Sunday, April 7, 2013

Why Images of Color Matter: Building Self-Esteem in Brown Girls


Recently, New York mom Karen Greene Braithwaite was faced with the challenge of giving her young daughter a Barbie-themed birthday party. Karen had no problems with the guest list or deciding which treats to serve, her difficulties arose when she tried to find an African-American version of the brand's party supplies. Unable to find what was looking for, she started a petition asking Mattel to include images of color in their line of party goods (Barbie Petition).

When I posted a link to Karen's survey on the Facebook page for Brown Girl Collective, all of the response was positive, with one exception: One person felt that the petition was "stupid," since Barbie is "just a doll." As an African-American woman who grew up with dolls that looked like me and a one-time collector of Black dolls, I beg to differ. Just as it is important for young girls to see positive images of Black women in the media, it is equally important that they have "brown" images in the books that they read, the toys that they play with and the plates, cups and balloons that are displayed at their birthday parties.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Free Angela: The Story of an Icon

“It is both humiliating and humbling to discover that a single generation after the events that constructed me as a public personality, I am remembered as a hairdo.”
 – Angela Y. Davis

Coming to theaters this Friday, April 5th, the documentary film, Free Angela and Other Political Prisoners (in limited release), will provide a behind-the-scenes look at the events which earned Dr. Davis a permanent place in history. Though best known as the iconic sister with the fabulous Afro, raised fist and fierce attitude, educator and activist Angela Davis is a woman of many complexities that is revered by some and misunderstood by others.

Born in Birmingham, AL, and educated in many of the world’s most prestigious universities, young philosophy professor Angela Davis shook the world by becoming a member of the Communist Party, while teaching at the University of California. In a strange turn of events, she is implicated in the kidnapping and murder of a Marin County judge and several other citizens, in 1970. Wrongfully accused, Angela flees California, which promptly lands her on the FBI’s 10 Most Wanted List.

Labeled a fugitive, Professor Davis is captured in New York City and taken back to California, where she spends 18 months in prison. During her time behind bars, students and members of the community rally on her behalf, demanding that she be freed. Following a lengthy two-year court battle, she is acquitted of all charges in 1972.

A soul survivor, Dr. Davis continues to speak her mind and fight for the rights of others. Free Angela serves as introduction to a great woman and a reminder that freedom isn’t always free.

Free Angela and Other Political Prisoners will be in selected theaters in Washington, DC, New York City, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Oakland, Chicago, Detroit and Boston.

Black Bloggers Connect Presents: The "Free Angela" Blogging Contest With $1000 Grand Prize