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raceAhead: Twitch Gets Its First Chief Diversity Officer

Paris Games Week 2017 : Day Three At Porte De Versailles In ParisParis Games Week 2017 : Day Three At Porte De Versailles In Paris
Photo by Chesnot—Getty ImagesChesnot Getty Images

Here’s your week in review, in haiku.

 

1.

Tremendously big,

tremendously wet, loud, and

incredibly close

 

2.

My father died in

the dark, alone, he said (the

storm never ended)

 

3.

Manafort makes his

plea, a power broker now

broken. Who’s up next?

 

4.

“Sir, Ronan Farrow

on line two… Sir? Stop screaming…

Sir? You alright? Sir?”

 

5.

No time to finish /

digging the hole to bury

his soul / Mac goes home

 

Have safe and worry-free weekend if you can, everyone.

On Point

Twitch hires its first diversity chiefAnd you know her! Katrina Jones is leaving a similar position at Vimeo to establish the first-ever chief diversity and inclusion position at the Amazon-owned streaming watch-people-play-video-games site. Jones was a powerful voice in last year’s Black Ceiling piece, which explored why there are so few black women in executive ranks. At the time she was at Accenture, working as a diversity lead. Her words still inspire. “My father literally grew up picking cotton,” says Jones. “I’m dedicated to increasing the number of black women at the firm because I believe in equity,” she says. “What’s a good word for a ‘group of black women?’ ” she muses aloud. “Let’s call that a victory.” She starts on October 1.Hollywood Reporter

Venture investor Arlan Hamilton is on the cover of Fast Company
And you know her, too! She’s been a Fortune favorite for a while now (see the above Black Ceiling story, this year’s 40 Under 40 list, and Polina Marinova’s terrific Term Sheet interview, for just a few examples.) But there’s nothing like seeing yourself on the newsstand to send a message. Her extraordinary story of resilience and business savvy is inspiring, yes, but the work she’s doing is poised to change the tech and investment landscape forever. She’s built a venture fund from a standing start and has invested in 100 startup companies led by women, people of color, and LGBTQ founders. A few years ago she needed food stamps to survive. “The first time I held a copy of my @FastCompany was just 2 days ago. I’d been keeping it together, but once I saw it in person, a flood of memories of what it took to get to this point in my life came rushing at me,” she tweeted.
Fast Company

Blackish creator Kenya Barris on why he left ABC
It was one episode that finally done did it. The showrunner knew that “Please, Baby, Please,” might make waves. It was intended to be a structural departure from the format of the show, in which Dre, the father played by Anthony Anderson, soothed his infant son with a bedtime story that mirrored world events. Barris planned to intersperse news footage (Charlottesville, NFL kneelers) with an animated character, a clear reference to the current president called the “The Shady King.” Three days before it was to air, the episode was shelved. It had been a long back and forth, including re-cuts and fraught meetings; even CEO Bob Iger got involved. While he never uses the word censorship, it was the end for Barris and his already tentative relationship with Disney. “I don’t know that I would have been as useful to them as they’d need me to be after that,” he tells The Hollywood Reporter. The cast had stronger things to say. 
Hollywood Reporter

Justice denied
Every state in the U.S. has a fund set aside to help crime victims or their families recover the financial costs that often hit when terrible things happen—things like medical and burial expenses, and post-trauma counseling are often covered. But in one of seven states, if the victim or a survivor has been convicted of certain types of felonies, they’re not eligible—even if their transgression was minor or in the distant past. A new report from The Marshall Project shows how this rule inordinately impacts black families, the very people who could most benefit from the support.
The Marshall Project

 

The Woke Leader

The paradox of owning, or not owning, a gun while black
It’s been more than a week since off-duty Dallas police officer Amber Guyger entered the wrong apartment and shot the occupant, Botham Jean, dead. The aftermath has been predictably horrific, but a representative of the NRA weighed in with a particularly ugly idea: If Jean had been a firearm owner, he would have been able to fend off the intruder. It runs counter to the universal narrative that shooting an unarmed, innocent man in his own home is an unmitigated tragedy. “At the same time, scolding dead people for being unarmed is standard procedure for the NRA,” writes Adam Serwer, they “attacked Clementa Pinckney, the pastor of Mother Emanuel AME Church, where nine parishioners were massacred by the white supremacist Dylann Roof, for supporting gun control.” But, he says, they show no outrage when a black man is shot while legally carrying a gun. “If innocent unarmed black men like Jean are shot, it’s because they lack firearms; if innocent black men who are armed like Castile or Sterling are shot, it’s because they had a gun. Heads, you’re dead; tails, you’re also dead,” he writes.
The Atlantic

On becoming Maya Rudolph
This is a gorgeous profile of a brilliant performer, a woman who can shapeshift as effortlessly into Oprah as she can into Beyonce, or any of her SNL castmates when asked. But Maya Rudolph has also spent a lifetime understanding her identity, originally formed by the union of two “hippie” lovebirds, “an adorable Jew” dad, and the brilliant black singer, Minnie Riperton. She was born as part of a mini mixed-race baby boom after the Loving decision stopped criminalizing marriages like those of her parents. Rudolph’s genius might, in fact, stem from her constantly waving off questions about which race she identified with –  while also waving off requests to touch her “ethnic” hair. It’s a poignant look at how growing up searching for yourself in the world can fuel art. “Meeting other mixed kids has always affected me. It was like part of a secret society.”
New York Times

A group of beluga whales accepts a whole different animal as one of their own
Sometimes inclusion success stories can be found in the wild. If you’re surprised to learn that narwhals are, in fact, not fictional creatures, you’ll be even more delighted to know that they sometimes wander off from their Arctic neighborhoods in search of new adventures. One lone, juvenile male narwhal has been adopted by a pod of beluga whales and has been living with them for three years in Canada’s St. Lawrence River. Experts are not sure why the narwhal is so many miles south of his normal habitat, but they say he’s one of the gang now. “It behaves like it was one of the boys,” said one researcher. “It’s a like a big social ball of young juveniles that are playing some social, sexual games.” Whales! They’re just like…oh nevermind.
CBC

Quote

I don’t know exactly what a prayer is. / I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,/ how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields, / which is what I have been doing all day. / Tell me, what else should I have done? / Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon? / Tell me, what is it you plan to do / with your one wild and precious life?
Mary Oliver