Shonda Rhimes’ portrayal of dark-skinned characters leaves much to be desired

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Photo credit: Screenrant

I am a hopeless romantic. I love love. So, it is of no surprise that I found myself entangled with Shonda Rhimes’ new Netflix series Bridgerton. However, once I took off my rose-colored glasses, colorism slapped me right in the face.

An adaptation of Julia Quinn’s romance novels, Bridgerton is the talk of the town, and rightfully so. …

Underwater Mountains scammed me and many other Black poets out of thousands, shut down and renamed their business By The Seven

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Photo by Bermix Studio on Unsplash

We are now 7 months post-black-squares. Companies that made statements regarding their support of the Black community have resumed business as usual.

Every now and then, I’d think to check By The Seven’s account. “I wonder if they posted about Black Lives Matter while owing me, a Black woman, $2149?” Well, I finally checked. Unsurprisingly, they did.

By the Seven, formerly known as Underwater Mountains and owned by Elias Joseph Mennealy, was pushing publishing services 5–6 years ago.

Let’s rewind to 6 years ago.

Underwater Mountains gave multiple Instagram poets with large followings publishing deals. The company also had a division called 451 that sold publishing services to just about anyone. I say this, because they made it seem like there was a selection process. …

What it’s like being a female artist — for me

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Photo by Calvin Lupiya on Unsplash

“You haven’t earned respect! Talk to me about respect once you’ve sold millions of albums and we’ve made money off your music!” he said firmly.

I remained silent. See, it was happening again: A man had taken an interest in my music only to later put me down when he didn’t get what he wanted.

Let me explain the events leading up to his outburst. I was on social media minding my Black-owned business when I received a comment telling me to check my DMs. So, I did. …

#2 Don’t try to change the other person’s mind. Debates can quickly turn into fights when your intent is to change the other’s mind.

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Photo by Shanique Wright on Unsplash

In the age of social media, we can easily peek into the lives of innumerable couples. Many paint a pristine image and then later announce news of their separation. If 2020 has taught us anything, it is that things aren’t always as they seem. I’m not writing this piece to claim perfection. I am writing this article to share the love lessons that have helped us maintain peace in hopes that they’ll be helpful for you too.

Growing up, couple screaming matches were glamorized. You’d see a man and a woman yelling at each other, pause and gaze into each other’s eyes, and a steamy make-out session would ensue. Make-up sex was, and still is, romanticized. …

Let’s take a preventative approach

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Photo by Vince Lee on Unsplash

While we’re busy scrolling on the gram or planning our outfits for the week, our immune system is also hard at work. In fact, our immune system has #nodaysoff. So, it would be nice to give it a little help.

Here are five ways to strengthen your immune system:

Eat 30 plant foods a week

Research has shown that eating a least 30 plant foods a week increases the diversity of your gut microbiome. A healthier gut means a healthier immune system.

Eating 30 different plant foods may seem impossible, but it is quite doable — provided that you have the means to buy fruits and vegetables. It’s important to note that an estimated 23 million Americans live in food deserts. If you don’t have access to or the finances to buy nutritious foods, try to add as many whole plant foods as financially possible. …

A look into the Breonna Taylor case and camping while Black

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Source: Ariel Sinha

Trigger Warning: this article contains descriptions of sexual assault and acts of violence that may not be suitable for all readers. Fearless community, please read with care.

Breonna Taylor isn’t a household name for her admirable service as an emergency medical technician during an unprecedented pandemic. Weren’t we just referring to health care workers as heroes not too long ago?

We know her name because plain-clothed police officers barged into her home and shot her while she slept. …

The only thing you’re teaching them is that you have anger management issues

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Photo by Kat J on Unsplash

On September 6th, a video went viral of a sperm donor beating his 14-year-old daughter for allegedly stealing. Her step-mother also hit her and assailed her with insults. Child abuse isn’t new. But, now we have geniuses recording their crimes and sharing them on social media.

If you haven’t guessed it, I have zero tolerance for people who abuse children. Instead of beating the thief out of your daughter, why not ask yourself the following: What type of home environment did I create for her to think stealing is okay?

In our society, we have a knee-jerk response to crucify instead of seeking to understand. I am not a parent, but I am a teacher. So, I know there are more effective ways to teach a lesson. …

A look at Black childhood, from slavery up until now

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Photo by Peter Idowu on Unsplash

On August 23, 2020, Jacob Blake’s children witnessed a police officer shoot their father seven times in the back.

At the ages of 3, 5 and 8, they were given a crash course on what it’s like to be Black in North America, while White children, for the most part, are spared the gory details.

Children are tiny beings we are designed to want to protect — family or not.

But, somehow, this biological response to cuteness is undercut when the child is Black or Brown.

In reference to children detained at the border, Trump said, They look so innocent. …

…and other foolish patriarchal ideas

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Photo by Jessica Felicio on Unsplash

Two weeks ago, I wrote about the trivialization of Black women’s pain, drawing on the shooting of Megan Thee Stallion to illustrate the issue.

As a result, an anonymous commenter found it wise to say that Beyoncé, Lizzo, and Megan were unattractive, and Taylor Swift indeed deserves to be treated better by the media, because (drum roll please) she’s prettier.


He made it a point to mention his law degree to cement his authority. However, you don’t really need to pass the bar to come up with such tomfoolery. …

Americans are probably the most patriotic people on the planet — and that’s a problem

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Photo by John Silliman on Unsplash

Patriotism maintains the status quo — and, in America, the status quo is tantamount to racial and gender inequality, gun violence and a very wealthy minority.

America isn’t the Big Bad Wolf — as every country has their issues. However, what sets the land of the free apart from the rest is a delusion of grandeur upheld by far too many.

Really, “good” Americans aren’t born, they’re made. Through different societal mechanisms, such as the public educational system, they are molded to love their country so fiercely they do not see its flaws. Good Americans view other Americans as the enemy for simply advocating for change. And, how do we treat enemies? …


Magda Erockfor Ayuk

seoul-based jazz singer & writer — find me on Instagram @erockfor to listen to my music:

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