This is the eighth 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 some of Hollywood's best and brightest, a few new elected officials, a family you need to know about, and more. Remember these women! Pay these women! Follow these women! Let's do this.

GIF via Reserve Channel/YouTube.


"Taking care of business": Adrienne Nelson, Tamaya Dennard, and Nikuyah Walker

With the new year comes new elected officials. Here are three to celebrate this week:

1. Judge Adrienne Nelson was selected by Oregon Gov. Kate Brown to serve on the Oregon Supreme Court. She's only the second woman of color to serve on the state's supreme court, and the first African-American to serve on an appellate court.

2. In her campaign for Cincinnati City Council, Tamaya Dennard often shared the Shirley Chisholm quote, "If they don't give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair." After carrying around the chair for much of her successful campaign, Dennard brought the folding chair with her while she was sworn in. Yes, ma'am!  

3. The city council of Charlottesville, Virginia (yes, that Charlottesville) just selected Nikuyah Walker to be the city's next mayor. (The city has a council-manager style of government, where the city council picks the mayor instead of a traditional vote.) In this role, Walker, an Independent, will be in charge of Charlottesville's city council. She is the first black woman to hold the position.

"Go off, sis!": Tiffany Haddish

The well-deserved rise of Tiffany Haddish continues in 2018. The comedic actress picked up the Best Supporting Actress honor at the New York Film Critics Circle Awards. Haddish delivered an honest, genuine, side-splittingly funny, 20-minute acceptance speech worth watching in its entirety, especially for gems like this.

"Stop holding your truth. Speak your truth. Be yourself! It's the healthiest way to be. Be who you are. Speak who you are. If don't nobody like it? Fuck it, there's 10 other people that do."

Here’s a (lousily shot) video of Tiffany Haddish’s epic, world-beating best supporting actress acceptance speech at tonight’s New York Film Critics Circle (NYFCC) Awards

Posted by Alison Willmore on Wednesday, January 3, 2018

"Who run the world?": the women of Essence magazine

After being bought by Richelieu Dennis from Time Inc., Essence, a lifestyle magazine for black women and popular music festival, is once-again black-owned. And the executive leadership team, which is entirely black women, will have an ownership stake in the new venture. Secure the bag, ladies.  

Essence magazine's editor-in-chief Vanessa K. De Luca and president of Essence Communications Michelle Ebanks, seen here at the Essence Black Women in Hollywood Awards. Photo by Earl Gibson III/Getty Images for Essence.

"Yessssssssssss": A TGIT crossover we can get behind

What's better than two popular primetime dramas led by black actresses and created under the umbrella company of a black woman? A CROSSOVER EVENT THAT BRINGS THEM TOGETHER! The worlds of "How to Get Away with Murder" and "Scandal" will collide in an evening of black girl magic. I am already salivating at the monologues alone. How lucky are we to be alive at the same time as Shonda Rhimes?

Viola Davis (L) and Kerry Washington at the 2015 Summer TCA Tour. Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images.

"We won't forget": the Myers-Mells Family

Shanta Myers, 36, her partner Brandi Mells, 22, and two of Myers' children, Shanise Myers, 5, and Jeremiah Myers, 11, were found brutally murdered in their basement apartment Dec. 27, in Troy, New York. Two men were arrested in connection with their deaths. The story barely made a ripple in the national news.

Maybe it was the holidays. Perhaps it was because the family was black or because they were a loving same-sex couple. Maybe a combination of the three. But here, we will celebrate their lives and follow the case as perpetrators are brought to justice.

Final thought: @paulaakpan

All facts, 2018.

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For months, government officials, school administrators, teachers and parents have debated the best and safest way to handle educating kids during the global coronavirus pandemic. While some other countries have been able to resume schooling relatively well with safety measures in place, outbreaks in the U.S. are too uncontrolled to safely get kids back in the classroom.

But that hasn't stopped some school districts from reopening schools in person anyway.

Photos have emerged from the first day of school at two districts in Georgia that have people scratching their heads and posing obvious questions like "Um, they know we're in a pandemic, right?"

One photo shows high school students crowded in a hallway in Paulding County, Georgia. Of the dozens of students pictured, the number wearing masks can be counted on one hand. It's like looking straight into a petri dish.

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As you sit down to eat your breakfast in the morning or grab an afternoon snack, take a minute to consider your food, how it was made, and how it got to your plate.

The fruit on your plate were grown and picked on farms, then processed, packaged and sent to the grocery store where you bought them.

Sounds simple, right?

The truth is, that process is anything but simple and at every step in the journey to your plate, harm can be caused to the people who grow it, the communities that need it, and the planet we all call home.

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I saw this poster today and I was going to just let it go, but then I kept feeling tugged to say something.

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While that sounds awful, it's important to know that trafficking children in the US is not all of that. I can't say it never is—I don't know. What I do know is most young trafficked children aren't sitting in a basement tied up. They have families, and someone—usually in their family—is trafficking them.

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When people think of the Deep South, especially in states like Mississippi, most people don't imagine a diverse and accepting way of life. People always look at me as if I've suddenly sprouted a unicorn horn when I reminisce on my time living in Biloxi and the eclectic people I've met there, many of whom I call friends. I often find myself explaining that there are two distinct Mississippis—the closer you get to the water, the more liberal it gets. If you were to look at an election map, you'd see that the coast is pretty deeply purple while the rest of the state is fire engine red.

It's also important to note that in a way, I remember my time in Biloxi from a place of privilege that some of my friends do not possess. It may be strange to think of privilege when it comes from a Black woman in an interracial marriage, but being cisgendered is a privilege that I am afforded through no doing of my own. I became acutely aware of this privilege when my friend who happens to be a transgender man announced that he was expecting a child with his partner. I immediately felt a duty to protect, which in a perfect world would not have been my first reaction.

It was in that moment that I realized that I was viewing the world through my lens as a cisgendered woman who is outwardly in a heteronormative relationship. I have discovered that through writing, you can change the narrative people perceive, so I thought it would be a good idea to sit down with my friend—not only to check in with his feelings, but to aid in dissolving the "otherness" that people place upon transgender people.

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