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If Not Us, Who? Artivism, Intersectionality & The Power of Black Women

#RoyalWoman 

When it comes to starting the new year off right, many of us look to celebrations and resolutions. We often celebrate another year of life by partying the night away and, then, by resolving some goals that we’d like to achieve. Over the years, these acts of celebrating and resolving have been woven into the fabric of American culture – by you, me and the film industry.

Award show ceremonies give us the opportunity to celebrate films while acceptance speeches are characterized by overwhelming gratitude and/or calls for action. Actress and activist Michelle Williams’ speech at the Golden Globes ceremony encouraged women to vote in their best interest because “it’s what men have been doing for years.” Artists of all kinds continue to use their voices and media platforms as tools to pursue justice for marginalized groups everywhere.

 Watch Williams’ Golden Globes  acceptance speech below: 


However, despite these very public acts of solidarity, too often these black and brown movements are disrupted and dismissed by other white voices.

 

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Twitter was set ablaze by Williams’ words causing news outlets to honor her bold feminism and other users to discuss intersectionality. Huffington Post shared a tweet heralding Williams’ speech to which Sports journalist and activist Jemele Hill responded, “holla at that 53 percent then”.

Fifty-three percent of white women voted for Trump to be elected president of the United States despite his consistently xenophobic and sexist behavior. Now, a possible war brews between the United States and Iran following the U.S. drone strike that resulted in the death of Iranian Commander Qasem Soleimani. Black and brown communities throughout history have been disproportionately affected by the United States ’ lack of respect and blatant disregard for true solidarity.

“…despite these very public acts of solidarity, too often these black and brown movements are disrupted and dismissed by other white voices.”

While Williams’ has aligned her words and actions with that of movement leaders like #MeToo creator Tarana Burke, her acceptance speech may have fallen on deaf ears. These ears – belonging to black women, brown women, allies of color and white allies – have been deafened by the white women who cry intersectionality when convenient.

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Similarly, the leaders of our country cry for peaceful relations with impoverished countries, despite history showing us that dominance is often the true goal. How we consume media and the stories that media tells represent a country’s political climate . And, that country’s political climate is often a representation of said country’s overarching values.

Xenophobia, transphobia, racism, and sexism are real issues that have been plaguing America since its inception.

#MeToo, #OscarsSoWhite, and #TimesUp reminded the film and other industries that marginalized groups are not voiceless, but instead, robbed the opportunity to be heard. Intersectional Feminism, #BlackLivesMatter, #TransLiveMatter and Immigration Reform alerted everyday people to the injustices happening right outside their doors.

Just like success depends upon leadership and collaboration,  true equality requires solidarity. Women voting “in their best interest” works if white women are as inclusive in their voting as black and brown women.

“#MeToo, #OscarsSoWhite and #TimesUp reminded the film and other industries that marginalized groups are not voiceless, but instead, robbed the opportunity to be heard.” 

Founder of She the People, Aimee Allison said it best. “If you want to know what the possibilities for this country are, beyond Trump, then listen to black women, who are extraordinarily engaged, who are following politics, who are the most likely to vote and bring our communities forward…”

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