Why Black Panther’s 16-Year-Old Sister Shuri is So Important

By Tatiahna Turner

          The new Marvel movie, Black Panther which is set to be released in theaters February 16, 2018 has what some may call an unexpected important character. Letitia Wright will be playing the role of Black Panther’s 16-year-old half-sister, Shuri. Although Shuri has been around in the comics, Black Panther will be her cinematic debut. It couldn’t have come at a better time given our society’s current climate surrounding the equality and representation of women. In this day and age the young, bright minds of women in our community need inspirational characters like Shuri to remind them that women can be intelligent and powerful. In an interview with Comic Book Resources, Wright has only good things to say about Shuri, “She’s princess of Wakanda, but also she designs all of the new technology there. . . She’s so vibrant; a beautiful spirit, but also so focused on what she does. And that’s good for other people to see, especially young people to see, because it’s like, ‘Look, there’s a young black girl who loves technology and she’s from Africa.’ It’s something refreshing.” Nate Moore, Black Panther’s producer says that Shuri is, “the smartest person in the world, smarter than Tony Stark but she’s a sixteen year old girl which we thought was really interesting.” Moore goes on to say, “Again, black faces in positions of power or positions of technological know-how, that’s a rarity. So it’s something that’s a big part of the film.”

The underrepresentation of women in film of, and especially black women in positions of power, is something that is rarely talked about. It seems that society often forgets just how powerful film and television can be in our lives. It can be subconsciously defeating or discouraging for women to never see themselves portrayed in films or shows across the world as intelligent, strong, and beautiful. More often than not, we are made to seem weak-minded, powerless, and beneath our male counterparts. The representation of women as simply objects that can be controlled and taken advantage of is very degrading, and is why it is important that we begin to see more characters like Shuri on the big screen.  For a woman of color to be a centerpiece of a film and to be portrayed as “the smartest person in the world,” I would say is a great first step in the right direction.

Long Live the Legacy of Coretta Scott King

“What most did not understand then was that I was not only married to the man that I love, but I was also married to the movement that I loved.”

By Korrien Hopkins

Martin Luther King Jr. may be the United States’ most well-known civil rights activist of all time, but there’s no denying that his wife Coretta Scott King was a hero in her own right.

Coretta, born and raised in Marion, Alabama, graduated from high school as valedictorian in 1945. She studied singing at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston when she met Dr. King. After the two married in 1953, they moved to Montgomery, Alabama and had four children.

Coretta, a classically trained musician, gave up her dream of becoming a singer and became “The First Lady of the Civil Rights Movement.” She devoted much of her time to raising their children during King’s career as a pastor and activist, though she would often speak about civil rights at churches, colleges, and other organizations.

Two months after her husband was assassinated in 1968, Coretta founded The Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change. She took on leadership within the movement for racial equality and fought to make her husband’s birthday a federal holiday for nearly two decades. She oversaw the first nationally observed Martin Luther King Jr. Day on January 20, 1986.

Coretta continued to make history throughout her life by working fearlessly to create the change her husband had worked so hard for. She became the first woman to deliver the annual class day address at Harvard University and the first woman to preach at a worship service at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London. During her remarkable life, she received over 60 honorary doctorates and helped found dozens of organizations dedicated to advancing human rights. She was a leader in the women’s movement and a fierce defender of LGBTQ rights.

Coretta Scott King died from ovarian cancer on January 30, 2006. She became the first woman and first African American to lie in honor in the Georgia state capitol’s rotunda. The “First Lady of the Civil Rights Movement” powerful legacy continues to live on today. Although there is no Coretta Scott King Day, it’s important that we acknowledge these sacrifices made by her and many women like Coretta. She, like many women, made sacrifices for the sake of the advancement of all, even when the cost was her own well-being. These sacrifices should be held to a high standard because without her legacy, the legacy of her husband would be far different. She showed the world that a person can only be as strong as their partner. She showed the power of women in the movement and is still a role model for many women today. I will always uplift her legacy and strive to be as powerful as she was.

“The woman power of this nation can be the power which makes us whole and heals the rotten community, now so shattered by war and poverty and racism. I have great faith in the power of women who will dedicate themselves whole-heartedly to the task of remaking our society.”  – Coretta Scott King

 

 

 

Strong woman takes back her life

By Ann Varner

Meet Destiny. People all over the U.S. and the world know her as the woman who lost her husband and 15 month old son to a drunk driver when she was only 21 years old. Her story was published all over news outlets, magazines, and trended on social media.

I’ve known her as my beautiful, amazing, and incredibly strong friend since our sophomore year of high school. On September 20, 2014, Destiny, her husband Corey and their 15 month old son, Parker, were driving to an appointment. They were struck head on by a drunk driver.

Parker died immediately and Corey fought for his life for the next 12 hours, but ultimately succumbed to his injuries on September 21st. Destiny went from being a mother and a wife to a widow and an angel mom in one day.

No one who knew Destiny would have blamed her for giving up. However, Destiny didn’t do that. I asked her what was going through her head the moment she decided that she wasn’t going to give up and that she was going to take charge of her life.

“I was driving around in the dark trying to find some sort of hope,” Destiny shared. “Tears went down my face and I thought every bad day and every bad moment is a moment and day that woman (drunk driver) is stealing from me. I refused to allow her to take anything else. From that moment on, I chose to accept my reality. Tears and anger weren’t bringing them back. It was time to carry on their legacy and try to live out the life they wanted.”

 Three years later Destiny is a businesswoman through ItWorks. She and her now husband make over six figures a year working from their phones. She does this so she doesn’t have to go into a job and take away cherished moments from her loved ones.

Destiny is also the biggest advocate I know against drunk driving. Every year for Parker and Corey’s birthdays she organizes drives for “random acts of kindness.” She told me it’s “her way of still celebrating with them and making them known to the world and spreading their love”. She uses social media and visits schools to speak against drunk driving.

Destiny is a woman who could have ended her life or drowned her sorrows. Instead her bravery and strength endured and she now travels the world, owns a home, owns her business, works from home, and has saved many lives by advocating against drunk driving, all by the age of 24. To me, she exemplifies strong womanhood.

 

British Singer NAO brings ‘Wonky Funk’ to life

by Zaquoya Rogers

Talk about #blackWOMANmagic! Nao, a black British singer raised in East London, has been all the buzz in her hometown. She started singing in high school, training the choir with their harmonies. Later, she attended the Guildhall School of Music and Drama to study vocal jazz. She then become a backup singer, but opportunity arose one night at a nightclub. A manager discovered her that night and she later released her first song in October 2014.

Since then, many labels have reach out to Nao to get her to sign, but this queen chose to start her own record label called Little Tokyo. Her unique sound blends with off-center pop-funk, electronic and R&B. Many say her “silvery voice glimmers like tinsel but lands like steel.” Nao calls her own sound “wonky-funk,” coining the term. Her debut album, For All We Know, was released in July 2016 and earned a Brit Nomination for Best Female Solo Artist.

Women’s History Month Trivia

 

by Devashree Naik

Who is the current Chairperson and the CEO of the second largest food and beverage business in the world known for being the architect of the sustainability business model in that company?

Answer: Indra Nooyi

At the age of 51, Indra Nooyi assumed the role of the President and

https://www.forbes.com/profile/indra-nooyi/

CEO of the PepsiCo in 2006 and was promoted to the role of Chairperson in 2007. She has since been the chief architect of Performance with Purpose, PepsiCo’s promise to do what’s right for the business by doing what’s right for people and the planet. This Mrs. Nooyi calls a “future-proof” model, the PepsiCo’s commitment to sustained growth with a focus on human, environmental, and talent sustainability and performance. In 2015, amid much controversy and shock to the investors, she pronounced that the PepsiCo is no longer a soda company. In her tenure of a Leader of largest food and beverage giant, she has been vocal about changing the image of the organization from a sugary carbonated beverage making company to a company that has a nice mix of healthy and fun products in its product line.

Indra Nooyi was born in Madras (now Chennai) in Tamil Nadu state in India. Growing up in a conservative Brahmin family, her homemaker mother instilled in her the confidence and a quality to push back against adversity, which Indra strongly believes being responsible for her success in the male-dominated industry. She holds a B.S. from Madras Christian College, an M.B.A. from the Indian Institute of Management in Calcutta and a Master’s of Public and Private Management from Yale University. She has consistently ranked among the world’s 100 most powerful women.

In addition to being a member of the PepsiCo Board of Directors, Mrs. Nooyi serves as a member of the boards of U.S.-India Business Council, The Consumer Goods Forum, Catalyst, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts and Tsinghua University. She is also a member of the Foundation Board of the World Economic Forum, the American Academy of Arts & Sciences and was appointed to the U.S.-India CEO Forum by the Obama Administration. Apart from her professional career, she was a lead guitar player in an all-women rock band in her hometown of Madras, India and was a cricket player in college. Her former boss at PepsiCo and now dean of business schools at Wake Forest University, Steven Reinemund, fondly talks about her as “a deeply caring person” who “can relate to people from the boardroom to the front line.”

Women’s History Month Trivia

by Matiara Huff

Question 5: Who is the first African-American woman to lead an S&P 500 company and currently serves as a founding board director of ‘Change the Equation’?

Ursula Burns

By U.S. Government Printing Office [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Ursula Burns was the first black women to become the CEO of a fortune 500 company. She became CEO of Xerox in July 2009 until December 2016. In 2014 Forbes rated her the 22nd most powerful women in the world. Though both of her parents were Panamanian immigrants, she was raised by her mother alone in a housing project in New York.

Her career at Xerox began as a summer internship which turned into a permanent position a year later when she finished her master’s degree at Columbia University. In January 1990, she became an executive assistant to a then senior executive. In June 1991, she became the executive assistant to then chairman and chief executive Paul Allaire. In 1999 she became vice president for global manufacturing. In May 2000, she became senior vice president of corporate strategic services where she worked closely with soon to be CEO Anne Mulcahy. They both described it as a true partnership.

Since she finished working at Xerox, Burns has become a founding Board Member of Change the Equation, which is an organization working to improve STEM-based education.

Women’s History Month Trivia

by Ann Varner

Who was the first woman stockbroker who demanded and got the right to join her male trainees on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange?

Answer: Norma Yaegar

http://normayaeger.com/press-room/

Norma Yaeger was born in 1930 in New York City. As most women did in the 1950’s, Norma married young and started a family right away. She relied on her husband to support their family. When Norma’s husband lost his job, Norma decided she wanted to work in stock exchange and enrolled in the Hornblower and Weeks Inc. stockbroker training program in 1962. Not only was Norma the first woman to graduate a stockbroker training program, Norma fought to have equal pay as well as walk on the New York Stock Exchange floor – was the first woman to do so. Norma remarried after her divorce and moved to California. In 1981, she started her own brokerage firm, Yaeger Securities. She had licenses with many different exchanges. If you are interested in knowing more about this trailblazing woman, she has written a book called “Breaking Down the Walls.

Women’s History Month Trivia

by Thea Voutiritsas

This woman was the plaintiff in the famous American employment discrimination case that led to the passing of Fair Pay Act in 2009.

Answer: Lilly Ledbetter

image via lillyledbetter.com

Lilly Ledbetter was the plaintiff in the employment discrimination case Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., which led to the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009. Ledbetter worked for Goodyear from 1979 to 1998. Upon her retirement, she sued the company for paying her significantly less than her male counterparts. When the lawsuit reached the Supreme Court, it was denied because she did not file within 180 days of her first paycheck. Ledbetter argued that she did not know of the pay discrepancy at the time. United States Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote in defense of Ledbetter, stating:

“Initially, Ledbetter’s salary was in line with the salaries of men performing substantially similar work. Over time, however, her pay slipped in comparison to the pay of male area managers with equal or less seniority. By the end of 1997… Ledbetter was paid $3,727 per month; the lowest paid male area manager received $4,286 permonth, the highest paid $5,236.”

Ledbetter’s case and Ginsburg’s dissent led to the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which was introduced in 2007. The Act revised the law to allow for claims of discrimination to be included, even if they occurred outside of the 180-day statue of limitations. In 2009, Congress passed and President Barack Obama signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act into law.

Ledbetter’s case proved that discrimination often takes place in small increments over time, and in ways that are difficult to measure and sometimes even harder to prove. Without knowledge of her coworker’s salary, on top of her slowly dwindling paycheck, it was hard for Ledbetter to take action against the discrimination she was experiencing. However, her fight for equal pay paved the way for future cases, and exposed the problems of insidious discrimination.

 

Women’s History Month Trivia

by Zaquoya Rogers

Who serves as the Chairperson and the CEO of one of the fastest growing Women-Owned Business in the United States and served as the Presidential Ambassador for Global Entrepreneurship in 2014?

Answer: Nina Vaca

By Nina Vaca [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Nina Vaca is one independent Latina who is not only a civil leader, but the CEO and chairman of Pinnacle Group, which was named the fastest growing women-owned business in the U.S. 2015. Born in Quito, Ecuador, Vaca was inspired by her parents who owned several small business in LA. She attended Texas State University and graduated in 1994 with a Bachelor of Arts in Speech Communications and a minor in Business Administration. She later received education from Harvard Business School and holds honorary doctorates from Northwood University, Mount Mary University, Berkeley College. She currently serves as a Presidential Ambassador for Global Entrepreneurship (PAGE) through the United States Department of Commerce and sits on the boards of three publicly-traded companies. Vaca is part of the 2016 Class of Henry Crown Fellows, from the Aspen Institute, a new generation of leaders to positively impact society. Vaca is part of the 100 CEO Leaders in STEM publication by STEMconnector, in an effort to identify, showcase, and honor STEM leadership.

Vaca has also served as a Mentor for the Peace Through Business program, a business training and mentorship program for women entrepreneurs in Afghanistan and Rwanda.  In addition, she is a member of the Young Presidents’ Organization, the Women Presidents’ Organization, and the Dallas Citizens Council. She is also active in the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) – Southwest, as well as the DFW National Minority Supplier Development Council.

 

 

 

Chewing Gum: the Netflix gem you ought to be watching

The British television sitcom Chewing Gum is exploding right now. The show recently won the BAFTA for Best Female Performance in a Comedy Programme and Breakthrough talent for star and creator Michaela Coel. The series first debuted on E4 in 2015, then Netflix picked it up in October 2016.


‘Colourful life’: Michaela Coel in the second series of Chewing Gum. Photograph: Mark Johnson

The show began as a one woman show written by Coel called Chewing Gum Dreams, which tells the dramatic story of a 14-year-old girl. The television series transforms that girl in to 24-year-old London shop assistant, Tracey Gordon. Her restrictive, religious family and upbringing frequently clashes with her interest in sex and overall curiosity for the world, creating awkward, hilarious, and ludicrous situations for her and her friends.

Coel says she made it a point to use bright colors, and to film during the summer. The estate that the characters live on is meant to be for the working class, but Coel was adamant that it not be depressing. The characters contend with lack of money and opportunity, they’re diverse, and they’re genuinely interesting.

The bright colors and brazen language in Chewing Gum prove to be a charming advantage for Coel. In an interview with The Guardian, she said:

I enjoy making people uncomfortable. For me, I don’t want to write a show that doesn’t make people uncomfortable. I don’t think I know how to write a show that doesn’t make people uncomfortable.