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Fight for Black women, honor us, amplify our voices and say our names

The “Say Her Name” discussion on last night’s “REVOLT BLACK NEWS” paid homage to fallen women like Breonna Taylor and Atatiana Jefferson, and uplifted the Black women leaders in our community.

Inspired by Sean “Diddy” Combs’ successful “State Of Emergency: The State of Black America & Coronavirus” town hall, “REVOLT BLACK NEWS” is a platform that is designed to report news from the perspective of black people for black people.

Last night’s (June 25) “REVOLT BLACK NEWS” episode titled “Say Her Name” discussed the importance of protecting, honoring and fighting for our Black women. Host and executive producer Eboni K. Williams was joined by Shar Bates, Kimberly Jones, Angela Yee, Congress member Karen Bass, Brittany Packnett Cunningham, Phillip Agnew, Nikia Phoenix and Jerrett Harris for the conversation.

“I Am My Sister’s Keeper” kicked off with Williams and “The Breakfast Club” co-host Yee for a discussion about the network’s backlash for its interview with Russell Simmons. Williams expresses concern for Yee’s mental health and the critical coverage she had been receiving for her participation. When the co-host was asked how she had been dealing, Yee admitted that she was uncomfortable at first due to the allegations against Simmons, but expressed her belief that an interview does not translate into a cosign for disruptive behavior. “I understand that’s something very triggering for women who are victims, who had the courage to speak out, because I know that’s certainly not easy,” she acknowledged.

From a legal standpoint, Williams cannot argue that Simmons has not been convicted and is technically innocent until proven guilty, she challenged Yee with the fact that 20 different women have come forward with sexual misconduct and rape allegations. “What we know for sure, Angela, is an outstanding question as to whether or not Russell Simmons has perpetrated harmful, violent acts against Black women. That’s a fact,” Williams said. “That is legitimate in and of itself for the naysayers that even want to indict the questioning of Russell Simmons.” Williams continued to explain to Yee about the Black woman’s nature to want to protect our men, while posing the question of who is willing to protect Black women.

In last evening’s “Headlines,” Williams discussed the Justice For Breonna Taylor rally at the state capital building of Frankfort, Kentucky; Senate Democrats blocking the police reform bill led by Republican Senator Tim Scott, and the investigation of the death of 18-year-old Andres Guardado. “We know how these things turn out,” Williams said to REVOLT viewers about the typical outcomes of independent investigations. “Keeping this independent is of the utmost importance.” Other topics included Bill Cosby’s granted appeal, Bubba Wallace’s noose investigation, executive orders placed amidst the removal of confederate statues, and the indictment of the three men responsible for the death of Ahmaud Arbery.

Congresswoman Karen Bass and Dream Defenders founder Phillip Agnew joined in conversation for “Adjusting The Crown” to discuss the love and protection of Black women. When Williams turned to Congresswoman Bass about the reason behind laws not being named after Breonna Taylor — or other lost women — to amplify the visibility of Black women, Bass responded in agreement about the lack of representation. “I say that especially when it comes to criminal justice reform. I have to do a lot of education [for] my colleagues to let them know that women have to talk as well,” Bass said, as she explained having these discussions with her daughter and going through police harassments on every level, as well. On how her colleagues are showing up as allies for Black women, Bass ensured REVOLT watchers that they are doing a better job now after educating themselves more.

“My existence, my presence is singularly the creation of Black women,” Agnew praised how they’ve played a significant role in his life. He continued to verbally honor Black women as being singlehandedly responsible for uplifting his emotional and mental health during these times and even before. “For me, I take my time in this movement as an affirmation of their commitment and seeing me over and over again,” Agnew added.

Before closing out the conversation, Williams asked Congresswoman Bass about the importance behind having a Black woman in vice presidency amidst the conversations of being the next VP of the country. “I think it’s critical especially at this moment, at this particular moment in our history, to make sure that the ticket is diverse,” she responded.

After collections of clips pulled from Keke Palmer, Kev On Stage, Jerrett Harris and Mister Capehart about the invisibility of Black women, Williams and Yee joined together again for part two of their original conversation around the allegations against Simmons. “I do definitely believe that [because] Russell got the platform, any one of those women deserve the platform, as well,” Yee said to Williams about her one-on-one conversation with Sil Lai Abrams and other survivors.

Williams then changed the course of the conversation to focus more on Yee’s journey as a woman in the male-dominated space of entertainment. When Williams asked if she truthfully felt she received the respect she deserves, Yee admitted though difficult and challenging, she is no stranger to being the only woman in the room fighting for her own voice to be heard. “It can be very overwhelming and I do feel like we do need to have more allies and more representation in these spaces,” Yee said on championing for women in the media industry.

“I frankly think there needs to be more reciprocity from our brothers,” Williams chimed in. “It’s not there.”

Packnett-Cunningham facilitated the “Leaders of the Movement” segment with Bates and Jones about the importance of transformation during this time. “Whether you’ve been doing this for a month of ten years, we know that being the backbone of freedom can really take a toll,” she said.

Jones then told her fellow virtual panel mates about the importance of self-care in these times. “It does take a toll on you and it is taxing predominantly because women in the movement and women that we’re fighting for — all of the women whose names we need to say — really don’t get the attention, the air time or the conversation,” Jones said. She continued to commend women on their continuous efforts of reaching out to one another for support, which she has personally received from fellow fighters author Angie Thomas and activist Tamika D. Mallory.

“We are the matriarchs of not just our families, but of the communities. But, it’s almost as if we don’t get our flowers until we can’t smell them,” Bates said on the everyday fight of the visibility of Black women. She continued to encourage identifying those single mothers and elderly women in need of assistance in our local community and pushing forward positive narratives and conversation with our young boys. “It shouldn’t take for things to go viral for the importance of our lives and our respect and our dignity to be reserved,” Bates declared.

Williams closed last night’s “REVOLT BLACK NEWS” by reminding viewers that saying the names of Black women is only the beginning. “Black lives can’t matter until the lives of Black women matter. We can’t be at all serious about the liberation of Black people in this country until we get especially serious about the liberation of Black women in our country,” she said. “We have to protect our sisters, we have to show up for our sisters, we have to put our bodies in front of our sisters.”

Sandra Bland. Atatiana Jefferson. Tyshia Miller. Aiyana Jones. Michelle Cusseaux. Natasha McKenna. Aura Rosser. Eleanor Gray Bumpurs. Tanisha Anderson. Breonna Taylor. Kendra James. Latanya Haggerty. Margaret Mitchell. Janisha Fonville. Countless others.

Black women, let’s continue to show support for one another whether it be a simple check-in text or giving back to your local women’s shelter. Black men, start championing your women, start believing your women, and start showing the same unwavering respect and resilience for Black women as they do for you. Allies, let’s work together on uplifting the voices of Black women who have always been silenced. Black community, let’s give Black women and girls the space and honor they deserve.

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