raceAhead: Serena Williams Is Still Coming Back

Here’s your week in review, in haiku.



The great finale,

West Wing reality show.

The n-word reveal?



Cancelled: a parade,

a security clearance,

a grateful nation.



DoorDash gets the cash,

Elon gets the sads, Walmart

gets the big Dow bounce



The smell of Agent

Orange in the morning? The

jokes just write themselves.



The Queen stepped forward.

“Welcome,” smiled Peter. “You can

put your purse right here.”


Have a righteous weekend.

On Point

Serena Williams opens upThis has been a complicated time for new mother and still GOAT Serena Williams. In this at times poignant interview, she talks about the familiar tug of heading back to work with a child at home -- “I wonder what my baby is doing?” -- and the unfamiliar pressure of being a world class athlete working to stay on top. Some complications are more difficult than others. When she unexpectedly learned on Instagram that the man who was convicted of fatally shooting her sister, Yetunde Price, was out on parole, it rattled her to the point of distraction. What immediately followed was the worst defeat of her 23-year professional career. “I couldn’t shake it out of my mind,” Serena says.Time

Georgia’s ACLU is battling poll closings in primarily black neighborhoods
Voting rights advocates are fighting back after a proposal to close 75% of polling stations in a primarily black Georgia county has reached the public meeting stage. "There is strong evidence that this was done with intent to make it harder for African Americans," ACLU of Georgia attorney Sean Young said. Randolph County is more than 60% black, which is double the statewide average. Some one-third of residents live below the poverty line, and 22 percent of the county’s residents don’t have a car. The rural area has no public transit; if the proposal passes, voters would need to travel an additional ten miles, on average, to a polling place.
New York Times

We’re all crazy rich Asians now
The filmmakers behind the soon-to-be-blockbuster film traded a guaranteed “gigantic payday” from Netflix for the uncertainty of a wide theatrical release for one reason: The potential of changing the game in Hollywood for Asian-themed stories and talent. This Hollywood Reporter feature describes the series of meetings behind the scenes, each one a nailbiter of sorts.  “We were gifted this position to make a decision no one else can make, which is turning down the big payday for rolling the dice [on the box office] — but being invited to the big party, which is people paying money to go see us," director John Chu says. The film had been courted for years by numerous potential producers; now it has a chance to be the benchmark for similar films. "It meant something to us to become a 'comp' for somebody else," says Nina Jacobson, one of the producers.
Hollywood Reporter

Aretha Franklin’s revolution
There have been so many wonderful takes on her life and career, and I hope you’re enjoying them all. If you only have time for one, make some room for this portrait of Aretha as an architect of civil rights, by Vann R. Newkirk. “Franklin’s 76 years on Earth bookended a grand arc of tumult, letdowns, progress, setbacks, terror, and hope in American history,” he begins, noting her essential presence as a bridge between the time of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Barack Obama and every important moment in between. “What does it mean to bury the Queen of Soul?”
The Atlantic


The Woke Leader

What to do about child sexual abuse?
The recent Pennsylvania grand jury report on widespread sexual abuse committed by Catholic clergy members documents some 1,000 victims and 300 predator priests, but only two indictments. This is unacceptable, says Marci Hamilton, the CEO of CHILD USA, an organization that advocates for policies to protect kids and their rights. She’s calling for a series of changes that will make it easier to hold both individuals and the Catholic Church accountable. High on her list would be to amend the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, or RICO, to allow “personal injury” to be a predicate offense.  She’s also recommending extending the statute of limitations on such claims. But, she concedes, “Many politicians do not want to publicly acknowledge the pandemic of clergy sex abuse.”

Jeffrey Sachs: Billionaires look to the stars at the expense of the poor
In this opinion piece, a professor and the director of the Center for Sustainable Development at Columbia University, takes on inequality in the age of the tech billionaire, from their pet space projects to the plight of low-credentialed employees who are poised to lose their jobs to AI. He holds nothing back. “The companies harvest our personal data, for which they pay nothing, to earn their fortunes,” he says, then the patent system lets them create monopolies, and the government lets them accumulate wealth offshore. And yet, millions languish. “A mere 1% of the billionaires' net worth each year would amount to around $91 billion, a sum that could ensure access to health care and education for the poorest children across the globe,” he says.

Thinking about the female gaze in film
I share this for many reasons, not the least of which is that we are all filmmakers now. This month, the Film Society at Lincoln Center is presenting a survey of 36 films made with female cinematographers called “The Female Gaze.” The question is an important one, as women are only 4% of the profession. What does it mean when filmmaking isn’t just about celebrating male power or offering titillating images of women’s bodies for male enjoyment? Can this conversation even happen without the gender binary? Some celebrated female cinematographers share their thoughts and personal heroes in the space, food for thought for your next industrial film shoot.


Smell that? You smell that? Napalm, son. Nothing else in the world smells like that. I love the smell of napalm in the morning. You know, one time we had a hill bombed, for 12 hours. When it was all over, I walked up. We didn't find one of 'em, not one stinkin' dink body. The smell, you know that gasoline smell, the whole hill. Smelled like… Victory. Someday this war's gonna end…
Lieutenant Colonel Bill Kilgore

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