In the basement of St. Louis' Saint John's United Church of Christ at the end of the Labor Day weekend, Yates recounted almost a month's worth of harrowing encounters with a militarized police force to a room of Black Lives Matter freedom riders. She woefully explained that as the days bled into one another, she began "marking days by police tactics."
These are women with family-friendly brands. They have made their livings online by being noncontroversial and avoiding the icky parts of life -- the icky parts that I love to dive into head first. But there they were, chiming in and telling me of their own fears and worry, thus mitigating my own ache.
On the one hand, many would argue that with the first black president in office, it is Martin's dream that has been realized. Yet, on the other hand, with endless wars abroad, increasing police brutality at home, and a society more divided than ever, it is safe to say that Malcolm's critique of -- and challenge to -- America has never been more urgent.
The beautiful 18-year old Disney starlet Zendaya looked absolutely ravishing at the Acadamy Awards in her satin ivory Vivienne Westwood gown and her elegant dreadlocked hairstyle. But Giuliana Rancic of E! Fashion Police did not agree.
Though it has a shorter legacy than the U.S.' month set aside to honor the achievements of people from the African Diaspora, those in the U.K. also use various mediums to educate the public on the African-Caribbean community.
I was truly disappointed to see that a woman could go out of her way to say something so ignorant about another woman. I would hope that a woman who has been given a platform where she can speak her mind would want to use that platform to empower women not tear them down.
As we end Black History Month, let's celebrate our accomplishments and add to that list an 18-year-old girl who had the confidence and courage to address insensitive, stereotypical remark of ignorance head on.
if black children were reminded, for more than 28 days, that kids like them grew up and achieved their goals in the face of adversity and discrimination, these children would experience the same encouragement any white child feels when looking at the histories of their studies.
In the midst of these projected possibilities, one thing is certain: the power of Hip Hop is immense and unwavering. But, how the art form is used from this point forward will determine the type of power we truly want to have.
There is no evidence that the FBI, other intelligence agencies, or the NYPD had a direct hand in Malcolm's murder. But it can't be totally separated from the well-documented, savage war that the FBI waged against black organizations and black leaders, including Martin Luther King Jr., during the 1960s.
Martin was more than just another young black male gunned down in an act of senseless violence. He became and will remain a challenge to the nation to do something about that violence.
In late 1975, 19-year-old Ricky Jackson was sentenced to die by electrocution. Almost 40 years later, his conviction was overturned, and he walked out the front door of the Cuyahoga County courthouse a free man.
The demands for justice in Ferguson, coupled with the recent speeches by New York City Police Commissioner William Bratton and FBI Director James Comey, are indeed reasons to keep hope alive!
It is a reminder that women of power come in all shades of greatness and beauty. It gives us the opportunity to show generations of girls that there is a power within each and every one of us that when used for good can impact humanity for the greater good.
Soon February will do double duty as Black History and Historical Accuracy Month. The snow brings with it flurries of concern about Brian Williams, American Sniper, and whether Selma got it right or wrong about President Lyndon Johnson.
Studies released by Urban Institute in July 2014 showed that 35 percent of Americans -- roughly one out of three -- are so behind in their finances that they have debt in collections. Many people become overwhelmed by their debts, but they don't have to be.
I was first inspired to advocate for women and children when I saw my neighbor's daughter die during her first delivery in the hospital, simply because there was no midwife on duty. The unacceptably high rate of maternal mortality in my community keeps me motivated..
It is astounding to stop and think of how young the U.S. really is and what that means for art coming from the American context.
While many child stars experienced ups and downs during their careers, particularly as they got older, some were able to escape scrutiny and flourish into successful adult actors.
Known to many as Tootie from the 1980s NBC sitcom 'The Facts of Life' or Regine Hunter from Fox's 1990s sitcom 'Living Single,' Kim Fields has transitioned from beloved actress to working director. Her directorial projects include multiple episodes on 'Tyler Perry's Meet the Browns' and 'Tyler Perry's House of Payne.'
As the daughter of actress and director Chip Fields ('Good Times') and the older sister of actress Alexis Fields ('Moesha'), the New York native used her degree from Pepperdine University to place herself in a position behind the camera and learn the craft that many women aren't recognized for.
Blackvoices.com caught up with the former-child-star-turned-renaissance-woman. Excerpts of the conversation are below.
Black Voices: You've been around a number of years and have done a number of projects. What's going on with you now?
Kim Fields: A couple of different things. I'm currently the host for 'Lens on Talent,' which is BET and Johnson & Johnson's filmmaker show. I'm really so excited about the show and the guests we had on, from Lisa Cortez, the Oscar-nominated producer for 'Precious,' to Roger Bobb, who is the executive president of Tyler Perry Studios to Tamir Mohammad from Tribeca Film Institute. There's a really well-rounded group of people this year lending their wisdom and experiences and expertise to the show. Just because this is a specific industry, there are certain things that are universal. If you're a new mom and you work in corporate America or retail or the filmmaking world, you're still a new mom at the end of the day. There are certain things people can relate to even if they're not sharing the same industry experiences. In tandem with that, I also direct here in Atlanta on Tyler Perry's 'Meet the Browns.'
BV: Did you ever think you would do this sort of work when you first started out in this business?
KF: Maybe not when I first started because I was 7 or 8 years old. I thought I was going to be a marine biologist. I think as I got a little bit older, being around crews and sets... I always said I was a crew baby, so I always liked sitting by the cameras and learning from the camera people about shots, framing and things of that nature. Talking to the lighting director about different looks with the lighting. I got my start professionally back in '94 after being really dissatisfied as an actor and an audience member, and seeing if I could contribute in another way.
BV: What's it like working with Tyler Perry and doing more than 100 shows?
KF: Well, it's really a blessing I don't take it for granted. Everything that Tyler does, these are his babies, and to be entrusted with that, I don't take that lightly at all. Because he's got a very specific eye, specific tastes, he's got a formula and he knows what works and is in a number of ways a genius. At the same time, he lets me know unequivocally that he respects my eye and my tastes and wants to marry the two. It's certainly a blessing to go to a studio where the person built it from the ground up. It's a different feeling from going to Warner Bros. or Sony. To be able to contribute in this way and have that one-on-one exposure. I guess it would be like the old days of the studio system, where the stars could talk to Louis B. Mayor and Jack Warner. It's fun and fascinating.
BV: You signed a first-look deal with the Gospel Music Channel. What are they looking for you to contribute?
KF: The thing that excited me about the GMC is dealing with a faith-based audience, something you do get to explore with Tyler. Right now the opening stages at Tyler's studios are driven by Tyler's vision. This outlet gives me the opportunity to create from scratch. I'm so in love with doing projects for a faith-based community, not solely. I don't want to give my career to that audience. I think it's still important in the story you tell to uplift as you entertain, especially for women. I'm so over reality and housewives and bad women and bad girls.
BV: As part of two successful series, when people see you these days what do they associate you with, Tootie or Regine?
KF: Really just Kim Fields, the brand, and that's a blessing I don't take for granted. The first reaction seems to be, "Oh my gosh, you're Kim Fields." Sometimes it's 'Meet the Browns.' People really know I do that show. Sometimes it's people saying, "I grew up with you. We still watch 'Living Single.'" Sometimes it's from the poetry standpoint, what I've done as a spoken word artist. It really varies. It's a constant reminder to me of the gifts and talents I've been blessed with.
BV: Any thoughts about coming back on the screen as an actress, even if it's in a comedy or a drama?
KF: Very much so. Me and Tyler have talked about it, the president of the studio, GMC, and I have talked about it. At this point, I'm looking for projects that challenge me as an actor. I've been blessed to be in the industry for so long and yet there's so much that I haven't done, different characters to portray and genres I've barely scratched the surface on. I'm certainly in love with content that's on the Web. It may be a matter of something online first. I recognize that I'm certainly not in the driver's seat. A friend of mine told me that several years ago. "You just sit in the passenger seat," she said. "And keep your seat belt on and let God drive you where he's driving you on the road he mapped out. Keep quiet; he doesn't need direction from you."
BV: What keeps you passionate about doing this?
KF: God has kept that alive in me -- as an actor and a director and as a member of the entertainment community. Aside from that, mortgage bills will certainly motivate you to get up in the morning and then my family. I have the most amazing family in the world with my husband, Christopher, and my son, Sebastian. They're so extraordinarily supportive of what I do. My mother, of course, my sister... everyone. Everyone that has been part of the village it takes to raise this child and turn her into a woman. I couldn't fathom my life without them.
BV: Everyone in your family is in the business. Have you ever thought about putting a project together that they can all be a part of?
KF: We want to stay in love with each other as family members, so probably not, no. Every time we talk about it, we're like "no."
BV: 'Living Single' had a good long run on a major network. Why aren't we getting that winning formula on today's television?
KF: I don't know. I think you have people very much living in fear of losing their jobs. They want to go with what's safe. They want to go with what they know, so you get a lot of regurgitation and then that sense of, "We don't know an audience that wants to see it." It's total crap at the end of the day. Pardon me for being so crass, but it's total crap. Why would the show be so popular in syndication long after the show was shot? It's all right. It's making it easier for me to establish that work.