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!

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If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.

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Even as millions of Americans celebrated the inauguration of President Joe Biden this week, the nation also mourned the fact that, for the first time in modern history, the United States did not have a peaceful transition of power.

With the violent attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6, when pro-Trump insurrectionists attempted to stop the constitutional process of counting electoral votes and where terrorists threatened to kill lawmakers and the vice president for not keeping Trump in power, our long and proud tradition was broken. And although presidential power was ultimately transferred without incident on January 20, the presence of 20,000 National Guard troops around the Capitol reminded us of the threat that still lingers.

First Lady Jill Biden showed up today with cookies in hand for a group of National Guard troops at the Capitol to thank them for keeping her family safe. The homemade chocolate chip cookies were a small token of appreciation, but one that came from the heart of a mother whose son had served as well.

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True

If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.

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Two weeks ago, we watched a pro-Trump mob storm the U.S. Capitol in an attempt to overthrow the results of a U.S. election and keep Donald Trump in power. And among those insurrectionists were well-known adherents of QAnon, nearly every image of the crowd shows people wearing Q gear or carrying Q flags, and some of the more frightening elements we saw tie directly into QAnon beliefs.

Since hints of it first started showing up in social media comments several years ago, I've been intrigued—and endlessly frustrated—by the phenomenon of QAnon. At first, it was just a few fringey whacko conspiracy theorists I could easily roll my eyes at and ignore, but as I started seeing elements of it show up more and more frequently from more and more people, alarm bells started ringing.

Holy crap, there are a lot of people who actually believe this stuff.

Eventually, it got personal. A QAnon adherent on Twitter kept commenting on my tweets, pushing bizarro Q ideas on many of my posts. The account didn't use a real name, but the profile was classic QAnon, complete with the #WWG1WGA. ("Where we go one, we go all"—a QAnon rallying cry.) I thought it might be a bot, so I blocked them. Later, I discovered that it was actually one of my own extended family members.

Holy crap, I actually know people who actually believe this stuff.

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Having lived in small towns and large cities in the Pacific Northwest, Southwest, and Midwest, and after spending a year traveling around the U.S. with my family, I've seen first-hand that Americans have much more in common than not. I've also gotten to experience some of the cultural differences, subtle and not-so-subtle, real and not-so-real, that exist in various parts of the country.

Some of those differences are being discussed in a viral thread on Twitter. Self-described "West coaster" Jordan Green kicked it off with an observation about East coasters being kind and West coasters being nice, which then prompted people to share their own social experiences in various regions around the country.

Green wrote:

"When I describe East Coast vs West Coast culture to my friends I often say 'The East Coast is kind but not nice, the West Coast is nice but not kind,' and East Coasters immediately get it. West Coasters get mad.

Niceness is saying 'I'm so sorry you're cold,' while kindness may be 'Ugh, you've said that five times, here's a sweater!' Kindness is addressing the need, regardless of tone.

I'm a West Coaster through and through—born and raised in San Francisco, moved to Portland for college, and now live in Seattle. We're nice, but we're not kind. We'll listen to your rant politely, smile, and then never speak to you again. We hit mute in real life. ALOT.

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