As earth dwellers like you, we know about The Slap. It’s taken over so much of this week’s online discourse that to not address it immediately would be ridiculous. But as the Academy decides what, if anything, will be done about that, we’ve determined to consider some of the #BestBlackNews this week.
For instance, lynching is finally a federal hate crime; Questlove and Samuel L. Jackson, actually won Oscars too; Beyoncé (and Blue Ivy) entranced us with a performance from the streets of Compton, and Deborah Cox is making history all the way over in Canada.
As we send only the best to both beloved A-listers Chris Rock and Will Smith, we hope you’ll indulge with us in some news that made us smile.
-The Team at BLAC
Best of the Rest is a roundup of things you may not have known that you needed to know. Yet here we are. To get the Best of the Rest in your inbox every Friday. Subscribe to BLAC Friday’s. Your inbox will thank you.
THE BEST OF REST for April 1, 2022
After 100 years of stalls, lynching is finally a federal hate crime
On March 29, President Joe Biden signed the Emmett Till Antilynching Act into law. Following more than a century of blocked efforts, it marks the first time that racial acts of terror are illegal at the federal level. The bill is named in memory of Emmett Till, who was abducted, tortured and killed in 1955 at the age of 14, after being falsely accused of whistling at Carolyn Bryant, a white woman, while visiting relatives in Mississippi. Though guilty, Roy Bryant and J.W. Milam were tried but quickly acquitted of Till’s murder by an all-white jury. At the signing ceremony for the bill, Rev. Wheeler Parker, Till’s last living relative to witness his abduction told NBC News, “Now, people can no longer get away with things that they got away with in the past. The law gives power to the people who are seeking justice and trying to do the right thing.” (US Congress, NPR, NBC Chicago)
The Oscars…and that slap
Unless you’ve been on a space odyssey since last Sunday, you’re well aware of the slap that rocked the globe. We won’t rehash it here; there’s plenty of discourse that’s already been shared. Among the online conversation, these two pieces, an NYT op-ed from Roxane Gay, and a social media post from Dominique Morriseau, stood out as well worth the read.
On the plus side of things, FAMU grad Will Packer produced this year’s Academy Awards, Beyoncé opened the ceremonies from the streets of Compton, Samuel L. Jackson was bestowed an honorary Oscar for his contributions to cinema, Questlove made a stunning piece of Black music history accessible to the masses through “Summer of Soul” and won top honors for it, and “The Queen of Basketball,” a short documentary recognizing Lusia “Lucy” Harris, the first and only woman to be drafted into the NBA, took home a statue, too. (NYT, Meta, Oscars.org)
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Deborah Cox first Black woman named to Canadian Music Hall of Fame
Powerhouse vocalist and platinum-selling artist Deborah Cox, well known for her hit “Nobody’s Supposed to be Here,” made history in her native Canada as the first Black woman inductee to the Canadian Music Hall of Fame. Cox said in a statement remarking the achievement, “As the first Black woman to become an inductee, I am honored to have the chance to show our younger generations that they can achieve whatever they set their minds to with hard work, dedication, and passion. I feel incredibly grateful to experience this true milestone moment.” (TheGrio)
Malia Obama getting kudos for her efforts as a screenwriter
Malia Obama, the elder of former President Barack Obama’s two daughters, is a staff writer on a forthcoming show from musician and Atlanta creator, Donald Glover. So far, she’s impressed her new boss. At the Atlanta season three premiere, Glover told press, “She’s just like, an amazingly talented person. She’s really focused, and she’s working really hard.” Stephen Glover, Atlanta co-writer and one of Obama’s collaborators chimed in, “Donald always says perspective is important, and people with different perspectives are important for a writers room. And for sure, she definitely has a unique perspective on everything.” The work is no flight of fancy for Obama, either; she’s worked on sets since as early as 2015 in pursuit of her career. (Vanity Fair)