Beautiful Feminine Sisters

Notes From a Fantasy/Romance Author: Why I Made My Heroine Really Dark and Really Feminine

Beautiful Feminine Sisters

Where are these Black women in movies, books and films?

Re-posted with permission from

The short answer of why I decided to make the female heroine of my fantasy/romance novel The Last King really dark and really feminine is because such a woman is a rarity to see in literature, film or television.

I mean, even if a heroine is Black, she’s likely brown-colored or light, and she is most certainly going to have straight hair and not her natural curls.

Not so with Emmy Hughes – I decided to make her everything this world insists should not be considered beautiful, lovely and worth perusing – dark-skinned with kinky hair  (okay, it’s BIG kinky hair for sure, no teeny weeny afro’s I admit, but that’s because I like BIG hair).

The main reason I did this is because I’m tired of seeing the same images played out in the media of what’s attractive. I specifically wanted to contribute, no matter how small, to the idea of Black women being seen as attractive and feminine.

Why feminine? Because Black women have traditionally been denied the right to be seen this way, and personally, I think this has hurt us in numerous ways.


We are beautiful self definition

We Are Beautiful-Affirming Our Self-Definition

Sisterhood Agenda features a picture of actress, Viola Davis, in its Black Girls Guide:  How to Transition to Naturally Beautiful Hair.  Davis relishes the opportunity to portray a character who is “sexy… complicated… mysterious” in Shonda Rhimes’ new hit television show, How to Get Away With Murder.  In a recent newspaper article, the New York Times calls Shonda Rhimes “angry” and Viola Davis “less classically beautiful.” Watch how we defy stereotypes and labels:

“It seems that other people, they don’t quite get it, which I find insanely amusing. The New York Times seem shocked, let me say it again, shocked, and called Shonda an angry Black woman and says you are ‘less classically beautiful’ than typical TV stars. Now isn’t beauty subjective?” Whoopi Goldberg, “The View” co-host.

“I think that beauty is subjective. I’ve heard that statement ‘less classically beautiful’ my entire life,” states Viola Davis. “Being a dark-skinned Black woman, you heard it from the womb. And classically not beautiful is a fancy term for saying ugly. And denouncing you. And erasing you. Now…it worked when I was younger. It no longer works for me now… It’s about teaching a culture how to treat you and how to see you… Because at the end of the day, you define you.”

In The Hollywood Reporter, Rhimes also addressed the issue:

“In this world in which we all feel we’re so full of gender equality and we’re a postracial [society] and Obama is president, it’s a very good reminder to see the casual racial bias and odd misogyny from a woman written in a paper that we all think of as being so liberal.”


Discovered … Member of the African Choir, London Stereoscopic Company, 1891. Photograph: Courtesy of © Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Hidden Beauty: Portraits Not Seen for Over 120 Years

Discovered … Member of the African Choir, London Stereoscopic Company, 1891. Photograph: Courtesy of © Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Discovered … Member of the African Choir, London Stereoscopic Company, 1891. Photograph: Courtesy of © Hulton Archive/Getty Images

These long-lost series of photographs, unseen for 120 years, is the dramatic centrepiece of an illuminating new exhibition called Black Chronicles II.  “The portraits were last shown in the London Illustrated News in 1891,” says Renée Mussai, who has co-curated the show at London’s Rivington Place alongside Mark Sealy MBE, director of Autograph ABP, a foundation that focuses on Black cultural identity often through the use of overlooked archives. “The Hulton Archive, where they came from, did not even know they existed until we uncovered them while excavating their archive as part of our research project.”

“There is a certain melancholy to many of these images, particularly the portraits of children, that speaks of exile and estrangement…  The history of colonialism, in all its contradictions, is present in these portraits,” says Mussai.

 Sara Forbes Bonetta. Brighton, 1862. Photograph: Courtesy of Paul Frecker collection/The Library of Nineteenth-Century Photography

Sara Forbes Bonetta was captured age five by slave raiders in West Africa, rescued by Captain Frederick E Forbes, then presented as a ‘gift’ to Queen Victoria. Photograph: Courtesy of Paul Frecker collection/The Library of Nineteenth-Century Photography.

Drawing on the metaphor of the chronicle the exhibition presents over 200 photographs, the majority of which have never been exhibited or published before. As a curated body of work, these photographs present new knowledge and offer different ways of seeing the Black subject in Victorian Britain, and contribute to an ongoing process of redressing persistent ‘absence’ within the historical record.

Black Chronicles II is a public showcase of Autograph ABP’s commitment to continuous critical enquiry into archive images which have been overlooked, under-researched or simply not recognised as significant previously, but which are highly relevant to black representational politics and cultural history today.

Black Chronicles II is at Rivington Place, London, until 29 November 2014.

 Eleanor Xiniwe of the African Choir, 1891. Photograph: Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Eleanor Xiniwe of the African Choir, 1891.
Photograph: Hulton Archive/Getty Images


Ava DuVernay, first Black woman to win Best Director at Sundance Film Festival

No Big Surprise: TV Directing Still Dominated by White Men, New DGA Report Finds

Ava DuVernay, first Black woman to win Best Director at Sundance Film Festival

Ava DuVernay, director of Middle of Nowhere, first Black woman to win Best Director at Sundance Film Festival

Directors Guild of America released a report on the number of non-white and non-male directors hired to direct prime time episodic television, between 2013 and 2014, and across broadcast, basic cable, premium cable, and high budget original content series made specifically for online consumption.

In its report, the DGA says that it looked at more than 220 scripted series, and 3,500 episodes, produced in the 2013-2014 network television season, and the 2013 cable television season. And here’s what they found:

  • Caucasian males directed 69% of all episodes;
  • Minority males directed 17% of all episodes;
  • Caucasian females directed 12% of all episodes; and
  • Minority females directed 2% of all episodes

“Minority” includes all ethnic minorities, not just those of African descent.  This statistic provides perspective when looking at our entertainment industry and wondering where women and girls of African descent fit in.  The good news:  sisters are taking back their identity and images by writing, directing and starring in their own independent films.

Reported by Shadow & Act

I Am Worthy Logo

I Am Worthy- For Our Daughters Community Campaign

I Am Worthy LogoFour Girls in Birmingham Alabama 51 years , 250 girls in Nigeria four months ago. Are these two things linked? Absolutely. We are the solution to the issue. Come let us stand for dignity, safety and vision FOR OUR DAUGHTERS.

Saturday September 20, 4pm New Winston Museum 713 Marshall St. Winston- Salem, NC

Join us in a community discussion led by Oyesina Ogunmola as we discuss the problems surrounding the continual misuse of women for the entertainment and comfort of men. This worldwide phenomena create a hostile environment for women and girls to grow and flourish. Let us discuss our responsibilities to address this troubling issue.

This event is free and is a part of I am Worthy’s FOR OUR Daughters Community Campaign. For more information or questions you can visit . You may also send an email to

Out of the Binders Symposium


Sister with Pen and Eyeglasses
WAM logoFrustrated by the dearth of women writers being published in major magazines and literary journals, WAM! is proud to be sponsoring the Out of the Binders conference, a “symposium to empower women and gender non-conforming writers with tools, connections, and strategies to advance their careers.”

Inspired by the “Binders Full of Women Writers” Facebook groups, this conference will include a wide range of programming, including professional development and skills-building workshops; speakers from a wide range of disciplines; panels on things like women in the newsroom and starting your writing career after forty; networking opportunities for folks at every stage of their career, and more!

The conference will take place on October 11 & 12 in New York City, on the campus of New York University.
Reserve your spot today before they’re gone.

A Start to End Pornographic Performances in Music Videos

Girl in Pink MusicTo stop misogyny, will music videos  have the same rating system as other forms of media, like television and film?

The End Violence Against Women Coalition, Imkaan and Object think that a rating system may be the answer.  They  recently published a report, called Pornographic Performances, condemning the portrayal of women in pop videos as hyper-sexualised and “endlessly sexually available” objects.

Those who view such videos have been found to have an associated tolerance of racist, sexist and even rape-tolerant attitudes, the research states.

The three organisations advocate compulsory age ratings for all music videos, to ensure there is consistency in the regulation of music videos viewed online and on hard copy, as with film. Sarah Green, of the EVAW Coalition, said:

“Some forms of media, such as television and film, are well regulated and our society accepts and supports this. Other forms like music videos are getting away with very little scrutiny and as such seem to be competing for who can most degrade and insult women.  If the ‘creative’ people who make them won’t stop this, regulators should rein them in and implement age ratings.”

In addition, the paper highlights the portrayal of Black women as “wild and animalistic” hypersexual objects. Regardless of the genre of music, the report states that “racialised tropes are deemed marketable.”

Going Home Exhibit

Schomburg HeaderSchomburg Going Home

Going Home, Coming Home: Remembering

On view through August 15, 2014:

Going Home, Coming Home: Remembering is a memorial dedication that honors seven African and African American legends, whose lives have impacted humankind throughout the world. They all have influenced, inspired and supported our humanity globally, but especially and particularly in Harlem, USA, where the Schomburg Center is a satellite, a landmark institution, a safe haven and a home for all peoples of African descent.

Individual honorees include:
Nelson Mandela, Maya Angelou, Ruby Dee, Amiri Baraka, Vincent Harding, Elombe Brath and Cheryll Greene.

Dreams of a Life-International Black Women’s Film Festival Premiere

Dreams of a Life

If you disappeared, would anyone miss you?

Nobody noticed when Joyce Vincent died in her bedsit above a shopping mall in North London in 2003. Her body wasn’t discovered for three years, surrounded by Christmas presents she had been wrapping, and with the TV still on. Newspaper reports offered few details of her life– not even a photograph.Interweaving interviews with imagined scenes from Joyce’s life, Dreams of a Life is an imaginative, powerful, multilayered quest, and is not only a portrait of Joyce but a portrait of London in the eighties—the City, music, and race. It is a film about urban lives, contemporary life, and how, like Joyce, we are all different things to different people. It is about how little we may ever know each other, but nevertheless, how much we can love.



95 minutes | United Kingdom/Ireland | Director Carol Morley


Sunday, July 20, 2014

12 noon – 2:30 pm (Doors open at 12 noon)

The New Parkway Theater
474 – 24th Street, Oakland, CA 94612

Honoring Ruby Dee

Ruby Dee PhotosOctober 27, 1922 – June 11, 2014

Ruby Dee was an American actress, poet, playwright, screenwriter, , journalist and activist. She is perhaps best known for co-starring in the films A Raisin in the Sun (1961), Do the Right Thing (1989), and American Gangster (2007) for which she was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. She was the recipient of Grammy, Emmy, Obie, Drama Desk, Screen Actors Guild Award, and Screen Actors Guild Lifetime Achievement Awards as well as the National Medal of Arts and the Kennedy Center Honors. She was married to actor Ossie Davis until his death in 2005.

Source:  Wikipedia

NABFEME Sisters Behind the Beat-Detroit

NABFEME sisters detroit

Listen & Learn from Detroit’s Entertainment Elite – Powerhouse Business Women!

Toya Hankins – Project Producers CEO, Manager of R&B syoerstar, Kem

Monica Blaire – International Performer & Songwriter

Piper Carter – Celebrity Photographer, Co-Owner 5e Gallery

Jana Stewart – Health & Lifestryle Coach

Twana Tells – Radio One Entertainment Correspondent & Blogger

Ebony Cochran – Pure Strands, CEO

Six Two – Event Development Manager

Bijou GlamStarr – Hot 107.5 Air Personality

Chanel Domonique- CDM Management, CEO

Sabrina Underwood – Co-Manager, Grammy Award winning producer, Mr. Porter
JOYA & NABFEME Detroit: Event Host

President’s Champagne Sip: 1:00 PM —Seminar: 2:00 PM




AfroPop Celebrates Caribbean Heritage Month

AfroPop Caribbean Heritage Month

With help from the Trinidad and Tobago Film Festival (Emilie Upczak and Jonathan Ali), and several others: Kim Marie Spence (Jamaican Promotions Corporation), Frances Anne Solomon (Caribbean Tales Worldwide), Luis Notario (Cuban Women Filmmakers Network), Wendy Grant, and Michelle Materre; and in celebration of Caribbean Heritage Month, NBPC presents “Caribbean Shorts”, a special AfroPoP Online series showcasing just a small selection of the amazing shorts made by some of the Caribbean’s most promising young filmmakers.

Click here to watch the first Caribbean short, “Passage” by Kareem Mortimer 

Watch a short a week, read each filmmaker’s profile, and share the link with friends. After all that’s what AfroPoP is about: The Ultimate Cultural Exchange!

Be Happy with Afro’ Week

My Afro Week Happy Parisian

My Afro’Week, la Génèse est un blog né en Mai 2011 de la volonté d’avoir une plateforme qui rassemblerait l’ensemble des évènements Culture Afro* se déroulant en région parisienne. Initialement co-fondé par Corinne et Joëlle, il est aujourd’hui animé bénévolement par 6 autres jeunes femmes s’occupant chacune d’une rubrique (Littérature/Art-Expo/Musique/Mode-Beauté/Business/Cinéma…). Leur dénominateur commun ? La passion pour les cultures Afro.

Culture Afro* (Afrique, Caraïbe, Afro américaine,  Afro latino et toutes populations afro-descendantes).


About Us is a blog started in May 2011 with the desire to have a platform that brings together all Afro culture events taking place in and around Paris. Originally co-founded by Corinne and Joëlle, it is today led by 6 other young dynamic women  each one in a charge of a column (Literature/Art/Exhibition/Music/Fashion/Beauty/Business/Cinema…). Their common passion : Afro cultures ! 

Afro Culture* (African, Carribean, African-american, Afro latino and other afro descendant populations).

More Maya Angelou: Keepsake Memorial Program, Michelle Obama Tribute & Schomburg Exhibit


A Celebration of Joy Keepsake Memorial Program:  Get it HERE





Schomburg Header

Phenomenal Woman: Maya Angelou, 1928-2014.  On view through June 30, 2014:

The materials displayed offer an intimate look at Angelou’s process as a writer and thinker and includes handwritten and typed drafts of I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings and “On the Pulse of Morning,” letters from Malcolm X and James Baldwin, and a portrait of Angelou in Ghana in 1963, among other treasures from the Maya Angelou Papers.