+

This is the sixthedition 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 cheering for Atlanta's mayor-elect, Tarana Burke, and two books sure to land on your wishlist. Support these women! Pay these women! Follow them! Encourage them! Let's do this.

"We see you": Tarana Burke

In 2006, activist Tarana Burke founded the Me Too movement as a way to help survivors of sexual assault and violence. More than a decade later, Burke's work became part of a pivotal national conversation about survivors and sexual predators, particularly in the workplace. For her work, Burke was recognized as part of Time magazine's collective person of the year, along with other "Silence Breakers" of the #MeToo movement.


But, to the consternation of many of her devoted fans, she was left off the widely celebrated cover. So we're here to shout you out and praise your excellent work, Ms. Burke.

"This is just the start. I’ve been saying from the beginning it’s not just a moment, it’s a movement," Burke said in an interview with Time. "Now the work really begins."

Photo by Chirag Wakaskar/Pacific Press/Sipa USA via AP Images.

"Taking care of business": Keisha Lance Bottoms

In a narrow victory, Keisha Lance Bottoms was elected the mayor of Atlanta. There is something so encouraging and affirming about a black woman named Keisha running one of the largest cities in the country. It's a beautiful name, steeped in black girl magic, which in many circles may have drawn ire or limited her opportunities. But instead, Keisha Lance Bottoms was elected by the people to lead her city. What a time to be alive.

[rebelmouse-image 19532619 dam="1" original_size="750x500" caption="Keisha Lance Bottoms. Image via Vote ATL." expand=1]Keisha Lance Bottoms. Image via Vote ATL.

"Go off, sis": Amber Ruffin

Ruffin is a writer and performer for "Late Night With Seth Meyers" and uses her improv chops to help create some of the show's best moments. This week, Ruffin announced she will be hosting the 70th Writers Guild of Awards ceremony next February.  

Ruffin said in her statement, "If you’re looking for hard-hitting satire on sexual assault allegations, Russia and the Republican tax plan — too bad! This is gonna be all hugs and rainbows! (The hugs will be consensual.)"

Photo by Craig Barritt/Getty Images for Lindt.

If you're dreaming of a black Christmas...

It's the season of giving, and this week, I discovered two awesome books that would make great gifts for the kiddos in your life.

The first is the "Black Queens" coloring book. It's got affirmations, encouraging quotations, and of course, ample room to color and draw.

The second is "Little Leaders: Bold Women In Black History." With darling illustrations and short, easy to read biographies, the book is perfect for children and the young at heart.

Final thoughts: Aisha Alexander

This country has a long way to go, but some days, it feels good to reflect on how far we've come.

​Note: We were not paid by the authors to promote the books included in this post (we would tell you!). We just think it's just awesome to see black women lifting up and celebrating other black women.

Pop Culture

Artist uses AI to create ultra realistic portraits of celebrities who left us too soon

What would certain icons look like if nothing had happened to them?

Mercury would be 76 today.

Some icons have truly left this world too early. It’s a tragedy when anyone doesn’t make it to see old age, but when it happens to a well-known public figure, it’s like a bit of their art and legacy dies with them. What might Freddie Mercury have created if he were granted the gift of long life? Bruce Lee? Princess Diana?

Their futures might be mere musings of our imagination, but thanks to a lot of creativity (and a little tech) we can now get a glimpse into what these celebrities might have looked like when they were older.

Alper Yesiltas, an Istanbul-based lawyer and photographer, created a photography series titled “As If Nothing Happened,” which features eerily realistic portraits of long gone celebrities in their golden years. To make the images as real looking as possible, Yesiltas incorporated various photo editing programs such as Adobe Lightroom and VSCO, as well as the AI photo-enhancing software Remini.

“The hardest part of the creative process for me is making the image feel ‘real’ to me,” Yesiltas wrote about his passion project. “The moment I like the most is when I think the image in front of me looks as if it was taken by a photographer.”

Yesiltas’ meticulousness paid off, because the results are uncanny.

Along with each photo, Yesiltas writes a bittersweet message “wishing” how things might have gone differently … as if nothing happened.
Keep ReadingShow less
All images provided by Adewole Adamson

It begins with more inclusive conversations at a patient level

True

Adewole Adamson, MD, of the University of Texas, Austin, aims to create more equity in health care by gathering data from more diverse populations by using artificial intelligence (AI), a type of machine learning. Dr. Adamson’s work is funded by the American Cancer Society (ACS), an organization committed to advancing health equity through research priorities, programs and services for groups who have been marginalized.

Melanoma became a particular focus for Dr. Adamson after meeting Avery Smith, who lost his wife—a Black woman—to the deadly disease.

melanoma,  melanoma for dark skin Avery Smith (left) and Adamson (sidenote)

This personal encounter, coupled with multiple conversations with Black dermatology patients, drove Dr. Adamson to a concerning discovery: as advanced as AI is at detecting possible skin cancers, it is heavily biased.

To understand this bias, it helps to first know how AI works in the early detection of skin cancer, which Dr. Adamson explains in his paper for the New England Journal of Medicine (paywall). The process uses computers that rely on sets of accumulated data to learn what healthy or unhealthy skin looks like and then create an algorithm to predict diagnoses based on those data sets.

This process, known as supervised learning, could lead to huge benefits in preventive care.

After all, early detection is key to better outcomes. The problem is that the data sets don’t include enough information about darker skin tones. As Adamson put it, “everything is viewed through a ‘white lens.’”

“If you don’t teach the algorithm with a diverse set of images, then that algorithm won’t work out in the public that is diverse,” writes Adamson in a study he co-wrote with Smith (according to a story in The Atlantic). “So there’s risk, then, for people with skin of color to fall through the cracks.”

Tragically, Smith’s wife was diagnosed with melanoma too late and paid the ultimate price for it. And she was not an anomaly—though the disease is more common for White patients, Black cancer patients are far more likely to be diagnosed at later stages, causing a notable disparity in survival rates between non-Hispanics whites (90%) and non-Hispanic blacks (66%).

As a computer scientist, Smith suspected this racial bias and reached out to Adamson, hoping a Black dermatologist would have more diverse data sets. Though Adamson didn’t have what Smith was initially looking for, this realization ignited a personal mission to investigate and reduce disparities.

Now, Adamson uses the knowledge gained through his years of research to help advance the fight for health equity. To him, that means not only gaining a wider array of data sets, but also having more conversations with patients to understand how socioeconomic status impacts the level and efficiency of care.

“At the end of the day, what matters most is how we help patients at the patient level,” Adamson told Upworthy. “And how can you do that without knowing exactly what barriers they face?”

american cancer society, skin cacner treatment"What matters most is how we help patients at the patient level."https://www.kellydavidsonstudio.com/

The American Cancer Society believes everyone deserves a fair and just opportunity to prevent, find, treat, and survive cancer—regardless of how much money they make, the color of their skin, their sexual orientation, gender identity, their disability status, or where they live. Inclusive tools and resources on the Health Equity section of their website can be found here. For more information about skin cancer, visit cancer.org/skincancer.

The mesmerizing lost art of darning knit fabric.

For most of human history, people had to make their own clothing by hand, and sewing skills were subsequently passed down from generation to generation. Because clothing was so time-consuming and labor-intensive to make, people also had to know how to repair clothing items that got torn or damaged in some way.

The invention of sewing and knitting machines changed the way we acquire clothing, and the skills people used to possess have largely gone by the wayside. If we get a hole in a sock nowadays, we toss it and replace it. Most of us have no idea how to darn a sock or fix a hole in any knit fabric. It's far easier for us to replace than to repair.

But there are still some among us who do have the skills to repair clothing in a way that makes it look like the rip, tear or hole never happened, and to watch them do it is mesmerizing.

Keep ReadingShow less
Joy

Nurse turns inappropriate things men say in the delivery room into ‘inspirational’ art

"Can you move to the birthing ball so I can sleep in the bed?"

Holly the delivery nurse.

After working six years as a labor and delivery nurse Holly, 30, has heard a lot of inappropriate remarks made by men while their partners are in labor. “Sometimes the moms think it’s funny—and if they think it’s funny, then I’ll laugh with them,” Holly told TODAY Parents. “But if they get upset, I’ll try to be the buffer. I’ll change the subject.”

Some of the comments are so wrong that she did something creative with them by turning them into “inspirational” quotes and setting them to “A Thousand Miles” by Vanessa Carlton on TikTok.

“Some partners are hard to live up to!” she jokingly captioned the video.

Keep ReadingShow less