Discover more from The Wakeful by Patrice Peck
Coco Gauff's victorious week, police shooting of Ta’Kiya Young, LA hospital centers Black moms
Plus, Rep. Barbara Lee speaks out against governor's "caretaker" plan, Black tech founders on media tokenism, the criticism of musicians past and present, and how Black women dominated the summer.
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The 19th, Errin Haines
“We have just witnessed the Summer of the Black Woman.
Beyoncé, Simone Biles, Sha’Carri Richardson and Coco Gauff headlined a season of history-making success shared and celebrated by Black women at concerts, on the court, the mat, the track and on social media. Our collective joy and agency were acts of resistance amid a hostile social and political climate, a triumph over the trauma that has long defined Black women’s existence in America.
The phenomenon wasn’t limited to culture. Vice President Kamala Harris appeared to hit her stride after her own tour of sorts, which her office called the ‘Summer of Action.’ Along the way, she forcefully went on offense against Republican attacks on reproductive and voting rights and book and history bans, making the case for a second term.
Black women have always had to be resilient, resourceful, exceptional. But this summer’s renaissance was not limited to a concert tour; it was the rebirth of Black women in our politics and culture. It’s an energy they could channel as we head into a consequential presidential election, unbound by old, fixed ideas about their race and gender.”
The 19th, Daja E. Henry (h/t What I’m Reading)
“Ta’Kiya was behind the wheel of her car in a Kroger parking lot when two officers approached her, saying that she had been accused of stealing bottles of alcohol from the store, according to body camera footage. One commanded her from the driver’s side window to get out of the car, and the other stepped in front of her car and drew his gun. She maintained that she did not steal anything, and that she would not get out of the car. She turned her steering wheel away from the officers and started to move forward, bumping the officer who stood in front of her car.
‘Are you going to shoot me?’ were among the last words she was recorded saying by the officers’ body camera footage before the single shot rang out.
Brian Steel, executive vice president of the Fraternal Order of Police Capital City Lodge #9, said Ta’Kiya “tried to run down a fellow human being,” and that he could understand why the shooting “could be justified,” in news conferences last week.”
Los Angeles Times, Emily Alpert Reyes
“Since it opened its doors eight years ago, the South Los Angeles-area hospital has relied on certified nurse midwives like Sojobi — nurses with graduate-level training in pregnancy and childbirth — working together with obstetricians to manage labors. Midwifery proponents point to evidence that such births are associated with fewer C-sections and preterm births. But as of 2021, only about 10% of hospital births in the U.S. were attended by midwives, according to the National Center for Health Statistics.
At MLK, a certified nurse midwife is routinely at the hospital to guide normal labors, collaborating with an obstetrician who is on site to handle patients who are at high risk or face medical complications during their delivery. Hospital officials said they are trying to give South L.A. patients the best of both worlds: the support of a trained and empathetic nurse midwife and the emergency capabilities of an obstetrician if something goes wrong.”
ESPN, Anthony Gharib
The 19-year-old American won the US Open on Saturday, her first ever Grand Slam victory. She became the youngest American to win a major tournament since Serena Williams won the US Open in 1999 at 17.
From a phone call with President Joe Biden to another primetime showing in New York, here's a look inside Gauff's whirlwind week since becoming champ.
The Washington Post, Maegan Vazquez
“Amid questions about the health of Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) outlined a plan to appoint a caretaker to fill her seat if she leaves office before her term ends — a notion that one of the candidates running to succeed Feinstein promptly blasted as ‘insulting to countless Black women.’
The assessment from Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), the only prominent Black candidate in the 2024 Senate race, came hours after Newsom appeared Sunday on NBC’s ‘Meet the Press,’ where he renewed a pledge to fill any Senate vacancy with a Black woman — but said it wouldn’t be Lee.”
Distractify, Tatayana Yomary (h/t What I’m Reading)
“In a Sept. 4, 2023, TikTok video, creator Black Mr. Rodgers (@raisedonrice) shared a shocking video of a woman in Houston who was assaulted by a random man after she didn't give him her number.
‘Wow! This is what we are doing out here now?’ the video caption reads.
As the video starts, the woman shares that a man hit her in the face with a brick and the men in the background did nothing to help her.
‘All these Black men just watched and they don’t give a f---,’ the woman said. ‘This man grabbed a rock and hit my f------ face because I wouldn’t give him my number.’
Interestingly, the men in the background asked the woman what she wanted them to do as she showed large swelling on the side of her face.
‘What do I want y’all to do? I want y’all to be a man and f------ do something,’ the woman said.”
Inc., Alyssa Khan
“Smith explains that ‘flashy headlines’ about her company's funding tend to overshadow both how she is putting that money to use in her business and her company's mission. But as she sees it, there is another, even more problematic issue at play: racial bias.
Smith says that many Black founders are only ever covered for the sake of diversity — only if, for example, they have overcome a racial funding gap — which excludes them from larger conversations about their industries and impact. ‘That kind of tokenization of folks who've been able to break, gain access, opportunity, start companies, and get capital is a detriment not only to their teams and their businesses, but also to society,’ Smith says.
Smith says she is not the only founder of color who feels tokenized by funding-focused coverage. ‘I have peers who don't want to take those interviews,’ she says. “
HuffPost, Philip Lewis
“The specific criticism is that she is too sexy — that she’s purposely oversexualizing herself — in performances and on social media. The public scrutiny reached a critical mass around the release of her debut album, ‘In Pieces,’ and her performance in the Prime Video series ‘Swarm,’ in which she had a steamy sex scene with Damson Idris. More recently, Funky Dineva, a 40-year-old gossip blogger, apologized after an unprompted attack on Bailey’s looks.
Much of that unsolicited commentary is regrettably par the course as a high-profile Black woman embracing her sexuality on social media. Bailey is not immune to the haters but is more focused on reaching her goals.
‘I definitely see the criticism,’ Bailey told HuffPost.”
HuffPost, Candice Frederick
“Whatever we’re supposed to glean from that subplot doesn’t register on screen any more than it does on the page. It’s also just not necessary. The evolving relationships in this story, and the motivations animating them, are what make it interesting.
On the positive side, the multiple eras in the series are much more cleanly executed than in the book, and grow more relevant as the story goes on. (Pay attention to the year stamps and, as always, the hair.) They paint a pattern of this specific Black professional dynamic across decades, and help bring the themes of the story further into focus.
While Harris’ novel remains a must-read, if only so you can be taken on its wild journey, the Reddout- and Hickey-led series has terrifically haunting bookends that cradle the narrative.”
Teen Vogue, Gennette Cordova (h/t What I’m Reading)
“‘She was one of the highest-paid Black entertainers in show business at the time.’
In the face of extreme bigotry, and with everything to lose, Scott took a stand, including her refusal to play segregated shows. The jazz virtuoso was heavily influenced by her mother, Alma, says Chilton, from her piano playing to her political consciousness. Though Scott’s father eventually became estranged from his family, he also took her to political rallies at Marcus Garvey's Liberty Hall, in Harlem, and he ‘firmly believed in the upliftment of the Black race.’
In the late 1940s, as the Cold War ramped up, Scott, like many politically outspoken Black artists during that time period, was targeted by the US government and labeled a communist sympathizer.”
NPR, Daniel Estrin
“Look at the covers of the albums of the girl groups. Many of them don't feature a picture of the group because it made it more marketable to a national market. The women of the girl groups would often show up to these concerts in the South with people who didn't even know they were Black.
The Crystals showed up once to a show in the South, and people didn't know that they were a Black group. They didn't allow them to perform, and they didn't have anywhere to stay. They ended up sleeping in the lobby of the venue.”
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