A closer look at the black women making headlines and breaking barriers this week.

The talent and net worth in this photo alone is proof of awesomeness. Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images for Parkwood Entertainment.

Black women are everything.

I say it without reservation or hesitation. I say it with personal experience and anecdotal knowledge. We. Are. Everything.

Need someone to replace your contaminated water pipes? We can do that. Need someone to tell off Paul Ryan? We can do that. Need someone to help you master a skateboard trick? We can do that too. Try to keep up.


Our talent, know-how, grace, and grit is unparalleled. There's only one problem: No one seems to care.

At least not visibly — not when it matters. In the spirit of intersectionality, black women cape for black men, we support women, other POC, people with disabilities, and our LGBTQ family. But who is championing, listening to, trusting, and promoting us? Fine, we can do that too.

Dropping knowledge about the awesomeness of black women. Photo by WOCinTech Chat/Flickr.

This is the beginning of a weekly column dedicated to signal-boosting the black women who make the world spin.

From tastemakers and politicians, to women making a name for themselves in their communities, these are people whose stories merit attention and enthusiasm.

Let's go ahead and give them their roses. Here are the women I'm here for this week — support them, believe them, and celebrate them.

"We've Got Your Back": Janet Jackson and Lola Olufemi

Photo by Frank Micelotta/Getty Images.

  • Across the pond, Cambridge student Lola Olufemi joined together with other students to write an open letter about improving the university's English department. It included suggestions for creating a more inclusive canon and improving representation among the authors and viewpoints. (You can read the entire thing here.)  Soon after, Olufemi's simple, clear proposal was mischaracterized and demonized on the front page of The Daily Telegraph, who suggested she was trying to drop white authors, including Shakespeare, altogether. The paper has since printed a tiny apology, but the damage is done. We know the truth, sis.

"We Believe You": Myeshia Johnson and Kitti Jones

Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images.

"Go off, sis": Ava DuVernay

Ava DuVernay recently accepted Smithsonian magazine's American Ingenuity Award. The award honors great talents and contributions in eight categories: technology, performing arts, visual arts, life sciences, physical sciences, history, social progress, and youth. DuVernay picked up the honor for visual arts for her work in TV and film. And if that's not enough, check out this clip from "Finding Your Roots" when she discovers her genetic makeup is majority African. Her smile is like standing in a sunbeam.

Final thoughts: Robin Thede

Robin Thede, host of "The Rundown with Robin Thede" will deliver this week's final thoughts:

I'll be here next week with more women to celebrate, support, and signal boost. If you know a black woman that I should feature, send me some links.

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I'm staring at my screen watching the President of the United States speak before a stadium full of people in North Carolina. He launches into a lie-laced attack on Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, and the crowd boos. Soon they start chanting, "Send her back! Send her back! Send her back!"

The President does nothing. Says nothing. He just stands there and waits for the crowd to finish their outburst.

WATCH: Trump rally crowd chants 'send her back' after he criticizes Rep. Ilhan Omar www.youtube.com

My mind flashes to another President of the United States speaking to a stadium full of people in North Carolina in 2016. A heckler in the crowd—an old man in uniform holding up a TRUMP sign—starts shouting, disrupting the speech. The crowd boos. Soon they start chanting, "Hillary! Hillary! Hillary!"

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via EarthFix / Flickr

What will future generations never believe that we tolerated in 2019?

Dolphin and orca captivity, for sure. They'll probably shake their heads at how people died because they couldn't afford healthcare. And, they'll be completely mystified at the amount of food some people waste while others go starving.

According to Biological Diversity, "An estimated 40 percent of the food produced in the United States is wasted every year, costing households, businesses and farms about $218 billion annually."

There are so many things wrong with this.

First of all it's a waste of money for the households who throw out good food. Second, it's a waste of all of the resources that went into growing the food, including the animals who gave their lives for the meal. Third, there's something very wrong with throwing out food when one in eight Americans struggle with hunger.

Supermarkets are just as guilty of this unnecessary waste as consumers. About 10% of all food waste are supermarket products thrown out before they've reached their expiration date.

Three years ago, France took big steps to combat food waste by making a law that bans grocery stores from throwing away edible food.According to the new ordinance, stores can be fined for up to $4,500 for each infraction.

Previously, the French threw out 7.1 million tons of food. Sixty-seven percent of which was tossed by consumers, 15% by restaurants, and 11% by grocery stores.

This has created a network of over 5,000 charities that accept the food from supermarkets and donate them to charity. The law also struck down agreements between supermarkets and manufacturers that prohibited the stores from donating food to charities.

"There was one food manufacturer that was not authorized to donate the sandwiches it made for a particular supermarket brand. But now, we get 30,000 sandwiches a month from them — sandwiches that used to be thrown away," Jacques Bailet, head of the French network of food banks known as Banques Alimentaires, told NPR.

It's expected that similar laws may spread through Europe, but people are a lot less confident at it happening in the United States. The USDA believes that the biggest barrier to such a program would be cost to the charities and or supermarkets.

"The logistics of getting safe, wholesome, edible food from anywhere to people that can use it is really difficult," the organization said according to Gizmodo. "If you're having to set up a really expensive system to recover marginal amounts of food, that's not good for anybody."

Plus, the idea may seem a little too "socialist" for the average American's appetite.

"The French version is quite socialist, but I would say in a great way because you're providing a way where they [supermarkets] have to do the beneficial things not only for the environment, but from an ethical standpoint of getting healthy food to those who need it and minimizing some of the harmful greenhouse gas emissions that come when food ends up in a landfill," Jonathan Bloom, the author of American Wasteland, told NPR.

However, just because something may be socialist doesn't mean it's wrong. The greater wrong is the insane waste of money, damage to the environment, and devastation caused by hunger that can easily be avoided.

Planet

Policing women's bodies — and by consequence their clothes — is nothing new to women across the globe. But this mother's "legging problem" is particularly ridiculous.

What someone wears, regardless of gender, is a personal choice. Sadly, many folks like Maryann White, mother of four sons, think women's attire — particularly women's leggings are a threat to men.

While sitting in mass at the University of Notre Dame, White was aghast by the spandex attire the young women in front of her were sporting.

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Men are sharing examples of how they step up and step in when they see problematic behaviors in their peers, and people are here for it.

Twitter user "feminist next door" posed an inquiry to her followers, asking "good guys" to share times they saw misogyny or predatory behavior and did something about it. "What did you say," she asked. "What are your suggestions for the other other men in this situation?" She added a perfectly fitting hashtag: #NotCoolMan.

Not only did the good guys show up for the thread, but their stories show how men can interrupt situations when they see women being mistreated and help put a stop to it.

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