Time To Shine 2021

Dear 2021,

Your older brother 2020 was a nightmare! 2020 constantly stressed us out the entire year. In January, he caused wildfires to damage over 25 million acres of land in New South Wales, Australia, then made the United States almost start World War III and finally, killed 8 people in a fatal helicopter crash that included retired basketball player Kobe Bryant.

In February, he decided not to remove President Donald J. Trump from office after he was impeached by 2019 – your younger sister. Then he sprouted a couple hundred cases of COVID-19 across the world. The World Health Organization was panicked and so were other major public health organizations across the world. We were warned, but still going out and about.

But by March….ho-ho-ho! By March, 2020 said, “I’m gonna make them remember me.” COVID-19 cases continued to increase, deaths were rising and it was finally declared a pandemic. He shut everything down! No more graduations, no more proms, no more going out to restaurants, gyms, hair salons or anywhere. He made people stay home.

Now, for the rest of the year, you would’ve thought 2020 would’ve slowed down right? Nope! Every month presented a new problem. Murder hornets. Running out of toilet paper. Scarce cleaning products and alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Summer COVID-19 infections. Hungry Monkeys in Thailand. The Pentagon releasing UFO sightings. Three major police brutality cases in the United States sparking massive protests across the world. Months of anti-government riots. More celebrity deaths. And so on…

He showed NO MERCY. But he did bring us clarity. Clarity to the societal issues of the world and where we stand in them. A necessary consequence for his destruction.

It won’t be easy 2021, but you have the power to change things. You have the power to make a first-impression this year that sets the tone for a kinder, more progressive world. You have the power to bring smiles in a world of frowns. You can do this! We believe in you.


All 7.8 billion of us humans

Ranking the Hulu shows I watched this year from best to worst

At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S., stores (except for essential businesses) closed, public gatherings were banned and most states enacted lockdowns –– keeping us home…and bored. In the early months of the pandemic, social media featured people baking banana bread, whipped coffee, excessive cleaning and lack of toilet paper. Like me, you spent time at home catching up with your favorite shows. Here are my favorites from Hulu:

  1. Catfish the TV show

Yep…this is the number one show on my list. Why? The highly addictive drama of online couples meeting for the first time since talking on social media. Almost every episode featured a predictable, but surprising twist in which the person the hopeful single was chatting with, did not match the profile. Max and Nev’s bromance, comforting their guests who were heartbroken. Max acting like the tough older brother scolding the catfishes for lying and deceiving the guests. It’s aired for 8 seasons and doesn’t seem like it’ll stop any time soon. I hope it doesn’t!

2. Helstrom

Hulu recommended this show on Halloween this year as part of their “Huluween” special. It looked interesting enough, based on the shadowy strokes coming from the heads of the two main characters. The show, which only ran for one season (thanks Hulu and Marvel), features a brother and sister who have special powers from their serial killer/satan father. Halfway through the show I found out this was based off the Marvel comic series “Hell Storm,” and that excited me more. The acting was believable, the mood was dark, and the special affects were masterfully sinister. I hope it gets picked up again.

3. The Mindy Project

Two words: toxic masculinity. This show stars Mindy Kaling playing “Mindy” who is an OBGYN at a New York clinic and has dating problems. I saw clips of this show on Fox but once it got to Hulu, I decided why not. Mindy in the first two seasons was likable and smart, but the remaining four seasons I saw her character get ruder, dumber, more isolated and racist (not kidding, the “race jokes” are very cringe). Her relationship with Danny, a fellow OBGYN, starts off cute but quickly turns toxic. He went from being the rough-around-the edges guy to a misogynistic, controlling man-child. Also, the guys she dates rarely last for two episodes before they’re written out, so I never got to see the conclusion of her relationships. Once it ended though, I did feel like I knew the characters more on a personal level. Mindy’s fashion is cute too.

4. High Fidelity

Zoe Kravitz FTW! I’ve been following Zoe Kravitz’ work and style since she starred in X-Men: First Class, so when I heard she would be in this remake, I was excited. The show stars Rob and her two friends Simon and Cherise as they navigate their dating lives through vinyl records. This show introduced me to classic hits from genres ranging from hard rock to house music. Hulu canceled this….*sigh*….after only one season. I went from rooting from Rob in the beginning to scolding her cheating of her first boyfriend and ignoring the new one. Nevertheless, the jokes were funny, the music good and the setup for Cherise –– the only dark-skinned woman on the show –– deserved to shine.

5. Dollface

More familiar celebrity faces! This show features Brenda Song, Kat Dennings and Shay Mitchell (Suite Life of Zack and Cody, 2 Broke Girls and Pretty Little Liars). Looking for a new show to watch, I stumbled upon Dollface after looking at the weird trailer of women with cat faces for heads. *No, really.* It follows a young woman whose boyfriend breaks up with her because he feels like he needs something new after dating for so long. He…got bored of her basically. She goes to the friends she neglected during her relationship and they snap her back into reality. They remind her of her complete devotion to her boyfriend, lack of self-worth and abandonment of her friendships. It’s a satirical show on dating and identity and totally relatable to the struggles that is being in your 20s in the digital age.

6. Woke

Literally clicked on the show because of Sasheer Zamata (SNL alumna). She had a movie on Hulu called “The Weekend” and I didn’t like it? Hehe hehe! *awkwardly raises hand* But I follow her podcast and liked her on SNL and decided to check out her performance. The show follows Keef, a black cartoonist who is about to score a big break. He lives a colorblind life, blissfully ignorant of microagressions, until he’s racially profiled and arrested by a white police officer. He becomes “woke” about his experiences and tries to rebrand his work. Decent enough plot line, but disappointing in the end. The plot was too predictable and *SPOILER* –– he should have opened up to his black girlfriend about his profiling experience instead of ignoring her and assuming she wouldn’t understand his pain. My commentary clearly doesn’t matter because the show got renewed for a second season. Oh well, that means more Sasheer Zamata screen time.

Christian Capitalism: How the Republican party uses faith as a catalyst for money and power.

Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call/AP

Today marks the fourth day of senate judiciary hearings for Trump’s SCOTUS nominee Amy Coney Barrett. Her legal and ideological records are being questioned to determine whether she should serve on the bench. From what I’ve read and seen…she doesn’t deserve that seat. Yet she’ll be confirmed anyway. When she enters the court, it will officially lean Republican with a 6-3 majority –– impacting judicial rulings in America for a long while.

This hearing is one of many examples of Republicans embracing far-right policies under the guise of “evangelical christianity.” It happened in the 80s when they nominated Ronald Reagan for president, who won promoting the “nuclear family,” “christian values” and “small government” but heavily ignored the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the U.S., increased wars in the middle east and branded black people as the face of the crack epidemic. In the 90s, Clarence Thomas became a supreme court justice even though he had sexual assault accusations from professor Anita Hill and other women. Also in the 90s former president Bill Clinton was impeached by the republican-led House of Representatives, who questioned his fitness to rule after a cheating scandal. Meanwhile, the speaker of the house at the time, Newt Gingrich, was also found cheating on his second-wife with his third.

The modern Republican party, who claims they are “the party of Lincoln” (ignoring the southern strategy), call themselves conservative, the tea party, republican and right wing. The party runs on four major principles: small government, faith, the 2nd amendment and taxes. Yet, these same self-proclaimed “morally right” politicians reveal themselves as hypocrites. They monopolize discrimination based on religion, while campaigning and passing laws that discriminate against Muslims. They preach “family values” but pass laws that limit social safety nets, abortion rights and discriminate against LGBTQ families. Scandals emerge of the same individuals preaching these values, violating them: cc Jerry Falwell jr. They criticize the Democrats for massive spending and tax increases, yet every Republican administration increases the defense budget for costly wars and tax cuts that benefit the 1%.

This all boils down to what I call –– Christian Capitalism. What does that mean? It means the use of Christian doctrine to benefit an individual or group of people for financial and political gain. Republicans continue to portray themselves as the morally good party that follows Jesus Christ, but do not practice his teachings. Mitch McConnell, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and Lindsey Graham are some of the most powerful senators in congress. They preach these same values but are corrupt to the core. Example: At a town hall in Florida, students affected by the Parkland mass shooting, asked Marco Rubio if he receives money from the NRA. Rubio denied he did, but voted against every gun control bill in favor of NRA donations. How can a party that claims they are “pro-life” vote against gun control laws?

Their constituents love this and will support them even though many republican-led states are poor. There’s also the racism appeal. Christian Capitalists decry “black lives matter thugs” “socialists” and “radical Islam” yet support far-right extremism, nationalism and wealth inequality. They are christian in name only and act just like the groups they so boldly condemn.

Should Journalists Have Opinions?

Answer: Yes, they should.

After the chaotic “debate” Tuesday night between Joe Biden and Donald Trump, people tweeted their condemnation of Trump’s interruptions, attacks against Biden and Chris Wallace’s lack of control moderating the debate. Soledad O’Brien, a renown journalist, tweeted her disappointment in Wallace saying this:

O’Brien is one of the few journalists I see on social media speaking up on bad journalism (i.e. “both-sidsing,” stenography, asking “yes/no” questions) and correcting it. She tells her opinions but backs them up with facts. Which brings me to this tweet by fellow journalist Jeff Butera, who authored the book Write Like You Talk.” In his book, he teaches broadcast reporters how to write in a more conversational tone instead of heavy formalities. Like his book, my former journalism professors also taught me proper broadcast writing and presenting.

But his tweet about journalists telling their opinions on social media stood out to me. He said:

My broadcast professor also gave me this advice. Before graduating, I deleted all social media posts that had opinions, political views and curse words. Though my social media posts were relatively mild, I wanted employment as a journalist and quickly deleted them. Now, I’m rethinking why I did that (minus the curse words). The 2016 election was the first time my generation got to vote and it really opened up our eyes about our country. We are more aware now of how elections, in all levels of government, impact our lives. Everything from institutional racism to climate change affects us, especially non-white citizens.

I now view objectivity in journalism as a privilege for mainly white journalists. These issues do not affect them as much as minority groups. They can empathize but lack the connection to stories that do not impact them. I see black journalists express difficulty reporting killings of black people by police officers and how they must remain numb in order to report the story. Hispanic journalists having to mind their opinions when covering child separation at the border or DACA. That is not okay. To me, that reflects the lack of racial/ethnic diversity in newsrooms and their connection to the community.

We are way past the neutrality of journalism. This current administration proves it. Lies and disinformation coming from the white house go unchecked. Trump attacks the press, threatens retaliation and does not respect the rule of law. Yet, we are still expected to report on him as if his presidency is normal. Calling his statements lies, is not partisan. Providing context along with his lies is not partisan. Asking well-researched, open-ended questions is not partisan. Calling out racism, is not partisan. It’s reality.

Journalists are storytellers who clarify the news. It’s time we let go of that industry standard.

Racism-apologist Kentucky AG Daniel Cameron

Here lies a man who sold his soul

Yesterday, I learned that the grand jury in Jefferson county Kentucky indicted one officer involved in killing Breonna Taylor. There’s just one problem: It was an indictment for damaging her neighbors’ apartment…NOT her death. Adding more fuel to the fire, Attorney General Daniel Cameron said the officers were justified in killing Breonna Taylor and that he will not pursue more charges. As a result, Louisville and the rest of the country are protesting and rioting in righteous anger.

The entire events of Breonna Taylor’s case made me angry, but Daniel Cameron’s klan-apologist behavior made me more enraged! How can he sleep at night? He chose his job instead of justice. He doesn’t deserve to be attorney general. He doesn’t deserve to practice law and he DEFINITELY DOESN’T deserve to call himself a black man. It’s clear he doesn’t want to be. If he did, he wouldn’t crave the white approval he desperately grovels for. He got what he wanted: praise from Trump and his mentor Mitch McConnell. He got married this year, while Breonna Taylor got death, slander and debate on whether her life mattered.

Daniel Cameron also said in the press conference that “celebrities, influencers and activists” will condemn his ruling…he’s right. He saw the condemnation of his actions before he made the press conference, because he knew he was wrong. He knew his was selling his conscience. I expect this callous act of injustice from racist whites, but not one of my own. It hurts deeply seeing someone who decides to be black when it’s convenient for him, blind himself to injustice in front of him.

Since Attorney Generals are “elected”, I hope the people of Kentucky vote him out. And for the black community, we should “vote” him out as well. Kick rocks Cameron!

Toni Childs is a bad friend

Played by actress Jill Marie Jones

The TV show “Girlfriends” premiered on Netflix earlier this month and fans like me were excited! Best of all? Seeing four beautiful, educated black women navigate their lives in dating, relationships, careers and personal struggles. I was a child when the show premiered in 2000, so I didn’t understand the jokes then. Now that I’m in my 20s, it all makes sense.

These friends were like sisters, but sometimes sisterhood is toxic. Whether it’s your sorority sisters, your blood relatives or your friends, it’s not always easy. We see this toxic character in Antoinette “Toni” Childs. She’s been friends with Joan since childhood and “specialize in results” as a real estate broker. She’s fabulous, yet narcissistic, selfish, materialistic and envious of anyone who does better than her. She is more of a frenemy than a friend.

From the pilot episode, her bad character shows when she dates Joan’s ex and brings him to Joan’s birthday party. She asked Joan if she was fine with it and Joan said yes, yet we clearly see that Joan was upset. This was who Joan thought she would marry, but the man said he wasn’t ready.

Toni only chased him because of his wealth and the gifts he would give her. For six seasons (I’m still binging the show), Toni doesn’t change her ways.

EXHIBITS C thru Z: She blamed Joan for breaking up her and Greg, when it was her fault. After that, she seduced Joan’s boyfriend in retaliation. She said Joan was envious of her for getting married, which was true, but Toni was rude about it. Anytime Joan needs support, she never listens to her and immediately wants to talk about herself. Joan needed a therapist to help her realize how Toni takes advantage of her.

Two episodes that really stood out to me on Toni’s narcissism are on season 4 episodes 13 and 14. This time she’s married to Todd –– a white, jewish doctor, who she bullies with her “short man” jokes. In episode 13 on valentine’s day, she completely ignores him, doesn’t buy him gifts and wants Joan to be miserable. Episode 14, she ignores Joan’s pleas for help on a charity auction, going to a book signing of a celebrity instead. She never donated to her auction, while the other girls did.

We all have a “Toni” in our lives. What do you with that kind of person? Cut them out of your life.