Black women have contributed to the ceremony in more ways than acting. It’s time to give us our flowers (and our awards).

Photo By Getty Images

It’s well-known that Halle Berry is the first Black woman to win the Best Actress Oscar. It’s one of the few ways in which a Black woman has been visibly recognized during the ceremony. The Ohio native achieved this “milestone” for her role as Leticia Musgrove, a woman whose life as a mother and wife is filled with tragedy, 19 years ago at the 74th Academy Awards. …

When racialized horror gets too deep, some viewers tune in while others tune out

Amazon’s Them (officially Them: Covenant) is out, and let’s just say Twitter has largely not been here for it. Over the weekend, the series trended heavily. Executive producer Lena Waithe was dragged relentlessly as many erroneously pegged her as the series’ creator and writer. (Let’s be real: Some of the venom directed Waithe’s way is residual from her 2019 film, Queen & Slim.) But Them’s creator and main writer is newcomer Little Marvin. Very few biographical details are available on Marvin, but he is an alumnus of corporate America.

To fuel the horror in Them, Little Marvin turned to California…

The legendary costume designer talks power, beauty, and film

When it comes to representing how Black people dress on the big screen, Ruth E. Carter is unparalleled. Her gift and passion for the craft makes her among the best costume designers to ever do it. Thanks to her hard work, talent, and diligence, we show up — even in our clothing—whether it be the past or the present.

“Ruth Carter is a genius,” comedy icon Eddie Murphy proclaimed via video during the ceremony of the legendary costume designer receiving her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame Thursday, February 25. …

White people solo-judging television and film is so normative for them that it didn’t even seem wrong until recently

John Boyega accepts the Best Supporting Actor-Television award for “Small Axe” via video from Angela Bassett at the 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards on February 28, 2021. Photo: Christopher Polk/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank/Getty Images

It’s easy to get swept up in the big emotions of it all. Daniel Kaluuya’s Golden Globe win for Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture–Drama for playing Black Panther Fred Hampton in Judas and the Black Messiah helped kick off the show. Fellow Brit John Boyega followed him with his win for Best Supporting Actor in a Series, Miniseries, or Television Film for director Steve McQueen’s ambitious Small Axe series Amazon’s Prime Video. Then there was Chadwick Boseman’s posthumous win as Best Actor in a Motion Picture–Drama for his role as Levee in the Denzel Washington-produced Ma Rainey’s Black…

‘I think the reason her story is still relevant is because it’s never truly been told’

The United States vs. Billie Holiday” Photo: Hulu

If you’ve seen Lady Sings the Blues and think you have The United States vs. Billie Holiday figured out, you are in for a surprise. A shock even. For decades, the picture most of us have had of Billie Holiday is one of a hopeless drug addict with awful taste in men, save for the one man, played by Billy Dee Williams, who loved Holiday fiercely but still couldn’t pull her from the clenches of drugs.

Many people also think of her solely as the woman who sang the antilynching song, “Strange Fruit,” back in 1939. And, if we are…

In a new book, Michelle Duster shares intimate details of her great-grannie, Ida B. Wells

Ida B. Wells. Photo by: Universal History Archive/UIG/Getty images

Ida B. Wells isn’t the household name she should be, especially when it comes to her place alongside other early civil rights activists. Very much a contemporary of W.E.B. DuBois, who was six years her junior, and Booker T. Washington, six years her senior, Wells was a suffragist, anti-lynching activist, and co-founder of the NAACP. Thankfully, her great-granddaughter Michelle Duster is sharing these details in a new book, Ida B. the Queen: The Extraordinary Life and Legacy of Ida B. Wells. …

Music is integral to the movement. Take a listen.

Photo illustration; image sources: Rob Verhorst, Agence France Presse, Paul Natkin, Robert W. Kelley/Getty Images

Music, as TV One highlights in its new special, Unsung Presents: Music & The Movement, has been a huge part of the fight for justice and equality. Just as love songs, party anthems and classic cuts can accentuate our moods, the same songs can also help bond us together as a collective as we fight to be heard, seen and, most importantly, respected. These five songs are prime examples of how music has done just that. Add them to your freedom playlist for MLK Day and beyond.


Today it’s hard to imagine a time when we didn’t celebrate the…

The buzzworthy documentary provides insight into the fight against anti-Black racism in the Windy City

Black protesters, one holding a pro-police abolition sign and another yelling into a megaphone.
Black protesters, one holding a pro-police abolition sign and another yelling into a megaphone.
A scene from ‘Unapologetic.’ Photo: Kartemquin Films

From the moment Unapologetic begins, it’s clear that it is not the typical documentary. It’s not just that Unapologetic centers Black women. In Chicago no less. It’s rather the way it does it. There’s an energy, vibrancy and even urgency to it. But, most importantly, it’s infused with love as well as passion. That’s a significant distinction because so often social justice documentaries are filled with passion and a lot of anger. In her feature documentary debut, director Ashley O’Shay centers not just the social justice issue at hand, but the activists themselves, sharing their motivations and backstories to lead.

Remember This: Rosa Parks didn’t boycott alone in 1955.

Rosa Parks waits to board a bus at the end of the Montgomery bus boycott
Rosa Parks waits to board a bus at the end of the Montgomery bus boycott
Rosa Parks waits to board a bus at the end of the Montgomery bus boycott, in Montgomery, Alabama, on December 26, 1956. Photo: Don Cravens/The Life Images Collection/Getty Images

If the name Rosa Parks rings any bells today, it’s probably as the woman who was “too tired” to give up her seat to a White man in the “White” section of the city bus in Montgomery, Alabama, as mandated by law. She was immediately arrested. Days later, her arrest sparked the Montgomery Bus Boycott, the yearlong-plus protest that desegregated city buses and catapulted Martin Luther King Jr. to national attention, anointing him as the nation’s de facto top Black leader.

Parks was good and tired, but elements of the story are often condensed or mythologized. Let’s recap the rest…

We have finally achieved Christmas classic status with ‘Jingle Jangle’ and ‘Dance Dreams’

“Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey” Photo: Gareth Gatrell/Netflix

For a long time, Lifetime and Hallmark Christmas films were a last frontier for us. With Kelly Rowland, Holly Robinson Peete, Keshia Knight Pulliam, Kat Graham, and Amber Stevens West helming a bunch of them this season, that’s no longer the case. What’s been even more elusive, however, is the quintessential Black Christmas classic. Through the soul-singing, fantasy pop of Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey to the entertaining documentary Dance Dreams: Hot Chocolate Nutcracker, Netflix puts up a mirror to this enduring reality, underscoring — especially with the latter — why Black Christmas classics matter.

The Shondaland-produced Dance Dreams is…

Ronda Racha Penrice

ATL-based Ronda Racha Penrice is a writer/cultural critic specializing in film/TV, lifestyle and more. She also wrote African American History For Dummies.

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