When Women Speak
March 25, 1942 - August 16, 2018

March 25, 1942 - August 16, 2018

"Be your own artist, and always be confident in what youre doing. If youre not going to be confident, you might as well not be doing it."


In the video below, Aretha Franklin performs 'Think' in the 1980 film The Blues Brothers.



When Women Speak
"When you have balance in your life, work becomes an entirely different experience. There is a passion that moves you to a whole new level of fulfillment and gratitude, and that's when you can do your best... for yourself and for others."






When Women Speak


Nicki Minaj's fifth studio album, "Queen," might just be the best album of 2018. It reinforces how unique and talented she is. "Queen" proves that Nicki is here to stay and that she is undoubtedly rap royalty. 


“I got the trophies and the catalogue, Just did a deal, Mercedes-Bench, check the catalogue.” -Her Majesty




When rumors surfaced last week that Beyoncé had recruited Tyler Mitchell, a 23-year-old photographer to shoot her "Vogue" cover for its prestigious September issue, I teared up. I know that you did too. He became the first black photographer to shoot a cover in the magazine's 126-year history! Beyoncé did not grant the issue an interview but instead narrates an emotional essay that not only reveals how strong she is but also how inspirational she is. She announced that she had an emergency C-section and how supportive her husband was. She expressed her dreams and hopes for her children and most importantly, her hopes for the world.

Photo Credit: Tyler Mitchell/Vogue

Photo Credit: Tyler Mitchell/Vogue


"I was 218 pounds the day I gave birth to Rumi and Sir. I was swollen from toxemia and had been on bed rest for over a month. My health and my babies’ health were in danger, so I had an emergency C-section. We spent many weeks in the NICU. My husband was a soldier and such a strong support system for me. I am proud to have been a witness to his strength and evolution as a man, a best friend, and a father. I was in survival mode and did not grasp it all until months later. Today I have a connection to any parent who has been through such an experience."

Read her essay here.



Nelson Mandela, who died in December 2013, would have been 100 years old on Wednesday. He did not let the 27 years he spent in prison break his spirit. There is so much we can learn from him, especially now that the world seems to be imploding. So, here's to a revolutionary leader. May we strive to be like him because there are few people, dead or alive, who can compare to him. Here are a few of his most inspirational quotes.

1. "It always seem impossible until it's done."

2. "Courageous people do not fear forgiving, for the sake of peace."

3. "If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart."

4. "Live life as though nobody is watching, and express yourself as though everyone is listening."

5. "Do not judge me by my successes, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again."


When Women Speak

On Sunday, Oprah Winfrey accepted the Cecil B. DeMille Award for lifetime achievement at the Golden Globes. Below is a transcript of her inspirational acceptance speech.

In 1964, I was a little girl sitting on the linoleum floor of my mother's house in Milwaukee watching Anne Bancroft present the Oscar for best actor at the 36th Academy Awards. She opened the envelope and said five words that literally made history: "The winner is Sidney Poitier." Up to the stage came the most elegant man I had ever seen. I remember his tie was white, and of course his skin was black, and I had never seen a black man being celebrated like that. I tried many, many times to explain what a moment like that means to a little girl, a kid watching from the cheap seats as my mom came through the door bone tired from cleaning other people's houses. But all I can do is quote and say that the explanation in Sidney's performance in "Lilies of the Field":"Amen, amen, amen, amen."

In 1982, Sidney received the Cecil B. DeMille award right here at the Golden Globes and it is not lost on me that at this moment, there are some little girls watching as I become the first black woman to be given this same award. It is an honor -- it is an honor and it is a privilege to share the evening with all of them and also with the incredible men and women who have inspired me, who challenged me, who sustained me and made my journey to this stage possible. Dennis Swanson who took a chance on me for "A.M. Chicago." Quincy Jones who saw me on that show and said to Steven Spielberg, "Yes, she is Sophia in 'The Color Purple.'" Gayle who has been the definition of what a friend is, and Stedman who has been my rock -- just a few to name.

I want to thank the Hollywood Foreign Press Association because we all know the press is under siege these days. We also know it's the insatiable dedication to uncovering the absolute truth that keeps us from turning a blind eye to corruption and to injustice. To -- to tyrants and victims, and secrets and lies. I want to say that I value the press more than ever before as we try to navigate these complicated times, which brings me to this: what I know for sure is that speaking your truth is the most powerful tool we all have. And I'm especially proud and inspired by all the women who have felt strong enough and empowered enough to speak up and share their personal stories. Each of us in this room are celebrated because of the stories that we tell, and this year we became the story.

But it's not just a story affecting the entertainment industry. It's one that transcends any culture, geography, race, religion, politics, or workplace. So I want tonight to express gratitude to all the women who have endured years of abuse and assault because they, like my mother, had children to feed and bills to pay and dreams to pursue. They're the women whose names we'll never know. They are domestic workers and farm workers. They are working in factories and they work in restaurants and they're in academia, engineering, medicine, and science. They're part of the world of tech and politics and business. They're our athletes in the Olympics and they're our soldiers in the military.

And there's someone else, Recy Taylor, a name I know and I think you should know, too. In 1944, Recy Taylor was a young wife and mother walking home from a church service she'd attended in Abbeville, Alabama, when she was abducted by six armed white men, raped, and left blindfolded by the side of the road coming home from church. They threatened to kill her if she ever told anyone, but her story was reported to the NAACP where a young worker by the name of Rosa Parks became the lead investigator on her case and together they sought justice. But justice wasn't an option in the era of Jim Crow. The men who tried to destroy her were never persecuted. Recy Taylor died ten days ago, just shy of her 98th birthday. She lived as we all have lived, too many years in a culture broken by brutally powerful men. For too long, women have not been heard or believed if they dare speak the truth to the power of those men. But their time is up. Their time is up.

Their time is up. And I just hope -- I just hope that Recy Taylor died knowing that her truth, like the truth of so many other women who were tormented in those years, and even now tormented, goes marching on. It was somewhere in Rosa Parks' heart almost 11 years later, when she made the decision to stay seated on that bus in Montgomery, and it's here with every woman who chooses to say, "Me too." And every man -- every man who chooses to listen.

In my career, what I've always tried my best to do, whether on television or through film, is to say something about how men and women really behave. To say how we experience shame, how we love and how we rage, how we fail, how we retreat, persevere and how we overcome. I've interviewed and portrayed people who've withstood some of the ugliest things life can throw at you, but the one quality all of them seem to share is an ability to maintain hope for a brighter morning, even during our darkest nights. So I want all the girls watching here, now, to know that a new day is on the horizon! And when that new day finally dawns, it will be because of a lot of magnificent women, many of whom are right here in this room tonight, and some pretty phenomenal men, fighting hard to make sure that they become the leaders who take us to the time when nobody ever has to say "Me too" again.


When Women Speak
May 29, 1990 - December 30, 2017

May 29, 1990 - December 30, 2017

"I was a daddy's girl. Everything that my dad taught me: you have to be a leader, you have to lead by example. Now I understand why he was telling me all these things growing up."





In the video below, Erica Garner describes how she felt after her father was killed, and the events that followed. 



Barack Obama and Prince Harry at the Invictus Games in September

Barack Obama and Prince Harry at the Invictus Games in September


"There was a sense that we had run a good race." Former President Barack Obama told Prince Harry in an interview broadcast for BBC Radio 4’s flagship news and current affairs program "Today" on Wednesday.

In the interview, which was taped during the Invictus Games in September, the former President talked about his last day in the White House, his new life as a private citizen and his future plans.

"One of the metaphors I've always used for the Presidency is that you are a relay runner." Mr. Obama said when asked if he felt a sense of relief after leaving the White House. "I always viewed it as taking the baton from a whole range of people who had come before me. Some of whom had been heroic, some of whom had screwed up, but wherever you were in the race, if you ran hard, if you did your best, and that you then were able to pass that baton off successfully, the country was better off, the world was a little bit better off than when you got there, then you can take some pride in that."

You can listen to the full interview here. It will only be available for six days.





Demetria Obilor/Facebook


Dear Demetria Obilor,

First of all, thank you. Thank you for being such a vibrant woman who makes even the traffic news exciting. You and my local news hero, Jamie Stelter, make me wish I pursued traffic reporting. Anyway, enough about me. Let's talk about your clapback to your haters. It made my month. Literally. You did it with such class that I immediately said, that's my bff.

When you said, "This is the way that I'm built, this is the way I was born, I'm not going anywhere, so if you don't like it, you have your options...We don't have to put up with this, alright? And we're not going to," I was beyond amazed. A lesser person would've lost their temper but not you.

So, keep shining. Continue being as beautiful on the inside as you are on the outside. And keep inspiring us to love ourselves just the way we are.

By the way, why are your curls always on fleek?




Demetria's response to her haters




When Women Speak

“I’m just a regular degular shmegular girl from the Bronx.”

Actually, Cardi, you're more than that. You made history today as the "first female rapper to top the Billboard Hot 100 chart without the assistance of any other credited artists in nearly 19 years."

Congratulations Cardi B! Now I'll have "Bodak Yellow" stuck in my head all day. I don't mind tho!



A Syrian refugee family in the Azraq camp, northern Jordan Picture: Russell Watkins/DFID

A Syrian refugee family in the Azraq camp, northern Jordan
Picture: Russell Watkins/DFID


When we see Syrians on the news, we see them as refugees fleeing a war that has turned their country upside down, and killed their relatives and friends. They're no longer human beings. They've become talking points and statistics.

Wendy Pearlman's We crossed a Bridge and It Trembled tells the story of hundreds of Syrians by interviewing them. This first-hand accounting of their experiences before, during and after the Syrian Revolution, sheds a significant light on the plights of the interviewees who are from various social and economic backgrounds. They've lived through devastation and horror, and all they want is to live like human beings: free and with dignity.

In her Introduction, Ms. Pearlman wrote, "Politicians and commentators throughout the world talk about Syrians as victims to be pitied, bodies to be sheltered, radicals to be denounced, or threats to be feared and blocked. In the whirlwind of words spoken about Syrians as a global problem, it can be difficult to find chances to listen to actual Syrians, as humans beings.”

But Ms. Pearlman listened.

The stories are arranged chronologically and is a great read for the uninformed and the misinformed. It always breaks my heart to see the images and videos out of Syria. Who can forget three-year-old Alan Kurdi laying facedown on a beach? This book will make you cry. It will make you understand. It will make you a more compassionate person. We've become immune to the hate and struggles of our fellow man. It's time to change that, and this book is a good start.

It will show you that Syrians are more than numbers. They're our sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers.

We Crossed a Bridge and It Trembled

Reminiscent of the work of Nobel Prize winner Svetlana Alexievich, an astonishing collection of intimate wartime testimonies and poetic fragments from a cross-section of Syrians whose lives have been transformed by revolution, war, and flight.

Against the backdrop of the wave of demonstrations known as the Arab Spring, in 2011 hundreds of thousands of Syrians took to the streets demanding freedom, democracy and human rights. The government’s ferocious response, and the refusal of the demonstrators to back down, sparked a brutal civil war that over the past five years has escalated into the worst humanitarian catastrophe of our times.

Yet despite all the reporting, the video, and the wrenching photography, the stories of ordinary Syrians remain unheard, while the stories told about them have been distorted by broad brush dread and political expediency. This fierce and poignant collection changes that. Based on interviews with hundreds of displaced Syrians conducted over four years across the Middle East and Europe, We Crossed a Bridge and It Trembled is a breathtaking mosaic of first-hand testimonials from the frontlines. Some of the testimonies are several pages long, eloquent narratives that could stand alone as short stories; others are only a few sentences, poetic and aphoristic. Together, they cohere into an unforgettable chronicle that is not only a testament to the power of storytelling but to the strength of those who face darkness with hope, courage, and moral conviction.


New Books Tuesday


When Women Speak

"I feel that to a certain extent, we are the first generation of choice for women, who have had the opportunity to actually choose the lives they want to live…. The cultural expectation for women that they are meant to be mothers and married and that that is almost what makes their lives valid creates a scenario that I push up against in general. There's many places where that happens in our culture that I think are very limiting for women in terms of finding meaning in their own lives."




Dear Carrie Bradshaw,

I completely understand the dangers of believing that you, a fictional writer with curly hair and a complicated history with men, and I could truly be friends but I'm willing to take the first step and say that we can be more than friends. We can be best friends!

First, let me explain. I was eleven years old when you first dazzled everyone on Sex and The City. But eleven years later (what's up with the number eleven??), I discovered you and bought all six seasons. At the right time too! I'd just started dating and you, Sam, Miranda, and Charlotte were like the older, wiser, fairy godmothers I needed.

Your relationship with Big is still the highlight of my twenties (I'm currently re-watching the seasons...currently on Season two when you decided to get back together with him and you exchanged 'I love yous'). What a jerk he is/was! But I've learned from your mistakes. Or have I?

Your witty one-liners, writing struggles and victories, and love of your curls way before many embraced theirs (myself included) never cease to amaze me. And who can forget your relationship with Stanford? Carrie, you have made me realize that it's ok to be human. It's ok to wear my heart on my sleeve. It's ok to hurt and to forgive.

It's ok to refuse to settle for "anything less than butterflies."

It's ok to be a struggling writer, as long as it's what you love to do. And it's ok to love shoes!

I can go on and on about what a cultural icon you are, but you already know this.




Favorite scene ever!





What's your first memory as a child? One of my first memories is my first day of nursery school because it was on my birthday. I was four, in my shiny new uniform, new shoes, and a big smile on my face. Afterall, I was a big girl, and I was ready for the world, or to be more accurate, ready to take my small village by storm. And I remember my mother fussing with my hair before I had my photograph taken. She was always fussing with my hair. I spent a good portion of my childhood on her lap, or in a chair while she made sure my tiny curls were just right.

After reading Zinzi Clemmons' novel "What We Lose," I've found myself in a rather peculiar place. One, where I keep thinking about my past. You know you've read a great book when it stays with you for days (I read it over the weekend).

Sidenote: Guru thinks I have a problem with reminiscing about my childhood, but I really don't! I just remember it so well. It's unbelievable. I guess not growing up with a TV helps. I had an active imagination (I usually re-played my favorite adventures in my head at nights). Ok, I sound a bit nuts.

In this debut novel by Ms. Clemmons that affected me so, her main character struggles with her mother's death and her mixed race heritage. It's a riveting read. You'll lose yourself in this novel, but then, you'll find yourself again, and you'll be thankful for all you have.


What We Lose: A Novel

By:  Zinzi Clemmons

Raised in Pennsylvania, Thandi views the world of her mother’s childhood in Johannesburg as both impossibly distant and ever present. She is an outsider wherever she goes, caught between being black and white, American and not. She tries to connect these dislocated pieces of her life, and as her mother succumbs to cancer, Thandi searches for an anchor—someone, or something, to love.

In arresting and unsettling prose, we watch Thandi’s life unfold, from losing her mother and learning to live without the person who has most profoundly shaped her existence, to her own encounters with romance and unexpected motherhood. Through exquisite and emotional vignettes, Clemmons creates a stunning portrayal of what it means to choose to live, after loss. An elegiac distillation, at once intellectual and visceral, of a young woman’s understanding of absence and identity that spans continents and decades, "What We Lose" heralds the arrival of a virtuosic new voice in fiction.


New Books Tuesday