So much happened today in the world of culture, entertainment, and entrepreneurship that it feels like September 18th should be designated #MelaninMonday. People of color are winning by redefining, and finally scripting, their own realities for the world to witness. Today is a snapshot for what can happen when communities stop asking for permission and start creating the rules.
The week is off to an amazing start.
#1 - THE ROOT released its 2017 THE ROOT 100 List
On Monday, THE ROOT released it's annual "THE ROOT 100" list, profiling the 100 most influential black leaders across business, entertainment, arts, community, politics, media, sports, and STEM. As usual, the list did not disappoint. Although entertainment figures from Jordan Peele to Ava DuVernay dominated the top 10, business leaders like Bozoma Saint John of Uber, Everette Taylor - Vice president of marketing at Skurt, Rohan Gilkes & Zakiyyah Myers co-founders of Innclusive, and Mary Spio founder of Ceek VR also made the list in a powerful display of #blackexcellence in tech.
#2 - Travel Noire and Blavity Became One
The voice of Black Millennials just got a little louder via one of the most epic power moves made by a black tech startup. The largest female-led, black owned and operated media company, Blavity, acquired the largest female-led black owned and operated travel community dedicated to black millennial globetrotters. The acquisition solidified Blavity's position as the most prominent lifestyle brand for black millennial audience. Travel Noire's founder, Zim Ugochukwu, will stay on as Travel Noire's Chief Brand Officer.
The Black Digital Family just got a little more cultured.
#3 - Master of None Mastered the Emmy's
Look, Monday may be the start of the work week, but #MelaninMonday kicked off Sunday night at the 2017 Emmy's were Excellence was in full bloom all night long. People of Color dominated the awards and the wins were well deserved. Aziz Ansari and Lena Waithe's big win for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series for their work on Master of None's "Thanksgiving" episode was historic on so many levels. It was the first ever win by a Black woman for writing. The moment was historic as Waithe's speech.
"The things that make us different — those are our superpowers...And for everybody out there that showed us so much love for this episode, thank you for embracing a little Indian boy from South Carolina and a queer black girl from the South Side of Chicago."
#4 - Nnedi Okorafor and HBO Join Forces
Okay, again this may be a few days old but it still counts.
As published last Thursday on ShadowandAct.com, HBO will be adapting author Nnedi Okorafor's post-apocalyptic fantasy novel, 'Who Fears Death' as a series. Set to be produced by George R.R. Martin, the scribe behind the Game of Thrones novels, Who Fears Death, is the coming-of-age tale of Onyesowu, a young woman living in post-apocalyptic North Africa.
This isn't the first 'win' for the Nigerian-American born author. She recently released a comic-short inspired by the plight of the Chibok, Nigerian schoolgirls. 'Blessing in Disguise' is the first known comic set in a REAL African nation where the hero is a heroine. The lead character, Ngozi, was based on one of the Chibok, Nigeria schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram militants in 2014.
“It was an important decision for me to base Ngozi on [...] one of the Chibok girls,” the author stated in an interview with Reuters. “Like many Nigerian girls, Ngozi comes in a small package but is strong-willed and determined.”
#5 - We Witness the First Man of Asian Descent Win an Emmy for ACTING
...and his name is Riz Ahmed. Again, this was another Sunday evening win that allowed us to go to bed feeling a little less underrepresented.
"People are streaming shows or watching them all around the world. Hopefully we'll see a globalization of our storytelling," says Ahmed following his Sunday night Emmy win. Ahmed walked away with the award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie for The Night Of, a film about a Pakistani/Iranian-American college student accused of murder. His win was one of many that highlighted the power of a diverse and representative set of narratives finally emerging from Hollywood. The Londoner joined fellow actors/writers/directors Donald Glover of Atlanta, Lena Waithe and Aziz Ansari of Master of None, and Sterling K. Brown of This is Us' in a night full of historic wins.