Women’s History Month: Lena Horne

Image sourced through Creative Commons via Google Images

Image sourced through Creative Commons via Google Images

By Rocky Richards

Women’s History Month is celebrated throughout march, so here’s another history moment for you! Earlier this month, the Women’s History Museum took the time to acknowledge Lena Horne’s work. If you have not seen women’s history museum, women in a minute on Lena Horne please take the time now to view their video.

Lena Horne was born in Bedford–Stuyvesant, Brooklyn on June 30, 1917. She was known as an Actress, American Singer, Dancer, and Civil Rights Activist. Horne started her career at a very young age. At sixteen, Lena joined the chorus line of the Cotton Club in New York City before moving to Hollywood. She is known for her roles in Cabin in the Sky, Stormy Weather, and many others. For 70 years Lena Horne was in films, on television, and on Broadway. Lena Horne starred in a one woman show in 1980, which ran more than 300 performances on Broadway and earned her numerous awards and accolades.

Aside from Horne being very talented, she was also involved with the Civil Rights Movement. Horne performed at the march on Washington on behalf of NAACP, SNCC, and the National Council of Negro Women. During World War Two, Lena refused to perform for segregated audiences or for groups in which German Prisoners of War were seated in front of African American servicemen.

After all of her great work, Lena Horne passed away on May 9, 2010. Lena Horne has been as inspiration to me because she used her talent to speak out against discrimination against black Americans. Thanks Lena Horne for all that you accomplished for women today!

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Meet Ursula Burns!

Ursula BurnsBy Matiara Huff

Ursula Burns was born on September 20, 1958 to a single mother in the ghetto of New York City. Now she is the CEO of Xerox and the only black woman that is a CEO of a fortune 500 company. She is also the only woman to succeed another woman as CEO to a Fortune 500 company.

In her family, education was the most important thing. Even though her mother didn’t make much money, she still made it a priority to get all of her kids through school. In college Ursula major in Mechanical Engineering at New York University. After, she was offered a summer internship at Xerox that paid for her graduate school. Since then, her professional life has only gotten better. In this interview, she goes into more depth about her journey.

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Happy Spring Break Eve to UMKC!

Gonna read books with this cat on spring break!

Gonna read books with this cat on spring break!

By Kacie Otto

Happy Spring Break Eve to all of my fellow UMKC students! For me, spring break means a long trip back to Wisconsin, hanging with my nephew and family, and reading some great feminist books.

This week, I’m looking forward to reading Caitlin Moran’s How to Be a Woman and Nora Ephron’s I Feel Bad About My Neck. Will you be reading any feminist literature over spring break? What other things are you looking forward to this week? Comment in the comments section!

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Women’s History Month Trivia Table!

2015-Tabling-eViteBy Kacie Otto

I always love when the Women’s Center has an event scheduled. First of all, it means we have the chance to get out of the office to connect with more students about gender equity, and it also makes the day go by super quickly.

Today, I’m looking forward to our Women’s History Month Trivia Table! From 1:00-3:00 stop in the Royall Hall Lobby. We are giving away prizes and we hope to see you there! We can’t wait to try to stump you with some fun trivia questions about super cool women.

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You’re Beautiful!

Photo Sourced through Google Images via Creative Commons

Photo Sourced through Google Images via Creative Commons

By Rocky Richards

What do you love about music? I love the fact that our emotions are affected by music. Anytime I find myself down or happy, music is always my turning point. As I was sitting listening to the radio a little while back, a song came out that really touched me. I knew I had to share it with other women around me!

If you have not heard John Legends amazing song entitled “Nobody in the World” please take the time to go listen to it now.

In this song, John Legend takes the time to examine the many things that women go through on a daily basis and how these things may pull our confidence levels down. We see a woman with cancer, a transgender woman, a bride, a mother, a young girl judging her appearance, and many more. He takes the time to highlight that beauty is not what is reflected on the outside but what’s internal no matter your age, ethnicity, or culture. Everyone is different in their own way, shape, form, or fashion. You may not always see the beauty in yourself because you’re so busy judging your reflection you see in the mirror when what really counts is how you feel inside and loving yourself as you are.

I stopped and let a friend listen to this song a few days ago and the reaction she had moved me so much that I knew others would benefit by watching the video. Sometimes we all need a little bit more encouragement and this video motivates me so many days to love myself for who I am. Remember there’s no one in the world like you! If no one’s told you today, “you’re Beautiful!”

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Purple Hibiscus: A Coming of Age Story


By Torshawna Griffin

On March 11, 2015, Women’s Center, the UMKC Library, Multicultural Student Affairs, and the Black Studies Program teamed up to give a wonderful book discussion called “Flowers and Girls that Bloom: A Feminist Coming of Age Story in Nigeria”. The discussion was based on Chimanda Ngozi Adichie’s Purple Hibiscus, the first book that she published.

The story is narrated in third person, and tells the life of Kambili and her younger brother Jaja. It discusses the battles that they face with domestic violence being ever present in their home. They have an extremely religious father that uses bible verse and catholic teachings to justify the pain and torment that they endure while living up under his roof. The violence doesn’t just stop there either, Kambilia and Jaja’s mother is also abused by her husband. His violence causes her to have two miscarriages.

The only taste of being normal and happiness that Kambili and Jaja receive us when they visit their Aunty Ifeoma. They begin to see a different family dynamic that they have never experienced before. And it makes them question the “love” that they receive from their father. I think this book is a wonderful coming of age story.

The book discussion was a well-attended event where students and staff were represented diversely. Everyone was able to take part in an open discussion about the high and lows about the story and how they felt after reading it. It made for a wonderful afternoon. I recommend reading this book and the others that Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche has published.

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In Response to Tess Munster: Plus Size Model

The Fat Women by Igor Grabar. Image sourced through Creative Commons via Google Images.

The Fat Women by Igor Grabar. Image sourced through Creative Commons via Google Images.

By Matiara Huff

Please watch this video before reading this blog!

First of all I would like to say, Laci Green is so great. I encourage everyone to watch all of her other videos on her channel Sex+. Secondly, Tess Munster is my new idol, so follow her on Instagram!

In this video, Laci made many very interesting points, but the one that stuck with me is when she said, “We already glorify an unhealthy lifestyle!” May I just say this is the truest statement I have ever heard in my entire life! When I went home for Christmas, my 13 year old sister told me she was counting her calories, I almost cried. Instead, I had a long talk with her about society’s BS and bought her ice cream. She is one of the most confident kids that I have ever met, and to know that even she is facing body image related issues is heartbreaking, and quite frankly terrifying. I makes me think of all of the other little girls who don’t have someone to tell them that they are perfect, which is yet another reason why I am a feminist.

Things like this give me power to want to make a change, so to every person out there who reads this blog, please know that you are beautiful, just the way you are!If you need to hear it in person, or a hug, or someone to talk to come visit me at the UMKC Women’s Center.

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Meet Female Lighting Designer: Matiara Huff!

Matiara Huff, the subject of our interview with one of her younger sisters.

Matiara Huff, the subject of our interview with one of her younger sisters.

By Rocky Richards

I was able to sit down and chat with Matiara Huff, a female lighting design student at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Check out the interview below!

What is your major?

My major is theatre design and production. (Specifically lighting)

What year is this for you at UMKC?

Second Year

What do you do as a lighting designer?

I use stage lighting to create focal points and moods on the stage.

When did you decide that you wanted to be a lighting designer?

When I started at UMKC I went to few lighting work calls to check out other students work. Before I noticed I became intrigued and realized it was something I would like to do as well!

Does gender play a major role as a female designer?

Yes, of course there’s a lot work that goes into lighting which many would look at as construction. We spend a lot of time up on ladders and moving heavy lights; in this case some would feel it’s a man’s task but I prefer to differ.

What advice would you give a woman that wanted to go into a field that society has told them is only for men?

First, I would say “Love what you do”! If you aren’t for sure things won’t get easier. Second, keep pushing no matter what, this field particularly is open-minded so there will be people on your side, but sometimes you will endure others who won’t be on your side. In this instance you just have to push past negativity and continue to work.

Who inspires you as a female lighting designer?

As a female designer I am inspired by the graduate lighting design students here at UMKC! They are almost always put under a lot of pressure and they consistently make it work.

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I am Not My Hair

Image sourced through Google Images via Creative Commons

Image sourced through Google Images via Creative Commons

By Torshawna Griffin

One of my favorite songs to listen to is India Arie’s “I am not my hair”. This is a favorite of mine because it not only tells people not to define you by your hair, but not to define you by your skin either. It is a powerful #GirlPower song that speaks to the heart and lets you know that it is okay to be unique and different. In her video, she dresses up in many costumes and hair types to prove that all types of women are seen as beautiful.

Check out the video below.

I Am Not My Hair

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Small Numbers with Big Impacts

Image sourced through Google Images via Creative Commons

Image sourced through Google Images via Creative Commons


By Matiara Huff

I recently a saw this commercial on TV, and I loved every second of it. I thought it was empowering, and I feel that it brought up some necessary food for thought. It made me wonder how are clothing sizes measured? So I decided to do some research to find the answer, and it brought me to this video created by Laci Green, with all of the answers that I needed.

Women’s clothing sizes are small numbers that have big impacts. As Laci states in the above video, making our sizes smaller implies that women should be smaller. Sizes like 0, 00, and 000 are literally not even possible, yet the tags on many fashion brands say otherwise. I think that clothing sizes should be determined by actual body measurements. This way, there would be a universal sizing chart, and there wouldn’t be any confusion from store to store. Though the sizing in the Special K commercial is unrealistic, it would be such a relief for me if my size wasn’t number, but universal sizing might be a great start. We have the right to remember that our value isn’t determined by our dress size

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