The latest episode of “REVOLT Black News Weekly” tackled important issues that pertain to Black women. The same man partly responsible for the end of affirmative action is coming after Black businesses, specifically those belonging to the ladies. Black women dying in the delivery room at alarming rates was also discussed. And, on a lighter note, “RBN” linked up with Hollywood star Issa Rae for a look back at her incredible career.
Global news anchor Mara S. Campo kicked things off by pointing out how legal strategist Edward Blum is essentially coming for Black women. The conservative activist took down affirmative action in college admissions and he has a new target. The Fearless Fund, the first venture capital fund built by women of color for women of color, is in his sights. “These attacks confirm that we are doing the necessary work,” said Arian Simone, CEO and co-founder of the company.
After Blum’s victory in the Supreme Court against affirmative action, his American Alliance for Equal Rights filed a lawsuit against the Fearless Fund, claiming their mission of backing Black female entrepreneurs is reverse racism. “He’s alleging that we are being discriminatory in our process, but we stand by what we do because disparities exist,” added Simone.
Those disparities are immense considering Black women-owned businesses make up only 0.9 percent of companies in the United States. Black female entrepreneurs also reportedly receive less than one-half of one percent of all VC funding. “Arian and I joined forces five years ago because we wanted to close the disparities and the funding gap when it came to women of color,” said Ayana Parsons, COO and co-founder of the Fearless Fund. “Women of color are the most founded demographic of entrepreneurs, yet the least funded.”
Started in 2018, the groundbreaking initiative has given more than $26 million in grants to help create small businesses by Black women. The reaction has been tremendous, as their work helps women of color achieve the American dream. One company that might ring familiar that received funding is Pinky Cole’s Slutty Vegan.
Unfortunately, on Sept. 30, a federal appeals court approved an injunction blocking the Fearless Fund’s grants for women of color while the lawsuit goes through the system. Blum is suing Black women who are trying to give opportunities to others, and similar attacks against entities like education (think HBCUs) seem to be on the horizon.
Another challenge Black women are facing is the alarming numbers when it comes to deaths during childbirth. They are reportedly more than three times as likely to die giving birth than white women. Alarmingly, those numbers cut across economic and social status, as maternal mortality in the USA has been going up over the last 20 years. Pregnant Black women are at risk.
April Valentine was looking forward to giving birth and even hired a certified doula to advocate for her in the hospital while she was in labor. Valentine was in fine health when she checked into the hospital on a Monday in California. She began complaining of leg pain by Tuesday — her doula was not allowed in — and reportedly waited hours before a doctor tended to her. Valentine’s partner’s disturbing account is that her doctor broke her water without warning, and things quickly spiraled as she died while nurses failed to come to her aid. Unfortunately, there are many similar cases of Black women allegedly receiving substandard care. There is also the reality of women of color not being believed when they say something is wrong.
“In hospitals, especially for those patients who don’t have the resources, we become the guinea pigs for [residents],” said Tonya Lewis Lee, director of the Hulu documentary Aftershock, which examined Black maternal mortality. “Unfortunately, the people who have the least resources are treated by the people who have the least experience because they’re learning.” In August, Valentine’s family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Centinela Hospital in Los Angeles. While not commenting behind the shield of health privacy laws, Centinela announced it is shuttering its maternity ward at the end of October, citing “decreased demand.”
On a lighter note, Kennedy Rue sat down with uber-talented Issa Rae to discuss the star’s rise in Hollywood. Recently, Rae was heard in Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse and seen in the hit Barbie film. Then, there have been her own projects like the 14-times Emmy-nominated HBO series “Insecure” as well as executive producing “A Black Lady Sketch Show” and “Rap Sh!t.” Through it all, Rae has kept her creativity true to herself — and Black.
“Early on in my career when I was trying to break in… Black creators [and] producers who had been through the process, they were just like, ‘Add a white character… You gotta make it multicultural’ — all these coded things because they were speaking on their struggle,” Rae told REVOLT correspondent Rue. “And part of me resented that because in hindsight, I didn’t realize that they were trying to look out for me and trying to help me. But for me, it just felt kind of hater-y in a way. I think because I resented that, it just made me indignant in terms of making sure I wholly represented Black characters.”
Be sure to watch new episodes of “REVOLT Black News Weekly” every Friday at 5 p.m. ET via REVOLT’s app. Plus, peep a quick clip from this week’s episode below.
Closing the Wealth Gap with Blockchain