sexual assault

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by Tamara Williams

I remember being in 7th grade, and writing on the back of my folder all the things I was told by an older cousin I was “mixed” with. I had a desire to claim all I thought I was, but what was more interesting is that I wanted everyone to know. I had no idea where this desire came from, but I did know the idea of being part of something other than Black intrigued me. I was unaware that the need to denounce my Blackness had already been steeped in my unconscious by mainstream media.

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by Carolyn Strong

Black Girls Rock, Black Girls Run, Black Girl Nerds.

It seems that in this society Black girls can do a lot… except just be a Black Girl. With African-American women struggling to find out where they fit into our country’s narrative, we have so many descriptions of us floating around that it occasionally gets hard to keep up. But somehow the most basic way that we can describe ourselves is sometimes met with derision—from Blacks and non-Blacks alike.

by Brittany Dawson

Tiny Harris, former member of 90s R&B group Xscape, reality television star, and wife of Atlanta-based rapper T.I., sparked debate when she underwent plastic surgery to permanently change her eye color. Common talking points include low self-esteem; pandering to White, Eurocentric standards of beauty; and most importantly, internalized self-hatred/racism, a deeply wounding and problematic experience I know all too well.

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by Tsebiyah Mishael

Last week, the results of a “study” popped up online that concluded that “dumb people” listen to Beyoncé, and “smart people” listen to Radiohead. As a Beyoncé fan with a bachelor’s degree (that I worked my butt off and tired my brains out for), I was insulted before I even clicked on the headline. But when I did, I found it was more than insulting; it was downright racist and offensive. It is difficult not to notice that American software writer Virgil Griffith’s “super duper” scientific study—note the sarcasm—deemed music genres championed and supported by people of color and women as the music of “dumb people,” while music championed and supported by white males (Radiohead, Blink 182) was upheld as the music of the intelligent. Even jazz music got thrown under the bus, which frankly, is just laughable.

by Kesiena Boom

At the beginning of October, we published a list of 14 Incredible Web Series Created By and Featuring Black Women. Whilst all these shows are all brilliant and worthy of exposure, it was noted by our readers that none of them centered the experiences of Black lesbian, bisexual, and queer women. As For Harriet is about celebrating the fullness of Black womanhood, we took this critique to heart. Here are six amazing web series that created by and featuring queer Black women's stories.

by Nneka M. Okona

For Black women, talking about sex — let alone sexual and reproductive health — can be a slippery slope. Turn on the T.V., flip through magazines or scan through radio stations and you’re sure to be bombarded with images which hypersexualize Black women and Black womanhood, touting us as solely objects of male affection. On the other hand, take a glimpse into Black churches, institutions which have long been the heart and soul of our communities, and look closely at their teachings and theology. These teachings and theology share a longstanding history and commitment to patriarchy, pushing the path to purity and discouraging sexual identity, exploration and liberation.

by Kesiena Boom

At 16 years old, there were lots of things I was blissfully unaware of, but really could have done better with knowing. I wasn't getting these lessons at home or at school or via the media, and I most definitely suffered for it. I wish that I could go back through time and sit my younger self down and imprint a few things into her poor adolescent brain. In lieu of the ability to transcend time and space, here are the four top things I really needed someone to tell me. Disseminate this to the teenage girls around you and let them know their worth by imparting all the wisdom you can.

by Ariel Williams

Beyoncé got it right when she proclaimed that girls ran the world. The last couple of years have proved that those are indeed Black girls. From running successful adolescent businesses to being the youngest ever TV talk show host, our girls are changing the world with confidence and we’re delighted to highlight them today.

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by Ogechi Emechebe

Ebola. It’s a disease many of us didn’t know anything about until a few weeks ago, but now it is all we hear about from the time we wake up until we go to sleep. We see the news talking about it, people sharing tweets about how they’re scared to get it, and websites informing us on what it is exactly.

Photo Credit: Pat Dollard

by Gina Torres

During a recent interview on a Philadelphia radio show, Charles Barkley expressed the following sentiments: “For some reason we are brainwashed to think, if you’re not a thug or an idiot, you’re not black enough. If you go to school, make good grades, speak intelligent, and don’t break the law, you’re not a good black person. It’s a dirty, dark secret in the black community.”

by Michelle Jackson

At 25 years old, I am halfway through my twenties. I have come a long way from my 20-year-old self, when I mostly spent money on clothes, books, takeout, and expensive desserts while living in New York’s East Village. While I know that I am privileged, as my parents financially supported me through college and I still live at home, I have also had to learn to be fiscally responsible.

by Michelle Jackson

The highly anticipated and acclaimed film, “Dear White People,” had its national release this weekend. However, I was fortunate to see it a week early here in Los Angeles, during its limited release in select cities. Now that the film has had its major release, I feel like I can finally share my true feelings about “Dear White People.” I believe it to be an important film that everyone should see, especially those of us who care deeply about America’s race problem. However, it is not without its flaws.

by Diana Veiga

The other day, I went into a Black-owned neighborhood bar and restaurant to pick up some wings and fries. They were playing what seemed to be a documentary of local Black teen girls talking about growing up without their father. Yes, it’s that kind of slightly hood rich spot, but I love it.

by Adrienne Wallace

While there are a lot of people who advocate against racism, many people fail to address how it plays out in schools, affecting our students and their futures. A study by the Center for America Progress that came out in early October highlights some difficult but important truths that we must confront – that there are teachers in our public school system that act on racist beliefs and harm the educational outcomes of brown and black students. That’s a nice way of saying what most parents and students of color already know to be true: Some teachers perpetuate racism in their classrooms.

by Aprill Hawkins

To this day, there is nothing I love more than a good “The Cosby Show” marathon. I will cancel every plan I have to post up on my couch and watch the lives of the Huxtables unfold. Watching “The Cosby Show” is a wonderful experience of nostalgia, and who doesn’t love a trip down memory lane. But with the recent accusations of sexual assault against Bill Cosby, I’m not sure I will ever enjoy it like I once did.

by Jenn M. Jackson

“You think your piece of paper makes you better than me?” 

This is the question I can’t seem to escape, no matter the circumstance, interaction, or context. For others, my “piece of paper” often stands between me and activism. It labels me as an outsider and makes me an “other.” But why?

by Camonghne Felix

As a woman who spent most of her teen years becoming expertly familiar with the streets of New York City, I am no stranger to the spell of attractive older men. As a teenager who considered herself “ahead of my time” (ignore my adolescent narcissism), older men were often my kryptonite. They provided a kind of intellectual and social worldliness that I felt was missing from the boys my own age. While I was probably right about that difference in intellectual and social capital, what I did account for was the kind of emotional capital these older men had over me.

by Elise Viebeck

The second Dallas nurse diagnosed with Ebola appears to have beaten the virus while receiving care at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta.

The nurse, Amber Vinson, is "regaining strength" and health officials are "no longer able to detect virus in her body," her mother said in a statement.