This week in black women: Shonda Rhimes delivers, Tiffany Haddish slays, and more.

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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On an old episode of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in July 1992, Oprah put her audience through a social experiment that puts racism in a new light. Despite being nearly two decades old, it's as relevant today as ever.

She split the audience members into two groups based on their eye color. Those with brown eyes were given preferential treatment by getting to cut the line and given refreshments while they waited to be seated. Those with blue eyes were made to put on a green collar and wait in a crowd for two hours.

Staff were instructed to be extra polite to brown-eyed people and to discriminate against blue-eyed people. Her guest for that day's show was diversity expert Jane Elliott, who helped set up the experiment and played along, explaining that brown-eyed people were smarter than blue-eyed people.

Watch the video to see how this experiment plays out.

Oprah's Social Experiment on Her Audience www.youtube.com

Culture
via Cadbury

Cadbury has removed the words from its Dairy Milk chocolate bars in the U.K. to draw attention to a serious issue, senior loneliness.

On September 4, Cadbury released the limited-edition candy bars in supermarkets and for every one sold, the candy giant will donate 30p (37 cents) to Age UK, an organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for the elderly.

Cadbury was prompted to help the organization after it was revealed that 225,000 elderly people in the UK often go an entire week without speaking to another person.

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Well Being

Young people today are facing what seems to be greater exposure to complex issues like mental health, bullying, and youth violence. As a result, teachers are required to be well-versed in far more than school curriculum to ensure students are prepared to face the world inside and outside of the classroom. Acting as more than teachers, but also mentors, counselors, and cheerleaders, they must be equipped with practical and relevant resources to help their students navigate some of the more complicated social issues – though access to such tools isn't always guaranteed.

Take Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, for example, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years, and as a teacher for seven. Entering the profession, she didn't anticipate how much influence a student's home life could affect her classroom, including "students who lived in foster homes" and "lacked parental support."

Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience, says it can be difficult to create engaging course work that's applicable to the challenges students face. "I think that sometimes, teachers don't know where to begin. Teachers are always looking for ways to make learning in their classrooms more relevant."

So what resources do teachers turn to in an increasingly fractured world? "Joining a professional learning network that supports and challenges thinking is one of the most impactful things that a teacher can do to support their own learning," Anglemyer says.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience.

A new program for teachers that offers this network along with other resources is the WE Teachers Program, an initiative developed by Walgreens in partnership with ME to WE and Mental Health America. WE Teachers provides tools and resources, at no cost to teachers, looking for guidance around the social issues related to poverty, youth violence, mental health, bullying, and diversity and inclusion. Through online modules and trainings as well as a digital community, these resources help them address the critical issues their students face.

Jessica Mauritzen, a high school Spanish teacher, credits a network of support for providing her with new opportunities to enrich the learning experience for her students. "This past year was a year of awakening for me and through support… I realized that I was able to teach in a way that built up our community, our school, and our students, and supported them to become young leaders," she says.

With the new WE Teachers program, teachers can learn to identify the tough issues affecting their students, secure the tools needed to address them in a supportive manner, and help students become more socially-conscious, compassionate, and engaged citizens.

It's a potentially life-saving experience for students, and in turn, "a great gift for teachers," says Dr. Sanderlin.

"I wish I had the WE Teachers program when I was a teacher because it provides the online training and resources teachers need to begin to grapple with these critical social issues that plague our students every day," she adds.

In addition to the WE Teachers curriculum, the program features a WE Teachers Award to honor educators who go above and beyond in their classrooms. At least 500 teachers will be recognized and each will receive a $500 Walgreens gift card, which is the average amount teachers spend out-of-pocket on supplies annually. Teachers can be nominated or apply themselves. To learn more about the awards and how to nominate an amazing teacher, or sign up for access to the teacher resources available through WE Teachers, visit walgreens.com/metowe.

WE Teachers
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via KGW-TV / YouTube

One of the major differences between women and men is that women are often judged based on their looks rather than their character or abilities.

"Men as well as women tend to establish the worth of individual women primarily by the way their body looks, research shows. We do not do this when we evaluate men," Naomi Ellemers Ph.D. wrote in Psychology Today.

Dr. Ellers believes that this tendency to judge a woman solely on her looks causes them to be seen as an object rather than a person.

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Culture