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Beyoncé Comes Home To Netflix

If the Beyhive members on your staff are sleepy today, let them be. They’re in a blessed place.

Early Wednesday morning, Netflix began streaming “Homecoming,” a 137-minute documentary that revisits Beyoncé’s headlining set at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in 2018.

It was worth getting up early for.

On one hand, it’s a master class in execution.

We see the artist at her most focused. The music alone took four months to master, the choreography another four months. “I personally selected each dancer, every light, the material on the steps, the height of the pyramid, the shape of the pyramid,” she says. “Every tiny detail had an intention.”

Fans of the show know she did an exceptional job weaving in elements of global black culture, with a specific emphasis on the unique graces of the Historically Black Colleges and Universities. In the film, we see who the black orchestra, the steppers, the singers, became part of the broader story she hoped to tell. “I always dreamed of going to an HBCU,” she says reminiscing of the imprint HBCUs had on her young psyche.

It was also a master class in sharing space. “I wanted different characters. I didn’t want us all doing the same thing,” she says. “I wanted every person that has ever been dismissed because of the way they looked to feel that they were on that stage, killing it.”

In an intimate section, Beyoncé reveals that she’s also a working mother, struggling to keep it together.

In the film, she says that while pregnant with twins Sir Carter and Rumi in 2017, she’d had an emergency C-section after their heartbeats “paused a few times.” During the run-up to Coachella, Beyoncé began a disciplined regimen, giving up meat, alcohol, bread, and dairy. She talked about being hungry.

“In the beginning, it was so many muscle spasms. Just, internally, my body was not connected,” she says. “My mind was not there. My mind wanted to be with my children. What people don’t see is the sacrifice. I would dance, and go off to the trailer, and breast-feed the babies, and the days I could, I would bring the children.”

It’s a reminder that the brightest of lights come with the hardest of work.

Marketing is hard work, too. Beyoncé one-upped herself with the surprise announcement of an accompanying album which features over an hour and a half’s worth her Coachella performance, along with some fresh tracks. It also features her cover of the black national anthem, “Lift Every Voice and Sing.” (You’ll hear daughter Blue’s take on the same song, too.) And although the album was a surprise, it’s not an exclusive release . Unlike her 2016 album Lemonade, Homecoming: the Live Album is available on all streaming sites.

Go forth, Beyhive. It’s your time.

On Point

Lack of diversity in AI is “disastrous” study findsA survey of more than 150 studies conducted by the AI Now Institute, says this the industry is facing a “moment of reckoning,” heading toward a “diversity disaster” which will amplify inequality, racism, and gender bias. It’s all largely attributable to the lack of diversity within the field itself. “The industry has to acknowledge the gravity of the situation and admit that its existing methods have failed to address these problems,” Kate Crawford, an author on the report, told The Guardian. “The use of AI systems for the classification, detection, and prediction of race and gender is in urgent need of re-evaluation.”The Guardian

Where are the Latinx stories on TV?
It’s not an idle question. Some 25% of 6-12 year-olds in the U.S. are Latinx, and overall, Latinx people make up 18% of the U.S. population. So where is the programming? Gloria Calderón Kellett, co-showrunner of the now-canceled One Day at a Time sat down with Tanya Saracho, creator and showrunner of Starz’s Vida, to talk about why this matters. “Right now, there’s four [Latinx series] left that aren’t cartel narratives,” notes Saracho. “Isn’t that so offensive to us?” It’s not for lack of trying notes Kellett. “Both of our shows are not just Latinx, but they’re queer. They’re LGBTQ-positive shows,” she says. “So, two of the most demonized categories of people in this [Trump] administration are the characters that we try to shed light on in a loving and positive good way.”
Vulture

After the fire at Notre Dame, donations for black churches destroyed by arson increase
As millions of euros were pledged to rebuild the Paris treasure, social media users were quick to point out that three historically black churches in Louisiana that were razed by fire also needed support. At press time, a crowdfunding campaign for the three black churches in Louisiana has received more than $1.1 million after it was widely shared on social media this week. “Burning churches is a horrible thing. Rebuilding them, however, is a beautiful thing,” wrote one donor. The fires occurred on March 26, April 2 and April 4 in St. Landry Parish.
New York Times

TSA machines are unable to properly scan black hair
For frequent black travelers, the indignity of having a TSA worker root through their hair now has a clear explanation. “With black females, the scanner alarms more because they have thicker hair; many times they have braids or dreadlocks,” one TSA officer told ProPublica. “Maybe, down the line, they will be redesigning the technology, so it can tell apart what’s a real threat and what is not. But, for now, we officers have to do what the machine can’t.” The TSA has asked vendors for ideas on how to improve screening of hair and headwear – turbans and wigs also trigger false positives – but to no avail. It puts the agency at risk of violating Title VI of the Civil Rights Act that bars federally funded agencies from discriminating even unintentionally on the basis of race, color or national origin.
ProPublica

On Background

The Time 100 is awash with excellence
Our former sister magazine’s annual list of the 100 most influential people is a particular delight because it features beloved people writing about the people they most admire. This year, Shonda Rhimes pays tribute to Sandra Oh, Janet Mock tackles what it was like writing for Pose’s Indya Moore, Ava Duvernay makes plain her love of Gayle King and Warren Buffett weighs in on LeBron James. (Whut?) But Viola Davis’s take on Regina King made me sit up a little straighter. “When we meet now, we meet as sisters who know the road; we’re on the battlegrounds together as women and women of color,” Davis writes. “We connect as people who see other artists and who really take it upon ourselves to elevate them. Regina enjoys watching other actors fly. And that is rare in a profession that is about deprivation.”
Time

How to move low-skilled workers into the middle class
Workforce development programs have largely been ineffective, but an organization called Project Quest appears to have cracked the code somewhat. In a nine-year longitudinal study, participants were able to triple their income after graduating from the program. When you’re a single mom with a high school education, moving from $10,721 a year to $33,644 in nine years is a miracle. “To see earning differences this large and for this long is unprecedented in the workforce development field,” says one expert who studied the program. The difference appears to be, wait for it, the participants get help from humans who care about them. “They receive money for tuition and books, but they also meet weekly with advisers who make sure they have remedial education, money for transportation, food, health care and childcare.”
Houston Chronicle

Ten solutions to bridge the racial wealth gap
The Institute for Policy Studies has offered ten policy or product ideas that they believe can form the foundation for the kinds of reforms that can bring real system change. And it’s needed: Today’s Forbes 400 hold more wealth than all Black households in the U.S. and a quarter of Latinx households combined. Click through for more on baby bonds, postal banking and changes to the tax code that can help. For corporate advocates, you’ll learn about better data collection on race and wealth, and how to conduct a racial wealth audit. “The deep and persistent racial wealth divide will not close without bold, structural reform.”
The Institute for Policy Studies

 

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Her story, spoken while holding back tears, shook Washington and the country. Her courage, in the face of those who wished to silence her, galvanized Americans. And her unfathomable sacrifice, out of a sense of civic duty, shined a spotlight on the way we treat survivors of sexual violence…. And through her courage, she forced the country to reckon with an issue that has too often been ignored and kept in the dark.
—Kamala Harris on Christine Blasey Ford