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

This week, we shout out a pioneering mayor, a cool-as-a-cucumber newscaster, a legendary golfer, and more. Celebrate them! Follow them! Support them! Let's do this.

"Go off, sis": Rhodes Scholars

The Rhodes Scholarship is one of the most distinguished academic awards for university students. Just 32 young people are selected to receive the prestigious award each year, which covers expenses for two or three years of graduate study at Oxford University.


This year, 10 African-American students earned the honor, including six women: Simone Askew, Jasmine Brown, Camille Borders, Tania Fabo, Chelsea Jackson, and Thamara Jean.

[rebelmouse-image 19530920 dam="1" original_size="480x261" caption="GIF from Tracee Ellis Ross/YouTube." expand=1]GIF from Tracee Ellis Ross/YouTube.

"Taking care of business": LaToya Cantrell

In a landslide victory, Cantrell was elected the next mayor of New Orleans. She will be first woman mayor in the city's 300-year history.

This is not Mayor-Elect Cantrell, but it IS the appropriate response to hearing about a city's first female mayor. Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images.

"Y'all play too much": Rahel Solomon

Solomon is a newscaster in Philadelphia who is going viral this week after completing the "one-chip challenge" with her colleague on air.

The challenge involves eating a single, albeit dangerously spicy, Paqui brand chip. Solomon ate the chip and barely flinched. Her colleague, however? Not so much.

The highlight of the video is Solomon calmly asking, "Can we get a medic in here for Jim?"

"If you don't know, now you know": Ann Gregory

Every week, I ask you to send me links to stories or people I should highlight. Reader Mark S. let me know about one of his favorite women in history:

"Not sure if there is a time limit on your series on black women but I think Ann Gregory deserves a shout out."

He's right. Gregory is a trailblazing athlete who doesn't get nearly enough props.

Born in 1912, Ann Gregory (née Moore) was the first and one of the best black women to play golf. Gregory didn't pick up the game until she was in her 30s, but her storied amateur career spanned more than four decades.

She played in United Golf Association tournaments for black players, where she earned the unofficial title "The Queen of Negro Women's Golf." She was not only a dynamo on the course, but an active community volunteer, military wife, and mother. She competed well into her 70s, winning gold at the U.S. Senior Olympics in 1989. She passed away in February 1990.

Athletes like Gregory paved the way for other golfers of color, including Tiger Woods, whose club is shown here. Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images.

"Let the people know": Dee Rees

Dee Rees is the director behind the new film "Mudbound." The film follows two families — one black and one white — in the years immediately surrounding World War II.

In a recent interview with the Los Angeles Times, Rees revealed why focusing on stories from the Jim Crow era is vital.

"When a certain person says 'make America great again,' I think this period is the 'again' he’s referring to. And I’m trying to get behind this mythology of the 'greatest generation,' who we were, what we really did and what did it cost. The American educational system has a reductive, simplified view of history. But things didn’t end with [the abolishment of] slavery. This period is our link between our then and our now."

"Mudbound" is currently streaming on Netflix and in a handful of theaters. It's also generating some early Oscar buzz.

[rebelmouse-image 19530923 dam="1" original_size="750x500" caption="Director Dee Rees attends the MoMA's Contenders Screening of "Mudbound." Photo by Kris Connor/Getty Images for Museum of Modern Art, Department of Film." expand=1]Director Dee Rees attends the MoMA's Contenders Screening of "Mudbound." Photo by Kris Connor/Getty Images for Museum of Modern Art, Department of Film.

And of course, a bunch of happy tweets about Meghan Markle.

Prince Harry and actress Meghan Markle announced their engagement this week. Markle is biracial and American, so needless to say, my Twitter timeline was very excited.

Final thoughts: Common

I, for one, support this idea 100%.

Photo courtesy of Girls at Work

True

Girls are bombarded with messages from a very young age telling them that they can’t, that is too big, this is too heavy, those are too much.

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via Lewis Speaks Sr. / Facebook

This article originally appeared on 02.25.21


Middle school has to be the most insecure time in a person's life. Kids in their early teens are incredibly cruel and will make fun of each other for not having the right shoes, listening to the right music, or having the right hairstyle.

As if the social pressure wasn't enough, a child that age has to deal with the intensely awkward psychological and biological changes of puberty at the same time.

Jason Smith, the principal of Stonybrook Intermediate and Middle School in Warren Township, Indiana, had a young student sent to his office recently, and his ability to understand his feelings made all the difference.

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All images provided by Adewole Adamson

It begins with more inclusive conversations at a patient level

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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.

People share experiences with intrusive thoughts.

When I was younger I used to think I was dying or that I would get kidnapped by a random stranger, but I kept it to myself because I thought something was wrong with me. I thought that telling people would confirm this fear, so I kept it inside my entire life until I was an adult and learned it was part of ADHD and other disorders, such as OCD and PTSD. But it doesn't have to be part of a disorder at all—a vast amount of people just have intrusive thoughts, and a Twitter user, Laura Gastón, is trying to normalize them for others.

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Pop Culture

'90s kids share movies that will 'take you back to a better time'

It was a magical time when animals played sports and yet somehow things were just simpler.

YouTube/Upworthy photo illustration

Honey, I shrunk the kid named Matilda while jamming in space!

Everyone knows that '90s movies just hit different. From sports movies to rom-coms to even horror, there was an undeniable innocence, without being overly simplistic or juvenile. They didn’t have nearly the amount of money going into production as they do today, but somehow managed to transport us to magical places.

Movies of the '90s are so iconic that there have been several attempts to reboot beloved titles. Which, let’s face it, tends to be a fool's errand at a cash grab. These movies are so timeless that simply viewing the original is more than fine.

Not sure which movie to start with? You’re in luck—a Reddit user by the name of YouBrokeMyTV asked ’90s kids to share movies that took them “back to a better time,” and because the internet can be a wonderful place, tons of people responded with some beloved classics.

These answers certainly don’t make a definitive list (there are just so, so many gems) but they're a fun glimpse into what made '90s cinema so special. A nostalgic romp through memory lane, if you will.

Enjoy these 14 titles that just might leave you jonesing for a rewatch:

1. "Honey, I Shrunk the Kids"

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A perfect example of how '90s movies were silly, but smart at the same time. And oh so wholesome.

2. "The Sandlot"

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It taught us nothing about baseball, but everything about friendship, rooting for the underdog and (most important) how to make s’mores.

3. "Drop Dead Fred"

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Critics might have run this cult classic through the mud during its inception, but audiences fell in love with the bizarre charm of this story about a mischievous little girl and her anarchist imaginary friend. So take that, snotfaces!

4. "The Goonies"

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Everyone just wanted to set off an epic quest with their friends for pirate treasure after seeing this movie.

5. Tim Burton's "Batman"

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Before the superhero genre was the behemoth it is today, a quirky director and the dude who was best known for playing the creepy demon in "Beetlejuice" breathed new life into comic-book movies. Marvel might be the leader on creating stories with adult themes that are digestible for kids nowadays, but this DC film was the first of its kind. Plus, that soundtrack … forget about it.

6. "Hook"

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Pretty much any '90s film starring Robin Williams was an absolute gem, but this one in particular is timeless. His gift of balancing childlike humor with emotional gravitas lent itself so well to playing the now grown and cynical Peter Pan, who must learn to reclaim his joy (relatable, millennials?). It was a bang-a-rang-er, no question.

7. "Space Jam"

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It had Looney Tunes, it had aliens and it had Michael Jordan. That’s a winning combination.

8. "Matilda"

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I don’t think I’m out of line when I say that this movie helped a lot of kids make their way through difficult childhoods.

9. "The Parent Trap"

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Even '90s reboots were awesome. And how fun it is to see that Lisa Ann Walker—the actress who played Chessy the housekeeper—is not only yet again gracing the screens in NBC’s “Abbott Elementary,” but is also being revered as a style icon on TikTok for her ultra casual looks in the film. We all knew she was onto something with long button downs and shorts.

10. "The Land Before Time"

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No cartoon, not even “The Lion King,” was a better depiction of childhood grief. And yet, despite encapsulating tragedy, director Don Bluth still left viewers hopeful. The subsequent 14 (yes 14) sequels definitely pale in comparison to the original, but "The Land Before Time" continues to stand the test of time nonetheless.

11. "Richie Rich"

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The scene where they play tag on four-wheelers is simply iconic.

12. "Dunston Checks In"

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Man, the '90s were the golden age of animal-centered films. And not just monkeys either—we got sports playing golden retrievers and not one, but two movies starring talking pigs. What a time to be alive. These films were made before CGI had reached the levels it’s at today, and the authentic interactions between humans and creatures reached right through the screen.

13. "George of the Jungle"
george of the jungle, brendan faser

Watch out for the tree!!!

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Have I seen this movie at least 20 times? Probably. It doesn’t get any better than this in terms of silly action films with bird puppets. It’s crazy to think that this role would eventually lead Brendan Fraser to "The Mummy" franchise, turning him into a household name. Though his career has had some tragic ups and downs, we are all grateful for the glorious comeback he’s been having.

14. Anything involving Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen
mary kate and ashley

Yes, they were professional detectives.

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Whether vacationing in London, Paris or Rome, whether playing magical witches or making a huge billboard so their father could find love … Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen offered zany, whimsical entertainment while wearing fun outfits. Sometimes, that’s all you need.