux, writes for Urban Daily:

Either way, more than anything else, it has been her whiteness that has benefited Iggy Azalea the most and no matter how uncomfortable hearing that repeated makes her supporters feel, it is the truth. Besides, it could be worse: she could bear the burden of being a Black female rapper trying to make it in 2014.”

The burden of being a Black woman rapper is having everyone make a big deal about your allegedly enhanced cakes while nobody – and I mean not a single soul – talks about Iggy’s probable fake ass. Nope, not a single parody video or song, saying “ha-ha-ha, that white girl got a fake ass” can be found anywhere around this Interweb. I guess folks truly believe she naturally picked that up in the South along with her accent. – or they want to believe anyway. In fact, if you try to bring up the fact that Iggy has a fake ass, folks will more than likely respond, “So? Nicki Minaj does too.” And they’ll say it with no irony in the fact that her fake ass is a major reason why folks mock and mudsling Minaj.

The burden of being a Black woman rapper means always having to be concerned with being a good role model to the next general of Black girls – or hell, women in general. As Black women are not individuals and capable of thinking like individuals. We are like the Borg. When one twerks, we all twerk. Therefore Minaj has to be careful how she uses her power. Don’t want to leave the childlike minds of women astray.

However, there are no “Dear Iggy” letters written most ironically from men within the rap industry, denouncing Azalea and her music for turning his precious Lil’ Precious into a dollar-strip walking whore. Even though, Azalea speaks in the same vernacular as many of the brown-skinned folks in her audience and swears and uses sexual imagery in her music as Minaj. And even though folks like T.I swear up and down that “race don’t matter.” Well if it doesn’t matter what color she is, how come we don’t hold her up to the same levels of respectability and accountability as we do her darker skinned counterparts?

Folks don’t like to admit it but everybody is amused and entertained. It’s cheeky and cute when Iggy or any White person does Blackness. Hell, she gets to sing her bullshit on “Dancing With the Stars” where middle aged White women in mom jeans and knit kitten sweaters can ironically sing along too. However the same attitude makes you very little friends or gains you very few supporters as a Black woman. And there is nothing too funny about that.

Racism Is Real: Three Black Women Mistaken For Prostitutes At The Standard Hotel

September 18th, 2014 - By Veronica Wells
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While actress Daniele Watts’ story of being mistaken for a prostitute has more holes than a flour sifter,  the occurrence of Black women being mistaken for prostitutes is, sadly, not uncommon.

When Kantaki Washington and her two friends went out to spend an evening at the Standard Hotel in the New York City’s meat packing district, a few weeks ago, they encountered a similar, undeniably racist, circumstance.

Washington and her friends Cydney Madlock and J. Lyn Thomas told AlterNet that during the early morning hours of August 28, a security guard from the hotel approached them and accused them of being prostitutes.

The women had just come from Le Bain, a bar at the top of the hotel, and were seated in the lobby, when several men approached them, offering to buy them drinks. Shortly after an African American man introduced himself, a security guard from the hotel whispered something in his ear and ushered him away from the women.

Washington told AlterNet, “After the security guard ushers the brotha away, he comes over to me and my friends and says, ‘Come on, ladies. You can buy a drink but you can’t be soliciting,'” Washington told AlterNet in an interview. “We were like, soliciting? He said, ‘Don’t act stupid with me, ladies. You know what you’re doing. Stop soliciting in here. We were like, ‘Soliciting what?'”

Washington incredulously asked the security guard if he was accusing them of soliciting sex from the patrons of the hotel. He responded, “Don’t act stupid with me, you know what you were doing.”

Washington responded, “Dude, I’m a lawyer and these women are educators. Why the hell would I be in here soliciting prostitution?”

He said, “I don’t know but that’s what you’re doing.”

As you might assume, Washington and her two friends were the only Black women in the area and believe they were racially profiled. Washington demanded the guard give her his name and his manger’s name. He gave her his first name only and directed her to the reception desk.

Washington says when she and friends spoke with the manager, their story was received with indifference. The manager claimed the security guard was an outsourced employee and not officially a staff member.

Apparently, a few weeks later, the hotel saw the error in their ways and attempted to extend a peace offering.

Washington received an e-mail from the Standard Hotel inviting her and “three guests back to The Standard for a bottle of champagne in The Top of The Standard or Le Bain, followed by dinner for 4 (valued at $400) at The Standard Grill.”

Washington provided the e-mail correspondence between herself and The Standard to Alternet and none of them made any mention of the prostitution accusation.

Instead, a staff member wrote: “Again, I want to apologize for what happened to you here that evening. We are extending this table for 4 as a gesture of goodwill for you and your friends, plus one more person. Please let me know when you would like to come back.”


The fact that they thought a $400 dinner would fix being called prostitutes…ridiculous.

Ladies, have you ever been racially profiled in this way?

You can watch the women tell their story in the video below.

About Daniele Watts And The Time I Was Mistaken For A Prostitute

September 15th, 2014 - By Charing Ball
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Source: Shutterstock

Source: Shutterstock

It was the summer after my junior year at Virginia Union University, when I decided to search for Jesus again.

It was a spur of the moment decision, brought on by the collision of raw emotions just the night before I decided to look for Jesus. I wanted to be home, back in Philly, but I had summer classes I needed to take if I was serious about graduating. Plus, I had no money nor car to even get me back home. In short, I was just pitiful and could have really used a friend. Therefore, Jesus.

Fortunately for me my apartment complex, which was located on the outskirts of Richmond, had chartered a bus for its college student tenants, which would take me back and forth to school. And I also had a friend, who would let me bum rides with her to our shared job hustling tables at Red Lobster. Unfortunately for me the bus didn’t run on the weekends and my only friend with a car did not believe in going to church. So unless Jesus was going to come scoop me up in his golden chariot, it was up to me to hike about 45 minutes each way just to get to the nearest bus stop.

I did so in a pair of sneakers, a dark colored jean skirt and a button down, which admittedly was a little snug from all the cheddar bay biscuits I had consumed in place of meals while working. The dress was my attempt to be presentable yet sensible enough for my long, hot walk. Luckily for me, my people were Catholic and the churches where we worshipped had a come as you are policy. So when I arrived 20 minutes late into the 11 a.m mass, no one paid me any mind.

In fact nobody paid me any mind, period. Not the ushers who didn’t welcome me into service. Instead they shoved a program in my hands, whispered in my ear a reminder about what time church services usually started and told me to sit in the back. Not the choir, who managed to take already antiquated hymns and make them sound even less charismatic. And not even the priest’s homily, which felt cold and impersonal and had nothing to do with anything I had been feeling at the moment. As I looked around the congregation, there was not a warm face in the bunch. This was so unlike my parish at home. In spite of the long-held mantra of come as you are, I certainly didn’t feel welcome that particular day.

After service had ended I stood solemnly at the corner near the church, waiting for the bus and watching the rest of the congregation walk back to their respective vehicles. I was both defeated and deeply disappointed that the magical interaction with Jesus, where I got to talk to him about all my problems and he would fix them right on the spot, did not happen. I was also annoyed that it was Sunday, which meant that the already slow and country bus system was going to be running extra slow and country today. And that meant I would likely be out there for an upwards of an hour.

Well now I’m thinking that Jesus is blatantly ignoring me and quite frankly, a bit of a prankster. I mean how else would you explain conning me out of bed on an Sunday morning and making me walk a couple of miles in the hot Southern heat, just for a dry wafer and sermon, which had nothing to do with me? I mean, what other purpose could this entire morning have served?

And that’s when a car pulled out. He rolled down the window, smiled and then said, “hey do you need a ride?”

It was one of the ushers in the church. I recognized him when I came in. He was the only one that smiled at me. Well, thank you Jesus!

Well into my grown years I can look retrospectively at that situation and realize it wasn’t the brightest of moves getting into that vehicle. But I was young, sweating like crazy and tired of standing. I wanted a ride, damn it! Plus I saw him come out of the church’s parking lot so I figured he had to be a good guy. Hell, maybe he was sent by the man upstairs as a way to make up for this false pilgrimage. Made sense to me.

“So it’s a nice day right,” he asked awkwardly.

I smiled too. “Yeah. And the sermon was lovely,” I said, lying on a Sunday.

He smiled a few moments more before turning his attention back to the road. “Well that’s nice. So how much?”

I stared at him cluelessly. “For what?”

“Is It Pink Down There” If Black Women Said The Things White Men Do

September 2nd, 2014 - By Veronica Wells
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black women said the things white men do

We’ve already discussed the off the wall and crass things some White guys can say when they’re dating a Black woman for the first time.

Some of them can be quite ridiculous, unimaginable even.

And to illustrate just how absurd some of these comments are, BuzzFeed put together another one of their brilliant videos, flipping the script. The video features Black women saying the same type of stereotypical, distasteful and ignorant things White guys say to Black women they’re attempting to pursue romantically.

Take a look at the video below and let us know if you got a kick out of it.


Triple Threat: Sanders Sisters Overcome Poverty & Neglect To Pursue Education & Give Back

August 12th, 2014 - By Veronica Wells
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Undoubtedly, every child is born with potential. But challenges, difficult upbringings and unfair circumstances can shroud or even snuff out some of that light. But it doesn’t have to be that way. If anyone can tell you that, it’s the Sanders sisters.

Triplets, Angel, Ashley and Amber Sanders, 24, did not always have a rosy childhood. Angel told The Indianapolis Star that around 7 or 8 she remembers being taken to the Marion County Children’s Guardian Home with her sisters. They obviously weren’t ideal circumstances but as they recalled the stories, all three wore smiles that seemed to suggest that they couldn’t believe that they had not only endured but walked away from that experience triumphant.

“It was like the movies,” Angel said. “There was a room with a bunch of kids and a bunch of beds. There was a little cubby for your stuff.”

And then her sister Amber interjected: “Some of those kids were bad.” She told The Star, they stayed in that home for a few weeks before being placed in foster care with a relative. And that was just one time. Before their childhood ended, the triplets would spend two long stints in foster care, several months in shelters with their mother, who had a substance abuse problem, and transferred to several different schools, homes and apartments. So many that the three of them have a hard time remembering all of them.

Ashley said, “It’s almost like a dream-it seems so far away. If we didn’t have each other, I don’t know how we could have done it. I don’t know who we would have had to talk to about all the things were were going through.”

Thankfully, the Sanders sisters found confidantes in their high school teachers and advisors.

Amber recalled having suicidal thoughts after being bullied as a young teenagers and all three of the girls remember cutting themselves for a brief period trying to cope with their emotional pain. Thankfully, the sisters, after landing at the Indianapolis Metropolitan School, were able to find teachers who were willing to council them.

Amber said, “Talking to teachers helped a lot. We were really quiet for a long time; it was like we never talked in public. But once we talked to our reached about everything, I felt we were more outgoing. We hadn’t known how to communicated and I just wanted to be quiet because I was mad about everything going on. I feel like talking to the teachers just helped me learn to speak up and find my voice.”

They certainly did. It was during their high school years that the sisters discovered their passion for languages, studying everything form Arabic to Chinese.

Principal of the Indianapolis Metropolitan High School, Clete Ladd remembers the trio well.

“They’re probably the hardest working kids I’ve ever met in my lifetime.” He recalled the sister rising above the violent and impoverished neighborhoods which they often lived and honing their energies on resumes, test scores and improving their grades. Ladd said, if one of the girls received an A- on a research paper, all three of them would march up to their teachers trying to find out what they needed to do to receive an A.

Ladd said one day the sisters, who always traveled in a group, came to his office to inquire about receiving an Academic Honors diploma. In Indianapolis Metropolitan, a high-poverty charter school, these types of diplomas were uncommon at the time. But Ladd says the sisters not only earned the diplomas for themselves, they encouraged fellow classmates to join them.

They also participated in a few after-school and summer programs, all which worked to prepare them for college.

They ultimately decided on Indiana University, (IU) because they knew they needed to escape the city life. They used scholarships to finance their educations and their high school teachers, and Principal Lad, continued to help them, serving as mentors and driving the three to and from IU at the beginning and end of each semester.

“I knew we needed to get away.” Amber said.

A change of scenery helped them.  Angel majored in international studies and Amber and Ashley focused on East Asian languages. All three graduated with bachelor’s degrees a g.p.a. of at least 3.1.

But their education hasn’t stopped. They’ve been accepted to graduate school in South Korea. Their high school mentors have created a website to help raise funds for the sisters. You can learn more about it here.

Currently, each of the sisters help mentor children faced with some of the traumas they endured growing up.

“Kids need to know there are people that care about them. Teachers helped us.” Ashley said.

Angel reiterated her sister’s sentiment, reflecting on their own lives.

“I look back and I feel like all of the pain was building up inside of us because for a long time we had nobody to talk to other than each other. We felt so much better once we started talking to teachers and sharing our stories.”

Take Them To The Big Screen: 10 Black Women Who Deserve A Biopic

August 4th, 2014 - By Charing Ball
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black women who deserve a biopic feat

I’m going to be straight up and ask an honest question here: Where are all the good biography films pictures on black women?

I’m not trying to start nothing – actually I’m okay and cool with starting stuff – but I have to say I’m not really impressed with the selection of biopics lately. The TLC, while full of gossipy tidbits, was ultimately a huge dud. So was the Winnie Mandela biopic entitled Winnie (which is available on Netflix but I would skip it). And excuse me for being presumptuous but I don’t have high hopes for either of the proposed Aaliyah projects. And I certainly won’t be supporting the Zoe Saldana/Nina Simone travesty, if ever that sees the light of day.

Perhaps it is the subject or the productions themselves, but Hollywood (inclusive of Black Hollywood too) really doesn’t attempt to immortalize Black women as it does Black men. This is particularly true of the big screen productions. In fact, it seems the majority of biopics on Black women are actually made for television, and by default, have all the cheese and camp of a film made for television.

As such, I have created a list of ten women, who would make awesome subjects for a well-produced and funded film production. Also so Hollywood doesn’t go casting Madonna as Rosa Parks, I’ll also include a list of women, who I believe would good fits for the roles.

No thanks