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Indictments fell like leaves. Baseball finally ended. And black women had another week of being intelligent, talented, innovative, and fearless.

This is the second 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 shoutout a Hollywood hotshot, a writer making big moves, children inspiring millions from their classroom, and a judge doing work. Celebrate them! Follow them! Support them! Let's go!


"Go off, sis": Luvvie Ajayi

The best-selling author and blogger was the opening speaker for the TEDWomen conference in New Orleans. Through presentations, discussions, and other events, the annual three-day conference centers women and girls as the innovators, change agents, and creators they are. Not 24 hours later, Ajayi was in New York City delivering the keynote address at The 3% Conference, a movement and event created to address the lack of women creative directors in advertising (only 3% when the effort began).

‌Photo by John Sciulli/Getty Images for Adcolor. ‌

"Take care of business": U.S. Magistrate Judge Deborah A. Robinson

Presiding over the preliminary portion of Paul Manafort and Rick Gates' indictments was none other than Deborah A. Robinson, a jurist with nearly 30 years of experience behind the bench. As a judge in the district, Robinson is no stranger to high-profile defendants, hearing cases involving NBA star Allen Iverson; former Washington, D.C., mayor Marion Barry; and George W. Bush's White House aide, Lewis "Scooter" Libby. Prior to her work as a judge, Robinson served as an assistant U.S. prosecuting attorney. Robinson will now hand the case over to U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson.

Images by Dana Verkouteren/AP and Charles Dharapak/AP Photo.

"If you don't know, now you know": Christy Coleman

It's 2017, and folks are still attempting to rewrite Civil War history. If you're looking for a place to brush up on your facts, visit Christy Coleman, CEO of the American Civil War Museum in Richmond, Virginia. The innovative space examines the Civil War from the Confederate, Union, and black perspectives.

Coleman is one of the few black women to lead a Civil War museum and told NBC News this summer, "My job is to lay out stories you may not have considered or heard before and provide an environment where people can learn and explore. And that’s what I do and I do that fairly well."

"Yes, young queens": the sixth-grade MCs at Milwaukee Excellence Charter School

I wrote about Milwaukee Excellence last year after seeing their passionate principal rap about homework. The school and students are going viral again, this time with their empowering student-lead rap "Excellence First" about staying focused and goal-oriented. It was written by their teacher, Terrance Sims, set to the beat from Tee Grizzley's "First Day Out," and tweaked with help from his sixth-grade class.  He held mini tryouts to see who would perform for the video, and these talented tweens rose to the top.

Come for the positive message, stay for two sixth-grade girls spitting 🔥 bars about MBAs and doctorates. The video has more than 86,000 views on Instagram and even landed the students on "Good Morning America."

"Let the people know": Angela Robinson

Last week, I asked you to send me links if you knew of any awesome black women doing amazing things. Molly M. sent me this delightful note:

"I wanted to reach out and propose my best friend Angela Robinson who just wrote and directed the major movie, 'Professor Marston and The Wonder Women.' An awesome woman with major accomplishments to write about, too!"

Robinson has some amazing Hollywood bonafides to her name, working as a writer, director, and producer on shows like "True Blood," "How To Get Away With Murder," and "The L Word." Her latest project, "Professor Marston and the Wonder Women," tells the surprising true story of William Moulton Marston, the psychologist who created Wonder Woman, and the polyamorous relationship he had with his wife and mistress. The complex love story opened Oct. 13 and is Certified Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.

Hats off to Robinson — a gay, black woman getting it done and finding success in an industry long dominated by white men. (And kudos to Molly for letting people know about her fabulous friend.)

Angela Robinson attends the Professor Marston and the Wonder Women panel  in New York City. Photo by Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images.

Final thoughts: Ziwe

Disney just announced the full cast of the live-action "Lion King," and Beyoncé will take the throne as Nala.  

Where's the lie?

10/10. The Mayyas dance.

We can almost always expect to see amazing acts and rare skills on “America’s Got Talent.” But sometimes, we get even more than that.

The Mayyas, a Lebanese women’s dance troupe whose name means “proud walk of a lioness,” delivered a performance so mesmerizing that judge Simon Cowell called it the “best dance act” the show has ever seen, winning them an almost instant golden buzzer.

Perhaps this victory comes as no surprise, considering that the Mayyas had previously won “Arab’s Got Talent” in 2019 and competed on “Britain’s Got Talent: The Champions.” But truly, it’s what motivates them to take to the stage that’s remarkable.

“Lebanon is a very beautiful country, but we live a daily struggle," one of the dancers said to the judges just moments before their audition. Another explained, “being a dancer as a female Arab is not fully supported yet.”

Nadim Cherfan, the team’s choreographer, added that “Lebanon is not considered a place where you can build a career out of dancing, so it’s really hard, and harder for women.”

Still, Cherfan shared that it was a previous “AGT” star who inspired the Mayyas to defy the odds and audition anyway. Nightbirde, a breakout singer who also earned a golden buzzer before tragically passing away in February 2021 due to cancer, had told the audience, “You can't wait until life isn't hard anymore before you decide to be happy.” The dance team took the advice to heart.

For the Mayyas, coming onto the “AGT” stage became more than an audition opportunity. Getting emotional, one of the dancers declared that it was “our only chance to prove to the world what Arab women can do, the art we can create, the fights we fight.”

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Goodbye. Maureen. Your "favorite child" will miss you.

What makes a good obituary? First, it should probably reflect the essence of the recently deceased person in an authentic, honest light. Second, it should feel personal, showing how that person’s life affected the lives of others. Then, of course, the right dash of humor can certainly help spark joy in an otherwise solemn moment.

New York Times journalist Caity Weaver achieved all those things masterfully in a eulogy written for her mother—the coupon-clipping, chronically late, green-thumbed Dr. Maureen Brennan-Weaver.

Caity clearly put her knack with words to good use, because her hilarious tribute quickly went viral on Twitter, leaving people not only with a good giggle, but a very precise picture of her mom.
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Hold on, Frankie! Mama's coming!

How do you explain motherhood in a nutshell? Thanks to Cait Oakley, who stopped a preying bald eagle from capturing her pet goose as she breastfed her daughter, we have it summed up in one gloriously hilarious TikTok.

The now viral video shows the family’s pet goose, Frankie, frantically squawking as it gets dragged off the porch by a bald eagle—likely another mom taking care of her own kiddos.

Wearing nothing but her husband’s boxers while holding on to her newborn, Willow, Oakley dashes out of the house and successfully comes to Frankie's rescue while yelling “hey, hey hey!”

The video’s caption revealed that the Oakleys had already lost three chickens due to hungry birds of prey, so nothing was going to stop “Mama bear” from protecting “sweet Frankie.” Not even a breastfeeding session.

Oakley told TODAY Parents, “It was just a split second reaction ...There was nowhere to put Willow down at that point.” Sometimes being a mom means feeding your child and saving your pet all at the same time.

As for how she feels about running around topless in her underwear on camera, Oakley declared, “I could have been naked and I’m like, ‘whatever, I’m feeding my baby.’”

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