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!

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Frito-Lay

Did you know one in five families are unable to provide everyday essentials and food for their children? This summer was also the hungriest on record with one in four children not knowing where their next meal will come from – an increase from one in seven children prior to the pandemic. The effects of COVID-19 continue to be felt around the country and many people struggle to secure basic needs. Unemployment is at an all-time high and an alarming number of families face food insecurity, not only from the increased financial burdens but also because many students and families rely on schools for school meal programs and other daily essentials.

This school year is unlike any other. Frito-Lay knew the critical need to ensure children have enough food and resources to succeed. The company quickly pivoted to expand its partnership with Feed the Children, a leading nonprofit focused on alleviating childhood hunger, to create the "Building the Future Together" program to provide shelf-stable food to supplement more than a quarter-million meals and distribute 500,000 pantry staples, school supplies, snacks, books, hand sanitizer, and personal care items to schools in underserved communities.

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via Haley McGuire / TikTok

About a quarter of people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are nonverbal, and while that number seems high, there's been sharp decline from a generation ago when the number was closer to half.

This positive shift is due to an increase in studies on ASD which have resulted in more effective therapeutic strategies.

Children with ASD are often nonverbal, but many go onto acquire language skills. Up to 70% of nonverbal children become fluent speakers or can use simple phrases.

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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


Biases, stereotypes, prejudices—these byproducts of the human brain's natural tendency to generalize and categorize have been a root cause of most of humanity's problems for, well, pretty much ever. None of us is immune to those tendencies, and since they can easily slip in unnoticed, we all have to be aware of where, when, and how they impact our own beliefs and actions.

It also helps when someone upends a stereotype by saying or doing something unexpected.

Fair or not, certain parts of the U.S. are associated with certain cultural assumptions, perhaps none more pinholed than the rural south. When we hear Appalachia, a certain stereotype probably pops up in our minds—probably white, probably not well educated, probably racist. Even if there is some basis to a stereotype, we must always remember that human beings can never be painted with such broad strokes.

Enter Tyler Childers, a rising country music star whose old-school country fiddling has endeared him to a broad audience, but his new album may have a different kind of reach. "Long Violent History" was released Friday, along with a video message to his white rural fans explaining the culminating track by the same name. Watch it here:

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Strangers helping out strangers is always a heartwarming thing. But when lots and lots of strangers come together to help one individual who needs and deserves a little hand up, we get a much-needed flood of warm, gushy best-of-humanity feelings.

Such is the case of an 89-year-old pizza delivery man, Derlin Newey, who happened to win the hearts of the Valdez family after he delivered them a pizza and struck up a conversation. Newey had no idea his friendly demeanor and obviously stellar work ethic would soon make him a TikTok star, nor did he expect an outpouring of donations from perfect strangers that relieve some of his burden.

Carlos Valdez shared the initial pizza delivery video, taken through the family's Nest doorbell, on TikTok about a week ago. "Hello, are you looking for some pizza?" Newey says when they answer the door, then chats with them for a while.


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