Monday Open Thread |Black Women on Television: Shonda Rhimes, Kerry Washington, Viola Davis

You can’t talk about Black Women in Television in 2015 without talking about Shonda Rhimes, Kerry Washington, and Viola Davis. Rhimes, through her typewriter, has brought forth many interesting characters none moreso than Olivia Pope and Annalise Keating.
Olivia and Annalise are complicated, complex Black women. Not the long suffering angels…..but, smart, beautiful, complex Black women with all sorts of flaws that make them oh-so-human.


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The mastermind behind Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, and How to Get Away With Murder, Shonda Rhimes is the most powerful person making TV right now. On the eve of her first book, Year of Yes—an account of the transformative year she spent saying just that (out November 10)— she sits down with ELLE Editor-in-Chief Robbie Myers to talk about creating 3-D characters, TV with a point of view, and complicated endings.
SEP 23, 2015 @ 2:12 PM

Rhimes, 45, grew up in Chicago—her father was a professor (he was the CIO at the University of Southern California); her mother earned a PhD in educational administration after raising six children. Graduating from Dartmouth (where she gave a rousing commencement address last year), Rhimes found her way to film school at USC and, eventually, to one scriptwriting success after another. Grey’s Anatomy earned her a Golden Globe for best TV drama in 2007—the same year she made Time magazine’s hot 100 list; and she recently completed a trifecta of awards from the Writers, Producers, and Directors Guilds of America.

Rhimes’s production company is one of the few left in Hollywood that can still make appointment television. It’s more monarchy than nation-state (I mean, it’s called Shondaland, after all), with Rhimes firmly in charge—her mind constantly churning not just with the details of running a corporation that employs more than 550 people (actors, writers, directors, makeup artists, camera operators…) but also with each of her characters’ stories and how they intersect with the defining issues of our time: racism, sexism, politics, war, and economic inequality among them. But Rhimes’s shows are never nakedly polemical. They’re sexy, frank, funny, touching, dramatic, talky, action-packed, and, above all, character-driven. The mere fact of Shondaland, and Rhimes’s ability to front television’s biggest shows starring complex, conflicted women, is, in the annals of the medium, downright revolutionary. She and I met at Katsuya restaurant in L.A. for an hours-long conversation that covered all manner of topics, including her upcoming show The Catch, premiering in 2016. A conversation that, at the end, felt like it was just getting started.

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ROBBIE MYERS: You’ve talked about what you do with your work and the idea of “normalizing”—of getting rid of the idea of the “other.”

SHONDA RHIMES: The entire world is skewed from the white male perspective. If you’re a woman, they have to say it’s a female-driven comedy. If it’s a comedy with Latinos in it, it’s a Latino comedy. “Normal” is white male, and I find that to be shocking and ridiculous.

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RM: I’m so interested in what I’ll call the Michael Brown episode of Scandal, where Marcus says to Olivia, “Your black card’s not getting validated today.” I thought, Wow, I’ve never heard that on TV. But it does bring up the idea—and people will be talking about this a lot now that we’re in an election cycle—that there’s a monolithic black community. It’s the same thing for women—”the women’s vote,” as if….

SR: That episode was very interesting for us because Zahir McGhee, whose name is on the episode, [and] I basically wrote it together. He really did a good job with it, but [we] couldn’t be from more different worlds: He wanted Marcus to have attended a black college, and I didn’t want him to—I thought it meant something different. It was just a giant battle that we waged about every detail because [McGhee] was a young black man from Baltimore, and I grew up a lot like Olivia Pope. I was trying to explain to him, There is this weird belief from people on the outside and from people in black communities that there is only one way to be black. And I say it in the writers’ room all the time: My Black Is Not Your Black. What’s terrifying is that, just the same way we’ve all accepted that normal is white, everybody seems to buy into the idea that there’s only one way to be black or one way to be Hispanic. That’s as damaging as anything else.

21 Mar 2015, Los Angeles, California, USA --- Arrivals for GLAAD Media Awards held at The Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, California. Pictured: Shonda Rhimes --- Image by © Splash News/Splash News/Corbis

21 Mar 2015, Los Angeles, California, USA — Arrivals for GLAAD Media Awards held at The Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, California. Pictured: Shonda Rhimes — Image by © Splash News/Splash News/Corbis

RM: With that episode [in which a 17-year-old black man is killed by a white cop], you responded almost in real time.

SR: That’s what was both heartbreaking and ironically, sadly, fortuitous. I woke up knowing that we were going to go write “The Lawn Chair” after Ferguson. I watched that coverage and was horrified. I woke up the next morning with this image of this man, of a lawn chair and a shotgun and a child underneath him. The episode came out of that. We shot that episode in October or November. I remember thinking, This is going to feel dated when it comes out. And then the police just kept killing black men. Literally the [day before] it aired, they released the Ferguson Report, and it was worse than the press had ever thought.


RM: The episode of Murder where Viola [Davis] takes off the wig and her makeup attracted a lot of commentary. She’s said that for her it’s about showing the messes. But I don’t think that there’s a woman who watched that show who didn’t identify with the two me’s.

SR: The woman you are in public—the two faces.

RM: Do you feel like one of those women is more authentic than the other?

SR: I don’t know. I feel like it was, to me, the most iconic feminist moment I’ve ever seen on television. She pitched it when we were trying to get her to do this series, and I thought, Wow. I feel like, for Viola, one is more real than the other. For [Annalise], it was the mask she presents to society, and the person she’s been trying to hide all this time.

RM: There was a lot written about when she took off the wig, and that there was yet another layer there for many black women.…

SR: We heard from a lot of women about that. Hair is so complex. Literally. There is an assumption about the hair that Olivia Pope had when she was lying on the beach last season, like: “Oh, why couldn’t she be as real?” I was like, She is. That’s how Kerry’s hair looks when she doesn’t blow-dry it! Every woman looks different. My black is not your black. Viola was very clear about this: I’m a dark-skinned woman with a dark-skinned woman’s hair, and that woman is never revealed on television—that kind of hair is never revealed. And I think that was a powerful moment. I’ve never seen that kind of woman get to exist on network television and get to be three-dimensional and have someone love her.

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RM: People ask you, Why does Olivia only go out with white guys? She doesn’t, but she is in love with the president.

SR: She is in love with the white, Republican president. She is in love with the man her father could not be more unlike. And that is what Rowan has been railing against. If you take it to its bare bones, metaphor scrubbed away, she is in love with the thing that her black father, who grew up in the 1950s and ’60s, could not be more disgusted by.

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RM: That relationship is really intense and complicated.

SR: It’s very Shakespearean. I’m kind of obsessed with it. [For] their first big scene together in that airplane hangar, I wrote this draft, and everybody read it and they were like, “This is crazy! Nobody behaves this way!” I said this to the writers’ room: When Olivia’s father shows up, blackness shows up. All of the enraged black people who are watching this show, they show up with Rowan. He’s pissed off. He’s very disappointed in his daughter. He has raised her to be somebody completely different. He’s been [working for a secret spy agency], but from his perspective, he’s a very good guy doing the best he can and trying to get her on the right road. I have great love for him; I think he’s a very interesting character.

RM: I do too. And the actor.

SR: Joe Morton is amazing. That character wouldn’t be that character if he weren’t played that way by Joe Morton.

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Ms. Kerry Goes to Washington: The First Lady of Scandal Speaks
JULY 31, 2013 8:00 PM

Kerry Washington says she’s not Olivia Pope, the powerful fixer—and presidential mistress—she plays on ABC’s hit drama Scandal. But whether it’s her political activism, the way she inspires her colleagues, or the strategic savvy that made the show a Twitter sensation, Washington flashes more than a little Pope in her offscreen persona. David Kamp explores the mind (and style) of the woman behind television’s complicated new heroine.

In real life, the hair is more tousled and less workplace-professional, with ribbony streaks of punkish orange mixed in with the natural black. The speaking voice is more singsong and girlish, half an octave up in register. The face, freer to smile, unburdened by crises personal or constitutional, is more beautiful still.

Than? Given that it’s Kerry Washington being described, and that it’s the middle of 2013, we’re clearly not talking about any of the characters she has played in major motion pictures over the last decade: Django’s wife in Django Unchained, say, or Idi Amin’s wife in The Last King of Scotland, or Ray Charles’s wife in Ray. We’re talking, obviously, about Olivia Pope.

SCANDAL  KERRY WASHINGTON "Whiskey Tango Foxtrot" - After discovering the truth behind defiance, Fitz is still struggling to figure out whom he can actually trust. Meanwhile Olivia is trying to move on with her life, and she meets a handsome stranger, Jake Weston (Scott Foley), who sparks her interest. But when Fitz and Olivia are forced to be in the same room again, real sparks fly and things get heated. Back at Pope & Associates, the team handles a new case, and for the first time they're working with David Rosen instead of against him, on ABC's "Scandal," THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 14 (10:02-11:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network.

“Whiskey Tango Foxtrot” – After discovering the truth behind defiance, Fitz is still struggling to figure out whom he can actually trust. Meanwhile Olivia is trying to move on with her life, and she meets a handsome stranger, Jake Weston (Scott Foley), who sparks her interest. But when Fitz and Olivia are forced to be in the same room again, real sparks fly and things get heated. Back at Pope & Associates, the team handles a new case, and for the first time they’re working with David Rosen instead of against him, on ABC’s “Scandal,” THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 14 (10:02-11:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network.

For the uninitiated, Olivia Pope is the central figure in ABC’s Thursday-night drama Scandal: the most powerful fixer in Washington, D.C., a woman whose firm, Olivia Pope and Associates, runs interference for high-profile clients in tight spots, be it a wifeless G.O.P. gubernatorial candidate with gay-rumor issues or a female C.E.O. whose long-ago affair with a current Supreme Court nominee is driving the news cycle. That’s the procedural part of the show, anyway. There is also the matter of Olivia’s being the on-again, off-again extramarital lover of the president of the United States, for whom she used to work. This circumstance, combined with the fact that she is privy to and complicit in some whopping state secrets—for instance, that ballot fixing played a role in getting the president, Fitzgerald Grant (Tony Goldwyn), elected—gives the show its long arc and its hummingbird pulse.

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But c’mon: this is a smart, formidable woman. Like Law & Order before it, which introduced new scenes with a gavel-like ch-CHUNK, Scandal announces scene shifts with a trademark sound effect—in this case, a digitized camera-shutter whir (K-ssss! F-t-t-t, k-ssss, k-ssss!). At times, listening to Washington speak is like hearing that sound—synapses firing urgently, thoughts being thoroughly microprocessed. It is not every TV star who will carefully parse the semiotic significance of her character’s overcoats, down to the “feminine peplums,” or will enumerate, in PowerPoint detail, the three pillars of Scandal’s social-media strategy. Kerry Washington may not be Olivia Pope, but Olivia Pope has more than a little Kerry Washington in her DNA.

“Gladiators in Suits”

Washington is a native New Yorker, born in 1977 to two Bronx-based professionals, Earl Washington, a real-estate agent, and Valerie Washington, a professor of early elementary education at Lehman College. Hers was a socially conscious upbringing. At 13, Kerry, an only child, was taken to Yankee Stadium to see the newly freed Nelson Mandela speak, and upon turning 18, she recalled, “my becoming a voting citizen was celebrated the way other people would celebrate a Sweet 16. My parents took me out to dinner, and we talked about who I was going to vote for.”

From her pre-teen years through 12th grade, Washington attended the Spence School, an elite all-girls academy on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. One of her best friends then was Allison Peters, like Washington an African-American girl who commuted to school from the Bronx. Peters, now a digital-strategy consultant who advises clients (Washington among them) on how to harness the power of social media, recalls a “Cosby-like atmosphere” prevailing in the Washington household—“a sense,” Peters told me, “of really caring about education, but with warmth and a family environment rather than pressure.”

Still, Kerry was a rather driven youngster, the kind of girl who took up swimming because her parents told her it was the one sport in which proficiency might mean the ability to save a life. And, being a teen at the height of the red-ribbon era of AIDS awareness, she became a safe-sex advocate, participating, via Mount Sinai Hospital’s Adolescent Health Center, in an educational troupe that performed self-written sex-ed sketches in schools and community centers. In one sketch, she played a girl who helped her brother come to terms with the fact that their father, infected with H.I.V., was gay. In another, she advised a pal, pre-prom, on how to put on a condom, using a banana as a prop.

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“It was some of the best actor training I’ve ever had,” Washington said. “We would stay in character after the show, and the audience would interact with us. It taught me the importance of really understanding everything about who you’re playing, because you never knew what question was going to come.” Though she harbored thoughts of becoming a teacher or a psychologist, Washington continued to act through high school and college, and, at the age of 23, landed her first significant film role: as the teen-mom confidante of Julia Stiles’s character in Save the Last Dance, a tale of urban inter-racial romance whose hard lessons were not unlike those enacted in her troupe’s safe-sex sketches. Washington has not lacked for work since and has also established herself as a progressive political activist, serving on President Obama’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities and delivering a speech in support of the president at last year’s Democratic National Convention.

Scandal’s creator, Shonda Rhimes, and her producing partner, Betsy Beers, cast a wide net in seeking out their Olivia Pope, auditioning a large number of African-American actresses in 2011. (Olivia was conceived as a black woman because her inspiration, Judy Smith, is black.) Washington knew she was one of many in competition for the role—the actress Gabrielle Union has said in interviews that she, too, read for the part—and recalled that, in her initial meeting with Rhimes and Beers, “there was a feeling like a Western combined with a first date: sort of checking each other out from across the main street. We didn’t know each other.” Within a few minutes, though, said Washington, “that all went out the window.” Rhimes and Washington proved eminently simpatico (sharing, for example, a proclivity for mainlining popcorn, a trait they would impute to Olivia), and Scandal had its star.

Scandal, in a sense, upholds Washington’s tradition of righteousness through theater, though it has a funny way of doing so. It seems to be set slightly in the future, in a wondrous time when it is unremarkable that the White House chief of staff is an openly gay man, the vice president is a woman, the white Republican president is in love with an African-American woman, and this woman happens to run a crackerjack consulting firm with a racially mixed, gender-balanced staff. The hitch is the show’s characters don’t inhabit a Utopian peace-and-harmony futureworld like the one in the original Star Trek TV series, where diversity was an indicator of how enlightened civilization had become. Rather, Scandal is rife with slimeballs, cover-ups, and double, triple, and quadruple crosses. Its measure of equality is that everyone is empowered to be ruthless and cynical.


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Viola Davis on Her Groundbreaking Emmy Win: ‘I Felt Like I Fulfilled a Purpose’
SEPTEMBER 23, 2015 | 09:30AM PT
Debra Birnbaum
Executive Editor, TV
COVER STORY: Fellow nominee Taraji P. Henson stood and applauded. Kerry Washington cried. But of all those moved by Viola Davis’ historic win at the Sept. 20 Emmy Awards, perhaps the most appreciative was a former 6-year-old girl who once lost the Miss Center Falls Recreation title.

“I keep expecting to be that little girl who loses the contest,” Davis tells Variety, after just four hours’ sleep at an early morning photo shoot at The Ritz-Carlton, Los Angeles. “It’s a mixture of disbelief and joy and acceptance. It’s just beautiful.”

Davis has earned a spot in the Emmy record books — as the first black woman to win for lead actress in a drama — sparking an outpouring of support on social media. The win, along with those of Regina King (supporting actress in a limited series for “American Crime”) and Uzo Aduba (supporting actress in a drama for “Orange Is the New Black”), was a resounding statement on diversity, especially in a year when the Academy Awards faced criticism for the lack thereof.

But, Davis says, the award also struck a far more personal chord.

Davis grew up impoverished; she didn’t even meet her sister, Diane, until she was 5 and Diane was 9, because their parents couldn’t afford to raise them together. When Diane was finally brought to Rhode Island, recalls Davis, she looked at the rundown apartment the family was living in and told her sister, “If this is not what you want in your life, what do you want to do?”

“I remember not having an answer,” recalls Davis. “And for years, I searched.”

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At the ceremony, she says, she finally found her golden ticket, a la “Willy Wonka.” “What it meant for me to win the Emmy is I found it,” she says, choking up. “It’s not just the award. It’s what it’s going to mean to young girls — young brown girls, especially. When they saw a physical manifestation of a dream, I felt like I had fulfilled a purpose.”

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• • • • •

Davis will be the first one to tell you her success did not happen overnight. Driven by her passion for acting, she eventually found her way from poverty to Juilliard. Now 50, she’s got a long list of credits — from film to theater to television.

Backstage at the Emmys, she talked openly about her longevity in the business — as well as her struggles with unemployment. “You guys have to realize, I’ve been in this business 35 years, and 27 years professionally,” she told reporters. “I’m the journeyman actor that you saw in one scene here, two scenes there. I’ve been eking out a living doing theater — Broadway, Off Broadway — film supporting roles, that I’m just excited to be a part of the conversation.”

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There’s no resting on her laurels for the newly minted Emmy winner: As soon as the photo shoot wrapped, the star of ABC’s “How to Get Away With Murder” was already back at work on her hit show, where she was greeted with whoops and hollers by her castmates.

The third building block in ABC’s ratings powerhouse TGIT lineup, “Murder” follows the tumultuous personal and professional life of Davis’ Annalise Keating, a defense lawyer and law professor who dangerously finds herself just as consumed in the lives of her students as she is in her clients’ complex cases.

“I’m an O.G.,” she says, announcing her “original gangsta” cred to the well-wishers who complimented her on her eloquent acceptance speech. “I’ve been doing this for 27 years.”

That speech quoted Underground Railroad founder Harriet Tubman: “In my mind, I see a line,” Davis said. “And over that line, I see green fields and lovely flowers and beautiful white women with their arms stretched out to me over that line. But I can’t seem to get there no how. I can’t seem to get over that line.”

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Along with her husband, Julius Tennon, Davis is working on a project about Tubman for HBO — and says when she found that quote, she thought it was progressive and apropos for what proved to be a historic occasion. “We talk about women constantly in 2015,” she says. “It’s that barrier we’re trying to reach and cross. We dream of it. It seeps into your body: See me for who I am. Accept me for who I am. You see the finish line. And you just always seem to fall short.”

Not any more. The win underscores a watershed moment for diversity in television. “Empire,” “Black-ish” and “Scandal” dominate broadcast ratings, and although Davis was competing against “Empire” star Henson for the trophy, the two women make it clear there is no rivalry between them. “We just whispered to each other, ‘Whoever gets it, it’s great, it’s wonderful, and I love you,’ ” Davis told reporters backstage.

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70 Responses to Monday Open Thread |Black Women on Television: Shonda Rhimes, Kerry Washington, Viola Davis

  1. rikyrah says:

    This Poet Has Some Pretty Dope Parting Words For President Obama
    November 29, 2015 – 12:02 pm

    Dear President Obama,
    “N***a you ain’t s**t!”
    That’s how some people feel, but for us, it’s the opposite.

    Those are the opening lines of a poem dedicated to the impending exit of the 44th President of the United States. Brooklyn poet, hip-hop artist and activist Moise Morancy took to Facebook last week to share parting words for President Obama, filled with admiration for the legacy our current POTUS will undoubtedly leave behind. Morancy’s dedication serves a dope send-off, noting that Obama’s time in office has inspired him and a legion of other young black people to strive for their dreams:

  2. rikyrah says:

    My Chicago Folks:



    Don’t get caught in the trick bag and wake up to have your car towed.

    Don’t give Rahm anymore of your money!

  3. Ametia says:

    These MOFOs are ginning up hate and then try to distance themselves from the KILLING.


  4. Ametia says:

    White Terrorism: The White Supremacy of Anti-Abortion Extremism
    November 30, 2015 • Jessie Daniels • white supremacists

    On Friday, November 27, an anti-abortion extremist opened fire on a Planned Parenthood center in Colorado Springs, killing three people and wounding nine others. The assailant was arrested while still alive – even though one of the people killed was a cop. As lots of people have been pointing out, he survived because of the privileges of his whiteness.

    Others have noted the gentle treatment the gunman is receiving from the mainstream press accounts of his background before the shooting. The New York Times originally referred to him as a “gentle loner”. Then, in response to lots of push back on Twitter, the Times-edited out that word. Now, the piece refers to him instead as “itinerant”. (The NYTimes has not added an editorial note about this change.)

    Still others have noted the reluctance of U.S. politicians, such as Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) the head of the House Intelligence Committee, to name this act domestic terrorism. (There’s been a similar reluctance to call the white supremacists shooting of Black Lives Matter protestors an act of domestic terrorism – but more about that in another post).

    White Supremacy and Anti-Abortion Extremism

    The white supremacy of anti-abortion extremism goes deeper than this gunman’s deferential treatment by police, or politicians’ reluctance to speak plainly about what we can all see, or the mainstream media’s white framing of these acts of terrorism.

  5. Ametia says:

    dropping this right here

    By Elise Viebeck November 30 at 12:06 PM

    Cooking through the holidays — with Debbie Wasserman Schultz

  6. Ametia says:

    THANK GOD FOR SHONDA RHIMES! Love this post, Rikyrah. Thank you so much!

    • Kathleen says:

      Yes! I can’t get enough info about her and the ladies of Scandal and HTGAWM. But as a fledgling writer, I could read about Shonda’s creative process all day long. Force. Of. Nature.

      • rikyrah says:

        Glad you all have enjoyed this week. As Black women, we really have come a long way..

        Is it perfect?


        But, more of our voices are being heard in front of and behind the tv screen.

  7. rikyrah says:

    Brennan Center @BrennanCenter
    You can’t talk about criminal justice reform without talking about judicial elections. #FairCourts

  8. rikyrah says:

    The 2016 Pirelli Calendar May Signal a Cultural Shift


    When Agnes Gund, the 77-year-old philanthropist and president emerita of the Museum of Modern Art, got the call, she thought: “That’s odd. What’s that got to do with someone like me?”FROM OUR ADVERTISERS

    When Fran Lebowitz, the 65-year-old author, got the call, she said, “I thought it was a joke.”

    And when Mellody Hobson, the 46-year-old president of Ariel Investments, a $10 billion money management firm based in Chicago, got the call, she mentioned it to her husband, the filmmaker George Lucas, who raised an eyebrow and said, “Do you know what that is?”

    You can understand the quandaries, given that the call came from the office of the photographer Annie Leibovitz, and involved a request that each woman participate in the 2016 Pirelli calendar, the arty soft-core ode to pinups produced by the Italian tire manufacturer, shot by renowned photographers, starring supermodels, and never sold but given to an exclusive group of 20,000 “V.I.P.’s, musicians, politicians and royalty,” according to a company spokesman.

    To say that women like as Mesdames Hobson, Gund and Lebowitz are not its usual subjects is something of an understatement.

  9. rikyrah says:

    Ferallike @ferallike
    Four men charged over shooting of Black Lives Matter protesters in Minneapolis

  10. rikyrah says:

    PragmaticObotsUnite @PragObots
    Serena Williams in the 2016 Pirelli Calendar: #BlackTwitter

  11. rikyrah says:

    SWAC – NIKE Partnership Shows Low Corporate Appeal of HBCU Sports

    November 27, 2015/

    Last month, the University of Texas athletic program signed a 15-year, $200 million extension with Nike to serve as its official apparel and equipment. Believe to be the largest deal in college sports history, some business experts estimate that the deal will generate UT $15 million annually in revenue, a fraction of what ESPN estimates to be a $4.6 billion industry shared between universities and athletic manufacturers.

    And then there’s the Southwestern Athletic Conference, which two years ago signed a five-year deal with Nike that will provide no cash for championship event sponsorship, no payouts to member schools desperate for resources to build recruiting and development.

    According to reporter Casey Toner, the SWAC-NIKE contract calls for its 10 members schools to receive the following every year:

    Nike gives the conference 750 plain white t-shirts every contract year.
    Nike gives each SWAC school 600 pairs of shoes every contract year. The shoes are for the following teams: football, men’s basketball, women’s basketball, volleyball, softball, baseball, and men and women’s track and field.
    Beginning in the 2015-2016 year and each contract year, Nike gives the conference 40 footballs, 24 men’s basketballs and 24 women’s basketballs.
    Nike gives two conference athletes an internship in Nike’s internship program.
    Nike receives four free tickets to the Bayou Classic, four tickets to the SWAC Championships, and four tickets to all home games of participating schools.
    Nike can also buy an additional four tickets to the SWAC Championships. “All tickets shall be for adjacent seats, in prime, lower level locations,” the contract states.
    The conference is required to place a one-page ad for which Nike will have sole discretion over its content and layout for both the Bayou Classic and the SWAC Championships.
    SWAC shall make Nike products available to the schools to be worn by team members and staff during practices, games, exhibitions, clinics, sports camps, locker room and sideline presentations, or other official school sanctioned activities.
    And the most unique part of the deal? SWAC Commissioner Duer Sharp receives a personal, $10,000 annual allowance for Nike Elite equipment. His comment on the swag stipulation?

    “That’s my personal business what I do with it,” said Sharp, who made $240,000 in 2013 according to the SWAC tax records.
    There’s nothing wrong with Sharp receiving a creative commission on brokering a deal between his conference and the apparel giant. There’s nothing wrong with the conference having in-kind sponsorship for shoes, clothing and equipment worn by athletes and coaches every year.

    But there is something wrong when Sharp, and other member presidents who may have been privy to this deal, signed off without without any consideration for what the schools really could have gotten from Nike or any other apparel maker courting black colleges.

  12. yahtzeebutterfly says:

    How sick is this?? —–>

    deray mckesson Retweeted
    AfrikanBlkCoalition ‏@ABlackCoalition 3h3 hours ago
    “University of California Has Millions Invested in Private Prisons” … via @ABlackCoalition

  13. I went to ER last night for my eye. I have an inflamed tear duct. Eye is tearing, swollen and hurts like everything. My youngest said …awww Mama, I hope you feel better. He’s so sweet & so loving.

  14. rikyrah says:

    The former commander of U.S. special forces in Afghanistan and Iraq admitted that strategic blunders by the Bush administration had led to the rise of Islamic State militants.

    Retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn told the German newspaper Der Spiegel that Americans allowed their anger of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks to lead them into disastrous military policies that failed to address the root causes of terrorism — and actually helped create new and more brutal terrorists.

    The misunderstanding was so great that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who now heads ISIS, was freed in 2004 from a military prison after a U.S. military commission cleared him as harmless.

    “We were too dumb,” Flynn said. “We didn’t understand who we had there at that moment. When 9/11 occurred, all the emotions took over, and our response was, ‘Where did those bastards come from? Let’s go kill them. Let’s go get them.’ Instead of asking why they attacked us, we asked where they came from. Then we strategically marched in the wrong direction.”

  15. rikyrah says:

    So I will try to explain why the Trump candidacy has been so confounding to our political press.

    Those “laws of political gravity?” They were never really laws.

    1. “The laws of political gravity” were never laws.

    To an extent unrealized before this year, the role of the press in presidential campaigns relied on shared assumptions within the political class and election industry about what the rules were and what the penalty would be for violating them. This was the basis for familiar rituals like “the gaffe,” which in turn relied on assumptions about how a third party, the voters, would react once they found out about the violation. These assumptions were rarely tested because the risk seemed too high, and because risk-averse professionals — strategists, they’re called — were in charge of the campaigns.

    The whole system rested on shared beliefs about what would happen if candidates went beyond the system as it stood cycle to cycle. Those beliefs have now collapsed because Trump “tested” and violated most of them— and he is still leading in the polls. (Rob Ford in Canada was there before Trump.) There has been a cascading effect as conventions that depended an one another give way. The political press is pretty stunned by these developments. It keeps asking: when will the “laws of political gravity” be restored? Or have they simply vanished?

    “The question now is whether Candidate Trump is immune from the laws of political gravity or soon will be isolated and regarded as an object of scorn or curiosity rather than of presidential seriousness,” wrote the Washington Post’s Dan Balz back in July. (Other uses of that phrase here, here and here.) But what the press describes as “laws” were never really that. They were at best conventions among the political class, in which I include most Washington journalists— though they would not include themselves.

    2. Isomorphism for the win!

    “Institutional isomorphism,” a phrase only an academic could love, is the title of a famous paper in sociology (DiMaggio and Powell, 1983) that sought to explain why different institutions in the same field tend to resemble each other, even as they struggle to compete and to “win.” The authors observe that “organizations tend to model themselves after similar organizations that they perceive to be more legitimate or successful.” It’s not a coincidence. There are structural forces at work that appear again and again across vastly different industries and fields.

    For example, if a firm is competing for talent it will want to offer the same kind of stage for talent to display itself. Meanwhile, the talent knows that if cannot mesh well with competing firms it has no leverage over its current one. When Jeff Zeleny, a political reporter for ABC News, moved to CNN this year (to do the same thing he did at ABC) he did not have to assimilate a new view of politics or a different definition of the journalist’s role. Isomorphism had already taken care of that. No one thinks this the least bit remarkable.

    Similarly, when in 2009 CNN created ‘State of the Union’ to compete with the likes of ‘Meet the Press’ and ‘Face the Nation,’ it simply copied those shows in almost every detail. Again, no one thinks that’s weird. It’s just what you do in TV news.

    Highly structured organizational fields [presidential campaigns would qualify as one, but so would large news organizations] provide a context in which individual efforts to deal rationally with uncertainty and constraint often lead in the aggregate to homogeneity in structure, culture and output.

    In other words, the more they try to compete at one level the more similar they become at all the others. (True for universities too.) But notice: Trump is not an institution. trumpairHe is really his own campaign manager, spokesman and chief strategist, which means that the chief strategist of the Trump campaign — Trump — doesn’t care if he ever gets hired by another campaign. Poof! There goes one of the little structural forces that tend toward isomorphism. Multiply by 100 and you have pundits asking: have the laws of political gravity been repealed?

  16. rikyrah says:


    Reading your twitter line about those 2 piece and a biscuit mofos claiming to be preachers.

  17. rikyrah says:

    Sixteen shots and 400 days later: CPD’s attempted cover up

    The Editorial Board at El BeiSMan has decided not to share the dash cam video because we do not promote the sharing of violence against bodies of any color.

    It’s been more than 400 days since 17-year-old Laquan McDonald was shot 16 times and brutally murdered by former Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke. This past week the dash cam footage was released to the public after the city of Chicago tried for more than a year to cover it up. And while justice appears to have been served in the first-degree murder charge that was handed down last week, many people have been left with a sickening feeling that the move was only the city and the CPD succumbing to public pressure, and rightfully so.

    First, it’s important to analyze what we do know and what is shown in the dash cam footage. The video shows McDonald walking down the middle of Pulaski Road, away from police officers as they are arriving to his left. Two officers then emerge from their vehicles with guns drawn and McDonald continues to walk away from them. Moments before the first shot is fired, McDonald appears to slightly move his right arm before being met with a barrage of bullets. The teen then falls to the ground.

    As McDonald lies on the street, he lifts his head and begins to try and move his arms before he is met with more bullets. Clouds of smoke like debris fade up from the teen’s motionless body. The video shows a total of 15 seconds of shooting and for 13 of those seconds McDonald is lying in the street. According to police, McDonald reportedly had PCP in his system and had been holding a 3-inch blade in his hand. For Van Dyke, the teen’s presence a few yards from him and his antisocial conduct was threatening enough for him to feel he needed to empty his 16-round handgun and reload before his partner asked him to hold his fire.

    McDonald was from the West Garfield Park neighborhood, just north of the Garfield Park Conservatory. The neighborhood is a predominantly Black community and almost 40% of the community has below a high school education, while 48% of the population lives below the poverty line according to city data. Could the outcome of this tragedy have been different if the city focused more of their efforts and resources on these low-income neighborhoods? It was only two years ago that Mayor Rahm Emanuel approved the closing of more than 50 Chicago Public Schools, most of which were in predominantly Black communities on the city’s South and West sides. These communities are not being cared for in the same way that other, more affluent communities in the city are.

    More than 500 protesters immediately took to the streets Tuesday night following the release of the footage that depicted the heinous crime. With the prompt reaction of Chicago’s citizens, many wondered how it took Emanuel, Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy and state’s attorney Anita Alvarez more than a year to do something about the footage. Community leaders have called for the resignation of these three individuals not only for the video, but for the lies and attempted cover up that ensued after the incident.

  18. rikyrah says:


    Reading the twitter feed about your medical problems. DO what the doctor says and get well.

  19. rikyrah says:

    everything i’m not @No_Cut_Card
    if they call it “the Freddie Gray trial” enough you won’t bat an eye when they put his life on trial instead of the officers’ actions.

  20. rikyrah says:

    Naw, it was Sister Lutherine who told the Pastor that her tithing envelope might not be in the plate this week or future weeks.


    AP Politics ✔ @AP_Politics

    Trump suggests black pastors meeting him Monday were persuaded not to endorse him by Black Lives Matter activists:

  21. rikyrah says:

    Good Morning, Everyone :)

  22. Ametia says:

    Good Morning, Everyone. :)))

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