The Warrior Women Of Wakanda Are The Heroines We Need

There are many things to love about the movie Black Panther but one reason this film is so revolutionary is it's female characters. Lupita Nyong'o plays a humanitarian spy, Letitia Wright is a technical wizard and Danai Gurira kicks butt as a ferocious warrior. These powerful, talented black women aren't just there in of service of the men, to play the girlfriend or serve as the moral conscience of the male lead. Their roles are highly independent as well as being integral to the plot. The characters they play are strong and capable, and respected for their skill and intellect. They’re proud and opinionated black women revered for their wit, prowess and sportsmanship.

Compare this to recent statistics. Women make up just a third of speaking roles in movies and 76% of all female characters are white. We are rarely central to the plot and non white characters are often written as racial stereotypes. A Geena Davis study found that 80% of movie characters with STEM jobs were male.

Movies such as Women Woman, Girls Trip, Hidden Figures and now Black Panther are disproving outdated theories of what audiences want to see. The myth of the fanboy is over. Male directors take note.

Danai Gurira, Lupita Nyong’o  

Danai Gurira, Lupita Nyong’o  

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Lupita Nyong’o, Letitia Wright

How To Raise a Feminist Son

We are desperately trying to right the wrongs of the past but for those of us with young sons, there’s an opportunity and indeed a responsibility to ensure we're raising a generation that knows better. These ideas are from a great New York Times article along similar lines.


Teach him that he has a full range of emotions not just angry but - I’m scared, my feelings are hurt or, I need help.

Put good men in the space of your son. Give him strong female role models, too

Allow him to follow his interests, traditional or not

Teach him to cook, clean and look after himself

Teach him to take care of others

Encourage friendships with girls

Teach respect and consent

Expect more. ‘Boys will be boys’ is not an excuse for bad behavior. 

Never use ‘like a girl’ as an insult

Read a lot, including about girls and women

Celebrate boyhood

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Stacey Abrams is poised to make history

It was such an honor to co-host this event for the amazing Stacey Abrams. As the leading candidate for Governor of Georgia, she is set to make history as America’s first ever black female governor. Meeting her reminded me of Oprah Winfrey's recent Golden Globes speech where she referenced all the little black girls watching who'd be uplifted by her success. Well Stacey Abrams will do the same for a whole new generation of girls who will believe that one day, they too could be in positions of power. Learn more about Stacey and donate to her campaign here.

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Protect Roe v Wade

1973. Today marks the 45th anniversary of Roe v Wade, the landmark Supreme Court decision protecting a woman’s right to choose.  This right continues to be threatened by the current administration and we must defend the ability of all women to have access to quality, affordable reproductive health services. 

At the Women's March this weekend, I wore this t-shirt, a collaboration between Kulestripes and Prinkshop to signal my reliance as a mother, on the ability to control when and how I have children.  All proceeds to the National Institute for Reproductive Health.

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Intersectional Feminism And The Women's March

At last night’s panel for the launch of the new Women's March book, Together We Rise: Behind the Scenes at the Protest Heard Around the World, former Teen Vogue Editor in Chief Elaine Welteroth said something that really resonated. That when Philando Castile was killed she felt isolated in her grief when she went to work the next day. I would like to think that the Women’s March changed that. That people and the conversation have evolved.

The march was a pivotal moment for so many. For some it was their first introduction to activism, for others it was a wake up call. For those already doing the work, it brought welcome new awareness and attention to their movements. But what I’m grateful for is that it drove home the true value and need for intersectional feminism. As co-chair Linda Sarsour put it during the panel discussion: “It wasn’t about this narrow white liberal feminist lens of what women’s issues are. We dictated what women’s issues are - they include immigration, gun violence against people of color, the environment, poverty. To quote Audre Lorde, ‘There is no such thing as a single issue struggle because we don’t live single issue lives.”

The book is filled with photographs and essays that demonstrate the breadth and impact of the march and the influence it had on all of our lives. It is dedicated to the "women, documented and undocumented: the daughters, the mothers, the caregivers, the workers, the trans warriors, the witches, the artists, the refugees, the leaders.  Buy a copy!

Elaine Welteroth, Cassady Finlay, Sarah Sophie Flicker, Paola Mendoza, Linda Sarsour, Carmen Perez

Elaine Welteroth, Cassady Finlay, Sarah Sophie Flicker, Paola Mendoza, Linda Sarsour, Carmen Perez

Cassady Finlay,  Linda Sarsour, Elaine Welteroth, Cleo Wade, Sarah Sophie Flicker, Paola Mendoza, Cindy Leive

Cassady Finlay,  Linda Sarsour, Elaine Welteroth, Cleo Wade, Sarah Sophie Flicker, Paola Mendoza, Cindy Leive

Empowerment. Be Anything Or Be Realistic?

Here's a question I grapple with every day in relation to raising my son, and, the messaging I send out to the young women on my platforms. Do I tell them they can do and be anything or do I warn them about the harsh realities of the world?  I was raced with the former 'be anything' messaging and I don't believe I would have been able to navigate the world as I have, feeling it was against me. I have friends who were raised that way and it made them hesitant, nervous, defensive. And sometimes you need a bit of naïveté to push past that. You'll deal with the obstacles as and when they arrive, hopefully surrounded by the right mentors and support structure.

Happy New Year!

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I added my name to the TIMESUP Letter of Solidarity

300 leading women across the entertainment industry just launched a wide reaching campaign to combat sexual harassment and support disenfranchised women on the receiving end of unwanted advances. Entitled TIMESUP, the initiative does three key things:

  • Provides a $13 million legal defense fund to help women in blue-collar jobs and farm work
  • Drafts of legislation to punish companies that tolerate sexual harassment and to discourage nondisclosure agreements in such cases.
  • Pushes to reach gender parity in Hollywood studios and talent agencies; and a call for women walking the red carpet at the Golden Globes to wear black as a sign of protest and solidarity.

This is an important step in the right direction, particularly in its support of women without the power or platform to stand up to abuse. The campaign was launched via a full page open letter in the New York Times. I just added my name to the Letter of Solidarity and donated to the TIME’S UP Legal Defense Fund.  It feels like a powerful way to start the year.

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The Woman Behind Star Wars' Increased Diversity

I finally saw The Last Jedi last night and it was well worth the wait. So thrilling and fun with thoughtful, compelling storylines. And, best of all, so rich in diversity.  And that's thanks in no small part to Kiri Hart, head of the Lucasfilm story group. Formed by Kathleen Kennedy in 2012, the group has overseen an increase in strong, diverse leading and supporting roles within the franchise. In a recent New York Times interview, Hart said: "The characters that end up on screen are there because there is a groundswell of energy around this idea of creating a more honest reflection of the world around us.” So true. And given Star Wars' massive influence and reach, the impact of Hart's input cannot be underestimated. 

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Kelly Marie Tran, John Boyega/Credit: Lucasfilm

The Woman We All Go To For Self Care

Self care is a much bandied about word. But as every day brings fresh political insanity, the only way to keep focused is to stay emotionally and physically centered. Enter wellness and lifestyle guru Latham Thomas, who has been such a positive grounding influence in my life and the lives of so many. I plan to spend the holidays thinking about how best to apply the principles of her beautiful new book, "Own Your Glow: A Soulful Guide to Luminous Living and Crowning the Queen Within", to my own life.  #MamaGlow #selfcare #wcw

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