A hilarious Shonda sighting, Serena on Vogue, and Oprah crushed it. This week is lit.

This is the ninth edition of "This week in black women," a weekly column dedicated to signal-boosting the black women who make the world spin.

This week, I'm shouting out Vogue's youngest cover model, a much-needed resource to help black women get credit, a warm reception for our future president, a photo series to celebrate, and more.

Remember these women! Pay these women! Encourage these women!


Let's do this.

GIF via The Golden Globes.

"Yes, young queen!": Alexis Olympia Ohanian, Jr. and her mom, Serena Williams

The adorable first child of Serena Williams and Alexis Ohanian, Sr. graced the cover of Vogue magazine with her mother. Just 3 months old during the shoot, she's the youngest cover star in the history of the magazine.

The cover story, however, leaned a bit heavier on new mom Williams and her transition from greatest athlete of all time to greatest athlete of all time/mom. Williams shared the harrowing moments following Olympia's birth when she developed blood clots and had to be her own fierce medical advocate to get the lifesaving care she needed.

When a star of Serena Williams' caliber has to fight for her own life, it's no wonder black women are three to four times more likely to die from pregnancy or delivery complications than white women. This is a well-documented, dangerous issue that demands our full attention.

"We've got your back": Cite Black Women

I talk a lot in this space about the need to fairly compensate black women for their time and talent. One way to make sure this happens is to give black women the credit they deserve by accurately citing them as sources in syllabi or research.

The Twitter account @citeblackwomen encourages academics to share the literature and research they're teaching and referencing. Not only does this give black women their shine, it may inspire others to incorporate the content into their syllabi as well. Win-win.

And even if your school days are long-gone, follow the account anyway to bolster your reading list. There's some great stuff on there.

"Speak on it, madame president!": Oprah Winfrey

Oprah Winfrey became the first black women to receive the Cecil B. deMille Award from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association for her contributions to the entertainment industry. Her acceptance speech at the Golden Globes provided a much-needed jolt of inspiration and hope in the media and political landscape starved for both.

Social media jumped on the Winfrey wagon with a chorus of tweets suggesting Oprah run for president in 2020, followed by even more tweets suggesting she's not qualified. (The internet will find a way to ruin everything you love.)

Whether she throws her own hat into the ring or actively supports another candidate, it's great to see people get excited and optimistic about the state of the country again — something that seemed impossible for so long.

What can't black women do?

Photo by Paul Drinkwater/NBCUniversal via Getty Images.

"Go off, sis!" Erin Jackson

Erin Jackson of Ocala, Florida made the U.S. Winter Olympic team in long track speed skating after on ice full-time for just four months. FOUR MONTHS!

“I’ve been an inline speed skater for 15 years,” Jackson told Team USA. “I came out to Salt Lake City for the first time ... in the end of February into March. Then I went back to inline for the summer and came back to Salt Lake in September, so it’s been about four months combined.”

Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images.

Final Thought: Shonda Rhimes

And don't forget the barbecue sauce!

Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash
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Glenda moved to Houston from Ohio just before the pandemic hit. She didn't know that COVID-19-related delays would make it difficult to get her Texas driver's license and apply for unemployment benefits. She quickly found herself in an impossible situation — stranded in a strange place without money for food, gas, or a job to provide what she needed.

Alone, hungry, and scared, Glenda dialed 2-1-1 for help. The person on the other end of the line directed her to the Houston-based nonprofit Bread of Life, founded by St. John's United Methodist pastors Rudy and Juanita Rasmus.

For nearly 30 years, Bread of Life has been at the forefront of HIV/AIDS prevention, eliminating food insecurity, providing permanent housing to formerly homeless individuals and disaster relief.

Glenda sat in her car for 20 minutes outside of the building, trying to muster up the courage to get out and ask for help. She'd never been in this situation before, and she was terrified.

When she finally got out, she encountered Eva Thibaudeau, who happened to be walking down the street at the exact same time. Thibaudeau is the CEO of Temenos CDC, a nonprofit multi-unit housing development also founded by the Rasmuses, with a mission to serve Midtown Houston's homeless population.

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Eight months into the pandemic, you'd think people would have the basics figured out. Sure, there was some confusion in the beginning as to whether or not masks were going to help, but that was months ago (which might as well be years in pandemic time). Plenty of studies have shown that face masks are an effective way to limit the spread of the virus and public health officials say universal masking is one of the keys to being able to safely resume some normal activities.

Normal activities include things like getting a coffee at Starbucks, but a viral video of a barista's encounter with an anti-masker shows why the U.S. will likely be living in the worst of both worlds—massive spread and economic woe—for the foreseeable future.

Alex Beckom works at a Starbucks in Santee, California and shared a video taken after a woman pulled down her "Trump 2020" mask to ask the 19-year-old barista a question, pulled it back up when the barista asked her to, then pulled it down again.

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Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash
True

Glenda moved to Houston from Ohio just before the pandemic hit. She didn't know that COVID-19-related delays would make it difficult to get her Texas driver's license and apply for unemployment benefits. She quickly found herself in an impossible situation — stranded in a strange place without money for food, gas, or a job to provide what she needed.

Alone, hungry, and scared, Glenda dialed 2-1-1 for help. The person on the other end of the line directed her to the Houston-based nonprofit Bread of Life, founded by St. John's United Methodist pastors Rudy and Juanita Rasmus.

For nearly 30 years, Bread of Life has been at the forefront of HIV/AIDS prevention, eliminating food insecurity, providing permanent housing to formerly homeless individuals and disaster relief.

Glenda sat in her car for 20 minutes outside of the building, trying to muster up the courage to get out and ask for help. She'd never been in this situation before, and she was terrified.

When she finally got out, she encountered Eva Thibaudeau, who happened to be walking down the street at the exact same time. Thibaudeau is the CEO of Temenos CDC, a nonprofit multi-unit housing development also founded by the Rasmuses, with a mission to serve Midtown Houston's homeless population.

Keep Reading Show less

Pete Buttigieg is having a moment. The former mayor of South Bend, Indiana keeps trending on social media for his incredibly eloquent explanations of issues—so much so that L.A. Times columnist Mary McNamara has dubbed him "Slayer Pete," who excels in "the five-minute, remote-feed evisceration." From his old-but-newly-viral explanation of late-term abortion to his calm calling out of Mike Pence's hypocrisy, Buttigieg is making a name for himself as Biden's "secret weapon" and "rhetorical assassin."

And now he's done it again, this time taking on the 'originalist' view of the Constitution.

Constitutional originalists contend that the original meaning of the words the drafters of the Constitution used and their intention at the time they wrote it are what should guide interpretation of the law. On the flip side are people who see the Constitution as a living document, meant to adapt to the times. These are certainly not the only two interpretive options and there is much debate to be had as to the merits of various approaches, but since SCOTUS nominee Amy Coney Barrett is an originalist, that view is currently part of the public discourse.

Buttigieg explained the problem with originalism in a segment on MSNBC, speaking from what McNamara jokingly called his "irritatingly immaculate kitchen." And in his usual fashion, he totally nails it. After explaining that he sees "a pathway to judicial activism cloaked in judicial humility" in Coney Barrett's descriptions of herself, he followed up with:

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When you picture a ballerina, you may not picture someone who looks like Lizzy Howell. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't.

Howell is busting stereotypes and challenging people's ideas of what a dancer should look like just by being herself and doing her thing in her own body. The now-19-year-old from Delaware has been dancing since she was five and has performed in venues around the world, including Eurovision 2019. She has won scholarships and trains up to four hours a day to perfect her skills in various styles of dance.

Jordan Matter Photography shared a documentary video about Howell on Facebook—part of his "Unstoppable" series—that has inspired thousands. In it, we get to see Howell's impressive moves and clear love of the art form. Howell shares parts of her life story, including the loss of her mother in a car accident when she was little and how she was raised by a supportive aunt who helped her pursue her dance ambitions. She also explained how she's had to deal with hate comments and bullying from people who judge her based on her appearance.

"I don't think it's right for people to judge off of one thing," Howell says in the video. And she's right—her size is just one thing.

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