Things That Matter

Model Joan Smalls Is Donating Half Of Her Salary To Black Lives Matter

Afro-Latina model Joan Smalls is calling on the fashion industry to do better when it comes to supporting Black Lives Matter. The Puerto Rican woman is calling out the beauty and fashion industry for profiting off of Black and brown bodies while not fully supporting the cause.

Afro-Puerto Rican model Joan Smalls is calling on the fashion and beauty industry to make good on supporting Black Lives Matter.

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The recent and long standing acts against the black community have been saddening, frustrating and unacceptable. I feel these same emotions when I think about how my industry, the fashion world, is responding. It is time for this industry to do more than post a black square and say they’ll “Do Better!” It’s time for us to see the change starting from the ground up. Give us a seat at the table, include us, give us a chance, because we are worthy, talented and unique. There have been so many times where I’ve had to face issues against my race within this industry because I was their token black girl. The campaigns and editorials I had to share while my counterparts got to achieve that on their own. Or that my hair was an issue or that I made a show or campaign too ethnic, the list goes on and on. This industry that I love has profited from us but has never considered us equal. This. Stops. Now. It’s time for the fashion industry to stand up and show their solidarity. Time for you all to give back to these communities and cultures which you draw so much inspiration from. I do want to thank those that did see me for me and gave me a chance. Those that helped me fight my way to where I am today. Thank you, thank you for doing what you knew to be right versus what others said should be done. You will help us be the leaders of change. In saying all of this, I also pledge to donate 50% of my salary for the remainder of 2020 to Black Lives Matter organizations. I know I can’t just talk about change, I have to be a force for it. I encourage and will continue to encourage brands within this industry to do the same and give back. Let’s all be the change we want and need to see. These battles are long from over but together we’re stronger and together we can accomplish what is needed. #WeAreNotATrend #blacklivesmatter

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Smalls recorded a video of Instagram calling on the fashion and beauty industry to step up and do better in fighting for diversity and inclusion. Instead, Smalls accuses major fashion and beauty brands of participating this time only because social media users held them accountable.

“I see all the agencies, magazines, brands posting black screens on their Instagram accounts,” Smalls says in the video. “What does that really mean? What is the fashion industry actually going to do about it? Is this just another trend? This industry that profits from our Black and brown bodies, our culture for constant inspiration, our music and our images for their visuals have tip-toed around the issues. You’re part of the cycle that perpetuates these conscious behaviors.”

The model is demanding that the industry that profits on Black and brown culture need to do more.

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Picnics at home 💓

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Black Lives Matter has been organizing and protesting for years. The recent death of George Floyd coupled with the long self-isolation led to people being more engaged with the organization. Thousands of people participated in sustained protests demanding justice for Floyd and an end to police brutality in the U.S. The protests went international and every major brand got involved in the social media movement.

“I want to share a little insight into the world of complicity. Many of you who claim to be all about diversity and inclusivity jumped on a bandwagon because social media held you accountable for your lack of acknowledgment of us and you hid behind your aesthetics of creativity and so-called beauty,” Smalls states. “You have continuously let us down with your insensitivity and tone-deafness and the damage-control apologies of ‘We will do better.’”

Yet, despite the claims of doing better, Smalls wants to see the brands follow through.

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The new normal. BigMomma and I 🐥

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Smalls is echoing the same frustration many people are venting right now. The major brands behind Black Lives Matter protesters are a welcome addition. However, people want to see sustained support from these brands. Black lives are not trends and it is important that people do not treat this movement as a social media trend.

“You fall short trying to narrate our stories by toning us down or having them curated by people who lived or walked a day in our shoes,” Smalls says. “Well, it’s now time to give us a real seat at the table. Because we are worthy. Because we are talented. Because we are unique.”

People are loving Smalls’s ability to remain authentic to herself as her career grows.

Credit: joansmalls / Instagram

Smalls has pledged to donate 50 percent of her salary to Black Lives Matter for the rest of 2020. Smalls writes in her Instagram caption that she knows that she has to follow up her calls for change by actively participating in that change.

Thank you, Joan. The more people who speak up, the more can be done to fight against racial injustice that has gone unchecked in the U.S. for too long.

READ: Starbucks Changed Its Stance On Letting Baristas Wear BLM Apparel— These Black Coffee Shops Will Do You One Better

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Netflix Is Bringing Back Seven Classic Black Sitcoms And They’re Already On My Binge List

Entertainment

Netflix Is Bringing Back Seven Classic Black Sitcoms And They’re Already On My Binge List

StrongBlackLead / Netflix

Netflix has seriously upped its streaming game in the past few months. While 2020 rages on with all of its drama and chaos and heartache, at least Netflix is giving us all some much-needed distraction and entertainment.

The streaming giant already has a fairly large library of amazing Black content for us to binge to our heart’s content, but they’ve just outdone themselves with a brand new slate of some of the best classic Black sitcoms ever made.

With a tweet from the streaming giant’s Twitter account @StrongBlackLead, it was announced that seven hit Black shows from the ’90s and 2000s are hitting Netflix throughout August, September, and October.

Netflix will be adding seven hit Black shows to their lineup and the Internet just can’t handle the news.

Yup, you read that right. Shows we used to watch on networks like UPN, the WB, and BET like Sister, Sister, The GameGirlfriends, and The Parkers will all now be available in once place. Finally. And as if this news wasn’t already enough, Netflix’s @StrongBlackLead also premiered a video celebrating the big announcement with literally all of our favorites: Cue Tracee Ellis Ross, Essence Atkins, Jackée Harry, Wendy Raquel Robinson, Tia and Tamera Mowry, and more making us cry with their collective greatness.

Of course, fans could not handle it, and within minutes of the big announcement Moesha and Girlfriends was trending on Twitter.

“Netflix is finally streaming MoeshaThe GameSister SisterGirlfriends and The Parkers starting from next month. seems like the second half of 2020 won’t be bad after all,” wrote one user.

Here’s a roundup of what we have to look forward to in the next couple of months:

Moesha

Brandy (yes, that Brandy!) playing a high-school student in LA facing very real issues including friend with teen pregnancies, racism, trouble at home – this show had it all and it honestly helped me grow and mature as a kid.

Moesha ran for six seasons on UPN (which IMO was one of the most underrated networks!) and went on to become the biggest success for the relatively new network. Bernie Mack and Usher were frequently recurring guest stars on the show and you never knew who else might back a guest appearance.

Sister, Sister

Tia and Tamera Mowry are identical twin sisters who just happen to reunite in a chance enounter. That’s the opening premise of this next-level show, Sister, Sister. But it’s so much more than that. Everyone from the Olsen twins to RuPaul and Tyrese made guest appearances on this show and I lived for every moment.

In January 2018, a revival of Sister, Sister was confirmed and is currently in the works but as of 2020 it is currently unknown when or if the revival will happen.

Girlfriends

One of the longest-running Black-led TV series, Girlfriends was on the CW for a full eight seasons and won numerous awards. Comprised of an ensemble cast led by Tracee Ellis Ross the show featured major talent in guest appearances including Big Boi, Common, Kelly Rowland, Idris Elba, and Erykah Badu.

The Parkers

A hilarious spin-off from the equally hilarious Moesha, this show had it all! Another show on UPN, The Parkers ran for five seasons and had some big name talent in the likes of Mo’Nique and Countness Vaughn.

And for all you Angelenos, the show is largely centered around Santa Monica College which so many of us went to.

Half & Half

Set in San Francisco, Half & Half aired on the UPN for four seasons and follows the lives of two half-sisters who were completely separated for most of their lives but then come back together. Michelle Williams and Essence Atkins were two of the major stars on the show which went on to be nominated for several awards in each of it’s four seasons.

One on One

One of the hit shows from the UPN network, One on One was on the air for five seasons and took place in Baltimore (and LA in the final season). Everyone from Lil Zane to Chris Brown, Eve, Solange Knowles, Lil Kim, Smokey Robinson, and Lisa Leslie made an appearance on this show – it was fire!

And that theme song, ‘Living One on One’, ughh so good!

Since the murder of George Floyd and the widespread Black Lives Matter movement, Netflix has added a new addition to its platform called “Black Lives Matter.” The new platform is home to all the movies about Black communities, celebrities’ topics, etc. with movies like Moonlight and documentaries like Becoming. Hopefully, with the release of these popular Black sitcoms, more may be added to Netflix like MartinLiving Single, and Fresh Prince.

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Oprah Winfrey Honors Breonna Taylor With Historic O Magazine Cover

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Oprah Winfrey Honors Breonna Taylor With Historic O Magazine Cover

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In the twenty years since Oprah Winfrey established her periodical publication O Magazine, only she has ever graced the cover. For the first time in the magazine’s publication, a different face is now featured and it’s one we hope you continue to remember: Breonna Taylor.

The  26-year-old African-American emergency medical technician was murdered in the middle of the night on March 13 after being fatally shot by Louisville Metro Police Department officers Jonathan Mattingly, Brett Hankison, and Myles Cosgrove. While initially, her death sparked outrage, it wasn’t until a few months later that the murder of George Floyd (a Black man also killed by the police) that a national reaction came about. The slow national reaction to her death and the demands for answers from her loved one’s ultimately initiated conversations about the care and concern offered to Black women in the United States and reminded those watching of how much work needs to be done to support them. And while the initial blast of the May BLM protests has waned, it appears Winfrey is determined to keep the fire going.

In a post about this month’s issue, Oprah reminded users we can’t be silent.

In an essay published on the O magazine site, Winfrey described the ways in which she felt she identified with Taylor. She also shared her own vision for helping honor Taylor’s life and the dreams the deceased 26-year-old had for herself.

“She was just like me. She was just like you. And like everyone who dies unexpectedly, she had plans. Plans for a future filled with responsibility and work and friends and laughter,” Winfrey wrote. “I think about Breonna Taylor often. She was the same age as the two daughter-girls from my school in South Africa who’ve been quarantining with Stedman and me since March. In all their conversations I feel the promise of possibilities. Their whole lives shine with the light of hopefulness. That was taken away from Breonna in such a horrifying manner. Imagine if three unidentified men burst into your home while you were sleeping. And your partner fired a gun to protect you. And then mayhem. What I know for sure: We can’t be silent. We have to use whatever megaphone we have to cry for justice.

O magazine’s cover features a portrait of Taylor, created byAlexis Franklin.

The digital artist created the image from a selfie Taylor took while wearing her EMS shirt. The original selfie has circulated heavily with coverage on Taylor’s death. On the magazine cover, the words “Her life mattered” are written next to Taylor’s face.

According to an essay written by Franklin for O magazine, the young artist was inspired by Taylor’s power in the image. “Looking at [the source photo], I see an innocence, simple but powerful. It was critical for me to retain that,” she wrote. “And there was a sparkle in Breonna’s eyes — a young Black woman posing in her Louisville EMS shirt, happy to be alive.”

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