This week in black women: We won big at the polls and fixed McDonald's ice cream problem.

We mourned, again. We voted, again. And black women had another week of breaking barriers and doing the most in the best way.

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

With elections across the country, this week was a big one. I've got shoutouts for a noteworthy artist, innovative entrepreneurs, and the black women politicians getting it done at the state and local level. Let's get to it.


"Taking care of business": the new elected officials

Black women across the country cleaned up on election night. Vi Lyles became the first African-American woman to be voted mayor-elect of Charlotte, North Carolina. By six votes, Mary Parham-Copelan became the new mayor of Milledgeville, Georgia. Yvonne Spicer became the first mayor of the new city of Framingham, Massachusetts. The Boston City Council welcomed two new black women to their ranks. Andrea Jenkins earned a spot on the Minneapolis City Council, becoming the first out transgender black woman elected to office in the U.S. (Just hours later, she was joined on the council by Phillipe Cunningham, also a transgender person of color. Go 'head, Minneapolis.)

Black women are out here leading the way and making things happen at every level.

Andrea Jenkins, center, celebrates her city council win. Image by Carlos Gonzalez/Associated Press.

"Go off, sis": Lena Waithe and Gabrielle McCormick

  • Lena Waithe — star and writer of Netflix's "Master of None" — became the first black woman to earn an Emmy for comedy writing earlier this year, rallying her LGBTQ family in her passionate acceptance speech. This week, as part of the Out 100 (Out magazine's annual list of LGBTQ movers and shakers), Waithe was selected as Artist of the Year. She will grace one of four covers of the magazine, along with Chelsea Manning (Newsmaker of the Year), Jonathan Groff (Entertainer of the Year), and Shayne Oliver (Stylemaker of the Year).

Image by Rob Kim/Getty Images for Museum of Modern Art, Department of Film.

  • Gabrielle McCormick thought her athletic prowess would pay for college, but after suffering an injury in high school she had to get creative. By canvassing lesser-known and more creative awards, like the $1,000 she received from her high school cafeteria, McCormick went on to earn more than $150,000 in different scholarships. Now 28, she's working on a doctorate — her third degree — and will graduate without any debt. She also launched Scholarship Informer, a small business to help parents and students find scholarships and avoid crushing debt.

"We've got your back": Demetria Obilor

A frequent viewer of Dallas' ABC affiliate WFAA posted to the station's Facebook page that reporter Demetria Obilor looked "ridiculous," body-shaming the young journalist for having curves and vowing to never watch the station again. Fans and strangers jumped to Obilor's defense, pushing back against the need to police or shame Obilor for the way she looks. The reporter even made a video thanking everyone for their support. Right on, Demetria. You do you.

"You the real MVP": Raina McLeod

Ever pulled into a McDonald's drive-thru for an ice cream cone only to discover the machines are down? It happens a lot. Like seriously, a lot. So Raina McLeod designed Ice Check, an app that uses crowdsourced information to inform you whether the local machine in your area is operational. The app launched this spring but is receiving national buzz this week thanks to shoutouts in BET and BuzzFeed. This is the future we've been waiting for. Thank you, Raina.

Soooo excited to have my app @ice.check featured on NBC6✨✨🍦

A post shared by R.A.I.N.A. (@oohraina) on

Final Thoughts: @onlineva

Eva told some of the women of Spelman College they're beautiful. These young women warm my heart.

I'll be back next week with more women to celebrate and support. If you know a black woman I should feature, send me some links!

Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash

Last year, we shared the sad impact that plastic pollution has had on some of our planet's most beautiful places. With recycling not turning out to be the savior it was made out to be, solutions to our growing plastic problem can seem distant and complex.

We have seen some glimmers of hope from both human innovation and nature itself, however. In 2016, a bacteria that evolved with the ability to break down plastic was discovered in a Japanese waste site. Two years later, scientists managed to engineer the mutant plastic-eating enzyme they called PETase—named for polyethylene terephthalate, the most common plastic found in bottles and food packaging—in a lab.

Here's an explainer of how those enzymes work:

Ending Plastic Pollution with Designer Bacteria youtu.be

Now researchers have revealed another game-changer in the plastic-eater—a super-enzyme that can break down plastic six times faster than PETase alone.

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$200 billion of COVID-19 recovery funding is being used to bail out fossil fuel companies. These mayors are combatting this and instead investing in green jobs and a just recovery.

Learn more on how cities are taking action: c40.org/divest-invest


Former CBS News anchor Dan Rather has become a beloved voice of reason, knowledge, and experience for many Americans on social media the past few years. At 88, Rather has seen more than most of us, and as a journalist, he's had a front row seat as modern history has played out. He combines that lifetime of experience and perspective with an eloquence that hearkens to a time when eloquence mattered, he called us to our common American ideals with his book "What Unites Us," and he comforts many of is with his repeated message to stay "steady" through the turmoil the U.S. has been experiencing.

All of that is to say, when Dan Rather sounds the alarm, you know we've reached a critical historical moment.

Yesterday, President Trump again refused to commit to a peaceful transfer of power after the election when directly asked if he would—yet another democratic norm being toppled. Afterward, Rather posted the following words of wisdom—and warning—to his nearly three million Facebook fans:


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via DanielandDavid2 / Instagram

Editor's Note: We used "black" in lowercase for our headline and the body of this story in accordance with emerging guidelines from the Associated Press and other trusted news outlets who are using uppercase "Black" in reference to American descendants of the diaspora of individuals forcibly brought from Africa as slaves. As part of our ongoing efforts to be transparent and communicate choices with our readership, we've included this note for clarity. The original story begins below.

On February 26, 2019, Stacy and Babajide Omirin of Lagos, Nigeria got quite the shock. When Stacy delivered identical twins through C-section one came out black and the other, white.

The parents knew they were having identical twins and expected them to look exactly the same. But one has a white-looking complexion and golden, wavy hair.

"It was a massive surprise," Stacy told The Daily Mail. "Daniel came first, and then the nurse said the second baby has golden hair. I thought how can this be possible. I looked down and saw David, he was completely white."

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